You gotta love your inbox! Everyday, I get tons of questions flooding in on various topics from a variety of sources, whether it’s a webinar, a blog or questions from the video modules in the Paleo In A Box program. They get answered, but as I was answering a few yesterday, I asked myself a question, ‘how many other people would benefit from these answers?’.
So here you go, here’s a random 10, straight from my inbox, to you, enjoy!
Email Question #1 – What are the fruit limits on paleo?
From a fat loss point of view too much fruit isn’t a good option due to the high sugar content, so with that in mind its best to stick to the fruits that are lower in fructose these are; lemons, limes (virtually zero fructose), cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries etc. Interestingly, these thin skinned, brightly coloured fruits provide the highest antioxidants which when used post WOD can help reduce the oxidative stress.
Another reason to have fruit post WOD is that the sugar will preferentially be used in the refueling process which means its less likely to be stored as fat but it’s only really efficient at replenishing the liver and not so great at replenishing muscle.
Fruit juice is typically concentrated fructose which causes your insulin to spike (lessening chances of fat loss) and counteracts the benefits of the antioxidants.
Take Away: Eat fruit but try to limit to post WOD and shoot for thin skinned dark fruits due to their high antioxidants which aids recovery and their low fructose content.
Email Question#2 – How many calories shall I eat per day?
During my AMFAT challenge, not one single athlete or individual counts a single calorie and they achieve amazing results
Counting calories is a hindrance and wholly unsustainable! Who want to be counting calories, blocks or points for the rest of their lives? Not me, and I never do!
It’s not the number of calories that makes the difference, but the composition of those calories which counts. It’s more about the nutrient density of those foods and how they affect different hormones in the body. It’s too simplistic to say that a calorie is just a calorie.
Can we say that 100 calories from sugar acts the same way in the body as 100 calories from a steak?
Generally, counting calories is used to allow us to have very poor food quality or to allow us to have the bad foods which take us easily over our calorific level.
We need to enable a sense of peace and well being without extra fatigue produced by poor nutrition, to know that our food provides the correct nutrients to ensure every cell in our body has what it requires to do its job to its fullest potential, whether we want that cell to release fat or provide energy to develop and grow.
Take Away: Focus on the nutrient density of your food rather than the calories. For the most part ensure each meal combines a great source of protein, fat and carbs from vegetables. It will be very difficult to eat calories in excess especially if you work out!
Email #3 – What’s the best pre workout snack?
The first question to ask yourself is how long before the workout are you wanting this snack? Is it an hour? Is it 10 minutes?
If it’s one hour then I would shoot for a complete meal that is easily digestible and my top pick for that would be a greens smoothie. They incorporate alkaline leafy green vegetables to boost your blood, protein (powder), fat (avocados and coconut oil are great options) with some lemon and lime juice to improve flavour and further improve alkalinity. It’s also digested extremely quickly due to the blending process! My paleo in a box system takes you through the ins and outs of blending plus TONS of Power Greens Smoothie recipes!
If it’s just 10 minutes prior to your WOD or workout then you will want something a little simpler and even quicker at being absorbed and that would be using a pre WOD shake.
Nope, it’s not paleo per se but when we’re doing something unnatural like an intense WOD, that’s not paleo either and at 10 mins prior to your WOD mother nature doesn’t provide anything that’s fast acting enough to achieve what you want.
If you gain fat easily then shoot for 7g of protein powder mixed with 15g of simple carbs like dextrose, glucose or maltodextrin. If you don’t put on fat easily then it’s worth grabbing the extra fuel injection by using 15g of protein with 30g of carbs or something similar.
Remember this type of isn’t paleo, it’s in support of paleo nutrition, ONLY at the period surrounding your WODs to enable you to achieve the level of performance you want. Keep the protein and carb source as clean as possible i.e. without additives and toxic chemicals like colors. Just straight up plain, unflavoured protein powder and a plain source of fast acting carbs, no flavourings.
Email #4 – How easy is it to incorporate into a busy lifestyle?
My PIB program gives solutions of how to incorporate paleo and paleo for performance into almost ANY busy lifestyle. But some of the solutions are extremely simple. Like having a simple plan for the type of protein you will be eating each day, almost like having a ‘protein theme’ for each day of the week. So for instance let’s say your protein theme for Monday is Beef. You buy enough beef or steak for that day. Have some of the beef for breakfast with some eggs, place some beef in a slow cooker with some veg and stock (slow cookers by the way are your paleo friend, stick it on low before you head out for the day and return home to a cooked hot meal!) and stick some of the beef in a lunchbox with some veg and oil dressing for your time out during the day!
You see, it’s actually quite simple to incorporate into any busy lifestyle, it just takes a little planning!
Email #5 – What foods are best to eat for breakfast?
The best foods for breakfast are actually all the same foods as you would normally eat on a paleo diet at any other time of the day. The only limiting factor for most people is time!
Of course, you have all of the paleo staples; fried eggs, steak, omelette, breakfast meatballs, paleo granola etc but there’s one which many don’t consider and that’s again, the good old greens smoothie.
I know, I know paleo man didn’t have a blender but what we’re doing here is optimising the key principles and creating an easily digestible complete meal that’s quick, simple and fits with our modern hectic lifestyle! Just follow the guidelines of:
Liquid: Water does just fine
Greens: Green leafy veg
Protein: Plain protein powder (whey, hemp, pea, rice etc)
Fat: Avocado, coconut oil etc
Flavour: Lemons, limes, berry fruits
Email #6 – How do I maintain energy throughout the day?
A lack of energy can often be mistaken for over acidity of the blood.
Blood needs to flow freely and easily so that it can deliver nutrients and oxygen to where its needed as quickly as you need it. So much of what is around us and the modern foods that we eat to give us quick fixes in terms of energy is actually acidic to the blood, in very simple terms it causes our red blood cells to stick together.
If our red blood cells are sticking together it means that they are moving around the blood stream as a single unit, but now, much much slower. Almost like a thicker sludge. If our blood moves slowly, then we begin to move slowly because the efficiency of the blood to get to where its needed has now been compromised. Less oxygen and less nutrients equals a feeling of a lack of energy!
So rather than just taking the approach of just finding energy filled foods, first take a look at your blood.
Include some raw green leafy vegetables at each meal
Add fresh squeezed lemon juice to your water
Add in some greens smoothies
Consider a greens drink like Athletic Greens
Email #7 – What is the optimal time to fuel before, during and after a WOD?
When using sports supplements as many of us do (CrossFitters, athletes,sports persons undertake an unnatural activity therefore at the times surrounding your workouts it’s beneficial if you’re trying to enhance performance by using sports supplements that strays slightly from the paleo ideal, at ALL other times eat a balanced clean paleo diet), it’s first important to ensure that your supplements are as clean as possible. Flavourings, additives E numbers etc are best taken a wide berth. Go for plain protein and fast acting sugars.
When using the pre WOD shake as earlier described this should be taken around 10 minutes prior to the WOD start time, i.e. during your warm up. During a WOD there’s rarely time to consume anything apart from water, and doubt whether you would want to! If you’re on a skills session or strength session then a greens drink and some BCAA’s are a great addition!
After a WOD you have around 10 minutes, which is your window of opportunity where your body is primed to flick the catabolic switch from catabolism to anabolism where nutrients will be shuttled preferentially to the places they’re needed so that you recover much faster!
Email #8 Any good tips for packed lunches for work?
The workday is inherently the problem area for many people. Failing to plan and prepare is planning to fail!
At the start of the week chop a ton of vegetables. Cook and chop all different types of meat and fish. Store everything in the fridge in tubs ready for quick use.
Then take a food box with a sealable lid, add stacks of veg, meat, oils, nuts and seeds, give it a shake and away you go! Graze, eat larger portions or eat as a whole. If you have to rush off anywhere, take the box with you and you have a nicely balanced paleo meal with you whenever you need it!
Email #9 – What’s the score with dairy on paleo?
This subject requires a blog post all of it’s own because it’s in such a grey area and most people have very strong beliefs either way about dairy, so not everything will be covered here and, if I’m honest, I’m kinda on the fence with it. Some do well on it, some don’t. at the end of the day it’s meant for baby cows. Not even adult cows drink it (lol), but here’s the crux.
In its RAW form, milk is a viable nutrient source
The arguments against milk lies in the lactose and casein intolerance but both of these are found in human breast milk, so most of us have already had it at some point in our lives BUT we gradually lose the ability to tolerate lactose as we age from 4 years onwards. If you feel awful when you drink it, leave it alone!
It’s highly insulinogenic. It spikes insulin which isn’t great for fat loss. Froning has his post WOD which is a much better option since you’re highly insulin sensitive, low muscle glycogen and your muscles are starved, meaning you’ll preferentially use the milks ingredients to resupply and repair.
Some athletes are tolerant to milk, some aren’t, gut cramps, gas, wheezing and clogged sinuses are all signs you should leave well alone. There really isn’t one answer. Many, but not all of the primal or paleo guru’s will tell you to leave it out of your diet but many of the reasons to leave it out are flawed.
It’s probably more about the fact that NOT ALL MILK IS CREATED EQUAL! RAW, HIGH FAT DAIRY IS BEST. If you can get it, fermented dairy would top this!
Email #10 – If I just use one supplement what should it be?
VITAMIN D3 (aside from your pre and post WOD nutrition) is produced in the body when it’s exposed to those UVB rays from the sun. Now, roughly 75% of Americans have got insufficient or deficient vitamin D level, surprisingly. The lifestyle now is that we’re enclosed, being indoors most of the day working and wearing sunblock is the main cause of this deficiency. A vitamin D receptor actually is present in every single cell of the body.
Think about this; many of us spend the morning indoors (inside), get into the car (inside), drive to work or a shop etc (inside), drive to the box or the gym (inside), drive home (inside), at home (inside).
The active form of vitamin D is a steroid hormone. Actually, a secosteroid in the same way that testosterone is a steroid, so, the thought of vitamin D3, improving performance and body composition doesn’t seem so strange. Vitamin D stimulates the growth of muscle fibres. They are so critical to your athletic ability. Neuromuscular performance improves with higher vitamin D blood levels and vitamin D has been found to improve both balance and your reaction time. And as we know already, that it can also massively reduce your inflammation levels. So, in knowing all this, how much it will improve your athletic performance depends on how deficient you are to begin with.
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