Boost Your Performance With The Paleo Diet
by Nico Richter
The Paleo diet – also called caveman diet or stone-age diet – is constantly gaining popularity both among athletes and those who want to shed a few pounds. Why? Because by eating only natural, unprocessed foods, we provide our body with all the important nutrients it needs to function perfectly and perform better in the long run.
What is Paleo about?
The Paleo diet is based on the lifestyle of hunter-gatherers who have been eating only foods they could hunt or gather for about 2.5 million years. Typical foods you’ll find on a Paleo eater’s plate are meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Cereal products (pasta, bread, etc.), dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese, etc.), sugar, legumes (beans), as well as processed vegetable oils (sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, etc.) on the other hand are banned from their diet. The underlying theory states that those foods have been consumed by man for a comparatively short time period (since the introduction of agriculture and livestock breeding, approximately 5,000 – 10,000 years ago, or since the industrial revolution about 100 years ago) and that our organism hasn’t had enough time to adjust to these new products.
Healthy ever after without cereals & co.
It’s the health benefits of the Paleo diet that push most people to change their nutrition habits. By renouncing potentially harmful “anti-nutrients,” fast-digesting carbohydrates and foods that trigger intolerances (gluten, lactose, casein, etc.), many Paleo fans have been able to celebrate nutritional successes ranging from weight loss to reduced allergy symptoms, improved skin complexion or a substantially increased fitness performance.
Not a diet, but a dietary change
One thing that’s vital here: Paleo is not a short-term (crash) diet, but a dietary change for the long term. It’s recommended to start with a 30-day conversion phase where you systematically and strictly avoid all non-Paleo foods. This phase helps your body “become clean,” allows inflammation sites to die down, aids your metabolism (which has to get used to fat burning) and serves to get to know your body in its “pure, ideal state.” Then, you can decide yourself – based on the results you noticed during this conversion phase – whether or how strictly you want to continue with Paleo. Be advised: We’ve found that after 30 days of Paleo eating, hardly anyone wants to go back to their old nutrition habits.
Paleo lifestyle – More than a diet
By sticking to what evolution has shown us, we can improve our entire lifestyle, not only our eating habits. When it comes to exercise, sleep, stress, etc. we often don’t give our body what it needs and what it has been optimized for during hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. Whether it’s knee injuries due to too tight and too cushioned shoes, too little or low-quality sleep (due to too high ambient lighting) or chronical stress – the idea behind Paleo can help you cope with all that.
Nico is the founder of the biggest Paleo blog in the German-speaking world, www.paleo360.de, and author of (German) Paleo cook books “PALEO – Power for Life” and “PALEO 2 – Power Every Day”. He not only follows the Paleo guidelines when it comes to nutrition, but also adopts the findings of human evolution when it comes to sports, sleep, etc. He even started barefoot running recently.