So it's no surprise people are looking to the Paleo-inspired diet to help them lose weight. But before you jump on the 30-day train ride for the sole purpose of shedding pounds, know this: At its core, Whole30 is an elimination diet inspired to help you feel your best—it's not a weight loss plan. There's no calorie counting and absolutely no tracking of macros, carbs—you name it. People are advised to step on the scale only at the start and end of the program.
In terms of food, I kicked up my creativity up a notch in the kitchen. I tried experimenting with recipes that were a little more complex than my usual, like making pesto out of cashews and avocados and serving it over a plate of zoodles. I made blueberry energy bites in my food processor to snack on during a movie marathon and grab for a quick breakfast. I also tried new snacks, like bottled tomatillo jalapeno soup from ZÜPA NOMA and chia pudding from Daily Harvest to mix things up.

My fiancee and I did this together. It takes teamwork (if you have a family, you probably need to get them on board). It also will help if you can begin (or even complete) this diet when you have a minimum of social obligations--having office mates who eat a lot of cake or friends who drink a lot of booze WILL NOT HELP while you are on this program. Don't try to start this the week before Christmas if your family gathers to eat until they pass out. Be realistic about when you begin this. You must prepare a little bit and read the book ahead of time so you aren't just floating at sea. And, be aware: you will not be able to sufficiently screen foods made by other people!

Paleo critics point out that not all grains are created equal—whole grains do not spike your blood sugar as much as refined grains. Even so, paleo dieters still steer clear of grains because they contain different compounds and proteins like gluten, lectins and phytates, which they claim cause inflammation in the body and block other nutrients from being absorbed. Paleo critics say these compounds are not a problem unless you have an allergy or sensitivity.


This list is going to be a little longer than the last. You cut out all sugar (both real and all substitutes whether natural or artificial, like honey, maple syrup, Splenda, etc.). No grains, legumes (including all forms of soy), dairy, or alcohol. You’re also told to avoid additives like MSG and carrageenan, although that should happen naturally if you’re sticking to whole foods.
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.
ICYMI: Whole30 is an elimination-style diet that asks dieters to ban all soy, dairy, grains, alcohol, legumes, and added sugars from their diet for 30 days straight. The point is to flush your system, so when the 30 days are up, you can slowly add different food groups back and get a sense of which ones have been secretly affecting your physical and mental health. The creator, Melissa Hartwig, also says Whole30 will change your entire relationship with food.

This is a complete list of foods not allowed on the paleo diet. It’s a sad day when you first have to say goodbye to these foods but, once you start, it’s much easier and you find there are even better paleo substitutes for these foods. The first few weeks might be tough, but if you stick with it over time, it’ll be worth it. We promise. Here’s the ultimate list of foods not allowed on the paleo diet.

In 2011, ESPN began to broadcast the CrossFit Games, with live coverage streamed through ESPN3, and some television coverage on ESPN2. As the event grew, ESPN expanded its television coverage; in 2014, the network entered into a multi-year deal to continue broadcasting the CrossFit Games, and coverage expanded to nine-and-a-half hours on ESPN and ESPN2 by 2015.[36] In 2017, the event began a new broadcast arrangement with CBS Sports, with television coverage on CBS Sports Network, and a total of 40 hours of digital streaming coverage. CrossFit also streamed coverage through Facebook and their website.[37]

Cordain admits that meat leads to plaque and increases cholesterol where plants wouldn’t. And science establishes that plaque and cholesterol lead to heart attacks and strokes. But Cordain argues that plaque alone is insufficient to cause harm. Rather, it is plaque combined with inflammation that causes heart attacks and strokes. So avoid acid, salt, legumes, wheat, starchy vegetables, dairy, oil, fatty meats, and grains because they cause inflammation. But if both science and Cordain agree that plaque is a necessary part of the heart-disease equation—and that meat causes plaque—why should we follow Paleo rather than just forgo meat?
Optimal Diet is a dietary model of human nutrition devised and implemented by Dr. Jan Kwasniewski. Lots of fat and low in carbs. Lots and lots of articles collected from various places. He has an out-of-print book: Optimal Nutrition. The book is explained at the Australian Homo Optimus Association website. A thorough analysis is the first post here: Dr. Kwasniewski's Optimal Diet: Sanity, Clarity, Facts.
The physical book was in excellent condition, and I'm glad I chose hardback but do your research before buying due to content. The US news & world health report ranked this #38 out of 38 diets (the worst). This is not sustainable, and you immediately gain the weight right back despite them starting the first 3 chapters trying to get everyone to drink the koolaid on why they aren't a crash diet. Which they totally are, it's "don't eat anything but meat and vegetables for 30 days"- there I saved you $17.

Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals: Delicious, Primal-approved meals you can make in under 30 minutes by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier. Every recipe is accompanied by an ingredient list, a nutrient list, clearly written instructions, and a picture of the ingredients and a picture of the finished product. Note that this is a primal book and many recipes include dairy. Published March 25, 2011.


With a very simple shift we not only remove the foods that are at odds with our health (grains, legumes, and dairy) but we also increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here is a great paper from Professor Loren Cordain exploring how to build a modern Paleo diet: The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. This paper also offers significant insight as to the amounts and ratios of protein, carbohydrate and fat in the ancestral diet.
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While no independent research has been conducted on the Whole30 diet specifically, diets like this one that eliminate entire food groups are bound to make you drop weight, experts say. That was the case for 96 percent of 1,600 Whole30 participants, according to a survey by the company. Most Whole30 dieters lost between 6 and 15 pounds, the survey found. But experts worry that restrictive diets with no room for error can set followers up for failure and prompt them to put the pounds back on – and then some – once the diet is over.
Since 2009, Melissa Hartwig’s critically-acclaimed Whole30 program has quietly led hundreds of thousands of people to effortless weight loss and better health—along with stunning improvements in sleep quality, energy levels, mood, and self-esteem. The program accomplishes all of this by specifically targeting people’s habits and emotional relationships with food. The Whole30 is designed to help break unhealthy patterns of behavior, stop stress-related comfort eating, and reduce cravings, particularly for sugar and carbohydrates. Many Whole30 participants have described achieving “food freedom”—in just thirty days.
Interestingly, all of these seemingly unrelated diseases share a common cause: damage to the intestinal lining which allows large, undigested food particles to make their way into the body. This is called “leaky gut and the autoimmune response”. Here is a 7-part video series by Prof. Loren Cordain describing the etiology of Multiple Sclerosis. And please watch this TED talk by Dr. Terry Wahls, MD as she describes how she reversed her Multiple Sclerosis with a paleo diet. If you have an autoimmune disease you might consider trying the autoimmune protocol of the paleo diet. If you do, please tell us about your experience.
The first week was the hardest. I quickly learned that meal prep was essential to survive this program. Since everything you’re eating isn’t processed, there’s a lot of planning that goes into being able to have an easy week. If I prepped on Sunday nights for the whole week by filling my fridge with things I could easily eat, and doing things like pre-slicing veggies for those hunger emergencies, I did great.

“Overall competitor seeding at the Games will be determined by athletes' scores in the 2019 worldwide CrossFit Open. Athletes who do not participate in the Open (and thus do not receive an Open score) will receive the lowest seeding and will compete in the first qualifying heats at the 2019 Games. Higher seeded athletes will compete in later heats. Any athlete who qualifies for the Games as a national champion or with a top-twenty placement in the 2019 Open can improve their seeding and possibly qualify for a bye out of the first qualifying elimination round by winning a sanctioned event, regardless of whether that sanctioned event occurs before or after the Open in the 2019 competitive season.”
Cordain argues that chimpanzees and horses avoid meat, and they have big bellies that we would have if we didn’t ditch plants for meat. He also says meat increased human brain size, and decreased stomach size so we can have the six-pack abs that chimps can’t. But I looked at his endnotes with citations to research and couldn’t find the source for these theories. I also couldn’t find research showing that legumes and grains were invented by humans.
Deadly Harvest: The Intimate Relationship Between Our Health and Our Food by Geoff Bond. The author is a nutritional anthropologist who has for years investigated both foods of the past and our prehistoric eating habits. Using the latest scientific research and studies of primitive tribal lifestyles, Bond first explains the actual diet that our ancestors followed--a diet that was and still is in harmony with the human species. He then describes how the foods in today's diets disrupt our biochemistry and digestive system, leading to health disorders such as allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, obesity, and more. Most important, he explains the appropriate measures we can take to avoid these diseases--and even beat them back--through healthy eating. The conclusions of Deadly Harvest are that disease control happens by eating a strict low-glycemic diet, lowering the percentage of body fat you carry around, eat a diet consisting of mostly non-starchy plant-based foods, eat a low-fat diet with ample amounts of omega-3 fats, maintain good colon health, engage in regular physical activity, get some daily sunshine, and reduce chronic stress. If you do this, then diseases like cancer, heart disease, digestive problems, allergies, autoimmune diseases, brain diseases, diabetes, and obesity can be avoided. The Amazon reviews average to 5 stars.
The biggest downside of this diet is how restrictive it is. A month is a pretty long stretch to make it without taking bite of quinoa, popping a chickpea, or sneaking a sip of wine (especially if you’re a busy, social person), and the protocol does not allow for even the smallest of slip-ups. From the manual: “One bite of pizza, one spoonful of ice cream, one lick of the spoon mixing the batter within the 30-day period and you’ve broken the “reset” button, requiring you to start over again on Day 1.” (Yikes!)
When you open the can, the cream will have risen to the top and become solid, while the coconut water remains at the bottom of the can. Just scoop out the thick stuff at the top and use it in recipes that call for coconut cream. You can also find prepared coconut cream or “culinary coconut milk” at some health food stores, but why would you pay extra when the only thing required to make your own is opening your refrigerator?
Sometimes referred to as "The Cave Man Diet," the Paleolithic diet focuses on real, pre-agricultural whole foods such as wild-caught seafood, pastured meat and eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, and eschews dairy, legumes, grains and all processed, industrialized foods such as wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup and soy bean oil, which form the majority of calories consumed in a Standard American Diet.

By the end of my first Whole30, I had an entire document full of recipes I still wanted to try, which motivated me to keep going. Yes, you can stay compliant by eating steamed chicken and lettuce every day, but why would you do that to yourself? "Find foods that are easy to make and that you enjoy eating," Cohn says. "If you eat foods that you don’t like just to follow the diet, you are not going to continue to eat those foods once you are done with the 30 days." Pro tip: Google the Whole30 version of your favorite meal, there's probably a recipe out there for it. (Unless that meal is cake.) This really helped reignite my love for cooking and encouraged me to continue preparing my own meals, instead of relying on Seamless delivery.
Fruits are not only delicious, but they’re also great for you. That said, fruits (even paleo-approved ones) contain large amounts of fructose which, while much better than HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), is still sugar. If you’re looking to lose weight on the paleo diet, you’ll want to cut back on your fruit intake and focus more on the vegetables allowed on the paleo diet. However, feel free to have one to three servings of fruit a day. Check out this list of paleo diet fruits and see if you’re not hungry by the end! (We’ll admit, we’re partial to blackberries!)

Following the paleo diet can be pricey. Inexpensive and healthy non-meat protein sources like soy and beans are off-limits, and a recent BMJ Open study shows that healthy meats like lean ground beef and boneless, skinless chicken breasts cost an average of 29 cents more per serving compared to less-healthy ones, such as high-fat ground beef and chicken drumsticks. Even switching from peanut butter to paleo-approved almond butter will cost you—it goes for up to $13 a jar.


"Loren Cordain's extensive research demonstrates how modern westernized diets drastically depart from the original diet humans consumed for millions of years. In The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, Dr. Cordain shows how diets high in grains, dairy, vegetable oils, salt, and refined sugars are at odds with our genetic legacy and then shares his uncomplicated strategy for losing weight and getting healthy."
For many years Arthur De Vany Ph.D. has been writing a book called Evolutionary Fitness on "What Evolution Teaches Us About How to Live and Stay Healthy." The diet he follows fits into my core diet definition. He may have been the first one to use the paleo diet to maximize fitness. His current site is Art's Blog on Fitness, Health, Aging, Nutrition and Exercise [archive.org].

It should be noted that U.S. News & World Report just released its annual ranking of diets, and Whole30 ranked dead last. Why? Essentially, the expert panel of over 20 registered dietitians, academics, and medical doctors found the program unsustainable and potentially unhealthy, since, among other issues, it restricts certain food groups and is high in sodium and cholesterol. But, Whole30's co-creator Melissa Hartwig stands behind the program, telling Cosmopolitan.com that its animal protein recommendations are in line with government recommendations, and that there are no nutrients in temporarily restricted foods, like grains and legumes, that you can't find in fruits and vegetables.

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrat by Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. and Sally Fallon. The premise is the culinary traditions of our ancestors, and the food choices and preparation techniques of healthy nonindustrialized peoples, should serve as the model for contemporary eating habits. However, they push whole grains and dairy, which aren't Paleolithic.
2) CrossFit attracts a certain type of person – namely folks who push themselves so hard they actually do bodily harm. Ask any CrossFitter if they’ve met “Pukey the Clown” and they’ll probably tell you yes. Due to the nature of competition, the motivating atmosphere, and people’s desire to do well, many people in CrossFit often push themselves beyond their personal limitations (which can be a good thing)…but oftentimes they push themselves too far.
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