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Regardless of whether you’re looking to pack on muscle mass, blast away body fat or train for a specific sport, basing your diet on whole, high-quality foods such as fresh protein, vegetables, and healthy mono/unsaturated fats can only be a good thing for your health. In addition, the Caveman diet is gluten free, appealing to those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
Following the paleo diet can be pricey. Inexpensive and healthy non-meat protein sources like soy and beans are off-limits, and a recent BMJ Open study shows that healthy meats like lean ground beef and boneless, skinless chicken breasts cost an average of 29 cents more per serving compared to less-healthy ones, such as high-fat ground beef and chicken drumsticks. Even switching from peanut butter to paleo-approved almond butter will cost you—it goes for up to $13 a jar.
In fact, the health benefits of the paleo diet are unproven. "Our ancestors ate this way and didn't have many of the chronic diseases we do, but that doesn't mean the food they ate is the reason why; drawing that conclusion would be like saying we live three times longer than our Paleolithic ancestors because we eat fast food," says Christopher Ochner, MD, research associate at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals. Still, a handful of small studies have tried to determine if a paleo diet is a healthier diet. One small study published in the journal Diabetologia found that the diet improved blood sugar over 12 weeks compared to a Mediterranean one that allowed grains, low-fat dairy, and oils, but it's hard to say whether researchers would come to the same results in a larger study.
Jan Engvald has studied food and health thoroughly in the literature. In Unexpected facts on... food he shows that today's health advice (more or less unchanged for more than 30 years) is a direct cause to the increase in national diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, adult-onset diabetes, allergy, eye diseases, etc. His findings are low-carb and high-fat, close to paleo, though he allows high fat dairy.
This does require effort. Grocery shopping, meal planning, dining out, explaining the program to friends and family, and dealing with stress will all prove challenging at some point during your program. We’ve given you a huge number of tools, advice, and resources, but take responsibility for your own plan. Improved health, fitness, and quality of life doesn’t happen automatically just because you’re now taking a pass on bread.
With a very simple shift we not only remove the foods that are at odds with our health (grains, legumes, and dairy) but we also increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here is a great paper from Professor Loren Cordain exploring how to build a modern Paleo diet: The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. This paper also offers significant insight as to the amounts and ratios of protein, carbohydrate and fat in the ancestral diet.
While founders Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig are adamant in their book and on their website that “you’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written,” the Whole30 is not for the lazy or noncommittal. Without careful planning, a strong support system and dogged dedication, a business lunch, flight delay or date night can throw you off and send you back to the start. By nature, diets that eliminate entire food groups are tough to follow. On the other hand, it’s only 30 days.
“The common experience of suffering though something you may have initially thought impossible, and prevailing together, creates a bond that is hard to explain,” says Drew Porterfield, a 36-year-old gallery director and restaurateur from Washington, D.C. “You end up caring about each other’s success and working to help everyone reach their individual goals. The group-think works for me by providing a sense of motivation in the gym that I never had when working out alone. But I recognize that it may not be for everyone.”
As far as food goes, you’re simply going to eat a lot of fresh, good-quality eats and ditch the processed stuff. Beyond that, you’re removing all grains, dairy, soy, legumes, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol from your diet. All of these foods (especially in excess), according to the authors, have been linked to systemic inflammation, hormonal imbalance, gut issues, and more. The idea is to remove the stressors from your body and give it the nourishment and time to heal itself it needs. This means less inflammation, a healthy metabolism, hormonal harmony, a happy gut, clearer skin, and improved energy! Sounds good to me. (Although if we’re honest, I panicked a bit when I realized no cheese would hit my lips for a full month.)
In July 2016, a New York Times article on use of Instagram by dieters noted that participants in the Whole30 program had shared over one million Instagram posts using the #Whole30 hashtag, and noted that those sharing the tag were "one of seemingly endless like-minded communities," comparing it with the over 3.5 million posts under the #WeightWatchers hashtag.
Trying to introduce dairy back into my diet hurt my stomach and would send me into a sneezing fit. In this way, the Whole30 worked as a type of elimination diet for me, without which I may have never realized that dairy isn't my friend. I'll still suffer the consequences if I cross paths with a cheese plate at a work event, but I've made the permanent switch to tofu cream cheese and coconut milk — alternatives I would've never touched before Whole30 that are actually delicious.
^ 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)
Planning ahead can help you thrive on any diet, and the Whole30 diet isn't any different. Before getting started, you'll want to clean out your refrigerator and cabinets. Nip temptation in the bud by getting rid of the ice cream, cookies, chips, and other junk food. Because out of sight, out of mind, right? Stock up on vegetables, fruits, lean protein, eggs, nuts and seeds, and approved dairy-free items.
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.
So it's no surprise people are looking to the Paleo-inspired diet to help them lose weight. But before you jump on the 30-day train ride for the sole purpose of shedding pounds, know this: At its core, Whole30 is an elimination diet inspired to help you feel your best—it's not a weight loss plan. There's no calorie counting and absolutely no tracking of macros, carbs—you name it. People are advised to step on the scale only at the start and end of the program.
The caricature of the Paleo dieter is a Flintstone-esque cave man in loincloth gnawing on a giant, raw woolly mammoth femur bone. Fun? Yes. Accurate? No. While grass-fed meat from ruminant animals is certainly a healthy "Paleo food," it by no means constitutes the majority of a typical Paleo diet. I personally eat far more seafood than red meat, and actually derive more calories from coconut products — a true Paleo staple — than animal products.
The top CrossFit Open performers for individuals and teams in each region advance to the regional events, held over the following two months around the world. Each regional event qualifies a specified number of its top finishers to send to the Games. The Games include divisions for individuals of each gender, co-ed teams, and a number of Masters and Teenage age groups.