The Paleo Diet believes that vegetables, fruits, and lean animal protein are better than grains, dairy, and legumes. Paleo nutritionists argue that our ancestors have been eating vegetables, fruits, and lean animal protein for most of our time on earth (4 million years). But about 10,000 years ago, humans deviated and began to eat less healthy foods (grains, dairy, and legumes) that have affected our performance and health.
What’s wrong with dairy, grains, and legumes?Legumes, grains, and other starches like potatoes contain high levels of anti-nutrients (lectin, prolamin, phytate, and saponins). These anti-nutrients block key digestive enzymes, they promote inflammation, and they can cause autoimmune diseases and cancer. Additionally, research studies have shown that consuming a lot of antinutrients unbalance the stomach’s bacteria levels and increase the risk of asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel syndrome. Don’t worry about not consuming dairy. Kale and Spinach both trump milk, cheese, and yogurt when it comes to keeping your bones strong.
How does the Paleo diet help athlete performance?
- Builds and Repairs muscle –Lean protein builds and repairs muscles, and the Paleo diet advocates lean meats and fish. These foods have branched chain amino acids that stimulate the building and repair of muscles. Consume lean protein after a workout to:reverse the natural breakdown of muscle that occurs, improve your recovery time, and maximize your effort at the next training session.
- Improve Immune System Functions –Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, which help your immune system function optimally. These nutrients reduce the frequency of colds and flus, which means you’ll train more consistently and intensely.
Some foods to start incorporating into your diet
- Grass Fed Beef –It offers 15 less calories per ounce than conventional beef and a rich serving of omega-3s, which lower inflammation.
- Coconut Oil – It improves blood sugar regulation, aids digestion, and increases your metabolism.
- Pasture-raised eggs –The yolks provide you with vitamin B12, vitamin D, riboflavin, and folate. Additionally, they are a great source of choline, which maintains heart and brain function, and prevents the accumulation of fat and cholesterol in the liver.
Tips to succeeding with the Paleo diet
- Focus on the positive –Instead of thinking that you can’t have as many carbs anymore, think about the delicious and healthy fruits, vegetables, and protein that you’ll be eating.
- Find Balance – It’s very common for non-food factors to influence your food choices. How you feel about the other aspects of your life will affect the food on your plate. So as you seek to improve your diet, make sure you’re balanced and healthy in the other areas of your life as well