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Little Starch


Little Starch

Seven rounds for time of:
205 pound Clean, 3 reps
4 Ring handstand push-ups

A high visibility billboard outside of the LA Airport: "Elizabeth lost 101 pounds with the lap-band." Wouldn't it be so much cooler if it read: "Elizabeth lost 101 pounds doing CrossFit, eating Paleo, and learning to listen to her body!"

Little Starch

Continuing on with our breakdown of the CrossFit dietary recommendation, we arrive at “little starch” (eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar).

First of all, what is a starch?
A starch is a complex carbohydrate.  Humans incorporate starches into their diets in the form of corn, potatoes, wheat, beans, peas, squashes, and rice.  Starches are also used as fillers and thickeners in many processed foods.  They contain little nutritional value and in some cases (such as bread) once milled, processed, and baked, often must be fortified with vitamins and minerals so that the body can process and digest the resulting food like substance.

Why only a little starch?
Because in the end, starches become sugar. At the chemical level, starches are made up of tiny clusters of sugar molecules (clusters = the complex carb piece). When humans eat starches the molecules breakdown into sugar and voila! – another source of sugar. In extreme moderation or in sport performance instances (such as endurance event training) starches can serve a purpose.  I once heard or read (can’t remember which) Glassman state that you should think of starches in condiment-like servings.

The American Plate
Think of the typical American dinner plate – a scoop of meat atop a mound of rice, or a plate of pasta with 3 meatballs placed on top.  In both instances, that’s a lot of starches!  If your rice was served as a condiment-like portion, you would have just 2-3 tablespoons of rice on the plate.  A very different picture!

Paleo and Starches
As you can see from the list above starches are in no way Paleo.  They are food substance we don’t need to eat to live, perform, and thrive (not even sweet potatoes).  By eating Paleo we default to a no-starch way of eating.  How cool!

Cooking Without Starches
The biggest barrier to removing starches from one’s way of eating is dedication. There are countless Paleo websites that offer tons of recipes, resources, and recommendations for how to swap-out starches for better options.  So the next time you’re out at Zolo Grill, remember that you can always ask for a bowl of carrot slices to go with your chips and guac!

3 Responses

  1. Don’t forget to sign-up for The Total Days of Summer!! Log-in to MBO and find (and make) a time to get in here and do The Total. We need your numbers. August 18th and 21st. Sign-up on MBO to reserve your spot.

  2. Bones

    Sugars are also found in fruits and vegetables. Sugar is absolutely necessary for our brain to function – sugar is its only food. I think that the issue is with overload. Adding a lot of starch and “processed” sugar (esp. added to foods that already have some naturally) to our diets is the problem, and why avoiding nutrient-poor, sugar-rich foods is great advice.

  3. Jonathan

    It seems odd to lump beans in with the rest of those. Beans have a lot of nutritional value, don’t they?