A 2015 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that 76 people who followed the Paleo diet for 60 days (as well as those who followed vegan, Mediterranean and DASH plans for the same length of time) lost an average of 9 pounds and showed improvement in their blood pressure levels. The effects were greatest and most sustained among people who also attended regular diet support group meetings.
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?
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.
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)
That being said, I wasn't surprised to see Whole30 on the naughty list last year. In case you're not familiar with the program, you cut out all processed foods, grains, legumes, soy and dairy (that includes sugar and alcohol) for 30 days. You're left with meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nut butters and nut milks (as long as there's no added sugar — read your labels).
Another 2014 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the effects of the Paleo plan to those of a standard low-fat diet on 70 obese, postmenopausal women. After six months, the Paleo group lost 14 pounds on average, while the other group lost nearly 6 pounds. After a year, the Paleo group had lost 19 pounds on average, and the low-fat dieters had dropped 10 pounds. A year later, both groups had regained some weight: The Paleo group was still down 10 pounds, while the low-fat group had dropped an average of more than 6 pounds.
Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham. This book argues that the ease of digestion and the added nutritional value available in cooked food was the key behind the explosion of human intelligence. (Cooking gelatinizes starch, denatures protein, and softens all foods, permitting more complete digestion and energy extraction. As a result, the food processing apparatus shrinks, freeing energy to support a larger brain.) He then suggests that cooking led to what eventually became marriage and the sexual division of labor. The two most helpful reviews at Amazon get into great detail. The reviews average to 4+ stars.
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.)
Cordain explains that high intake of fruits and vegetables is one of best ways to reduce chances of cancer and heart disease. He notes that protein has twice the calorie burning effect of fat and carbs and is more satiating than both. He explains that starch, fats, sugars, and salts together cause us to keep eating. So if we limit our diet to fruits and vegetables and/or meat, we’ll stop eating when we’re full. And if you stop eating when you’re full, you’ll lose weight and won’t get fat. And as you lose weight, your cholesterol will improve (regardless of what you eat). This all makes sense and can’t really be disputed. If you want to lose weight, the Paleo diet will get you there and probably quickly. But Cordain’s hypothesis applied to long-term health falls short.
That's a lot of tension--doing everything possible to make CrossFit a mainstream sport while legally or digitally body slamming anyone who refers to the CrossFit name to cater to its athletes or fans. Glassman has always thrived on doing the opposite of what anyone has ever figured was sensible or possible. But now Glassman's own intentions, of doing what he wants and letting others do what they want, are pressing up against each other more every day. In CrossFit, Glassman is hoisting two massive, contending ideas at once: CrossFit is an open-source workout for everyone to enjoy; CrossFit is a trademarked brand protected as viciously as a Hells Angels jacket. If it comes clattering down, it will be painful as all hell to watch. But if it succeeds? It won't be the first time a CrossFitter shocks people with how much weight he put above his head. You can bet Glassman's gonna try for another rep.
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.
This is one of the best cookbooks I have ever purchased and I have nearly 100! Most cookbooks I might find 3-4 good recipes out of dozens. Out of the 150 recipes in this book there are maybe 10 that I wouldn't make but 140 I would! The pictures are great! The recipes are delicious. I don't really even feel like I'm eating healthy because the food just tastes so great!
The night before, he had rolled up with his entourage about 20 minutes late to a packed lecture hall of 500 CrossFitters at the University of Washington campus. He had been invited to speak there by the Freedom Foundation, a local libertarian group. Libertarians love CrossFit. It's neither a wholly owned chain of gyms nor a franchise, but the nucleus of a sprawling worldwide network of entrepreneurs. A local CrossFit gym is referred to as a box, because it can be anywhere and any style, and the culture of any box may be nothing like that of Glassman's company, or of any other CrossFit box. Boxes may even have different business models. And yet, there in the audience was the order spawned from the chaos: rows and rows of passionate CrossFitters, united in their love of the WOD, their muscled physiques rippling beneath T-shirts and hoodies.
In 1995, as Glassman was burning the last of his bridges at local gyms, he got a call from a friend who worked at the sheriff's department in Santa Cruz. The department had heard about him and wanted him to train officers. Glassman, who was in the middle of a breakup with a longtime girlfriend, decided to go. He set up shop in a health center called Spa Fitness and taught his own brand of fitness training, which he had begun calling CrossFit, to officers and anyone else looking to buy 60 minutes of sweat.
Instead, introduce one new food every three days, since food sensitivities can take up to three days to show symptoms, and write down how you're feeling each day. "Keep portions small and enjoy new foods along with the old foods that were allowed," says Shapiro. "Remind yourself to start slow – you can now eat these foods regularly so there is no need to overindulge."
On that spring day across America, the CrossFit faithful gathered--and toiled. There were hundreds of thousands of them, certainly. Maybe a million, maybe two. In an old industrial facility in New Orleans, they hoisted themselves on gymnastic rings and did dips up there. In a strip mall in Santa Cruz, California, they threw 20-pound medicine balls against a wall over and over again. In a business park near the Dulles airport in Virginia, they pushed weighted barbells above their heads, first once a minute, and then as fast as they could for three minutes straight--or until they couldn't lift their arms.
Sugar is almost always manufactured and should be avoided on the paleo diet. This means you’ll need to cut out the delicious but destructive sweets and sugars that are standard in the Standard American Diet. The rule of thumb here is: if it contains a ton of sugar, it’s probably not on the paleo diet friendly. That said, here’s a specific lists of sweets that are not on the paleo diet food list. You might want to take a moment to say goodbye to them before you start your paleo diet journey.
But in the Times article--headlined "Getting Fit, Even If It Kills You"--Glassman used the kind of tough-guy talk he used to shout at CrossFitters during their WODs. "It can kill you...I've always been completely honest about that," he said. "If you find the notion of falling off the rings and breaking your neck so foreign to you, then we don't want you in our ranks." Punctuating his blunt attitude, he had led his October journal article with a cartoon of a new clown, Uncle Rhabdo, who stands exhausted before a dialysis machine, his kidneys splattered in a pool of blood. The Times mentioned that, too.
In the past few decades, our diets have changed dramatically. Processed foods are more common than fruits and vegetables, and it’s impossible to go more than a few miles down the road without spotting a dozen new fast food chains that have cropped up. Enter the Paleo diet plan, a diet that seeks to ditch the modern convenience foods in favor of the foods eaten by our ancestors.
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health by Gary Taubes expounds on his 2002 article in the NY Times (What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?) and then in Science Magazine (see below). He shows how public health data has been misinterpreted to mark dietary fat and cholesterol as the primary causes of coronary heart disease. Deeper examination, he says, shows that heart disease and other diseases of civilization appear to result from increased consumption of refined carbohydrates: sugar, white flour and white rice. Or in other words, without using the word Paleolithic, he justifies the paleo diet. Here is an excellent chapter by chapter summary of the book [archive.org].
The Stone Age Diet: Based on in-depth studies of human ecology and the diet of man by Walter L. Voegtlin. This was self-published back in 1975. Only a couple hundred copies were printed and distributed to friends and relatives. No one knew the book existed until some years later. In no way is he the father of the paleo diet. It is impossible to purchase. Apparently his descendents are planning a reprint, though the book is poorly written and not based upon factual anthropological information that even was available then. We have put up his Functional and Structural Comparison of Man's Digestive Tract with that of a Dog and Sheep. And a PDF can be found here.
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.
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.
Greg Glassman has gone on record saying he wants the Games to reflect the international impact CrossFit is having. The current format doesn’t allow for that. If you remember the 2018 Games flag ceremony, only a handful of countries were represented. Even then, American flags (Canada included) were the overwhelming majority. BORING! Everyone knows CrossFit is an international sport and our main event should be represented as such. Good Job Glassman!
Beginners to weight training – If you have NEVER weight trained before (or trained only on machines), CrossFit is a great place for you to start (provided you have a great coach, which I’ll cover shortly). You’ll learn how to do all of the important lifts in a super supportive and nonjudgmental environment. You might even find that…GASP…you love strength training!