It should be noted that U.S. News & World Report just released its annual ranking of diets, and Whole30 ranked dead last. Why? Essentially, the expert panel of over 20 registered dietitians, academics, and medical doctors found the program unsustainable and potentially unhealthy, since, among other issues, it restricts certain food groups and is high in sodium and cholesterol. But, Whole30's co-creator Melissa Hartwig stands behind the program, telling Cosmopolitan.com that its animal protein recommendations are in line with government recommendations, and that there are no nutrients in temporarily restricted foods, like grains and legumes, that you can't find in fruits and vegetables.
As a result, his company's revenue (set to double this year, to $100 million) is fueled almost completely by CrossFit's rampant proliferation. Meanwhile, a burgeoning ecosystem of other businesses has risen up to cater to these squatting, thrusting fiefdoms. There are multiple apparel companies; food and beverage companies (serious CrossFitters are often serious about the Paleo Diet); businesses that cater specifically to box owners, with iPad apps that track workouts and manage membership rolls; business consultants who show box owners how to increase their revenue. A Web design firm specializes in CrossFit box sites. There are even two print magazines, The Box and WOD Talk.
Whole30 is a nutritional program designed to change the way you feel and eat in 30 days. Basically, you have to remove all of the potentially inflammatory foods and beverages in your diet (think: added sugar and sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods and beverages, baked goods, and junk foods) and eat three "clean" meals a day, made with Whole30-approved ingredients (think: meats, seafood, veggies, and eggs).
The first thing you should make from this book? Red Curry Roasted Cauliflower (pg. 242). We've made it FIVE TIMES since we got the book. Super easy and so delicious. If you follow us @gneissspice on instagram, you’ll see dozens of posts of the meals I made from this book. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are debating a Whole30. Nothing is worse than trying to stick to the strict rules, and then have no idea what to eat for dinner. My only complaint about the book would be no mention of portion sizes. I had to head over to their website to find suggestions (they have a cool graphic for this, not sure why they didn’t include it in the book).
The Whole30 is not a diet, a weight-loss plan or quick fix – it’s designed to “change your life,” the founders say, by eliminating cravings, rebalancing hormones, curing digestive issues, improving medical conditions and boosting energy and immune function. The theory behind it is that all sorts of physical and mental health issues – ranging from acne to depression to allergies – could be due to your diet. But you can’t know which foods are to blame for what ails you unless you cut out all traces of sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy and legumes for 30 days. By day 31, you’ll be free from your food fog and may not even miss your nightly wine ritual or morning muffin fix. If and when you reintroduce food groups, your body’s reaction will tell you which foods you should continue to avoid – or at least limit.
"We settled, because I don't want to spent 50 to 75 grand getting sued," says Jason Janke. "I covered up the sign." Saran, CrossFit's general counsel, says it's all part of the fight against "the road to genericization." If people can sell "CrossFit equipment" the way they sell "baseball equipment," says Saran, then it becomes crossfit. Soon anyone will be able to coach crossfit or promote a crossfit tournament--effectively killing the value of being an official affiliate, or being CrossFit, for that matter.

On his website, Sisson writes that "while the world has changed in innumerable ways in the last 10,000 years (for better and worse), the human genome has changed very little and thus only thrives under similar conditions." This is simply not true. In fact, this reasoning misconstrues how evolution works. If humans and other organisms could only thrive in circumstances similar to the ones their predecessors lived in, life would not have lasted very long.
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.
I don’t like keeping track of how much I’ve eaten or obsessing over how many grams of a particular nutrient I’ve had. Not only do I hate counting calories, but I know that calories are really only half of the battle, as they’re not all created equal – 400 calories of Doritos do NOT have the same effect on your body as 400 calories of high-quality vegetables and protein.

3) A lot of the recipes are what some would consider "exotic" and may need to be sold to kids. Sure, not everyone buying the book has kids but a lot of us do so let's keep it simple. I appreciate some exotic dishes (especially Indian and African foods) here and there and I encourage my kids to try variety but... really... I need more simple recipes that won't meet opposition. Simple, uncomplicated foods without a tons of strong spices. Complicated dishes are appreciated in moderation in cookbooks, not nearly every recipe.
Note: If you don’t have a grill, you can bake the chicken in the oven. Turn the oven to Broil (or 500°F), and place the raw chicken in a baking dish. Sear the chicken in the oven for 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Brush the chicken with the curry sauce and finish cooking in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on thickness), until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

The Paleo diet not only misunderstands how our own species, the organisms inside our bodies and the animals and plants we eat have evolved over the last 10,000 years, it also ignores much of the evidence about our ancestors' health during their—often brief—individual life spans (even if a minority of our Paleo ancestors made it into their 40s or beyond, many children likely died before age 15). In contrast to Grok, neither Paleo hunter–gatherers nor our more recent predecessors were sculpted Adonises immune to all disease. A recent study in The Lancet looked for signs of atherosclerosis—arteries clogged with cholesterol and fats—in more than one hundred ancient mummies from societies of farmers, foragers and hunter–gatherers around the world, including Egypt, Peru, the southwestern U.S and the Aleutian Islands. "A common assumption is that atherosclerosis is predominately lifestyle-related, and that if modern human beings could emulate preindustrial or even preagricultural lifestyles, that atherosclerosis, or least its clinical manifestations, would be avoided," the researchers wrote. But they found evidence of probable or definite atherosclerosis in 47 of 137 mummies from each of the different geographical regions. And even if heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes were not as common among our predecessors, they still faced numerous threats to their health that modern sanitation and medicine have rendered negligible for people in industrialized nations, such as infestations of parasites and certain lethal bacterial and viral infections.
First, I’d just like to acknowledge that I’m not a nutritionist or a healthcare professional. The opinions I share here are simply my own experiences and thoughts while trying this program. I also acknowledge that the topics of healthy eating, dieting, and illness are very personal, and what might work for me, might not work for someone else. We are all unique.
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!
So, with my sister-in-law as my Whole30 guide, I successfully followed the program for the entire month of November. The beginning was really bumpy for me — I am truly an emotional eater and I am absolutely addicted to sugar. But once it was done, it was clear to me that the benefits outweighed the challenges. I now have a whole new understanding and respect for my body and a newfound control over the food I put in my mouth. Full disclosure that the Whole30 diet affects everyone differently, but here are the seven biggest changes I saw in myself after 30 days:

For many years Arthur De Vany Ph.D. has been writing a book called Evolutionary Fitness on "What Evolution Teaches Us About How to Live and Stay Healthy." The diet he follows fits into my core diet definition. He may have been the first one to use the paleo diet to maximize fitness. His current site is Art's Blog on Fitness, Health, Aging, Nutrition and Exercise [archive.org].
You know that "no-makeup" makeup trend that requires TONS of makeup to make you look natural? Expect the same effect, but with no makeup whatsoever required, during and after Whole30. My skin was glowing the entire time I was on it. Strangers commented on my skin. While I still did have a hormonal breakout on my chin, it wasn't the spotty blemished mess it usually is. I feel like the tone, texture, and overall look of my skin was tip top.

In December 2005, The New York Times ran a story about the budding CrossFit craze. The reporter interviewed some of the original CrossFitters and chronicled their fitness accomplishments, which were considerable. But the part of the article that grabbed the most attention was the opening anecdote: A first-time CrossFitter named Brian Anderson had experienced a true mess-you-up moment--he had ended up in the emergency room after his baptismal WOD. Repeated kettlebell swings had torn up his lower back to the point that he could barely stand. In intensive care, he was told he had rhabdomyolysis, a condition wherein muscle tissue breaks down to the point that it starts poisoning the kidneys. Rhabdomyolysis is rare as a result of athletics; ultramarathoners sometimes get it, but ER doctors are much more accustomed to finding it in cases of crushed limbs or massive third-degree burns. Anderson didn't need dialysis, but he spent six days on an IV drip in intensive care, followed by two months of physical therapy for his back.


“Hartwig, a sports nutritionist and cocreator of the Whole30 diet plan, packs her fourth book on the subject with 150 recipes that are, as the cover proclaims in all-caps, “totally compliant.” That means heavy emphasis on eggs, meat, fish, and fresh vegetables, but no grains, dairy, legumes or added sugars. Whether or not one buys into Whole30, there is no denying that Hartwig has come up with a clever array of healthy and flavorful dishes. Highlights include Asian beef zoodle (zucchini noodles) soup, which is similar to Vietnamese pho but uses zucchini noodles, and grilled Jamaican jerk salmon with fresh mango salsa. Many of the recipes come courtesy of guest cooks from various food blogs. For instance, Michelle Smith, from the Whole Smiths blog, contributes cherry-chipotle BBQ chicken thighs, with the fruit providing the sweetness and ground chipotle bringing the heat. Veteran food and cocktail photographer Brent Herrig drives home the point that a burger served on a tomato slice is as delectable as one on a bun, and that meatballs do just fine in a cream sauce made with coconut milk. (Dec.)” —Publishers Weekly

Plus, I feel like the way I eat directly affects my mood. If I eat sugar, I almost always feel like garbage. If I eat protein and veggies and tons of avocado, I feel stable and much less like I am going to have a stage-four meltdown. Blood sugar swings are also real — no one wants to deal with me when I am hangry. It’s a nightmare. This program is supposed to help with all these things. I desperately wanted to feel better, so I dove in.


The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program by Kathleen DesMaisons. While this isn't really a paleo book, it does point out issues with the foods we aren't eating. The books claims the excessive processed sugar consumed is responsible for "mood swings, depression, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, PMS, impulsivity ... [and] unpredictable temper." She says her research shows indulging in sugar highs should be treated much more seriously, akin to heroin or alcohol dependency, because sugar causes spikes in the neurotransmitters serotonin and beta-dopamine just like those drugs.
The "CrossFit Games", directed by Dave Castro, have been held every summer since 2007. Athletes at the Games compete in workouts they learn about only hours beforehand, sometimes including surprise elements that are not part of the typical CrossFit regimen. Past examples include a rough-water swim, a softball throw, and a pegboard climb.[43] The Games are styled as a venue for determining the "Fittest on Earth," where competitors should be "ready for anything."[44]
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