Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Paleo Diet

Lately, I've had a strong interest in the Paleo Diet. Fellow blogger and ultrarunner, Adam Harmer subscribes to this diet, also known as the "Caveman Diet". Research on this way of eating has opened my eyes and made me rethink what is truly eating healthy.

The basic premise of the Paleo Diet is to only eat those foods that would have been eaten during the Paleolithic era because that is what our bodies are designed to process. Surprisingly, this excludes foods such as grains, peanuts, beans, potatoes, and dairy. For me, the biggest shockers were grains, beans, and potatoes. What could possibly be wrong with those? Well, as it turns out, as humans we are not able to eat those foods raw because they are toxic to us in that form. What? Toxic? Yup, these foods contain toxins including enzyme blockers and lectins. The only reason we can eat them when cooked is because cooking destroys enough of these toxins (but not all of them) so that we are able to digest them. Hmmm, eating foods normally toxic to us? Doesn't sound like such a great idea. Sure, we've adapted as humans to these foods and they are consumed en masse on a daily basis with out much immediate ado. But what are the long term effects of the modern day diet that includes these foods in such large quantities?

Dr. Ben Balzer has written an excellent and easy to understand introduction to the Paleo Diet. What I've described thus far doesn't do justice to the full comprehension and scope of the subject. I've merely scratched the surface. If you're interested in learning more, click here to read Dr. Balzer's essay. Good stuff!! Needless to say, I'm interested enough in the diet to give it a try. So, I'll be posting in the future about how it goes and what effects I notice in my health and training.

Training last week:
15x hill repeats on a 0.35 mile hill, totalling 10.5 miles (5.25 up and 5.25 down)
15 miles at sub 9:00 pace on paved trails (wooded trails were unrunnable ice!)
Completed week #2 of the 100 pushups program

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