Excerpt: The Paleo Diet Cookbook
Chapter 14 Introduction
Anytime a new book, popular song, movie, or scientific discovery is recognized on the world’s stage, the process has as much to do with the people who embrace the thought, creation or idea as the person or persons who created it. Accordingly, I extend my gratitude and appreciation to all CrossFitters and athletes worldwide who have embraced The Paleo Diet as their nutritional plan for achieving maximal performance and optimal health and wellbeing. Your support and enthusiasm for humankind’s native diet has made “Paleo” a household word–Thank you!
For athletes and very active people, a few necessary tweaks are needed to The Paleo Diet to help you maximize performance. Although Joe Friel and I have written extensively about these slight adjustments in my second book, The Paleo Diet for Athletes, I’ll emphasize some of the key points you need to keep in mind as you prepare your meals and snacks. The basic rules of the game: lean meats, seafood, fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and healthy oils still apply.
However, to fuel your muscles for long runs, swims, bicycle rides and other hard workouts, you will need to eat concentrated carbohydrate sources to refuel muscle glycogen, particularly before and after workouts. Yams, sweet potatoes, bananas, dried fruit, fresh fruit juices, “very high sugar” and “high sugar” fresh fruits (see Chapter 1) are great sources of concentrated starches and sugars, and unlike refined grains, they are net alkaline yielding thereby preventing the loss of an amino acid (glutamine) from your bloodstream that helps to preserve your muscle mass.
In the post-exercise period, besides concentrated sugars and starches, make sure you get plenty of lean protein, as it is your best source of the three branch chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) which directly stimulate muscle growth and regeneration. Listed below are the total branch chain amino acid concentrations in 1000-calorie servings of common foods.
Food Total Branch Chain Amino Acids (grams)
Dried egg white (84 % protein) 43.4
Egg white, raw 43.0
Whey protein (80 % protein) 35.4
Lean meats 33.6
Soy protein (70 % protein) 32.9
Hardboiled eggs 13.3
Fresh vegetables 7.7
Whole grains 6.1
Nuts and seeds 4.6
Starchy root vegetables 1.7
Obviously, I don’t recommend concentrated whey or soy proteins, milk, beans or whole grains as sources of branch chain amino acids because these are non-Paleo foods which adversely affect your health and well being. If you don’t have an allergy to eggs, or an autoimmune disease, egg whites added to fresh fruit smoothies are ideal post-exercise drinks. These delicious drinks are not only concentrated sources of branch chain amino acids, but the easily digestible, blended fruits rapidly restore your muscle glycogen. (Check out “Chris’ Famous Post Ride Smoothie”.) It’s delicious and good for you.
Notice that small amounts of added salts are included in a number of recipes in this chapter. Adding small quantities of salt to your meals and snacks is perfectly acceptable for hard working athletes who may lose excessive salt in their sweat. A final note, I don’t recommend potatoes for anyone, athletes included, because they are not only high-glycemic load foods, but are concentrated sources of two saponins (alpha chaconine and alpha solanine) which compromise the intestinal barrier.