What do I eat?
Directly from CrossFit.com, “base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar.” What CrossFit HQ says, and what we agree with, is eat things that are natural. No processed goods, canned foods, chips, oreos, etc. We know that eating healthy isn’t easy and it is undoubtedly difficult to avoid delicious things like ice cream, bread, pasta, and alcoholic beverages. Heck, it’s downright hard to eat healthy when so many of our every day meal choices at restaurants include some type of processed carbohydrate and a large soda on the side. What we would like to propose is slowly weening yourself off of the bread, pasta, rice, and pre-packaged foods. We don’t expect you to go cold turkey on it, a few carbs won’t kill you. However, by reducing your processed food intake, you’ll be rewarded with more energy, better recovery, and better workouts.
Eat like a caveman, live better.
The Paleo diet recommends eating meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit, little starch, and definitely NO SUGAR. You don’t eat processed carbohydrates. You eat like a caveman. Paleo is the name that embodies the nutritional content we are giving you.
Why would you want to eat like a caveman? Well, I promise you, our bodies aren’t designed to digest soda and high fructose corn syrup on a daily basis. The Paleo diet encourages eating foods that your body is SUPPOSED to digest. That means none of the crazy, refined, manufactured sugar foodstuff. Most importantly, it works. People are rewarded with more energy, increased athletic performance, and feel better about life in general. That last point is kind of a stretch, but you’d be surprised at how much of a difference quality food makes in your quality of life.
Shopping and Eating Healthy (or Paleo)
So you know a little something about eating healthy. You know that I like the Paleo Diet because of the performance and energy benefits. You know the theory, but not the method. So how do you eat like a caveman without living in a cave?
Step 1: Cut a hole in the box. Just kidding. The real first step is to get rid of all that bad food that you’ve got around the house. I’m talking about the twinkies, the cookies, the chips, and all the pasta, bread, and rice. We as Americans are eating ourselves to death because we keep preservative and HFCS-laden snacks around us 24/7. The more you are around bad food, the more likely you are to eat it. Me? If you give me a big bag of sour cream and onion chips I’ll sit down in front of the TV and crush it all in one sitting without a second thought. That’s how I’ve always been and probably always will be. I, like most people, am a junk food junkie. I can’t eat just one. The only effective way I can keep myself from eating snacks and chips is to keep them away altogether. That means that I throw it away if it’s around and I don’t buy it when I’m out at the grocery store.
Step 2: You’re not allowed to buy junk food and snacks now, so what do you buy? Perhaps a better solution to consider is how you buy healthy foods. Imagine your favorite neighborhood grocery store. Got it? Good. I’m going to set guidelines on where you’re allowed to go. You’re only allowed to walk around and buy things from the perimeter of the store. That’s it, you’re good to go. You will undoubtedly discover that you are only exposing yourself to the fruits and vegetables, the meats, and the seeds and nuts. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but you know to avoid the pastries, bread, and frozen food sections now, right?
Step 3: There isn’t really a step 3, all you have to do now is eat and I don’t think you need any coaching as far as that’s concerned.
Eating healthy requires planning on your part. You will probably find yourself going to the grocery store a little more than once a week because you need to buy fresh vegetables and fruit fairly regularly. I encourage you to plan your meals out with pen and paper. This will help reinforce the method as well as helping to stave off your inevitable cravings for fast food.
There’s a lot more to your health than working out at the gym. Working out is not an excuse to eat an extra donut in the morning. Keep it simple by eating healthy and you will be rewarded with better performance in the gym.