The paleo diet (also nicknamed the caveman diet, primal diet, Stone Age diet, and hunter-gatherer diet) is hugely popular these days, and goes by one simple question: What would a caveman eat? Here, we explain what the paleo diet involves, its pros and cons, and, ultimately, what a modern person needs to know to decide whether or not to take the paleo diet plunge.
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Two years ago, I dropped 30 pounds (and kept it off) by doing the Whole30 and continuing to eat well in the months that followed. During the 30 days on the program, I lost 11 pounds. And for me, completing it helped me form healthy habits (like reading labels and not smothering everything in cheese), taught me how to cook an arsenal of healthy recipes I actually enjoyed eating and most importantly (and the reason why I do it every January), showed me how incredible my body feels when I'm not pumping it full of sugar and alcohol. These lessons stuck with me well past the 30 days, allowing me to drop an additional 19 pounds by April of that year and finally reach my goal weight.
In making the case for meat, Cordain presents anecdotal evidence of Eskimos who lived their full life without a heart attack. The Eskimo diet consists of 97% meat, which he concedes causes all Eskimos to develop atherosclerosis—a common precursor to heart disease. But Cordain says Eskimos never die of heart disease. He discusses one Eskimo who lived 45 years and another who lived 53 years, both without heart disease! He then jumps to the conclusion that because these Eskimos didn’t get heart attacks, even with severe atherosclerosis, meat must have protected them from heart disease. So Cordain’s best case for lots of meat is that you can live to the ripe age of 45 or even 53 without a heart attack. But do people—even unhealthy smokers or the obese—generally get heart attacks before age 53?
The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith is against industrial farming. She spent 20 years as a vegan, and now reveals the risks of a vegan diet, and explains why animals belong on ecologically sound farms. And as all the neolithic foods we avoid are produced on industrial farms, she is against the foods we avoid. Here's a well thought out review by Eric Wargo: Clubbing Vegetarians Over the Head With the Truth.
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First, I’d just like to acknowledge that I’m not a nutritionist or a healthcare professional. The opinions I share here are simply my own experiences and thoughts while trying this program. I also acknowledge that the topics of healthy eating, dieting, and illness are very personal, and what might work for me, might not work for someone else. We are all unique.
“The Whole30: The 30-day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom” contains more than enough recipes to get you through a month of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and even holidays and dinner parties. Plenty of recipes – think prosciutto-wrapped frittata muffins and Greek meatballs with avocado tzatziki sauce – can be found online too. Just search the hashtag “#Whole30” on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram.
Foods allowed during the program include meat, nuts, seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits. During the Whole30, participants are advised not to count calories or to weigh themselves. After the program is complete, participants are counseled to strategically reintroduce foods outside the endorsed Whole30 list, document the health consequences and culinary value of these additions, and determine if the addition is desired. The program's founders believe that sugar, grains, dairy, alcohol, and legumes affect weight, energy, and stress levels. Losing weight is not a focus of Whole30; calorie-counting and weigh-ins are not allowed.
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The aspects of the paleo diet that advise eating fewer processed foods and less sugar and salt are consistent with mainstream advice about diet. Diets with a paleo nutrition pattern have some similarities to traditional ethnic diets such as the Mediterranean diet that have been found to be healthier than the Western diet. Following the paleo diet, however, can lead to nutritional deficiencies such as those of vitamin D and calcium, which in turn could lead to compromised bone health; it can also lead to an increased risk of ingesting toxins from high fish consumption.
“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.”
And if you've really fallen off the bandwagon, a 30-day reset might be what you need. "Sometimes we need to do a complete overhaul of something in order to change that habit," Daniella Cohn, RD, explains. "Following a temporary diet that eliminates all of the junk that we tend to eat daily can be a great way to remind ourselves to pay attention to what we are eating and make healthy and informed food choices."
Looking back on my lifestyle before the Whole30, my personal recipe for making unhealthy food choices typically consisted of being hungry and on a time crunch, which meant I'd choose whatever was most convenient (read: something overly processed from the vending machine). "Whole30 requires you to plan ahead, mainly so you stay 'compliant' and don’t go hungry," explains Liz McMahon, RDN. "Planning out meals and batch cooking ensures you have healthier food available and won’t constantly be reaching for fast food options." Making pre-planning a habit — even when I'm dining out — helps keep me on track even when I'm not following the Whole30.
Dr. Uffe Ravnskov reviews the ongoing statins debate by comparing his recent publication, “LDL-C does not cause cardiovascular disease,” and the pro-statin claims of the editors of Circulation and the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ (CTT) Collaboration. He (along with Drs. Zoë Harcombe and Malcolm Kendrick) notes critical errors and obfuscation in the CTT’s recent Lancet meta-analysis and observes that the published data on coronary mortality, serious adverse events, and statin side effects is misrepresented, not statistically significant, or not provided for further analysis.