The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance
I first heard of the Paleo Diet through runner Dean Karnazes. I was always very interested by the diet, but I knew I couldn’t try it because it has meat as a main source of food.
For those of you not aware or familiar with the Paleo Diet, the Paleo Diet is essentially called the Caveman Diet. The Paleo Diet is supposed to be rather basic because there is no packaged food, processed food, or anything like that. You know the question what would Jesus do? Well, before you put that donut in your mouth you should ask yourself what would the cavemen do? They would go hunting for buffalo or whatever dinosaurs. I don’t know. I’m not a historian.
The Cavemen did not have all the food we have today. They literally worked for their food, burning calories nonstop. There was no dairy, grains, sugar, and all that other bullshit food we eat today. They simply ate lean meat, poultry, seafood, fruits, and vegetables. By eating these main foods, the body will have complete nourishment; especially for athletes.
If you didn’t notice, I didn’t mention anything about grains in the above paragraph.
As a runner though, aren’t carbs important?! What about that big pasta dinner before the marathon?
This book says that you shouldn’t worry. You will get plenty of carbs through veggies and fruits. However, if you were to follow the Paleo Diet, you would need to watch your carb intake so you have enough fuel.
So, the Paleo Diet means no grains even oatmeal, buckwheat, and quinoa. It also requires no dairy. I don’t know about you, but dairy is highly essential in my life. No cottage cheese? No Greek yogurt? No way.
I did try following the Paleo Diet in my own way since I am vegetarian. I ate some dairy and barely any carbs besides rice. (Hello, Chinese food!) I rarely eat processed foods in the first place so that was easy for me.
If you are interested in the Paleo Diet, fortunately, this book really helps you with the nutrition part of the Paleo Diet. It gives an understanding of what to eat, when to eat it, and why. It gives you information on eating eggs (because apparently those are okay in moderation) and caffeine.
I have no beef with the Paleo Diet or even the book The Paleo Diet for Athletes. It was well written, easy to understand, clear, and helpful.
I believe the following the Paleo Diet will help any athlete; however, I don’t believe that anyone needs to follow it to the bone. Eating no grains is insane. I think eating oats, some whole grains, barley, and quinoa is okay. Dairy is supportive to the body so why can’t we eat it? Who knows if the cavemen milked some cows. Then, don’t even get me started on peanuts. You can’t have peanuts or peanut butter with the Paleo Diet. Now that’s insane. I like my peanuts and my peanut butter straight from the jar after eating hot and spicy shrimp out of a greasy bag.
Due to those few rules that I do not appreciate, I followed the Paleo Diet with a 90% rule. I would (and still do sometimes) eat only fruit and vegetables with some type of protein on the side like cottage cheese. I’m a vegetarian so I didn’t see the harm in doing so.
I followed that routine for several weeks and felt the same as I do now, except now I feel a little worse so I am thinking of going back to my half ass Paleo Diet of barely any grains and just more protein. As of now I am trying to up my protein because my legs never feel re-freshed in between runs so I think that may be the case. Either that or I don’t eat enough.
Whatever the case may be, I recommend the Paleo Diet for Athletes by Loren Cordain and Joe Friel. If you are looking for something new and something different from you oatmeal, Greek yogurt diet, try the Paleo Diet for a bit and tell me how you feel.
Overall score: 7 out of 10
What type of ‘diet’ works for you?
Have you ever followed the Paleo Diet? What are your thoughts?