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How do you explain WHY you do Paleo to someone without getting into a debate?

by (1720)
Updated about 10 hours ago
Created September 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM

I would think majority of people would like to stick to the myth that a low fat high carb diet is the way to go.

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24538 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

My grandmother was very confused near the end of her lucid years as to why her and my grandfather's health was failing. They did everything "right". I didn't know enough then to help them, but it sure has put a fire under me to shift what is espoused as "right". I try to jump in there the second I see someone frustrated from "doing the nutritional CW math". I think you are right on with the accumulated anomalies driving the change here.

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78422 · September 21, 2011 at 6:40 PM

^Thats not Paleo. Get wild caught fresh salmon at your local health mart

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975 · September 21, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Haha, I actually kept it to myself the other day when I found Wild Planet no-salt albacore on Amazon for $3.84 for 6 cans. O_o

Medium avatar
39841 · September 17, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Wheat is now nutritious and people can thrive on it? This is all news to me. Last I checked, the gluten and WGA decrease intestinal surface area by shrinking the height of the villi and the phytate blocks mineral absorption. Sounds like a perfect thing to eat if you want to thrive.

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78422 · September 17, 2011 at 4:29 PM

it's eays to open up about paleo, it's hard to keep it a secret how you eat, people love to make you look weird at the dinner table if they can.

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25467 · September 17, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Show them my before and after and then kick their ass in the gym.

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533 · September 17, 2011 at 10:45 AM

I used to, but I'm opening up a lot more lately.

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24538 · September 17, 2011 at 6:46 AM

It is a bit of a mouthful, but it comes in handy when someone comments on why I keep passing the bread basket by without taking any in restaurants.

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24538 · September 17, 2011 at 5:53 AM

Perhaps they a merely asymptomatic, or maybe they carry the Apo E2 gene mutation that allows someone to survive and thrive on a grain based diet.

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10176 · September 17, 2011 at 1:30 AM

You're joking, right? This is sounding Mary baker eddyesque...pain is an illusion. I'm glad you treated your wheat allergy, but it's presumptuous to say that everyone has an identical response. And if there's no allergic response at all, over a whole lifetime (such as with my healthy wheat-eating 85 year old parents), then what? Avoid eating an inexpensive and nutritious food just in case?

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19479 · September 16, 2011 at 11:39 PM

You have a laminated wallet card breaking down Paleo? *swoons*

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20519 · September 16, 2011 at 10:09 PM

My eating habits are somewhat legendary, before and since Paleo, so I'm usually in the clear unless someone is drunk and giving me a hard time. I'll hand over my laminated wallet card that breaks down what Paleo is and that usually shuts 'em down. If not? They can sod off - don't care, really. I look good, feel good, so that's kind of it.

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316 · September 16, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Oh, that did not cross my mind. I understand. They just need to wrap the breast in bacon and maybe through some in that spinach sauteed with butter instead of steamed...baby steps...

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10176 · September 16, 2011 at 9:21 PM

I look worse because I'm old.

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39841 · September 16, 2011 at 9:20 PM

They're not healthy; they're just asymptomatic.

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10176 · September 16, 2011 at 9:17 PM

If someone is healthy why should they go paleo? It's not the only road to health, and it's not a cookie cutter recipe either.

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10176 · September 16, 2011 at 9:13 PM

+1. That's true survival paleo. Let 'em find their own food. Less for them is more for you.

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2227 · September 16, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Love it, thanks for sharing.

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5232 · September 16, 2011 at 7:41 PM

If you can argue and have all your i's dotted and t's crossed go for it. But if you don't know the specific whys and hows and whats than you're in trouble right here in river city so just say it works for me. It's not a cop out.

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5232 · September 16, 2011 at 7:39 PM

If you can argue and have all your i's dotted and t's crossed go for it. But if you don't know the specific why's and how's and what's than you're in trouble right here in river city so just say it works for me. It's not a cop out.

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1363 · September 16, 2011 at 7:05 PM

I'm planning on using something like this today. On Friday's we always make popcorn at my work and I am always the first one to eat it. I think im gonna be like, my doctor told me not to eat any grains for 30 days.

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1363 · September 16, 2011 at 7:04 PM

I'm eating roast chicken for another 2 days at least. It's delicious and I can tell it has fat. Maybe roast lean chicken breast would not have much fat?

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705 · September 16, 2011 at 6:59 PM

All beginnings are difficult - give them some time to wean off the "fats are bad" mindset...

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1579 · September 16, 2011 at 6:42 PM

not enough fat, perhaps?

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316 · September 16, 2011 at 5:52 PM

What is not Paleo about roasted chicken breasts and steamed spinach, or did I misunderstand the wtf?

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5232 · September 16, 2011 at 5:50 PM

If you can argue and have all you i's dotted and t's crossed go for it. But if you don't know the specific why's and how's and what's than you're in trouble right here in river city so just say it works for me. It's not a cop out.

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705 · September 16, 2011 at 4:58 PM

+1000 - if I could ;-)

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250 · September 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM

I can learn something from this thread, because I always try to get into the technicalities of WHY I eat the way that I do. It ends up messy. Thanks, Ben, for posting it.

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18701 · September 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Great answer. I DON'T argue or debate. I just tell them it works for me.

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197 · September 16, 2011 at 4:47 PM
De641ff2accb4975e1f42886b43009db
2227 · September 16, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Love it, thanks for sharing.

A64ed062eb5e2c3407122fcf16c5de6b
705 · September 16, 2011 at 4:58 PM

+1000 - if I could ;-)

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5232 · September 16, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I feel bad if I don't do it.

I perform worse if I don't do it.

I look worse if I don't do it.

Medium avatar
10176 · September 16, 2011 at 9:21 PM

I look worse because I'm old.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930
5232 · September 16, 2011 at 7:41 PM

If you can argue and have all your i's dotted and t's crossed go for it. But if you don't know the specific whys and hows and whats than you're in trouble right here in river city so just say it works for me. It's not a cop out.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930
5232 · September 16, 2011 at 7:39 PM

If you can argue and have all your i's dotted and t's crossed go for it. But if you don't know the specific why's and how's and what's than you're in trouble right here in river city so just say it works for me. It's not a cop out.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930
5232 · September 16, 2011 at 5:50 PM

If you can argue and have all you i's dotted and t's crossed go for it. But if you don't know the specific why's and how's and what's than you're in trouble right here in river city so just say it works for me. It's not a cop out.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705
18701 · September 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Great answer. I DON'T argue or debate. I just tell them it works for me.

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165 · September 16, 2011 at 3:34 PM

I'm lucky. For me, it's as easy as a before picture, an after a year picture, and then a DAAAAAMN from whoever I'm talking to. No one can argue with results.

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1187 · September 16, 2011 at 7:51 PM

I give weight loss talks and a friend told me to stop talking low carb bc it turns people off. I had to say, "Too bad. Look at me. Look at them."

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78422 · September 16, 2011 at 7:53 PM

I try really hard to keep my eating habits a secret.

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78422 · September 21, 2011 at 6:40 PM

^Thats not Paleo. Get wild caught fresh salmon at your local health mart

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975 · September 21, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Haha, I actually kept it to myself the other day when I found Wild Planet no-salt albacore on Amazon for $3.84 for 6 cans. O_o

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78422 · September 17, 2011 at 4:29 PM

it's eays to open up about paleo, it's hard to keep it a secret how you eat, people love to make you look weird at the dinner table if they can.

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533 · September 17, 2011 at 10:45 AM

I used to, but I'm opening up a lot more lately.

Medium avatar
10176 · September 16, 2011 at 9:13 PM

+1. That's true survival paleo. Let 'em find their own food. Less for them is more for you.

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39841 · September 16, 2011 at 3:46 PM

I think there are those that readily take to paleo because it's obvious and those who will never do it because it's different. When I first heard about it, I felt embarrassed that I hadn't thought of eating in a way that is consistent with evolution a long time ago. I was trying to address reactive hypoglycemia issues with whole wheat and couldn't figure out why it wasn't working.

If someone doesn't have any perceptible symptoms and they are at their desired bodyweight, don't expect to get through to them, but when SHTF they'll come sniffing around.

Medium avatar
39841 · September 17, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Wheat is now nutritious and people can thrive on it? This is all news to me. Last I checked, the gluten and WGA decrease intestinal surface area by shrinking the height of the villi and the phytate blocks mineral absorption. Sounds like a perfect thing to eat if you want to thrive.

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24538 · September 17, 2011 at 5:53 AM

Perhaps they a merely asymptomatic, or maybe they carry the Apo E2 gene mutation that allows someone to survive and thrive on a grain based diet.

Medium avatar
10176 · September 17, 2011 at 1:30 AM

You're joking, right? This is sounding Mary baker eddyesque...pain is an illusion. I'm glad you treated your wheat allergy, but it's presumptuous to say that everyone has an identical response. And if there's no allergic response at all, over a whole lifetime (such as with my healthy wheat-eating 85 year old parents), then what? Avoid eating an inexpensive and nutritious food just in case?

Medium avatar
39841 · September 16, 2011 at 9:20 PM

They're not healthy; they're just asymptomatic.

Medium avatar
10176 · September 16, 2011 at 9:17 PM

If someone is healthy why should they go paleo? It's not the only road to health, and it's not a cookie cutter recipe either.

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316 · September 16, 2011 at 6:07 PM

I have found that no matter what one is talking about, if it differs from what others think to be true or from what they put into practice, they will become defensive. No matter how nice you say "I eat real foods intended for humans," you might as well be saying, "you eat junk not intended for humans." I have encountered this so many times and the debate begins. It is in our nature when someone states something they believe or know to be true, even if you slant it as in your experience, you are still saying they are not making the right decisions or doing something right. Hence, eye rolls or sometimes genuine interest that can change someone's life.

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205 · September 17, 2011 at 1:23 AM

"A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still" - there's no use arguing or defending my diet because those who are skeptical are probably going to continue feeling that way. The changes in my body and my health should be enough to convince them and if they aren't - then nothing is going to change their minds.

My changes, so far, aren't all that dramatic so people tend to ignore whatever I have to say. Thankfully, I've pestered my mom enough to get her off statins and onto the Paleo bandwagon and that's all that really matters to me. Everyone else can eat shi*t for all I care.

I'm lucky in that there are four other co-workers in my office who have lost tremendous amounts of weight and seen dramatic improvements in their health. We are called "the diet cult" but it's hard to ignore the benefits of our dietary changes. I think just being the example is the best testimony. Those who really want to change and learn will pick up on that.

For others, yah, I just say, eating that makes me feel like crap.

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8239 · September 16, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Bear in mind the crucial distinction between Map and Territory. Map is the word "Paleo" which of course refers to an approach to eating (and exercise). Territory is what the approach actually consists of: meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, certain herbs and spices.

Now, how hard is it to explain to anybody why you like the items on the list, why you eat those items? Maybe gets a bit harder to explain why you don't eat other certain things, specifically grain stuff.

There, too: why even mention "grain" as a category to people who, likely, will think you're nuts, or a cultist, for pursuing such a "radical" dietary path? Trying to "explain" Paleo is really about justifying, or trying to justify, a particular Map (concept, paradigm, theory).

I always try to evaluate to whom I am actually, specifically, speaking in a particular conversation. How open are they to new information? How closed, how reactive, etc.?

The older I get, the more it occurs to me that efforts to "explain why" are generally a sign that I've embarked down an unproductive conversational venue.

To whom, and why, do I feel the need to explain "why" in any given situation? If it's someone who has expressed openness to new possibilities, I go for it.

Otherwise, who's got the time for it? Not me.

Read Thomas Kuhn on paradigms and how they shift. Headline: paradigms almost never shift because people who hold to a given paradigm decide to change their mind in the face of new evidence. Because the evidence that holds true in one paradigm doesn't really even "show up" to people who hold another paradigm.

In health terms, usually people who shift paradigms do so because too many anomalies build up in their lives, namely myriad health problems that are "supposed" to be the result of doing the "right" things like: low fat and high carbs. In short, people get sick and want to get well.

This of course isn't universally true. Sometimes people who are well explore health matters in order to STAY well. As with many others here, I approached Paleo the way I've been approaching health-and-fitness stuff since my 20s: trying to evaluating all the claims related to how to keep thriving. After 50 or so, the same question continues, though the search term seems to change to "healthy longevity."

Thus I find myself exploring the Territory called Paleo.

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24538 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

My grandmother was very confused near the end of her lucid years as to why her and my grandfather's health was failing. They did everything "right". I didn't know enough then to help them, but it sure has put a fire under me to shift what is espoused as "right". I try to jump in there the second I see someone frustrated from "doing the nutritional CW math". I think you are right on with the accumulated anomalies driving the change here.

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834 · September 16, 2011 at 4:44 PM

hehe well in my case I am a mother of a toddler who eats paleo and there for has energy in leaps and bounds, and a 3 month old. Eating Paleo gives me the energy, clear thinking and general health to keep up with them. Plus Im sure the paleo diet is to be credited to actually being able to conceive and keep this last pregnancy and remain healthy and energetic throughout. I tend not to waste my time debating, if they don't want to hear what I have to say then I don't need to waste my tine explaining my life choices. If they do want to hear about it I explain what it has done for both my family and myself health wise. I explain the benefits and the basics behind the theory and that it has done wonders for us.

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12407 · September 16, 2011 at 3:42 PM

i want to live long. i want to live with minimal pain. i want to die like animals in the wild who are lucky to get to old age- quick and quiet.

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7592 · September 16, 2011 at 3:37 PM

I start out with the phrase..."in my experience..." before I say why. That way it's subjective to me and they back off a little.

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6235 · September 16, 2011 at 3:30 PM

In general?

Oh we all have our quirks, this is one of mine

I don't need to justify my choices to strangers and I have found not trying makes us both happier

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2231 · September 16, 2011 at 3:20 PM

i gave up trying to debate it. my roommates all ask why i eat like i do(real food..) and why i can and do eat so much food(i eat a lot...lol).

one- i tell them i am trying to gain my fertility back(hence copious food) two- i tell them i think real food is meant for the human body

then they ask questions. why isnt wheat real food...i link them to PHD's series...

they ask what is real food...i link them to Kurt's Archevore...

then they want tot try it. so i get home from work and am exasperated by 5 people who 'ate like me today!!!'... THEN THEY SAY THEY ATE ROASTED CHICKEN BREASTS AND STEAM SPINACH... wtf... then they all drank a bottle of wine each...

this is why i try to do everything in my power to NOT talk about my diet. i can give people the resources, they can read, and they can interpret it as they may. i get some hideous anxiety(actually had a panic attack the other night after feeling so bad giving the links and people interpreting it wrong) when i am around people trying to lose weight or diet who talk about it 24/7. besides i get annoyed theyre usually starving, hence the food thoughts & talk, they just dont get it. it is so flippin easy, just eat real food, but no one seems to interpret it right

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316 · September 16, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Oh, that did not cross my mind. I understand. They just need to wrap the breast in bacon and maybe through some in that spinach sauteed with butter instead of steamed...baby steps...

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1363 · September 16, 2011 at 7:04 PM

I'm eating roast chicken for another 2 days at least. It's delicious and I can tell it has fat. Maybe roast lean chicken breast would not have much fat?

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705 · September 16, 2011 at 6:59 PM

All beginnings are difficult - give them some time to wean off the "fats are bad" mindset...

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1579 · September 16, 2011 at 6:42 PM

not enough fat, perhaps?

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316 · September 16, 2011 at 5:52 PM

What is not Paleo about roasted chicken breasts and steamed spinach, or did I misunderstand the wtf?

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3808 · September 16, 2011 at 10:43 PM

If I don't feel the person is likely to be receptive to the full reasons, "Because I found that a lot of foods make me really gassy and uncomfortable." True and accurate. Purely subjective, so they can't really argue with it. Doesn't put them on the defensive about their own food choices. Doesn't have the fad association of "gluten sensitivity". Is TMI enough that it discourages further questions, without being off the Bristol Stool Scale TMI deep end.

"My breastfeeding baby has crying fits, rashes, and mucousy poop when I eat x" works similarly.

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115 · September 16, 2011 at 9:15 PM

I just tell people I have a gluten allergy and most just go "oh that sucks" and thats about it. If you try to explain it things tend to go back and forth for awhile. Lots of conventional wisdom vs. science/itjustworks!

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11099 · September 16, 2011 at 3:54 PM

If I sense that someone isn't open to a real open -minded discussion , I tend to just say that I have a lot of food allergies. That leaves nothing to argue with(and it's true).

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1363 · September 16, 2011 at 7:05 PM

I'm planning on using something like this today. On Friday's we always make popcorn at my work and I am always the first one to eat it. I think im gonna be like, my doctor told me not to eat any grains for 30 days.

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951 · September 16, 2011 at 3:43 PM

I tell them I really don't care if the Paleo Diet is "true." I have never felt better in my life.

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66 · September 16, 2011 at 3:32 PM

I explain why I do it, why I feel that it's the best way of eating for me, but I make sure not to "bash" their way of eating. I do, however, say that processed foods are unhealthy no matter what your food belief system is. No one can argue that or find it offensive!

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13635 · September 16, 2011 at 3:11 PM

The concept made enough sense for me to try it. I tried it, and lost a lot of weight fairly easily. Period.

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78422 · September 16, 2011 at 10:10 PM

I take a little different tack. I say that there are cracks in the foundation of modern nutritional thought and then send them to look at the following three links.

The first is Gary Taubes and Andrew Weil on the Larry King show - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoQGRJqGQTs

The second is an article by Andrew Weil in the Huffington Post about the Heart Attack Grill in Phoenix - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/healthy-eating_b_629422.html

I use Andrew Weil for the opener because most people are familiar with him and he was a low-fat, veggie kinda guy. Was.

I then send them to Tim Noughton's 5-part Fat Fiasco on Youtube, each about a dozen minutes long - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exi7O1li_wA

It helps to lay groundwork before any serious discussion takes place otherwise you will be hounded with parrotted propaganda and endless parries and thrusts. If they don't look at them, end of conversation.

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1639 · September 16, 2011 at 3:31 PM

If people ask, I tell them "I feel *@#$#@ing awesome this way.

If they ask for more details, I talk about gluten intolerance, ancesterally based eating for my health, and improving my life/health without the use of drugs. Most people get it when I tell them I want to be mobile and not suffering from a degenerative disease later in life.

I did have one person give me really weird looks this last week after describing my diet, but it turns out she's a vegan...so I'm not worried about that.

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8757 · September 16, 2011 at 3:19 PM

It is hard that's for sure, I have a friend who I managed to get her to back off me when I told her it was to help me heal and that this was best for me. However that same friend takes every opportunity to 'taunt' the issue with snyde remarks like "on her diet she can eat all the bacon she wants" ...etc. My retorts are only comments like, "as long as its whole clean organic foods and comes from grass fed happy animals, its good!"

beyond that I wont engage. It depends on the person, some are more debative than others, it doesn't always end well to engage them because they simply are trying to goat you into a corner, not expand their minds. At least in my experience.

someone who wants to listen, consider and later research is another story completely. I often here that most people assume I'm a vegetarian, which I so am not!

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533 · September 17, 2011 at 10:49 AM

By framing it as food sensitivity leading to nutritional journey. I don't preach, I just explain that it's what's best for me, and that I've found a large/growing community that feels the same.

I also keep a copy of Kendrick's 'The Great Cholesterol Con' on my desk, which has spurred some conversations.

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24538 · September 17, 2011 at 6:08 AM

Because I did some genetic testing and found out that I carry the Ancestral Allele (Apo E4), and don't carry the mutation necessary to eat an agrarian diet without keeling over prematurely.

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24538 · September 17, 2011 at 6:46 AM

It is a bit of a mouthful, but it comes in handy when someone comments on why I keep passing the bread basket by without taking any in restaurants.

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10176 · September 16, 2011 at 9:08 PM

To start with, calling someone else's diet a myth will start a debate. Guaranteed. And making such a hostile opening comment is like trying to convert someone at gunpoint.

Instead of that, why not talk about the good old days? How things were and how they've changed for the worse. And what you've done personally to fix your problem.

I used to get angry a lot. Calling my ex-boss a parrot wasn't the smartest thing to do even though it was true. Use your head and remember that you can't fix other people's problems. You can only fix your own.

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