The paleo diet (also nicknamed the caveman diet, primal diet, Stone Age diet, and hunter-gatherer diet) is hugely popular these days, and goes by one simple question: What would a caveman eat? Here, we explain what the paleo diet involves, its pros and cons, and, ultimately, what a modern person needs to know to decide whether or not to take the paleo diet plunge.
LOREN CORDAIN, Ph.D., is one of the top global researchers in the area of evolutionary medicine. Generally acknowledged as the world's leading expert on the Paleolithic diet, he is a professor in the Health and Exercise Science Department at Colorado State University. Dr. Cordain and his research have been featured on Dateline NBC and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other media. He is the author of The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, among other books, and makes regular media and speaking appearances worldwide.
"Every fad diet thinks it has discovered the root of all evil," says Dr. Ochner. But nutrients in legumes, whole grains, and dairy—all of which are forbidden on the paleo diet—can help to lower the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, reduce blood pressure, and promote a healthy weight, he says. Cutting dairy, the primary source of calcium and vitamin D in modern diets, is especially worrisome for women who want to avoid osteoporosis.
Both feeling hungry all the time and never feeling hungry are common on the Whole30 diet, especially during the first two weeks as your body adjusts to new sources of energy. Eventually, though, you shouldn’t feel those pangs since protein and fiber are filling, and you’ll get plenty of both. Plus, you’re allowed to eat as much as you want and add Whole30-compliant snacks to your meal plan, provided you truly are hungry. One small study of 29 participants published in Nutrition and Metabolism in 2010 found Paleo eaters (who have relatively similar diets to Whole30 followers) felt just as full but consumed fewer calories than their Mediterranean counterparts.
Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking in a Gluten-Free Kitchen by Julie Sullivan Mayfield and Charles Mayfield. Implementing paleo guidelines and principles in this book (no grains, no gluten, no legumes, no dairy), the Mayfields give you 100+ recipes and full color photos with entertaining stories throughout. The recipes in Paleo Comfort Foods can help individuals and families alike lose weight, eat healthy and achieve optimum fitness, making this way of eating sustainable, tasty and fun. The many reviews at Amazon are basically flawless. The sole complaint is over the lack of nutritional information. But there is no counting on the paleo diet and its inclusion would have been inappropriate. Published September 10, 2011.
And she has a point: Many of the foods on the "no" list have nutritional benefits and can be a smart addition to a healthy diet. "Whole grains, beans and yogurt are really important for our gut health, yet on this diet, they are not allowed," says Brooke Zigler, RD. "By eliminating these food groups, people could be missing out on key nutrients in their diet."
^ Hall, Harriet (2014). "Food myths: what science knows (and does not know) about diet and nutrition". Skeptic. 19 (4). p. 10. Fad diets and "miracle" diet supplements promise to help us lose weight effortlessly. Different diet gurus offer a bewildering array of diets that promise to keep us healthy and make us live longer: vegan, Paleo, Mediterranean, low fat, low carb, raw food, gluten-free ... the list goes on. (subscription required)
While I understand why people may like this book, this is not the book for me. I am all for healthy eating and an active lifestyle so I can appreciate the lengthy explanation of this program for those who want that. However, I found most of the information completely common sense. Several times I thought if you follow a healthy diet you would know this stuff, and if your diet is not healthy a lot of this stuff you should know anyway. Also unless you have never cooked a day in your life, there really is no need for what kitchen equipment you should have. if you cook, you know what you need. Also do not waste my time by adding pages of shopping lists - this is a complete waste of space. I digress, I bought this book simply for the fact that I was looking for some new healthy recipes to add to what I already cook. Recipes do not start until page 149 (they end on 392)- not every page has a recipe. its recipe usually followed by a full color page of what the recipe looks like when complete. With that said, the recipes in general are bland and some are so simple I can't believe they wasted a page by including it as a recipe (i.e., perfect boiled eggs, roasted sweet potatoes). I cook often and I really can't find a single recipe in here that I couldn't come up with myself or for the few that are a bit more fancy I have seen elsewhere. I actually just look at this book and shake my head in disgust for buying it. It only gets 2 stars because the book itself looks nice and the pictures included make the food look good.
Food and Western Disease: Health and nutrition from an evolutionary perspective by Staffan Lindeberg (MD at Lund University in Sweden) is the newest book promoting the paleo diet. It covers the link between diet and disease in the Western world (all major diseases, including cancer, heart disease, obesity, stroke and dementia) and towards a greater knowledge of what can be defined as the optimal human diet. Benefits and risks are detailed. The Amazon reviews are all 5 stars. Especially read Susan Schenck's detailed review. You can read a preview at Google Books
Update: So I just finished my first whole30 round and I have to say that I'm super excited by the results. When I hopped on the scale today, I noticed that I had lost 26.6 pounds. I then measured myself and noted that I lost a total of 31.5 inches (-5" from chest, -2" from right arm, -3.5" from left arm, -8" from waist, -5" from hips, -4" from right thigh, and -4" from left thigh). I am really excited by my results!
Legumes are members of a large family of plants that have a seed or pod. This category includes all beans, peas, lentils, tofu and other soyfoods, and peanuts. Legumes are not allowed on paleo because of their high content of lectins and phytic acid. Similar to grains, this is a point of controversy in the scientific community. In fact, lots of research supports eating legumes as part of a healthy diet because they are low in fat and high in fiber, protein and iron.
As part of our #MyFoodFreedom book club this month, Whole30 Certified Coach, Kate Baldacci is sharing her tips for how to share your Whole30 experience with your loved ones. You can connect with Kate by visiting www.coach.whole30.com/coaches/kate-baldacci/ Visit whole30.com/2019/01/book-club-2019 for the Food Freedom Forever reading schedule and list of events.
There is little argument over the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. They are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. The only caveat for paleo dieters is that some vegetables are starchy (e.g., potatoes) and some fruits are higher in sugar (e.g., bananas). So, if you are trying to lose weight or watch your blood sugar levels, eat these in moderation. In fact, potatoes are banned from some strict versions of the diet.
Vitamin D is the one supplement that would be paleo. At least it would be for those of us that don't live outside year round. You can have your D level measured. The low RDAs only prevent definable deficiences, not problems that take a long time to develop. Michael Holick, MD is a leading writer on this subject. This is a 10 page PDF: Vitamin D: importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis and its companion Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease [change PDF to 100% to read]. Or if you prefer, there is an hour video on YouTube.
Yet unlike other exercise trends, CrossFit exists as an entity unto itself. CrossFit is a lifestyle, a state of mind, and a reason for being. In an age of soul-sucking hookup apps and the waning popularity of gay bars, CrossFit provides a sense of community and kinship for gay men who feel deprived of it. Whether in small towns, big cities or traveling on the road, CrossFit is almost universally an LGBT “safe space.”
A great question to ask is “Does the Paleo diet work?” Here we have a head to head comparison between the Paleo diet and Mediterranean diet in insulin resistant Type 2 Diabetics. The results? The Paleo diet group REVERSED the signs and symptoms of insulin resistant, Type 2 diabetes. The Mediterranean diet showed little if any improvements. It is worth noting that the Mediterranean diet is generally held up by our government as “the diet to emulate” despite better alternatives. You can find an abstract and the complete paper here.
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"The struggle is a normal, necessary part of the process. Changing your food is hard. Changing your habits is even harder. Changing your relationship with food is the hardest part of all. The process requires struggle—it’s how you know you’re growing—but don’t make it harder than it has to be! There is no such thing as the 'perfect Whole30,' so if your beef isn’t grass-fed or your travel meal doesn’t look exactly like our meal template, don’t sweat it. Your only job is to stick to the Whole30 rules for 30 days, and some days, you’ll have to let good enough be good enough. When you do struggle, remember why you took on the program in the first place, and don’t be overwhelmed by the big picture—just focus on the next day, or the next meal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and high-five yourself for the victories you’re achieving every day you’re on the program, no matter how small. Even tiny progress is progress."
Sex With Your Pants On (SWYPO) is a term used to describe the idea of recreating treats such as pancakes, brownies, or pizza with Whole30 ingredients, and is strongly cautioned against. The Hartwigs feel that if you’re trying to recreate a pizza made out of cauliflower crust in order to scratch a craving itch, then you’re kind of missing the point. To quote the Whole30 website, “You can tell yourself it’s okay, it’s still pretty good, you’re totally satisfied … but that’s kind of a lie. Because you know exactly how good pants-less sex feels.”
A more traditional minimalist shoe is a moccasin. Footear by Footskins has a line of them. The are available in a variety of soles, e.g. crepe soles (shoe-like with a heal), rubber soles (more flexible), molded soles (thinner and more lightweight but still suitable for outdoors), and leather canoe softsoles (for mostly indoor use). For more see What Are The Main Differences In Your Soles? The moccasin uppers come in a leather choice of deerskin or cowhide. Deerskin is more flexible and is the preferred material to achieve the barefoot equivalent. I bought a pair for around the house as pictured here. I found it cheaper to buy through Amazon.com. See moccasins by New and Bestselling for: Men's and Women's.
At CrossFit, some coaches refer to this as “Uncle Rahbdo,” though it’s not something funny or enjoyable. You can read all about the condition and issues it can cause here. This typically occurs with (primarily male) ex-athletes who have not exercised for a while and come back trying to prove something, and end up working at a higher intensity than their body can handle.
Evolution of the Human Diet: The Known, the Unknown, and the Unknowable by Peter S. Ungar. Diet is key to understanding the ecology and evolution of our distant ancestors and their kin, the early hominins. A study of the range of foods eaten by our progenitors underscores just how unhealthy many of our diets are today. This volume brings together authorities from disparate fields to offer new insights into the diets of our ancestors. Paleontologists, archaeologists, primatologists, nutritionists and other researchers all contribute pieces to the puzzle. The book has four sections: Reconstructed diets based on hominin fossils--tooth size, shape, structure, wear, and chemistry, mandibular biomechanics. Archaeological evidence of subsistence--stone tools and modified bones. Models of early hominin diets based on the diets of living primates--both human and non-human, paleoecology, and energetics. Nutritional analyses and their implications for evolutionary medicine.
That said, plenty of people who try the Whole30 diet do end up losing some weight. "The benefit of Whole30 is that it encourages eating whole foods, which are foods in their most natural state," says nutritionist Sara Haas, RDN, LDN. Cutting out sugar means that you'll probably end up avoiding empty calories from baked goods, and alcohol. You might also find that your belly feels flatter as a result of avoiding highly processed packaged foods, which tend to be loaded with sodium.
Realistic Details: I think that this will be more challenging if your culinary experience is limited. A lot of people complain about the difficulty of the recipes. The fact is that if you can make eggs and broil or barbecue meat, or even if you can turn on an oven and toss a salad, you will be fine. You might be a little bored with the food if you are not savvy in the kitchen, but it might help if you are really a novice to get the cookbook in addition to the guide.
“A CrossFit class can be the most extreme, strenuous, and mentally/physically exhausting workout you’ve ever done,” says Rick Palmisano a 30-year-old project manager from Orlando, Fla. “You build a lot of strong connections with the other athletes because you have to get through this grueling workout, together; the other CrossFitters not only become your opponents, but your family.” When Palmisano recently ruptured his Achilles tendon, for instance, he received gifts and get-well cards from his teammates.
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Ever start a diet and get immediately discouraged when the number on your scale hasn't budged after a week or two? Whole30 forbids weighing yourself — a practice which can help shift your mindset to how you're feeling as your success metric. "The scale shouldn’t drive your mood, food choices or overall mindset," says Amy Shapiro, RD. "Continue to live a healthy life and measure how you feel energy and clarity wise." Which means being honest with yourself about how your body feels after going to town on that cheese plate. One of the biggest realizations for me was how much clearer and more energetic I feel when my weekend diet doesn't consist of vodka-sodas and takeout food.
One larger randomized controlled trial followed 70 post-menopausal Swedish women with obesity for two years, who were placed on either a Paleo diet or a Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) diet.  The Paleo diet provided 30% of total calories from protein, 40% fat (from mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and 30% carbohydrates. It included lean meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, avocado, and olive oil. The NNR diet provided less protein and fat but more carbohydrate with 15% protein, 25-30% fat, and 55-60% carbohydrates, including foods similar to the Paleo diet but also low-fat dairy products and high-fiber grains. Both groups significantly decreased fat mass and weight circumference at 6 and 24 months, with the Paleo diet producing greater fat loss at 6 months but not at 24 months. Triglyceride levels decreased more significantly with the Paleo diet at 6 and 24 months than the NNR diet.
In William Calvin's The Ascent of Mind, Chapter 8 he discusses why he thinks that the Acheulian hand-ax (the oldest of the fancy stone tools of Homo erectus) was really a "killer frisbee." He argues that natural selection for throwing accuracy, which requires brain machinery, is the evolutionary scenario for bootstrapping higher intellectual functions. There are many more articles about evolution and human development throughout William's extensive site, though much of it these days is on climate change.
[…] I don't like the word "diet", so I'll say that this is more a way of changing what you eat long-term. It's all based around what our ancestor hunter-gatherers would have eaten, and what we've evolved to be able to process and absorb. The very basic level of it, is that you don't eat carbohydrates, processed meats or sugars, and cut out dairy products. You instead eat plenty of fresh meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts. You can still have oil, provided it's natural – so coconut, peanut & olive oil are all good. The good thing is that you're also allowed to take this to your own level – so if you want a couple of days off a week – say, weekends, you can do it & it will still be a lot healthier for you. This is a really helpful site I've used to make a note on my shopping list of what's allowed: The Ultimate Paleo Diet Food List | Ultimate Paleo Guide […]
Beginners to weight training – If you have NEVER weight trained before (or trained only on machines), CrossFit is a great place for you to start (provided you have a great coach, which I’ll cover shortly). You’ll learn how to do all of the important lifts in a super supportive and nonjudgmental environment. You might even find that…GASP…you love strength training!