Paleo Pool 2011: Change and the System That Makes It Possible

by Dr. Christopher on January 24, 2011

Do you want to eat healthier?

Do you need the motivation to do it?

Maybe we can help.

Six people, including myself, are performing a social experiment to get lasting results with our health and physique through our diet.

We will be using this page to assess our progress.

Continue reading if this sounds appetizing.  There are methods for you to participate at the end of this post …

The PROPOSAL: The Paleo Pool 2011 … A Social Experiment.


Four days after New Years, I asked if my friends were still following their resolutions.

I was still following mine!

However, I know that by March, most individual’s resolutions die off.

We have less direct control over our actions than we think we do.  Our environment controls our behavior.

I had been eating clean (strict “paleo”) for two days.  That means no processed foods, grains, dairy, or sugar.  I hadn’t eaten this clean in at least 3 months.

I forgot how amazing it feels to eat foods that nature intended for us to eat.  For the first time in months, my bloating had gone down and my head was clear.

Because I didn’t want to stop feeling great, the Paleo Pool 2011 was born.

What’s in it for you?  I’ve never seen an obese person who eats the paleolithic diet.  I imagine 6 individuals with 6-pack abs.  Only one way to find out.


1.  Eat Paleo only foods (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, any other animal product besides dairy, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds)
2.  NO dairy products, grains, pseudo-grains (quinoa), breads, rice, legumes (peanuts, cashews, peas), sugar products allowed.
3.  Non-organic, farm-raised fish, conventional meat, chicken, and eggs ARE ALL ALLOWED.  The idea is to be practical.  For the best results though, choose organic and local.
4.  Coffee is allowed, along with its dairy and sweetener counterparts.  This is allowed make it practical and sustainable.  If an individual wants to ween themselves off of sugar or cream later on, all the power to you.  For the record, cream has little lactose in it, which is a plus.  (Lactose is a sugar we generally want to avoid.)
5.  You can COOK WITH pure olive oil, coconut oil, ghee (clarified butter), or just water.  NO butter, canola oil (GMO), or other vegetable oils.
6.  TWO cheat days per week where ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is allowed … if you want it.  If you want ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s legal.  (We upped the number of cheat days to allow for special occasions.)
7.  TWO nights of drinking alcohol per week (Happy Hour 4PM in your time zone til you pass out) … if you want it.
8.  Your binge days and boozing nights can be different from week to week depending on if you know you’re attending a weekend celebration of sorts.  Make sure you comment with the day you’re using.  But remember, if you booze and eat some chips, that’s a booze night and a binge night!

For further reading, I recommend The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet and The Paleo Diet.

There are a plethora of paleo-blogs out there to help with the change.  One of our challengers (Thanks Matt!) found this blog post to restock your cupboards.


Each challenger’s job is to comment on this page every week on Monday ….

1.  Are you still IN, or are you OUT?
2.  What was your cheat meal?  How did you feel through it?
3.  How are you doing with the challenge in general?
4.  Heckling of others is encouraged.  In fact, if I want to entice a certain someone by sending Raspberry Entemann’s to their house in Pennsylvania or Gourmet popcorn to their apartment in New Jersey on a non-cheat day, then I’m awesome.  You have got to play to win the game.


1.  Each challenge has taken a picture of themselves shirtless (men) or in their bathing suits/underwear (women) … for the purpose of assessment.  You don’t have to share it with me.  It’s really for your only purposes, to see what happens when you change just diet.  If you’d like to share … I may ask you to do so for the purpose of explaining to what happens when you eat the way you’re supposed to.
2.  $50-buy in.


1st Prize: $300
2nd Prize: Pride, you came in second.  You’re the first loser.

If there’s not ONE winner by some ridiculously far away time.  Dare I say, a year from now, we’ll end the contest and I’ll either refund your money or we’ll donate the money to an organization of our choosing.  We’ll do that by voting.

For YOU playing at home … Holding yourself ACCOUNTABLE:

To incentivize the challenge even more for myself and provide another fail-safe mechanism, I’ve created “The ‘Give the World What it Wants’ Fund” (it’s a jar that I donate to.   Because the world wants me to be healthy, feel happy, and it wants my money).  Every day that I eat “paleo” (including the cheat days because “yes”, binging does serve a physiologic purpose), I’m putting a $1 in the fund.  The money I collect in the fund will be donated to a charity that I have not chosen yet.

stickK: Each of the challenger has a referee to monitor another’s progress or lack of.


I invite any of the Humble Observer’s readers to participate in the challenge with us.  You can use the $1-Jar method to hold yourself accountable and reward yourself at the end of the challenge.  The longer you eat “paleo,” the more expensive of a gift you get to buy yourself.  You can call it “The Barbara Gets A New Pair of Shoes Fund” or the “Poppa Deserves A Night Out With The Boys Fund.”

Let the games begin.

Love, Chris

If you’d like to participate, let us know!!  If you need assistance with recipes, preparation, what foods are legal/illegal, the rationale behind all of it … just ask!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie January 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Still in!

Poached eggs on fresh spinach, almonds and a half of a banana for breakfast…home-made chicken soup for lunch…feeling great!

laura January 24, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Okay, day 1 and they ordered pizza here at work. No I did not participate but it smelled better than it normally does. I’m with you Chris – I know it is worth it. Thank you for the inspiration! Yes you inspired me to change my diet but you also inspire me in so many other ways. It is humbling to have my son become my teacher, mentor and role model. I love you!! Mom

Dr. Kevin Merrow January 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Like the idea Chris… This should be easy I am 21 days into paleo already. I rarely cheat, only on steeler victories.

Jenny January 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Me too! Me too!

Christopher January 24, 2011 at 9:14 pm

No Mom, I’m not embarassed. I love you too. And ditto.

Christopher January 24, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Me too! Sausage and eggs and potatoes for breakfast. Beets, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and pork for lunch. Raisins and macademia nuts for a snack (I’ve recently learned that eating a lot of raisins gives me gas though, can’t do this anymore). Duck and celery for dinner.

Christopher January 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Thanks Kevin! You want in? How long can you go with this? Is it worth $350? It’s going to be a sad day on Superbowl Sunday when you cheat and the Steelers lose … I’ll pray for you. Heh.

T January 24, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I’m technically 2 weeks into this diet and to be honest I actually feel great, physically I have already lost 3 inches off my waist guess that’s a result of the bloating going down. I actually have more energy during my workouts and i’m seeing steady gains in my strength. I got a personal goal of getting back into Wyoming shape steppy, starting weight 233 and soft, currently 226 with 20lbs to go.

Matt January 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I am in. I’m excited about it. Coming off of Colin Campbell’s presentation, I’m ready for veggies galore. Yesterday, I hit up the grocery store (ok, i had to go to two to get some of the items I needed to make this happen). I also started my meals last night so that I’ve got some thing ready to go during the week.
This morning, it was nice to wake up to the sweet smell of cinnamon and other spices that had been going to work all night in the crockpot on Paleo Mulligatawny Soup (from, it was a breakfast way better than oatmeal. Snack banana & brazil nuts, apple. Late lunch, chili verde made with pork & cilantro(went a little overboard with the latter), walnuts, almonds. recent snack grapes, almonds, black- & blueberries.

Feeling good and happy to realize that I don’t have to sacrifice my desire for flavor. I used tomatillos for the first time in my life.
I like the $1 day idea. I also think that we should all celebrate, with a pat on the back for every success. Chris, thanks for giving the push to get this going.

Christopher January 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm

You believe me for once and look what happens. Now, I’ll just get Jess to break up with you for a few weeks and you’ll be in shape in no time!

Christopher January 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm

You sound pretty serious Matty?! I like it. I’m jealous that you got to try that recipe. I’ll have to do it soon.

I’m down with the celebrating … perhaps we’ll pick a day in a few months??

T February 3, 2011 at 8:49 am

Is anyone else fired up for the superbowl!!!! Cuz this guy is. With that said does any buddy have any good ideas for paleo food during the superbowl? I plan on sunday being s cheat day however I fell like I take two steps backwards after every cheat day so I’m gonna try for the most part to eat paleo this Sunday. Any suggestions would be great.

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