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.
With carbohydrates and protein intake already accounted for, fat intake comprises the rest of the Paleo diet. We’ve been taught that fat is something to be avoided at all costs, but it’s actually not the total amount of fat in your diet that raises your blood cholesterol levels and increases your risk for heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes; rather, it’s the type of fat that should concern you. The Paleo diet calls for moderate to higher fat intake dominated by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with a better balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats.
I consider myself to be a pretty healthy eater. I’m gluten-free for health reasons, and I always try to make sure to eat a ton of vegetables. I make things from scratch, and am wary of overly processed foods. However, just like most of us, I can eat too much chocolate or indulge in something really carb-heavy and feel the after effects. For me, this means joint pain and the feeling of being hungover, along with many other equally fun symptoms.
Cordain argues that chimpanzees and horses avoid meat, and they have big bellies that we would have if we didn’t ditch plants for meat. He also says meat increased human brain size, and decreased stomach size so we can have the six-pack abs that chimps can’t. But I looked at his endnotes with citations to research and couldn’t find the source for these theories. I also couldn’t find research showing that legumes and grains were invented by humans.
This biggest success of Week 2 was attending a happy hour networking event completely sober. I headed there with a friend who was also doing Whole30, and we vowed to be each other's support system. We ordered seltzer waters together and proudly said no to the cheeseburger sliders and cheese board. Leaving the event, I felt empowered knowing I had it in me to refuse alcohol and fatty food, something I'd never tried before. Plus, I now knew I didn't have to use alcohol as a social crutch.
But the truth is--and this is apparent to anyone watching Glassman wile away an afternoon at El Borracho--that CrossFit's success doesn't derive from any conventional business strategy. Glassman doesn't behave the way he's supposed to. Sometimes he rebels out of cunning, other times for the sheer petulant fun of it. Often, it's hard to tell which. As a result, CrossFit is a workout and a company no conventional trainer or M.B.A. would ever have built. Glassman is sitting atop a firecracker of a company. And the relevant question is, as always, What's he going to do now?
You’ll be exposed to a ton of new, delicious recipes. If you know you’re not the cooking type, start simple. Instead of making the fancy egg-bake in a cast-iron pan, grab some eggs, veggies, sausage, and avocado then scramble your breakfast. Top it with (sugar-free) hot sauce, and you'll have yourself a solid meal in seven minutes. Don't be afraid to make that for breakfast five times a week; making similar meals over and over again is easier than trying to whip up (new) complicated ones.
The Paleolithic Prescription: A Program of Diet & Exercise and a Design for Living by S. Boyd Eaton, M.D., Marjorie Shostak and Melvin Konner. This book, published in 1988, was the start of the Paleolithic diet movement. Its recommendations are not in line with what today is considered a paleo diet, as whole grain breads and pastas, legumes and some low fat dairy products are allowed. However, it is still a profoundly important book. Used books are available for a reasonable price.
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.
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.
Don’t even consider the possibility of a “slip.” Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a pizza, there is no “slip.” You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident. Commit to the program 100% for the full 30 days. Don’t give yourself an excuse to fail before you’ve even begun.
The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick reveals that high cholesterol levels do not cause heart disease; that high-fat diets–saturated or otherwise–do not affect blood cholesterol levels; and that for most men and all women the benefits offered by statins are negligible at best. Other data is also provided that shows that statins have many more side affects than is often acknowledged.
Excluding foods. The exclusion of entire categories of commonly eaten foods like whole grains and dairy requires frequent label reading in the supermarket and in restaurants. It may also increase the risk of deficiencies such as calcium, vitamin D, and B vitamins, if these nutrients are not consistently eaten from the allowed foods or a vitamin supplement. For example, there are some nondairy calcium-rich foods that are absorbed well by the body such as collard and turnip greens or canned bone-in sardines and salmon, but you would have to eat five or more servings of these greens and fish bones daily to meet recommended calcium needs. (Note that some greens like spinach that are touted to be calcium-rich also contain oxalates and phytates that bind to calcium so very little is actually absorbed.) One small, short-term intervention study of healthy participants showed a 53% decrease from baseline in calcium intake after following a Paleo diet for three weeks.  Furthermore, the exclusion of whole grains can result in reduced consumption of beneficial nutrients such as fiber and thus may increase one’s risk for diabetes and heart disease.
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.