In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan gives a guided tour of 20th century food science, a history of "nutritionism" in America and a look at the marriage of government and the food industry. Then the book presents a commonsense shopping-and-eating guide, which like the paleo diet focuses on shopping the perimeter of the supermarket. He also now has a much shorter Food Rules: An Eater's Manual.
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health by Gary Taubes expounds on his 2002 article in the NY Times (What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?) and then in Science Magazine (see below). He shows how public health data has been misinterpreted to mark dietary fat and cholesterol as the primary causes of coronary heart disease. Deeper examination, he says, shows that heart disease and other diseases of civilization appear to result from increased consumption of refined carbohydrates: sugar, white flour and white rice. Or in other words, without using the word Paleolithic, he justifies the paleo diet. Here is an excellent chapter by chapter summary of the book [archive.org].
The Soft Science of Dietary Fat is a summary of an article in Science Magazine reporting that mainstream nutritional science has demonized dietary fat, yet 50 years and hundreds of millions of dollars of research have failed to prove that eating a low-fat diet will help you live longer. In fact, there are good reasons to believe high-carbohydrate diets may be even worse than high-fat diets. Here is the text from the original article by Gary Taubes.
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But listen--we'd both been relatively inactive for years and each about 25 pounds overweight. Between the two of us we lost 34 lbs in 30 days and we are still going to keep up a serious commitment to Whole 30, with a few supplemental treats now and then. We feel better, we have new confidence about getting dressed in the morning, and we're more fit than in years, mostly because we have the energy to do more. The amazing thing is that you will NOT feel hungry if you hang in there and consistently prepare foods as per the cookbook/menus. There is also a very supportive and helpful forum online to supplement the book.
The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging by Arthur De Vany. Art is the grandfather of the "Paleo Lifestyle" movement. The plan is built on three principles: (1) eat three meals a day made up of nonstarchy vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins; (2) skip meals occasionally to promote a low fasting blood insulin level; and (3) exercise less, not more, in shorter, high-intensity bursts. Note that the book is anti-fat. All oils are to be avoided, though canola is considered okay for higher temperatures. Egg yolks are to be skipped now and then. Published December 21, 2010.
There are about half a dozen diets that are very similar. They all recommend you eat "meat and veg" The reason Whole 30 works for me is because you can have potatoes and fruit. An example of a whole 30 meal would be: 2 pork chops, mashed potatoes made with chicken stock, green beans, finish with your choice of fruit. My favorite is a few grapes or pineapple chunks. Also the goal it to make it 30 days without cheating. There have been several times I would think: OK I can't cheat now I only have __ more days to go. Having an end in site helped me. When I started adding back in food groups after the 30 days. I figured out that I do not do well with Dairy. Now the only dairy I use is real butter. I never thought I could live without cheese... But now I don't think it's a good idea for me. So it helps you figure out what you can and can not eat and still feel good.
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You never, ever, ever have to eat anything you don’t want to eat. You’re all big boys and girls. Toughen up. Learn to say no, or make your mom proud and say, “No, thank you.” Learn to stick up for yourself. Just because it’s your sister’s birthday, or your best friend’s wedding, or your company picnic does not mean you have to eat anything. It’s always a choice, and we would hope that you stopped succumbing to peer pressure in 7th grade.
Paleoista: Gain Energy, Get Lean, and Feel Fabulous With the Diet You Were Born to Eat by Nell Stephenson. Paleoista is not only a how-to book, it is also a glimpse into the life of a woman who gives advice on how to eat this way, and lives the life, day in and day out. The author's websites: NellStephenson.com Nutrition & Fitness and Paleoista.com. To be published May 1, 2012.
The good news is that you'll find yourself craving your junky favorites less as time goes on. But that first week can be notoriously tough as your body transitions to a cleaner way of eating. Now more than ever, make sure you're eating regular, balanced meals and keeping approved snacks like plantain chips with salsa and celery sticks with almond butter on hand. It's always easier to say no to cookies or chips when you're satisfied from eating something clean and delicious—or have another snack or dish to look forward to.
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)
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.
Snacks: Snacks were a problem for me. One of favorite snacks is cheese, but dairy was not allowed in the program. One of the most recommended snacks is nuts, but I can’t have them because I have diverticulosis. My fall back was celery with almond butter. It seem to fill me up while meeting the requirements of the Whole 30 plan but it was pretty boring.
Realistic Details: I think that this will be more challenging if your culinary experience is limited. A lot of people complain about the difficulty of the recipes. The fact is that if you can make eggs and broil or barbecue meat, or even if you can turn on an oven and toss a salad, you will be fine. You might be a little bored with the food if you are not savvy in the kitchen, but it might help if you are really a novice to get the cookbook in addition to the guide.
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.