The Caveman or Paleolithic Model for Nutrition
Modern diets are ill suited for our genetic composition. Evolution has not kept pace with advances in agriculture and food processing resulting in a plague of health problems for modern man. Coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, obesity and psychological dysfunction have all been scientifically linked to a diet too high in refined or processed carbohydrate. Search “Google” for Paleolithic nutrition, or diet. The return is extensive, compelling, and fascinating. The Caveman model is perfectly consistent with the CrossFit prescription.
What should I eat?
In plain language, base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. That’s about as simple as we can get. Many have observed that keeping your grocery cart to the perimeter of the grocery store while avoiding the aisles is a great way to protect your health. Food is perishable. The stuff with long shelf life is all suspect. If you follow these simple guidelines you will benefit from nearly all that can be achieved through nutrition.
What foods should I avoid?
Excessive consumption of high-glycemic carbohydrates is the primary culprit in nutritionally caused health problems. High glycemic carbohydrates are those that raise blood sugar too rapidly. They include all grains including but not limited to rice, bread, oats, rye and corn, candy, potato, sweets, sodas, and all other processed carbohydrates. Processing can include bleaching, baking, grinding, and refining. Processing of carbohydrates greatly increases their glycemic index, a measure of their propensity to elevate blood sugar.
What is the problem with high-glycemic carbohydrates?
The problem with high-glycemic carbohydrates is that they give an inordinate insulin response. Insulin is an essential hormone for life, yet acute, chronic elevation of insulin leads to hyperinsulinism, which has been positively linked to obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood dysfunction and a Pandora’s box of disease and disability. Research “hyperinsulinism” on the Internet. There’s a gold mine of information pertinent to your health available there. The CrossFit prescription is a low-glycemic diet and consequently severely blunts the insulin response.
But I love oats…rice…and bread!
Give me one good reason to eat grains and I will. Go on, I challenge you.
How will I get my fiber?
You will find that you can get adequate fiber in vegetables and meat alone. Even better, your body will be able to absorb all the yummy nutrients in your meal if you can stand to “pass” the side of rice or pasta. Grains contain anti-nutrients (say it again..ANTI-nutrients. Doesn’t sound so appetizing now does it?) which interact with our bodies function, producing adverse toxic effects inhibiting nutrient absorption and attacking enzymes needed for digestion. Grains also contain lectin and gluten; both linked to inflammatory problems and digestive diseases such as leaky gut.
What about all of your vitamins & minerals?
We do need vitamins and minerals, like B1 and B2, magnesium and iron, zinc and potassium. But do I need to obtain them by eating a carb-heavy, bulky grain? No, no I don’t. You show me a serving of “healthy whole grains” that can compete – nutrient, vitamin, and mineral-wise – with a big beef salad? What’s that? Can’t do it? Thought so.
Caloric restriction and longevity
Current research strongly supports the link between caloric restriction and an increased life expectancy. The incidence of cancers and heart disease sharply decline with a diet that is carefully limited in controlling caloric intake. “Caloric Restriction” is another fruitful area for Internet search. The CrossFit prescription is consistent with this research. The CrossFit prescription allows a reduced caloric intake and yet still provides ample nutrition for rigorous activity.
The CrossFit dietary prescription
Protein should be lean and varied and account for about 30% of your total caloric load. Carbohydrates should be predominantly low-glycemic and account for about 40% of your total caloric load. Fat should be predominantly monounsaturated and account for about 30% of your total caloric load. Calories should be set at between 1.5 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass depending on your activity level. Eg If you weigh 80kg and train hard, heavy and frequently, you will need up to 180 grams of protein daily.
Adapted from CrossFit.com
Do some research
The Paleo Diet – Dr. Loren Cordain
The Primal Blueprint & Mark’s Daily Apple – Mark Sisson
The Paleo Solution – Robb Wolf
Primal Body, Primal Mind – Nora Gedgaudus
Hunter-gatherer Blog – John Durant
The Whole 9 – Melissa and Dallas Hartwig
Evolvify – Andrew Badenoch Archevore, formerly PaNu, Kurt Harris
Cook some food
Cave Girl New Zealand
Nom Nom Paleo
The Cavegirl Dish
Get pre-made food delivered
Fit me in
Buy the New Zealand Paleo Cookbook!