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Category Archives: Paleo Diet

Let’s Get Physical! #CrossFit #fitness #diet

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or even a nutritionist) to know that no matter how much you exercise, you won’t get the results you want if you’re not eating right.

If you’re exercising for weight loss, around 75% of your success will be down to diet and only 25% to exercise (but don’t under estimate how important exercise is for toning and health!).

Even if weight loss isn’t your primary goal, any kind of intensive exercise requires quality fuel to keep the body going. This isn’t anything new however. We’ve always known that we need to eat right to achieve our goals.

Our goals haven’t always involved multiple bench presses or a rippling six pack however. Archaeologists have suggested that Roman gladiators ate a high carbohydrate, largely vegetarian, diet consisting of foods like barley and legumes. As a result, rather than showing off ripped torsos akin to Russell Crowe’s Maximus Decimus Meridius, gladiators were more on the podgy size. Fat even.

But there was a reason for this – subcutaneous fat protected the nerves from damage, as well as as allowing the fighter to last that little bit longer.

King Henry VIIIMoving on to the Tudor period, the invention of suits of armour rendered a tubby tummy unnecessary for defence, and diets changed to reflect this. Henry VIII was a famed athlete in his youth (before a jousting accident and ongoing domestic problems put paid to that), and fueled this athleticism with huge quantities of meat, including the usual mutton, venison and pork, along with slightly more unusual delicacies such as lamprey, curlew and peacock.

This is not to say you should dash out for a quick swan kebab (that would be illegal). I’m also assuming you’re not aspiring to the porky physique of a Roman gladiator either. But we can learn some lessons from our predecessors. Henry’s diet was pretty deficient in vegetables and fruit (which probably contributed to his later health problems), but was very rich in protein.

Combining protein (grass fed beef paleo diet) with resistance exercise helps to build lean muscle, preserve muscle as you get older and also helps muscles to recover more quickly. Protein is particularly important after exercise, with 20g-30g of high quality protein recommended immediately after exercise.

So how do you get this high quality protein? You could dash out and buy a barrel of whey Gazegill Organics Rare Breed Steak Hamperprotein (and there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you choose to do). But a far more delicious source of protein is good quality meat – how about organic free range chicken, pork and steak?

 

Organic raw milk and cheese are also a good source of protein – these have the added benefit of being a terrific source of calcium – calcium is essential for maintaining healthy bones, and you aren’t going to get very far with your exercise without healthy bones.

Even the tubby gladiators knew the importance of calcium, but they got theirs from brews made from charred wood or bone ash, which sounds like a far less tasty option.

So why don’t you get out in the fresh air and enjoy a bit of brisk exercise, before coming home to a delicious, tasty, organic grass fed steak, enjoying it safe in the knowledge that not only is it good for the cow, but also good for you?

Sounds perfect if you ask me…

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Embracing Your Inner Cave Man. Paleo Diet.

Eating like your prehistoric ancestors is big news at the moment. You must have been living in a cave if you haven’t heard about it. Different versions of it exist, including the paleo diet and the primal blueprint, but the basic premise is that we should be eating the kinds of foods our loin cloth wearing ancestors enjoyed.

This isn’t to to say we have to chow down on brontosaurus steaks. More that we should be Paleo-Diet-300x224ditching processed foods and focussing on basic food groups such as meat, vegetables, fruit and nuts, with grain, legumes and dairy verboten (although more on dairy later). A barbecue lovers delight (there is no calorie counting or restrictions on quantity), this way of eating allows you to pile your plate high, although if you rely on a mocha choca whipped cream latte to get you through the day you’re going to struggle. Protein is in, carbohydrates (except those found in fruit and veg) is out. Also out is sugar and alcohol, and salt is far more restricted. Interestingly, this way of eating encourages the consumption of more fat than has hitherto been recommended, with even saturated fat back on the menu.

rhino-150x150But what’s the rationale for this radical departure from conventional nutritional wisdom? The basic idea is that our bodies are built to digest the kind of foods we ate just after we waved goodbye to our ape cousins. In the absence of Tesco we relied upon what we could kill or gather ourselves, so Dairy Milk chocolate was out but nuts, berries and meat was in. We are biologically designed to process these products effectively and have done so for over 200,000 years (whereas agriculture and the production of baddies such as grains has been going on for less than 10,000 years, which in evolutionary terms isn’t very long).

Eating in a prehistoric way is therefore believed to put much less stress on our bodies, and could address a whole range of medical complaints, from obesity and diabetes through to cardiovascular disease and disorders of the immune system. Whilst some proponents of the prehistoric way of eating avoid dairy entirely, a large number of people do include dairy into their diet due to it’s health benefits, with the proviso it needs to be unpasteurised and from organic, grass fed cows.

Gazegill Organics Rare Breed Steak HamperSo what does this mean for you? If you think the lure of unlimited steaks is difficult to resist, there’s a multitude of websites on the net that can give you more information and help you decide. If, however, you’re not quite ready to give up your spaghetti carbonara, there’s still food for thought. A huge part of this way of eating focuses on the quality of the produce you are consuming. Prehistoric man was not familiar with battery chickens and neither should you be. A factory farmed cow doesn’t cut the mustard; the emphasis is strongly on organic, happy meat, veg and dairy (if you choose to eat it). The benefits of this are clear – as well as not containing traces of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics, organic produce such as that from gazegill comes from producers who care about the product and the welfare of their animals, rather paleo-lifestyle-real-food-pyramid-300x248than focussing on the maximum profit and yield model favoured by large scale producers. So even if the closest you get to eating like your prehistoric ancestors is choosing an organic sausage (complete with bread bun and ketchup), you can be proud that somewhere, deep inside, your inner caveman is alive and well…