“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” (CrossFit Journal, September 2002, “The Garage Gym”)
The food we eat has a direct and immediate effect on how we perform, whether it be our workout or any other task we face on a daily basis. Eat foods that “support exercise not body fat”. The idea is to eat foods that were intended for our bodies and avoid as much as possible foods that weren’t. Foods that are high-glycyemic (a food’s propensity to elevate or spike insulin levels) should be avoided. Don’t know which foods are high on the glycemic index? Read this 2 page article from the CrossFit Journal – Click here.
In CrossFit we teach 2 different nutritional approaches. The first is the Zone Diet, and the second is the Paleo or Caveman Diet.
Here is a simplified version of the Zone Diet that was published in the CrossFit Journal that you can download as a PDF article. The Zone Diet is a diet that focuses on balancing hormones in our bodies that are released by the food we eat. It uses a 40% Carbs, 30% Protein, 30% Fat model and helps to balance the macro-nutrients that we consume.
The Paleo Diet, or Caveman Diet, requires that we eat lean meats, nuts and seeds, vegetables and some fruit, little starch, and NO sugar. While the Zone Diet requires accurate weighing and measuring of food, the Paleo Diet does not require WAM(weighing and measuring). The idea is to eat plenty of the above mentioned food throughout the day. We have seen similar results from people who have used both diets. They lose body fat, get stronger and faster, and feel better throughout the day.
The seven keys of the Paleo diet according to Loren Cordain, Ph.D
- Eat a relatively high amount of animal protein compared to that in the typical American diet.
- Eat fewer carbohydrates than most modern diets recommend, but eat lots of good carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, not from grains or refined sugars.
- Eat a large amount of fiber from non-starchy fruits and vegetables.
- Eat a moderate amount of fat, with more good (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats than bad (saturated) fats, and nearly equal amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 fats.
- Eat foods with a high potassium content and low sodium content.
- Eat a diet with a net alkaline load.
- Eat foods rich in plant phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
The seven keys optimize health, minimize the risk of chronic disease, and cause excess weight to melt away. This is the way we’re genetically programmed to eat.
The paleo diet essentially allows lean meats, fish, veggies, some fruit, tree nuts (not peanuts) and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. This excludes… grains, legumes, white potatoes, dairy, and corn. Think about it this way… the things that are excluded are the food items that people are more often allergic to or just have issues digesting. White potatoes and corn just turn into sugar.
The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2010/10/04/the-beginners-guide-to-the-paleo-diet/
The Paleo Diet – http://thepaleodiet.com/
The primal plan allows foods like the paleo diet, but includes some dairy. Such as creams, butter, greek yogurts, and some cheese (but don’t go overboard).
The Definitive Guide to the Primal Eating Plan – http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-to-the-primal-eating-plan/#axzz21dppwIBH
Getting Started with Mark’s Daily Apple – http://www.marksdailyapple.com//welcome-to-marks-daily-apple/#axzz21dppwIBH
This plan is much more rigid. There is weighing and measuring and lots of planning to this one because each meal or snack is in blocks. You have to really lay your meals out ahead of time. This is great for a person who wants to really watch everything they eat and is organized. It does allow for some grains, but some people will choose to do a cross of paleo/zone. This would exclude the grains and only include for the paleo foods. I am honestly not as familiar with this one. I am not organized enough to try it really!
Zone Diet Explained – http://crossfitimpulse.com/the-zone-diet-explained-edited
Zone Diet Meal Plans – http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/cfjissue21_May04.pdf
A couple good resources about eating right -
The last days of the low-fat diet – http://grist.org/scary-food/2011-03-04-low-fat-diet-fad/
YouTube Video – Mind your Mitochondria http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc
Tips for snacks:
Steve’s Club – http://stevesoriginal.com/
Irwin’s Beef Jerky (http://www.irwinsbeefjerky.com/ – a locally owned company). You can buy it from different places around Cookeville or online.
Cattaneo Bros – http://www.cattaneobros.com/ – they also have jerky and personally I liked it better than most because they also carry a thin cut that is easy to eat, and great flavors!
Paleo Snacks – http://paleodietlifestyle.com/paleo-snacks/
More snack ideas – http://www.multiplydelicious.com/thefood/2012/01/paleo-snack-ideas/
Paleo People – http://paleopeople.com/ – you can order snacks online (I haven’t personally tried it, but let me know if you do).
Just a note – if you are a Costco person they do have a large thing of almond butter for under $6.
You can find recipes all over the web. Some are great, some just require too much stuff that I don’t keep in my house. I will gather some recipes and post them online for you to try! If you find a favorite, feel free to share with us! Here are a few sites:
Everyday Paleo – everydaypaleo.com
PaleOMG – paleomg.com
PaleoPot – paleopot.com (Crock Pot Recipes)
CrossFit Mayhem Food Blog – crossfitmayhem.blogspot.com
Primal Blueprint Cookbook – http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982207727/?tag=pfindex-20
Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals – http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982207743/?tag=pfindex-20 (I haven’t used this one yet, but love the Primal Blueprint Cookbook and it’s the same authors)
Paleo Comfort Foods – one of my favorites – http://www.amazon.com/dp/1936608936/?tag=pfindex-20
Everyday Paleo – another common one used by a lot of people (she also has a great blog) – http://www.amazon.com/dp/098256581X/?tag=pfindex-20
Paleo Food – online cookbook – http://www.paleofood.com/ (I just found this one and will have to try it!)