Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes: These are just a few of the health conditions that proponents of thePaleolithic diet, or caveman diet, blame on our sedentary lifestyles and modern diets, which are loaded with sugar, fat, and processed foods. Their proposed solution? Cut modern foods from our diet and return to the way our early hunter-gatherer ancestors ate.
A few days ago I was delighted to learn that Dr. Oz was going to again feature The Paleo Diet on his nationally syndicated television show along with one of my co-authors, Nell Stephenson, of The Paleo Diet Cookbook. I tuned into the Dr. Oz show and was happy about most of what I saw except for Chris Kresser, expounding upon the health virtues of a food group, beans and legumes, that definitely are not Paleo. Please read the following...
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.
To the outside world, though, as Glassman's company has exploded from a cult fitness website to a gym concept primed to have more locations than Curves by the end of 2013, CrossFit can appear risky, unhinged: Here is a fitness routine that has sent people to the hospital, overseen by people who may have had no more than two days of instruction. (Although every real trainer I met had considerable experience and was genuinely excellent, I attended the seminar and passed the test on my fourth day reporting this story. I am, believe me, no fitness savant.) And it's all led by a man who, in a 2006 CrossFit.com comment, wrote, "We have a therapy for injuries at CrossFit called STFU." As in, Shut the f-k up. That's enough to make even the most devoted laissez faire-ists get a little, well, Uncle Pukie.
CrossFit NYC was the sixteenth (of now over ten thousand) CrossFit affiliates. We were the first in New York (2005). Our coaching staff is the largest and most experienced of any CrossFit affiliate in the world. We have supervised over 75,000 CrossFit classes totaling nearly 1 million workouts. Our members include professional athletes and dancers, desk jockeys and stay-at-home moms, celebrities and grandparents. If you live in New York and you want to get in the best shape of your life, CrossFit NYC is the place to be.
Glassman is proud of his role in all this, but the system puts him and CrossFit at a very real risk. As the world of CrossFit grows, as more businesses enter and profit, and his share of it becomes smaller, CrossFit's greatest success--gaining mainstream acceptance as exercise and a sport--could turn it generic, like baseball or skiing. "One of our greatest fears is becoming escalator," says Dale Saran, CrossFit's general counsel, referring to what was once a trademarked name brand of Otis Elevator. So, although Glassman keeps the CrossFit business model radically loose and open, he protects the brand name with an iron fist.
The toe to bar requires an athlete start each set at a dead hang from a pull-up bar, with shoulders, arms, hips and legs at full extension. Each repetition consists of an athlete bringing both feet behind the perpendicular vertical plain created by the pull-up bar, and finishes with both feet simultaneously in contact with the pull-up bar, between the athlete’s hands.
If you're interested in the paleo plan but don't think you want to be so strict, you don't have to be all-or-nothing with your approach. Consider adopting some eating patterns from paleo and skipping the ones that don't work for you. For example, try just eating more fruits and vegetables and cutting down on added sugars. If you feel unsure about grains or dairy, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to determine what's best for your body.
Trying to devise an ideal diet by studying contemporary hunter-gatherers is difficult because of the great disparities that exist; for example, the animal-derived calorie percentage ranges from 25% for the Gwi people of southern Africa to 99% for the Alaskan Nunamiut. Descendants of populations with different diets have different genetic adaptations to those diets, such as the ability to digest sugars from starchy foods. Modern hunter-gatherers tend to exercise considerably more than modern office workers, protecting them from heart disease and diabetes, though highly processed modern foods also contribute to diabetes when those populations move into cities.
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.
I consider myself to be a pretty healthy eater. I’m gluten-free for health reasons, and I always try to make sure to eat a ton of vegetables. I make things from scratch, and am wary of overly processed foods. However, just like most of us, I can eat too much chocolate or indulge in something really carb-heavy and feel the after effects. For me, this means joint pain and the feeling of being hungover, along with many other equally fun symptoms.
Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh meat—the paleo diet is all about eating foods straight from the Earth just as our ancestors did. Those ancestors didn't have livestock or crops to call their own, so Cordain advises to go with grass-fed and organic varieties whenever possible to limit exposure to pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals that didn't exist back then. Research from Emory University suggests that Paleolithic people obtained about 35% of their calories from fats, 35% from carbohydrates, and 30% from protein.
I recognize these drawbacks. But I still kick off the first month of each year by waving goodbye to alcohol, sugar, and yes, the aforementioned healthy food groups. While I've kept the majority of the weight off, I'm still guilty of putting on those extra 4 to 5 pounds throughout the year. But while that would've caused me anxiety before, I'm now okay with it. I enjoy some frozen drinks by the pool during my summer vacation and loosen the reigns a bit during the holidays. Come January 1st, my body desperately wants a break from the late-night holiday parties that cram my calendar from Thanksgiving until New Year's Eve, which is why I do another round of the Whole30. Starting the new year this way helps to reset the habits that I tend to lose track of towards the end of year (moderation and meal-prepping) and it reminds me how good my body feels when I'm treating it right.
This list is going to be a little longer than the last. You cut out all sugar (both real and all substitutes whether natural or artificial, like honey, maple syrup, Splenda, etc.). No grains, legumes (including all forms of soy), dairy, or alcohol. You’re also told to avoid additives like MSG and carrageenan, although that should happen naturally if you’re sticking to whole foods.
On Day 4, I reached for a beef jerky stick from Epic. I simultaneously took a big bite while turning over the packaging to read the label. When I saw it on the ingredients list, I stopped mid-chew: "honey." I immediately spit the partially chewed jerky in my garbage can. Close one. After that, I always read the labels on my food twice before eating a morsel.
In that sense, Whole30 has been so helpful in understanding my body. So how am I eating now? I would say that I'm eating pretty "paleo" these days. I definitely still indulge once in a while, with some red wine or french fries, but I haven't been tempted to binge in the slightest. I would definitely do Whole30 again, but I need a bit of a break from it at the moment. Instead, I'm ready for a mindful and moderate approach to my new chapter of life, back in New York City.
If you have been in a state of dependency on food--be it sugars, alcohol, chips, ice cream, just about anything--or if you have been unwell, unsuited to the world physically or emotionally--or, if you simply feel blah and would like to lose a little bit of weight--please consider trying this program. You might think, "I don't eat that badly! I eat a lot of whole foods!" which is what most people think of themselves (I sure did). But when you actually make a conscious decision to eliminate foods from your diet, you will see that even the small amounts of crap that you've been eating regularly matter. Prepare to be amazed. I sound like an evangelical, I know. It's a little embarrassing. But it is all true.
The only way this works is if you give it the full thirty days: no cheats, slips, or “special occasions.” This isn’t a hazing, a boot camp, or us playing the tough guy. This is a fact, born of science and experience. The Whole30 is, at its heart, an elimination diet. Just a small amount of any of these inflammatory foods could break the healing cycle; promoting cravings, messing with blood sugar, disrupting the integrity of your digestive tract, and (most important) firing up the immune system. 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.
For instance, the fat allowance of the diet may be problematic. “My biggest hang-up with the paleo diet is all of the saturated fats it promotes with all of the meats,” explains Holley, noting that you could look for a locally sourced meat, whose origin and method of raising you're aware of, as a healthier option. Saturated fat from meat has been linked with an increased risk of early death. (9)
Similarly, any foods that were not easily available to Paleolithic humans are off-limits in this diet, Holley explains. That means processed foods — many of which contain added butter, margarine, and sugar — should not be a part of the paleo diet. The same goes for dairy, which may not have been accessible to Paleolithic humans, and legumes, which many proponents of the diet believe are not easily digestible by the body.
“I think there are a lot of positives about it,” Holley says. “It cuts out a lot of processed foods just naturally, like processed grains or added sugar through soft drinks or juice.” And because the diet promotes eating anti-inflammatory foods — like fruits, vegetables, and unsaturated fats in nuts and certain oils — your health could benefit, Holley explains. Cutting out processed foods and sugar will also help lower your risk of certain diseases, like type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, she says. (6)
According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Interestingly however, our Paleolithic ancestors and contemporarily studied hunter-gatherers showed virtually no heart attack or stroke while eating ancestral diets. The references below will explore these facts to better help you understand the heart-healthy benefits of a Paleo diet.
July 2016 I weighed 225 lbs. and was desperate for a way of eating that I could lose weight with but not starve doing so. This book contained the answers I'd been seeking for years and, in my opinion, is the perfect starter book to understanding the Paleo eating plan. By July 2017 I dropped 65 lbs., felt absolutely great, and became a strong proponent of eating this way for a lifetime. Loren Cordain keeps it simple and straight-forward, explaining the diet in an uncomplicated manner.
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?
Since April 2009, millions of people have successfully completed our Whole30 program with stunning, life-changing results. This is a summary of the official rules of the Whole30. For in-depth information about planning and preparing for the program, a comprehensive FAQ, and more than 100 totally compliant recipes, refer to our New York Times bestselling book, The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. (Or click here for an abbreviated version.)
We love nuts and they are decidedly paleo diet friendly. Be careful though, as cashews are high in fat and, for some reason, it’s incredibly easy to eat an entire jar of them in one sitting (that’s not just us, is it?). If you’re trying to lose weight, limit the amount of nuts you’re consuming. Otherwise, have at it. I mean, you can’t beat a good almond/pecan/walnut mix, can you?
Generally speaking, dieters are advised to eat between 20-30 grams of carbohydrates per day in order to maintain ketosis. To put this into perspective, a quarter cup of steel cut oats has 29 grams of carbs and a banana has roughly 27 grams of carbs. So if you have a few bites of oatmeal or a small piece of fruit, whoops! That's your carb intake for the day.
CrossFit, Inc. does not dispute that its methodology has the potential to cause rhabdomyolysis. The company states that exertional rhabdomyolysis can be found in a wide variety of sports and training populations and argues that its critics have conflated CrossFit's high awareness of rhabdomyolysis with high risk. One CrossFit spokesman stated that "ESPN's report on the 53 deaths in US triathlons from 2007 to 2013 should have put the issue to rest."