Do not step on the scale or take any body measurements for 30 days. The Whole30 is about so much more than weight loss, and to focus only on body composition means you’ll overlook all of the other dramatic, lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So, no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat, or taking comparative measurements during your Whole30. (We do encourage you to weigh yourself before and after, so you can see one of the more tangible results of your efforts when your program is over.)
The paleo diet is promoted as a way of improving health. There is some evidence that following this diet may lead to improvements in terms of body composition and metabolic effects compared with the typical Western diet or compared with diets recommended by national nutritional guidelines. There is no good evidence that the diet helps with weight loss, other than through the normal mechanisms of calorie restriction. Following the paleo diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies such as an inadequate calcium intake, and side effects can include weakness, diarrhea, and headaches.
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The paleo diet runs on the same foods our hunter-gather ancestors supposedly ate: fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and nuts. "By following these nutritional guidelines, we put our diet more in line with the evolutionary pressures that shaped our current genetics, which in turn positively influences health and well being," says Loren Cordain, PhD, professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University and author of The Paleo Diet. He says the diet lessens the body's glycemic load, has a healthy ratio of saturated-to-unsaturated fatty acids, increases vitamin and nutrient consumption, and contains an optimal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Chris Masterjohn has Cholesterol: Your Life Depends on It!, another web site pointing out that the war on cholesterol and the push to put people on statins is misguided. The site argues it is actually polyunsaturated fats, not saturated fats or cholesterol, that contribute to heart disease, cancer, liver damage, and aging. He also has a popular blog.
Since April 2009, millions of people have successfully completed our Whole30 program with stunning, life-changing results. This is a summary of the official rules of the Whole30. For in-depth information about planning and preparing for the program, a comprehensive FAQ, and more than 100 totally compliant recipes, refer to our New York Times bestselling book, The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. (Or click here for an abbreviated version.)
One recent Saturday morning, I dragged myself to a CrossFit class at BRICK in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. It wasn’t a proper CrossFit class, but rather a variation called B | FIT, that incorporated CrossFit movements but focused more on high intensity interval training. I was disappointed to find I was the only one to show up in spandex tights, but I did notice a significant gay presence and the instructor was an adorable gay named Matthew.
But eventually — probably on day 33 — I started to experiment. First came eating ketchup ... no side effect. Next, I had some red wine ... a slight hangover the next day, but nothing like I used to experience when indulging in sugary cocktails. Then, I added gluten ... and my body officially freaked out. I broke out in a rash and hives all over my scalp, neck, and legs which lasted for a few days. I decided to try eating gluten again after the rashes went away to make sure, and sure enough, I woke up the next day to ... more rashes.
I thought Week 1 was hell on earth, but boy was I wrong. Week 4 tested my patience and willpower like never before. Eating Whole30 staples like avocado and eggs became a chore. I choked down so many hard-boiled eggs during my last week, but all I could think about was how I wished they were freshly baked bagels—or even just a bowl of plain white rice. Anything but eggs.
Some specific foods that fall under this rule include: pancakes, waffles, bread, tortillas, biscuits, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, pizza crust, alternative flour pastas, cereal, or ice cream. No commercially-prepared chips (potato, tortilla, plantain, etc.) or French fries either. However, this list is not limited strictly to these items—there may be other foods that you find are not psychologically healthy for your Whole30. Use your best judgment with those foods that aren’t on this list, but that you suspect are not helping you change your habits or break those cravings. Our mantra: When in doubt, leave it out. It’s only 30 days.
For instance, the fat allowance of the diet may be problematic. “My biggest hang-up with the paleo diet is all of the saturated fats it promotes with all of the meats,” explains Holley, noting that you could look for a locally sourced meat, whose origin and method of raising you're aware of, as a healthier option. Saturated fat from meat has been linked with an increased risk of early death. (9)
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program consisting mainly of a mix of aerobic exercise, calisthenics (body weight exercises), and Olympic weightlifting. CrossFit, Inc. describes its strength and conditioning program as "constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains," with the stated goal of improving fitness, which it defines as "work capacity across broad time and modal domains." Hour-long classes at affiliated gyms, or "boxes", typically include a warm-up, a skill development segment, the high-intensity "workout of the day" (or WOD), and a period of individual or group stretching. Some gyms also often have a strength-focused movement prior to the WOD. Performance on each WOD is often scored and/or ranked to encourage competition and to track individual progress. Some affiliates offer additional classes, such as Olympic weightlifting, which are not centered around a WOD.