by Amanda Lavigne:
So easy a caveman can do it
As many athletes begin their CrossFit journey, one of the many things they hear almost instantly is the word “paleo”. At first glance, the diet sounds insane – almost unrealistic and impossible to follow, although by definition it is quite simple. So what exactly is it?
The Paleo diet, simply put, is a diet that promotes eating as early man did prior to the days of modern farming and agriculture. If they could catch it, kill it, find it, or harvest it, they could eat it. It promotes lean meats, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds, while avoiding grains, legumes, dairy (including soy), starches and sugar.
The diet advocates foods that are high in protein and good fats, and low in carbs. The greatest obstacle that most people have to overcome is their addiction to carbs, such as breads and pasta. What most people do not realize is that carbs can be doing more harm to our bodies than good. Grains are known to cause inflammation in our digestive system and can lead to diseases such a celiac and diabetes. Rather than going for the processed carbs, turn to fruits and veggies instead.
A good rule of thumb is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Stay away from the aisles that are filled with processed foods and mystery ingredients. Making the transition to Paleo can be difficult at times, but is greatly rewarding once you start to see and feel the results. To help curb those cravings for carbs or sweets, start off slowly. If changing your diet and cutting out foods cold turkey isn’t your style, try eliminating foods in a progression – start by cutting out pasta, then bread, then dairy and so on. Or, allow yourself a cheat day. Strive to eat clean all week long, knowing that on a particular day, say Sunday, you can have that piece of cake you’ve been dying for. As time goes on, you will crave those things less and less, and will hopefully not require a cheat day anymore.
The internet is filled with blogs by people who range in level of adherence to the Paleo diet, from strict to “most of the time” or loosely interpreted. Many of these bloggers are CrossFitters too, and understand the fuel necessary to maintain an intense workout and healthy body. You can find great recipes that prove that eating like a caveman is more than just eating some animal and some leaves. Here’s a list of some favorites:
- http://infographic.paleolithicdiet.com/ – A great infograph on the rhyme and reason for going Paleo
- http://www.marskdailyapple.com – a well-known website with great insight on “primal living in the modern world”
- http://www.multiplydelicious.com/thefood/ – check out this post in particular: (http://www.multiplydelicious.com/thefood/2012/01/weekly-paleo-meal-plan/)
- http://paleomg.com/ – Awesome recipes, including some great almost-100%-paleo cheats. Her posts are quite entertaining too.
Stay tuned for our next Paleo challenge. By participating as a gym, you can find awesome support and inspiration from each other. Having a deadline and goal in mind will also keep you motivated and focused!