When introducing people to the concept of paleo, I find some are far more open to the idea than others. From what I've observed, it seems to depend on a number of things which include culture, age and educational background. Back when my diet was low-fat and plant-based, my parents were constantly berating me for my food choices and blaming all my problems on lack of fat (how do they know this stuff!?). But since I revealed to them my diet, I haven't heard a peep from them; my mom's initial reaction when I told her I wasn't eating grains anymore was 'Well, they are in the Bible.. but it's not like you need them.' So.. about a 9? (; She hasn't adopted the diet for herself, but I really don't think she'd have a hard time transitioning.
Most of my family reacted the same. My grandma (age 88) believes the more red meat you eat, the healthier you become. As far as I can remember, my aunts on my dad's side (all 8 of them) have always turned to eliminating refined carbs to lose weight, turning down fruit juices and pastries outright at Sunday brunch. I suspect this has a lot to do with culture (in our case, Mexican-American) and the way my grandma cooked and raised them: with an emphasis on healthy tradition.
My boyfriend was also a 10 on the receptivity scale, especially after having watched Fat Head! His mom, however, is skeptical and believes grapeseed oil is the healthiest to cook with, for whatever reason. She's at, like, a 2.
For me, it was about a 9. In my English class last year, we watched Forks Over Knives and, having been struggling with panic disorder and hypochondriasis for some time, I was skeptical that a diet that seemed so unnatural to me was cited as a path toward a disease-proof life, yet it intrigued me somehow. I started researching the film a few days later and, so luckily, found Denise Minger's analysis of the film, which also fully exposed me to paleo for the first time (I'd only heard of it before). I had also been taking a marine biology course and pondering the differences between organisms living in their natural habitat--living instinctually and just knowing what to eat and when and how--and humans, who, of course, have the painful luxury of choosing to gorge on pretty much whatever they feel like pleasing their palates with. When I started reading up on paleo principles, it kind of just clicked and made sense to me that we should eat what we were designed to eat.
Still, thanks to the CW I'd been inundated with, I was fairly terrified of saturated fat. Gary Taubes and Denise Minger changed that for me. (;
My best friend is enrolled in a nutrition certification course and although her professors (all certified personal trainers, most dieticians), from what she's told me, place emphasis on challenging conventional wisdom, and though she follows a high-fat, low-carb diet model, she still believes in arbitrary rules for reducing saturated fat. She also thinks I'm slowing my metabolism by not eating every 3 hours, like she does. She has no interest in changing her diet but it's by default pretty paleo and she tends to agree with most aspects of my diet, so she's at about a 7.
What about you guys? How receptive were you to paleo, and what do you think it depended on most?
It's a 10. I spent 10 years being sick as a dog, so when I read about so many people getting better on their health, I just started the diet right here, right there (I didn't wait "for Monday").
I was a 10, because I knew what I wanted to find and went looking for it. When I started looking I didn't know if it existed, so I was delighted to find a thriving community arguing about the fine print but agreeing on many of the basics.
The whole process took a few hours of browsing and I was ready to go.
I didn't talk much to family and friends at first but they're all fully informed now and supportive but not changing at this point.
I bought a copy of Cordain's Paleo Diet back in 2002 (which amazingly I still have) and thought no way in hell can I give up my pasta and dairy. A few years later and we found out my oldest daughter had a gluten intolerance, so I was cooking gf food for her and it still didn't click that I could have it too. Finally, my food allergies and chronic eczema were so bad my daughter (now grown) convinced me to go gluten free and my research quickly brought me back to a paleo diet. I gave up grains no problem, but dairy I'm having a harder time with. I just ate some feta/spinach chicken sausage for lunch (after being dairy free for a couple of weeks) and my face itches like crazy, so I think it's back to no dairy for me.
So, a 1 for me in 2002, and a 10 ten years later. Wish I had started back in 2002 - I'd be a lot healthier today.
10- I saw it could keep me off diabetes meds and re-shape my body after I lost weight with low carb and Atkins. Cordain ( who I questioned often) Rob Wolf and Mark Sisson where the gurus for me and still today. I am younger today then I was twenty years ago. Downside- new clothes- from XXL to XL now to L but wearing size 34 jeans is way cool (from 42).
I first heard of Loren Cordain years ago and wasn't receptive at all. No GRAINS? Grains are HOLY! I had always been interested in the "spiritual" aspects of diet, and had gotten my ancestral wisdom from studying Macrobiotics. I had a lot of vegetarian cookbooks, including Diet For A Small Planet. I really thought eating less meat meant I was a better person.
The reality of having kids began to challenge this point of view. I got pregnant and it felt right to eat meat again. Our oldest child wanted to be a vegetarian for ethical reasons, while the younger ones flat refused. And weirdly, the younger ones seemed healthier and less prone to weight gain over time. I have to thank an old guy called The Frugal Gourmet (PBS) for passing on the Native American idea that the spirits of the animals come back to celebrate and enjoy the feast, so it's important to give thanks and acknowledge them. Covering the spiritual aspect, somewhat!
I didn't really find myself open to Paleo until early last year. At that point, if I remember correctly, Dr. Mercola had Chris Masterjohn on, talking about the take-down of the China Study. And if the China Study had it wrong, then...! From there, I found Lierre Kieth's book, which spoke to me at the time. Somehow I Googled up a CrossFit site with a link to PaNu, and I was off. It all came together quickly -- how did I even know about CrossFit?
I am far from perfectly Paleo or Primal. I have a ridiculous dark chocolate habit, but with enough weight to lose that eating any is crazy. The most surprising thing to me was that, after years of attributing my allergies and sinus headaches to dairy, they went away when I cut out... wheat?!
You never know what the right hook will be. My mental model of the natural human diet had to be turned around completely. The ones who can just jump in and try it are lucky!
I started off at a 1. I was a smart ass and figured that there's no way that it could make a difference for me, but then some of the guys at the gym were getting good results and we did one of those dumb 30-day paleo challenges, so I jumped on the band wagon all while being very skeptical. But after a month I was 100% bought in and it's been 3 years and I see no end in sight. Not only do I perform better (my main reason for doing this) lots of "minor" health problems went away.
I feel like my husband and I came up with paleo on our own! Lol! My daughter had so many dietary issues. We first discovered she had issues with dairy, then soy (I was breastfeeding so I had to give it up too, which was really difficult for me at the time). Then as she started solids I questioned why we give cereals? So we stared her on meats and vegetables and then fruits. I asked my doctor about the cereals and he said it was good for iron and because they taste good. Humm, not for nutrition? Our daughter also started having serious constipation issues with any bread product. Just before her second birthday we were discussing if it would be healthy to remove grain products from her diet. We started to wonder what was in grains that you can't get from fruits, vegetables or meats? So we started googling, and sure enough we found our answer - nothing. There's nothing in grains you can't get somewhere else. (except excessive sugars I suppose!) During our excessive googling we quickly discovered paleo and it all clicked. The evolutionary perspective just makes so much sense. My husband said "should we try it? Just for a bit?" I said "really? Yeah! Let's do it!" and 4 months later and 23 lbs lighter (for me) we've never looked back. We were a 10 on the scale, but had it been 2 years earlier I'm sure we would have been a 2 or a 3.
My chiropractor introduced me to it, and she came on strong, so at first, I thought, WTF??? But then I looked up info and came around quickly. My paleo/anthro educational background came in handy, too. I remembered some things I had learned way back, and it all made sense. Except those extreme runners in Mexico that live mostly on corn tortillas, beans and veg. Not sure how that fits in.
My first exposure to it was right after a major lifestyle change for me, which was the shift to "clean eating" in 2009. Before this change I was eating a truly standard American diet - everything processed, sparse vegetation, lots of ice cream (though we'd buy the slow-churned, reduced fat stuff which let me rationalize that I could eat twice as much of it) and an abundance of artificial ingredients. My idea of exercise was walking the half a mile to the store to buy cake.
Health issues caused me to make the switch to something very closely resembling the "clean diet" (which, despite its huge faults, had a major positive impact on my health because of the removal of so much utter crap from my system and the addition of nutrients that I had been depriving myself of). I primarily ate whole grains, loads of legumes/pulses, lots of vegetables and even more fruit, minimal canola, rice bran and olive oils, very lean meats because clean dieters recommend against saturated fat at all costs (and about 9 months after going clean I switched all animal products to pastured after watching Food, Inc... which led to a massive decrease in animal products due to the expense and my ignorance of how to properly source those things), peanut butter and other nuts. If I ate dairy it was low-fat and eggs were only included in 1/12 portions whenever I ate a homemade low-fat whole wheat muffin.
Soon after my conversion, a poster on a message board I frequented went paleo and was raving about how wonderful it was. Considering I had just had a lightbulb moment of my own concerning diet, and was in the almost religious honeymoon mindset of "my way is the right way and the only way to achieve true health", I thought she was bonkers. She talked about her fatty pastured steaks and how she raises her own chickens so she gets to eat beautiful eggs every day, and unabashedly stated that she didn't think whole grains and beans - especially soy - were very good for us. It all just seemed completely crazy and while I never confronted her about it, I constantly thought things such as, "But you need carbs! How can legumes be unhealthy?" In my defense she never explained the concepts behind paleo, just that she was eating that way and it rocked. Had she explained it or I looked it up, it probably would have made sense, but I didn't. So I was about a 2 or 3.
Well over 2 years later, with health issues prevailing despite doing everything "right" (including going vegetarian, then vegan), I looked into some ways that people online had suggested would help. Paleo was one of them, and this time I really researched it. I had already begun to suspect that grains were more devoid of nutrients than CW leads one to believe (the bran and the germ are the "best" parts, yet they make up a small percentage of the kernels), and once it made sense from an evolutionary perspective, I was a full-on 10 and still am.
I tried calorie-counting on and off, and I couldn't make it work at all, so when someone I know talked about how they started eating more meat and lower carbs, and was losing weight, I became curious and read "Why We Get Fat" by Taubes. It made sense; the only thing I was dubious about was the saturated fat in meat but, um, I've always been a meat-eater and would be the little kid at the restaurant who ordered a steak. Also, earlier that year, I'd started including eggs in my breakfasts instead of cereal, just because. That small change gave me so much more energy, so all the admonitions of "don't eat more than 3 eggs a week!!!!" seemed like such a buzzkill. They made me feel better, dammit. So, when offered an explanation later in the book that saturated fat doesn't cause heart disease, I embraced it.
The removal of grains made sense too, especially when I read about some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance. I've always been somewhat "evolutionarily minded", but it just wasn't something that occurred to me in terms of diet until I started reading about Paleo. But when it did finally click, I wasn't at all resistant. I'd say I was a 9 before I read the explanations, and a 10 after I did.
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