I’ve been taken to task on what I wrote and I need to address that. I mention below a “50-60% adherence” number and really tore it apart. When Tony wrote that originally he qualified that as being an arbitrary number, not a claim of accuracy. I was pretty spun up about all that and managed to remember what I wanted to remember to suit my needs. Not very professional, not an accurate portrayal of how the discussion really played out.
Chris put up a good post in the mmmgood thread that I wanted to tackle on the front page. Some of you might have followed the spirited debate that followed one of the recent Zone Chronicles over at the CrossFit Journal site. Here is what Chris had to say:
This whole thing seems really odd to me. I thought the standard CF nutrition line (eat meat, veggies, nuts seeds, etc) WAS a paleo prescription and then the eat this in a 40/30/30 ratio bit was listed secondary?? Maybe that’s changed.
A few thoughts though…
The top performers when interviewed about the Zone seem to add fat and drop back carbs. Crunching numbers puts this broadly line with what is naturally achieved by going Paleo.
Pat Sherwood might resort to burgers etc when on the road if needed, but his home routine is pretty tight paleo excl the weekly cheat meal.
I doubt that the top performers are doing zone purely on bread, shitty cuts of meats and trans fats – I’ll bet they’re keeping the quality pretty high and minimising exposure to sugar, white flour and trans fats. Hmmm… Paleo-ish??
So, my thought would be that both approaches when used by those trying to max out performance leads to the same place – a higher fat, lower carb, 80-90% paleo-zone diet.
Converging paths based upon separate protocols. If you look at this from the CrossFit perspective where using multiple paths to the same goal is encouraged (see the 2K Rowing article from one of the earlty CFJs) its seems odd that you wouldn’t use both paleo and zone to minimise the amount of time it takes you to hit your goal of elite performance.
Moving on from performance to health, Paleo seems a sensible plan to adopt 90% of the time. With first hand experience of the benefits to health that paleo gives, I find it hard to swallow when people dismiss it.
Oh yeah – Chris – I’m UK based and run Crossfit Westcountry. I have firsthand experience with UC and a paleo/zone approach to management – drop me an email if you or your brother need anything.
Chris, thanks for the thoughtful post and YES, a paleo (quality first) followed by Zone (proportionality) is the likely best route to optimum health and performance. I’m not sure what the disconnect is with this in HQ but it starts feeling a lot like “We are going to argue this point until we are the winners” regardless of the content of the argument. On the one hand I have this sense that I’m being portrayed as some kind of tee-totaler who advocates we never go off the paleo-reservation. When I make the point this is not the case but that food quality IS important the argument shifts to “Elite performance only requires adherance to quality foods 50-60% of the time…”
Come again? When I hear numbers like this thrown around to a COMPLETELY unquantified situation it really raises my hackles. Interestingly THIS is the realm of pseudo science, citing hard numbers for a very soft scenario. This does BTW remind me of the apparent “20% slop” we are supposed to be embracing within CrossFit…that will be another popular blog post…
Anyway, like Chris mentioned, folks who are turning top numbers are eating “clean” much more than 50% of the time…this is just a fact. If we wanted to get SLIGHTLY scientific about it I could send out a nutrition survey to all the qualifiers to the games, but this is only as good as people’s memories and honesty, so not super, but it would be something. The reality is people notice when they eat like shit too frequently, that frequency varies from person to person, and based on what the particular nature of the crappy food is. That’s actually a much more accurate portrayal of elite fueling than some arbitrary percentage. This also reflects what people actually experience especially with regards to the quality piece. In the nutrition cert the topic of cheat meals is always a popular piece. I lay out two different scenarios. The first is a beer+pizza bender, the second is a nachos+tequila schwa-re. I tell people to try each one and let me know which one they feel like more shit from. Inevitably, the nachos+tequila leaves people much happier the next day than the pizza+beer. Why? Pizza+ beer is a truck-load of gluten. Coach Glassman told me he does not really buy the gluten gig. I also remember Coach talking about dropping a stack of research literally 2-3 feet thick on the desk of some physician who was decrying the Zone as dangerous….but the doctor would simply ignore the literature and still damn the Zone. I’m certainly feeling like that with regards tot he gut-health gluten gig. I guess the response is the same as what they used with the static about hyperinsulinsim…ignore it and press on.