ZONE vs PALEO
The Winner? Both.
The approach we take to nutrition is a nice blend of two different philosophies; drawing on principles from the Zone Diet, popularized and created by Dr. Barry Sears in 1994, and the Paleo diet. We use the Paleo diet (with some exceptions) to decide what to eat and what not to eat, and the Zone diet to tell you how much to eat and when to eat it.
In this introduction to Shadow's nutrition program, we will cover some of the basic science supporting the use of the methods, and give you instructions on how to apply them yourself.
WHAT CAN I EAT?
Thankfully, we will be doing most of the work for you and providing you with useful charts that tell you what you can or cannot eat. We recommend eating meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no (refined) sugar. You can't get much easier than that right? However, you wouldn’t believe how difficult some people make this. If what you're eating doesn't fall under that list, stop eating it! As we learn more about the Zone Diet, you will need to learn how to differentiate between the three macronutrient categories. Protein (think meat), Carbohydrates (vegetables and fruit), and Fat (nuts/seeds, oils, olives, avocados, butter). The protein we consume should generally come from animal sources. Our carbohydrates need to be predominantly low glycemic (explained below). When it comes to fats we should strive for monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and Omega-3 fatty acid varieties. At the end of this article we will provide charts that tell you how to portion all of this food the right way.
GOOD CARBS, BAD CARBS & THE GLYCEMIC INDEX
Carbohydrates are sugars, plain and simple. This doesn't mean we don't want you to eat sugar, we just don’t want you to eat refined sugar. You know, that delicious white stuff you like to put in your coffee! We also want to avoid eating artificial sugars like corn syrup; if you see this on your food label, keep walking. You see, now all carbs are equal. There is this wonderfully fancy thing known as the glycemic index (clink the link to learn more); it measures how carbs raise our blood sugar levels. Lower glycemic carbs (55 or less) will not spike your blood sugar like high glycemic carbs will (70 or more). This spike generally isn't a good thing, and can lead to things like inflammation. Eating to many can lead to things like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. There is a common misconception that eating dietary fat is what makes people overweight. With all food however, if you consume to much of it you’ll gain weight! The real leader in obesity are the tasty sweets made of refined high glycemic carbs. Keep in mind that most fruits and vegetables are always a safe bet.
As an athlete, we don't suggest cutting out carbs from your diet either. Carbohydrates are an important factor in restoring the glycogen in our muscles (fuel), and even powering our brain so that it functions properly!
You see, the Zone Diet is simple and easy to follow. It goes by blocks as a unit of measure to define how much we can eat. Each respective block consists of; 7 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.5 grams of fat. Women will generally be in the 3-4 block meal range, with 1 or 2 block snacks twice a day. Most men will consume 4-5 block meals with 2 or 3 block snacks. An example of what a 4 block meal looks like would be 4oz of chicken as your protein source, 2 apples (1/2 an apple is 1 block) for your carbohydrate source and 12 whole almonds for your fats. Athlete tip: make sure you're getting enough fats! If you find that you're lacking energy in the gym, or not seeing those "gains" some of us have come to love, then chances are you're not eating enough! This idea also works in the opposite way; if you see the scale continuing to climb up when you're trying to lose weight, then it's time to lower your food intake!
Contact us today for custom nutritional programming! We have fancy charts you can use, because who doesn't love fancy charts?
CALCULATING LEAN BODY MASS
In order to accurately estimate the amount of blocks you will eat in a day, you need to know your lean body mass. Lean body mass - or LBM - is the weight of our muscles, bones, tendons, and organs. Each of these contribute to your total lean body mass. If you're interested in figuring out your lean body mass, go here to learn more.
Be honest when measuring your lean body mass! You are setting yourself up for disappointing results by lying about your body mass. Knowing your LBM is important! We don’t want to be over eating or under eating. Both have seriously negative effects on our wellbeing. A good goal is to gain or lose 1-2 pounds per week.
Plug in your LBM in pounds below, where N is your activity coefficient (we know some math people that will love this):
Baseline # of Blocks = (LBM) * N/7
N = .7 (For an athlete who is active and does ~5 WODs per week)
N = .8 (For an athlete who is more active with 5+ WODs + Strength work per week)
N = .9 (For an athlete who is extremely active doing multiple WODs per day)