Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend the Reebok CrossFit Games in Los Angeles. For those unfamiliar with the trendy new sport – CrossFit is a fitness company, founded in 2000, that has become its own competitive sport. The sport, which is the fastest growing fitness trend in history, incorporates many different types of athletics such as gymnastics, power lifting, calisthenics, kettlebells, tire thowing and sprinting, among many others. Suffice it to say, the competitive CrossFit athletes are some of the fittest people in the world. But it’s not just the podium contenders that are in crazy shape. Even the general fans and non-competitive participants are incredibly strong, a fact I experienced first hand at the games!
The stadium was filled with lean, mean, CrossFit machines and the stadium was also filled with paleo food stands. I realized instantly that these two things go hand in hand…the svelte and strong physiques and the paleo diet. Yes, it turns out that paleo is a big part of the sport and the community as a whole. I decided to learn more about the eating regimen, so I went to renowned executive weight loss specialist and nutrition expert, Adele Tevlin to weigh in on why and how it works!
What does it mean to “eat paleo?”
The paleo diet is a way of eating the resembles the way our Paleolithic ancestors used to eat. The focus is on lean proteins, healthy fats, lots of vegetables, fruit that is seasonal and some root vegetables, like sweet potatoes. There are not typically grains permitted on this diet because the Paleolithic people existed before the agricultural revolution.
Why is it so popular?The paleo diet has been around for a very long time but it has become all the rage now because of the CrossFit movement. CrossFit is a big proponent of this diet because of the gains in lean muscle and loss of fat it provides. It has also become popular because it yields amazing results not just in body composition but also in total body health. It lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and keeps insulin steady throughout the day.
Is it realistically sustainable?
It is absolutely sustainable! Eating this way is so easy to do even while eating out at restaurants. The focus is on high quality protein, lots of vegetables and healthy fats, which is not only simple, but also extremely healthy. Ordering steak and veggies, or a salad with chicken, or an omelette with avocado is delicious and sustainable because it's what your body is designed to eat!
Is having a diet high in fat and protein healthy?Having a diet high in fat and protein is healthy if it's the right kind of fat and protein. The paleo diet promotes healthy fats, like omega 3 fatty acids found in fish and eggs and mono unsaturated fats sound in avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil and grass fed butter. These fats lower bad cholesterol and reduce body fat. And the protein all comes from grass fed, organic poultry, eggs, meat and especially wild meats like bison, which is extremely lean. Protein is the building block that we need for health and recovery.
Love this way of eating!!