Portion: zone/paleo

6 oz steak, 2 cups mashed cauliflower, 1/2 cups broiled carrots with cumin and cinnamon baked in oil – my zone/paleo meal

Zone and Paleo are quite controversial because they can be 2 separate ideas or they can be mixed into 1 idea.  A lot of CrossFitters have mixed the concept of Zone/Paleo.  I’m not an expert but pretty intuitive with many things and these are my thoughts.

The Zone Diet portions your carbs, fats, and proteins at every meal and snack.  Depending on your size and activity level, your portion sizes are different and depending on how far you dig, ratios can be adjusted, too (let’s not get into that). It’s suggested to weigh and measure all of your food the first few weeks of starting.  All of the benefits of eating Zone claim to be similar to this of paleo (harnessing disease, lowering inflammation, having more clarity, athleticism skyrocketing, and more).  Zone, however, although encourages a meal primarily of meat, veggies, nuts seeds, fruit, and oils (paleo), shit food is also portioned.  You can figure out how to create a zone meal with potato chips and ice cream.  When you give someone an inch, they surely take the entire yard.

“You CANNOT weigh and measure shit food and get the same results.” That came from Robb Wolf on Zone vs. Paleo.  Someone in the gym just came to me the other day telling me her co-worker does the zone and loves it! She just finished a meal that included a gatorade and 1/2 a crappy sandwich (what do you think gatorade is, protein, carb or fat? what if it says 0 sugar? What the hell is it? EXACTLY my point!)  This can be OK if it’s your first week on the zone – it’s a learning experience with discipline on portioning.  If you’re 2 years into Zone, and that’s your lunch, then you’ve taken that yard.

The only reason I think Zone is beneficial versus paleo is You can mess up paleo in the same way – The only vegetables you like are potatoes, corn and green beans (all which are not paleo, except for the controversial green bean). So, you eat very little meat (because conventionally your advised to not eat a lot), very little vegetables (because they aren’t appetizing), and you turn to tons of fruit and nuts because you’re always craving food trying to satisfy hunger.  Honestly, you’re going to feel somewhat good even with this unbalanced daily ritual because the toxic food you used to eat is no longer in your body.   It’s going to catch up with you and you’re going to be dissatisfied with your meals because your portions are unbalanced, and you may not feel energetic, and you’re most likely not going to lose the weight you wish you did.  All the sudden paleo doesn’t work.  Meat fills you, veggies give you essential nutrients and slow burning energy, and fat balances it out to keep you fuller, longer.

Let’s take a look at The Zone Diet portions – and I’m going to try to make it as easy to understand as possible and not get too technical.  

If you’re a female you need 3-4 ounces of meat at every meal, 2-3 portions of carbs at every meal, and some fat at every meal (1/4 an avocado, small handful of nuts,oil used in baking).  Your snacks should have 1 portion of each category twice a day between meals- if you’re a guy, then 1.5x or double everything I just stated.

1 portion of  vegetable/fruit (they are both carbs and in the same category.  Females need to choose 2-3 portions!

  • 12 spears Asparagus
  • 1 cup broccoli raw (2 cups steamed)
  • 1 cup brussel sprouts
  • 2 cups cauliflower
  • 1 1/2 cup eggplant
  • 1 cup leeks
  • 1 cup okra
  • 1 cup raw spinach (4 cups cooked)
  • 1 cup yellow or zucchini squash
  • 2 cups celery
  • 3 cups cucumber
  • 1.5 cups chopped green pepper (2 full peppers)
  • 1 whole head iceberg lettuce
  • 3 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup onion
  • 1/3 banana
  • 1/4 of a whole cantaloupe
  • 1/2 apple
  • 1 tbs. raisins
  • 2 dates
  • 1/2 cup blackberries, blackberries, grapes, or honey dew
  • 1 whole kiwi
  • 1/3 pear
  • 1/2 cup cubed pineapple

If you take a look, 1 whole lead of lettuce is 1 portion – i can eat a quarter of head of lettuce and still need 2.75 more portions. It’s made of very little nutrients…You know how you go to a restaurant and order a salad, and you’re starving an hour later? You only ate 10% carbs!  In addition to the salad, you needed 1 whole chopped  tomato on top, 1/4 cups of onions, 2 cups steamed broccoli, and  1 cup okra to make my Carb portion complete. Of course you need meat and fat options on the salad, too.

Do you see why you’re hungry?


About hcfchallenge

The Paleo diet is simple yet remarkably effective for fat loss and halting or preventing a number of degenerative diseases. To reap the benefits of the most effective nutritional strategy known, one need simply build meals from the following: * Lean proteins (ideally) grass fed meat, free range fowl and wild caught fish * Seasonal fruits and vegetables * Healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil Our 6 week challenge will help you ease your way into the Paleo Diet. Regardless of your fitness or health goals, you WILL look, feel and perform your best on the Paleo diet. For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is enough. Improved blood lipids, weight loss and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough. Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any recommendations, be they nutrition or exercise related. Some folks like to know WHY they are doing something. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny. View all posts by hcfchallenge

8 responses to “Portion: zone/paleo

  • Heather

    Just a side note! I started doing Zone-Paleo at the beginning of this challenge and I will say 1. I have never eaten so many vegetables in my entire life! I love it 2. I am not hungry at all! My meals are HUGE but it is all of the RIGHT foods instead of 1/2 a sandwich!… I feel like if you’re hungry, you’re not feeling quite right yet- or you just don’t know how much to eat — this is the way to go! I was eating WAY too much meat and NOT NEARLY ENOUGH vegetables! I don’t know a lot about zone- but I know how to get started and can help anyone who is interested! 🙂

  • Ellie

    I think this is my problem. I’m eating 2-3x that amount of meat and I THOUGHT I was eating enough veggies but that’s probably why I get hungry and hour or two after I eat. thanks for the post!

  • Cara Hays

    i’m not eating nearly enough veggies! i’ll work on that this week for sure!

  • Saturday » Hoosier CrossFit

    […] Portion: zone/paleo By hcfchallenge […]

  • Jen Smallwood

    I looked on the zone website, and it has a calculator for figuring out how many “blocks” you are supposed to have. Along with my calorie requirements, it figures that optimally I’ll be getting about 150-160 grams of carbs in an entire day. (going with 30% Fat, 30% protein and 40% carbohydrates). At lunch today I had nearly 4 CUPS of vegetables (2 of those raw) and it totalled 13 grams of carbs (spinach, onions, red bell pepper, mushrooms, asparagus). Um, yeah. And yup, I’ve been eating way more than 3-4 ounces of meat at a time. So I’m going to re-look at this. I’m not terribly worried about getting my carbs up over 100 g- I know for good fat loss I think staying lower will only help, but maybe if I squeeze in some veggies with a little more carbs (say, carrots, parsnips, beets) I can increase it at least some and feel more satisfied and have even more energy. I think the key here is to maybe weigh and measure a bit and experiment to see how it makes me feel, and how it affects my results. This will be my goal for this week. A little test, if you will…. 🙂

  • Jen Smallwood

    Here’s an interesting tracker I found a link to on the Crossfit message boards. http://www.trackshoesforsprinters.com/BodyCalc.php

    You input your measurements and activity level and it gives you an approximate body fat % and the number of zone blocks you’d need based on that info. (I don’t know, however, if this is zone blocks needed to maintain or zone blocks needed to put you into an optimal fat %.) It is an interesting way to track measurements over time, though. I’m interested if any of hte people whose body fat I measured with calipers was interested in putting their measurements into this and seeing what BF% it says to compare!

  • 1 week and 3 days to Go! « Hoosier CrossFit 30 Day Challenge

    […] portions.   Feed yourself more vegetables, meats, and fats to stay full and have energy (go back to Saturday’s Post if you’re still struggling with portion […]

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