National Cancer Institute
If you’re involved in CrossFit, then it’s very likely you’ve been introduced to the Paleo Diet. One of the most important aspects of this diet is avoiding all grains. Since grains are a relatively new food source for us (13,000 years ago), our bodies have not developed the tools necessary to digest them.
Here are a few great articles that go in-depth into why we should avoid grains as much as possible.
This first article is from Mark’s Daily Apple. In this article, Mark Sisson dissects the main reasons we’re told that grains are healthy. These include the argument that they contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, and that they form the basis of the food pyramid. He then goes on to discuss what is inherently bad about grains such as the high levels of anti-nutrients they contain. These include lectins, phytates, and of course gluten. You can find the entire article here.
And in this post he discusses grains against the evolutionary backdrop of the human race. Both articles are great reads.
Another great read is a two-part series by Sarah Ballantyne of The Paleo Mom. In part one she discusses how grains can have a significant impact on our immune systems by causing ‘leaky gut’. She goes into a bit more detail about lectins, their purpose as a built in defense mechanism for seeds and grains, and how our bodies are unable to break them down during digestion.
In part two Sarah discusses how consumption of grains, dairy, and legumes can lead to a ‘leaky gut’. The section on why dairy is designed to cause a ‘leaky gut’ is of considerable interest. In short, newborns guts leak in order to get hormones from breast milk into their blood stream. A very interesting read.
Since grains have formed the basis of carbohydrate intake in our diets, many people new to CrossFit are at a loss as to where they should get energy for these intensive workouts. While grains don’t make the list, there are still plenty of high energy foods out there. These include tubers such as sweet potatoes, yams, and parsnip, and fruits such as bananas, apples, and any kind of berry.
Even though our ‘traditional’ diet espouses lots of grains, there are still plenty of ways to get the energy you need, from foods that won’t destroy your digestive and immune systems.