While there is wide variability in the way the paleo diet is interpreted,[6] the diet typically includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and meat and typically excludes foods such as dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt, alcohol, or coffee.[1][additional citation(s) needed] The diet is based on avoiding not just processed foods, but rather the foods that humans began eating after the Neolithic Revolution when humans transitioned from hunter-gatherer lifestyles to settled agriculture.[3] The ideas behind the diet can be traced to Walter Voegtlin,[7]:38 and were popularized in the best-selling books of Loren Cordain.[8]
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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.
Fad diets are shortsighted, extreme and often unhealthy regimens that promise rapid weight loss to profit from desperate dieters. The Paleo diet is not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle that focuses on optimal human nutrition — favoring food sources that we evolved to thrive on more than 2.5 million years. Many people have found Paleo as a means to treat or heal serious health issues where traditional medicine failed them. It's a grassroots movement, not a marketing ploy. If anything, it is an anti-fad diet.
Two friends and I discussed the article, and then one proposed something unbelievable: "We should do Whole30 together." After considering what Philipps' had to say about it, I decided to give it a try. Then Health editor in chief Lori Leibovich asked me to document my Whole30 experience with daily video diaries on Health Instagram stories, and I knew there was no turning back. I was about to do my first diet ever.

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!)
CrossFit, Inc. licenses the CrossFit name to gyms for an annual fee and certifies trainers.[37] Besides the standard two-day[38] "Level 1 Trainer Course",[39] specialty seminars include gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, running and endurance, rowing, kettlebells, mobility and recovery, CrossFit Kids, CrossFit Football, and self-defense and striking. Other specialized adaptations include programs for pregnant women, seniors, and military special operations candidates.[40] Affiliates develop their own programming, pricing, and instructional methods. Many athletes and trainers see themselves as part of a contrarian, insurgent movement that questions conventional fitness wisdom.[41] In addition to performing prescribed workouts, they follow CrossFit's nutrition recommendations, adopting a paleo and/or zone diet.[42]
Aside from the cult-like devotion CrossFit inspires, I was also wary of the politics of its parent organization, which drew some heat for awarding a Glock handgun to the winner of the 2016 CrossFit Games. That, and the sports overwhelming lack of ethnic diversity—about 86% of CrossFitters identify as white—left me with an unfavorable view of the sport. Still, I gave it a shot.
The Paleolithic or “Paleo” diet seeks to address 21st century ills by revisiting the way humans ate during the Paleolithic era more than 2 million years ago. Paleo proponents state that because our genetics and anatomy have changed very little since the Stone Age, we should eat foods available during that time to promote good health. Our predecessors used simple stone tools that were not advanced enough to grow and cultivate plants, so they hunted, fished, and gathered wild plants for food. If they lived long enough, they were believed to experience less modern-day diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease because of a consistent diet of lean meats and plant foods along with a high level of physical activity from intensive hunting. However, the life expectancy of our predecessors was only a fraction of that of people today.
Alcohol is a no-no if you are strict paleo. Beer is made from grains, and liquor also contains traces of gluten. But, good news for cider-lovers: most hard ciders are gluten-free, so they are allowed. Check the label to be sure. Red wine is more accepted in the paleo community because it contains the antioxidant resveratrol, but sorry chardonnay lovers, white wine is technically not allowed.
“Business is the art and science of creating uniquely valuable opportunities for other people,” CrossFit founder and chairman Greg Glassman has often said. Coach Glassman’s philosophy of business is the bedrock upon which CrossFit’s 15,000-strong (and growing) global affiliate network is built. That’s something that can’t be emphasized enough in talking about recent changes to the CrossFit Games season.

Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on. Again, read your labels.
Knowing what to eat is part of it, but following this fairly restrictive lifestyle in a modern environment surrounded by cookies and candy and bagels and pasta is really difficult! Factor in the “carb flu” you might go through in the first few weeks (as your body gets weaned off of carbohydrate fuel and habits), and most people give up on the Paleo diet long before it creates lasting change!
Paleonutrition by Mark Q. Sutton, Kristin D. Sobolik, and Jill K. Gardner is the analysis of prehistoric human diets and the interpretation of dietary intake in relation to health and nutrition. This is a substantial text that combines background to paleonutrition, an extensive bibliography, a discussion on methods, and case studies. Published February 23, 2010.
The Whole30 book is the perfect thing to read while you’re visiting your in-laws or don’t feel like telling Aunt Sue for the 100th time what you do for a living. It’s helpful, it’s clear, and it will get you motivated. Want even more Whole30 recipes? Hartwig's latest Whole30 Cookbook may not have the nitty-gritty plan details, but the recipes are baller.
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.
Oils are trickier. Loren Cordain, Ph.D., founder of The Paleo Diet Movement, breaks down which oils are healthy on the paleo diet: olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado and coconut oils are all allowed because they were gathered directly from the plant. While our hunter-gatherer ancestors probably did not consume flaxseed oil, it is allowed because of its content of high alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid.

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.
The diet ranked last among 38 popular diets evaluated by U.S. News & World Report in its 2016 Best Diets Rankings; one of the raters, dietitian Meridan Zerner said: "We want behavioral changes and dietary changes that are slow and progressive and meaningful."[3] David L. Katz said of the diet: "The grouping [of banned foods] is both random, and rather bizarre from a nutrition perspective. If the idea is good nutrition, cutting out whole grains and legumes is at odds with a boatload of evidence."[1] It was selected as one of the worst health trends for 2013 by Health Magazine.[12]
Before I went on Whole30 I was sleeping 8 to 10 hours a night (yes, I love my sleep), yet come 2 p.m. I'd hit an energy slump. I'd feel high right after I ate (looking back on it, probably because I was eating so much added sugar) but my energy would significantly fluctuate through the day. During the beginning of Whole30 — specifically the first three days — I really struggled. Again, I was a sugar addict and I think detoxing from that really affected my energy levels. But after that slump, my energy was constant — I really had never felt better. Even when things didn't go the way I wanted, I felt energetic and up for any challenge.
Created by Greg Glassman in Santa Cruz, California in 2000, CrossFit combines elements of Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, plyometrics, powerlifting, and high intensity interval training. Nearly 20 years since its debut, CrossFit now has some 4 million adherents worldwide, including a large number who are gay, such as Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski and Tan France.
After that initial hump, things got a lot better. I had energy to do some things that I usually had no energy to do. I was doing yoga, and was able to go on walks. This was a big deal for me. Going through treatment for Lyme Disease is exhausting. Often I feel like I don’t have enough air to hold up my body — it’s a feeling of intense can’t-get-out-of-bed-exhaustion. So to have a little more pep in my step felt invaluable.
Paleo diets are based on a simple premise – if the cavemen didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either. So long to refined sugar, dairy, legumes and grains (this is pre-agricultural revolution), and hello to meat, fish, poultry, fruits and veggies. The idea is that by eliminating modern-era foods like highly-processed carbs and dairy, you can avoid or control “diseases of civilization” like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and likely lose weight too. What you eat and how much depend on your goals or the specific program you’re on, if you choose to follow one. The high-protein diet is ranked poorly among U.S. News experts, who consider it too restrictive to be healthy or sustainable.
The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick reveals that high cholesterol levels do not cause heart disease; that high-fat diets–saturated or otherwise–do not affect blood cholesterol levels; and that for most men and all women the benefits offered by statins are negligible at best. Other data is also provided that shows that statins have many more side affects than is often acknowledged.
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.
This is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Fighting cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth—the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.

What is a kipping pull-up? Isn’t that cheating? A kipping pull-up is a form of pull-up where you swing your body and use the momentum and a hip drive to get your body to the bar. It’s not cheating because it’s not meant to be the same exercise as a dead-hang pull-up. Some workouts call for a dead-hang pull-up – and in those you would not be allowed to kip.
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.

Alcohol is a no-no if you are strict paleo. Beer is made from grains, and liquor also contains traces of gluten. But, good news for cider-lovers: most hard ciders are gluten-free, so they are allowed. Check the label to be sure. Red wine is more accepted in the paleo community because it contains the antioxidant resveratrol, but sorry chardonnay lovers, white wine is technically not allowed.


I experienced some funky physical symptoms during the first 10 days or so, but this is pretty typical of a Whole30. I would feel great, and then the next day I would feel tired, achy, and bloated. Depending on what your diet was like before you started the Whole30, you’re bound to get hit by some sort of detoxing symptoms. If you’re doing this after eating a lot of sugar and processed food, your symptoms might be a bit more severe. However, the book assures you it’s normal, and it will even out. According to the authors, the bacteria in your gut are shifting and creating a new landscape. Your body is getting used to this new diet of protein and a ton of veggies with the absence of sugar. Things adjust and shift. For me, this meant a couple days of feeling off.
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.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research entitled "Crossfit-based high intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and body composition" followed 54 participants for 10 weeks of CrossFit training. The study said that "...a notable percentage of our subjects (16%) did not complete the training program and return for follow-up testing." The authors said "This may call into question the risk-benefit ratio for such extreme training programs..."[62] In 2014, CrossFit, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the National Strength and Conditioning Association for publishing this study, alleging that the data were false and were "intended to scare participants away from CrossFit."[63] The NSCA denies CrossFit, Inc.'s allegations[63] but has issued an erratum acknowledging that the injury data were incorrect.[64] In September 2016, the District Court ruled in favor of CrossFit Inc.'s claims that the injury data were found to be false, but not that the NSCA was commercially motivated or that the publishing of the study was defamatory as the NSCA no longer stood behind the study.[65] In February 2017, CrossFit filed for sanctions against the NSCA after one of the NSCA's witnesses admitted to falsifying statements during deposition.[66] In May 2017, the Court issued 17 issues sanctions against the NSCA, writing that the organization did have a commercial motive to falsify the data, had published the false data knowingly to disparage CrossFit, and had misled the public with their erratum.[66] CrossFit was awarded $74,000 in legal fees and allowed to continue investigating the NSCA. If the neutral-party analysis of the NSCA servers turns up any further misconduct, CrossFit may file an amended complaint for further sanctioning and compensation for lost revenue.[67]
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