Book Review: The Paleo Diet for Athletes

PaleoAthletesI have been reading the Paleo Diet for Athletes by Loren Cordain for a couple of weeks now.  Rob read it on the plane home from Ireland and that is when he decided he was going to start following a Paleo Diet.  Then it was my turn to read and jump on the band wagon.  Well, I’m finally done and here are my thoughts!

The book is definitely geared towards athletes like it claims.  If you are an average exerciser, working out at a moderate intensity for about 30 minutes 4-5 times a week, then this book probably isn’t for you.  Maybe check out The Paleo Diet by the same author.  If you are an intense exerciser or an endurance athlete (this includes beginner endurance athletes too!), then I think you will find a lot of helpful things in this book, even if you don’t want to be Paleo.  More on this later but basically this book is for
(1)  Endurance Athletes
(2)  Triathletes
(3)  High Intensity Athletes (e.g. CrossFit, etc.)

Main Idea
Rob calls this the “meataterian” diet (thank you Wendy’s commercial).  Basically, you eat a whole lot of meat and whole lot of vegetables and fruits and you don’t eat grains or dairy (or processed foods obviously).  That is the the basic premise of the Paleo Diet.  This book takes a slightly different perspective for that of an athlete allowing for their greater need of carbs in their diet.  It delves deeply into what to eat relative to your workouts (before, during, after) broken into 5 stages.  It also breaks it down according to the type, length, and difficulty of that workout.  So basically, you eat: 
(1)  Meats
(2)  Veggies
(3)  Fruit
(4)  Other carbs Occasionally

I’m not going to tell you everything in the book because that would ruin it!  The author goes into why he thinks the Paleo diet is optimal and then explains the reasons why athletes needs to modify due to their lifestyle and training.  It is very scientific but in an easy, understandable way.  He tries to support everything he claims though with research and scientific support which was a big approval from me!  He talks about glycogen stores and replacement of them, he talks about how lactic acid is not actually the enemy (with research to back it up!), etc.  But he also tells you exactly what you need to be doing to properly fuel and recover from your workouts (again, depending on the length and intensity of the workout).  This is why I think it is handy for any athlete, even if you don’t want to do the Paleo Diet fully.  This information about eating for workouts is pretty handy!

The book finally ends with some example recipes and I was almost left feeling like I missed something.  I mean, everything I needed was there, but there was no real wrap up.  LOL, I guess he was done!  Or maybe its because the book was so good, I didn’t want to stop reading?  Overall I’m extremely happy that I picked up a copy and took the time to read it.  It is also a quick read.  It took me forever (I actually finished it about 2 weeks ago) because I only get maybe 30 minutes a few nights a week to sit down and read.  Rob finished it on the plane ride, remember? 

I’ve decided that I like the idea of the Paleo Diet in general and can’t wait to start!  But… Rob has gone 100% Paleo and refuses to use up any grains we have left in the house which lead to me packing it all up for my apartment in Delaware…


So I guess its going to be a while before I’m 100% Paleo too.  I’m not going to try to gobble all this stuff up at once.  The nice thing about grains and legumes (also a no-no for Paleo, so no vegetarian Paleos out there) is that they keep forever so maybe one meal a day will have a small side of rice or something!  Or maybe I can take these back to NJ and pass them off to my mom next door?  Smile 

And finally, how do I feel?  Slightly better than before I guess.  I do find that I don’t have, ur… Stomach issues when I workout like I usually do (or used to should I say?).  So that is a major plus!  I’m also still having creamer in my coffee but I stopped putting cheese in my omelets.  A huge plus of being mostly Paleo is that I eat a TON of veggies now because there is just no other way to get in those calories!  And that was always a struggle before.  Now, it is becoming second nature!  I can’t wait to truly switch over.  I mean, I don’t really even want grains or things anymore!  (Except maybe when I’m at Chipotle, mmm burritos).  And now that I know how to fuel my workouts properly using the right carbs and things, I don’t have to worry about crashing during my distance runs or anything! 

I love this book and think any endurance or intense athlete should read it!!!

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Paleo Diet for Athletes

  1. I still like the idea about Paleo yet still haven’t given up on legumes. I mean, I get make your own (and we GROW our own) but give them up? Erm…problematic for me. Dairy is easy to give up as i’m lactose (possibly cassein) intolerant (was a soy baby) and now that I know that I’m Celiac (or more), grains are something to give up (except rice RIGHT NOW seems the only thing I can eat other than eggs–any fruit or veg, even cooked to mush causes massive distress).

    Anyway, I guess it’s for normal people. It would probably benefit MOST people but right now, I’m a MESS. That’s what I get for getting gluten out? Oy.

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