Nell, do you eat whatever you want, since you’re an endurance athlete? YES- and everything I want is PALEO!!
BUT- here is the caveat:
EVERYTHING I WANT TO EAT IS PART OF THE PALEO DIET.
Honestly; no joke.
I don't secretly walk around dreaming of eating bagels, pasta, cake and cheese.
Yes, it did take a little getting used to, but when I discovered in my late 20's that I had developed an allergy to gluten, and then subsequently cut it out, and saw ALL my symptoms that I was experiencing disappear within days, it didn't take any more convincing.
Shortly thereafter, i read THE PALEO DIET, and was sold. Fortunately, thanks to my mom, I grew up eating a really healthy (with the exception of whole grains & organic dairy) diet- she was (still is, at heart!) a hippie, so I was raised on fresh veg, fruit, nothing with preservatives & so on. Because of that, the switch to removing all other grains besides those containing gluten, as well as legumes & dairy wasn't nearly as hard as it may otherwise have been.
Here's the bottom line- if you know that a certain food 'X' is going to either make you feel like absolute crap, drain your energy, give you GI distress, worsen your auto immune disease, cause acne, create a less than phenomenal training, racing and recovery (the list goes on), WHY WOULD YOU EAT IT??
It's not like we're canines; I use my dear Weimaraners as an example. In the occasional event that they get into the neighbors' trash and eat something rotten and then get sick, they will still go into the neighbor's trash again if they have the opportunity.
Think about that. If you eat, for example, bread and pasta, and find that you're bloated, sick to your stomach, tired (amongst a host of many other symptoms), REMEMBER THAT – and don't eat it again! It's just not worth it!
So, yes, I do eat whatever I want, and what I want is: kale, broccoli, olive oil, flax, avocado, raw salmon, grass fed bison, apples, berries, coconut oil, rapini, spinach, chard…. just to name SOME of my faves in no particular order.
I'm lean and healthy and Paleo, and that's the end of it! Yes, my body comp and weight do have to do with my Ironman training, BUT the nutritional component is more than half of the equation.