This website is so amazing for me and helps me to feel less alone! I live in a rural, redneck area where nobody thinks twice about heading over to WalMart for some Doritos and Oreos. My friends, sadly, belong to this population. I get frustrated listening to people complain relentlessly about their physical issues (mainly their chronic lethargy) and depression. Then I get even more frustrated when their eyes glaze over while I emphatically describe the benefits of Paleo. Does anyone else feel like they're flying solo on this Paleo journey? How do you deal with it?
Black sheep?!? I feel more like the german shepard running around a herd of sheep. You have knowledge of something priceless. Use it to your avail, if others inquire, enlighten them. I'm about to give up going out of my way to spread the word myself. Those who seek the truth will find it.
I personally don't get into discussions about why Paleo is so great. I tell people (if they ask about my diet) that, once I got off grains, I no longer have gas, bloating or blood sugar swings, and my cravings for grains and junk food are gone. I don't see the point of proselytizing. If people are curious to know more they can ask. And, my approach leaves out the judgment that somehow I'm better than they are.
I feel more like the "canary in a coal mine"
I look forward to 15 years from now when my friends can look back and say:
"I knew this guy Mike: he was soo far ahead of his time. I wish I listened to him then. He looks the same today as 15 years ago"
Yup, latergater, I know just what you mean. I've always been considered a little odd in my family for always experimenting with ways to improve my health. But now I live in a tiny rural town where just about everyone I know starts their day with a 44 oz soda from the convenience store. And I work at the health department, where, ironically, almost everybody is obese and diabetic. I open the fridge to stash my yummy paleo foods, and have to shove the sodas, Monsters, and pudding cups out of the way. They all complain about their medical conditions, but I have yet to see anybody take even one step to fix them. I'm the oddity, and while they're sweetly accepting of me, their eyes glaze over if I talk about my diet. I've learned to keep it to myself, unless asked...
I don't :) I have been a black sheep all my life. You know the Japanese proverb - the nail that sticks out gets hammered? I am proud to be that nail! I have not been hammered enough yet.
Not only I am Paleo, I am also an atheist, bi-cultural, bilingual, with strong interest in anthropology, quantum physics and Korean culture. It does not go any "blacker" than this.
I live in a country where people do not know what gluten is, what Paleo is, although they have been semi-Paleo for most of the history and gluten is consumed with every meal.
So, I will teach you a trick that have always helped me. Mimicry and camouflage. Eventually people will figure out who you are, but by that time they will be so in love with you and even if you tell them you are an ax murderer and a cannibal, they will tell you, "So what, we don't care!"
The trick is to be likable. If you improve your likability factor, all of them will go Paleo.
I used to be a teacher (still trying to recover) and all my assistants (ALL OF THEM) and some other friends and acquaintances have decided to become teachers because of me.
So if you are a happy black sheep, and likable, sooner or later they will all dye their wool black.
i've found that as long as i tell people about paleo in a way that doesn't at all imply that they should too be eating paleo then 9.9 out of 10 people are very interested in hearing about it because it is very interesting and makes for interesting people (us)... most paleo followers problem is they start preaching to everyone about how they're killing themselves with the food their eating and how they need to change or there gonna die. the fact of the matter is some (a lot) of people just don't care all that much about what they eat and probably never will and honestly it probably won't make all that big of a difference in their life.. save your energy, explain to them why you do it, explain how you do it and do all of this with excitement but do not try to tell someone else what they should be eating... your far more likely to get someone to try something by being well informed and excited about it then you are if you are "right"
Been there, done that. Totally still feel like a black sheep but it's easier once you decide to just not care. People will come around to it when or if they're ready.
These days if it comes up in conversation, the first things I mention are my own personal results, and I only say "I stopped eating bread and pasta" - I don't say "all grains, legumes, dairy" cos that's just overwhelming I think. Once I started doing this I noticed a marked increase in people's interest and willingness to continue the conversation and ask questions. I think if you mention your own positive experiences with your diet and why you're keeping it up, it connects with people in a much gentler (yet somehow more powerful) way. I avoid using the word 'paleo' or even mentioning evolutionary biology or gluten or lectins etc. (see the recent thread "The first rule of Paleo is you DO NOT talk about paleo") I just really emphasise that the way I eat makes me feel great. Sometimes I'll throw in a story about other people I know who are paleo and the good results they've experienced, just to show it's not just me that's eating this way.
The most common responses I get are: What do you eat for breakfast? (A: breakfast becomes like any other meal of the day. Meat, eggs, veggies, fruit, broth, usually leftovers from dinner. It feels a bit weird at first, but not for long.)
I don't think I could give up bread and pasta. (A: It's not that hard. Once you start eating more fat and protein, you won't even notice an absence. I didn't get any cravings at all.)
So yeah, focus on YOUR solutions, your experiences, cos the science and the paleo talk just go over most people's heads (unless they are already inquisitive and curious people.... like us!).
I live in a small town in Alabama, so I understand where you are coming from. If someone expresses an interest, I explain, otherwise it's not discussed. No one has criticized me regarding my lifestyle, and I return the favor. That is not to say that I don't internally shake my head at my friend who lives off beer and chips and works out 6+ hours a week, lol. He certainly doesn't want to hear how little I work out to have my lean muscles!
Like Stefanie above, I usually just tell people I've given up processed foods for the most part and now eat the heck out of meat.
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