So you’ve made the transition from a regular ‘Globogym’ to a Crossfit Box. You wear your custom Nanos with pride and your pre-wod instagram photos would never be complete without the glorious hash-tag, #AREYOUROGUE. As you gather your things to leave, puffed with pride from your backsquat PR, you grab your trusty Atkins bar out of your Reebok Crossfit bag and one of the regulars scorns you “Whoa…that’s not Paleo!”
Paleo?! What?! Another secret Crossfit accronym? Who is this “Paleo” you speak of?! And more importantly why am I not Paleo? Or this tasty bar? You race to the Google machine only to be confused by endless ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ and pictures of chick’s with abs mid-muscleup….you decide to throw out all Atkins products in your house. Ok! well maybe you’ll eat that caramel nut roll first. . .
STOP. It’s pretty simple!
The Paleo diet is an eating lifestyle that uses modern foods that mimic the foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate during the Paleolithic Era. The foods used on the Paleo diet are foods one could have access to in our ancestors pre-agricultural period.
There are 7 key fundamental principles of the Paleo diet.
•Higher protein intake
•Lower carbohydrate intake/ lower glycemic index intake
•Higher fiber intake
•Higher potassium/ lower sodium
•Moderate to high fat intake centered around polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and a balance of omega 3 and 6
•A focus on alkaline foods to balance body acidity
• A higher intake of vitamins, minerals and plant phytochemicals.
Many of the above suggestions are missing almost entirely from a SAD (Standard American Diet). The Paleo diet aims to feed the body based on its biological needs and the foods we ate at our fittest historically. With evolution has come convenience. That convenience came with chemicals and additives our bodies cannot process. “Paleo isn’t low carb…..it’s low crap”
So what would you eat on a Paleo plan? BASIC, SIMPLE, WHOLE FOODS.
•Naturally occurring oils like coconut and olive oils
•Green/brightly colored vegetables and fresh fruits
•Root Vegetables and starches like sweet potatoes
What do I avoid?
•Legumes (peanuts are not nuts!)
See?! Real simple. You can keep to the perimeter of your grocery store and basically avoid non-Paleo foods. Crossfitters find the Paleo diet to be an excellent fit to their training because of the high protein and fat content. This helps to speed recovery time and protect muscle gains. An alkaline body is also scientifically proven to have a considerably lower instance of Cancer growth. Plus, keeping acid in the blood at bay helps with both endurance and anaerobic activity. Eating whole foods helps to regulate your digestive system so energy can go to your workouts and not towards figuring out how to digest that Twinkie. . . Your body is really smart but it doesn’t know what that is!!!
Many “Elite Level” Crossfitters will couple their Paleo foods into The Zone Diet plan (see my previous blog for Macro breakdown of The Zone). This is a great way to ensure you’re getting enough calories without over -eating. In my opinion, many of these athletes are probably instituting an 80-90% Paleo diet. To train twice a day one would need a considerable amount of complex carbohydrates. Oats (which are not Paleo) are a fundamental macro in many other athletic diets. Oats are undeniably quick, easy, and fast digesting. . . Hard to believe they wouldn’t utilize them.
My recommendation for the beginner Paleo enthusiast is to try some recipes and see how you like the concept. www.thepaleodiet.com has great information and recipes to take you further in your quest for Crossfit crack. . . I mean “Knowledge.” There are also great food delivery companies like www.caterfit.com that will deliver you fresh Paleo meals 5 days a week for a decent price. Paleo foods should be as organic as you can pull off. Buying from farmers markets and food co-ops can really keep the price down.
So hopefully that helps! You’re now a Paleo whiz! Phew. . . such a close call there Crossfitter. . . Remember when you didn’t know what WOD stood for? Brutal!