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.
The theory is our bodies were designed, and still optimized, to eat what our Paleolithic ancestors ate. Like your hunger-gatherer forefathers, on Paleo you get all the meat from wild animals and unlimited fruits and vegetables you can eat. But no starchy vegetables (like potatoes), no legumes (like lentils or beans), no wheat, and no grains (like quinoa or corn) because those plants were invented by human beings during the agricultural revolution after our Paleolithic ancestors left the planet. You get one cheat day where you can eat whatever you want (“Occasional cheating and digressions may be just what you need to help you stick to the diet.”) No oil because it puts omega 6 and omega 3 ratios out of whack which should never exceed 2:1, except olive oil if you must. Dairy is also prohibited. And meat must come from animals that weren’t fed grains (like corn) because grains lead to inflammation and increased fat.
This same logic informs CrossFit’s sanctioning of competitive events. We’ve long recognized the efforts of CrossFit affiliates, coaches, volunteers, and athletes in building grassroots competitions around the globe. These competitive events wonderfully illustrate the community’s role as co-developer in the sport of fitness. The energy, excitement, and opportunity that animates the CrossFit Games season springs from the affiliate community and its members, not CrossFit, Inc.
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.
Contrary to popular belief, fat doesn’t make you fat; carbs do (and the Standard American Diet contains a ton of them!). Natural oils and fats are your body’s preferred sources of creating energy, so it’s best to give your body what it’s asking for. The following are some of the best types of paleo diet oils and fats that you can give your body if you’re in need of some additional energy.
I thought Week 1 was hell on earth, but boy was I wrong. Week 4 tested my patience and willpower like never before. Eating Whole30 staples like avocado and eggs became a chore. I choked down so many hard-boiled eggs during my last week, but all I could think about was how I wished they were freshly baked bagels—or even just a bowl of plain white rice. Anything but eggs.
Diana Schwarzbein is another M.D. that has come to realize that low carb is what works. See reviews at The Schwarzbein Principle. The book is based on her work with insulin-resistant patients with Type II diabetes. She concludes that low-fat diets cause heart attacks, eating fat makes you lose body fat, and it's important to eat high-cholesterol foods every day.
Two friends and I discussed the article, and then one proposed something unbelievable: "We should do Whole30 together." After considering what Philipps' had to say about it, I decided to give it a try. Then Health editor in chief Lori Leibovich asked me to document my Whole30 experience with daily video diaries on Health Instagram stories, and I knew there was no turning back. I was about to do my first diet ever.
When you cut out legumes, grains and their derivative products and instead focus on nutrient-dense whole foods, such as wild seafood, meat, non-starchy vegetables and some fruit, you end up by default eating a lower amount of carbohydrate when compared to a grain-centric Standard American Diet. However, Paleo doesn’t have to be low-carb. If you're highly active, most credible proponents of the Paleo diet would suggest you consume carbohydrates commensurate to your activity levels.
I often get caught up in focusing on numbers and scales, so I decided not to officially weigh myself before or after Whole30. But I can attest that everything about my body just felt better. I know saying something like "I lost eleven pounds" would sound much more convincing, but I could see that my stomach was slimmer, as was my face (which is awkwardly the first place I gain weight).
^ Hall, Harriet (2014). "Food myths: what science knows (and does not know) about diet and nutrition". Skeptic. 19 (4). p. 10. Fad diets and "miracle" diet supplements promise to help us lose weight effortlessly. Different diet gurus offer a bewildering array of diets that promise to keep us healthy and make us live longer: vegan, Paleo, Mediterranean, low fat, low carb, raw food, gluten-free ... the list goes on. (subscription required)
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.”