62. Caveman Corner #1 - Intro to a new CC Blog - The Paleo lifestyle
Andy Graham has been a member at The CC for years. He's a cyclist and loves to train for strength & power to boost his ability.
He attended one of our nutrition seminars years ago and was introduced to the idea that loads of starch and gluten might not be the best thing for your body and performance.
He then went out to research and find a way to eat that worked for him....he found Paleo and it seems to have been incredible for him. 2.5 years later he's still refining and learning about how it can be fitted to an endurance sport like distance cycling.
Some would say you just won't get enough energy without eating loads of carbs....but Andy is finding solutions and putting them to the test.
We both thought it would be a great way to help people if he put his experiences into a blog to create a little discussion and learning to see if it'll help you too.
So here is the first of hopefully many posts that will talk you through how it could help you....
"I’ve been a ‘caveman’ for the last 2.5 years. Huh? Otherwise known as Paleo / Primal / Ancestral Health, eating clean, for me the ‘caveman’ lifestyle has been a fascinating journey into understanding health, nutrition and the science behind what makes your body tick. With agreement from Russ I’d like to share what I’ve learned, and am still learning, in a weekly blog on the CC site.
So what’s this all about? As I got into my forties I wanted to find a lifestyle that would enable me to maintain optimum health & fitness and also be viable well into old age. Importantly it must be a lifestyle that is sustainable, backed up by science and doesn’t involve eating weird stuff, (well not too weird) or living like a monk, life is for living after all…
I researched a bunch of different options - Atkins, Mediterranean, Zone, South Beach, Raw Food, Low Carb, Low Fat (scary !!), Vegetarian and a bunch of others too weird and dangerous to long term health to mention. The only one that made any sense to me was Paleo. This is the only ‘diet’ / lifestyle out there based on 2.5m years of human evolution and therefore sustainable for the long term. Unless you’ve developed down your own evolutionary cul-de-sac, eating Paleo will bring benefits for everyone, some rather unexpected as I will discuss on future blogs !!
In the paleo world there is the concept that 80% of our body composition is due to what we eat, the remaining 20% influenced by lifestyle factors such as exercise, sleep, and how we handle stress. You’re already nailing the exercise component by being part of the CC so this blog will focus mainly on nutrition, sleep and stress management. Getting these sorted will give you a solid foundation to build your training plan.
The nutrition component of Paleo is well established – eat natural foods (vegetables, meat, fish, fowl, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, fruit in moderation) and avoid wherever possible sugar, grains, processed foods, legumes, bad fats (eg. trans fats, industrial seed oils, vegetable oils). In my experience it’s what you avoid that is key.
Eating in this way will reset your body from being a sugar burner (deriving most of your energy from sugar / refined carbs) to it’s natural state of being a fat burner (deriving most of your energy from healthy fats). This is the essence of the Paleo diet - I’ll go into more detail as to how to do it, and the benefits I experienced as I transitioned into ‘fat burner’ mode – it takes most people around 21-30 days – I’ll detail what it felt like for me during and after. I found it helps to understand how your body deals with carbs, fats and protein - we’ll go into this in detail in future blogs.
The sport I’m into is cycling. It’s been an interesting journey to wrap a Paleo lifestyle around a modern day endurance sport - cavemen didn’t ride bikes or run marathons. I’m cycling up Mount Ventoux in October – hopefully I’ll have it nailed by then…
Each week’s blog will cover a different topic, with a link to a resource of the week / further reading. References will be quoted. The intent is to generate debate in the gym and in the chat forum.
Further reading / listening: John Durant: Fundamentals of the Paleo Diet"