CrossFit and Paleo…The Miracle Cure?

Today’s Workout
CrossFit Games Open WOD 12.2

Proceed through the sequence below, completing as many reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
30 Snatches, 75/45
30 Snatches, 135/75
30 Snatches, 165/100
As many Snatches as possible, 210/120An old client of mine has been suffering on and off with severe ulcerative colitis for several years now. In the last year and a half, it became so bad that for long periods of time (read: weeks), he was not able to eat food or even drink water. Emergency room visits were a regular occurrence. All traditionally accepted treatment routes, including steroids for the severe inflammation, as well as others, including leukemia medication and targeted immune-system suppressors, were now failing at a rate of 100%. Holistic treatments didn’t fare any better.

He came to me some time ago and told me that he was determined to get off all of his medication and beat this thing. Could I help with nutrition? I was excited! I laid out a plan that removed any and all inflammatory and possibly allergy-inducing foods from his diet. Basically paleo, and then some, combined with massive amounts of fish oil. What happened? Nothing. Nada. Zip. I know we were all expecting a magical, fairy-tale paleo-induced miracle. But this had become an auto-immune nightmare and his body was under siege by it’s own defenses no matter what he ate.

What we do with exercise and nutrition can cause amazing transformations in people’s health, their fitness and their well-being. But there can sometimes be a tendency to lose perspective and think that it can work miracles, cure anything. Never would I tell you that nutritional intervention isn’t fundamentally critical in your health — it certainly will continue to be in his — and that food isn’t the most profoundly effective medicine you have for the prevention of disease. But there is also a time when we get beyond what food and exercise can cure on its own.

My friend ended up having his entire colon removed surgically. And if you think that I didn’t want as much as anyone else for it to have been otherwise, you’d be wrong. But this was long overdue. This was a life or death decision. His body was attacking his colon, it was perpetually inflamed beyond measure, and he couldn’t absorb nutrients or water. No colon, no inflammation. No inflammation, and a normal life is now possible. For him, surgery was the measure of last resort, and he had reached the last resort.

So use these tools — nutrition, CrossFit, fish oil — for what they are good for: prevention, becoming strong, building yourself up, and reversing possibly years of abuse and neglect. But be careful when you start to expect miracles from them. Be responsible in your own life for what we actually know about them. Being realistic about what your tools are good for is extremely powerful on the road to sickness or wellness.


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