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PALEO vs. CLEAN EATING!

Posted Sep 29th, 2013 in Blog, General, NUTRITION

PALEO vs. CLEAN EATING!

Whats in your... Belly?  

By: Ashley

So, you show up at the gym ready to PR your lifts and crush a WOD. You get warmed up, chat with your buddy next to you about your weekend, and head into your sets of 7 for dead lifts. Next thing you know, its the fourth set, you’re feeling dizzy and that light weight isn’t looking so ‘easy’ anymore. You figure it’s a fluke and try to push through. 
Fifth set - “Was that my 1RM?”.... Sixth set - “How the he** am I going to do the WOD!?”. Now, you start to reflect on the possible reasons as to why you’re feeling this way. 

I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before, and you’ll keep hearing it. NUTRITION IS THE FOUNDATION FOR PERFORMANCE! It is the largest portion of the pyramid of CrossFit that builds you into the best athlete you can be - from the bottom up. 

What we put into our bodies affects everything else in our life. The way we look and feel, our performance at work, our sleep, time with our families and loved ones, performance at the box - literally everything. Yet, we all seem to put it as a lower priority than we should.

I get it, trust me, IT'S DIFFICULT! But guess what, it's also WORTH IT! 

There's a couple different ways to approach ‘Fueling your Body’ for the machine it can be, that we at CrossFit St. Catharines support. 

Lets talk PALEO first. 


What is Paleo? 

  • The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. – Robb Wolf

The Paleo Diet is often referred to as the Caveman Diet, hence several references back to the diet working with your genetics. We were genetically programmed to eat these natural foods, rather than all of these genetically modified, man made crap shoots that our bodies are dying from quicker than they should. 

The idea behind Paleo is that it causes your body to burn fat for fuel decreasing your body fat %, avoiding storing excess glucose as fat and it helps maintain hormonal balances to decrease inflammation in the body. 

So when you’re cruising around at the grocery store, stick to the outer aisles and pick up things that are natural to this beautiful earth we terrorize everyday....

GRAB things like this:
MEAT - chicken, fish, beef, pork, bacon, lamb, seafood, turkey etc...
VEGETABLES - leafy greens, zucchini, peppers, carrots, mushrooms amongst many others... 
FRUITS - apples, avocados, berries, mango, limes, pineapple... 
OILS/FATS - coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, grass fed butters...
NUTS/SEEDS - almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds...

AVOID things like this: 
DAIRY - butter, milk, cheese, cream cheese, ice cream, pudding, yogurt...
SOFT DRINKS - any pop! 
FRUIT JUICE - high in sugar = bad for your soon to be fine tuned machine! 
GRAINS - cereal, bread, oatmeal, crackers, pasta...
LEGUMES - beans, peas....
STARCHY VEGETABLES - potatoes (this is a gray area) 
ENERGY DRINKS - red bull, 5 hour energy - build your energy yourself, not in a can! 
ALCOHOL - unfortunately, almost all alcohol is not paleo! 
CANDY/SWEETS - sad I know, but we’re so much better off without it! 


Again, I know this seems crazy, and really difficult. At first, it will be, but YOU CAN DO IT, and it will feel amazing when you start to feel like humans are supposed to feel, rather than a slug who can barely function. 

Energized! Happy! Excited to wake up! Better workouts! Better sleep! Higher brain function! More concentration! How could you not want those things? 

Now, for those of you who look at Paleo and say “Yeah... Right. Not going to happen, Lady”, that's okay too. There's always more than one way to do this! 

Lets talk - Clean Eating

You can always eat clean, and fuel your body properly without being a strict Paleo Caveman/woman. 
Eating clean is a bit more flexible in the aspect that you can add in things like legumes, some dairy, and whole grains. This kind of nutrition is great for people who are looking to maintain their physique and can tolerate things like dairy and wheat. But, be ‘picky’ when doing your groceries. Go for the most natural form of food as possible, rather than grabbing something like Uncle Ben’s quick rice or a box of creamy mashed potatoes. (Looks like mini cardboard flakes, yum?). If you’re going to spend the money on these things, why not actually buy what's worth your dollar in nutrient value. Makes sense right? 
The grocery store makes it easier and easier to buy the quick fix because as a society we are in the constant hustle and bustle of ‘everything has to get done NOW NOW NOW!’. Don’t fall into that crap! Your kids need to be fed as soon as they get home from school? OH NO! What will they do? Teach them some patience. Your spouse is complaining that dinner isn’t ready yet? My heart bleeds. Throw them a bone and tell them to learn some manners, and get  off their butt and learn to cook with you. You’ve had such a busy, hectic, long day of work and errands that you can possibly bear the thought of cooking something? Congrats!!! Now, get over it. Your’e not the only person in the world with a job (or two), kids (or dogs), commute, school and lots of other fun stuff to do. Its called life, heaven forbid we're actually living it. 
Cooking is cooking, preparing food is preparing food - do it right or continue to be unhappy with yourself - you make the choices, no one else, own it. 

Whether you are a single person, or a family of 4, if you take the time to prepare something healthy, you’re improving your life and your families. Knowing your putting something respectful into your body and theirs, improving how you feel will improve how you interact with others. 

I pick a day and spend 2 hours a week preparing foods for either a week, or more sometimes. It saves me time during the week when I am extremely busy and back and forth between jobs, the box, and my own training. I don’t have time to be cooking things from scratch, but I also don’t want to go and grab the ‘quick and easy’ at the grocery store. So, I PLAN AHEAD! I pick 3-4 recipes that I love, pick a day that I know I have a couple hours, and I CRUSH IT - like a WOD! How many meals can I make for the week - for time!? Can I beat my last time and prepare 14 meals in 1:50 this week? I bet I can!
Get the kids involved! Have them help you wash the lettuce, roll up some veggies in tinfoil, line up the containers and maybe have them write the labels to get the more familiar with the foods they are eating too! Make it fun for everyone, and they’ll look forward to it too. Don’t make it a chore, or you’ll never stick to it. 


CrossFit is a life changing experience in so many ways. You show up ready to kick some ass with your new found friends, and put so much effort into your mental game, your log book, your attire for Pete sake - why not start putting it into what fuels all of that? 

Eat Right to Play Right! 

Stay tuned for more posts on nutrition along with tasty recipes that are delicious! 


~ Ashley ~  

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