The paleo diet meal plan for athletes is a plan based on foods that make up the Paleolithic diet, with a few minor changes. But first, we should cover what the paleo diet is all about.
The Paleolithic diet, popularly referred to as the caveman diet, is a nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that the human species consumed during the Paleolithic era – a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended nearly 10,000 years ago with the introduction of agriculture. Based upon commonly available modern foods, the modern paleo diet consists mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.
The paleo diet was first popularized in the mid 1970’s by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin, and has been promoted and adapted by numerous authors and researchers in several books and academic journals. Paleolithic nutrition comes from the premise that modern humans are genetically adapted to the diet of their ancestors, and that since human genetics hasn’t really changed since the introduction of agriculture, that an ideal diet for human health and well-being is one that mirrors this ancestral diet.
The Paleolithic diet is a modern dietary regimen that seeks to copy the diet of hunter-gatherers of the pre-agricultural era. The Paleo Diet consists of foods that can be hunted or fished, such as meat and seafood, and can be gathered, such as eggs, fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables, just to name a few. Foods to be avoided include grains like wheat, corn and oats; vegetable oils and margarines; legumes like soy, peanuts, and lentils; sodas, sugar, and fruit juices; dairy products; and processed foods and preservatives.
For the most competitive athletes, however; they need to slightly bend the rules of the paleo diet. After all, they are placing demands on their bodies that our caveman ancestors never even dreamed of. High sustained energy output, followed by the need for quick recovery, requires some latitude. The latitude needed can be outlined while describing the athlete’s 5 stages of eating as related to exercising.
Stage 1: Eating Before Exercising: We would like athletes to eat low to moderate “glycemic index carbohydrates” at the very least a couple of hours prior to a strenuous or long workout or race. Some fat and protein may be consumed in this meal. All foods should be low in fiber. Take in 200 to 300 calories for each hour remaining until exercise begins.
Stage 2: Eating During Exercising: If you are participating in long or hard workouts and races, taking in high “glycemic index carbohydrates” through fluids is what we recommend. Sports drinks are excellent for this. Anything that will last less than an hour you’re better off just drinking water. When deciding how much to consume, 200 to 400 calories per hour is a good starting point.
Stage 3: Eating Immediately After: The first 30 minutes post workout and post race is the most critical for recovery. This should be your highest priority at the conclusion of your physical activity. As such, a recovery drink that contains both carbohydrate and protein in a 4-5:1 ratio is recommended. 16 ounces of fruit juice with a banana, 3 to 5 tablespoons of glucose, about 3 tablespoons of protein powder, and 2 pinches of salt would be ideal.
Stage 4: Eating For Extended Recovery: For the next couple of hours continue to focus your diet on carbohydrates. This would be the time to eat non-optimal foods such as pasta, bread, bagels, rice, corn and other foods rich in glucose.This is necessary for the carbohydrate recovery process. Raisins, potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams would also be a good choice.
Stage 5: Eating For Long Term: You should return to eating a Paleo diet by focusing on optimal foods to recover for the remainder of the day.
The paleo diet is a natural, very simple way of eating that promotes dramatic health benefits and weight loss results you will never achieve from any other diet, weight loss program or fad diet you may or may not heard about. Following this diet you could achieve the best health of your life, be in the best shape in your life, and experience more energy than ever before!
However; this dietary approach is not without controversy. Some nutritionists and anthropologists suggest that this may be a fad diet. Some researchers dispute the underlying evolutionary logic. They have also disputed certain dietary recommendations and restrictions on the grounds that they provide no health benefits and may actually pose health risks.