Bacon Kale Sautee + CrossFit & Paleo

by Jillian on July 11, 2013 · 9 comments

If any of you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed a few CrossFit and Paleo related pictured. No, I haven’t gone and changed my whole lifestyle. I know a lot of people roll their eyes at the whole CrossFit and Paleo trend, but unless you try it yourself, there’s not much room for judgement.


I’ve been following CrossFit blogs, reading about it, doing at-home WODs and praying for a box to open in my town for years. In February, I found out that one would be opening only a few blocks from my house. They were having a few issues with the lease, and then construction had to be completed, so the owner hosted some free workouts in the park for about three months. In that time, we were only able to use kettlebells, since there are not many heavy weight portable options.

photo 1 (2)

The workouts were still pretty intense, and enough to get me pumped up for the grand opening. I’ve been in a workout rut for the past few months, so the outdoor workouts and some spontaneous outdoor runs were the extent of what I was doing.


This Monday, the box finally opened. I was there bright and early at 5:30am. I’m so happy to get back to my morning workout routine. I feel awesome for the rest of the day!

photo 2 (2)

The first two days pretty much kicked my ass. We started with this WOD on Monday:

4 Rounds

  • 21 Wall Balls 20/10# (both at 10′ target)
  • 15 Box Jumps 24/20″
  • 9 Toes to Bar

And then our coach decided to throw a benchmark at us pretty quickly. Tuesday = HELEN.

3 Rounds for time of..

  • 400 Meter Run
  • 21 Kettlebell Swings 24/16 Kilo
  • 12 Pull-Ups

Plus we worked on our 7RM deadlift. These two days left me just about crippled, so I took a rest day yesterday, and attended the “open gym” this morning, where I learned how to do double-unders and completed the strength work that I missed yesterday.

Tabata Double-Unders
8 Rounds of:
20 Seconds: Double Unders, 10 Seconds: Rest
5-5-5 Shoulder Press

Needless to say, I’m obsessed, and I am going to do my best not to bore you all with my CF rants.



Before I start talking about this, if you don’t know what paleo is, read this.

My diet (aka lifestyle) follows a paleo approach, but I definitely enjoy my cheese, quinoa, and cupcakes in moderation. I am not a diet person. I truly believe you need to find a way of eating that you can enjoy for the rest of your life and not just 30 days. Also, the same thing that works for someone else will not always work for you.

That being said, I’ve been saying for a while that I wanted do to a personal 30 day paleo challenge, just to see if the glorified effects are really true! I figured it would be a good idea to start the day I began working out at the box. I’ve always had problems with stomach bloat, digestion, allergies, and straight up laziness (which could very easily not be related to food at all). Some of the results from eating paleo include better digestion, less bloat, clearer skin, less allergies, increased energy, decreased joint pain (because of more healthy fats) and better performance.

Obviously this isn’t going to happen overnight, but I will say that even after 4 days, I am definitely noticing some things.

  • NO stomach bloat or discomfort. 
  • Allergies have calmed down. Literally, this has been the WORST season for allergies for me.

Aside from my coconut milk creamer, which has added sugars, I’ve been 100% paleo, following all guidelines for grass fed/organic meats and decreasing natural sugars (i.e. fruits, dates, etc.).

I’m really excited to see how I feel after 30 days. I timed it to be right before I leave for our Mexico vacation, because obviously no paleo eating will be happening on that trip. Hellloooo tequila and tortilla chips! Anyway, I will assess any alteration in my lifestyle/diet after I complete the challenge.

So far, it hasn’t been as hard as I expected. I think it’s probably going to be harder ordering food out with my friends this weekend than actually “resisting” it. No one likes the annoying substitution-er. Since I am not training for anything, I will definitely allow myself a glass of wine.

I know that I could never go completely paleo for the rest of my life, but I don’t see a reason not to test how my body reacts. It’s possible that when I incorporate certain foods back into my diet, I’ll notice which ones cause the worst side effects.

After posting this photo on Instagram, I got a few questions regarding paleo and cooking tips, so I decided to share my current favorite recipe, which is SUPER simple.


Bacon Kale Sautée

  • 2-3 cups chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Chop the bacon into small pieces and let it cook in a pan. While it’s cooking, mix olive oil and kale in a bowl and massage it in with your hands. Get messy if you have to. Add salt and pepper to taste, but be careful with the salt since the bacon is already pretty salty! Once the bacon is almost done cooking, add kale to the pan and cover with a splatter screen if you have one. If not, just clean your stove afterwards. :) Mix it all up frequently and allow the kale wilt down to your liking.

The bacon fat gives such a great flavor to the kale, it doesn’t need anything else!

  • Crossfitter and Paleo-ites – share your results/success stories!


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa July 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Looks like you’re kicking some serious crossfit butt. I really need to try a class out soon!
I can’t believe I still haven’t.
It’s great to hear you’ve been seeing some awesome improvements while making the switch to more paleo style. I don’t think I could do it, but I always think it’s interesting what others experience!


2 Katie July 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm

There isn’t a box near me either (hopefully someday!) but I like your attitude towards trying paleo. No harm in trying! It bugs me when people get so on board with a trend that its all they talk about (which I feel is what is happening to a ton of paleo people). Can’t wait to hear more!


3 Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean July 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm

happy the box finally opened for you! helen is a tough benchmark!! and toes to bar are my nemesis :) have you already picked up double unders?! It took me months to get them!


4 Jillian July 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Thanks!! Yes, I am so excited!

I got 3 double unders in a row…. its tough to get more than that right now! We are going to have an open gym every Thursday so it’s something I know I will want to work on! I am addicted already!


5 Anna July 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm

There is a box opening up right by me and I’m eager to check it out! I love the paleo template and the approach you’re taking with it. It’s a great way to start or use as a base without going all crazy gung-ho about it. Excited to hear more!


6 Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition July 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Your face in amazing in that photo


7 Caitie @ twentytwofit July 30, 2013 at 12:07 pm

My first experience with Crossfit and Paleo was three summers ago. I came back from my freshman year at college out of shape and unhappy in my body. I was a college athlete – I played basketball – so to be as out of shape as I was didn’t add up.

I started going to the local box with my sister, who stayed with us that summer while her husband was deployed, and got into paleo eating. It all made sense!

My college coaches made us do hydrostatic body fat testing in the fall and right before each school year ended so they could gauge how hard we worked independently over the summer. We also tested strength and conditioning with certain benchmarks. I left school my freshman year weighing 163 lbs with 30% body fat (for a college athlete, that’s not good). I came back to school 3 months later weighing 158 lbs, but with 18% body fat. Yes, I only “lost 5 lbs” but that’s not what matters here – I lost 12% body fat simply by eating what my body was made to eat, and working out efficiently. I out-lifted every single girl on my team upon return, as well as broke all our records for conditioning testing. There is no exaggeration there. My coaches jaws dropped! It was gratifying, to say the least. Crossfit helped me develop lean muscle mass and get in AMAZING shape. I’m not even ashamed to admit it!

Over the years since then, I have gone back and forth from following a strict paleo diet to being more lax. I am currently at a more lax stage, but Paleo-inspired. Long winded response, but I am definitely passionate about the benefits of Crossfit and Paleo – it impacted my life positively! Looking forward to following your experience :)


8 Jillian August 6, 2013 at 11:49 am

Hi Caitie,

Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s hard to portray to people sometimes that I’m not crazy – I just love the effects that I feel from both CrossFit and Paleo! :) I am glad that you had such great success and with you the best!


9 Lyndsay November 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Thanks for sharing this recipe! Sounds delish!!


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