The CrossFit dietary prescription is as follows
Protein should be lean and varied and account for about 30% of your total caloric load.
Carbohydrates should be predominantly low-glycemic and account for about 40% of your total caloric load.
Fat should be predominantly monounsaturated and account for about 30% of your total caloric load.
Calories should be set at between .7 and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass depending on your activity level. The .7 figure is for moderate daily workout loads and the 1.0 figure is for the hardcore athlete.
What Should I Eat?
In plain language, base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. That’s about as simple as we can get. Many have observed that keeping your grocery cart to the perimeter of the grocery store while avoiding the aisles is a great way to protect your health. Food is perishable. The stuff with long shelf life is all suspect. If you follow these simple guidelines you will benefit from nearly all that can be achieved through nutrition.
The Caveman or Paleolithic Model for Nutrition
Modern diets are ill suited for our genetic composition. Evolution has not kept pace with advances in agriculture and food processing resulting in a plague of health problems for modern man. Coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, obesity and psychological dysfunction have all been scientifically linked to a diet too high in refined or processed carbohydrate. Search “Google” for Paleolithic nutrition, or diet. The return is extensive, compelling, and fascinating. The Caveman model is perfectly consistent with the CrossFit prescription.
CFU Food Rules – Summed up as simply as we can for you:
Eat a variety of fresh, whole foods in small frequent meals to fuel your body throughout the day.
All of lean meat, fish, seafood, eggs
All of the non starchy vegetables you can eat
Plenty of fruit
Moderate amounts of healthy fats
Moderate amounts of nuts and seeds
Few legumes (peanut butter is a legume – try almond butter)
Few dairy products (eggs are meat)
No processed foods – make it yourself!
No sugars. Agave, organic honey, molasses, pure spun golden sunshine….it doesn’t matter. They are all equally bad for you. Moderate amounts once in a while is ok:)
No artificial sweeteners. These are not food! These are laboratory products with unknown safety records. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to produce an insulin response.
Many different kinds of meat will work well for you. Here are some guidelines:
Animals, including fish, raised in commercial farms are not healthy so try to get grass fed beef, USDA certified organic meat, wild fish, locally raised animals.
If unable to do any of the above, then eat the leanest cuts you can and trim visible fat.
Eggs are good. Eggs from birds allowed to forage and run around are better.
Buffalo, elk, venison, ostrich and other types of wild game are excellent choices if you can get them.
Non starchy vegetables (all vegetables except corn, peas, potatoes, and a few others) should be a big part of each meal. Virtually all vegetables offer excellent nutritional value. Veggies are loaded with phytounutrients and also help your body to be in an alkaline balance.
When possible choose organic, locally grown vegetables that are in season. Each of these factors will improve nutritional value.
Experiment with sautéing, roasting and grilling your veggies. Try different recipes and different ethnic foods. Learn to use herbs and spices. Veggies can taste good!
Peppers, squashes, eggplant, garlic, leeks, onions broccoli, cauliflower, avocado, carrots, greens, cabbage, celery, kale, spinach, tomatoes, radish, parsnips, mushrooms….mmm!
When you eat starchy foods (before/after a workout/activity is ideal) try yams and sweet potatoes.
Avoid legumes. Peanuts, beans, peas, lentils and soybeans should be avoided – these are starchy and acidic-and a lot of times GMO
Fruit has a lot of nutritional benefits. However, fruit is also a source of sugar. Try to eat lower glycemic fruits – especially those that you also eat the peel/skin.
Some fruits like bananas, pineapple, and watermelon have a high glycemic load. High glycemic fruits should be eaten before/after workouts/activity or in the morning (talk to us more about nutrient timing for your body).
You should consider how the fruit was grown as well as the type of fruit to evaluate nutritional value. You’ll also need to consider pesticide exposure.
If you can grow your own fruit or pick wild fruit – go for it!
Buy at local farmers markets for fresh seasonal fruit. Organic is best.
A little fruit juice (diluted with water) occasionally can be okay but, fruit juice is really candy…fruit juice is sugar.
Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly to minimize pesticides.
Berries! Eat lots of berries! They are great for heart health and high in antioxidants! Exercise is great for you; however, it does produce free radicals. Berries are a great source of post workout nutrition to attack those free radicals.
NUTS & SEEDS
Nutrition that satisfies – a great snack choice!
Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, fatty acids, enzymes, antioxidants and lots of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium and magnesium. It is possible to mess up your fat profile with nuts though. A lot of nuts have an unacceptably high omega 6 / omega 3 ratio.
Here are better choices: Almonds, Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Pecans.
Nuts in moderation are very healthy, but overeating them can stall weight loss. Cashews are delicious but surprisingly high in carbohydrate and contain too much omega 6. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Peanuts are not nuts. Do not eat peanuts or peanut butter. Peanuts contain lectins and other anti-nutrients which can cause health problems.
A lot of packaged, shelled nuts are covered in trans fats! Read the label! It’s best to buy raw, unsalted nuts and spice them at home. When in doubt, buy raw almonds, walnuts and/or macadamia nuts.
Fat is good for you. Fat is essential to your well being and happiness. Having the proper fat profile makes a huge difference to your mental outlook and moods. Fat is a great source of energy. Fat triggers our sense of being full. Fat is an essential part of many of your cellular and hormonal processes.
However….there are many bad fats in our food supply.
Fat from healthy animals is good for you! Chicken, duck, goose, lamb, beef and pork fat can all be eaten and is an excellent choice for cooking because of heat stability. Lard is internal fat from around the kidneys. Lard from naturally (not grain) fed pork and beef is a very good choice. Lard from grass fed animals is hard to find though, so butter can be used instead.
Butter contains milk solids and water as well as fat. Butter from grass fed cows is very good for cooking and enhancing the flavor of steamed vegetables.
Coconut oil is good for you and a good choice for cooking because of its heat stability. Choose organic, cold processed coconut oil. It’s also great for your skin!
Olive oil is very healthy. Go for the extra virgin, cold pressed and use liberally. Olive oil does not have great heat stability so use something else for high heat frying.
Avocado is the nectar of the gods and should be eaten regularly.
As you’ll find out when shopping for these healthy foods – you’ll find most of them at your local farmers’ markets, or around the perimeter of the grocery store. You’ll save time (and possibly $$$) when you shop for these foods and avoid the fancy cartoon character labels! When grocery shopping, the less ingredients, packaging/labels the better.
Fitness goals and wellness can only be achieved with a healthy, real food diet. There aren’t any fad diets out there that will work (for a lifetime) and keep your body healthy from the inside out. 70% of diseases can be prevented by what we choose to eat and drink. 80% of your results for your fitness goals will be determined by how you fuel your body.
(Thanks to Fit Bodies Crossfit for some of the above content.)