A Day in the Life – Ross England

Reminder – we will be screening In Search of the Perfect Human Diet tomorrow night at 6:30pm at the gym for anyone interested in learning more about paleo nutrition. Feel free to bring food to share, but it is not mandatory!

For those of you who have not seen Ross’ blog documenting his Whole30 experience, definitely take a look. He even got a shout out from the Whole9 crew on Facebook.Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 10.22.31 PMI admire Ross for dedicating himself to this challenge by tracking his entire journey and sharing it with the world. A food journal can be an extremely helpful tool to help keep compliant. If you are forced to take time to document everything you eat, you will probably think twice before cheating. It can also assist in helping to determine which foods you digest better, how your energy levels are after eating certain foods, and how you are feeling overall.

  • What is your name? Ross England
  • What is your profession? Combined MD/PhD Student at Temple University
  • When do you wake up and when do you go to bed? I wake up at 5:35AM and go to bed at 9:35PM

I did a partial paleo challenge before. My fiancée at the time (now my wife) was doing one with her CrossFit gym in Baltimore and she wanted me to do it with her for support. We made is 23 days when she caved and had some Chik-Fil-A and I stopped with her since I was really only doing it for moral support. Overall it was a positive experience, but looking back I realize that I wasn’t really careful enough with what I ate during the challenge (e.g., I didn’t know evaporated cane juice was basically sugar). Since then, I’ve learned more about Paleo nutrition and started eating 80-85% Paleo with cheats on the weekend. The cheats have added up in the last semester though, especially over the holidays, and I’m definitely ready to do a full 30 day challenge with 100% compliance!

Ross - Bfast

On Thursday, January 10th I woke up at 5:35AM and had a half-cup of coffee and a glass of iced tea with lemon before going to the 6:00AM class at CrossFit 215, where I did 45 minutes of active recovery. I spent 10 easy minutes on the rowing machine, followed by 35 minutes of mobility and foam rolling. I had a lot of delayed-onset muscle soreness in my hamstrings from the “good mornings” we did on Tuesday (those always get me!) so I focused most of my attention there. When I got back home at 7:00AM, I made a breakfast of 3 slices of sugar-free bacon, 4 eggs scrambled, and ~1 cup of broccoli with my remaining half-cup of coffee and another glass of iced tea with lemon.

Ross - Salad

For lunch, I went to the Temple University Hospital and got a big salad with grilled chicken from the cafeteria. I topped it off with some homemade Caesar dressing (recipe from The Primal Blueprint Healthy Sauces, Dressings, and Toppings book). I washed it down with two cups of spring water from the break room water cooler.

When I got home from work at 4:00PM, I was hungry so I ate snack of one apple and two hard-boiled eggs with salt. That held me until dinner.

Ross - Carnitas

For dinner, at 7:30PM, I had Slow-Cooker Italian Pot Roast (recipe from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook). This was really good! It was made with a 4.5lb bottom round roast beef and two ox-tails (the bones in the ox-tails gave the broth a richer flavor) along with tomatoes and onions. It left plenty of left-overs for tomorrow.

After dinner was ready, I put a baking sheet of Sweet Potato Spears (recipe from Paleo Comfort Foods) in the oven to prepare a post-workout carb food for tomorrow. They smelled really good so I had snack of 4 of them at 8:50PM.

Ross - Fries

So far, it’s only the end of Day 4 and I haven’t found anything challenging about Whole30. I don’t have any junk food in the house to tempt me, and I’ve been cooking some really tasty meals that would give any junk food a run for its money anyway. Honestly, I was so psyched to start eating clean that I think I’m still riding that wave of excitement. I haven’t missed anything quite yet, but I’m betting the first thing I’ll miss is some of the Asian food recipes I usually make with gluten-free soy sauce (there’s a great Pork-Fried Cauliflower Rice in The Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals that I’m sure is going to give me some hunger pangs around Days 20-30) but which I can’t make during Whole30 because soy is a legume. I think I will also miss a few recipes I like to make in which I cook with red wine.

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Two Weeks In… Plus Movie Screening Friday!


There will be a bunch of “A Day in the Life” features this week! I have been slow to post them due to the website launch and lots of travel the past few weeks.

We are officially two weeks in and I hope everyone is settling in well. Some of you have probably found your rhythm by now, while others may be struggling a bit. If you are finding yourself in the latter category I want you to think back to the beginning of this journey and ask yourself why you decided to commit yourself. Was it for purely aesthetic purposes? Or more so to enhance performance in the gym? Perhaps you wanted to determine whether or not you are intolerant of certain foods? Or maybe just test yourself and see if you could actually commit yourself for 30 days? I imagine for most of us the reasons are a combination of many of the above. One thing is for certain, none of us has not encountered at least one temptation in the past two weeks. This is extremely important for a few reasons. First, because this is how life operates. There will always be the best friend’s birthday cake. Or the co-worker happy hour. Or even that moment when you walk into a store and see a delicious looking [insert fantastic non-paleo food here] staring back at you saying “EAT ME!” The tests will not stop and it will be up to you to make the choice between more healthy and less healthy foods. The choice you make in those moments when you say to yourself, “that s%#$ looks amazing! Why did I have to do this Whole30?!?” will haunt you if you let them. If this is a scenario you are facing often,  I want you to try and change your mindset. Instead of dwelling on the things you can’t have, think about all of the wonderful foods you can have. In addition to that, you should be thanking yourself for making an effort to stick to a program you believe will improve your health and wellness. It is certainly not always easy, especially when there is lack of preparation involved, but each of us made a conscious choice to try and change our lifestyle for 30 days. For those of you who have stayed committed, keep on doing what you’re doing. And for those of you have fallen off, it is not too late to finish strong. The lessons you learn about yourself and your relationship with food during the Whole30 will be invaluable to you in the future.


This Friday at 6:30pm we will be screening the documentary, In Search of the Perfect Human Diet at the gym after 5:30pm class. You don’t need to be participating in the Whole30 Nutrition Challenge to attend- the more the merrier! There will be some light refreshments provided, but we are encouraging everyone to bring a Whole30 approved dish to share (optional).  Many of us have the tendency to become really bored with some of the recipes we are cooking for ourselves, so maybe you can be inspired by someone else’s dish! Hope to see you all there!

Have you made any new and exciting recipes during your Whole30? If so, please share and post to comments!

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New Website Launch!

Hi Everyone!

Micah and I are in Connecticut this weekend and did not get a chance to properly announce the new website launch, so ta-da! We are extremely proud of the new look of our website and would like to thank everyone involved in the long and tedious creation process including Humid Design, Bear Bear Pro, and Matt Godfrey Photography.

If for some reason you are still seeing the old website make sure you clear your cache or cookies on your computer and mobile phone. There is still more content to be added and a few things fixed, but we hope you can take a peak around and let us know your thoughts. For those of you who did not attend the Holiday Party, make sure you watch the new media videos because you might be in there! I encourage you to show your parents, family, and friends exactly what you do at 215 and maybe the double under lash marks and shin scars might make more sense.

We hope everyone is having a great weekend and we will see you next week!!

Perrin and Micah

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So long to a good friend

It’s with a bitter sweet and heavy heart I am writing to let you all know that “the boy” has left the building. Someone contacted me a week or so ago following the Facebook post about Diesel, asking to come meet him. She came in yesterday and like many before her, she was hooked when she met him.

That ever so loveable white devil has moved on to a place better suited to care for him and give him a better life than the one I could. I thank him for finding me and saving me. I know this blog may not be the place to for stuff like this but for most of you, Diesel has been a staple in your 215 experience for the last seven months as he was forced to live here. So for that reason I wanted to take a second to thank you for patience, and caring support for him and me while we helped him transition. It only reminds me how special this community is that as a group we were able to do what we did, rescue that cute little terror. I never could have done it alone. It is also important to me that you know that that dog did more for me than I did for him. I also wanted to say special thanks to Leah, Jana, Kevin, Perrin, Kyle, Kid Mike, my mom, and my two brothers for your extra help, and to the rest of my staff for being who you are, which allowed this place to help that awesome soul.

Everything happened so quickly yesterday that I barely got to say goodbye. So I threw this video together in a way to help me with saying farewell. It’s about 4 minutes long so don’t bore yourself if you don’t want to but for those of you who Diesel got a little hold of, and I don’t mean with his teeth, here’s a little something to leave things on a smile.

Please join us tomorrow for “Diesel”, a new benchmark in honor of our very own kindred spirit.


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One Week In – The Whole30 Nutrition Challenge

On the road @ Plan B in Milford, CT. The “West Coast” burger topped w/fried egg, avocado, bacon, and kalamata olive oil mayo sitting on a bed of organic iceberg lettuce, house made pickle, and cucumber, tomato, and onion salad w/ balsamic vinegar and olive oil. All their beef is fresh ground daily in house. Their product is wet aged certified humane chuck steak. If you’re ever in the CT area you must check out Plan B!

It’s official…we are one week in! I am super impressed by the amount of people participating in the challenge, as well as the huge numbers up on the tally board.  The  dedication from everyone has not gone unnoticed in the gym and I promise it will certainly pay dividends on day 30.

For those of you looking for tips for a quick breakfast check out Michelle at Nom Nom Paleo’s post on how to make the perfect hard boiled eggs. BTW, this is a post in the middle of her 30 days of Whole30 meals on her blog. I highly recommend you check it out!

We also have a few more “A Day in the Life” segments coming up, but if you are interested in offering a glimpse into your life please make sure you email me ([email protected])  ASAP! I want to hear from more of you!

Speaking of “A Day in the Life” Micah and I were in Connecticut this past weekend and had to figure out what we were going to do to stay on the Whole30. I know a few of you have been traveling or plan to travel during the Whole30 and asked for recommendations on how to get by. Being on the road definitely makes things a lot trickier, but with some careful planning, lots of ingredient checking and selectivity of where you go out to eat, it can definitely be done. Luckily, there was a Whole Foods close by in CT, but we still had to be extremely diligent when reading ingredients, especially in the prepared food section. We found many tasty options that appeared paleo, but then realized about 75% of their items were cooked in canola oil. Here a few things we found along the way. We are headed back to Connecticut this weekend and will try to document our trip better!

Hotel fridge: hardboiled eggs, applegate turkey, berries, apples, coconut water, raw kombucha, asparagus and bacon, roasted pork, guacamole, olives and fish oil.



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A Day in the Life – Aaron Richardson

Throughout the duration of the Whole30 Nutrition Challenge we will be featuring some of our very own 215 athletes in “A Day in the Life” highlighting a day of nutrition. Although we all have different professions and busy lives to take care of, we all face similar struggles to find balance in our daily lives. In “A Day in the Life” will get a glimpse of what some of us are doing to stay in the game during the Whole30.

  • What is your name? Aaron Richardson
  • What is your profession? Chemical Engineer
  • When do you wake up and when do you go to bed? Wake up 5:15 AM – Bed 10:30 PM
  • Have you participated in a paleo nutrition challenge before? If so, what were your experiences (positive and negative)? Never participated before. Not really happy about it but enjoy a challenge.  The things that I love the most I cannot have for the next 30 days; bread, cereal, bread, milk, candy, and bread.

I was out of town for the better part of the week so I had to plan my meals ahead of time.  I woke up this morning at 5:15 AM, hit the shower and did not shave because I am growing an epic Paleo Caveman Beard.  I was pretty cranky this morning because my nightly ritual is to have a bowl of cereal before I go to bed so I went to bed hungry.  I tried to eat a handful of almonds but that handful became several handfuls which made my tummy hurt.  I HATE BEING HUNGRY.  At any rate, for breakfast I had 2 eggs (scrambled without any milk) and water.  I was on the road by 6 AM and stopped and got a large black coffee from McDonnalds.  It tasted like McDirt without cream.  I need to find a coffee cream substitute!

Broke for lunch around 11 and went to Chipotle grill and asked for quadruple meat in a bowl.  They were impressed.

Went to Crossfit at 5:30 and PR’d overhead 1RM Jerk at 225#.  Came home and had cooked the grass fed $500 4-oz steak I purchased from Whole Foods two nights ago with some mushrooms and a sweet potato.

Wanted to make a snack for later so I took some almonds that my wife had in the pantry and found a recipe for Roasted Rosemary Almonds (recipe below picture attached).  They will be a good snack for when I am driving (my house also now smells like Thanksgiving with the rosemary).

I am not as hungry tonight as I was last night.  I also picked up some bananas and apples at the store to eat tonight before bed after I watch Modern Family and Duck Dynasty.


  • ·         1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • ·         1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil $
  • ·         1 teaspoon chile powder $
  • ·         3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ·         Dash of ground red pepper
  • ·         1 (10-ounce) bag whole almonds (about 2 cups) $


1.     1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2.     2. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Arrange nut mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool to room temperature.

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Day 3 – The Whole30 Nutrition Challenge

Day 3 is now in the books! So far we have discussed chili, snacks, and getting over the hump(s) that we may face during the Whole30. Let’s now turn our attention to other resources that might be helpful in our pursuit of nutrition and wellness during the next 30 days and beyond.

Due to the growing popularity of the paleo diet, there are now tons of fantastic paleo focused nutrition and recipe blogs floating around the interwebs these days. Some of these resources are more educational, others are more recipe driven, and a combination of them are a blend of the two. Here is my take on some of my favorites. Feel free to share yours!


PaleOMG – Juli Bauer is a competitive CrossFitter out of Denver, Colorado. Her recipes are fabulous and her lighthearted humor makes her blog one of the most entertaining on the scene.

Nom Nom Paleo – Michelle Tam shares wonderful photographs of her food and family. She writes about how to stay Paleo when eating out and offers kitchen tips and reviews about her favorite cooking gadgets.

The Food Lovers –  Hayley Mason and Bill Staley are the authors of the popular Paleo cookbook, Make it Paleo. Great blog, great recipes, and great pictures!

Chowstalker – a community food blog that pulls recipes from other websites. Think Pinterest meets paleo recipes.

The Clothes Make the Girl – Melissa Joulwan is the author of Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat. A few of us met her recently at a local book signing. She is super down to earth and makes wonderful recipes especially for those who like spices.

Paleo Nick – Nick Massie is a CrossFitter, professional chef, and has been featured in the CrossFit Journal multiple times. His website includes many helpful ‘how to’ videos to accompany his sophisticated recipes.

Other Notables: Health Bent, Civilized Caveman

Informational (Paleo, Primal, and Health)

Chris Kresser – Chris is a licensed practitioner of integrative medicine and touches on it all: Paleo, Hypothyroidism, Heart Disease, Diabetes & Obesity, Heartburn/GERD, Depression and Skin Health.

Robb Wolf – a former research biochemist is the New York Times Best Selling author of The Paleo Solution – The Original Human Diet. He is also co-host of one of my favorite podcasts “The Paleo Solution Podcast.”

Mark’s Daily Apple  – Mark Sisson is a great resource for primal living. He is as old as my dad and has a six pack. He must be doing something right.mark sisson

The Whole 9 – Melissa and Dallas Hartwig are the creators of the Whole30 and authors of the New York Times Best Selling book It Starts With Food.

Balanced Bites, – Diane Sanfillippo is the author of the 8X New York Times Best selling book Practical Paleo. She also co-hosts a podcast with Liz Wolfe from Cave Girl Eats.

Dr. John Briffa,– Dr. John Briffa is from the UK, and as the name suggests, he is an MD. He’s always good for analyzing the latest study your skeptical friends gleefully shove your way.

The Daily Lipid– Chris Masterjohn specializes in all things cholesterol. If you want to geek out on this stuff, this is your man.

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Day 2 – The Whole30 Nutrition Challenge


The point chart is now posted in the gym on the wall in the Oly room. In order to be eligible for prizes you must sign up and track your nutrition and fitness points weekly. This will also give everyone a better idea of who your support system is during the next month. We are all in this together!!!

For those of you not on Facebook, I posted a link to paleo guru Robb Wolf’s blog today. He recently conducted a paleo chili recipe contest and posted all of the recipes on his blog. If you are a chili fan I encourage you to check it out! Chili is usually pretty simple to cook, packs a ton of flavor, and is a wonderful warm and satiating meal in the winter time.

Now that day 2 has come and gone, what are you struggling with? What are you finding surprisingly easy? Are those sugar cravings starting sneak up? A few people have asked me what I eat for snacks. This can be a tough one because there are not many suitable packaged Whole30 compliant snacks on the market. While nuts, dried fruit and jerky are always good options, beware of added sugar and eat in moderation. My snack this afternoon was plantains fried in coconut oil, a few strawberries and a handful of nuts. Do you snack during the day? What are some of your favorite paleo friendly snack foods? Post to comments!

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Day 1 – The Whole30 Nutrition Challenge

it starts with food

Day 1 is officially in the books! Easy, right? If this is your first Whole30 and you are not quite sure what else to expect over the next four weeks, I urge you to read “The Timeline: A Day-by-Day Guide to Your Whole30” For some of you, this may be your experience to a T and others may just breeze through it. Either way, don’t panic! Remember…

It’s the journey, not the destination.

A few more things…

  • There are still a few copies of It Starts with Food available for anyone interested.
  • I began creating the challenge tally board to keep track of points, but it looks like I need more room to fit everyone’s names! It will be finished and posted in the gym sometime tomorrow night. Please make sure you are tracking your weekly points!
  • If you would like to get a body composition assessment from Micah please contact him ASAP!

If you have any general questions, concerns, or feedback feel free to post to comments. Otherwise, Day 2 is tomorrow…see you in the gym!

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The Whole30 Nutrition Challenge Starts Tomorrow!


Okay 215ers, for those of you who have decided to jump on board day 1 is finally upon us. I hope you have all read the rules, gone food shopping, set your goals, and perhaps even taken some before pictures. Anyone who would like body comp measurements taken by us please contact Micah to set up a time. This is not mandatory but highly encouraged. Why put in all of the effort and not know exactly what you accomplished in the end? Measurable results are important, even if you just keep them to yourself.

Moving along, I would like to briefly recap the rules and regulations mentioned during our two information meetings.

  • The challenge starts on Monday, January 7th and ends at midnight on Tuesday, February 5th
  • You earn 1 point for 100% compliance to the Whole30 Program Rules. We are making one exception and one exception only. You may consume a post workout recovery drink immediately after exercise if completely necessary. Technically you will not be adhering to the Whole30 guidelines, therefore this is your choice and legal for our challenge only. If you are not using Stronger Faster Healthier products, your protein supplements must be approved by Kyle, Perrin or Micah.
  • You earn 1 point for exercise. This includes attending a CrossFit class and any activity outside of class such as yoga, running, biking, mobility, etc. This is completely on the honor system.
  • Everyone who completes the challenge with 30 nutrition points will receive a prize. From those candidates there will be one grand prize winner. The coaches will convene and select the individual who we think  embraced the challenge the most, also taking into consideration degree of transformation, exercise points, and participation in group events.
  • There will be a tally board with every participant’s name posted in the gym sometime tomorrow night. If your name isn’t there, please write it down! If anyone is interested in helping me put this together I welcome your help. Unfortunately, I was not blessed with artistic talents, but if you were please email me at [email protected]
  • We are trying to put together some group events including a potluck and screening of the documentary In Search of the Perfect Human Diet one night. If you have any other ideas of fun group events please email me!

That is all of the info I have for now. It’s time to support each other, share information, and keep our eye on the prize during the next month. Stay tuned to the website and Facebook for more info! Good luck everyone!

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