Sometime around now is the third anniversary of my eating Paleo. Whatever that means today, back then I was a hardcore Robb Wolf-Paleo-is-the-best-thing-ever guy. No gluten, no wheat, no dairy.
My first year eating this way was filled with reading and research, discovery, feeling better, improved energy, losing bodyfat, and deeper immersion into CrossFit. Vegetables became a big player in my daily life; I’m confident in the past three or so years I’ve stir-fried more broccoli, asparagus, kale and many others veggies than in a couple of decades combined before. Bacon re-entered my life, happily.
Over time I added to my knowledge of food and nutrition. I know enough to realize there’s always so much more to learn. Intense exercise on a very regular basis creates special nutritional needs, my body finally told me. Even though I’ve eaten healthily, in a bodybuilding-weight training kind of way for many years, Strict Paleo let me down early in my second year. There just aren’t enough calories, starches and easily-burnable carbs in strict Paleo to support four-five days per week of CrossFit, plus another one or two traditional weight-training workouts.
Paleo makes all kinds of sense for most people. If nothing else, those on a Paleo diet or leading the Paleo lifestyle eat very little crap, damn little sugar, and no gluten. I’m good with all this, considering putting no poison into my body an easy position.
Fat has steadily become a bigger player in my total calories. I’ve been consuming grass-fed butter and MCT oil in my coffee for more than a year now. Lots of it. Eggs to the tune of two or three dozen weekly. My blood lipid levels, total cholesterol and anything else testable is superior. My calcium heart test result score is zero. Nada.
Heading into year four, I’ve intensely modified my positions. Life and gym experience has sent me a firm message. Perhaps it’s also age and decades of weight-training and sports taking a toll on me. Paleo remains a framework for my food/fuel consumption, but around my workouts you’ll find a great deal of rice and potatoes. Sweet potatoes and yes, white potatoes! Dairy came back into my life a few months ago, with no apparent harm done. Full-fat cottage cheese, aged white cheese, goat and feta. Great protein and fat sources!
High-quality whey protein is important as well. Supplements are critical in the immediate post-workout window, in my opinion. I use Progenex Recovery and Vitargo for that still-in-the-gym shake. My only insulin spike of the day, hopefully, takes place then. Jam that protein into your muscles and accelerate the rebuilding of your muscles and body.
So I’m no longer Paleo, but Paleo has proven to be critical as a template for healthy eating. Maybe I’m Paleo / Zone. I prefer to think of myself as smart, thinking, eating as much real food as possible, and a healthy man. Yes, a Master’s category CrossFit athlete, but healthy and active for real life first.