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Reasons Why The Paleo Diet Is Taking Hold In The NBA

Published on December 16, 2013,

Writing for CBSSports.com, basketball specialist Ken Berger has published a series of articles on nutrition in the NBA and in this extract from part two of three he focussed on the impact of the low carb paleo diet…

Polski: Ray Allen

Ray Allen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…For various reasons, players from different walks of the NBA life are making dramatic changes to their diets in the hopes of achieving their goals. In the case of Ray Allen, it’s trying to squeeze a few more 3-pointers out of his 38-year-old body. For 24-year-old Blake Griffin, it’s laying the foundation for a long, productive career. For Derrick Rose, 25, it’s the recurring nightmare of bolstering his body to recover from injury…

“I think guys are becoming more aware,” said Allen, who began following a modified Paleolithic diet after the Heat won their second straight NBA title in June. “… When you start eating the salads and the proteins and fruits – in Whole Foods, I kill the fruit and vegetables section – you just feel so much fresher and cleaner.”

A Paleo-what? The Paleolithic diet — Paleo, for short — involves eating like our caveman ancestors did: lean meats, wild-caught fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar or processed foods. Its proponents call it the “anti-inflammatory diet” on the theory that avoiding processed carbs and sugars decreases inflammation in the body — the kind that causes joint pain and the kind that a growing number of medical authorities believe contributes to heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

After the Heat beat the Spurs in the Finals – in large part due to Allen’s clutch 3-pointer late in Game 6 — Allen felt depleted, achy and believed he’d become dependent on anti-inflammatory medication just to get onto the floor. Then 37, the NBA’s career 3-point leader had just completed his 17th season. A model of health, fitness and preparation, Allen felt his body finally rebelling against him. And he didn’t like it one bit.

“My mentality was that I’m burning so much, I need the sugar and I need carbs,” Allen said. “But toward the end of the year, I remember being on anti-inflammatories and my body always felt like I was hopped up on drugs just to decrease the inflammation.”

Allen’s wife told him about the Paleo diet and its purported anti-inflammatory properties. He studied it, asked questions, and resolved to start it on July 1, but couldn’t wait. Allen took the Paleo plunge on June 26, six days after the Heat closed out the Spurs in Game 7.

“I cut everything out, and within three weeks I lost 10 pounds,” Allen said. “I stuck with it all summer long and learned to eat even cleaner.”

Allen confronted his one dilemma with the program once training camp began. With his activity level ramped up — practices, weightlifting sessions, the endless shooting he does to hone his craft — he began to feel depleted. So he did something that even one of the world’s top proponents of the Paleo diet acknowledges is OK for athletes with a high activity level: He increased his consumption of carbs.

“That’s absolutely what needs to be done,” said Robb Wolf, a biochemist, author of the New York Times best-seller, “The Paleo Solution” and a student of Paleolithic nutrition expert Loren Cordain.

“When you start looking at any type of high-level athlete, they need a lot of carbs to be able to function optimally – potatoes, some sweet potatoes, some white rice,” Wolf said. “That’s spot on to make this thing work.”

Wolf works most often with people who are sick and obese, and those with type II diabetes and/or other metabolic diseases are best served by a strict Paleo diet with very little starch and no dairy, he said. But professional athletes and members of the military are equally motivated to try the Paleo lifestyle for optimal health, and there’s more than one way to do it.

“If they do something that improves their recovery, they feel a little better, their cognition is a little better, their fine motor skills are maintained and they’re able to train a little bit harder or a little more often,” Wolf said. “They just don’t get so beaten down.”…

More at:  Nutrition in the NBA; Part II: Paleo diet takes hold for myriad reasons

Success Story: Christopher After 2 Years Of Paleo

Published on August 9, 2013,

A reader of The Paleo Solution has written a fantastic ‘thank you’ letter after two years of following Robb Wolf’s programme and achieving some inspiring results. This is from RobbWolf.com…

The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf

The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf

Dear Robb Wolf,

My better half explained the Paleo diet to me in a very simple way.  She said, “Look, you’re a nomad with a sharp stick. You can eat anything you can dig up, knock off a tree, or kill.”    I said, “OK, I’ll read Paleo Solution.”  I’m glad I did.  Your book was an enjoyable and life changing read. It’s been almost two years and I would like to share some of my results:

  • Within six months I lost 50lbs and completely changed the way I interpret food.
  • By day four I no longer needed antacids.  I’ve lived on all types for the past 25 years.
  • Cholesterol dropped 40+ points.  My blood work is perfect.
  • BMI dropped 8+ points, currently I’m at approximately 11% body fat.
  • Energy level has amazingly increased.
  • Reflexes are surprisingly quicker.
  • Plumbing is working better than ever.
  • Mood, sex drive, and overall well-being are considerably elevated.

My goal was to be in the best shape of my life before I turn 50. I still have six months, but with the help of your book, I hit that goal a year ago.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Christopher E. Anthony

More at:  After 2 Years Of Paleo

Success Story: 60lbs Down And A Whole Lot Of Health

Published on April 22, 2013,

Sylvie was raised a vegetarian and converted to a low carb paleo diet after reading books from Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson in an attempt to sort out a huge list of medical ailments which led to heart medication, antibiotics, steroids and thyroid medication. So did it help? Well, she’s off all the medication and has lost 60lbs as well. This is from Robb Wolf’s blog…

Sylvie before (www.robbwolf.com)

I didn’t find this lifestyle to lose weight. I’d sort of given up on the weight front, assuming that after hitting 30 and having 3 kids there’s only so much you can do.

I was raised vegetarian, and had probably consumed more gluten in the first 20 years of my life than most people do in a lifetime.

I was not an overweight kid, but I was definitely a health disaster. By age 15 my list of diagnoses and medications were impressive: polycystic ovary syndrome, chronic amenorrhea, hypothyroidism, tonsillitis once per year, chronic allergic rhinitis, in addition to my congenital tachycardia (PAT/SVT) and Epstein-Barr virus, which reared its ugly head multiple times. Inflammation doesn’t even begin to describe it.

All this led to various heart medications and later a heart catheter ablation, many rounds of antibiotics (we’re talking penicillin in the rear end since the orals were no longer cutting it) and later a tonsillectomy, lots of cortisone up the nose and later polyps surgically removed and 17 years of thyroid medication and birth control pills every single day. My medical file was a FAT one- pun intended. Here I am [top picture] weighing at least 210lbs, possibly more. (I am 5’10”).

sylvie after robbwolf.com

Sylvie after (www.robbwolf.com)

My experiment with paleo came out of desperation since my thyroid symptoms were out of control despite my labs looking perfect (including testing negative for Hashimoto’s several times). The first 30 days were not easy dealing with cravings and finding the time, energy and money to do more shopping, cooking and dishes while juggling the usual madness that is a full time job and 3 kids.

It was well worth it though because I feel better now than I did as a kid. I’ve lost at least 60 lbs [bottom picture] and I’m on no medication! My cycle is like clockwork and my blood sugar (and hence mood) are in check. Food really is medicine. Thank you for helping to turn my life around.

More at:  60lbs Down And A Whole Lot Of Health

See Sylvie’s blog here

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