Sunday, 17 July 2011

Paleo Diet

I recently watched the movie “The Future of Food”, and it really made me think again about the food I buy. It has been a year since I started working with Nell Stephenson who introduced me to the Paleo Diet, and the more I learn, the more I see. Buying from my local farmers became very important!

In building up to being the ultimate athlete, nutrition is as important as the training. If I don’t come with a ready body to meet Carlos’s heavy training load, its frustrations all round. And the only way I found myself coping was by introducing the Paleo Diet. Nell got me started by reading the book, Paleo for Endurance Athletes. It’s so simple, it becomes complicated to follow. I mean this because the diet asks for only fruits, veggies, lean meats, and nuts. All the simple things. Nothing processed, nothing canned. That’s it! So simple, but this reveals habits that are really hard to change. The big one being no bread. No wheat. No corn. I found myself in a kitchen of food, not knowing what to eat. I always have a sandwich for lunch, and now I choose to not have bread, so what will I eat? I always did a bowl of cereal for breakfast, so now if the Paleo asks for no milk also, well I felt lost. Slowly slowly I could start making Paleo choices with more ease. 

The big push for a change in diet is ultimately athletic performance, but also changing to become a healthy lightweight for rowing. Watching Michael Phelps eat so much ‘take away’, junkie-food was unbelievable! That he could perform at such a level eating that! All us athletes should be so lucky. But lightweight rowing requires more attention to have you get your calories. It was very inspiring to hear that Bryan Volpenhein, 3-time Olympian rower and chef, also followed Paleo while training. He remarks how he felt leaner, and recovered quicker. He also commented on how the Paleo brings you more in touch with the food you are eating. It makes you more aware of the earth, the growth. Getting closer to the ground!

After watching the Future of Food movie, another decision I made was buying my produce from local farmers. I have been really happy with the Klesick Family Farm, who also send out great information about their produce. Things have arrived that I never knew existed, like romanesco. I had no idea what fennel actually looks like, or how to cook leeks, until on delivery in my box comes these wonderful veggies and fruits and the recipe/info sheet to follow. Thank you Klesick Farm!
Another great source for alternative flours, like almond meal flour has been Bob’s Red Mill. During Christmas when there are cookies and cakes all round, it has been helpful to bake your own things with these alternatives.

And Finally, I really like Hammer Nutrition. Obviously. There products are really clean, meaning no extra things in the labels that you can pronounce.

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