When trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and with that, practicing every day exercise, you may find yourself wondering whether you should be trying a diet that restricts big food groups, mainly grains and dairy, like the paleo diet does. In a nutshell, the paleo diet promotes the food choices of the people that lived in the Paleolithic period, eventually leading to a diet plan based on meat, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Basically, this makes the paleo diet a lifestyle plan filled with a lot of protein, some heart healthy fats and moderate amounts of carbs that come from fruit.
The tricky part comes with the fact that even tough proteins build our body muscles; carbs are the real fillers, giving our bodies the necessary energy to endure high impact exercises. Also, nowadays athletes have been known to fill themselves with high processed treats like muesli bars and oatmeal cookies that give higher levels of energy, and are grain based, the key ingredient banned on the paleo menu. But, paleo experts say that it’s very hard for our bodies to properly digest these types of food, and that’s why we are facing even greater risk for obesity, high blood pressure levels, cardiovascular diseases, fatigue, constant headaches and similar chronic illnesses. The solution, they say, is in the healthier paleo options, consisting of lean meats, fish, eggs and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Tips for staying healthy and still having enough energy for sports activities:
- Go for healthy paleo choices like lean chicken or turkey meat, and avoid skin parts. Trim any visible fat from the meat, and instead of frying, grill or roast the meat
- Opt for fish, since the omega 3 fatty acids are very good for your hearth, and fish is a good low-fat protein source. Salmon is a very good source of calcium, which is another thing you should be looking out for, since diary is on the restricted list
- Stay away from greasy meats and processed meat products like salami and sausage and beacon
- Increase your intake in healthy non-meat proteins like different types of mushrooms (champignons, shitake or portobello mushrooms) and hearth healthy nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews and chestnuts
- Start each day with a fresh piece of fruit, or even better a fruit smoothie. Besides fruit, try to incorporate some green leafy vegetable like spinach or kale, or mix one scoop of spirulina powder
Paleo Diet Basics (VIDEO)
Although it may be difficult to adapt to this new lifestyle as an athlete at the beginning, you can’t lose anything if you try. Just give it your best shot and don’t give up easily. To make sure that you don’t starve yourself during and after a regular exercise, before you start the workout fuel your body with a piece of fruit and few eggs, prepared by your own choice. Drink plenty of water, which should be your main beverage during all stages of the paleo diet.
Immediately after the exercise drink a fruit smoothie and a few hours after that eat a protein-rich dinner like grilled turkey breast with cauliflower puree and beet salad with arugula and halved cherry tomatoes. Mix it up, and play with it, until you’ve found the ideal food choices that won’t leave you feeling deprived after a long workout.