30-Day Clean Paleo Challenge Update 3

Here’s where we got this ball rolling.

So, beginning day five, here are my impressions so far.

  • It’s beginning to feel a lot more like how it felt as I was losing weight over the first year & a half, which is to say, very good; bulletproof.
  • Marked reduction in nasal congestion.
  • Zero bouts of moderate heartburn.
  • No more inexplicable bloating or water retention.
  • Nice steady energy levels and a slightly reduced need for sleep (6-7 hours vs. 7-8).
  • High degree of mental alertness

I have no idea whether it’s the elimination of what little dairy I was consuming, lack of regular alcohol, eating exclusively at home, or a combination of all three. But I tend to believe that it’s the latter, because I was going out to eat a LOT, oftentimes at least once per day. But since perhaps last Wednesday or Thursday — so a week — all meals except breakfast Saturday morning have been at home, and they have been pretty simple meals which I also think is a factor.

I already posted a pic of breakfast yesterday, and here’s a pic of a very small lunch.

Sweet Potato Skins
Sweet Potato Skins

So that one huge sweet potato got used three times, as a plain baked potato, then potato pancakes and finally, the skins and bit of remaining flesh were fried up in ghee and then sprinkled with cinnamon. Amazing.

Dinner was a pretty simple affair consisting of a crunchy salad with a few kinds of lettuce and Trader Joe’s chopped up crunchies, i.e., broccoli, carrot, cabbage, jicama, bell pepper, radish and celery. Those really add a great texture to a salad. It was dressed with my standard dijon vinaigrette (EVOO, dijon mustard, red wine or apple cider vinegar, salt & pepper). For the protein, a good size ribeye steak that I did in the cast iron skillet in leaf lard, degassed the pan with beef stock, then added in Chimichurri I found at Whole Foods to make a dipping sauce. And it’s totally clean: wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, salt, tomato, hot chili pepper, garlic, paprika, oregano, chili powder, thyme, pepper, and rosemary and that’s it.

Ribeye Dinner
Ribeye Dinner

Sorry, lousy photo quality.

Well that’s it. Until the next time.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. StoneAgeMom on November 11, 2011 at 11:36

    Yeah, tightening up the last 20% can really make you feel like a rockstar. I’m on day 19 of ultra-clean, and I’ve become a believer.

  2. Paul on November 11, 2011 at 11:40


    • Paul on November 11, 2011 at 11:40

      damn it °-°

  3. Glenn on November 11, 2011 at 11:42

    No doubt loving what I *am* eating — all really tastes so good, and even more so with the old taste buds getting a bit cleaned up! And not really missing most of the things that usually tempt me, but I have to say I’m looking forward to a little nip of *something* at day 31 (a glass of wine or a bit of single malt or cognac in the evening is what I’m missing the most). Overall, diet has been 100% on target; sleep getting closer to being sufficient; physical activity is up but still way too little — seems to be the biggest challenge so far.

  4. Sharyn on November 11, 2011 at 11:55

    That dinner looks darn tasty – but I think I’d add a smear of avocado on the steak, just to grease it up even more…
    Day 5: I seem to be moving to two meals a day, breakfast when I get hungry (maybe 9am after being up for a couple of hours) and ‘dinner’ around 4pm. Suits me, but not great for domestic harmony. Going well overall.

  5. Shirtless Nation on November 11, 2011 at 12:03

    Any modification on the scale?

    • Richard Nikoley on November 12, 2011 at 10:14

      Haven’t looked but would assume so.

  6. jana on November 11, 2011 at 13:11

    “the skins and bit of remaining flesh were fried up in ghee and then sprinkled with cinnamon. Amazing”

    ohmigod that sounds good.

  7. MountainDew on November 11, 2011 at 14:54

    I’m late into this so I’m not sure if this was answered elsewhere: are sweet potatoes the only type of starchy root you’re consuming. Wondering if you’re considering stuff like cassava or yuca. What about plaintains? I’ve always felt that paleo/primal was a bit too Eurocentric when – if one accepts the out of Africa theory – homo sapiens were “born” in a tropical region.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 11, 2011 at 16:02

      I think those are decent choices. I’ll have to try them sometime.

  8. Francis on November 11, 2011 at 15:04

    Alert, no cravings, not hungry, very happy, less mood swings, and just 6 days in.
    Lovin it!

  9. LXV on November 11, 2011 at 15:48

    I totally crashed and burned. Holiday stress apparently manifests in getting sloppy about what I eat. Hopefully I can get back on the straight and narrow until Thanksgiving at least

  10. Richard Nikoley on November 11, 2011 at 16:05

    Beatrice was off work today so we went to lunch as a local “Pacific Fresh Fish” place. I had one of the catch of the day specials, stealhead trout with a dry rub, and some grilled veggies. In advance, some Thai coconut/ginger soup with shrimp & mushrooms.

    Sure enough: heartburn.

  11. Primal Toad on November 11, 2011 at 19:33

    Looks awesome!

  12. Sean on November 12, 2011 at 07:06

    This is actually inspiring me to consider seriously cutting back the rather casual approach I take to real food. I’ve not felt bulletproof in quite a while. We eat all our meals at home and I do 90% of the cooking so there’s no excuse there.

  13. Justin on November 12, 2011 at 14:12


    What do you advise to somebody who has a super busy/constantly on the run lifestyle? Ex: Travel from 630 to 730a, 4p to 5p, 8p to 9p. Work 730 to 4, law school 6 to 8. Mon-Thurs. My best bet so far has been making a huge vat of chili on Sunday night that I can eat off of for lunch a few days of the week. But that gets boring fast.
    Your posting has made me want to do one of these 30 day pure paleo challenges as ive fallen off the bandwagon and eaten out a lot recently.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 12, 2011 at 14:17


      Very simply, I’d cook up a bunch of chicken, breasts & thighs, cop ’em up, and put ’em in a container in the fridge. That, along with good quality canned tuna and also a bunch of bacon bits & hard boiled eggs give you endless variations on a daily “Bigg Ass Salad” where you cart your greens & crunches in one container, and your protein toppings for the day in another, mix them together, and add EVOO with whatever citrus or vinegar you like, which can also be varied.

      • Justin on November 14, 2011 at 06:20

        Thanks Rich. I already have that planned with some organic/free range chickens and Wild Planet canned tuna. I guess I just feel like im missing out on the wonderful variety of foods I could prepare with enough time, and worry about getting bored with what I have to eat, and then falling off the wagon.

  14. Glenn Whitney on November 13, 2011 at 13:05

    I just stumbled across a good alternative to caffeinated beverages: high quality South African red bush tea plus Chai spices, which I add while brewing. I use about two tablespoons of the red bush tea per cup of water – about twice as much as I used to. That gives it a rich and fulfilling flavor.

  15. Contemplationist on November 15, 2011 at 08:36


    Thanks for the High Seas tuna recommendation. I bought 6 cans each of smoked and regular. Price is a bit steep but quality is fantastic.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 15, 2011 at 09:39

      Yep, I can eat it right out of the can and drink up the juice. Sometimes I’ll squeeze 1/4 of a lemon or lime in, but that’s always about it. Of course, it goes without saying that it’s excellent for a Big Salad.

      And how about that smoked, eh?

  16. Chris Tamme on November 16, 2011 at 08:07

    This post hits me at the right time as I have fallen way off the paleo wagon. I am looking for a little motivation and have even been considering trying to go for a year 100% paleo. I think I might start with 30 days and see how it goes from there.

    I love to add broccoli slaw to my salads for a nice crunchy texture.

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  19. amanda on November 24, 2011 at 20:39

    Hey, I am just dipping my toes in Primal (not clean paleo). I already eat most food at home, eat little processed food, but have kept sugar (mostly in coffee), dairy (some raw). I’ve cut way back on pasta and bread (which was only sourdough to start with) and wheat in general. I feel good when I eat corn tortillas, rice and potatoes but that and sugar are where I am scaling back because I would like to drop lbs. Just emphasizing meat/fat/and adding veggies to meals while cutting carbs back a bit has made me feel more energetic and I have an improved mood. I eat a little fruit. Cutting back on nuts too.

    I will be watching how you all do. Thanks for all you guys and gals share. Would love to hear more women’s experiences.

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