If you've recently taken the leap into a variation of paleo or primal dieting, you no doubt noticed that quite a few things immediately disappeared from the menu. Depending on which interpretation of this approach you follow, most (if not all) dairy and grains aren't options anymore. Processed meats and a variety of snacks might also be gone.
In a world with an increasing number of choices, cutting a few options out can feel liberating. There's one less decision to make, and you can focus that much more on the sort of high-quality, nutrient-dense foods that characterize the best versions of paleo eating. However, cutting out food groups also has a downside; if you don't take in the specific nutrients you used to get from those foods, your health and athletic performance may suffer.
Yes, I know that paleo man couldn't take pills and powders. Get over it! With just a couple of strategic supplement choices, you can turn this dietary approach from a struggle to a performance powerhouse. Make sure you have these five in your cave!
1. B Vitamins
Organ meats are some of the best sources of B vitamins out there. So...are they part of your paleo menu? How about shellfish, another great source of B-12 and other vitamins? Are you getting one of the two regularly? B honest! Most people skip them for a number of reasons: taste, difficulty in preparing, expense...taste.
Hey, I get it; Liver's not for everyone. But if you're not eating it, those nutrients have to come from somewhere. Yes, tasty tubers provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals, but grains themselves are a powerhouse of B vitamins. Without them, your intake definitely takes a hit.
Why does this matter? B vitamins play an integral role in converting the food you eat into energy, among many other crucial functions. Slack on these and your WODs will start turning into NAPs. Consider a B-complex supplement to safeguard against this.
If you've told the cow to moove over, make sure you're getting enough calcium to compensate. Yes, leafy greens are a good source of calcium, but as with organ meats, the ideal version of paleo eating often takes a back seat to the most convenient one.
Blame modern life—but also make sure you're getting enough calcium. It plays an integral role in bone strength and muscle contraction, along with too many other processes to list here. There's simply no need to jeopardize your gains or health while following a paleo approach!
3. Paleo-Friendly Protein Powder
Paleo eating at its best is rich in a wide variety of micronutrients—and that's great. But are your macronutrients up to snuff? Protein on the paleo approach can be hard to get enough of, since grass-fed and (ideally) locally sourced meats are, let's face it, expensive. Plus, a post-workout steak on the go simply isn't convenient. Sorry!
So when you need a quick blast of protein, look no further than a dairy-free protein powder. Rather than whey or casein, proteins like MHP's Paleo Protein are made with a combination of beef and egg proteins. If you train hard and have ambitious athletic goals, this is a no-brainer.
4. Paleo-Friendly Energy Bars
So, what did primordial man eat in a pinch? The original portable snacks: fruit, nuts, seeds, and honey. When the time comes for you to get calories on the go, grab a bar made of these staples.
Paleo often goes wrong for people when they try to get too cute or restrictive about carbs. When you're staring down a tough workout or a business meeting, it's OK to reach for foods that will give you some quick, sustained energy.
5. Jerky And Nut Butters
Jerky is easy to pack, is laden with protein, and stays fresh for a long time. People have known this for thousands of years, but many of us have forgotten as fresh meat options have sprung up all around us. Rediscover dried protein, and stock up on it!
If you're strict about paleo, you may have cringed when you learned peanut butter often doesn't make the cut. Fortunately, delicious cashew butter is on the menu. This easy-to-pack option may turn out to be your new favorite go-to snack!