Paleo Challenge Point System

The Challenge

o As CrossFitters we love points, so yes we have a point system.

o In your journal you will keep a daily log of your food intake. At the very least you must keep track of everything. EVERYDAY THAT YOU DO NOT SUBMIT A LOG ENTRY YOU ARE MISSING OUT ON 15 FREE POINTS!! There will be a 1 week grace period.

o For every cheat that you have during the week you need to subtract 5 points per serving.

o Cheats constitute:

§ Dairy (Milk in coffee is only -1)

§ Grains- Rice, bread, pasta, cake, cookies, cereal ect.

§ Legumes- Peanuts, soy beans, lima beans, kidney beans, ect.

§ Packaged/processed food

§ Fast food

§ Alcohol other than red wine, cider and tequila (2 serving allowance/day) More than that -5

o Each day that you take 2.5g of fish oil add 1 point

o Each day that you come to CrossFit add 2 points

o If you workout outside of CrossFit add 2 points- walking, the elliptical, and bicep curls DO NOT COUNT! You know what is worth doing at this point, don’t cheat!

o If you take a rest day, but you still dedicate 20+ minutes to foam rolling, stretching, and/or trigger point work add 2 points.

o You are not following the Paleo diet if you are not consuming any fruits or vegetables. Each day that you eat less than 3 servings of fruits and vegetables subtract 10 points.


CrossFit Paleo Food List

There are lots of books and websites out there on the Paleo Diet. Our standards include and exclude certain foods due to the fact that we are all athletes and can use certain foods for recovery and energy. All meats are recommended to be grass-fead and “all organic” but we understand that this is unrealistic for a lot of you. Trader Joes and Whole foods sell organic meats and other organic foods. We encourage you to shop there, but you will not lose points if you cannot.
Be real careful when picking out mayonnaise and salad dressings. Soybean oil is the main ingredient in most, try to avoid products that are primarily made with soybean or vegetable oil and look for canola, olive, or flaxseed oil instead.

Paleo Foods/Highly Encouraged

Lean Meats:

  • Lean beef (trimmed of visible fat)
  • Beef Jerky (check label for added sugar)
  • Flank steak
  • Top sirloin steak
  • Extra-lean hamburger
  • Lean veal
  • Lean pork (trimmed of visible fat)
  • Pork loin
  • Pork chopsLean poultry
  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey breast



  • Bass
  • Bluefish
  • Cod
  • Eel
  • Grouper
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Herring
  • Red snapper
  • Salmon
  • Scrod
  • Shark
  • Striped bass
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Tuna


  • Clams
  • Crab
  • Crayfish
  • Lobster
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp


  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Star fruit
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerine
  • Watermelon

Fruits in moderation (high in sugar):

  • Mango
  • Banana
  • Fig
  • Guava
  • Papaya


  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Green onion
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Parsnip
  • Peppers (all kinds)
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Squash (all kinds)
  • Tomato (actually a fruit, but most people think of it as a vegetable)
  • Turnip greens

Nuts and Seeds:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Chestnuts
  • Hazelnuts (filberts)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios (unsalted)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts


  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil

Whey Protein powder


Seltzer water

Coconut water

Foods that should be eaten in moderation

(not cheats unless in excess)

• Bacon
• Sausage
• Chicken wings
• Ribs
• Canola oil
• Flaxseed oil
• Quinoa
• Dried fruit
• Sweet potatoes
• Coffee
• Red Wine
• Tequila
• Deli meat

CHEATS (-5/Serving)

Dairy Foods:

  • All processed foods made with any dairy products
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cream
  • Dairy spreads
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Milk
  • Nonfat dairy creamer
  • Yogurt

***We are reducing the amount of points deducted for plain non-fat greek yogurt. You may deduct 3 pointsrather than the full 5 because of the high protein content. If there is added sugar subtract 5 points.***

Cereal Grains:

  • Barley (barley soup, barley bread, and all processed foods made with barley)
  • Corn (corn on the cob, corn tortillas, corn chips, corn starch, corn syrup)
  • Millet
  • Oats (steel-cut oats, rolled oats, and all processed foods made with oats) ***Subtract 3 instead of 5 points for plain oatmeal.
  • Rice (brown rice, white rice, top ramen, rice noodles, bas mati rice, rice cakes, Ricebas mati rice, rice cakes, Rice flour (all processed foods made with rice)
  • Rye (rye bread, rye crackers, and all processed foods made with rye)
  • Wheat (bread, rolls, muffins, noodles, crackers, cookies, cake, doughnuts, pancakes, waffles, pasta, spaghetti,lasagna, wheat tortillas, pizza, pita bread, flat bread, and all processed foods made with wheat or wheat flour)
  • Wild rice

Cereal Grainlike Seeds:

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat


  • All beans (adzuki beans, black beans, broad beans, fava beans, field beans, garbanzo beans, horse beans, kidneybeans, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, pinto beans, red beans, string beans, white beans)
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Miso
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanuts
  • Snowpeas
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Soybeans and all soybean products

Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices:

  • All sugary soft drinks and diet beverages
  • Gatorade
  • Vitamin water
  • Coke
  • Diet Coke
  • Canned, bottled, and freshly squeezed fruit drinks (which lack the fiber of fresh fruit and have a much higherglvcemic index)


  • White wine
  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Rum
  • Beer
  • Fourloco

Artificial Sweeteners:

  • Sweet and Low
  • Splenda
  • Equal

***Subtract 2 points per packet when using***


  • Processed salad dressings
  • BBQ sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard (unless just mustard seeds and vinegar; check the label)
  • Miracle Whip
  • Anything made with soybean oil
  • Anything made with high frutose corn syrup
  • Anything with added sugar

Paleo Challenge Questions

Okay. I am going to try to address most of the questions I have gotten since Saturday. I am happy that you all have so many questions and want to do this right. If you search online you will find Paleo lists that exclude some of the foods we have made exceptions for. For example, the Cordain version of the Paleo diet doesn’t allow you to eat the skin off the chicken, which doesn’t make much sense to me because I doubt 40,000 years ago they were stripping their meat of the skin for a leaner option. Robb Wolfe has his own athletic/crossfit version of the Paleo diet that most crossfitters follow. If you are looking to do some reading today, go to

On Robb Wolf’s version of the Paleo diet, the following foods are allowed: sweet potatoes, bacon, vinegar, deli meat, whey protein, tofu, honey, red wine and tequila. Why are these things expectable? Well, because we want to make this realistic for most of you. You are all athletes and need more food and energy than the average person. Sweet potatoes are a great recovery food and help satisfy your craving for something sweet. Bacon has a ton of fat, but it will keep you full and give you energy. Vinegar, though very acidic, is essential to many recipes including salad dressings, and it is a natural substance. Deli meat isn’t encouraged, because it is loaded with salt and certain kinds are processed, but it is a quick and easy dense form of protein that will help you stay on track. Protein powder is a great dense source of protein and great for post workout. Tofu also acts as a dense protein, because of the way it is extracted from the soybeans. Honey is a natural form of sugar which is great for cooking paleo recipes. Finally red wine and tequila have been around forever and are not grain products; they are not necessarily healthy for you, but they won’t set you back dramatically either.


If there is a half serving of a cheat in a recipe do I still need to subtract a full 5 points?

Use your judgement. If it is truly a small amount (less than a half serving) subtract 2.5 instead of 5. This works both ways though. If you have a piece of pizza and it is a large piece of pizza, make sure you account for the extra servings of dough. A large piece of pizza would be at least -15.

Green tea? You may have green tea.

What if I go out to eat?

Say you go out to breakfast and order an omelet with veggies. You may not know exactly how it is cooked, but it’s okay. That is one thing you can turn a blind eye to. BUT if you order steak and it comes with a creamy sauce on top, subtract 5. Most times that you eat out you will subtract 5 for a topping or side, but I don’t believe you should be punished when you are making good choices when eating out.

What should I subtract if I nibble on my kids’ food?

Subtract 5. Those calories add up. If you know you will lose points you are less likely do it.


Ok if there is no cornstarch.

Green beans?

Unfortunately they are a bean. Not paleo.

What oils should I be using?

Coconut oil and olive oil are preferred. Stay away from soybean oil!

Portion Sizes

Most of your cheats are going to be packaged foods. Just look on the side of the product for the nutrition information and it will give you portion sizes. I have listed some examples below of one single serving.

  • Slice of bread
  • Piece of cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 muffin (medium size)
  • 1/2 bagel
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 cup of beans
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 1 shot of hard alcohol
  • 1 beer
  • 12-14 corn chips
  • 8-10 potato chips
  • 1 small cupcake (the mini ones) normal size is 2 servings
  • 10 french fries
  • 1 ounce of butter
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp ketchup

Fish Oil

Make sure you get your +2 every day!

The two key components in fish oil are the omega-3s called EPA and DHA. A simplified way to think of them is EPA benefits your body, and DHA benefits your mind.

- “Treats your -itis” – If you have an “-itis” that’s inflammation or swelling. Fish oil helps regulate that inflammation response as an anti-inflammatory. Your work hard during the WOD and you want to get back at it again tomorrow, but you will have stiff joints and muscles (natural inflammation response) from time to time. Omega-3?s are what keep it under control.
- “Gets the blood flowing” – It makes the blood platelets less sticky and softens the walls of your arteries. Your blood goes from “passing through a steel pipe” to being “massaged through your body”. Fish Oil also has been shown to help bring down your blood pressure and cholesterol. **Consult your physician about taking fish oil if you’re taking a prescription blood-thinner**
- “Take a deep breath” – Conditions like asthma and bronchitis (swelling) can feel like your breathing like a stirring-straw due to the inflammation from poor habits and maybe a lack of omega-3 in the diet. For those without such conditions, we can still benefit from omega-3s. Since cardiovascular health is measured by your body’s ability to transport oxygen (from the lungs through the blood), you can see how this is all tying together. So yes, fish oil can help your Fran time!

- “Get your head right” – Fats make up 60% of the brain, and DHA is the primary structural component of brain tissue and play an important role in your neurotransmitters. just sayin’.

As a low “maintenance dose”, you can start is 1000mg of combine EPA & DHA for every hundred pounds of bodyweight. Recommendations vary because every person is different and everyone’s conditions are different.
I highly recommend what Robb Wolf and Whole9 have developed called the “Fish Oil Calculator” (

Liquid fish oil is my super-paleo weapon-of-choice for a few reasons:
- Affordability – it costs extra money to put it into that capsule.
- Absorption – with the liquid, you don’t need to digest the capsule THEN break down fish oil.
- Practicality – it usually takes 5 capsules (plus the water to take them) to amount to 1 single teaspoon.
Capsules would be good if:
- Travelling and you’re not sure if you can keep the fish oil chilled.
- The texture of oil is almost a deal-breaker. We want you to get benefits the way you’ll like them.

Of course, you can’t “fish oil” your way out of a poor diet and poor lifestyle. Get your sleep, get your WOD in, hit Paleo 100%, and fish oil will take all of that hard work even further!

Courtesy of Arthur Morgan