Two years ago I got formally diagnosed with chronic Lyme Disease. You can read more about that and what it means here. In my health journey, one of my goals has been to reduce inflammation in my system. There are a ton of factors that go into this, but one of the things I can control is the food I put into my body. Food, and restoring gut health, is a huge part of reversing chronic illness.
I cannot possibly put enough emphasis on this simple fact—the next 30 days will change your life. It will change the way you think about food. It will change your tastes. It will change your habits and your cravings. It will restore a healthy emotional relationship with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. I know this because I did it, and millions of people have done it since, and it changed my life (and their lives) in a dramatic and permanent fashion.
In 2007, the first annual CrossFit Games were contested in Aromas, California, on a small ranch owned by the family of Games director Dave Castro. For the initial Games in 2007 and 2008, participation was open to anyone who made it to Aromas. The Games would also award an Affiliate Cup to the group from one CrossFit gym that had the best combined individual standings. In 2009, competitors had to qualify after over a hundred athletes had shown up in 2008. The athletes earned an invitation through either placing high enough in the previous year or through placing in the top worldwide in a set of qualifying events called Regionals hosted at a few CrossFit gyms. The CrossFit Games also added a separate set of team-based events for the Affiliate Cup, marking the first use of a designated Team Division, with teams of four (two men and two women).
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.
As CrossFit gets bigger and bigger, Glassman is no longer the underdog. Well-known employees and boxes have been tossed out after clashing with Glassman or voicing disagreements with the CrossFit approach to fitness or nutrition--or, in particular, criticizing other CrossFitters close to Glassman. In 2009, Robb Wolf, one of the first affiliates, was exiled. "You have to kowtow and not let your star shine too brightly," Wolf says. "He's always had this tendency toward incredible kindness, but he also has this rattlesnake intensity and cruelty."
Exercise is a vital part of the live-by-your-genetic-code equation. Surviving in the Stone Age meant a constant on-the-go lifestyle that probably required 4,000-plus calories a day, according to David L. Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. Even most people who hit the gym regularly won't need to eat that many calories, but the principle of using food as fuel to exercise still stands.
^ Hall, Harriet (2014). "Food myths: what science knows (and does not know) about diet and nutrition". Skeptic. 19 (4). p. 10. Fad diets and "miracle" diet supplements promise to help us lose weight effortlessly. Different diet gurus offer a bewildering array of diets that promise to keep us healthy and make us live longer: vegan, Paleo, Mediterranean, low fat, low carb, raw food, gluten-free ... the list goes on. (subscription required)
In one example, CrossFit, Inc.'s Twitter account posted a doctored illustration of a Coke advertisement, with "Open Happiness" replaced by "Open Diabetes". The image was paired with a quote from CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman that read "Make sure you pour out some for your dead homies." Controversy followed after singer Nick Jonas responded to the tweet, calling CrossFit, Inc.'s comments "ignorant". The company defended its tweet, stating that "Compelling statistical evidence supports CrossFit, Inc.'s campaign to prevent diabetes by raising awareness about its causes." When ABC News asked Greg Glassman to comment on the exchange, he replied "Fuck Nick Jonas. This is about the scourge of Type 2 Diabetes and its underlying causes. His sponsor, Coca-Cola, is a significant contributor to the diabetes epidemic both with product and 'marketing' spend."
Outside of court, Glassman launched World War III against his wife and Anthos Capital. Glassman focused on one point: Anthos would kill CrossFit's spirit, transforming it into a franchise as regimented and conservative as McDonald's. Berger wrote a rallying cry that was originally posted on an internal CrossFit Facebook page and then went wider: "If Anthos gets ownership and forces Greg out, the affiliates can tell Anthos to go f-- off and all de-affiliate in mass....If every single one of you can get 5 people to care about this enough to write Anthos a 'f-- you' email, they will get the picture very quickly."Employees called affiliates around the clock to ask if they had questions and educate them about Anthos's true intentions as CrossFit saw them. When Anthos partner Bryan Kelly offered to field affiliate questions on Lauren's Facebook page, the Russes assaulted him with pointed questions.
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.
Sweden's Staffan Lindeberg has a home page Paleolithic Diet in Medical Nutrition [archive.org]. A recent study of Staffan's has A Paleolithic diet improving glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease. Also see his first web page, an overview of his Kitava study: On the Benefits of Ancient Diets. Now he has a book Food and Western Disease: Health and nutrition from an evolutionary perspective. Here's a book review: Easy to Read, Informative, Packed with Footnotes on Studies.
This 2003 CrossFit Journal article captures an early conception of a universal, multi-event test of fitness that laid the foundation for CrossFit competition, including what would become the CrossFit Open and the CrossFit Games. The design requirements for such a test "included but were not limited to the following: quantifiable results; consistency with the CrossFit fitness concept; raising our commitment to improving absolute strength, relative strength, and gymnastic foundations; balancing intrinsic abilities of smaller and larger athletes; emphasizing exercises critical to and foundational to advanced training; mixing training demands within each test and, of course, over the total competition; a design that would identify an athlete’s weaknesses and possibly stand as a workout plan for improving overall fitness; and, finally, we wanted to design a competition that would be 'hard as hell.'"