My name is Fernando and I am a CrossFitter and MMA/Kick boxing fighter from Spain. I discovered your site a few months ago and I think it is really great, but I am really surprised and confused about some information. I will tell you my story:

Here in my country, Spain, there is no information about Paleo diet, CrossFit, etc. There are just three CrossFit boxes in the capital Madrid, and two of them suck. Even in my box most of the people don’t know what is Paleo.

I have been following Paleo diet from more than one year and a half, according Loren Cordain's book "Paleo Diet for Athletes", and I am very glad with the results. I eat a lot of meat and fish, lot of veggies and good fats, quite a lot of fruit, some nuts, eggs and starch only after training sessions, and a whey protein drink after training, with juice and a banana. I do not eat DIARY or GRAINS. But I have two problems:

- From several years ago I have serious problems with recovery. In fact, I cannot train hard more than two followed days (more or less 4 days per week), so my physical improvements are very slow.

- There is another problem. I was a really big guy, more than 240 lbs. I was fat, but I was strong. When I got in shape, of course I lost a lot of weight. It was about ten years ago (now I am 30). The problem is than now days, I cannot gain weight, I suppose because my metabolism has changed. Now I am over 180 lbs and 1.85 meters tall, when my weight should be about  200 lbs.

So...how can I improve this problem?

I also have two questions about the nutrition plan that you propose on your web:

- You recommend a high ingest of dairy, which surprise me a lot in a Paleo Diet nutrition model. ¿Why should I ingest milk? I hate milk since I was a child, and also it doesn't feel me good. ¿Should I ingest milk for my athletic performance? ¿Non fat milk? ¿Pasteurized or raw? ¿Are there problems with PH equilibrium and insulin pikes because of the consumption of dairy products? ¿Can I replace milk by another product, like whey protein, cheese or yogurt? ¿Cow or goat/sheep dairy products? And the most important question...HOW MUCH dairy and WHEN should I take it? ¿Just after training, for breakfast, along the day...?

- You also recommend a high ingest of high ingest of roots, tubers and bulbs along the day, but...¿Does it mean that should I eat potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc, all along the day? I just take potatoes or sweet potatoes in my second meal after training session.

A last two questions...

- ¿Really Robb Wolf contributed to this nutrition plan? It is strange because he has always defended nutrition free of dairy products.

- ¿What do you think about Progenex supplements? ¿Are they so good like people said? I have a little shop of functional equipment and nutritional supplements, and I am thinking about Progenex products distribution (and consume). But it is very expensive to import those brands to Spain, so I don’t know if it is a really good idea. 

I hope you can help me. Thanks very much for your attention and keep on going with your great work¡¡¡ I love our web site.

lost in madrid #1

Fernando,

First, you exceeded your question allowance. Usually, we have a one-question rule but since you are lost, I will break my rule.

I am not purposing a 100% Paleo diet on my site. While many of the foods listed in diet recommendations are on the Paleo diet, I include foods like tubers and recommend the use of supplements, as I know they will increase performance.

The recommendations on this site are based strictly on performance. And we gauge performance by increases in size, strength, speed and increased work capacity.

In your email you tell me, you lost 60 lbs, but can't recover enough to train more than two days in a row. Because you can't recover, your progress is slow and therefor can't put on muscle. And you are pleased with those results...

We must have different levels of expectation with a training program. In my life, we train to meet goals and eat to make these goals a reality. If the training or diet is not helping us meet our goals, we start tweaking things. We don't lower our expectations.

Second, where my diet recommendations align with a traditional Paleo diet is with heavy meat and fat consumption and the avoidance of grains and processed foods.

Grains are a diet staple in the world’s food supply. And while they have allowed for our global population to grow, they are counterproductive to health and performance. Grain consumption results in the producing of toxins that damage the lining of the gut. These toxins bind essential minerals, making them unavailable to the body. These same toxins inhibit digestion and absorption of nutrients, including protein.

The most dangerous of these toxic compounds is the protein gluten. Gluten is found wheat, rye, barley and most commonly eaten cereal grains. As gluten is digested it works to damage the intestine and destroy the lining of the gut.

Not only does it damage the gut, but gluten can affect every system in the body, including the brain, liver, kidneys and endocrine system to name a few.

Personally, I find it is hard to recover from day-to-day to make gains while consuming grains.

Where we differ from the Paleo diet is in the consumption of starchy vegetables and tubers. Starchy veggies and tubers are great sources of carbohydrates and should be consumed in place of grains and legumes.

What are starchy veggies and tubers? Yuca root, carrots, parsnips, potatoes (peeled), squash, sweet potatoes, yams and taro root. *Plain white Idaho potatoes or the ones favored by the Irish should always be peeled before consuming. Do not eat the peel.

And to quote Dr. Mat Lalonde, “At the end of the day glucose is king…” The best way to replenish those glycogen stores in the post workout feed is with starchy veggies and roots.

Third, how can you improve upon your problem of not gaining weight and lack of recovery? How much time do you have?

I have done over 130 blog posts on this site and have given away almost three years of free programming addressing this very issue. I say you start with the first blog post on TTMJ and work your way forward. Also, go to CrossFitFootball Dot Com, go back in the archives and start with April 1, 2009 and work your way forward.

By the time you get to November 23, 2011 you should be sorted.

Fourth, if you hate milk and it doesn’t make you feel good, then don’t drink it. I am assuming you are an adult and I am fairly sure no one is going to make you go to bed early for not drinking it.

Does milk have an anabolic effect? Yes.
Does milk increase recovery and aid in putting on muscle? Yes.
Does the increase in caloric intake from consuming milk increase size and strength? Yes.

What really confuses me is you adamantly state you avoid DAIRY, but then go on to tell me you drink whey protein shakes. You know that whey protein comes from cow’s milk.

And lastly, Robb Wolf is a close friend and contributed to the diet recommendations on the site. If you are read Robb’s blog or listen to his podcasts, he recommends the consumption of dairy for high performance athletes and special population.

You need to understand the difference between the metabolically deranged individually standing in line at MacDonald’s and an athlete training for performance.

The only experience I have had with Progenex is when Dr. Scott Connelly showed up at my gym with a big box of samples. He spoke for an hour about how his protein was better than performance enhancing drugs.

lost in madrid#2

I tried the product for a few days but stopped due to stomach problems. I never noticed any effects beyond the horrible gas. But, I recommend you try it out and see if it has the effects you are looking for. But remember…whey protein is made from cow’s milk.

John