If you’re like most people, you’ve probably asked yourself “What the heck is the Paleo Diet, and why is everyone talking about it?”
The Paleo Diet, or as some people call it, the Caveman Diet, closely resembles the way our ancient ancestors ate. Back then, people ate a diet consisting of gathered plants, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit and meat and fish.
They wouldn’t have eaten a lot of starch, and they wouldn’t have had access to refined sugars. Unlike what their name suggests, they typically didn’t live in caves, at least not permanently.
They followed the herds of whatever animals they were hunting, which didn’t lend well to agriculture. So, things like wheat and other grains, and legumes weren’t commonly eaten.
Why don’t we want to add things like grains and legumes to our diet?
Let’s talk about your gut for a brief moment. The gut’s job is to only allow certain things to pass into your body. Macronutrients, which are fats, proteins and carbs, are passed through the gut, and converted by the body into energy. And who doesn’t like energy, right?
When we add grains and legumes into our diet, those foods break down into molecules that can perforate your gut lining, which then leads to inflammation. Once your gut lining is inflamed, it loses it’s ability to efficiently absorb nutrients out of your proteins, fats and healthy carbs. It’s amazing how different your body will feel if you cut out wheat and other grains and legumes for a month. You’ll notice an increase in energy, since your body is better able to absorb and then convert your macronutrients.
You’ll also notice less intestinal bloating and gas, because your gut flora is healthier. Once your body stops expending so much energy on (failed) digestion, that frees up your energy stores to fuel cool things, like WODs, and better recovery and healing. And by cutting out carbs that are mostly fillers, like, say, white bread, pasta, and other high-starchy foods, we’ll cut out the spike (and resulting rapid drop) in blood sugar that can lead to irritability, fatigue, disorientation, and a foggy mind.
Most people that eat a Paleo diet notice weight loss and a loss in body fat, since they aren’t eating any processed foods full of sugar and chemicals. By cutting out all the junk, we’re allowing our body to operate efficiently, and in turn, increase our metabolism. Who doesn’t love that?
Paleo is really easy to follow, once you get over the idea that your body NEEDS carbs from grains. A lot of CrossFitters follow some sort of Paleo, because they just plain feel better. If you’re thinking of giving it a try, please come to Wayne or I, and we can help you out with some additional resources and recipes. Your gut will thank you!