The paleo diet (also nicknamed the caveman diet, primal diet, Stone Age diet, and hunter-gatherer diet) is hugely popular these days, and goes by one simple question: What would a caveman eat? Here, we explain what the paleo diet involves, its pros and cons, and, ultimately, what a modern person needs to know to decide whether or not to take the paleo diet plunge.
LOREN CORDAIN, Ph.D., is one of the top global researchers in the area of evolutionary medicine. Generally acknowledged as the world's leading expert on the Paleolithic diet, he is a professor in the Health and Exercise Science Department at Colorado State University. Dr. Cordain and his research have been featured on Dateline NBC and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other media. He is the author of The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, among other books, and makes regular media and speaking appearances worldwide.
Oh sleep, it's one of my favorite things in the world, yet it has always been a real challenge for me. I have been on and off of sleep medication for seven years. For me, the hardest part is actually falling asleep. Well on Whole30 I fell asleep naturally. The first few days, I would be so exhausted by bedtime that I would fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, and that continued the whole month. This was probably the most drastic and exciting change that I experienced on Whole30.
"The struggle is a normal, necessary part of the process. Changing your food is hard. Changing your habits is even harder. Changing your relationship with food is the hardest part of all. The process requires struggle—it’s how you know you’re growing—but don’t make it harder than it has to be! There is no such thing as the 'perfect Whole30,' so if your beef isn’t grass-fed or your travel meal doesn’t look exactly like our meal template, don’t sweat it. Your only job is to stick to the Whole30 rules for 30 days, and some days, you’ll have to let good enough be good enough. When you do struggle, remember why you took on the program in the first place, and don’t be overwhelmed by the big picture—just focus on the next day, or the next meal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and high-five yourself for the victories you’re achieving every day you’re on the program, no matter how small. Even tiny progress is progress."
By the second week I started to notice that my face and my stomach looked less puffy. Score! I saw this as a sign that inflammation in my system was going down. One of the most remarkable changes was in my mood. I felt generally happy and positive. I would say I’m a positive person in general, but I do get stressed out easily. The margin for getting really stressed got a little thicker, and I was simply able to deal better.
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.
Melissa makes liberal use of spices, and as a spice blender myself Gneiss Spice Everything Spice Kit: 24 Magnetic Jars Filled with Standard Organic Spices / Hanging Magnetic Spice Rack (Large Jars, Silver Lids), nothing could make me happier. And when I say liberal…I mean, this book uses 50 different spices, herbs and seasonings. Some other reviewers stated the recipes call for hard to find ingredients. I disagree; besides the occasional call for capers or fennel bulb, most everything can be found at your local store. Spices on the other hand, there are a few that you might need to source online if you don’t have a gourmet foods market near you. If you were to make all the recipes in the Whole30 Cookbook, you’d need:

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health by Gary Taubes expounds on his 2002 article in the NY Times (What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?) and then in Science Magazine (see below). He shows how public health data has been misinterpreted to mark dietary fat and cholesterol as the primary causes of coronary heart disease. Deeper examination, he says, shows that heart disease and other diseases of civilization appear to result from increased consumption of refined carbohydrates: sugar, white flour and white rice. Or in other words, without using the word Paleolithic, he justifies the paleo diet. Here is an excellent chapter by chapter summary of the book [archive.org].
After that initial hump, things got a lot better. I had energy to do some things that I usually had no energy to do. I was doing yoga, and was able to go on walks. This was a big deal for me. Going through treatment for Lyme Disease is exhausting. Often I feel like I don’t have enough air to hold up my body — it’s a feeling of intense can’t-get-out-of-bed-exhaustion. So to have a little more pep in my step felt invaluable.
Grass-fed meat is recommended on the paleo diet because it is leaner than meat from grain-fed animals and has more omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fats that reduce inflammation in the body and protect your heart. A typical American diet is high in saturated and trans fats and lower in healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats, hence the paleo diet's emphasis on grass-fed meats.
By the end of my first Whole30, I had an entire document full of recipes I still wanted to try, which motivated me to keep going. Yes, you can stay compliant by eating steamed chicken and lettuce every day, but why would you do that to yourself? "Find foods that are easy to make and that you enjoy eating," Cohn says. "If you eat foods that you don’t like just to follow the diet, you are not going to continue to eat those foods once you are done with the 30 days." Pro tip: Google the Whole30 version of your favorite meal, there's probably a recipe out there for it. (Unless that meal is cake.) This really helped reignite my love for cooking and encouraged me to continue preparing my own meals, instead of relying on Seamless delivery.
But then again, when have you found a program that is ENTIRELY ONLINE AND MOSTLY FREE that changes your life? When you are in line at the checkout with your meat and chicken thighs and raw almonds, remember the money you are going to save by NOT joining another weight-loss program or hiring a life coach or drinking booze or going to the doctor for that blood pressure you really ought to monitor which is quite possibly linked to your diet. Dallas and Melissa, the authors, say that a craving usually lasts about ten seconds. Count and breathe through the french fries someone raved about at the office. Skip out for a tiny walk while everyone is hoarding that cake at work. Eat a little roast turkey and some oven-baked potatoes. Read more books with the newfound energies. If I--a bon vivant of the kitchen, believe me, hoarder of butter, lover of booze, cream, sugar--can give these things up for thirty days, anyone can.

Sport-specific athletes – Like the specialists, if you are an athlete training for a sport, you’d be better off finding a coach that is trained in getting great performances out of athletes in your specific sport. Every sport has special movements that require certain types of power in specific muscles. CrossFit prepares you for everything, but won’t improve your specific sport skills unless you are training for those specific sport skills! Many athletes choose to combine CrossFit with sport-specific workouts (see things like CrossFit Football) in their off-season for conditioning, but that’s up to each sport’s coach.
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.
2) There is a big step up in the use of tree nuts in the cookbook. I never really got why tree nuts would be included in an anti-inflammatory diet when they are one of the more common allergens. Aside from that, I'm super allergic to tree nuts (need an epi-pen) so this was, personally, lame for me. Nuts were easy to avoid in 30 Day Guide but many more recipes include them in the cookbook.
Trying to devise an ideal diet by studying contemporary hunter-gatherers is difficult because of the great disparities that exist; for example, the animal-derived calorie percentage ranges from 25% for the Gwi people of southern Africa to 99% for the Alaskan Nunamiut.[39] Descendants of populations with different diets have different genetic adaptations to those diets, such as the ability to digest sugars from starchy foods.[39] Modern hunter-gatherers tend to exercise considerably more than modern office workers, protecting them from heart disease and diabetes, though highly processed modern foods also contribute to diabetes when those populations move into cities.[39]
I’m so excited to have stumbled across your blog and your meal plans. I’ve been wanting to do the whole 30 for a while, but as a busy Mom and dayhome provider I didn’t want to put even more time and effort into increasing recipe sizes and altering grocery lists to accommodate more than one person. Since you’ve done the work for me for a family of 5 I can’t make any more excuses!
Deadly Harvest: The Intimate Relationship Between Our Health and Our Food by Geoff Bond. The author is a nutritional anthropologist who has for years investigated both foods of the past and our prehistoric eating habits. Using the latest scientific research and studies of primitive tribal lifestyles, Bond first explains the actual diet that our ancestors followed--a diet that was and still is in harmony with the human species. He then describes how the foods in today's diets disrupt our biochemistry and digestive system, leading to health disorders such as allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, obesity, and more. Most important, he explains the appropriate measures we can take to avoid these diseases--and even beat them back--through healthy eating. The conclusions of Deadly Harvest are that disease control happens by eating a strict low-glycemic diet, lowering the percentage of body fat you carry around, eat a diet consisting of mostly non-starchy plant-based foods, eat a low-fat diet with ample amounts of omega-3 fats, maintain good colon health, engage in regular physical activity, get some daily sunshine, and reduce chronic stress. If you do this, then diseases like cancer, heart disease, digestive problems, allergies, autoimmune diseases, brain diseases, diabetes, and obesity can be avoided. The Amazon reviews average to 5 stars.
You know that "no-makeup" makeup trend that requires TONS of makeup to make you look natural? Expect the same effect, but with no makeup whatsoever required, during and after Whole30. My skin was glowing the entire time I was on it. Strangers commented on my skin. While I still did have a hormonal breakout on my chin, it wasn't the spotty blemished mess it usually is. I feel like the tone, texture, and overall look of my skin was tip top.
At CrossFit, some coaches refer to this as “Uncle Rahbdo,” though it’s not something funny or enjoyable. You can read all about the condition and issues it can cause here. This typically occurs with (primarily male) ex-athletes who have not exercised for a while and come back trying to prove something, and end up working at a higher intensity than their body can handle.
In 2007, the first annual CrossFit Games were contested in Aromas, California, on a small ranch owned by the family of Games director Dave Castro.[6] For the initial Games in 2007 and 2008, participation was open to anyone who made it to Aromas. The Games would also award an Affiliate Cup to the group from one CrossFit gym that had the best combined individual standings. In 2009, competitors had to qualify after over a hundred athletes had shown up in 2008. The athletes earned an invitation through either placing high enough in the previous year or through placing in the top worldwide in a set of qualifying events called Regionals hosted at a few CrossFit gyms. The CrossFit Games also added a separate set of team-based events for the Affiliate Cup, marking the first use of a designated Team Division, with teams of four (two men and two women).[7]
Hi Jillian. The natural sugars in fruit really don’t help with my cravings when I’m on a Whole30, so I try to limit them as much as possible. If that’s not a problem for you, you can certainly add more into your daily plan. Personally, my most successful Whole30 was when I went the first 25 days with no fruit whatsoever. Really kicked my sugar cravings to the curb. I was a smoothie girl too.
The other highlight recipes for me: Shakshuka (pg. 25), Beef and Sweet Potato Chili (pg. 33)—we ate that all week for lunch, Slow-Cooker Italian Beef Roast (pg 43)—use later for other meals like Poached Eggs with Salsa Verde (pg. 44), Mediterranean Bison Burger (pg. 53), Slow-Cooked Moroccan Spices Shredded Beef (pg. 61), Thai Beef Curry with Green Beans (pg. 77), Pork Posole with Tostones (pg. 87), Chipotle BBQ Chicken Thighs (pg. 128), Grilled Jamaican Jerk Salmon (pg. 192), Mexican Salmon Cakes (pg 198), Dukkah-Crusted Brussel Sprouts (pg. 224).
I’m so excited to have stumbled across your blog and your meal plans. I’ve been wanting to do the whole 30 for a while, but as a busy Mom and dayhome provider I didn’t want to put even more time and effort into increasing recipe sizes and altering grocery lists to accommodate more than one person. Since you’ve done the work for me for a family of 5 I can’t make any more excuses!
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.
CrossFit gyms use equipment from multiple disciplines, including barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, jump ropes, kettlebells, medicine balls, plyo boxes,[23] resistance bands, rowing machines, and various mats. CrossFit is focused on "constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement,"[24] drawing on categories and exercises such as calisthenics,[25] Olympic-style weightlifting, powerlifting, Strongman-type events, plyometrics, body weight exercises, indoor rowing, aerobic exercise, running, and swimming.[26]
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