The Real Food community in which I dwell LURVES its 30-day compliance challenges. Most folks find them refreshing, motivating, and inspiring (but, on the flip side, for SOME they probably exacerbate neurotic behavior). But a strength of these challenges is that they get the “good word” out to others and set a nice, loud, committed public example. I’m currently involved in Crossfit Love’s 30-Day challenge, which brings together members of the Paleo/Primal community across the world. It’s pretty durn exciting to be included in the mix!
I can’t say enough good things about folks like Robb Wolf, Diane Sanfilippo (update: she’s my podcast and workshop partner!) and Mark Sisson. They’re undeniably among the most popular and effective example-setters in the Paleo/Primal movement, and they have a unique ability to transcend the “inner circle” and reach beginners and Old Hats alike.
So as this year and its requisite Food Resolutions have gained momentum, I’ve seen chatter on the interwebs about the New Year’s 30-day challenges. People seem confused…
“I’m doing (so-and-so’s) 30-day challenge. Is garlic-basil pesto (so-and-so’s) 30-day challenge-approved?”
“Am I allowed to drink (Almond milk/sparkling water/radioactive sweat) on the Grok Block Challenge?”
“Are insects OK for Paleo Solution?”
“Can I have .00062 Tbs of evaporated cane juice on my This-Many-Days-Carb-Addict-Beaters-Super-Plan? lol lmao omg.”
(What with all these challenges being referenced, I’d like to throw my own into the ring. It shall be called “Doing A Cave Girl.” So on your facebook status, you should say “I’m Doing A Cave Girl.” I predict it will cause quite the uproar amongst your Quilting Club buddies.)
I don’t want the amazing resources in the Paleo/Primal community to be overshadowed by people’s obsession with placing four walls and a lid around their “Diet.” (Reference the first paragraph’s reference to NEUROTIC BEHAVIOR.) Dudes, that is sooo Oprah Winfrey circa 1998. When you do any manner of 30-day “Paleo” or “Primal” challenge, part of the Challenge to yourself must be losing neurotic behavior. Outright refusing to allow that toxic mindset to enter the picture. You’re aiming to learn and live the principles so that they become intuitive, not obsessive. This way you’re not doing somebody else’s diet or following somebody else’s rules. You’re worried about health more than weight. You’re actually living.
This isn’t Weight Watchers. You don’t get a Points book. This is about joining a movement with awesome folks who are willing to research, work hard, and share their expertise (often FOR FREE) in hopes that one day you’ll be able to live confidently and healthfully too. If you never get to that point, you’re just banging your head against a dusty bookshelf full of old copies of The Atkins Diet.
So it’s important to resist the standard Diet pitfalls: First and foremost, depending on Rules and a Guru to tell you the minutiae of what’s OK and what’s not (as in, expecting someone else to do your thinking for you); second, making yourself a Wagon (thus creating the possibility to fall off said wagon) by obsessing over whether Almond milk is OK in your coffee; and third, EXPECTING SOMEONE ELSE TO DO YOUR THINKING FOR YOU (yes, I know I said it twice).
Doing A Cave Girl T-Shirts, anyone?