The best part of CFA are the people! CrossFit has really changed my life and my perspective on so much. There are so many things that CrossFit and it’s community of people, especially the women, have taught me. I’ve finally found not only an outlet I was missing since my gymnastics days, but also a group of people who continually inspire me, support me and others, and are genuinely interested in seeing their peers meet goals. CrossFit has completely solidified my viewpoint that people and relationships matter most in life.
Additionally, the Paleo diet puts a heavy emphasis on meat products. For this reason, the Paleo diet may not be suitable for everyone, and you’re unlikely to find a Paleo diet vegetarian or vegan modification out there. While meat in moderation is perfectly healthy, excessive meat consumption may not be. A high intake of red meat, for example, has been linked to an increased risk of mortality and colorectal cancer. (6, 7)
The data for Cordain's book only came from six contemporary hunter-gatherer groups, mainly living in marginal habitats. One of the studies was on the !Kung, whose diet was recorded for a single month, and one was on the Inuit. Due to these limitations, the book has been criticized as painting an incomplete picture of the diets of Paleolithic humans. It has been noted that the rationale for the diet does not adequately account for the fact that, due to the pressures of artificial selection, most modern domesticated plants and animals differ drastically from their Paleolithic ancestors; likewise, their nutritional profiles are very different from their ancient counterparts. For example, wild almonds produce potentially fatal levels of cyanide, but this trait has been bred out of domesticated varieties using artificial selection. Many vegetables, such as broccoli, did not exist in the Paleolithic period; broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale are modern cultivars of the ancient species Brassica oleracea.
So what does the science say about the paleo diet? Some research suggests that the health claims hold truth. A review analyzed four randomized, controlled trials with 159 participants, and researchers found that the paleo diet led to more short-term improvements in some risk factors for chronic disease (including waist circumference and fasting blood sugar) compared with other control diets. (4)
Anything that comes in a box, jar, or bag should be avoided on the paleo diet—as should anything that just wasn't consumed back then. That means no grains, dairy, added salt, or legumes (including peanuts, beans, lentils, and soybeans), according to Robb Wolf, a former research biochemist, paleo expert, and author of The Paleo Solution. While potatoes are generally outlawed on the diet, Wolff says they are okay to eat sparingly as long as you earn them through exercise (more on that next). Alcohol and honey are also generally considered paleo no-nos, but red wine tends to be the closest option there is to a paleo drink, and honey is far preferred to table sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Now, The Whole30 offers a stand-alone, step-by-step plan to break unhealthy habits, reduce cravings, improve digestion, and strengthen your immune system. The Whole30 prepares participants for the program in five easy steps, previews a typical thirty days, teaches the basic meal preparation and cooking skills needed to succeed, and provides a month’s worth of recipes designed to build confidence in the kitchen and inspire the taste buds. Motivating and inspiring with just the right amount of signature tough love, The Whole30 features real-life success stories, an extensive quick-reference FAQ, detailed elimination and reintroduction guidelines, and more than 100 recipes using familiar ingredients, from simple one-pot meals to complete dinner party menus.
Ever start a diet and get immediately discouraged when the number on your scale hasn't budged after a week or two? Whole30 forbids weighing yourself — a practice which can help shift your mindset to how you're feeling as your success metric. "The scale shouldn’t drive your mood, food choices or overall mindset," says Amy Shapiro, RD. "Continue to live a healthy life and measure how you feel energy and clarity wise." Which means being honest with yourself about how your body feels after going to town on that cheese plate. One of the biggest realizations for me was how much clearer and more energetic I feel when my weekend diet doesn't consist of vodka-sodas and takeout food.
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?
Another downside: If you have had chronic health issues (especially gut related), you may find that reintroduction actually teaches you that you're sensitive to most foods. It turns out peanut butter, gluten, and most dairy are now off limits. That rots!! But I'll live. I feel so, so much better without them, as I learned. And wouldn't you rather know why you feel crappy all the time?
The premise behind "eating paleo" is that the current Western diet is contributing to the rise of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and cancer. Paleo diet proponents claim, eating this way can reduce inflammation, improve workouts, increase energy, help with weight loss, stabilize blood sugar and even reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
I was very excited to get this book but am putting this in the "just ok" category. That said, I'm normally a huge Whole 30 fan and use the recipes from the Whole30: 30 Day Guide... all the time. Something that I appreciated from the 30 Day Guide was the simplicity of the recipes, most were kid friendly and included lots of one pot meals that work for busy people. That is not the case with the new recipe book.
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."
All involve eating whole foods (as opposed to packaged and processed) and filling your plate with quality sources of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and vitamin-, mineral-, and fiber-rich vegetables. (Again, we’re talking about the ones that fall somewhere on the healthy spectrum, not unhealthy fad diets like, ahem, the Grapefruit Diet.)
The following links tend towards news reports of scientific studies that point out some positive aspect of the paleo diet. If you are looking for current news reports, I suggest signing up for Google Alerts for the Type: News. I have three set up, for: "caveman diet," "paleo diet," and "paleolithic diet." You can also set them up for blogs and/or websites.
Contrary to popular belief, fat doesn’t make you fat; carbs do (and the Standard American Diet contains a ton of them!). Natural oils and fats are your body’s preferred sources of creating energy, so it’s best to give your body what it’s asking for. The following are some of the best types of paleo diet oils and fats that you can give your body if you’re in need of some additional energy.
As far as food goes, you’re simply going to eat a lot of fresh, good-quality eats and ditch the processed stuff. Beyond that, you’re removing all grains, dairy, soy, legumes, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol from your diet. All of these foods (especially in excess), according to the authors, have been linked to systemic inflammation, hormonal imbalance, gut issues, and more. The idea is to remove the stressors from your body and give it the nourishment and time to heal itself it needs. This means less inflammation, a healthy metabolism, hormonal harmony, a happy gut, clearer skin, and improved energy! Sounds good to me. (Although if we’re honest, I panicked a bit when I realized no cheese would hit my lips for a full month.)
The top CrossFit Open performers for individuals and teams in each region advance to the regional events, held over the following two months around the world. Each regional event qualifies a specified number of its top finishers to send to the Games. The Games include divisions for individuals of each gender, co-ed teams, and a number of Masters and Teenage age groups.