This is a guest post by Traver H. Boehm. Be Food Smart showcases voices from all fronts of the food movement. Know of a blogger, farmer or passionate food writer who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

Banksy's Caveman

Photo by Stefan Kloo

This is Part 1 of a Three-Part Series on The Paleo Diet.

By September 9, 2011, the words “Paleo Diet” or “Caveman Diet” have entered into the public lexicon to some degree.  Everyone has a cousin who knows someone who’s tried the diet and has developed an opinion from there.

I remember back to the very first nutrition seminar that I ever listened to as a CrossFitter.  A stunning woman named Nicole Carrol came into my gym in Santa Monica and proceeded to tell us that just about everything that I enjoyed in life – white rice, wine, Ben & Jerry’s (I almost walked out), chips with or without salsa, and on and on, was now off limits.

Driving home afterwards with my friend Shelly, I asked her opinion of the seminar and she said that she loved it and wanted to try playing with her diet a bit to see what happened.  My take on the whole evening was that it might have been useful information, but I was 31 years old at the time, at the tail end of a professional athletic career and somehow convinced that my best years were behind me.  My actual reply to her same question went something like this:

“I’ll be honest with you Shelly, I’d rather make it to 80 with a lifetime of memories eating rice, drinking wine and savoring late night ice cream than make it to 85 without those things.”

Then something interesting started happening.  I started losing.  All of my workouts are timed or measured and I was suddenly getting my backside handed to me by people that I usually beat.  When asked what they had changed as of late, the reply was always the same, “Oh, I’ve been eating better.”  Great, this was just terrible.  The only thing that I like more than the three foods listed above was winning, so I was in quite the quagmire!

Truth be told, two months later I began a 5 year experiment that is still in progress.  I initially started out working with the Zone Diet as that was what was big in CrossFit at the time.  I never really took to the Zone and felt weird weighing and measuring all of my meals.  I wasn’t a supermodel and thought the whole thing rather silly, especially without seeing any large performance improvements to make it worthwhile.

Fast forward two years and there’s some new nomenclature flying around the CrossFit world – Paleo.  What the heck is Paleo?  The long and short of it is this, for various biochemical reasons that books explain far more clearly than I can here, eating as if you were alive 10,000 years ago will keep you healthier than you’ve ever been before.  Impossible, you say!  It’s actually quite true, I know because I and a lot of people that I know directly are living proof.

After opening CrossFit Pacific Coast with good friend and business partner Eric Malzone, we wanted to give our members an opportunity to try out this Paleo diet that we had all heard about so much. Following the lead of some other gyms, we set up a 30 day period in which anyone in the gym that wanted to would be able to join forces with others and do a Paleo Challenge.  Could we eat only what was available 10,000 years ago for 30 straight days?  Oh boy.

Check back in tomorrow morning to see how we fared on our Paleo adventure!

This is a 3-part series on The Paleo Diet. Click here for Part 2 and Part 3.


Traver H. Boehm L.Ac, Dipl. O.M.

Traver H. Boehm L.Ac, Dipl. O.M. co-founded CrossFit Pacific Coast in addition to being a partner at Alki Wellness, both in Santa Barbara CA. Traver is a Strength & Conditioning Coach and performance nutrition specialist as well as being a Licensed Acupuncturist by both the State of California and National Board. When not speaking or writing on the topics of fitness, wellness and nutrition, he can be found surfing, kickboxing and learning Brazilian Jiujitsu.