Why Paleo? Why now?

So I know you’re thinking, ok, how’s this going to be any different than any other “diet”? If our ancestors were so awesome, why didn’t they live longer? (hint: modern medicine)

But in all seriousness, everyone is bombarded these days with “eating plans”. Eat This, Not That! Low Fat, High Protein! Biggest loser! Calorie Counting! Exercise more! Weight Watchers! Nutrifast! All of this becomes overwhelming, no? We have more information available to us than ever before and yet we’re larger than we have been in the history of this country. In fact, we are one of the largest countries in the world and we face more health problems than ever before. Why?

As our society has evolved and things have become more “convenient”. we’ve lost some of what made us healthy in the first place – hard work. The thing is, we don’t like hard work. I know I don’t, anyway. But I do like “smart work”. And the heart wants what the heart wants.

So when I started having health issues, specifically related to my stomach, I knew I had to make some changes. So I tried raw food. I tried “bland food” (where everything you eat is ‘white’), high protein, low fat, etc. They all were ok in some areas but disastrous in others. As someone who spends a lot of time working out and running, I knew I needed to find something that helped me feel good but also run well. So along came paleo and I figured, what the hell?

I can go on and on about it but it’s really just this – eat real food. You wouldn’t put fake gas in your brand new car. Why put fake food in your body? You only get one of those. So here are some really good reads about the way in which we eat and why we should be doing better…






2 thoughts on “Why Paleo? Why now?

  1. crossja says:

    How do you feel about Mark’s Daily Apple? http://www.marksdailyapple.com/
    I landed there after a search on “paleo endurance training” and read lots of interesting stuff. I’m curious about the best paleo recovery foods after hard workouts and long runs. It was interesting to read that long runs are apparently “anti paleo,” or at least anti primal. And then I wondered where ultra Emily landed in all that….

    • ultrgrl says:

      First, yes I have read Mark’s daily apple from time to time. He has a wonderful blog with some awesome ideas. The man is great at answering the “but, how do I…?” Here’s sort of my take so far on paleo and long runs, having just run a VERY long run.

      Everything in Moderation
      Overdoing anything can be bad. Too much training, too much eating, too much down time, etc. Paleo is no different. If you find that your diet isn’t giving you enough “oomph” when you go out for those runs, try adding little bits of energy before hand in the form of, well whatever works for you. I still won’t eat pasta for a traditional “carbo-loading” dinner, but I did have mashed potatoes and rice with my steamed broccoli and roasted chicken the night before Rocky Raccoon. We were out of town and sweet potatoes were not on the menu so I had to improvise and eat mashed potatoes. Not as healthy as a sweet potato but it was preferable to going overboard and not eating the carbs at all. Then during the race, there were a few options – bananas, oranges, pickles, raisins and white potatoes which is standard ultra fare. I had brought Lara bars and agave GU (more on that later) along with paleo friendly jerky. So I was able to eat tat for a while. However, after 10 or 12 hours of running, my body started wanting potato chips and gummi bears. Again, what the body wants, the body gets. I also am a firm believer in drinking Gatorade and soda when I’m running for that long. I couldn’t bring coconut water and running for hours on only water well, it isn’t easy! And I haven’t trained enough to do that so on race day, it’s not the time to suddenly try out the paleo plan.

      Long slow runs are bad for you
      I’m going to go into this in a later post about training in general but POSE methodology says if you do a lot of long slow runs, not only will you only be good at long slow running, but you’ll increase your risk of injury and overuse. Traditional training techniques say that I need to have a long run every week leading up the marathon that culminates in a distance of 21-22 miles, otherwise, I don’t have “enough mileage”. Baloney. I just ran 75 miles with my longest training run being 16. Again, this isn’t the post to go into that but if you don’t need to spend 4 hours on a run, why spend 4 hours on a run?

      Ok, so sum it up
      So in a long and winded way, what I’m really saying is that we all have to find what works for us. I will agree that paleo isn’t conducive to multi hour runs (think anything beyond 10k) however, I also believe that once your body becomes accustomed to something, it learns to adapt and that by then putting in some of the old foods, you run the risk of upsetting its balance.

      The best thing to do is work paleo into your training for shorter runs, try to stay close to it in the days leading up to your long run/race, then making adjustments, small ones, as you need to.

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