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Racing on the "Paleo Diet"(6 posts)

Racing on the "Paleo Diet"RockyMountainRacer
Dec 5, 2002 3:08 PM
I have been reading a lot about nutrition in the last few months, and three weeks ago I finally made a major overhual to my diet:

I'm eating tons of veggies, tons of fruit, and lots of lean meat. Also nuts and herbal tea instead of coffee. Whole wheat bread for grains, no white. So I'm not strictly paleo because I still eat some grain and some dairy, mostly low-fat yogurt. But perhaps most significantly I have eliminated most of the processed carbs and all hydrogenated fat.

Anyway, so far it is a big success. I have more energy throughout the day, recover faster from workouts, feel strong on the bike, and have lost some weight and gotten leaner. This leads me into my question for the board:

So far I'm riding pretty easy on the bike except for some big gear strength work once a week, and most all my intensity comes in the weight room. Has anyone been eating like this during the race season, and can you get enough energy from it, or do you have to increase the processed carb intake? I'm just worried that I won't be able to get enough carbs from the fruit and veggies alone as my intensity increases...
you will have to reinstate more carbs during high intensitylonefrontranger
Dec 5, 2002 5:06 PM
I use a modified version of paleo.

Once you start upping the intensity, you will have to up the carbs from starch and or sugar, simply because these are high octane energy food, without which you won't have adequate glycogen fuel. I have food sensitivities to gluten and dairy and also experience wild blood sugar swings if I don't keep my sugar and starch intake both low and unrefined; meaning when I do eat any bread or pasta type foods, they should be whole wheat / high fiber and preferably rice based.

My experience is that if you add back a few things like bagels and/or oatmeal for breakfast day of hard ride / race you'll be fine. The trick is to take it back out on the days you aren't going hard.

The good of this way of eating is that it forces you to eat more natural and less processed. Keep it in perspective, and don't become a food fundamentalist. No one food is inherently evil, and even a handful of potato chips at a party won't kill you. Don't use it as an excuse to torpedo your whole plan and you'll be fine.
Basically good programKerry
Dec 5, 2002 5:47 PM
As long as you have a reasonable balance of carbs/protein/fat, you have taken a good path. You really don't need processed carbs to get the totals you need. There are plenty of high glycemic index foods that can give you a fast kick without being processed - baked potatoes are the obvious example of a non-processed, fat free, fast acting food. Things like figs and dates are fairly fast response foods for eating on the bike. The foods you are eating will keep your blood sugar more even and therefore help with weight loss/maintenance and reduced cravings.
I do a similar diet but what I foundCrossrider
Dec 6, 2002 6:57 PM
I have a very similar diet - but my protein comes from soy and not meat. Simple sugar does indeed give me a rush but does not do my body any good "on the bike" there is a book the more sugar I eat/non complex carbs the harder I feel my body needs to work ref: book SUGAR BLUES - the body will actually have to steal oxygen from the cells in order to process the simple sugars - I have found that eating pasta the night before is more beneficial than oatmeal in the morning ....that's just my $.02
re: Racing on the "Paleo Diet"James OCLV
Dec 5, 2002 6:07 PM
I raced on a very similar diet last season, and had pretty much the same result as you. The only thing that I did to modify the diet is to eat high-glycemic carbs during and right after my training/racing.
re: Racing on the "Paleo Diet"Lactate Junkie
Dec 6, 2002 10:16 AM
The Paleo things seems like a good plan. In order to keep things simple, when I have coached people, I have told people the following for years:

1. Avoid the white stuff--White sugar, white flour, white rice (short grain-some long grain white is OK, there are always exceptions.
2. The less processed the food the better. Again there are exceptions--Cooked carrots are better than raw for example.

Ultimately, as an endurance athlete, one of the biggest problems you will have will be getting enough calories in your diet, especially if you are up at the 15+ hour training ranges. IMHO the best way to supplement calories is with things like SlimFast or other drinks. Baby formula is also good. These things have a ton of calories as well as a decent balance of nutrients.