Yet unlike other exercise trends, CrossFit exists as an entity unto itself. CrossFit is a lifestyle, a state of mind, and a reason for being. In an age of soul-sucking hookup apps and the waning popularity of gay bars, CrossFit provides a sense of community and kinship for gay men who feel deprived of it. Whether in small towns, big cities or traveling on the road, CrossFit is almost universally an LGBT “safe space.”
One larger randomized controlled trial followed 70 post-menopausal Swedish women with obesity for two years, who were placed on either a Paleo diet or a Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) diet.  The Paleo diet provided 30% of total calories from protein, 40% fat (from mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and 30% carbohydrates. It included lean meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, avocado, and olive oil. The NNR diet provided less protein and fat but more carbohydrate with 15% protein, 25-30% fat, and 55-60% carbohydrates, including foods similar to the Paleo diet but also low-fat dairy products and high-fiber grains. Both groups significantly decreased fat mass and weight circumference at 6 and 24 months, with the Paleo diet producing greater fat loss at 6 months but not at 24 months. Triglyceride levels decreased more significantly with the Paleo diet at 6 and 24 months than the NNR diet.
“CrossFit definitely attracts the type-A personality—someone who likes structure and rules and measuring metrics,” says Will Lanier, a 32-year-old New Yorker who founded OUTWOD, a queer CrossFit collective, in 2011. “But it is so much more than just working out, which is where some of the cult vibes come in. When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, my CrossFit family showed up in such a big way. I felt so supported and loved through the entire journey.”
For immediate weight loss, Paleo is a great and healthy solution. But after carefully reading and considering, I’m unconvinced that Paleo is optimal for long-term health. I think, in fact, it might lead to heart disease and other ills associated with heavy meat consumption. Although many of Cordain’s theories fall apart long-term, I thoroughly enjoyed the read and highly recommend the book. You should read critically and decide for yourself.
Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham. This book argues that the ease of digestion and the added nutritional value available in cooked food was the key behind the explosion of human intelligence. (Cooking gelatinizes starch, denatures protein, and softens all foods, permitting more complete digestion and energy extraction. As a result, the food processing apparatus shrinks, freeing energy to support a larger brain.) He then suggests that cooking led to what eventually became marriage and the sexual division of labor. The two most helpful reviews at Amazon get into great detail. The reviews average to 4+ stars.
Cordain explains that high intake of fruits and vegetables is one of best ways to reduce chances of cancer and heart disease. He notes that protein has twice the calorie burning effect of fat and carbs and is more satiating than both. He explains that starch, fats, sugars, and salts together cause us to keep eating. So if we limit our diet to fruits and vegetables and/or meat, we’ll stop eating when we’re full. And if you stop eating when you’re full, you’ll lose weight and won’t get fat. And as you lose weight, your cholesterol will improve (regardless of what you eat). This all makes sense and can’t really be disputed. If you want to lose weight, the Paleo diet will get you there and probably quickly. But Cordain’s hypothesis applied to long-term health falls short.
The Open is the single largest participatory test of fitness on the planet. And it all begins at your local box. What’s special about the Open is that it pushes all of us to dig deeper and to do better than we ever thought we could. It’s an empirical test against a standard applied to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world. That’s an invaluable challenge for each of us as athletes and as human beings. For those who don’t see the inherent and unambiguous value in such an examination of self and community, no amount of convincing will suffice. If you’re not in the Open, you’re missing out.
Sweden's Staffan Lindeberg has a home page Paleolithic Diet in Medical Nutrition [archive.org]. A recent study of Staffan's has A Paleolithic diet improving glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease. Also see his first web page, an overview of his Kitava study: On the Benefits of Ancient Diets. Now he has a book Food and Western Disease: Health and nutrition from an evolutionary perspective. Here's a book review: Easy to Read, Informative, Packed with Footnotes on Studies.
All involve eating whole foods (as opposed to packaged and processed) and filling your plate with quality sources of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and vitamin-, mineral-, and fiber-rich vegetables. (Again, we’re talking about the ones that fall somewhere on the healthy spectrum, not unhealthy fad diets like, ahem, the Grapefruit Diet.)
There is little argument over the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. They are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. The only caveat for paleo dieters is that some vegetables are starchy (e.g., potatoes) and some fruits are higher in sugar (e.g., bananas). So, if you are trying to lose weight or watch your blood sugar levels, eat these in moderation. In fact, potatoes are banned from some strict versions of the diet.
Sex With Your Pants On (SWYPO) is a term used to describe the idea of recreating treats such as pancakes, brownies, or pizza with Whole30 ingredients, and is strongly cautioned against. The Hartwigs feel that if you’re trying to recreate a pizza made out of cauliflower crust in order to scratch a craving itch, then you’re kind of missing the point. To quote the Whole30 website, “You can tell yourself it’s okay, it’s still pretty good, you’re totally satisfied … but that’s kind of a lie. Because you know exactly how good pants-less sex feels.”
“I was drawn to CrossFit during my recovery from drug and alcohol abuse,” says Daniel Megson , a 32-year-old from Sydney, who founded WOD OUT to unite Australia’s gay CrossFitters.“I had lost so many friends from leaving the party scene behind; the hardest part was feeling isolated and lonely. CrossFit appeared to offer a new community of individuals living a healthier more active lifestyle. CrossFit saved my life!”
A strict paleo diet does not allow dairy products because hunter-gatherers did not milk cows. Some paleo dieters say dairy is OK, especially if it is grass-fed because grass-fed butter, for example, has more omega-3s. Fermented dairy products are also OK for some paleo eaters because they have a lower content of lactose and casein, the two concerns paleo dieters have with dairy.