It's that time of year again, when all of your friends and family members are making resolutions to be healthier in 2019. Expect to see lots of the following on Instagram in the next month: #DryJanuary, #NewYearNewYou, #Whole30. And for anyone looking to try the latter, I applaud you — and I encourage you to do it. I decided to give the much-buzzed-about Whole30 diet a try last November.
Adoption of the Paleolithic diet assumes that modern humans can reproduce the hunter-gatherer diet. Molecular biologist Marion Nestle argues that "knowledge of the relative proportions of animal and plant foods in the diets of early humans is circumstantial, incomplete, and debatable and that there are insufficient data to identify the composition of a genetically determined optimal diet. The evidence related to Paleolithic diets is best interpreted as supporting the idea that diets based largely on plant foods promote health and longevity, at least under conditions of food abundance and physical activity." Ideas about Paleolithic diet and nutrition are at best hypothetical.
CrossFit is promoted as both a physical exercise philosophy and a competitive fitness sport, incorporating elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, girevoy sport, calisthenics, strongman, and other exercises. It is practiced by members of over 13,000 affiliated gyms, roughly half of which are located in the United States, and by individuals who complete daily workouts (otherwise known as "WODs" or "workouts of the day"). CrossFit has been criticized for allegedly causing people to suffer from unnecessary injuries and exertional rhabdomyolysis.
"Every fad diet thinks it has discovered the root of all evil," says Dr. Ochner. But nutrients in legumes, whole grains, and dairy—all of which are forbidden on the paleo diet—can help to lower the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, reduce blood pressure, and promote a healthy weight, he says. Cutting dairy, the primary source of calcium and vitamin D in modern diets, is especially worrisome for women who want to avoid osteoporosis.
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.
I’m not going to say I didn’t have some pretty difficult moments. For example, don’t purchase an ice cream maker the day you start your Whole30 and let it sit in your entryway for 30 days to taunt you. I did that; it was dumb. Also, there were points in the program on those days when I felt off that I broke down or wanted to throw in the towel. Feeling bad on top of the normal Lyme symptoms wasn’t great, but I’m glad that I stuck it out.
CrossFit programming is decentralized, but its general methodology is used by thousands of private affiliated gyms, fire departments, law-enforcement agencies, and military organizations, including the Royal Danish Life Guards, as well as by some U.S. and Canadian high-school physical-education teachers, high-school and college sports teams, and the Miami Marlins.