The Paleo diet, also referred to as the caveman or Stone-Age diet, includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Proponents of the diet emphasize choosing low-glycemic fruits and vegetables. There is debate about several aspects of the Paleo diet: what foods actually existed at the time, the variation in diets depending on region (e.g., tropical vs. Arctic), how modern-day fruits and vegetables bear little resemblance to prehistoric wild versions, and disagreement among Paleo diet enthusiasts on what is included/excluded from the diet. Because of these differences, there is not one “true” Paleo diet.
You may lose weight on the Paleo Diet. If you build a “calorie deficit” into your Paleo plan – eating fewer calories than your daily recommended max or burning off extra by exercising – you should shed some pounds. How quickly and whether you keep them off is up to you. A 2015 review in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Liver Diseases concluded that a Paleo-esque diet “might be an acceptable antidote to the unhealthy Western diet, but only unequivocal results from randomized controlled trials or meta-analyses will support this hypothesis.” On that, we’re still waiting. In the meantime, here’s what has been found about the diet and others like it:
The plan focuses on unprocessed foods and foods with very minimal, or, better yet, no added ingredients. Whole30 requires dieters to cut out a lot of items, including sugar, dairy and legumes, and then slowly reintroduce these food groups back into their diets after the 30 days. The purpose of the reintroduction phase is to see if any of the foods cut out are the culprit for any health issues.
Excluding foods. The exclusion of entire categories of commonly eaten foods like whole grains and dairy requires frequent label reading in the supermarket and in restaurants. It may also increase the risk of deficiencies such as calcium, vitamin D, and B vitamins, if these nutrients are not consistently eaten from the allowed foods or a vitamin supplement. For example, there are some nondairy calcium-rich foods that are absorbed well by the body such as collard and turnip greens or canned bone-in sardines and salmon, but you would have to eat five or more servings of these greens and fish bones daily to meet recommended calcium needs. (Note that some greens like spinach that are touted to be calcium-rich also contain oxalates and phytates that bind to calcium so very little is actually absorbed.) One small, short-term intervention study of healthy participants showed a 53% decrease from baseline in calcium intake after following a Paleo diet for three weeks.  Furthermore, the exclusion of whole grains can result in reduced consumption of beneficial nutrients such as fiber and thus may increase one’s risk for diabetes and heart disease.
The Paleo diet includes nutrient-dense whole fresh foods and encourages participants to steer away from highly processed foods containing added salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. However, the omission of whole grains, dairy, and legumes could lead to suboptimal intake of important nutrients. The restrictive nature of the diet may also make it difficult for people to adhere to such a diet in the long run. More high-quality studies including randomized controlled trials with follow-up of greater than one year that compare the Paleo diet with other weight-reducing diets are needed to show a direct health benefit of the Paleo diet. Strong recommendations for the Paleo diet for weight loss cannot be made at this time.
The Whole30 program is only 30 days, but it’s a very restrictive 30 days. You’re urged to eat real, whole foods, including lots of veggies, while carving out things like sugar, grains and dairy. There is no “cheating” – even a chew of sugar-free gum or splash of skim milk in your coffee sends you right back to day one so the body can completely heal from inflammatory foods, diet co-creators Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig say.A couple things you don’t have to worry about on the Whole30 plan are counting calories and weighing or measuring yourself. In fact, the plan forbids the latter in order to bring participants’ attention to the benefits of healthy eating outside of weight loss. If you usually go out to eat or order take-out, you’ll need to learn to meal prep, grocery shop (with a plan!) and cook. If you’re a social butterfly, you’ll need to strategize how to order water and carrot sticks at the bar instead of beer and wings – or stay home. Fortunately, the program’s resources suggest solutions to these and other conundrums that may pop up. What’s more, the program’s strong emphasis on social – much of it virtual – support can keep participants inspired and accountable.The Whole30 program is outlined neatly online, where followers can read FAQs, lists of foods that are and aren’t off-limits and download a program guide. Melissa Hartwig’s latest book, “Food Freedom Forever: Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food,” details how to stay in control of food, rather than allowing it to control you, for a lifetime.
Trying to introduce dairy back into my diet hurt my stomach and would send me into a sneezing fit. In this way, the Whole30 worked as a type of elimination diet for me, without which I may have never realized that dairy isn't my friend. I'll still suffer the consequences if I cross paths with a cheese plate at a work event, but I've made the permanent switch to tofu cream cheese and coconut milk — alternatives I would've never touched before Whole30 that are actually delicious.
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!
The groundbreaking Whole30 program has helped countless people transform their lives by bringing them better sleep, more energy, fewer cravings, weight loss, and new healthy habits that last a lifetime. In this cookbook, best-selling author and Whole30 co-creator Melissa Hartwig delivers over 150 all-new recipes to help readers prepare delicious, healthy meals during their Whole30 and beyond.
The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages by Loren Cordain. Also contains two weeks of meal plans and shopping and pantry tips. Helps you lose weight and boost your health and energy by focusing on lean protein and non-starchy vegetables and fruits. Note that this is a very low-fat book and is being marketed as such. Published December 7, 2010.
The Open, introduced in 2011 and so-called because participation is open to anyone, is held over five weeks in February–March; a new workout is released on each Thursday night (Pacific Time) and competitors complete the workout and submit their scores online by Monday evening, with either a video or validation by a CrossFit affiliate. Since 2013, Open workout announcements have been broadcast live, and featured two or more past CrossFit Games athletes competing head-to-head immediately following the workout description. Beginning with the 2019 Games, the top athlete from each country and the top 20 overall Open finishers qualify directly to the Games. The Open is also used for seeding purposes at the Games even if an athlete qualified through the sanctioned events; if an athlete qualifies through a sanctioned event but does not do the Open, they will be seeded at the bottom.