Tag Archives — Paleo

Thanksgiving Survival

With the upcoming Canadian Thanksgiving and the American Thanksgiving not too far off (not to mention Pumpkin Latte Season …) it is a great time to share ideas for keeping your nutrition and fitness goals on track this fall.  Feel free to put yours in the comments below.

  1. Focus on the social side of events. Whether that is a coffee date with a friend or family Thanksgiving, you are there for the people.
  2. Don’t drink your calories – Cliche advice, I know, but it is unlikely your Thanksgiving memories revolve around alcohol or a glass of sweetened-milk disguised as coffee.
  3. Exercise that day – You will feel healthier if you move that day. Try the new Anywhere Core Video if you are unsure of what to do.
  4. Bring a dessert that fits in your goals – fresh fruit, paleo styled recipes like Apple Crumble (with nuts, not grain) and my favorite the Paleo Pumpkin Pie made with nuts, dates, and pumpkin. You could also bring main dishes or variations on parts of the meal you like. Molly at has a few of our favorite dishes including Pico-de-Gallo, Guac, and Kale Chips
  5. Skip the white buttered-bun and any foods you don’t like that are not great choices anyhow (ie. don’t add gravy if that isn’t your big holiday treat)

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Season (this is my very rough directions – a full on recipe is linked below) 

a) in bowl slice/mash dates (with a bit of water if not fresh Medjool dates) then add 2 cups pecan (or choice nut flour) … pecan seemed to work better and not burn vs. almond/walnut mix of past
b) put in the oven for 5-10 min to ‘dehydrate’ or if you are kooky and have a dehydrator … do your thing
c) while dehydrating make the filling by combining about 2 cups pure pumpkin puree, 3 eggs, a lot of cinnamon unless you don’t like cinnamon, a pinch of cloves and nutmeg if you have it (i didn’t!) . Some maple syrup sweetens further to your taste, The dates and pecans add a fair bit of sweetness. 
    = For true chefs = a recipe that is close

Is the Paleo Diet a Fad ? Warinner Ted Talk

Debunking the Paleo Diet: Christina Warinner at TEDxOU (feb 2013)

I have had several emails, comments and jokes made about the below video and also the new book with a similar topic: Paleofantasy: . The questions and comments come from 2 types of people. The first are looking for reasons that paleo/ancestral diet is wrong to justify their approach and the second group are those who have tried the approach are upset that they could be eating cookies, regardless of their experience with the approach.

*The PaleoFantasy is discussed well in several places including here, and hereand here so I will not discuss further
** Mat Lalonde is really good at looking at the evidence for all things health and nutrition, this is a link to his interview on Chris Kresser’s Podcast (includes written transcript)

I will discuss my thoughts below the quick summary and embedded video below.

Main Takeaway from Ted talk: There is no one correct diet , we need diversity and need to eat fresh/whole/local foods

Ideas presented by Christina *my wording/order

1) Current foods are modified (farmed) or didn’t exist/have changed so they are not paleolithic     

Today’s Foods are GMO, selectively bred, bigger, different, not local 

2) There were many ‘true‘ paleo diets . seasonal and specific to what is available. 

3) Paleo Ancestors did consume grains/legumes/tubers (dental analysis) – tools allowed for processing. Corn ,soy and wheat are large percentage of what we eat.

4) we use preservatives, artificial flavors vs. foods that preserve naturally 

salt, smoke, pickle etc to inhibit bacterial growth . Fermenting important  

we do not know consequence of eating foods with no bacteria, with flavors/preservatives

7) We are supposed to eat whole foods. Foods not a sum of calories/macros. The whole package is important (fiber etc.) 

8) Eating processed foods leads to over-consumption (ie. 1 soda = 8.5 ft of sugarcane) 


My Thoughts
So after watching the video and/or reading my summary it becomes fairly clear that Warinner is actually pointing out more reasons that a whole foods approach makes sense. Her criticisms are all generally good. The idea that we should do exactly what our ancestors did is ridiculous and not the reason anyone should do something(*the caveman did it argument was the original basis for the paleo diet*). There was variety in the paleolithic diets, but many commonalities as well. There were foods that could not be eaten then that we can eat without problem now due to cooking/preparation method and there are people that will tolerate certain things better then others.

What this ‘evolutionary’ approach does provide is a starting point, which Robb Wolf discusses frequently via a 30day trial/elimination. The idea is to try something for 30 days then assess if it improves any issues or general well being (sleep, energy, emotions, digestion etc.). If Quinoa is something you feel adds to your life and you feel better with it then without it then there is no reason not to eat it and there should be no remorse about ‘not being paleo’. This Ted Talk recommends this same theme of eating whole foods while removing allergens (grains, legumes, dairy) and processed food.

There are a few ideas missing from this talk and many discussions of nutrition. There are many variables outside of diet including stress, activity, age, disease state. Everyone knows someone who eats what they like, is skinny, energetic, sleeps well and enjoys live (hint: they likely don’t care whether paleo diet is good or bad). These people mind their business, are rarely stressed, enjoy where they are (being present) . That is to say, if someone is able to go with the flow they experience lower stress and any dietary ‘imperfections’ are not as big a deal.

Where I believe we can make improvements in our health by moving towards the social groups, play (as Mark Sisson discusses), reasonable sleep patterns and activity/inactivity patterns looking more like our great great-grandparents. Actually seeing people face-face, playing a game, walking together, enjoying a sunset and avoiding sitting for extended periods all seem pretty reasonable and healthy.  Nutrition is important but it is just food. Keep food simple .


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Smart Athlete in the news and in the blog-o-sphere

Check out these articles that have been written about or featuring Smart Athlete in the last few WeeksDirk Sorenson on Leadville and how one might change their approach after several years at an event. Ideas on doing it self coached and with a coach. Some great tips from Dirk, check out his site.

Lady Lean on How traditional Low Carb and Paleo Ideas might fit into Endurance Training and Health.

Canadian Cyclist on Integrating a Paleo / Evolutionary Framework into an Endurance Cyclist’s Training.


Canadian Cycling Mag. Interview about Paleo Template in Endurance Athletes ( They would have great tempura)

    I finally found the article that Canadian Cycling Mag and Cheryl Madinger put together from an interview we did in the fall on the art of being Paleo while being an Elite Endurance Athlete. I have had several compliments from it and even a few  people who were inspired to give it a try, so super job and many thanks to C.C.Mag for letting me spout off about sweet potatoes and other kooky things.


    For clarity/disclosure/addendum, I personally use Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Magnesium at the moment (not fish oil or Vit D), I am not positive what I said on the phone so will call my bad on that. I avoid Gluten from all sources. I use white rice and organic corn occasionally if we are out for Mexican or sushi but mostly just to supplement carbohydrate when training load is high and 10+ sweet potatoes is too much. During rides I use maltodextrin based powders/gels for intense and/or long rides as well as BCAA and sea salt/electrolytes, the occasional ‘Jenny’s Macaroon’ finds its way into ride food as well. I consume limited Nuts/seeds and fruit  but this is not to say they are bad or to be avoided by everyone everyday.   Most people, on most days will get enough calories from a more normal paleo template (meat + veggies + fruit + good fats) .  The message that you do not have to be perfect and that everyone’s ‘template’ will be different was/is my primary message and this was captured well in the article.

Please let me know if I can help you in your journey or if the article sparks any questions/ideas.

  **follow me on twitter – If I can get 30 more followers I will begin tweeting and sharing ideas to help you up your paleo and/or endurance game **

Going paleo

By Cheryl Madliger – Published February 1, 2013

If your choice for pre-race nutrition tends to be linguine or rigatoni, Peter Glassford’s nutritional approach might shock you. The Collingwood, Ont.-based cycling coach and Trek Canada Mountain Bike Race Team member uses an ancestral diet omitting grains, dairy and legumes to fuel himself and his athletes. Extreme or not, Glassford’s diet is working for him. He is the Canadian record holder at the Leadville 100 and the 2012 Ontario provincial crosscountry champion. His approach to nutrition is based on the Paleo diet. It’s something cycling coach Joe Friel often recommends. In The Paleo Diet for Athletes, Friel and co-author Loren Cordain, the original expert on the Paleo diet, explain things simply.
“The essential dietary principles of The Paleo Diet for Athletes are straightforward: you can eat as much lean meat, poultry, seafood, fresh fruit and veggies as you like,” the book says. “Foods that are not part of the modernday Paleolithic fare include cereal grains, dairy products, high-glycemic fruits and vegetables, legumes, alcohol, salty foods, fatty meats, refined sugars, and nearly all processed foods.”
As Glassford explains it, the approach is about maximizing nutrition, which in turn maximizes performance. “The Paleo diet is basically the use of an evolutionary framework to establish an optimal diet and lifestyle for an individual, starting with the most nutrient dense and non-problematic foods. Start thinking about your food in terms of nutrient density,” he says. “What do you get for each calorie?”
Grains, dairy and legumes – which some suggest we’re not fully adapted to – are considered problematic. They’re also less nutrient dense than foods emphasized in the Paleo diet, making them less optimal choices. For example, rather than a pouring a meat sauce over bed of pasta, someone following the Paleo diet might add it to abowl of veggies, such as spaghetti squash or zucchini. According to Nicole Springle, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Toronto, the Paleo diet is growing in popularity. Springle admits, however, that without grains, legumes or dairy, meeting nutrient requirements could be challenging, but not impossible. “You can satisfy dietary requirements without these foods, but it requires careful planning and supplementation,” she says. “Most individuals don’t realize the amount of careful selection of food required to meet their dietary needs.”
(read more at Canadian Cycling Mag)