As great at CrossFit is, it’s no panacea for crappy eating. Here is your guide on Paleo eating for both looks and performance.
Start here with The Paleo Solution Quick Start Guide
Eat all you want meat and veggies, nuts and seeds, little starch, some fruit, and no sugar. Stay away from heavily processed foods. Goal: Normalize Insulin Levels.
Why Do I Care?
Explain Insulin and its Role:
Eat food -> raises blood sugar -> raises the level of the hormone insulin
(Fat -no; Protein -very little; Carbs -alot (varies by glycemic load, not index))
When there is too many carbs or bad carbs -> blood sugar spikes -> insulin level spikes. Consistent insulin spiking causes your insulin sensitivity to decrease, meaning you cannot control it.
Insulin: 1) controls the storage of fat; 2) directs the flow of amino acids, fatty acids, and carbs to tissues; 3) regulates cholesterol; 4) is a growth hormone;
5) involved in appetite control; and more…
Do you really want to lose control of that?
Consistent, long-term insulin resistence leads to the inability of the body to shed extra fat; the inability of the body to absorb nutrients; and leads to hyperinsulinemia.
What is Hyperinsulinemia?
Through heredity (sorry) and eating too much carbs, your body becomes insulin resistent. Your pancreas cannot tell or control how much insulin is being secreted. This consistent and high level of insulin in the body leads to hyperinsulinemia. This condition can be linked to almost ALL diseases:
heart disease – cancer – stroke – diabetes – obesity – hypertension – myopia – PCOS – gout – acne – excess fluid retention- immune disorders – diabetes – arthritis – etc
Back to Basics, in Detail
All you want Meat:
Any beef (ground beef, steak), pork (chops, ham), lamb, duck, chicken, turkey,
eggs, fish, seafood (clams, scallops, etc). Fresh or frozen.
All you want Veggies:
Any fresh or frozen veggies (except potato, corn, and beans)
Any nuts/seeds (except peanuts), raw/ lightly roasted and unsalted;
or any nut butters
Don’t like nuts/seeds, add some other Healthy Fats:
HAAS avocados, olive/almond/coconut oil, or flaxseed/grape seed oil
Any whole fresh fruit (no juice), but in moderation (1-2 servings) or used PWO
Why All the Meat?
You can’t overeat it and you can’t gain weight on lean meat alone
Loaded w/ BCAAs + glutamine = faster recovery = drop in cortisol (stress hormone)
Loaded w/ carnitine which causes fat to be used as energy
Raises metabolism which burns more calories
Satisfies the appetite
Improves insulin sensitivity
Note: ALWAYS eat meat with fat (naturally or from nuts/seeds, olive oil, avocado)
Why All the Veggies?
Loaded w/ vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc
Fills you up
Doesn’t spike your insulin
Balances the acid-base (more alkaline as opposed to acidic)
Why Nuts/Seeds, Olive Oil, or Avocado
Fat ratios of omega 3/6/9 get normalized
Get more 3 w/ fish oil and more 9 w/ olive oil and nuts
(Inflammation causes: heart attacks, cancer, and Alzheimer’s to name a few)
Essential to human health
Promotes healthy blood flow
Why Only Some Fruit?
Sadly, fruit raises insulin levels and needs to be moderated IF you are:
1) trying to lose weight OR 2) are diabetic or have another metabolic
Fruits are still very good for you, naturally sweet, and loaded w/ nutrients
No Sugar or artificial sugar
(Equal, Splenda, Stevia, agave nectar, pure cane, corn syrup, fructose,
molasses, honey, maltodextrin, etc)
No Junk Food
(cakes, desserts, cookies, candy, chocolate, pastries, chips, crackers,
ice cream, snack foods, etc)
(wheat products, corn products, rice, pasta, bread, oatmeal, cereals, etc)
(peanuts, lima beans, kidney beans, black beans etc)
(milk, ½ + ½, cream, butter, yogurt, cheese, etc)
(includes wine, beer and hard liquor)
Why No Sugar Substitutes?
Sugar and all substitutes may spike insulin levels
Prohibits many people from losing weight
Why No Grains?
Not healthy, no nutrients, not suitable for our digestive system
(causes weight gain and bloating)
Contain anti-nutrients (phytates- more on that soon)
Contain lectin (grain protein causes gut irritation) > celiac: gluten intolerance > destruction of villi in intestines > a vast array of digestive/gastrointestinal problems:
constipation – heart burn – colon disease – IBS – varicose veins – indigestion – colitis – gall stones – hemorroids – appendicitis – hiatal hernia – duodenal ulcer
Gluten (wheat, oats) disrupts insulin signalling (1 in 33 people have celiac disease)
Lead to carb addiction (bread anyone?)
Kitava study: No cancer, diabetes, heart disease or obesity.
Intro to grains/dairy/legumes = disease started
Inuits: 85% fat, 15% protein, no carbs = no disease
Why No Legumes/Beans?
Contain phytates > binds w/ bone minerals > robs you of it
Contain lectin: originally evolved to fight off insect predators > binds w/ tissues in our body > increase intestinal permeability > allows partially digested food and gut bacteria to pass into the bloodstream > also impairs the immune system > leads to many autoimmune diseases in genetically susceptible people
Why No Dairy?
Spikes insulin levels
Nutrient deficient (cows are fed grain) and loaded w/ antibiotics and growth hormones
Linked to increased risk of prostate and ovarian cancer
Black coffee – Espresso – Americano – green/black/herbal/oolong tea
water – water w/ lemon
YES- that’s all your choices!
Flavor It Up
Tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, salsa
Fresh onion and/or garlic
Fresh dill, basil, or lemongrass
Dried dill, basil, oregano, cumin, ginger, adobo, curry, mustard
Black pepper, red pepper, chili pepper, chili powder, Montreal Seasoning
Fresh lemon or limes; Mojo
Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar or Farmer Boy Greek Dressing
Conventional Food vs. Organic Food
From Wikipedia: “Organic foods are produced according to certain production standards, meaning they are grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste, or sewage sludge, and that they were processed without ionizing radiation or food additives.”
Organic is not required unless you have a serious illness and must reduce the toxins/allergens on/in your food. It does taste better and is better for you. If you can afford organic, then do it. Keep in mind, just because it is organic doesn’t mean it’s good for you! An organic donut is still a donut and is NO good for you.
Conventional Meat vs. Organic Meat vs. Grass-Fed/Free-Range/Wild Meat
Conventional meat is raised with the routine use of antibiotics and growth hormones.
They are fed a diet of grains and are caged/farmed.
Organic meat is raised without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones,
but is still fed an organic diet of grains and is also caged/farmed.
Grass-Fed/Free-Range/Wild means exactly what it says. No antibiotics or growth hormones. They eat what they were meant to eat (cows-grass, fish-other fish or sea life, chicken-bugs) and they are not caged.
Again, these are personal choices. If you can afford GF/FR/W, then do it. The quality of our food is largely determined by the quality of the food that animal ate or with fruits+veggies, the quality of the growing conditions.
Get 2-4 grams per day.
1) But only if you are interested in:
better brain development – better emotional control/mood – hormone synthesis regulation of pain and inflammation – better immune function – proper circulation proper kidney function – proper nerve transmission – more energy production
better looking skin, hair and nails – better athletic performance
2) if you are concerned about the following diseases:
arthritis – asthma – ADD – heart attack – stroke – cancer – depression
hair loss - hypertension – lupus – memory problems – schizophrenia
diabetes – bronchitis – emphysema – gastrointestinal disorders
obesity – fatigue – fibromyalgia – autoimmune diseases
The Bottom Line
You need to follow this to lose weight; to look good; to feel good; to perform well; to live well; and be healthy and disease free. Knowledge is power and you should seek it out and share it with others.
Some Good News
Do this plan strictly for 30 days and you: 1) will normalize your insulin levels;
2) will improve your digestive health; 3) will lose fat; 4) will feel better; 5) will look better; 6) may be allowed to add some of the Off Limits food, in moderation.
The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain
The Omega Rx Diet by Barry Sears
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden
CrossFit Journal #15 by Greg Glassman
Damn Dirty Grains by Robb Wolf
CrossFit Nutrition Seminar (live event) with Robb Wolf