If you were to eat an unlimited amount of red meat (which the paleo diet technically allows), you may see your heart health suffer. While experts applaud the omission of packaged and processed foods like cake, cookies, chips, and candy — which are well known to be bad for your ticker — they’re not crazy about the fact that paleo doesn’t allow you to eat whole grains, legumes, and most dairy. Whole grains in particular have been linked with better cholesterol levels, as well as a reduced risk of stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. (13) These are all comorbidities of heart disease. (14)
Still, it was a tad depressing to watch my boyfriend eat whatever he wanted while I was on the sideline sipping tea. "I miss sharing food memories with you," he said at one point. Sigh. So the next day, we headed to a local brunch spot, and I ordered a Whole30–compliant dish from the menu. I got a bunless burger topped with a fried egg, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and onion plus a side salad instead of fries. Let me tell you, this bunless burger tasted like the juiciest thing I'd eaten in my entire life. After nearly two weeks of cooking every meal, it was nice to have someone else do it for me.
Cordain explains that high intake of fruits and vegetables is one of best ways to reduce chances of cancer and heart disease. He notes that protein has twice the calorie burning effect of fat and carbs and is more satiating than both. He explains that starch, fats, sugars, and salts together cause us to keep eating. So if we limit our diet to fruits and vegetables and/or meat, we’ll stop eating when we’re full. And if you stop eating when you’re full, you’ll lose weight and won’t get fat. And as you lose weight, your cholesterol will improve (regardless of what you eat). This all makes sense and can’t really be disputed. If you want to lose weight, the Paleo diet will get you there and probably quickly. But Cordain’s hypothesis applied to long-term health falls short.
If you've been on the Whole30 and counting down the days until February 1st, step away from the cheese! Before you transition back to your normal diet, here are five solid lessons that I learned from the eating plan that I stuck with even after the 30 days were up. Not only did following them beyond the 30 days prevent me from rebounding back to my higher weight, but they also help keep me on the straight and narrow the rest of the year when I’m not following the program.
Your only job during the Whole30 is to focus on making good food choices. You don’t need to weigh or measure, you don’t need to count calories, you don’t need to purchase everything organic, grass-fed, pastured, or local. Just figure out how to stick to the Whole30 rules in any setting, around every special circumstance, under any amount of stress… for 30 straight days. Your only job? Eat. Good. Food.
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.
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
On Day 4, I reached for a beef jerky stick from Epic. I simultaneously took a big bite while turning over the packaging to read the label. When I saw it on the ingredients list, I stopped mid-chew: "honey." I immediately spit the partially chewed jerky in my garbage can. Close one. After that, I always read the labels on my food twice before eating a morsel.