Coach Paddy is our go-to coach for everything nutrition he has spent years building his knowledge and has helped countless people improve not just their diet but their overall lifestyle. As we leave our summer holidays behind he is looking to help those who may have let their nutrition slip by hosting a 30-Day Paleo Challenge for September.
Before the launch of the Paleo challenge, we wanted to explore what the Paleo diet is, the benefits of this style of eating, and how to incorporate it into your life.
Firstly, what is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo diet or the Palaeolithic diet is a diet that focuses on foods similar to those our ancestors would have followed during the Palaeolithic era.
It’s comprised of lean meats, fish, fresh fruit and veg, nuts and seeds, or foods that in the past would have been obtained through either hunting or gathering. It limits food that became readily available from farming, including dairy products, grains and legumes.
Its purpose is to return to a way of eating that is more optimal for our bodies. One of the reasons for the diet's popularity is the belief that the human body is genetically mismatched to the modern diet that was introduced through the rise of agriculture.
This rise of agriculture and the changes it brought to our diets such as a reliance on dairy, grains and legumes, came relatively late in our 4 million year history and according to this hypothesis, outpaced the body’s ability to adapt. This is believed by followers of the Paleo diet to be a contributing factor in the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
The Benefits of Paleo
Whilst often paired together, health and fitness are not synonymous. We have met many people who may be fit, but not necessarily healthy. If you have found yourself frequently catching colds or the flu, getting injured during regular training, or simply feeling lethargic and tired all the time, it may be time for a nutritional reset, so let's explore some of the benefits of Paleo.
When compared with a normal diet, the benefits of the Paleo Diet can include:
An increase in the amount of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) consumed naturally. Which have been proven to aid in muscle development and anabolic function. They can also counteract the impact of overtraining on our immune system.
Decrease the gap between omega-6 and omega-3 fats. This has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body and even reduce the symptoms of asthma during training sessions.
Weight loss. Losing weight has a range of benefits all on its own, including lowering the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain and some cancers.
Paleo is high in trace nutrients or the vitamins and minerals that are necessary for optimal health and long-term recovery from exercise.
So, we know what it is, the benefits, but how do we incorporate it into our everyday life?
Making the switch to a paleo diet can be quite intimidating, so we recommend taking the time to plan and even prepare some of your meals and some of your snacks in advance.
We recommend doing some research and finding some recipes that sound great to you. This will take the stress out of doing the food shop. Creating a meal plan and spending some time prepping is a fantastic way to ensure help you stay on track and may remove the temptation to eat off-plan foods.
If you are looking for some additional moral support, why not involve the whole family? The paleo diet works well for most people, even those with special dietary requirements. It moves away from grains, dairy and legumes so can be ideal for those who have a gluten intolerance, are lactose intolerant or are allergic to peanuts and other legumes. It can also take off some of the pressure of cooking meals for one, and preparing other food for the family.
For those joining the challenge, we make the switch as easy as possible. Offering an in-depth guide to the Paleo Diet, a 30-day meal plan to take the pressure off, access to a private Facebook group for moral support and accountability, as well as a prize to incentivise our more competitive members.
The challenge is open to all members, online and physical so if you would like to take part, you can contact us here. Or if you are interested in becoming an Everyday Athlete, you can learn more about our memberships here.