08 July 2015 – Nutrition: The Basics

Lately, Phil and I have been receiving a lot of questions from you about nutrition… what to eat, how much to eat, what supplements to take, when to eat dense carbs, what are dense carbs, what Phil and I do for our nutrition, etc. etc.

With these questions in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to give you a Nutrition 101 blog, a quick summary of the basic nutrition guidelines that we follow...

And it goes a little something like this…

In general, we advocate a Paleo framework for nutrition. Now, before people go all crazy about having to go hunting in London for their dinner and the impossibility of living like a Caveman in today’s world, PALEO DOES NOT MEAN PRIMAL EATING. And I kinda hate the person that decided to name this whole thing Paleo, because everyone gets this idea in their heads! Paleo is a nutritional guideline that simply advocates a return to eating Real Foods and staying away from processed and chemically enhanced food (ready meals and fast food), food with added sugar (such as candy or soda), and gluten (such as bread, pasta, and cereal). In many of my recipe blog posts, you will also see me refer to this as ‘Clean Eating’.

I can hear you cry out…. Why would you take away my sugar, my chicken nuggets, my Pret Baguettes?!? Let me tell you why…

Why no sugar…

“Added sugars are one of the quickest and easiest foods to provoke an unhealthy hormonal response, causing disruptions in leptin and insulin levels, primarily reliance on sugar as fuel, and accumulation of lipids in the liver, bloodstream and on the body (as body fat!). This drives systemic inflammation, a major risk factor for many lifestyle diseases and conditions. In addition, these sugars are calorie-dense but nutritionally barren – the very definition of empty calories.” – Whole 9

Why no gluten…

There are different protein structures in grain foods that have been found to cause dam­age to our gut and result in increases in gut permeability. These beasties are tough and are somewhat resistant to the body’s normal processes of digestion, which means they arrive in the gut largely intact. As such when they cross the gut barrier they cause dam­age to the gut lining and this damage may allow other substances like incompletely-digested food particles, bacteria, or viruses through the gut and into the body.

As these various particles enter the bloodstream there is an interaction between the for­eign particles and immune cells. This triggers an immune response and systemic inflam­mation results. Depending on the individual, the level of inflammation varies greatly by severity.

Why no processed foods…

Although our bodies are constantly developing, improving and evolving, unfortunately we haven’t been able to adapt quickly enough to be able to break down the chemically processed convenience foods that have become such a dominant presence in our world today.  Think it’s a coincidence that modern diseases such as autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and rampant obesity happened to increase alongside the global spread of industrialised food? Think again.

A few things to bring to your attention before you ceremonially burn your Weetabix and Haribos in your back garden….

  • We won’t tell you that you have to be 100% Paleo, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your coaches are not 100% 'clean'. We are human and like to go out with our friends. We love enjoying a craft beer, a few squares of dark chocolate, and if we go to our favourite pub, you better believe we are going to demolish a lamb burger. But these detours away ‘clean’ eating are rare occurrences and special occasions. We aim to keep our nutrition clean 90% of the time, so approximately 3-4 deviations from clean eating per week (1 beer = 1 deviation)
  • Each of you is a unique, which means that each of you has different nutritional needs and backgrounds. That’s why we say that Paleo is a ‘framework’, not a hard and fast set of rules. Some people can be Paleo and eat some dairy, some people can’t. Some people can handle rice in their diets, some people can’t. Some people can cut out gluten, processed foods and sugar straight away, and some people need to take it a bit slower, starting out with just eliminating sugar from their diets, then cutting out gluten, etc.

In summary, aim to eat Real Food: a protein, fruit or vegetable, and healthy fat with every meal. Stay away from sugar, gluten, and processed foods, but don’t forget to let yourself live a little too!

Want more info? Check out Nom Nom Paleo for a more in depth description of Paleo basics (and a cartoon!).

Check out She Cooks, She Cleans for clean eating recipe ideas.

Check out our past blogs on Nutrition and Nutrition Programming at CrossFit 1864.

Have questions about supplements? Read this blog.

Have additional questions about nutrition or want to try this whole Paleo thing out? Let us know in comments or speak to one of your coaches before or after class (or email!)

And keep an eye out for Coach Phil's next blog on What Matters Most in your Nutrition to get Results!


A) Alternating EMOM x 10
Even minutes: 3 Front squat
Odd minutes: 10 Push-ups @ tempo 2020

B) Assistance superset
15 minutes to get through 2-4 rounds
10 Good mornings
10 Back rack lunges
10 Ring rows
10 Strict toes to bar