The basis for a CrossFit dietary prescription is lean, varied protein accounting for about 30% of your caloric load; carbohydrates that are predominately low-glycemic, accounting for about 40% of your total caloric load; predominately monounsaturated fat for the remaining 30% of your total caloric load. Calories should be set 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, while the 1.0 figure is for the hardcore athlete.
What should I eat?
Base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, no grains and no sugar. By keeping your grocery cart to the perimeter of the store, you will avoid the aisles full of processed food that is full of added sugar and sodium. Anything with a long shelf life is suspect. Following these simple guidelines will give you the benefits of nearly everything 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 linked to a diet too high in refined or processed carbohydrates. Search “Google” for Paleo nutrition or diet. The return is extensive, compelling and fascinating. The Caveman model is perfectly consistent with the CrossFit prescription.
What foods should I avoid?
The Paleo diet restricts the following foods: dairy, all grains, all processed foods, sugar and legumes (such as peanuts and peanut butter). Excessive consumption of high-glycemic carbohydrates is the primary culprit in nutritionally-caused health problems. This includes rice, bread, candy, potatoes, sweets, sodas and most processed carbohydrates. Processing can include bleaching, baking, grinding and refining. Processing of carbohydrates greatly increases their glycemic index, a measure of their propensity to elevate blood sugar.
What’s the problem with high-glycemic carbs?
High-glycemic carbs give an inordinate insulin response. Insulin is an essential hormone for life, yet acute, chronic elevation of insulin leads to hyperinsulinism, which has been positively linked to obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure, mood dysfunction and many other diseases and disabilities. Research “hyperinsulinism” and you will find a gold mine of information pertinent to your health. The CrossFit prescription is a low-glycemic diet and severely blunts the insulin response.
Caloric Restriction and Longevity
Current research strongly supports the link between caloric restriction and an increased life expectancy. The incidence of cancers and heart disease sharply declines with a diet that is carefully limited in controlling caloric intake. The CrossFit prescription allows a reduced caloric intake while still providing ample nutrition for rigorous activity.