Feb 04, 2014 11:34AM
At his CrossFit gym, in Hoboken, Craig Parcells sees busy people every day who want to follow the Paleo Diet he recommends but don’t have the time or desire to cook. So he came up with Paleo Cuisine—prepared, home-delivered, healthful food that’s ready in an instant: Paleo Cuisine.
Launched in January, Paleo Cuisine offers a variety of Paleo entrees and vegetable side dishes, sealed in vacuum-packed bags and frozen. To serve, they simply need to be placed in boiling water. “It’s essentially an in-home delivery service for the Paleo Diet,” Parcells says. “It comes precooked and all you have to do is boil water.”
The Paleo Diet promotes “original” food eaten during the Paleolithic Era. “It shows us how to eat the way our genetics are designed to eat,” Parcells says. “You couldn’t find a Twinkie 10,000 years ago.” The diet includes grass-fed meats, free-range poultry and eggs, wild-caught fish and seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and healthful oils such as olive, flaxseed, avocado and coconut. It excludes cereal grains, legumes (including peanuts), dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, processed foods, salt, and refined vegetable oils.
But preparing the food can be daunting for some people. Parcells saw gym members try the diet for a week but give up because it became time-consuming. “The purpose was really not to have a food company but to get people to eat correctly,” he explains. So he partnered with chef Chris Ottobre, who has 40 years of experience (“He’s really good; he’s even cooked for a couple of presidents”) and who turned the ingredients into such tempting dishes as Curry Chicken Almondine, Chipotle Chili and Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberries. Complete meals range from about $10 to $15, and can be combined with raw foods such as salad. “It has really taken off and people are following it.”
Parcells believes that fitness depends on nutrition. “Nutrition is about 80 percent of it,” he says. “I can get somebody in good shape more by diet than working out. And, by eating right, they’ll have so much energy they’ll want to work out. With someone who is tired, they don’t want to exercise because they’re eating junk.”
He has seen the difference that good nutrition makes in his own life. He was doing CrossFit workouts and felt that he was in good shape, although he didn’t pay much attention to nutrition. Then in 2007 he heard a presentation by Robb Wolf, author of the best-selling book The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet, and was so inspired that he wanted to try the diet. He noticed a significant improvement in his performance right away and began recommending it to others. “Plus, you feel more energetic, your mind is clearer and you can think better,” he says.
Some area gyms, including Parcells’ CrossFit Hoboken, have taken advantage of Paleo Cuisine’s “Drop Stop” program for its members. Parcells provides the freezers and free delivery of food for members to pick up at their gyms once a week. Paleo Cuisine also caters parties. “People like it because they can serve food that tastes good and it’s really healthy, too,” Parcells says.
His gym also features a Paleo Challenge, which has helped participants lose body fat and gain strength. He describes one longtime gym member who had hit a plateau in his fitness after one year. He started at about 15 percent body fat, and he followed the diet for eight weeks and dropped to 8.5 percent—and, Parcells says, he’s been doing it ever since. He adds that challenge participants need not buy the Paleo Cuisine meals, but they often want to.
“Our food is easy, but it’s also so good,” he says. “People buy it and they’ll find it tastes better than what they’ve been eating. And it really works to make them healthier.”
For more information, call 800-805-9307, email [email protected] or visit PaleoCuisine.net or Facebook.com/PaleoCuisine.