I started Week 1 feeling optimistic. This isn't hard at all! I told myself. Wrong. Days 2 and 3 hit, and the sugar withdrawal was so real. In my company's kitchen, I stared at the free M&Ms longingly. "All I can think about are gummy worms," I texted my work friends. Instead of eating candy, I scarfed down a banana with sunflower seed butter and felt slightly better.
Odd programming – As you’ll read in another critique later in this article, I don’t agree with some of the workouts that are prescribed at some CrossFit gyms. For example, some workouts might call for high reps of snatches; these are an Olympic lift that require perfect form in order to be done successfully. Doing 30 reps of them is a sure-fire way to sacrifice form and dramatically increase the risk for injury.
Update: So I just finished my first whole30 round and I have to say that I'm super excited by the results. When I hopped on the scale today, I noticed that I had lost 26.6 pounds. I then measured myself and noted that I lost a total of 31.5 inches (-5" from chest, -2" from right arm, -3.5" from left arm, -8" from waist, -5" from hips, -4" from right thigh, and -4" from left thigh). I am really excited by my results!
^ Hou JK, Lee D, Lewis J (October 2014). "Diet and inflammatory bowel disease: review of patient-targeted recommendations". Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Review). 12 (10): 1592–600. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2013.09.063. PMC 4021001. PMID 24107394. Even less evidence exists for the efficacy of the SCD, FODMAP, or Paleo diets. Furthermore, the practicality of maintaining these interventions over long periods of time is doubtful.
We have been lied to all our lives and told to eat plenty of whole grains and low fat. Grains have been genetically modified for so long and its effects on the human body have never been tested. Following the Paleo Diet principles have changed my life and helped me lose 37 pounds effortlessly. My health has vastly improved and I no longer have uncontrollable junk food cravings. I didn't know the cravings could be stopped, I just assumed I had no will power. My Doctor recommended this diet and I can't thank him enough! If you follow this way of living you will never regret it so buy this book and improve you health now!
But then again, when have you found a program that is ENTIRELY ONLINE AND MOSTLY FREE that changes your life? When you are in line at the checkout with your meat and chicken thighs and raw almonds, remember the money you are going to save by NOT joining another weight-loss program or hiring a life coach or drinking booze or going to the doctor for that blood pressure you really ought to monitor which is quite possibly linked to your diet. Dallas and Melissa, the authors, say that a craving usually lasts about ten seconds. Count and breathe through the french fries someone raved about at the office. Skip out for a tiny walk while everyone is hoarding that cake at work. Eat a little roast turkey and some oven-baked potatoes. Read more books with the newfound energies. If I--a bon vivant of the kitchen, believe me, hoarder of butter, lover of booze, cream, sugar--can give these things up for thirty days, anyone can.
The theory is our bodies were designed, and still optimized, to eat what our Paleolithic ancestors ate. Like your hunger-gatherer forefathers, on Paleo you get all the meat from wild animals and unlimited fruits and vegetables you can eat. But no starchy vegetables (like potatoes), no legumes (like lentils or beans), no wheat, and no grains (like quinoa or corn) because those plants were invented by human beings during the agricultural revolution after our Paleolithic ancestors left the planet. You get one cheat day where you can eat whatever you want (“Occasional cheating and digressions may be just what you need to help you stick to the diet.”) No oil because it puts omega 6 and omega 3 ratios out of whack which should never exceed 2:1, except olive oil if you must. Dairy is also prohibited. And meat must come from animals that weren’t fed grains (like corn) because grains lead to inflammation and increased fat.
Since then, I've reintroduced legumes, soy, added sugar, and dairy back into my diet. Since I'm lactose intolerant, I was most afraid of dairy, but it seems as of my dairy intolerance has disappeared, which is an unexpected positive. I definitely sleep worse, though, and feel more bloated when I enjoy dairy or carbs with gluten. So going forward, I'll be eating these with more moderation than before.
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.)
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.
On Ramp/Elements – If you’re interested in joining the regular CrossFit workout, you’ll most likely be required to go through the On Ramp/Elements course. The purpose of these is to teach you the nine foundational movements of CrossFit and all about proper form. No matter how experienced you are, these are valuable and worth the time and money. Even if you think you have perfect form on your squats, deadlifts and/or overhead presses, it’s amazing what can be fixed when you have a trained set of eyes watching you do them.
But eventually — probably on day 33 — I started to experiment. First came eating ketchup ... no side effect. Next, I had some red wine ... a slight hangover the next day, but nothing like I used to experience when indulging in sugary cocktails. Then, I added gluten ... and my body officially freaked out. I broke out in a rash and hives all over my scalp, neck, and legs which lasted for a few days. I decided to try eating gluten again after the rashes went away to make sure, and sure enough, I woke up the next day to ... more rashes.
It was within this context that Glassman began ramping up his affiliation program. This was growth without a safety net: Anyone who passed his two-day seminar could apply to open a box, call it CrossFit, and then rush paying customers through squats and snatches or whatever crazy WOD they dreamed up. To Glassman, himself a passionate libertarian, this was the right thing to do: He wants his affiliates to be free to open up a box in a garage or a warehouse or wherever else, and train how they want, and charge what they want. They should have the opportunity he had. He detests supposed experts who say their certification or education makes them better than him or his people. At the end of the day, he believes, the free market will provide all the necessary quality control.
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.
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.
So you can imagine that their stance on cheating in the program is very stringent. If you cheat, you’re supposed to start again at day one with no exceptions. As an intense perfectionist in life, this scared me more than any other rule or dietary restriction. And to be fair, I think that any dietary change is hard. Maybe it’s not like quitting heroin, but it’s also not like a spa massage. Did I mention that I also don’t like when people tell me what to do? As a really small child, I stabbed myself in the eye with a fork because my mom told me not to. Yeah … tough love isn’t my love language. Life is complicated.
Paleo eating requires a lot of planning, prep time, and mental resolve. For instance, eating out on the diet isn't as simple as ordering chicken and a salad. Think: In what oil was the chicken cooked? Did any of the salad toppings come processed, canned, or packaged? "As with every elimination diet, it's just not doable long term," Dr. Ochner says. While weight loss is far from the sole purpose of eating paleo, going on and off of the diet can lead to big weight swings. Any yo-yo diet starts in weight loss from both muscle and fat, and usually ends with weight gain of all fat, which contributes to a slower metabolism and increased insulin resistance.
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.
Glassman attracted a little flock. "I was looking for a trainer, and a friend of my wife's went to Spa Fitness," says Ben Elizer, who today is CrossFit's chief information officer. He went to Spa Fitness and was told he had his pick of two: "one guy who is really nice and not that good, and another guy who is really good but super-opinionated and arrogant"--Glassman, of course. Glassman's crew was tight-knit. He even ended up marrying one of his clients, a hairdresser named Lauren Jenai. When the Spa Fitness owner inevitably showed the CrossFitters the door, and they leased a corner of a jujitsu studio, Lauren would manage the books and teach CrossFit classes herself. Soon they outgrew that space, and the Glassmans took their motley little group of cops, jujitsu fighters, and tech-company commuters to a 1,250-square-foot truck garage on a remote road three miles out in Soquel. In 2000, a number of clients asked if Glassman could put the WODs online so they could do them when they traveled, so he put up CrossFit.com.
For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is all they need. Improved blood lipids, weight loss, and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough. Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any recommendations, be they nutrition or exercise related. Some folks like to know WHY they are doing something. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny.
Grass-fed beef is often highlighted on the diet, which is promoted to contain more omega-3 fats than conventional beef (due to being fed grass instead of grain). It does contain small amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a precursor to EPA and DHA. However, only a small proportion of ALA can be converted in the body to long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). The amount of omega-3 is also highly variable depending on the exact feeding regimen and differences in fat metabolism among cattle breeds.  In general, the amount of omega-3 in grass-fed beef is much lower than that in oily marine fish.  Cooked salmon contains 1000-2000 mg of EPA/DHA per 3-ounce portion, whereas 3 ounces of grass-fed beef contains about 20-200 mg of ALA.
The first week was the hardest. I quickly learned that meal prep was essential to survive this program. Since everything you’re eating isn’t processed, there’s a lot of planning that goes into being able to have an easy week. If I prepped on Sunday nights for the whole week by filling my fridge with things I could easily eat, and doing things like pre-slicing veggies for those hunger emergencies, I did great.
Fruits are not only delicious, but they’re also great for you. That said, fruits (even paleo-approved ones) contain large amounts of fructose which, while much better than HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), is still sugar. If you’re looking to lose weight on the paleo diet, you’ll want to cut back on your fruit intake and focus more on the vegetables allowed on the paleo diet. However, feel free to have one to three servings of fruit a day. Check out this list of paleo diet fruits and see if you’re not hungry by the end! (We’ll admit, we’re partial to blackberries!)
People who never had good social group experiences like it because, even if they are crazy, CF communities are always positive, supportive, and good-natured. CF brings people together and makes them compete every day in a society that shies away from competition. The challenge creates a heightened sense of self worth that develops into being an elitist..
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrat by Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. and Sally Fallon. The premise is the culinary traditions of our ancestors, and the food choices and preparation techniques of healthy nonindustrialized peoples, should serve as the model for contemporary eating habits. However, they push whole grains and dairy, which aren't Paleolithic.
One of the most interesting experiments comes after you finish Whole30 and slowly start adding foods back into your diet. You get to test how foods you stopped eating during the month affected you after you added them back in. The most shocking for me? Legumes make me feel bloated (they just do!). When I added gluten back, the next day I broke out in a rash. And now that I've curbed my "sugar dragon" (that's what they call sugar cravings on Whole30), I try to avoid sugar as much as humanly possible. In fact, December came after my Whole30 experience, so of course I indulged in a few glasses of wine at a holiday party, and BOOM — my skin broke out. Now I have a better idea of what to avoid altogether, and what to watch if I do decide to indulge.
This biggest success of Week 2 was attending a happy hour networking event completely sober. I headed there with a friend who was also doing Whole30, and we vowed to be each other's support system. We ordered seltzer waters together and proudly said no to the cheeseburger sliders and cheese board. Leaving the event, I felt empowered knowing I had it in me to refuse alcohol and fatty food, something I'd never tried before. Plus, I now knew I didn't have to use alcohol as a social crutch.