When comparing our generation to the Paleolithic era, there are a lot of obvious differences. One thing we as CrossFitters have be trying to emulate, is the way they ate.The Paleo Diet consists of lean meats, lots of vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, some starch, and no sugar. As CrossFitters, we are always looking to find the best ways to train and live, and of course how we fuel our body is a huge part of that. We’ve found that the Paleo Diet is the cleanest, most natural way to eat, and it makes perfect sense that these foods are the foods that our bodies were designed to live off of.
As we begin to break down the Paleo Diet over the next month, we’ll find that within these Paleo/whole food groups, there are healthy and super healthy choices we can make. For example, you can go to the store and buy an apple or you can buy and organic apple. They both deliver high quality micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), but obviously the organic apple is better for us, as it is free of pesticides.
The same can be said for meats. The only difference is that grass fed meat actually does have higher quality micronutrients. What an animal eats directly affects what we consume when we eat meat; if you haven’t seen Leah’s last two articles check them out ASAP!
Some of the more important micronutrients are Omegas 3 and 6. Both are essential fatty acids that our body needs to function and we can only get them through food. Omega 3 helps reduce inflammation in the body and research studies have shown that omega 3 may help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega 6 has been shown to maintain bone health and the reproductive system, and can also help regulate your metabolism.
Just as omega 3 reduces inflammation in the body, omega 6 promotes inflammation in the body. Both are important, but in order for them to work together they must be balanced. Omega 3 and 6 are balanced somewhere around 2:1 - 3:1 (omega 6: omega 3). The problem in our society today is that the ratio is somewhere between 20:1 and 50:1. The reason for this is cheap, poor quality food. Unless an animal is able to eat what they were meant to eat, then they’re fatty acid ratio is out of whack, which means our ratio is out of whack. If our omega 3 and omega 6 aren’t balanced, this can lead to a whole host of problems, which are listed above. The reason is that we don’t have enough omega 3 fatty acids reducing inflammation in our body.
So, how can we attempt to balance your omegas? Start by paying attention to the meat products you buy and eat. Wild caught, grass fed, free range meats will be naturally higher in omega 3. The leaner the meat, the better; and don’t be afraid to eat fish once or twice a week. Speaking of fish, everyone should be taking fish oil everyday! Look for a brand that is high in omega 3 and consume at least 4 grams daily.