Caveman Approved - Page 3
Although the Paleo Diet has gained a following, it has also undergone much criticism. Some debate still exists over what was even included in the diets of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Just as there was not one universal "20th-century" diet, stone-agers' diets likely differed depending on where they roamed.
In fact, there was not a single human species that existed during the Paleolithic Age. It was not until Neolithic times that Homo sapiens emerged as the primary species and many adaptations were made throughout the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods.
While Sally Fallon, author of the book Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, of the Weston A. Price Foundation, an organization that promotes traditional diets and is an advocate for the actual Paleo Diet, she says Dr. Cordain misses the mark.
She disputes his suggestion that we limit our saturated-fat intake. "Our ancestors never ate lean meat," she says. "They wanted fat and hunted older animals selectively for the back fat." Research shows they used this method to stay warm and satiated.
There is also some question as to when certain foods made their way into humans' diets. While the Paleo Diet does not include grains, research recently published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identified 30,000-year-old traces of flour and grinding stones in Italy, Russia and the Czech Republic. Adds Fallon, "Cordain ignored that they did have carbohydrates in their diets and not just from grains. In the Northeast they had something called wapatos, a starchy root vegetable, that grew in the marshes and were easy to gather." This suggests grains may have been part of the human diet long before originally thought.
The Five-Step Plan to Go Paleo
In The Paleo Diet for Athletes, Friel and Dr. Cordain make several adjustments to a strict Paleo Diet. "We realized we needed to modify the diet to fit the modern athlete's training and volume intensity," says Friel. While a modern-day marathoner puts in 26.2 miles of constant running, Dr. Cordain's research suggests that humans in Paleolithic times put in about 10 miles, which included walking, slow running and short bursts of speed as they chased their prey, and had many days with no exercise when their food stores were stocked. Friel and Dr. Cordain propose a five-stage method for incorporating Paleo Diet principles into your training and racing.
Stage 1: Before Racing
Twenty-four to 48 hours before a big event, include some starches, like sweet potatoes. If you are racing first thing in the morning, bend the Paleo rules and ingest some carbohydrates, e.g. a gel, energy bar or sports drink, to help build glycogen stores you will need at the end of your race.
Stage 2: Mid-Run Fuel
For races and training runs longer than 10 miles, take in carbohydrates from the start. This regimen does not vary from what non-Paleo-diet runners eat during a race. Sports drinks, gels, blocks and energy bars are all in-bounds.
Stage 3: Immediately Following a Race or Hard Workout
The body most readily absorbs carbohydrates the first 30 minutes after exercise. During this time you are free to take in starch and sugar as per Stage 1, and, of course, drink fluids to rehydrate.