Day five of Paleo

No breads, no grains, no sugar, no processed foods.

And you know, so far, I’m okay with it.

A lot of people who go on Paleo are doing it to lose weight. For me however, my goal is to gain… in muscle. I’ve had the desire to gain weight on my brain for a couple of months now. And yah, it’s derby-related. A gal who weighs an extra 10 lbs may be a little harder to knock around. If that same gal is 10 lbs of added muscle, well, I may be knocking right back attacha.

Eating to gain is a mind-fuck to me. As someone who has been slim all their life, gaining weight on purpose is frightening. Sure, I could just eat donuts every day and add gravy to everything and down as much overall food as possible, but the insecure girl inside of me was screaming “You’re going to get FAT if you do it like that.”

Pushing those thoughts away, I’d sit down to supper and eat as much as possible, loading up on pastas and bread, only to head straight to the couch for a nap immediately after. Feeling guilty for being so slothy, I’d up my workouts and cut back on eating to make up for it. I’d gain nothing but frustration.

The last month or so I felt I’ve plateaued in many things and I attributed to the fact I wasn’t eating enough for the level of activity I was doing. I had a sneaking suspicion my body was eating muscle over fat for energy. Eating more of my current diet wasn’t working. I felt more tired, more slothy than ever.

A few derby friends of mine started their Paleo journey with fantastic results, so I started researching. Everything about it seemed to make sense… Eat as much as you want, as much as you need to be satisfied, as long as it’s not grains, sugar or processed foods.


So I bought a book.

Then I watched a movie.

And it just made so much sense.

The husband, who is a chef and works at an Italian restaurant (EEP bad combo for a Paleo person), is going along with this ‘new thing.’ I’m doing, which I’m thankful for because he’s the primary cook in the family being a stay-at-home-dad in the day. My kids are supportive and are at least trying the new things we’re putting on their plate. But I’m sure they are thankful they only have to eat Paleo for supper.

How I stay away from temptation

My kids aren’t on Paleo. They love sandwiches in their lunch, granola bars and rice krispie treats. So as a result, our cupboards were not stripped of all the Paleo forbidden foods.

Strangely, I’m fine with it (so far… this may change. But today, I’m good)

After researching and reading, my thinking has completely changed about the forbidden food products. I don’t really care if they taste good or made me feel better emotionally, because I just don’t WANT them.

So now I get to eat, eat, eat

You know what?

The voice in my head screaming about how I’m going to get fat is gone.

After supper I go to the couch for my ‘regular’ nap and more often than not I find myself staying awake which leads me to do something productive.

I’m snacking on cabbage and tuna salad (I know, right? WTF??? Sounds gross but sooo good)

I’m building on my calorie intake to help build muscle (I’m not counting calories but found out I need about 2200-2500 a day).

My afternoon crashes have changed. (It’s no longer a ‘I want to sleep’ feeling but more of a ‘time to eat for energy’ feeling)

What I hope to come from all this

I realize I may lean down a bit on this at first. But what I hope is that with all the extra protein and good calories I’m getting, my energy level will go way up which will translate well in my training. Only time will tell.

I’m committing for 30 days

Wish me luck.

P.S. I may get some people concerned about my lack of carbs. Don’t worry, I’m getting enough. A large apple contains 31 g of carbs, a banana contains 51 g, yet a whole wheat piece of bread… 12 g.


PPS Watch this if you want to know more about grains/sugars etc…

And this if you want to learn how our body uses food…


Fueling your body for roller derby isn’t as hard as I thought…

Taking my lunch break to talk about… FOOD!

I’ve had a couple of skaters in the recent past ask me what I eat before and after practice. I can honestly say diving into the food side of roller derby is pretty intimidating. All players want to do their best to eat right, but mix that with work, school, second jobs, being a mom, family commitments, kids who are picky eaters and the rising cost of food, it’s definitely a challenge.

I have to say, I’m pretty lucky in that my derby widow is a former chef and he handles 99% of the cooking. He makes suppertime look like a cakewalk, being a stay-at-home-dad and juggling his home business on top of that. (I can feel you all have a hate-on for me right now, don’t you?)

It wouldn't be appropriate to talk about nutrition without talking about water. Click on the photo to enlarge, read and learn.

Aside from that, though, it is possible to do some minor changes to your diet to help out your derby life. For those who knew me pre-derby, I was a junk-food-aholic. I would choose a Toblerone bar over a cereal bar for breakfast. I would eat a bag of ripple chips and onion dip myself in one night. When I joined derby I didn’t even think twice about changing my diet because I figured the extra calories I was consuming with junk would do my body good.

Then I found a fantastic handout at my gym. It’s not really a diet to lose weight per se, but suggestions to fuel your body effectively. My guess is an average 2-hour practice burns 800-1000 calories. If you’re heavier set, you burn more. But if you’re not feeding your body appropriately before and after, you’re not getting the most out of those workouts.

The minor changes I make to my food consumption on days I exercise have changed my energy level drastically. While I found my junk-food cravings have greatly diminished since becoming more active, I still indulge in my favourites and pig out on fast food sometimes. This isn’t a diet. I hate that word. It’s about making minor changes to your meals before and after you exercise to get the most out of your workouts… that’s it!

Read below and pay particular attention to the ‘ideas to get you started.’ Many of those items are very doable for the average family and not disgusting to eat either!

What should I eat before activity?

Foods high in carbohydrates

  • digested quickly and are the major fuel for muscles
  • carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals and grains such as pasta and rice. Milk products also supply some

Foods low in protein and fat

  • digested slowly and may make you feel sluggish and nauseated
  • protein and fat are found in fast-foods, chips, meats, pastries, etc.

Food low in fibre

  • digested slowly and may cause cramping and lead to a bathroom break during exercise
  • high fibre foods include bran muffins, beans, high-fibre cereals

Eat 2-4 hours before your event

  • some athletes may be able to eat less than 2 hours before the event
  • chose smaller amounts of food the closer you get to exercise

Experiment during training and don’t try anything new before competition

  • timing, type and amount of food you should eat is highly variable

Ideas to get you started:

  • fruit smoothie in the blender with milk, yogurt, banana, berries
  • 100% juice box, sports bar
  • hot/cold cereal, milk, dried fruit
  • Carnation instant breakfast
  • pasta, tomato sauce, salad
  • sports drink, cereal bar, yogurt
  • bagel, jam, chocolate milk, veggies
  • toast, honey, apple sauce

What should I eat after activity?

Re-fuel with carbs!

  • you need to replace the carbohydrates your muscles burned for energy
  • the harder you train or compete, the more carbohydrates you have burned and will need to replace
  • carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals and grains such as pasta and rice. Milk products also supply some
  • eat a source of carbohydrate RIGHT AFTER exercise when your muscles are most receptive to re-fuel

A source of protein

  • protein is required for rebuilding and repair of tissues such as muscle that is damaged during exercise
  • within 2 hours of finishing exercise, eat a source of protein
  • protein is found in meat, poultry, fish, peanut butter, nuts/seeds, eggs, togu, legumes (baked beans, lentils, etc.) milk, cheese and yogurt

Pump up the antioxidants

  • exercise stresses the body which generates compounds which can damage cells in the body. Antioxidants help to prevent this damage
  • antioxidants
    • vitamin C, beta-carotene and phytochemicals are found in fruits and vegetables
    • vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, wheat germ and vegetable oils

Ideas to get you started

  • shake made in the blender with milk, yogurt, banana, berries, wheat germ
  • baked potato, steak, steamed broccoli
  • pasta, tomato meat sauce, salad
  • sports drink, trail mix or raisins and peanuts
  • toast, eggs, chocolate milk, carrots
  • chicken breast, rice, green peas
  • sports bar, milk, fruit
  • baked beans, bun, cucumbers

    MMMMM mixy

Cherri’s favourite (sorta healthy) indulgences

Trail mix

Yes, technically trail mix is on my bad list because I have to cut my sodium. But I still use it to help refuel after I run over my lunch hour because it’s easy to keep a bag of trail mix at my desk. I love the Wal-Mart Great Value line of trail mixes. Lots of different varieties and this particular kind has 15% of your daily value of vitamin E in only ¼ cup serving.

Berries and Ice Cream


Wal-Mart sells this frozen 4 berry mix. It’s a large re-sealable bag so it will last you a while. It’s my favourite bedtime snack… I fill a cereal bowl with the berries, microwave for 1 minute to soften them, then I scoop ice cream over top. I usually have more berries than ice cream in the mix. I nuke the entire dish for another 40 seconds to make it more gooey. I love partially melted ice cream! The calcium in the ice cream is an added bonus!

Sports Drinks

I call this an indulgence because they are ridiculously expensive but great to help your body refuel in a pinch because they are available everywhere. To stretch out the dollar value, I do a half water/half drink mix; also because they are ridiculously sweet and don’t quench my thirst in full strength.

Chocolate bars

If I gotta have some chocolate, I go for something with almonds or nuts. Or I try to find a dark chocolate variety, which I hear is a little better for you compared to milk chocolate.

Baked Lays

MMMMMMM baked…. For those salty snack cravings. Not super healthy, but a better alternative to ripple chips and dip and it’s not rice cakes.


So there you go! I hope the ideas posted above will help you get the ball rolling. For those wanting to make a food change, it’s about doing a little at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. I’d love for everyone to share their favourite indulgences or pre/post exercise foods! I’m always looking for suggestions!!!! Comment! Comment! Comment!

**All information was taken from handouts my gym provided. I’m not a doctor, fitness trainer, nor a professional nutritionist. Do your own research and talk to your doctor before changing anything drastic about your diet or fitness regime. Do what works for you and your body… Yadda yadda yadda…

Cue step 2 – nutrition goals

This was my first week of mixing gym and practice. It went okay; I’m determined to keep up with it as long as I don’t burn myself out.

Here’s what my schedule was…

• ran 4 miles

• derby practice

• ran 4 miles

• ran 2 miles
• weight training focusing on arms, back and abdominals
• derby practice

Wednesday was a particularly challenging run, immediately following a practice on the previous day. Even though I was begging the distance timer to hurry up at around mile 2, I still made myself push through. But it gave me a wakeup call.

With the energy I’m going to be expelling over the next little bit, I’ve realized I need to change my diet to help fuel my body better. Many of my derby sisters have taken on the Roller Derby Workout Challenge, a Facebook group that has been created with 8 weeks of exercise and diet plans. I’m not doing the official challenge because the menu is a little to strict for me (sorry I can’t give up sugar and cream in my coffee). However it has helped me sit down and think about what I’m putting into my body.

Diet Goals/Strategy
• Eat breakfast – even if it’s a slice of dry toast, eat SOMETHING
• Replace my favourite sugar/salty snacks with trail mix
• Replace pop with cranberry juice, energy drink or water.
• Drink at least 3 bottles of water a day.
• Cut out alcohol.

I know the nutrition gurus out there will say that choosing juice/energy drinks as an alternate isn’t good and trail mix isn’t the best choice for diet either. However, I want to be clear that I don’t desire to lose weight but to fuel my body effectively so I don’t peter out.

I also know that sometimes I will still snack on some sour gummy candies, have a Whopper or drink a pop at 1 a.m. and that will be okay because I know, all-around, that my eating habits are still better than what they were a month ago. And if I have a shitty time at the gym or at practice the next day as a result of what I ate, I’ll only have myself to blame.

As for cutting out the booze, after an unfortunate over-consumption situation I put myself in over Christmas, where my kidneys were screaming in pain the next day, I’ve pretty much lost all my desire for the stuff. The occasional beer or glass of wine aside, I don’t plan on drinking with the purpose of getting drunk in a long, long time.

So, dear readers, that’s my plan of action for the new year. (Remember, these are NOT resolutions) I encourage you to set your own nutrition goals and feel free to share them here so we can support each other!