The Paleo Diet- Nutrition at CFC
You’ve heard of the Paleo Diet- but what is it exactly, will it work for you, and how can we help you implement it? We regularly run a Vitality Challenge at CFC which will help you learn this and implement this in your life.
People often follow popular diets such as high protein low carb diet, low fat diet, low sodium diet etc. But some ignore the Paleo diet thinking it’s too hard or complex. But Nutrition is the base of health and CrossFit.
The Paleo Diet is an effort to eat like we used to before food was packaged and shipped around the world. If a caveman couldn’t eat it, neither should you. In other words, it essentially allows lean meats, fish, veggies, some fruit, tree nuts (not peanuts) and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. This prohibits grains, legumes, white potatoes, dairy, and corn.
Whether an athlete is looking for fat loss, weight loss, better performance or muscle gain the paleo diet will help achieve those goals. The diagram below explains the diet in the simplest terms.
Eating Paleo is primarily about feeling your absolute best, mentally and physically. Looking better in the mirror will be a side effect.
- Eat real food. Lean Meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit, oils (like coconut, walnut, avocado). Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re fresh and natural.
- Do not eat dairy. This includes butter, cheese, yogurt and milk (including cream in your coffee).
- No grains. This includes bread, rice, pasta, corn, oatmeal and also any gluten-free grains (quinoa, etc).
- Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds, lentils, and peanuts.
- Do not eat sugars of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Truvia, Stevia, etc.
- AVOID all processed foods. This does not include protein shakes, processed bars and Pure Protein bars.
Following is a more detailed description of the food categories you’re allowed to eat.
- All the Meat you want: Any beef (ground beef, steak), pork (chops, ham), lamb, duck, chicken, fish, seafood (clams, scallops, etc). Fresh or frozen.
- Plenty of Veggies: Any fresh or frozen veggies (except potato, corn, and beans)
- Supplement with Nuts/Seeds: Any nuts/seeds (except peanuts), raw/ lightly roasted and unsalted; or any
- Add some other Healthy Fats: Avocados, olive/almond/coconut oil, or flaxseed/grape seed oil
- Some Fruit: Any whole fresh fruit (no juice), but in moderation (1-2 servings)
People often ask where “Where would I get my energy from since there’s no REAL carbs?” Our bodies are designed to operate on a lower amount of carbohydrates than what we’re used to eating, so less carbs is just fine. When there is an absence of carbs our body will take stored fat and burn that for energy. As a result, fat becomes our fuel source. And that’s a great thing.
So are all carbs bad?
Nope. Carbs still serve a purpose in our diets, but they’re not essential. The other great thing about vegetables is that you can eat as many of them as you like and you’ll never get fat. They’re incredibly nutrient dense and calorie light. Lots of carbs from processed foods (think things that come inside some kind of package)- don’t have many nutrients at all. Just like in CrossFit, we pick exercises that work multiple muscles groups at the same time so we’re efficient with our time and our body gets the best benefit- so we need foods that pack lots of nutrients in them
How come I wont get fat?
Because these foods are so nutritious and filling, it’s almost impossible to overeat. To get the equal number of calories from a bag of Doritos or bread, you’d have to eat a couple of trucks full of broccoli and spinach. A giant plate of vegetables and a reasonable portion of meat can keep you full for hours, while eating carb-heavy foods can result in being hungry again soon after.
How should meals look like?
A perfect meal should consist of all 3 macronutrients; proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The percentages should be divided into 40% carbohydrates, 30% proteins and 30% fats.
Protein should be the first thing making up your meal or snack. Depending on your individual needs, this can range between 3-9 ounces, but when all else fails, you can follow the general rule of having a serving of protein the size of your palm.
You want to focus most of your meal with non-starchy carbs. Make sure you get variation, and eat a lot of them.
Fruit is good for you in moderation. There is a hierarchy of fruit based on the fruits nutrient value and glycemic load.
Despite what modern society has taught us to believe, fats are good for you. It is important to have the right balance of fats and the right kind of fats in your diet. On the paleo diet, your body is trained to burn fat instead of carbs for energy (this will make your energy levels more stable), so don’t skip the fat in your meals.
Despite all that, hydrating is a fundamental part of any diet followed. Drink water, coffee, and tea. If you drink coffee, drink it black or with unsweetened almond milk.
Keep it simple: Try to get a really good protein source with each meal (eggs, steak, chicken, fish) with each meal along with some vegetables or fruit. That’s it. If you’re having trouble getting enough calories daily, add some healthy fats to the equation: avocado, a handful of almonds or walnuts, almond butter, olive oil, etc.
If you’re ready to make big changes in your life- call us at 079 722 8865 or fill out our form. We have Essentials Classes starting throughout the month that get you started on the road to Fitness!