What is the Zone Diet?
Most serious CrossFitters adhere to either the Paleo Diet, the Zone Diet, or some blend of the two. Christina and Jeff Barnett have compiled some information on the Zone Diet to make it easy for anyone to understand, complete with a thorough Zone block chart and pictures of example Zone meals. While we actually recommend first focusing on quality of food by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, balancing your portions and carb/protein/fat intake with the Zone is an incredibly valuable tool for both elite athletes seeking the best CrossFit diet and everyday people seeking weight loss. To take your nutrition to the next level you need the hormonal balance that the Zone Diet provides. Read on to find out more, and when you’re done use this PDF file to find the block equivalent of most common foods. It’s even color-coded! Figuring out your perfect 4 block zone dinner couldn’t be easier.
Diet comes from the Greek language and means “way of life”. A diet is a lifestyle–not a set of draconian rules that you blindly follow. The Zone Diet controls gene expression and hormonal balance to give you the longer and better life to which we all aspire.
The Zone diet is primarily concerned with controlling your hormones. Hormonal balance affects all important components of your wellness: body composition, energy utilization, blood chemistry, and much more. Food is a drug. This may seem shocking, but think about the definition of a drug. Loosely, ingesting drugs causes physiological changes in your body. Ingesting food has the same effect. It can bring about positive or negative changes in your body. Would you take 17 Tylenol capsules for a headache? Would you consume expired, low-quality medicine? Of course not. Then why should we expect different results when we feed our bodies 17 times our necessary food intake, and comprise our diet of low-quality processed garbage with no nutritional value? You see the results of this lifestyle in America today.
The Zone Diet isn’t about eating “low-carb” or “high-protein” or anything like that. It’s a diet balanced in
• Protein (lean, natural meats are preferred)
• Carbs (mostly low glycemic-load fruits and vegetables)
• Fat (one of the most important macronutrients!)
With the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats, you can control three major hormones generated by the human diet – insulin, glucagon and eicosanoids.
Insulin – A storage hormone. Excess insulin makes you fat and keeps you fat. It also accelerates silent inflammation.
Glucagon – A mobilization hormone that tells the body to release stored carbohydrates at a steady rate, leading to stabilized blood sugar levels. This is key for optimal mental and physical performance.
Eicosanoids – These are the hormones that ultimately control silent inflammation. They are also master hormones that indirectly orchestrate a vast array of other hormonal systems in your body.