Im seeing more and more MMA fighters adopt vegetarianism and it got me to thinking that we almost never hear about a professional athlete contribute part of their success to Paleo.
Shane Carwin is a beast of a man and just went vegetarian http://www.shane-carwin.com/profiles/blogs/249-pounds-20-days-out-the
One of the best 170lb fighters in the world contributes his success to growing up vegie http://www.mmafighting.com/2010/04/14/jake-shields-talks-vegetarian-diet-in-new-peta-ad-campaign/
and I know that John Fitch just became a freakin V*gan.
Perhaps these guys are just the genetically super gifted and therefore have much more leeway in what the eat? Kind of like the kid we all know growing up who ate Mc'Ds all the time but was still shredded. Paleo has been huge for me and Im not giving it up but I do wonder why more elite athletes are not embracing it.
Edit: I see people listing athletes that have dropped some food allergies but does this make them Paleo? Is a high carb, low fat, diet sans gluten or sans a few food allergies Paleo? These athletes could still be chowing down on rice (grain) and beans (legumes) and corn tortillas (more grain). I agree that it is a step towards Paleo but so is anything that modifies a SAD diet.
Edit 2: F-Yeah! Frank Mir (MMA) drops Vegan to become Paleo. Strength and muscle mass shot up
Well, Novak Djokovic hit the news recently about giving up gluten.
It's at least interesting to see a main news site pick it up. And yeah, it doesn't look like he's going to give up meat, if the pictures in the WSJ are any indication.
I'd be surprised if any of these MMA players see good long term results. Most likely they're going to have to cheat, or face dire results over a period of months without a good source of protein for recovery.
Though you have to wonder about what Carwin says. "I am nearly a vegetarian aside from the poultry and fish." No, that's not a vegetarian! Perhaps a Pescetarian label would be better in this case. rolls eyes
Here's some press you may have missed: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=5021601
" 'When I was in New England [during the '08 preseason] a bunch of the guys saw the way I ate and asked a lot of questions. So I ended up writing out some diet stuff for them," Welbourn said. "They were pretty interested.'
As they should be.
Welbourn, a 10-year NFL veteran, had just introduced them to the Paleo Diet, more popularly referred to as the 'Caveman Diet.' But don't let the catchy name fool you -- there's plenty of science behind it."
They don't use the 'P' word but when you're gluten free you're pretty close. The best tennis player in the world....
Novak Djokovic has gone gluten free and recieved a lot of press lately. The tough part is that what we think of as paleo, is often just a high-protein, low carb diet that lots of athletes have had for years. Also, I think that in the grand scheme, paleo is still a very niche thing and most people (journalists) would see this as a low-carb or gluten-free thing, so thats why you dont hear about it as much.
As far as these guys go, I doubt the veggie thing will last too long. Maybe ok for Jake Sheilds because he grew up that way and hasnt known any difference. However, every veggie athlete I have ever know hits a pretty hard plateau, cant get over the hump, and then overtrains themselves into injury. Afterwards, gets back on the meat, and has this crazy jump in performance and talks about how they dont have to train near as hard as they used to. Of course, that is purely anecdotal.
I think there are plenty of professional athletes who are following a fairly paleo-based diet. However, they may not know or advertise that what they're doing is "paleo" per se. They probably aren't nit-picking about macro-nutrient ratios, phytates, or oil oxidation, but since they are professional athletes, they can handle a substantial amount of carbohydrate fuel without developing metabolic abnormalities - they simply burn through it during their regular high intensity workouts. Older athletes are more likely to turn to improved nutrition as well, in an effort to maintain a high level of play among the young guns coming out of college as their bodies become slower and weaker.
The most salient example I can think of is Steve Nash. Nash has been silencing his critics by playing so competitively for an older veteran in the league.
The 6-3 guard learned that he was sensitive to wheat, gluten, dairy, tomatoes and onions and returns regularly to the naturopath for IV's of vitamins and trace minerals that may be low from the wear-and-tear of the season.
I've heard similar things about Grant Hill and Ray Allen. I recall seeing Allen tell an interviewer about his pre-game meal - always chicken/fish and rice.
See here for more on "The Nash Diet" (note that the term paleo is nowhere to be found!)
tl;dr there are probably many athletes who follow a fairly paleo diet but are too busy to blog about the science or post to paleo hacks :)
John Welbourn of course. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXz2dUprLAg
Huge and studly.
It's funny that MMA fighters think that vegetarianism is a good thing. Sports have traditionally be steeped in pseudo-scientific superstition and obviously these guys aren't particularly intelligent in the first place but I wouldn't have expected such an egregious error in reasoning.
Top pro cyclist Christian Vande Velde cut out gluten. I know he gets plenty of other carbs, but he's been performing really, really well, particularly as he had some absolutely terrifying crashes (broke his pelvis, fractured ribs and in another one broke a collarbone). Since he's from the Chicago area, we consider him our hometown boy in the Tour and always cheer for him. Hoping he improves on his 4th place finish in the 2008 Tour de France and just wins the whole thing.