In general, I think the online Paleo community is too hard on The New Evolution Diet. I experienced bafflement at a few things, and they are all on this list at Melissa McEwen’s site. In particular, throwing out egg yolks is, I think, ludicrous. Choline is a critical nutrient, and it’s all in the yolk. The idea that you should never eat butter or lard and that if cooking oil is needed you should use canola are patently ridiculous. Canola oil is complete crap. Why not recommend macadamia nut oil if you don’t like saturated fat?
I did find things to like, however. His menu plan is all in a conversational tone and doesn’t have specific quantities, as are the daily fitness suggestions. It makes the diet, which is not easy, sound much more approachable, and the fitness suggestions could be followed by anyone of any condition. If I wanted to eat like this, I would almost certainly lose weight. If I eat low-carb paleo, I do not lose weight (though I don’t gain any either). I think that DeVany wanted something that will definitely work, and I think this would. Because the diet is all to appetite, folks might start eating more fat on their own, I don’t know. I know that for myself, eating low fat (fewer than 30% of calories from fat) requires a very concerted effort as well as weighing and measuring. He doesn’t suggest you do this.
There’s a camp of paleo/primal (Nora Gedgaudas comes to mind) that restricts protein and uses a ton of fat for calories. I can’t gain or maintain muscle while eating “adequate” protein. I realize that CrossFit workouts are pretty aggressive and not everyone does so much – it’s certainly not a requirement for weight loss, but one of DeVany’s core things is to maintain a lot of lean mass for your whole life. People with a low body fat and large muscle mass don’t get decrepit and live longer. (The book has research about this.)
Basically, the book works for me because he makes it all sound easy. Even his suggestions for intermittent fasting sound pretty approachable, basically, skip dinner once a week.
In his fitness recommendations, I found this paragraph:
I go to the gym in the morning, not long after I wake up, for the simple reason that a workout is more effective if done on an empty stomach. You burn more energy this way. Sometimes I have a cup of coffee first, but nothing more; the caffeine starts the adrenaline flowing, increases blood flow to the muscle, and mobilizes glucose for burning. That, too, runs counter to what you may have been taught. The idea that you should eat first—the “experts” usually counsel a big helping of carbs, supposedly to fuel your muscles—is actually counterproductive if burning fat is among your goals. Later I’ll explain why it is better not only to exercise hungry but also to put off eating afterward for up to an hour.
This is my current way of doing things, and it works quite well. I’m doing CrossFit and I’m not eating strict paleo, though I have many things in common with Paleo eaters. I started doing this because of what I read at LeanGains. I thought I wasn’t doing intermittent fasting, but apparently I am because I close my evening eating window very early (7pm). I usually fast 12 hours before a workout, and then I don’t eat for 30 to 90 minutes after working out. It sounds like this would be hard, but it actually isn’t. I’m often not hungry for a while after I work out. In fact, his recommended fast for women is 13-14 hours, not 16 as it is for men.
I think the primary problem here is that this way of paleo eating is out of fashion. Lean protein is just not where it’s at for a lot of people. I’ve found that I do better that way as protein works better to satisfy me than fat does. I’m probably not the only one out there that finds this to be the case. For those that disagree I ask this: which can you eat more of, calorically speaking: bacon or relatively lean steak? I’m betting the calories would pile up a lot faster with bacon.
Next up: The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss.