Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This video corresponds to our announcement regarding the change in our nutritional recommendations, below. It is the first in a seven-part series on The Paleo Diet and multiple sclerosis, but it introduces the model very effectively.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhkmDHLCUEs]

MPH no longer recommends Dr. Barry Sears’ The Zone Diet. It’s true. We do not regret our time with the Zone (we learned a lot about suffering), but we will not be talking about it again—we don’t want to. Instead, we advocate the exclusive use of Dr. Loren Cordain’s, The Paleo Diet (it is worth mentioning right now that we are not affiliated in any way with either of these organizations, nor are we registered dieticians or nutritionists).

Before we go any further, we ask that if you have them, to hold criticisms and other venom for the Zone, unless you’ve actually tried it—really tried it. We did, and exhaustively so. What we found was, simply, that Zone eating it is too cumbersome to implement and does not make one lick of sense against the “simple, organic, and prehistoric” model we follow with regard to movement selection, exercise prescription and programming. We do not isolate muscle groups or periodize/specialize training, so we can no longer back a nutrition program that recommends exactly those things, if not more. To be perfectly honest, we’re a little embarrassed that it took us this long to make that connection.

Further, we have been extensively researching Paleo eating and implementing it on our own with great success for several months, now. We are feeling and performing better than ever. While we touted its effectiveness in combination with Zone parameters before, we have learned, both scientifically and anecdotally, that Paleo eating is most effective when standing on its own. Also, the Zone bred this almost obsessive need to be within the correct block prescription that it detracted from the ultimate goal of healthful eating. At the very least, not weighing and measuring food, or counting blocks, has been a boon to our respective psyches. It is one less, and needless, stress.

We have updated our Nutrition Information page to reflect this shift in ideology, as well as to outline the basics and rationale for this model. For further support and education, you may follow the link to Dr. Cordain’s website above, and/or read his book, The Paleo Diet. This is an incredibly easy read, and will provide this nutrition plan more justice than we can on our site. Neither of these resources are completely irreproachable—they each contain their fair and appropriate share of marketing ploys. However, baseline message, food recommendations, recipes and supporting research therein are unparalleled. Depending on the type of question(s) you may have about this going forward, we may end up directing you there anyway.

In the end, we made this change because we are forever in search of the fastest and most effective way to achieve optimal health and wellness. In this way, whether at home, at the office or on the road, Paleo eating is practical, easy to implement and highly effective, especially when coupled with the CrossFit method. Too many of you still forsake, if not outright rebuff attempts at proper nutrition—it presents in myriad ways. Make this one work. This way of eating is excuse-free, and it is likely that we will not revise our nutritional recommendations again for some time, if ever.

Rest today, and thank you again and again, Matt W., for creating our new banner. It looks outstanding. We cannot thank you enough.

–Melody and John

31 Comments

  1. ashacooper | April 11, 2009 at 6:59 pm
     

    I really appreciate the thougthful, well-rounded approach that you all bring to this work. First of all, thanks for caring. Secondly, thanks for the resources!

    Reply
  2. sub-15 "Mike" | April 11, 2009 at 7:11 pm
     

    two questions:

    first, my only real reservation about paleo is that without ratio guidelines, isn’t it likely that someone may eat too little protein to maintain his/her lean muscle mass? how should we prevent this outcome? Or should we simply “listen to our bodies”?

    second, why the proscription of dairy? lowfat mozzarella and greek yogurt are two of my favorite protein sources, and i’m somewhat hesitant to give them up without understanding why.

    please don’t let these two questions imply that i’m against this change. paleo was how i started with john, and while the zone may be better for staying trim, i found that i was happier on paleo — both because it was less of a pain in the ass, and because i could eat what i wanted to eat (within paleo parameters), when i wanted to.

    and yes, i agree, thanks for caring…

    Reply
  3. demonbowler | April 11, 2009 at 8:53 pm
     

    I’m really stunned, even though, without realizing it – I prepared a nearly completely paleo dinner for 4 tonight – crabmeat salad over home-grown lettuces, steamed asparagus, and fresh blackberries for dessert. It was probably a completely compliant 3 block zone meal as well, but it’s so automatic for me now that I don’t do a block hard count anymore. However, the lemon-olive oil vinaigrette I made for both the crab and the asparagus had a bit of salt in it, which is not paleo, and the small dollop of (non-soy) mayonnaise with capers that I used for the crab may have had salt in it as well – and I don’t want to start obsessing about ingredients like that, or dairy. I have completely implemented the zone organizing principles in my live without getting as obsessive as John got in terms of counting almonds, varying the count, and cutting them in half. I tried to follow basic paleo parameters, cutting down grains in all forms substantially, but, like s-15-m, I got used to the Fage 0% and the lowfat mozarella (and swiss and feta). I know nothing about the “science” of the zone and it could very well be medical and nutritional quackery. What you had me believing in before, however, was there was some rough calibration between thoughtful, mindful eating and optimizing athletic performance while observing zone parameters. You’ve documented your own success with both approaches. Melody was somewhat forgiving and very common-sense when I had issues with zone constraints. I think what is so weird about this is the notion that, as long as I’m eating strict paleo, I’m optimizing my ability to perform. I don’t think we can reconstruct how paleothic people performed athletically. We know Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals and ate a ton of pancakes and big macs along the way. I have no doubt that paleo can be, and may be the most healthful approach to nutrition, overall, but I’m struggling with how to fit in the occasional baguette, brie, fresh berries with sabayon, etc. No more Trader Joe’s Turkey Jerkey! (salt, soy). – I’m rambling, I know – but I wonder if strict paleo can become as compulsive as strict zone blocking. And do you think paleolithic man ate until he sensed he was probably satisfied and stopped, so he wouldn’t eat too much and put on a little extra? Or do you think he ate as much as he could, whenever he could, because he never knew when the next meal was coming from? I’m going to have to process this some more and think about it and post some more – but a couple of observations – when I was doing Cross Fit in San Diego last month – it was all about Paleo – they had paleo meals to go at the gym, as I recall in zone proportions. Is Cross Fit, as a whole, moving away from Zone? That is, if the Zone still makes sense and is central to the Cross-Fit movement and approach, what are we to do with that? Second, if you really are backing paleo exclusively, I think you should remove any of the meal or menu posts that feature non-paleo ingredients, for integrity’s sake. This is one post the Easter Bunny did not want to see!

    Ted

    Reply
  4. sub-15 "Mike" | April 11, 2009 at 9:02 pm
     

    Ted – you raise many interesting questions that I hope our coaches will answer.

    The only thing I want to comment on is your reference to Michael Phelps. That guy ate whatever he wanted, true, but he did it while burning something like 10,000 calories a day in the pool. And he’s like 23 years old. When I was 23 I ate whatever I wanted, and all I did was a run a few miles a week and play some club soccer.

    One thing that is very apparent to me is that eating right becomes so much more important as you get older, and I say this at age 30 — among the younger of John & Mel’s clients. I find that nowadays even tiny alterations in what I eat have big performance results, whereas when I was 23, eating two versus one bacon/egg/cheese on a croissant had little to no effect on my performance (which generally sucked). For people in their late 30s and beyond, I can only imagine the effect of diet on performance.

    Reply
  5. sub10fran | April 11, 2009 at 9:30 pm
     

    I knew this was coming from conversations earlier this week from Mel, but really not sure what to think. As a Zone devotee, who weighs his food and measures out carbs. and fat – including planning my meals at night for the following day – I am not sure where to go from here. I, personally, have found the Zone relatively easy to implement into my daily routine (with help from my wife who quickly caught onto the basics – a little bit of protein, lots of fruit and veggies and lots of nuts or olives (no bread, no pasta, etc.)- and was supportive of my admittedly restrictive “diet”) and have seen pretty good results, at least in terms of weight loss. I assume that it has also directly benefited my performance.

    The Zone has been particularly helpful on portion control and getting me into the habit of eating regular meals.

    The basics of Paleo make sense to me and, given my dalliance with Sugar Busters a decade or so ago (with pretty good success in terms of weight loss), probably won’t be that hard to implement. That said, it took me several months to get with the Zone program and really embrace it.

    For those of us that are Zone disciples, do you think that we can mesh Zone and Paleo together, or is the sum less than its parts?

    Yes, it is 9:30 on a Saturday night, I am at my in-laws, and here I sit posting to MPH.

    Reply
  6. coach | April 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm
     

    Thank you for the kind words, Michelle. We sincerely appreciate them.

    John

    Reply
  7. coach | April 11, 2009 at 9:52 pm
     

    Mike,

    1. You are correct–there is some danger of missing one’s protein requirements here. This is why, in the recap at the end of the Nutrition Information page, we state:

    “Eating natural, high quality and Paleo foods—in virtually any quantity, so long as protein consumption is emphasized—will create better health, improved body composition, higher performance levels and accelerated results.”

    2. We do want you to listen to your body more than anything else. This an area where the Zone fails to be flexible. Like me, I’m sure you’ve developed a sense of what your body needs–especially in fat consumption–in order to fire-off an intense workout, or simply make it through a long day at work.

    3. Dairy is simply not the best source of anything, especially protein. What is more, it is an allergen that shows up in something around 85% of all individuals. The reactions vary from dark circles under the eyes, to significant gastric distress. Finally, as we said in the Nutrition Information page, it’s just not a Paleo food: none of our ancestors were running around milking wild animals. Humans domesticated animals around the same time as agriculture. Am I going to stop you from crushing some Fage? No way. But I will tell you that in terms of protein utilization and gut health, there are much better options.

    4. The Paleo Diet is just as effective, if not more so, in the “better for staying trim” department. This is because of its denial of grain based carbohydrates, in particular–the causative factor in obesity and myriad chronic diseases.

    5. Thank you for the kind words, and your response regarding Michael Phelps. He is clearly the exception and not the rule.

    John

    Reply
  8. coach | April 11, 2009 at 10:21 pm
     

    Ted,

    Thank you for your insight and response–thorough as always.

    1. If the Zone is working for you, then stay with it. We are not going to take it away from you. We are simply no longer prescribing or addressing it. You have made tremendous strides with the Zone, and if you are hesitant to move it aside, that is absolutely understandable and acceptable.

    2. You are examining this with lawyer glasses on. Earlier today I had a few beers. I also had a package of turkey jerky, some green beans and a handful of dried bananas and blueberries (none of this occurred at the same time, incidentally). Then I hit a personal best on the main site WOD. The point: this nutrition program, like the Zone, is not expected to be implemented perfectly. For example, there is no expectation that you can, or would even be willing to eat the same breakfasts as your Paleolithic ancestors, which often was whatever was left over from the last night’s kill. Dried meats are going to have to do. A little salt in your crab is just fine. And keep the dollop of non-soy mayo. This is Paleo eating in the modern world.

    3. We are doing our best within CrossFit to reconstruct the way Paleolithic people “exercised.” “Fran” is the wild animal chasing you for dinner. Heavy deadlifts are you picking up the materials to build your hut. It’s not perfect, but it’s closer–and leagues better–than biceps curls and stability balls.

    4. One can become just as obsessed with Paleo parameters as with the Zone, but that dangers is omnipresent. Very little in this modern life, especially in the realm of nutrition, completely eliminates the possibility for some neuroses.

    5. Paleo men and women ate until they were full, and they rarely knew when their next meal was coming. There was no “little extra” to be concerned about–and no mirrors anyway. No hyper-developed concept of self-image. No tight-fitting loin cloths.

    6. CrossFit has nothing to do with this. They have always endorsed a Paleo-Zone marriage. When we presented the Zone to everyone, we did the same, with little to no success. In fact, most folks outright scoffed at the notion of eating high quality foods and controlling portions. We think we have done CrossFit one better in the nutrition department now, though we would not have come to Paleo without them. As we said in the Nutrition Information document, we believe Paleo parameters to be more consistent with our exercise programming, which utilizes the CrossFit method.

    John

    Reply
  9. coach | April 11, 2009 at 10:25 pm
     

    John,

    See most of my response to Ted, above. The sum is at least equal to Paleo parameters and no less. Go do something fun with what’s left of your Saturday night.

    I will now take my own advice.

    John

    Reply
  10. coach | April 11, 2009 at 10:32 pm
     

    All,

    Please read and re-read our post above and the Nutrition Information page thoroughly. In the end (again), Paleo nutrition is simple, highly effective and healthful–much more so with regard to the latter than Zone eating. This is what we’re ultimately after, in life, exercise and wellness, generally.

    John

    Reply
  11. rella181 | April 11, 2009 at 11:53 pm
     

    Still absorbing all of the information…not sure what my questions are, but so far…

    I identify most with the notion of, “Paleo eating in the modern world”…in other words, following the fundamentals of Paleo, while recognizing and accepting that the nature of “life” means that it is not expected to be implemented perfectly…discipline with enough flexibility to maintain a healthy psyche….

    And, I would also like to reiterate how much I appreciate that you and Mel are dedicated to making MPH a knowledgeable and strong “community,” continuously striving to evolve and improve…thank you…

    ~Rebekka

    Reply
  12. mzentner | April 12, 2009 at 12:57 am
     

    Since I’m not able to sleep, it seemed reasonable to comment at this very unreasonable hour. Sorry, it’s going to be really, really long.

    First, I feel as though I need to make a confession. I have been extraordinarily resistant to the idea of including nutrition as part of my regular training. After not being able to explain to John the finer points of concepts like “emotional eating” and “eating my feelings” (or eating other people’s feelings) it’s gotten to the point where in past several months, I have completely forbidden any conversation or even mention of nutrition during my sessions. Having said that, I finally admitted to myself about a month ago, that I am the only one who can make positive change in my life. I committed myself to significantly improving my nutrition. So, without any conversation, I read up on the Zone and have been Zone “compliant” for about four weeks.

    One of the things that I have really enjoyed about the Zone is the rigidity of it. Portion control (and self-control in general) has never been my strong suite — I mean, Ben & Jerry’s comes in pints because that’s a single serving, right? Forcing myself to weigh and measure everything that I consume has made me much more aware of how much I’m eating. While for the first three weeks I obsessively weighed and measured, over the past week, it’s all become much more instinctive. I can eyeball 3oz of chicken. I know how much a ½ cup of grapes is without having to dirty a measuring cup. Along with that, I’ve also allowed myself some leeway knowing that it is a slippery slope for me. For example, if 4 almonds fall into my hand instead of 3, I am going to eat the offending almond, knowing that the emotional satisfaction is much more valuable and that I never wanted to feel compelled to split an almond in half.

    There have been a few frustrations as well. There are definitely days when I feel as though I’m operating at too significant a caloric deficit. It can be excessively frustrating to both listen to the needs of my body and exhibit such careful self-control. I’ve also been unable to give up my daily coffee with a dash of skim milk and one “Sugar in the Raw.” While I do not have any training as a nutritionist or doctor, in “Enter the Zone” Dr. Sears seems to oversimplify. His reliance exclusively on the effects of good and bad eicosanoids sounds a little too theoretical and actually gets extraordinarily annoying about 2/3 of the way through the book.

    Having just read the basics of the Paleo Diet with what I could find online, it really sounds like an easy transition to make even though I have some concerns. I am definitely worried about portion control. Too much of a good thing really does exist for me. Also, the lack of dairy is a huge concern. While my Paleolithic ancestors may not have eaten dairy products, my recent ancestry has been a long line of dairy farmers and cheese makers. (And I think I put my grandparents through enough grief during the six years I was vegetarian.) Although I’ve given up the unpasteurized, un-homogenized, straight from the bulk tank, whole milk of my childhood, I definitely enjoy skim milk as part of a snack. String cheese made from skim mozzarella makes a frequent appearance in my diet and low/no fat cottage cheese is an absolute pleasure to me. Knowing all of this about myself, I feel confident that I can reach some sort of happy medium.

    I want to read the book first to make sure that I completely understand the Paleo Diet before making any changes to what I’ve been doing. Also, I must be explicit that this post does not mean that I’m opening up to talking about nutrition during my training sessions. However, writing all of this has been nothing but cathartic and thanks to John and Melody for all of their hard work. Finally, I need to share that I definitely plan to eat a hollow chocolate bunny tomorrow. But I’m not going to eat any Peeps. They’re just disgusting.

    Reply
  13. coach | April 12, 2009 at 2:37 pm
     

    Mike,

    One more note about dairy that I can’t believe I forgot–it carries a noticeable glycemic index, that is, its propensity to elevate blood sugar levels.

    Most dairy products create insulin responses similar to pasta products and chocolate, though still better than rice, cereals, etc.

    John

    Reply
  14. coach | April 12, 2009 at 2:40 pm
     

    Rebekka,

    Thank you for picking-up on our efforts to always improve our product and service.

    John

    Reply
  15. coach | April 12, 2009 at 2:50 pm
     

    MZ,

    That’s a great, thoughtful post–thank you. I really don’t have much to add.

    You’re right on with evolving out of constant weighing and measuring with the Zone. This is a transition few people, myself included, can/do make.

    I think it’s tremendous that you took time to read “Enter the Zone” (and that you managed to work in “eicosanoids”). That you’re up for reading “The Paleo Diet” is even better. It’s not nearly as annoying as Sears’ work(s), but its not perfect, either. It’s much more a rational approach to eating.

    Agreed. Peeps are pretty gross.

    John

    Reply
  16. sub-15 "Mike" | April 12, 2009 at 3:19 pm
     

    Ah – that’s an important point. For well over a year my go-to morning protein source has been greek yogurt or cottage cheese — both of which do contain a carb mass of about half the protein mass (e.g. a serving of fage has 15g protein and 7g carb). Although the “macrounutritional profile” would indicate that these foods are proteins, they still contains 7g more carbohydrate than, say, tuna or chicken.

    So, applying this information to the paleo model, is the rationale that tuna/chicken are better proteins than yogurt or cottage cheese because there they carry no glycemic index.

    Expanding a bit, does switching to the paleo diet mean that “macronutritional profile” is not the key anymore, i.e., cannot be used as justification to eat foods that — in addition to being proteins — contain carbohydrates?

    Reply
  17. sub-15 "Mike" | April 12, 2009 at 3:20 pm
     

    pls excuse they typos – it’s sunday!

    Reply
  18. coach | April 12, 2009 at 3:40 pm
     

    Well, that’s one way of looking at it, Mike. Certainly, animal/fish sources are going to be carbohydrate free, but the amino acid profile is also going to be better–what the protein is built from. This means you’re body will use more animal protein than dairy protein, rather than using only some and processing out the rest. Also, without the lactose, etc. to contend with, nutrient absorption in the small intestine is going to be much better for all of the foods you’ve consumed in that particular meal, not just for the protein source. Just because you “tolerate” dairy well does not mean you’re body is not affected by it. In addition to the turkey bacon I’ve been consuming for breakfast, I’ve included more eggs (though I’m not an egg fan) and chicken sausage (really any sausage will do, I just want something easily digestible at 415a).

    True, Paleo does ignore macronutrient profiles in that sense. One way that the Zone lingers, at least for me, is the way I look at food types. To me, nuts are still fat (i.e., not a significant source of protein), and fruit and vegetables are still just carbohydrates. Cordain breaks food types down in a similar way, without addressing mathematical attributes. I have been eating protein and fat at every meal, and carbohydrate only when I feel I need it.

    John

    Reply
  19. serenawannabe | April 12, 2009 at 4:23 pm
     

    This has been a very interesting conversation for me. The video instantly caught my attention as someone living with M.S. I will give it a try.

    Kim

    Reply
  20. coach | April 12, 2009 at 5:35 pm
     

    Thank you again, everyone, for your comments. As you join/re-join the fray, we ask that your responses be well thought-out, after having thoroughly read the presented material.

    We will be coming back to this post again and again over the next week or more, and we would like to keep this conversation operating at an intelligently high level. In other words–realizing we have about 78 lawyers in the midst–let’s not argue for argument’s sake.

    John and Melody

    Reply
  21. demonbowler | April 13, 2009 at 11:21 am
     

    I left the page Saturday night and just got back to it late Monday morning. Some thoughts on all this dialogue:

    1. Saw the video, it was very interesting.
    2. Agree with sub-15-Mike; with changes in age clearly comes a need to eat more mindfully and thoughtfully.
    3. My experience is nearly identical to sub10Fran: I’m even a veteran of “sugarbusters” – lost a lot of weight before my 20th college reunion doing so – I was eating the 70% or better dark chocolate, high fat content ice creams, high fat cheeses, whole grains, but was avoiding carrots, bananas and watermelons, and decided something was wrong with the picture;
    4.

    Reply
  22. demonbowler | April 13, 2009 at 11:33 am
     

    (sorry, continued)
    4. After gaining the weight back the weight lost on sugar busters, I joined WeightWatchers at work – lost a lot of weight “counting points”, learned tht the way to get the most food for point was to eat paleo – Weightwatchers itself developed an alternative plan where you didn’t even count points as long as you essentially “ate paleo” . WW at least prepared me for the zone – portion control, etc., and provided a source of ridiculous excercise videos.
    5. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in all of these posts.
    6. As a parent, I have real concerns over the effect that post-agricultural foods, mostly dairy, grains, refined sugar and HFCS, have had and continue to have on my children, particularly my daughter.
    7. I am going to buy the book – I had been intending to do so but his seals it.

    Ted

    Reply
  23. coach | April 13, 2009 at 5:46 pm
     

    Incidentally, if anyone is looking for some additional reading on this subject, here is some of the research we visited over the last few months:

    Cardiovascular disease resulting from a diet and lifestyle at odds with our Paleolithic genome: how to become a 21st-century hunter-gatherer (Mayo Clinic):
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14708953

    Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition):
    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/81/2/341

    Serum uric acid in traditional Pacific Islanders and in Sweden. (Journal of Internal Medicine):
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14871461

    Hyperinsulinemic diseases of civilization: more than just Syndrome X (Journal of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology):
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VNH-48WJWGF-6&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=ca25baee635cc0ec8fb0bf01c3a72e1d

    The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: meat-based, yet non-atherogenic. (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition):
    http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/Meeting2/CommentAttachments/Hahn-178DOC.pdf

    Macronutrient estimations in hunter-gatherer diets. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition):
    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/72/6/1589

    Influence of moderate chronic wine consumption on insulin sensitivity and other correlates of syndrome X in moderately obese women. (Journal of the American Medical Association – JAMA):
    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/287/19/2559

    Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis. (British Journal of Nutrition):
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10884708

    Insulin Resistance Syndrome and Alzheimer Disease: Pathophysiologic Mechanisms and Therapeutic Implications. (Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders):
    http://journals.lww.com/alzheimerjournal/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2006&issue=10000&article=00020&type=abstract

    High school dietary dairy intake and teenage acne. (American Academy of Dermatology):
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WM8-4DPC56Y-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=a3f7e6aefb31c5e39464c3be9314f6a3

    Melody

    Reply
  24. coach | April 14, 2009 at 8:33 pm
     

    Team,

    We’re really enjoying the dialogue so far. Thank you again to everyone who has contributed so far.

    To clear up any lingering confusion, this is not a “low carb” program. The carbohydrates to be consumed, via fruits and vegetables, are of higher quality and lower insulin response than grain, cereal and sugar alternatives. Lower insulin response means better recovery, a blunted inflammatory response, less fat storage, better general health and fewer risk factors for many modern chronic diseases. This is the core of our recommendation.

    Melody and John

    Reply
  25. mworden | April 15, 2009 at 10:18 am
     

    I’m not trying to kiss your guys ass with this posting. I’m just a little taken back by some of the resistance and questioning your receiving on the suggestion of the Paleo diet.

    I have been working with you guys for two years now. In that time I have surpassed any expectations or dreams I might have had with my fitness. I watch the other “trainers” at the gym and thankful I’m with you guys.

    Since the beginning I have observed and realized that you guys live and breath this stuff. At times maybe a bit OCD. So between your schooling, your research, and your own personal trial and errors I will take whatever advice and suggestions you’re kind enough to pass on to me like the Paleo diet. I don’t have the kind of man hours, or desire, to research this stuff that you guys do. I’m also not going to question someone who excels in their profession. I’m sure neither one of you guys would come to my office and question my job in my profession, or tell me how to use my camera.

    I trust you guys in this decision and willing to give it a chance because your the professionals and you haven’t once led me astray.

    Keep up the hard work and please don’t put down that striving for better bar.

    Matthew

    Reply
  26. demonbowler | April 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm
     

    Matthew,

    Since I said I was “stunned” on my Saturday night post you might have interpreted that as “resistance” or “push-back”.

    I can’t disagree with anything that you said. I’ve experienced the same positive results (not the exact same results, of course, but the same relative positive experience) in just under one year, and even less time in the group context.

    Here’s what I was initially stunned by: my perception was that “the Zone” (as filtered through John & Melody) was presented as the best way to optimize athletic performance – I think the macronutrient ratios may not be based on hard science, but the diet seemed sensible and safe and accomodated a range of post-agricultural foods. Eating “paleo” within zone parameters was even better. Going “completely paleo” without regard to zone ratios makes sense, particularly if there is no discernible difference in athletic performance between “paleo/zone” and “pure paleo.”

    I perhaps read too fast past this key part of Saturday’s post: “Further, we have been extensively researching The Paleo Diet and implementing it on our own with great success for several months, now. We are feeling and performing better than ever. While we touted its effectiveness in combination with Zone parameters before, we have learned, both scientifically and anecdotally, that The Paleo Diet is most effective when standing on its own.”

    I assume that by “most effective” John and Melody mean with regard to optimizing functional athletic performance? (as opposed to, say, optimizing weight loss – although in the four short days I’ve been “doing non-zone Paleo, mostly,” I think I’ve had a little more rapid weight loss than on my approach to the zone). I’m also glad that, on reading John’s further posts, he’s using foods that were key to my zone regimen – turkey bacon, chicken sausage, eggs- I was afraid that “Paleo” meant eliminating the first two items for the sake of salt content.

    I may have been guilty of reading the term “paleo” a little literally, and impulsively, before diving into the literature (I probably was a little discouraged when I realized that complete accomodation to most “post-agricultural” foods is not a part of the Paelo journey), and I’m sorry if I gave the other 77 lawyers a bad name – lawyers by their nature are skeptical, ask questions, and appreciate that things aren’t always as they seem. If I was shooting from the hip before, I’m sorry. I’ll be doing my own work, of course, but I’m also looking forward to further Paleo guidance from our coaches as they did with the zone – shopping lists, menu ideas, etc.

    My biggest fear, for instance, is my inate tendency to gorge on almonds (or almond butter). On the zone, I’d never eat more than 3 or 6 almonds per “block” (depending on whether I had a “fat free” protein source), and since I usually ate 3-4 blocks per meal, I regulated the quantity of almonds I ate. Of course – there is a point (and I could never really believe I got there) where you 3x the fat, so that would mean that even under zone I could conceivably eat up to 72 almonds at once. It’s hard to imagine not hitting “full” before 72 almonds or the equivalent amount of almond butter. So it might all be a wash. But it was weird to be stuck in the office, have nothing to eat for lunch but a banana, two oranges and a sack of almonds, and tell myself that it was ok to eat as much of that as I wanted without worrying about the lack of protetin. I guess the point is that these are nutrient dense carbs, essentially pre-agricultural (though clearly domesticated) and horomonally neutral fats.

    Change isn’t easy, as I keep relearning through all facets of training with Melody and John. Incidentally, congratulations on the inspiring results on your WOD today, Matthew (4-15-09)

    Ted

    Reply
  27. coach | April 16, 2009 at 9:50 am
     

    Matt,

    We really appreciate the show of solidarity. Your comment literally made our day yesterday. Thank you.

    John

    Reply
  28. coach | April 16, 2009 at 10:02 am
     

    Team,

    For those of you in attendance at our nutrition seminar last year, we offered five tenets to proper nutrition that October day. These were also included in the .pdf file we used to have posted on this site. They were:

    1. “Base nutrition on lean meats and fish, nuts and seeds, garden vegetables, fruit, minimal dairy, little starch and no sugar.”
    2. The pathology of grain-based carbohydrates, including the relationship to modern chronic diseases, N.M. Kaplan’s “Deadly Quartet” and the type III diabetes/Alzheimer’s connection, to name a few.
    3. “The Zone Diet models near-optimal nutrition while accelerating and amplifying the training effect. It neither excludes nor necessitates any particular food, and can be fit into any dietary structure—Paleo, vegan, organic, kosher, fast food, or expensive taste. The inclusion of Paleo parameters will deliver optimal results.”
    4. That if you only chose one of the two proposed parameters—Zone and Paleo—Paleo was the one to be chosen.
    5. The Zone Block Chart was divided into two sections: “Favorable” and “Unfavorable.” It is no coincidence that the “Favorable” side largely fit Paleo parameters, while the “Unfavorable” side did not.

    Our current prescription is hardly a departure from our original recommendations, rather, it is a simplification of those initial ideas.

    Melody and John

    Reply
  29. demonbowler | April 16, 2009 at 11:34 am
     

    That’s the nub – and the third point, as I understood it, was that that the “inclusion of paleo parameters” within the “Zone diet” would model “optimal nutrition while accelerting and amplifying the training effect.” (or did this simply mean that paleo within the Zone takes the zone as far as it will go -i.e. it “models” optimized nutrition and training performance – and “pure paleo” actually provides optimized nutrition and training performance, and is therefore preferred to “paleo modified by zone”?) The news to me is that the paleo diet outside of zone parameters delivers “more accelerated/amplified training effects” than paleo within the zone – but I may have misunderstood the whole paleo/zone marriage from the get-go.

    Ted

    Reply
  30. mccuej14 | April 16, 2009 at 11:38 am
     

    Thanks for reposting the “nutrition seminar in a nut shell.” After that seminar, I decided to go with your “if you choose one, choose Paleo” advice. I know myself well enough that I don’t have the patience for all the pre-planning required to follow the Zone parameters well. I have been pleasantly surprised that following the Paleo guidelines is not that difficult. I’ve been able to fit a Paleo diet into my busy schedule, fairly easily. (That’s not to say I haven’t completely ignored it for weeks at a time too.) I’ve definitely noticed that when I’m actually following the Paleo guidelines, I just feel better than when I’m not. I’ve known nutrition was important, but until recently, I never really knew that it had as much effect as it does on my general well-being. I used to view nutrition as eat healthier to lose weight, rather than eat healthier to be healthy. Looking at it from that perspective makes it easier pass up the crap. I’ve done a lot of reading about Paleo over the past few months (though I’m sure not as much as John and Mel), and the science backing it up has managed to convince my engineer/lawyer self. That’s a high bar 🙂

    Also, since I tend to have an all-or-nothing personality (especially when it comes to nutrition), this post gave me some good perspective: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/dont-let-the-perfect-be-the-enemy-of-the-good/

    John and Mel – thanks for all your hard work! and keep the information coming!

    – Jen M.

    Reply
  31. rella181 | April 16, 2009 at 1:58 pm
     

    Alright, so I am starting Paleo…do you have any recommendations about where I can find Paleo recipes…I found an ebook at paleocookbook.com but I wanted to make sure that there wasn’t anything better or less expensive first…

    Reply

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