Thursday, June 9, 2011

Book Review: Paleo Diet for Athletes

Book Description from Amazon

Product Description

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., follows his success of The Paleo Diet with the first book ever to detail the exercise-enhancing effects of a diet similar to that of our Stone Age ancestors.

When The Paleo Diet was published, advocating a return to the diet of our ancestors (high protein, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables), the book received brilliant reviews from the medical and nutritional communities. Jennie Brand-Miller, coauthor of the bestselling Glucose Revolution, called it "without a doubt the most nutritious diet on the planet." Doctors Michael and Mary Dan Eades, authors of Protein Power, said, "We can't recommend The Paleo Diet highly enough."

Now Dr. Cordain joins with USA triathlon and cycling elite coach Joe Friel to adapt the Paleo Diet to the needs of athletes. The authors show:
o Why the typical athletic diet (top-heavy with grains, starches, and refined sugars) is detrimental to recovery, performance, and health
o How the glycemic load and acid-base balance impact performance
o Why consumption of starches and simple sugars is only beneficial in the immediate post-exercise period

At every level of competition, The Paleo Diet for Athletes can maximize performance in a range of endurance sports.

My Thoughts

This book came across as a surprise in many ways. For one I forgot I put this book on hold. I had placed it on hold months ago and really forgot all about it. Just the other day it was available in the library and being that I just started my training for my first marathon I started to read the book and actually came away with some great information.

I am not sure if I could actually follow the Paleo Diet completely as I am not sure I could give up dairy or grain as these two food groups are staples to my family and actually two of the food groups that my kids eat that are actually healthy. However, everything presented in the book makes complete sense.

The idea of being able to eat as much lean meat, poultry, seafood, fruits, and veggies is awesome. I just need to work on the dairy and grain piece.

What makes this diet work is that it is actually not a diet, but provides more of a template for how to nourish your body if you are an athlete properly. It covers some common myths/mistakes people make while training and eating. An important element to following this program/diet is that you must maintain adequate carb intake if you are an endurance athlete so your body does not break down. This is not something that is asking you cut calories or carbs, but rather putting good fuel in your body.

The key aspect to this book that I really enjoyed reading about and took pages of notes on was the 5 Stages to Eating During the Day. I found the 5 stages to make complete sense and they work no matter what time you train. For me, I train very early in the morning 4:30 am so many programs don't work for training this early.

The 5 Stages are
1. Immediately before workout
2. During the workout
3. 30 minutes following workout
4. Period equal to duration of preceding workout
5. Long-term recovery leading to Stage 1

This is nothing mind blowing, but seeing it in this format really helped me visualize how I keep my body fueled.

Like with any book that deals with diet/nutrition/training/etc. there are so many methods and plans. This book is a great benefit to read because it will provide you with some new ideas and techniques that maybe you have not thought about before. I have changed my system in terms of what I eat and when I eat and I am noticing some positive changes to my body and performance.

This book has caused me to rethink my nutrition and I am slowly trying to become more Paleo despite my love of cheese and yogurt!

After reading this book from the library I have purchased the book to keep with me. It is worth the money.
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