It seems like every day there is a new boogeyman to watch out for in your food. Gluten, saturated fats and unhealthy preservatives have made the modern grocery store feel more like a minefield. With everyone meticulously reading through the labels to check for those undesirable ingredients, it might seem impossible to eat healthy nowadays.
But Dr. Loren Cordain, the Paleo diet movement founder, has a simple solution: Eat the foods your body was designed to eat. He calls it Paleo and simply put, it encourages people to eat the kind of food their ancestors ate during the Paleolithic days of the hunters and gathers.
“Paleo is not a diet per se, but rather a lifelong program of eating to improve health and reduce the risk for the chronic diseases,” said Dr. Cordain. “With Paleo, we are only trying to mimic the food groups our ancestors ate with contemporary foods that are found in any supermarket.”
Many top CrossFit athletes espouse the benefits of Paleo, including that it gives them a competitive edge. But, Dr. Cordain said that Paleo is just simply good medicine for people of all ages and walks of life. Plus, he noted that when members are healthy, they will most likely come in more often, work harder and see more results.
Typically, 70 percent of the calories in the U.S. diet come from just four food groups: refined sugars, refined cereal grains, refined vegetable oils and dairy products, said Dr. Cordain. These modern additions to the human diet, on top of the many other additives in processed food, are the cause of many of today’s health problems like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
“Reducing or eliminating these four foods and replacing them with fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fish, seafood, fresh meats, poultry, free range eggs and nuts increases the nutrient density of the diet and reduces the risk for chronic disease,” said Dr. Cordain.
He said that many nutritionists become alarmed when they discover that two entire food groups — grains and dairy — are not part of this dietary plan. They assume that it is dangerous because they believe it will be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. However, Dr. Cordain said that because you are substituting less nutrient dense foods with highly nutrient dense foods you are actually getting more of the essential vitamins and minerals you need.
Paleo also allows for a little flexibility with the 85:15 rule, which means that what you do 85 percent of the time will have more of an impact on your health than the occasional “cheats” you do 15 percent of the time. Dr. Cordain said that most people on Paleo are 90 to 95 percent compliant or better, and that includes himself.
He said that when he is 90 to 95 percent compliant he feels his best, remains healthy and is more active. What Box couldn’t benefit from happier, healthier and more active members?