I'm a big fan of exercise. There's nothing quite like the feeling of a good workout. During a normal week, I try to do 4-5 days of cardio and 3 days of weight lifting. Recently, I wanted to give cross-fit a try since the program incorporates both cardio and resistance training.
After a session, I decided I really liked the workout. I was a little surprised however when I saw the diet the cross-fit gym advocated: The Paleo Diet. Posted on the walls were things like "you're probably allergic to grain" and "avoid dairy". Also written in bold letters were foods that "you should eat". These included primarily meat, poultry, fish, fruits and vegetables.
|Image from: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-succeed-with-the-primal-blueprint/#axzz1wz8D8wju|
To me, the Paleo Diet sounds a lot like a revised version of the Atkin's diet (and we all know how that tune goes); emphasis on protein, fruits, vegetables and a view that carbs are the enemy. As I understand on the Paleo Diet, complex carbs like pasta and rice are allowed in moderation for athletes, especially during recovery. But in general, it is a high-protein, high-fat, low-carb diet that promises weight loss and the potential resolution of health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
Apart from the tendency to disordered eating I've witnessed many people experience when trying to eat "low-carb", here's the big problem with the Paleo Diet: it identifies the right problem (obesity in America) with the wrong solution (low-carb dieting). Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for our bodies, especially during periods of intense activity (like....say, a cross-fit workout). That said, there is no question America is in the midst of an obesity epidemic. The solution to the problem is simple in theory: eating healthy foods in smaller portions and moving more. The application of this solution is the challenge and involves much more than simple calories in, calories out dogma. Truly becoming healthy involves a commitment from both your mind and your body, and that is no easy task.
Still, it's important for those seeking weight loss or general health to remember that the latest fad diet is usually not the solution to lasting change. A few other problems with the Paleo Diet are the nutrient deficiencies that can occur overtime when restricting dairy and grain products (for example, Calcium, Vitamin D, B Vitamins, fiber and more). For those with health problems like diabetes, the Paleo Diet can increase risk of blood sugar abnormalities due to the lack of carbohydrates.
So, did I become a cross-fitter? No, but not because I was offended by the diet. I actually really enjoyed the workout, but the price tag just doesn't fit the budget right now. Instead, I do similar workouts at home and stick to a truly well-balanced, healthy diet.
It looks a little something like this.
What are your thoughts on the Paleo Diet? Have you tried it?