In this installment we are going to get into some paleo specifics. You should have first read each of the previous nutrition articles that I posted, most importantly Part 2. You should have already decided or working on deciding which nutrition model you will be using for the upcoming nutrition challenge. The majority of the gym will be using some version of paleo nutrition. Our nutrition challenge is roughly a month long and should be done as strict as possible to get the most out of the short period. We are going to use this an opportunity to reset, cleanse, and gain control of our body, weight, and hormones. The paleo style nutrition will be the most effective for our short time frame, then we can adjust from there. Some of you may find a better fit one of the other nutrition models. Feel free to talk me about it anytime you can.
A little history on the paleo style of nutrition. There is more to it than just eating like a caveman. Our bodies were designed to most efficiently process the foods provided by nature. The agricultural era brought about some the most amazing advancements in food production. Though we were getting by living mostly on growing plants and animals for food, people discovered that grains and starches were more easily mass-produced. This mass production eventually led to our government developing nutritional guidelines based on the growing Department of Agriculture. They spun the nutritional guidelines to build the business. So people ate a diet high in starch, which is also lower in nutritional value than the things I previously recommended. The low quality of nutrition caused people to eat more and more in order to sustain themselves. Because starch turns to sugar in the body, this turned people into sugar fiends. People craved it and a diet high in sugar tends to make real food taste bland. Think about it, does any of this sound familiar to how you eat or used to eat? Have you craved grains, bread, or anything like that?
Now getting into Paleo
First off, I am NOT an advocate for living a full paleo life style. I think it works great as a cleanse period but it does not line up with the goals of many people that train the way we do. It works well long term for endurance athletes that need more fat for long duration activity and sedentary people that don’t particularly need much. It does not work wonders for those looking to build muscle or increase performance, as we do. It does not supply the most effective energy for what we do. One month of it will not hinder us though. For many, you may still see progress in our training, simply because you are now getting rid of garbage and eating clean. Your body will begin to process more efficiently, which will reduce inflammation from training and increase recovery efforts. It is crucial to cleanse your body of junk, drop some excess body fat, then switch to a nutrition model that supports more workout fuel. We will talk more about that later.
Obviously going strict is going to be a bit more effective. It is, of course, harder work. The idea is simple. Without going too far into paleo science, you are changing the way your body processes. With strict paleo, you are cutting out grains, legumes, and dairy all together. No bread, rice, milk, cheese, none of that stuff. Now dairy is an iffy subject. If your body processes it just fine, with no issues, then there is no reason to get rid of it. I do challenge you to go a month without it and see if you notice a difference. You may find that you feel much better without it and never knew any better. Now for the other stuff, you are getting rid of the other things in order to change the way your body processes and produces energy. You are trying to turn your body into what’s called a state of ketosis. In ketosis your body uses fat as its main energy source instead of carbohydrates. When the body lacks its carbohydrate energy source for a long enough period, it begins to feed on fat. Everyone wants to burn fat, right. This takes a strict transition period, which generally lasts three weeks to a month for most people. Cheating during this period can ruin or slow the ketogenic process. You will feel kind of like a junky going through a cleanse. Fight through this period and it gets much better, the cravings go away, and the fat starts falling off.
-Eat plenty of animal protein, such as meat, seafood, eggs, etc.
-Eat lots of veggies
-Eat some fruit. Depends on your goal for the diet. If fat loss is your biggest concern, don’t over eat fruit. Keep it light. Aim to eat mostly berries either way.
-Eat lots of healthy fats such as almonds, coconut oils, nuts, avocado. Fat is your dominant energy source now. Have plenty. Anywhere 50-100grams per day
-Eat whenever you’re hungry. Should never feel starving. Know the difference between the feeling of the sugar cleanse you will experience and basic hunger.
-Plan out your nutrition to support exercise. You should be eating within 1-2 hours prior to your workout.
-Spread out about 5 meals/ snacks through the day. Aim for a balance of protein, veggies or fruit, and fat in each meal and snack. You need them all and you them regularly.
-Ensure that you are getting a meal between 1-3 hours prior to your workout. If you are eating fruit, this is the best time for it.
-don’t bother measuring your food much. Concentrate on paleo approved foods and eat plenty of it
-Don’t eat grains, cereals, or diary
-eliminate added sugar and processed foods as much as possible
Another method of paleo eating is designed strictly for performance athletes and optimal body composition for those athletes. Essentially this is eating strict paleo all the time, except around your workouts. It is meant to be a very clean diet, yet introduces “safe starches” before and after workouts. These safe starches are typically sweet potato and maybe some white rice, but only for workouts. The starches provide energy for the intense workout and recovery by replenishing lost glycogen stores after the workout. For those that really want to clean up their nutrition but are more concerned with performance than weight loss, this is a great option…and who doesn’t love rice?