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If you've been reading about the latest diet trends, then you've definitely heard about Whole30. When you have to say sayonara to pasta, alcohol, dessert, and dairy for a month, it can reveal things about your diet you probably want to change. From uncovering food sensitivities to combating sugar addictions, the Whole30 diet can transform the way you eat—promoting a cleaner eating approach.
Before I went on Whole30 I was sleeping 8 to 10 hours a night (yes, I love my sleep), yet come 2 p.m. I'd hit an energy slump. I'd feel high right after I ate (looking back on it, probably because I was eating so much added sugar) but my energy would significantly fluctuate through the day. During the beginning of Whole30 — specifically the first three days — I really struggled. Again, I was a sugar addict and I think detoxing from that really affected my energy levels. But after that slump, my energy was constant — I really had never felt better. Even when things didn't go the way I wanted, I felt energetic and up for any challenge.
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.
Originally, teams were awarded the "Affiliate Cup" for having the best overall score from the individual athletes that had come from the same CrossFit-affiliated gym. In 2009, the Games began having a separate set of events for affiliate teams and consisted of four to six athletes from the same gym. The next season, the format was finalized to teams of three men and three women. In the 2018 games, each team was changed to four members, two men and two women. In 2019, CrossFit removed the stipulation that team members had to be from the same affiliate. Teams are subject to a similar qualification process as the individuals.
Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids by Paleo Parents. The Book is a colorful children's story describing the paleo diet, chock-full of recipes without grains, dairy, soy or refined sugar. For those with food allergies, the top 8 allergens have been visually marked on each recipe for children to self-identify recipes that may contain eggs, nuts, fish, or shellfish. Published March 20, 2012.
Optimal Diet is a dietary model of human nutrition devised and implemented by Dr. Jan Kwasniewski. Lots of fat and low in carbs. Lots and lots of articles collected from various places. He has an out-of-print book: Optimal Nutrition. The book is explained at the Australian Homo Optimus Association website. A thorough analysis is the first post here: Dr. Kwasniewski's Optimal Diet: Sanity, Clarity, Facts.
Legumes are members of a large family of plants that have a seed or pod. This category includes all beans, peas, lentils, tofu and other soyfoods, and peanuts. Legumes are not allowed on paleo because of their high content of lectins and phytic acid. Similar to grains, this is a point of controversy in the scientific community. In fact, lots of research supports eating legumes as part of a healthy diet because they are low in fat and high in fiber, protein and iron.
To make the curry sauce, melt the cooking fat in a saucepan over medium heat and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. When the fat is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until it becomes aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the curry powder and stir for 15 to 20 seconds, taking care that the garlic and curry powder don’t burn. Add the tomatoes and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl and let cool. Mix in the coconut cream, salt, and pepper.
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.
For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is all they need. Improved blood lipids, weight loss, and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough. Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any recommendations, be they nutrition or exercise related. Some folks like to know WHY they are doing something. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny.
Why so strict? According to the diet's founders, Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, these are the foods that are most likely to cause inflammation and gut damage. They're also the foods that the founders say destabilize blood sugar levels and lead to cravings. But it's hard to say whether that's true for everyone. In general, limiting sugar and alcohol is always a good idea. But dairy, grains, and legumes? They don't trigger an inflammatory response in everyone, Haas says.
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.
Two years ago, I dropped 30 pounds (and kept it off) by doing the Whole30 and continuing to eat well in the months that followed. During the 30 days on the program, I lost 11 pounds. And for me, completing it helped me form healthy habits (like reading labels and not smothering everything in cheese), taught me how to cook an arsenal of healthy recipes I actually enjoyed eating and most importantly (and the reason why I do it every January), showed me how incredible my body feels when I'm not pumping it full of sugar and alcohol. These lessons stuck with me well past the 30 days, allowing me to drop an additional 19 pounds by April of that year and finally reach my goal weight.
Fad diets are shortsighted, extreme and often unhealthy regimens that promise rapid weight loss to profit from desperate dieters. The Paleo diet is not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle that focuses on optimal human nutrition — favoring food sources that we evolved to thrive on more than 2.5 million years. Many people have found Paleo as a means to treat or heal serious health issues where traditional medicine failed them. It's a grassroots movement, not a marketing ploy. If anything, it is an anti-fad diet.
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.
In my first CrossFit experience three years ago, I almost made myself puke because I wanted so badly to finish with a good time. Last year, I did another CrossFit workout that I hadn’t properly prepared for and cranked out 100 pull ups quickly…and I ended up walking around with T-rex arms for a WEEK because I physically could not straighten them. Not kidding.
Ideally one should eat a wide variety of proteins from as many animal sources as possible. One need not and should not avoid fatty cuts of meat, particularly if consuming pastured sources. An often overlooked piece of the paleo diet in popular culture is an over-reliance on standard cuts of meat, at the expense of organ meats, bone broth and other collagen sources. For more information on the historical and practical aspects of consuming a more balanced protein intake, check out the Weston A. Price Foundation. If weight-loss is a goal, protein makes you feel satisfied between meals.
That said, plenty of people who try the Whole30 diet do end up losing some weight. "The benefit of Whole30 is that it encourages eating whole foods, which are foods in their most natural state," says nutritionist Sara Haas, RDN, LDN. Cutting out sugar means that you'll probably end up avoiding empty calories from baked goods, and alcohol. You might also find that your belly feels flatter as a result of avoiding highly processed packaged foods, which tend to be loaded with sodium.
I experienced some funky physical symptoms during the first 10 days or so, but this is pretty typical of a Whole30. I would feel great, and then the next day I would feel tired, achy, and bloated. Depending on what your diet was like before you started the Whole30, you’re bound to get hit by some sort of detoxing symptoms. If you’re doing this after eating a lot of sugar and processed food, your symptoms might be a bit more severe. However, the book assures you it’s normal, and it will even out. According to the authors, the bacteria in your gut are shifting and creating a new landscape. Your body is getting used to this new diet of protein and a ton of veggies with the absence of sugar. Things adjust and shift. For me, this meant a couple days of feeling off.
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:
I had also read that over 70% of your immune system resides in your gut. If your gut is out of balance, and you’re fighting a chronic illness, it makes sense to try and restore gut health in order to create a better immune system. Or would it? With the promise of a healthier life and a stronger immune system, I dove right into the Whole 30 Program.
It takes 30 days to push the reset button on your health and change your relationship with food. This is the concept behind Melissa and Dallas Hartwig’s Whole30 program. By eating non-processed whole foods and ditching grains, dairy, and sugar, you will reduce inflammation in your system, clear up your skin, and revitalize your energy stores. These are just a few of the benefits this program boasts.
The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf, a research biochemist. Readers will understand digestion, how protein, carbohydrate and fat influence hormones, and how this plays into fat loss, health or disease. They'll understand the significance of dietary fats whether the concern is performance, health, longevity, or making your fanny look good in a bikini. The book goes into how lifestyle factors such as sleep and stress influence the hormone cortisol. It gets into basic blood work and what things people should ask their doctor to include to better assess inflammation and health. It also includes a detailed 30-day meal plan and a beginner exercise program. The exercise program is geared to the beginner or someone who is quite de-conditioned but the nutritional info would be helpful for anyone regardless of background. The author's website is Robb Wolf. He likes to pass out the information via weekly podcasts. Here's a video Introduction to the book. And here is an excerpt from the book: How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days). The many Amazon reviews all rave about the book. Published September 14, 2010.
CrossFit Inc. reserves the right to send 4 athletes who have failed to qualify otherwise to the Games. This is a complete CYA move. If a fan favorite fails to qualify through the Open or through a sanctioned event, you can believe Dave Castro will send a quick text message saying, “I got you covered, boo. You've always had the capacity in my eyes <3”.
The evolutionary discordance is incomplete, since it is based mainly on the genetic understanding of the human diet and a unique model of human ancestral diets, without taking into account the flexibility and variability of the human dietary behaviors over time. Studies of a variety of populations around the world show that humans can live healthily with a wide variety of diets and that humans have evolved to be flexible eaters. Lactose tolerance is an example of how some humans have adapted to the introduction of dairy into their diet. While the introduction of grains, dairy, and legumes during the Neolithic revolution may have had some adverse effects on modern humans, if humans had not been nutritionally adaptable, these technological developments would have been dropped.
Even if you try to eat homemade as much as possible, unavoidable situations—like a client dinner—are bound to pop up. When that happens, follow these healthy dining out tips. Scope out the menu or call the restaurant ahead of time to figure out what you can order. Or, if it's a situation where people are less likely to notice that you're not nibbling (like a cocktail party), just eat before you go and sip something Whole30-approved that could pass for a mixed drink, like seltzer with lime.
Yes, the Whole30 diet encourages you to reintroduce off-limits foods. But the purpose of an elimination diet is to discover which foods do and don't work for you. Add everything back in at once, and you won't be able to tell which ingredient is causing the problem. Plus, after 30 days of squeaky-clean eating, gorging on junk will probably leave you feeling pretty crummy.
Instead, introduce one new food every three days, since food sensitivities can take up to three days to show symptoms, and write down how you're feeling each day. "Keep portions small and enjoy new foods along with the old foods that were allowed," says Shapiro. "Remind yourself to start slow – you can now eat these foods regularly so there is no need to overindulge."
An Interview with Ward Nicholson now has three parts on the web. Good overview of man's diet over the past 65 million years. Long but highly recommended reading. First published in Chet Day's "Health & Beyond" newsletter. Now part of a very comprehensive Beyond Vegetarianism site. Every argument that your vegetarian friends use to avoid meat for health reasons is debunked here.
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.
In making the case for meat, Cordain presents anecdotal evidence of Eskimos who lived their full life without a heart attack. The Eskimo diet consists of 97% meat, which he concedes causes all Eskimos to develop atherosclerosis—a common precursor to heart disease. But Cordain says Eskimos never die of heart disease. He discusses one Eskimo who lived 45 years and another who lived 53 years, both without heart disease! He then jumps to the conclusion that because these Eskimos didn’t get heart attacks, even with severe atherosclerosis, meat must have protected them from heart disease. So Cordain’s best case for lots of meat is that you can live to the ripe age of 45 or even 53 without a heart attack. But do people—even unhealthy smokers or the obese—generally get heart attacks before age 53?
No background science here or lengthy explanations, only 15 easy guidelines to follow to kick-start your Paleo journey. It’s up to you to decide to what extent you want to follow those guidelines, but if you follow them 100% you can be assured that you are eating the best food for your body and greatly investing in your long term health and well-being.
Which brings us to my second point: there are few science-backed benefits to getting wrapped up in every nitty gritty ingredient in attempts to truly follow what your ancestors ate. I mean, there are now Paleo-approved packaged snacks, and I doubt cavemen were wandering the aisles of Whole Foods. If you take the basics and tweak them to fit your lifestyle, you’ll be better off.
Dr. Georgia Ede reviews the EAT-Lancet’s global nutrition study, “Food in the Anthropocene—the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems,” which envisions a “Great Food Transformation” based on minimizing consumption of animal foods. She concludes, “the report fails to provide us with the clarity, transparency and responsible representation of the facts we need to place our trust in its authors. Instead, the Commission’s arguments are vague, inconsistent, unscientific, and downplay the serious risks to life and health posed by vegan diets.”