The goal we're working on together is something we will be sharing soon enough, because it seems to be progressing faster than I had imagined, and yes, it's CrossFit related! We will likely be sharing that sooner than later, so stay tuned.
On to the meat of this posting: literal meat... the meat on your bones! I want to talk about how to maximize strength gains on the paleo diet. As you may be aware, CrossFit and the Paleo diet go hand in hand (kind of). When I first started doing CrossFit, my main goal was to maintain a healthy physique. Now my main goal is to get strong as f**k. Being a girl, my judgement is clouded by typical cultural expectations of what makes a girl pretty or attractive. In American culture, girls are supposed to be slim and trim, tall and lean. Luckily for girls like myself, I've discovered CrossFit, which promotes strength above all else. Except for a select few genetically freakish folks, one must pack some meat on the bones to see strength gains. The question is, how does one achieve this without grains or dairy?
The answer is in the experimental phase right now for me, but I will outline what I've learned so far. First of all, let's clarify what I mean when I reference the Paleo Diet. From Dr. Loren Cordain's website, the main foods to be consumed (*) and avoided (x) are as follows:
* Grass-fed Meat
* Fish and Seafood
* Fresh Fruits and Veggies
* Nuts and Seeds
* Healthy fats such as olive oil, walnuts, flaxseed, macadamia nuts, avocados, and coconut oil
x Cereal grains such as oats, bran, wheat, and grain alcohol
x Legumes such as peanuts, beans
x Refined Sugar
x Processed Foods
x Refined vegetable oil such as canola oil
There are many different levels to which the Paleo Diet can be followed, and everyone has something different that works for them. My version of paleo eliminates all sugars including raw sugar and honey (excluding fruit sugars), and includes sweet potatoes, but otherwise follows the guidelines above. If you're interested in learning more about different versions of paleo, check out Dr. Loren Cordain's site as well as the following:
Mark's Daily Apple
As you may have figured out, the above foods keep you lean. Nothing packs on mass like grains and dairy, so how do you make gains with Paleo?
1. Eat A LOT - You should be eating 6 or more meals per day. I'm not talking about three full meals with three snacks in between, I mean full-size meals. In order to consume the amount of calories required to gain weight (yes, ladies, weight - you have to gain the weight to move the weight) on the paleo diet, you're going to need to eat MORE. This is something I'm still working on wrapping my head around, like I said, I succumb to the limitations subconsciously inflicted on me by the mass media and general American culture. Please message me if you're having this same issue, I would love to have and offer mutual support.
2. Focus on High-Calorie Foods - these include beef, sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats. One idea - eat an avocado with every meal! (I have to say, this will not work for everyone, Joaquin hates avocados, but he's a little loosey goosey with the dairy, so he gets a lot of calories that way). Another thing I've been doing is eating spoonfuls of nut butter as a snack. Joaquin prefers his on apples.
3. Protein - Eat it with every meal, protein builds muscles, and that's what we want, right?
4. Carbs - Carbs provide the energy you will need to move the weight in the gym. If you're not moving weight, you will not get stronger. Carbs can come from fruits and vegetables - but you'll get the most bang for your buck with sweet potatoes. For comparison's sake, 200g of apple has about 28g carbs and 106 calories, while 200g of sweet potato has 41g carbs ans 180 calories, so the sweet potato is 46% more efficient in terms of carbohydrate content and 70% more efficient in overall calorie consumption. There are many different recommendations across the interweb involving when and how to consume carbs. My rule of thumb right now is simply with every meal, just like protein. I'll let you know how it works out.
5. Loosey Goosey - As I mentioned, Joaquin takes this approach with dairy. If your body can handle it, sure consume dairy, but make sure it's from a clean source - not big box dairy farms with who knows what gross disturbing things included in that glass of milk (if you want to know, read the book Skinny Bitch, you'll get a visual you will never be able to erase from your mind). You can get fresh, raw milk at your local farmer's market. Another trick is to incorporate peanut butter as opposed to more expensive, paleo-approved nut-butters. These are quick tricks and should not be part of your long term diet lifestyle IMHO (In My Humble Opinion).
I hope these tips help, and please leave any tips you have to offer in the comments, or feel free to email us. We are always looking for new ways to improve. Happy beefing up!
P.S. Here is a delicious looking high-calorie recipe from PaleOMG that we will be trying soon. Sub the ground turkey for ground beef and you're good to go.
- 2 sweet potatoes or yam, holes poked throughout with a fork
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- ½ pound ground
turkeyBeef (or more, if you would like)
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5-6 cups fresh spinach
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Poke holes in sweet potatoes and wrap in foil. Place in oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.
- Once the sweet potatoes have about 10 minutes left to cook, add 2 tablespoons of bacon fat to a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Add minced garlic cloves to the pan then add the onions.
- Once onions are translucent, add ground turkey and break up with a wooden spoon.
- While the turkey is cooking, add hot sauce, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper to the meat and mix.
- When turkey is pretty much done cooking, add spinach and cover to help the spinach steam, then mix with the meat.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, then remove from heat.
- When the sweet potatoes are done cooking, cut open and mash insides up with a fork. Then add the turkey mixture to the inside.
- And eat!!