At RFS CrossFit we recommend and personally practice a Paleo Diet. Paleo is the alteration of caloric intake in regards to quality, not quantity. By eliminating the pro-inflammatory foods such as grain, dairy and legumes, you can begin to dial into your body’s desired omega ratio and level off cortisol levels. For millions of years, humans ate a diet that was high in protein, natural fats and nutrient dense, simple carbohydrates such as vegetables and fruit. With the consumption of seasonal fruit and vegetables that grew naturally in the area, humans kept their omega 3 to omega 6 ratio at 1:1. By eating free range game and livestock, humans only ingested the protein that was raised on grass and other resources. Sources such as nuts and seeds contain omega 6, and natural fats found in oils such as olive oil, fish oil and coconut oil are high in omega 3′s. Free range cattle and wild game are high in omega 3 because they graze on plants and other free range animals. The ancient omega ratio is 1:1 because nature provides a natural balance that is designed to be sustainable.
The advent of agriculture was the single most influential event in the existence of mankind. With the ability to settle a specific piece of land and become sustainable, the need to consume wild game becomes reduced. The farming of grain, corn and legumes created a more stagnant society because it allowed for cattle farming to become more reliable and thus more readily available. Now with the addition of grains, corn and legumes, the consumption of nutrient dense vegetables and fruit is greatly reduced. The kicker is that the grain, corn, legumes and subsidies such as seed oils and technologically modified corn oils, are high in omega 6. The omega 6 plays a critical role in the inflammation process, but when kept in balance with the omega 3 ratio, the body is in harmony. However, when the amount of omega 6 is greatly increased, typical in modern diets, the body is far from harmonious and is in a dangerous state of inflammation, causing the likelihood of inflammatory disease to skyrocket. The human level of omegas has now been altered to look more like 1:20 or 3 to 6.
So you can see the obvious dangers of a modern diet versus what the body has created adaptations of over thousands of years. Not only has our omega ratio been thrown way out of balance but now we have traded in more nutrient dense foods for those with little nutrient combination. Beyond that, as an agricultural society we have become complacent with confidence in readily available food. We no longer hunt for our proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Instead we have created leisure time and have become less and less active. Even the normally healthy proteins with good fats have become cattle and poultry that is fed grain and grain based feed. So therefore, the usually naturally high omega 3 fatty meats have been replaced with meat this is high in omega 6. This creates a vicious cycle that society is trapped within.
A paleolithic style of eating is a reversion of diet to a way early humans existed for thousands of years. Since the advent of agriculture, humans have not yet adapted to this modern diet, and therefore preferably run more efficiently on the ancestral diet of the pre-agricultural human. Studies of humans found in the Ohio Valley suggest that remains dating back to pre-agricultural society of humans were taller, stronger, had more bone density and solid, healthy teeth. Remains from the same area however, which date to a post-agricultural society show shorter, fatter humans full of disease, weak bone density and decayed teeth. This is the proof of the affects of a high-carbohydrate, low-nutrient diet.
We burn all food as one of three types; either carbohydrate, fat or protein. ALL carbohydrates are burned within your body as SUGAR, whether it is the broccoli, potato, whole wheat wrap, wonder bread, apple, etc., it is still burned as sugar. Your body cannot and does not differentiate between whole grain or fruit. The difference lies in the nutrients that your digestive system can actually extract and utilize. With the consumption of fruits and vegetables, your body’s ideal carbohydrate, you stay balanced. When grains enter your system, your body begins to deploy a defense mechanism better known as enzymes to wage war against your digestive system, thus disabling your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients.
With a paleo diet you can begin to consume more quality foods and replace foods that offer little nutrition and cause a whole host of inflammatory problems. The human body ideally operates on this paleolithic way of life and thus performance of every other physical measurement is improved.