What started as a 30-day challenge turned into a lifestyle for a Seymour family.

Mike Smith went to his doctor, Steve Windley, in July 2013, and tests came back less than favorable. At the time, he was taking several medications and had sinus infections at least five times a year, and he reached a high of 289 pounds.

Smith’s wife, Christina, had similar eating habits and began suffering from adult acne.

Windley suggested Paleo to Mike Smith, so he and his wife, along with their twin sons, Grant and Evan, started that journey. They joined CrossFit Seymour and received 30 Paleo meal suggestions from the gym’s owners, Sam and Amy Steffey.

The first few weeks were hard since they were detoxing from food containing things such as sugar and gluten and also processed food.

“Your body was lazy,” Mike Smith said. “It was taking the junk you’re giving it to move itself with, and then when you stop it, your body has to start working to produce what you really need.”

By the time they reached 30 days, Mike and Christina Smith each had lost nearly 20 pounds and felt so good that they continued on that path.

To date, the couple have lost a combined 177 pounds. Mike Smith takes hardly any medication, Christina Smith no longer has acne and their overall health is better.

Along with working out at CrossFit Seymour, Christina Smith completed her first 5K, Mike Smith has done a few 5Ks and triathlons and their boys have completed 5Ks.

“We’re not just eating healthy, we’re working out when we can, but we’re also doing it in front of our friends and family, and they are catching it, too,” Mike Smith said. “We’re not just selling something we don’t believe in. We truly believe in working out, having a goal and eating healthy.”

Christina Smith said she initially wasn’t sure if Paleo was how she wanted to lose weight. But a week into it, her acne was gone. And toward the end of the 30 days, she was feeling better than she ever had before.

“Right after the third week, all of a sudden, my energy came back, and I started to feel good, and it was just like turning a corner and going a different direction,” she said. “You could just tell finally I had gotten over that detox period.”

Before Paleo, Christina Smith said she planned out meals, but she didn’t always select the healthiest foods. A month after starting Paleo, she learned about eMeals and found a Paleo plan.

That online meal-planning service involves receiving emails once a week with recipes for meals and the shopping list for all of the things needed to cook them. It’s $58 per year, $48 for six months or $30 for three months. The shopping list also is available as a cellphone app.

Paleo involves eating organic and grass-fed food. The Smiths eat three meals a day, plus some type of fruit or vegetable, seeds or certain kinds of nuts for a healthy snack a couple of times a day.

While the Smiths have seen their grocery bill go up some, they say it’s OK because they are healthier. Plus, Christina Smith said she uses Groupons to save some money.

“It’s more expensive to eat healthy than to eat junk,” she said. “But where the difference is, No. 1, we rarely eat out because we already have our meals, and we have all of the ingredients at home to make them. No. 2, we’re not on any medications that we used to be, so then also, we don’t see the doctor (as often).”

Christina Smith started a blog to talk about the Paleo lifestyle and eMeals. That caught the attention of eMeals representatives, and Mike Smith participated in a television news segment for an Indianapolis station.

That led to people following Christina Smith’s blog. Since then, the Smiths have been asked to do segments for other stations in Indianapolis and in Louisville, Kentucky, and television reporter even came to their house.

“We didn’t seek any of that out, but we’ve been very public with our journey because we really want to inspire other people to have a healthier journey, too,” Christina Smith said. “I started writing the blog before we did the TV stuff just because I felt so good that I wanted to be able to share that. I just think it’s beneficial, and we’re very passionate about it because we have had a lot of success.”

Since the Smiths started on this journey, more than 100 friends and family members have taken on the Paleo lifestyle.

“All of these people that are around the world, really, that we know have started jumping in and doing it and asking us,” Mike Smith said. “We’re able to spread what we’ve learned from the Steffeys and Windleys to other people.”

With their sons, Mike and Christina Smith initially wanted them on board 100 percent because they wanted to do it as a family. But they could tell it wasn’t working perfectly, so they focused on at least having them follow Paleo for dinner.

“If they don’t eat what’s on their plate, they don’t get a night snack or a dessert, so that oftentimes helps them to eat things that most kids wouldn’t,” Christina Smith said.

In March 2014, on a family trip to see a movie, the boys ordered popcorn and a soda, and they came out with a sugar rush and felt bad.

And recently, on their way to eat at a local restaurant, Evan asked his mother about getting ice cream afterward. But Grant reminded him that they had a triathlon coming up, so that wouldn’t be a good idea.

Christina Smith said the boys have adjusted well to the lifestyle.

“Part of it is a learning thing, but I think they are much more aware of food, where it comes from and why to eat certain things,” she said. “I don’t want them to worry about food, I really don’t. But they are more aware.”

When traveling for their jobs and even going on a cruise, it could have been a challenge for Mike and Christina Smith to find the right foods to eat. But with the growing popularity of Paleo, it wasn’t difficult.

“You can find things,” Christina Smith said. “You just have to put a little effort into it.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Meet the Smiths” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Names: Mike and Christina Smith

Ages: Mike is 45, and Christina is 37

Hometowns: Mike is originally from Terre Haute, and Christina is from Seymour

Residence: Seymour

Occupations: Mike is a performance manager with Resource MFG Staffing, and Christina is the coordinator of religious education at St. Ambrose Catholic Church

Family: 10-year-old twin sons, Evan and Grant Smith

Online: Follow Christina’s blog at or the family’s Facebook page at

[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Ground Turkey Ragu


2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic minced

1½ lbs. ground turkey

1 Tbsp. ground Italian seasoning

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. crushed pepper

1 can crushed tomatoes

½ cup organic chicken broth

Directions: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 5 minutes. Stir in ground turkey, Italian seasoning, salt and red pepper. Cook 4 minutes or until browned. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Simmer 30 to 35 minutes or until thick.

Spaghetti squash: Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place on rimmed baking sheet cut side down. Place 2 Tbsp. of water on pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until done and squash flakes.

Bora Bora Fireballs


1½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut

½ tsp. salt

¾ tsp. plus 1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

1 cup canned crushed pineapple, sugar-free, packed in its own juice

2 Tbsp. coconut aminos

1½ tsp. dried ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)

3 to 4 scallions, white and green, very thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)

½ fresh jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced (about 2 tsp.)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 lbs. ground pork

Directions: Preheat oven to 375. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, then add the coconut. Toast, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt and ¾ tsp. cayenne pepper. Set aside to cool.

Drain the cup of canned pineapple in a sieve placed over a bowl to catch the juice. Press the pineapple pulp against the sieve with a wooden spoon to extract the excess moisture. Place the pineapple in a large mixing bowl and save the juice for later.

To the pineapple, add ½ tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, scallions, jalapeño and eggs. Beat with a wooden spoon until combined. With your hands, crumble the pork into the bowl and knead until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Arrange the bowls of pineapple juice, spiced coconut and seasoned pork for easy access. Measure a level tablespoon of pork to make a meatball, lightly douse it in the pineapple juice, then roll it in the coconut, pressing the coconut shreds into the meat by lightly rolling the ball between your palms. Line up the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, about ½ inch apart. Slide the meatballs into the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until sizzling and golden brown.


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