And she has a point: Many of the foods on the "no" list have nutritional benefits and can be a smart addition to a healthy diet. "Whole grains, beans and yogurt are really important for our gut health, yet on this diet, they are not allowed," says Brooke Zigler, RD. "By eliminating these food groups, people could be missing out on key nutrients in their diet."
Another downside: If you have had chronic health issues (especially gut related), you may find that reintroduction actually teaches you that you're sensitive to most foods. It turns out peanut butter, gluten, and most dairy are now off limits. That rots!! But I'll live. I feel so, so much better without them, as I learned. And wouldn't you rather know why you feel crappy all the time?
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.
Take 30 days and give it a shot – cut out the grains and dairy, start eating more vegetables and fruits, eat more humanely raised and non-grain fed meat, cut out the liquid calories and sugar, and see how you feel after the month is up. If you’re analytical and want numbers to use in your final verdict, get your blood work done at the beginning and end of the month.
Meetup has a growing number of paleo groups, now numbering in the dozens. Each has a local message board. They have a map of Paleo Diet Meetups around the world. Initially I tried listing them all here. The number grew and Meetup wasn't letting me find groups in newest order, except for my zip code. You now have to go there to find the one nearest you.
People looking for support and community – This is the appeal to CrossFit for me: every CrossFit gym has a really tight-knit community feel to it. You’re not just a membership payment to them; you’re a person that needs support. When Nerd Fitness gyms start popping up (don’t think it won’t happen!), I’ll be drawing a lot of inspiration from CF as to how members are so supportive and inclusive of each other.
The paleo diet runs on the same foods our hunter-gather ancestors supposedly ate: fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and nuts. "By following these nutritional guidelines, we put our diet more in line with the evolutionary pressures that shaped our current genetics, which in turn positively influences health and well being," says Loren Cordain, PhD, professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University and author of The Paleo Diet. He says the diet lessens the body's glycemic load, has a healthy ratio of saturated-to-unsaturated fatty acids, increases vitamin and nutrient consumption, and contains an optimal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
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.
When the clock struck midnight, I couldn't wait any longer: I helped myself to a serving of plain white rice. I sat on my couch cross-legged, eating each spoonful with my eyes closed like one of the yogurt commercial ladies. I even smiled. The next day, I ate more gluten-free carbs, like rice and paleo pancakes. I also had wine and tequila, a grain-free liquor option. I didn't get bombed like I was worried about, but I did have a worse-than-usual hangover the next day. The fun night out was worth it, though.
Vitamin D is the one supplement that would be paleo. At least it would be for those of us that don't live outside year round. You can have your D level measured. The low RDAs only prevent definable deficiences, not problems that take a long time to develop. Michael Holick, MD is a leading writer on this subject. This is a 10 page PDF: Vitamin D: importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis and its companion Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease [change PDF to 100% to read]. Or if you prefer, there is an hour video on YouTube.
Level One (CF-L1) is the introduction level, where participants attend a group weekend class, talk about the basic methodology and fundamentals of CrossFit, and learn how to conduct their own classes. They go over techniques and how to adjust them for those who cannot perform them. After completing the Level One training course, one should be confident in conducting a class, scale workouts accordingly for athletes, and hold CrossFit to its standards. In the second level, training goes deeper into the mechanics of the movements and how to be leaders and communicate with other students. In the Level Two course, participants learn about athletic capacity and are evaluated as a trainer in groups. In order to earn the Level Three certificate, a coach one must complete 1,500 hours of active fitness coaching and become CPR certified. To earn the Level Four certificate, the highest level currently recognized by CrossFit, Inc., the coach must record several years as a Level Three and pass a test.