Nutrition Adaptation

Always an evolving topic, nutrition and training go hand in hand. I have been paleo for a long time. But to me, it was never about a diet with restrictions. To me, it was a lifestyle change with a new way of thinking about where does my food come from and what happens in my body when I eat this. How does it make me feel and why? That awareness is my nutrition. Paleo… Keto… Banting… it doesn’t matter what you call it, the bottom line is you need to get all your energy systems firing to their max and adaptation is key to this. Fat and ‘higher’ carb are all good things when you use them correctly. However, one thing is clear, staying away from processed food is the goal. Things in packets with too many unpronounceable additives are not the way forward no matter if an athlete or not.

What Paleo means to me

When I started Paleo, it was a hard transition. Only through the help of Nell Stephenson did I manage to make the change in mindset. She asked me to read the book, The Paleo Diet Athletes. I was a little overwhelmed by it. Not quite understanding what I was reading. Nell did a kitchen clean out and shocked me with what she threw out. Then I remember buying the food on the list she gave me, and with a kitchen full, I still had no idea what to eat. I always have a sandwich for lunch. Now I can’t eat bread, so what do I eat. It took me a while to figure out I just eat the things inside without the grain outside. It was so complicated in the beginning. I always have cereal and milk for breakfast, and now neither will do. So what do I do? And changing the habit of buying food was another onslaught. I would view a food buying experience as once a month thing. Now with all the fresh produce Nell had on my list, I had to go once a week at least. This seemed like hard work.

I remember driving to training one day, pondering this paradigm shift and feeling like a horse with flappers on all these years. Suddenly I saw a blue sky for the first time. I started to understand what Nell was trying to tell me when she said eat real food. I realised how much marketing had lied to me. How in my degree of design, packaging made me buy foods that I thought was good for me. Later on, the readings of Michael Pollen were so pertinent here, when he said the more the box says this is good for you, the more it’s not. While the real good things for you, he writes, sits quietly on the produce shelves with no packaging at all.

Another big turning point came when I watched the film, King Corn, learning about how vicious corporate America is. And that I have to step up on what I’m buying and eating. That these food scientists and magazines that tell me what diet and things to eat, they don’t have a clue!

I deepened my journey with the book by Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A year of food life. Although this was not strictly Paleo, it taught me that only in food consumerism can we really make a difference. If we keep buying meat from feedlots, they will never change. If we keep buying banana’s that have travelled more than most families ever do on vacation, we will never encourage local farmer’s markets, or even better, growing our own little vegetable garden.

Now after almost three years of Paleo journey, I have learnt and felt the following:

  1. It is so simple to do, that it looks complicated because we can’t wrap our minds around it. For example, dessert can be just a few grapes. But our tv tells us dessert needs to be some baked thing topped with ice-cream or custard.
  2. Paleo is not a diet. It is not the new Atkins or South Beach. It is not new research where wine at dinner is now good for you, tomorrow new science research says it’s not. Paleo is founded from our caveman days. What we were meant to eat. Yet the science is there supporting this is what our bodies need. Nothing processed.
  3. Our western diet all went haywire the day breakfast cereals came to the table. Before the ‘convenience’ of this boxed food, we were cooking real food that looked like food.
  4. Eating is supposed to be shared, enjoyed and a very social thing. I always felt irritated that I had to eat and sleep. Now I have come to prize these very two things!
  5. Changing to Paleo does you good, and does the earth well. It’s such a great way to just be a better person. You run clean, and you turn the earth back to green.

The reason’s for eating Paleo will become worthwhile to you when you start feeling it on your body. It’s shockingly wonderful and uplifting, and the best gift you can ever give yourself.

My mentor is: Barry Murray

An Irish trail runner by passion, nutrition scientist by profession, he has taught me about getting all your energy systems firing to their max and fat adaptation is key to this. He has also taught me about the power of subtraction, and grounding meaning that it’s about being a ‘Connected Athlete.’ Curious for yourself….

I started a blog on my recipe discoveries and foodie places. I haven’t updated it for a while, but still a good read: paleowinning