A Runners Guide to the Paleo Diet


- Mark Lamb

Paleo is short for Paleolithic— meaning “old stone.”  And now— this old stone way of life— the hunter-gatherer era— has made a comeback life a fashion statement.

Well, I am into pop culture and anything considered a “fad.” So of course I hear about the Paleo diet and jump on board.  Essentially you eat what our ancestors might have eaten during the hunter-gatherer era prior to the agricultural revolution where we became farmer-heardsman.  

Translated— you can’t eat processed foods, refined sugars, grains or legumes [beans].  Leaving you meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, root type things, and water.  There a probably more restrictions, but I need to keep it simple. 

I am six weeks into this Paleo experience [kind of… I cheated all of week 5] and I want to share with you some things I have learned.

Prepare for Anger

My first week consisted mainly of anger due to coming off my perpetual sugar high. I was mad at everyone. And to make it worse, being on an airplane, hot, and sugar deprived makes the people ordering Coke and asking for 3 bags of pretzels AND a cookie even more annoying. So when you start your Paleo experiment— send a note to everyone you love a week or two prior to starting— tell them you love them and you are sorry for how you will speak to them in your Paleo experiment. And assure them the anger will end. 

Bring a Snack

I value simplicity. I don’t like things in my pockets. I like to carry as little as possible. And I love an empty shelf. But with Paleo— I have snacks on snacks on snacks. My sister had a friend once who always talked about her diets never working— but they knew she hid food all her house, making her a closet eater. I have become this women. I keep snacks in my car, in my desk, by my bed, and often times my pockets are littered with remnants of snacks like I am a 2nd grader that hoards food. But I need snacks. You will too.

Buy a Book

Reading is important to me— or at least purchasing books and instagraming about them [@marktlamb on twitter and instagram]. For Paleo, there are countless books on the topic. Most are cookbooks. But I recommend a more academic approach. It makes you feel better about not eating candy and facing ridicule from friends when you can quote a Harvard Paleoanthropologist. I am reading The Paleo Manifesto— because a manifesto on anything makes me feel like a strong man.


Every so often— eat it. If you crave something like a pregnant women for more than five days and you deny yourself that long— go ahead— you earned it.

Do it with People

I have several friends participating in this with me. We often talk about things we wish we could eat. We discuss the regularity of bowel movements like we live in a nursing home. And we even discuss recipes. My friend Will walked into my office this morning telling me all about his Paleo Pancakes he had for breakfast. Paleo is turning my group of guy friends into old women. But as with most things in life— it is better with friends. 

Play the Game

There is a certain challenge to finding Paleo friendly food when you travel or eat out. But instead of avoiding places— dive in and make it a game. Embrace the challenge of finding foods hunter-gathers would have eaten in the Paleolithic Era. This is like our modern hunting. My favorite discovery was at Chick-fil-A. I ordered a breakfast burrito without the tortilla and cheese— and asked for it to be placed in a bowl. I have also eaten burgers in bowls. Accept the challenge and go to your favorite places.

Judge People

Lastly, judge people eating junk. It is gratifying and satisfying. When Big Mac Boy has special sauce running down their face— judge them. When you see your friend eat to many rolls before their very large meal— just know how they will suffer for their behavior. Normally I would never advise judgement— but Paleo brings out the original paleolithic human in us— and it helps me.**

But no joke— I am really enjoying Paleo. I feel great. I feel better training. My attitude is up. And it is fun. But it wouldn’t be fun if I didn’t have the support of my community helping me through it.


**I am sorry for suggesting that you judge people. It is the anger thing again.

Mark is a creative, an instigator, and humorist living in Athens, GA. He has served with Connect Ministries as the leader of the WinShape Camps Experience Team for sometime. He is a reluctant runner-- only running with others because he always quits and sides with snacks when fronted with running alone. Mark likes to call himself a "marathoner" since he completed one.  Follow Mark on twitter @marktlamb