A paleo diet isn’t a diet in the calorie restriction or weight loss sense. It’s an empowering lifestyle choice that has the potential to maximise your performance. Here are six tips for Paleo Recovery Nutrition. This is by no means a detailed discussion of each of these food groups but gives you an idea of what foods are essential to performance.
Rehydrate with clean water
Hydration is something that you should always consider outside of your training time. Adequate fluid and mineral intake on a day-to-day basis is a great way to perform better during your training.
Replenish glycogen with safe starches
There are many nutrient dense sources of carbohydrate such as belowground tubers and roots like sweet potatoes, squash and celeriac and above-ground fruit and vegetables that make up the paleo carbohydrate choices. How much carbohydrate and what types you need in your diet will vary according to your lean mass, the volume and intensity of your training and your goals. There’s a balance between too little (a common problem with athletes switching to a paleo framework) and too much (common when following the modern Western diet).
Rebuild and grow with Protein
When training and putting your muscles under strain, your body requires more protein than a sedentary person. Our bodies are good at driving and determining our protein requirements. Aim to choose the best quality sources of meat, fish and eggs that your budget allows.
Reduce inflammation with healthy fats
When you eat healthy meat, fish, butter, avocado, coconut and nuts, you receive energy-giving, clean burning fats. These should make up the majority of the fat in our diet. When you eat a grain fed, shed reared animal, leave the fat on your plate. If the animal is organic and grass fed, its fat will be a great source of nutrients. When frying or roasting, use fats suitable to high heat like coconut oil, ghee or butter, these remain stable at high heat. Save the extra virgin olive oil for dressing salads rather than cooking. We need to get essential fatty acids from our diet, these include omega 3 and omega 6. Omega 3 fats are found in cold-water oily fish, grass fed meat, eggs and walnuts. In take of omega 3 fats should be balanced with omega 6. Omega 6 essential fatty acids are found in grains, meat and sunflower oils, which are all prevalent in the modern Western diet. This balance determines whether your body is an inflammatory or anti inflammatory environment. The ideal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 is between 1:1 and 1:3. A typical modern Western pro-inflammation diet, including plentiful grains, vegetable oils, farmed fish and eggs from caged hens, can distort the omega 3 to omega 6 ratios to as high as 1:30.
Avoid any fats that are highly processed. Trans fatty acids and hydrogenated fats are closer to plastic than food. Best left out of your diet are margarine, canola oil, corn oil, vegetable oil grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and rice bran oil or anything with these fats in the ingredients list.
Rebalance Ph levels with colourful vegetables and fruit
Plants and vegetables are alkaline in nature, while animal foods are
acidifying; one of the greatest misconceptions of those switching to a paleo framework is that it’s an all-meat diet. But rather, it’s an opportunity to maximise the variety and quality of colourful nutrient dense fruits and vegetables you choose to eat in your diet. Forget 5-a-day. Five to eight vegetables and one or two fruit is a great daily target for balancing your Ph levels.
Reseal the gut with pre and probiotic foods
Training stress can play havoc with your gut health. The normal human gut has hundreds of bacterial species, some good and some not good. The overall number and relative quantity of each type effects our health and vitality. Prebiotics, in the form of resistant starch selectively stimulate and feed the good bacteria in our intestines, helping to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria. Some common paleo food sources of resistant starch include green (unripe) bananas and cooked and cooled potatoes. Probiotics, are foods that contain gut-friendly, good bacteria. Paleo sources include fermented and unpasteurised foods like sauerkraut and pickles, look for the ones sold in the fridge with the label “live and active cultures”. Progress the inclusion of both these gut friendly foods slowly. A daily, small and frequent dose that progresses, as you feel good should be your target. You’re unlikely to find two identical paleo approaches, because we are unique in our dietary needs. But we should all move towards a real-food diet and be interested in the provenance and quality of food.
Words by Paul Roberts of Tribal MSP Online.
Enthusiastic and passionate about performance and health, Paul created the Tribal MSP Online program as a way to share his experience and guide athletes’ intuition and perception to create great success.