Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Paleolithic Diet vs. Eating for Endurance

While humans living in the Paleolithic and even earlier (pre-fire) times appeared to have been relatively healthy, their life span was not very long. Since those times we have adapted to a rather different pattern of eating – a higher carbohydrate intake from the addition of grains, cereals, starchy vegetables, milk products, and a variety of fruits in fresh, dried and juice form. This pattern is associated with the long life span we now have AND this pattern of eating fuels endurance athletes to train hard, recover and repeat on a daily basis (See Table below). While the Paleolithic diet may give you enough fuel to maintain your cross country skiing and other endurance training note that it is a high volume diet; that is, you have to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits to get a sufficient amount of carbohydrate INTO your muscles to ski, run, cycle or swim fast and far. These types of plant foods have a tendency to fill you up and quash your hunger BEFORE you actually have sufficiently refueled. It might take you a few days of training to realize that you haven't been refueling adequately – and you will know because your endurance performance will be negatively affected and even easy workouts will feel hard. Make some slight adjustments to the Paleo diet by including some non-Paleo foods before, during and after your training. Start by including dried fruit and/or high glycemic index fruits in your pre-workout snack and then add potatoes (roasted, mashed, baked or boiled) to your post workout meals. If you are going to be using sport drinks and gels during your race then you should get used to them in your longer distance training sessions. These slight adjustments to your dietary intake on your training days should help to optimize your energy level during your training sessions. Top Nutritional Mistakes Made by Endurance Athletes


Food Origin




Animal Foods


Lean meats (especially grass-fed animals) like chicken, turkey, pork, lean beef, and buffalo

Fish and seafood, eggs


Lean red meats, chicken, turkey, pork, etc

Organ meats for iron

Fish and seafood


Milk, yogurt, cheese


Milk, yogurt, cheese

Plant Foods

All nuts (except peanuts) and seeds

All nuts and seeds


Plant and nut-based oils (olive, walnut, grape seed, and coconut)


All plant, nut and seed based oils


Seed oils (e.g. sunflower, safflower, etc)

Fresh fruits

FALL fresh, frozen and dried  fruits

100% fruit juices

ONLY non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, salad greens, bell peppers, carrots, and squash)

ALL starchy vegetables (e.g. potatoes, sweet potatoes) and non-starchy vegetables

Legumes (e.g. chickpeas, hummus, lentils, kidney beans, etc)


All grains & cereals,


All grains & cereals (e.g. wheat, rice, quinoa, oats, oatmeal, rye, barley, etc)


Only unprocessed foods without salt, refined sugars and trans fats

ONLY unprocessed and minimally processed foods

Refined sugars during training (i.e. sport drinks and gels)






























Saturday, March 22, 2014

Eat Wet Foods for Optimal Hydration and Body Weight – Year Round

Runners, cross country skiers, speed skaters and cyclists are likely to be year round endurance athletes, including running, cycling and in-line/ice skating in our schedules throughout the more temperate months of the year. Yet despite all the exercise, many endurance athletes complain of training related weight gain. The more training they do, the heavier they get. What could explain this phenomenon? Well....we are all not equally gifted with our internal energy balance, that is, eating and drinking enough to rehydrate and refuel and meet our needs. Some of us have a poor drive for thirst during and after our training sessions and the older we get the weaker this drive tends to be. Instead of drinking, some may think they are hungry and will unconsciously eat...and often more than is needed....leading to weight gain, despite a high training volume. When was the last time you thought about using “wet foods” as a way to improve your hydration and achieve a leaner body weight.....year round?? While water, in any form, is excellent for re-hydrating after a sweaty workout, eating wet foods can increase your fluid intake by up to 25% while decreasing the amount of calories from the foods you eat. Check out these tips to help you to get started. Top Nutritional Mistakes Made by Endurance Athletes

Food Group


WITH Wet Foods

Grains & Cereals

Bread, toast, crackers, pita

Granola bars, cereal, popcorn

Muffins, cookies, biscuits

Cake, donuts, pastries, pie

Cooked oatmeal

Cream of wheat

Quinoa/rice/barley risotto

Spaghettia, macaroni, fusilli

Vegetables & Fruit

Dried fruit

Potato chips, vegetable chips

Roasted veggies

Baked fruit crumble

Fruit pies

Fresh veggies and fruit

Steamed or stir fried veggies

Vegetable and fruit salads

Pureed fruits, fruit compote

Fruit and vegetable smoothies

Fruit yogurt

Milk & Alternatives

Brick cheeses

Soft cheeses

Shredded or grated cheeses

Low fat/skim cottage cheese

Quark cheese

Tzatziki (cucumber and yogurt)

Greek yogurt

Low fat/skim milk, chocolate milk or flavoured yogurt

Almond/soy milk

Meat & alternatives

Dried meats, sliced meats, roasted, grilled or barbecued meats

Nuts and seeds, trail mix, nut butters

Energy bars with soy protein

Poached or steamed fish

Meat/poultry stews

Meat sauces

More bean than meat chili

Tofu stir fried with veggies

Beef, barley, vegetable soup

Hummus dip with raw veggies

Three bean salads

Lentil or tofu vegetable soup

Black beans with quinoa and veggies