An obese friend of mine has just started to show some interest in Paleo. However, he's a (high-functioning) alcoholic; specifically for beer. When his doctor informed him that he would need blood pressure medication, he refused it because he would also have to stop drinking. When I said Paleo was a beer-free zone, he pulled back. I know -- that sounds like a hopeless case, right? But I have hope! He's only 42, and too young to pack it in just yet; he also has a beautiful 12 year old daughter to live for. His interest in Paleo makes me think I might be able to show him a healthier lifestyle, otherwise I wouldn't pester him or try to convince him (I try not to proselytize...honest!). But he's asking questions, so he is open to hearing more.
What do you guys think would be a good way to approach someone who wants to feel better, is interested in the concept of Paleo, but is unwilling to give up the bottle? He isn't just drinking to relieve pain, though that is part of it; he is also intensely hedonistic and just loves the buzz. Thinks he would be bored to tears without it, as well as in pain from back/joint problems.
I need some convincing ideas to throw his way while his interest is focused. Does anyone have any thoughts on how to make Paleo sound more compelling than beer drinking? He knows the health risks he's running; he figures short life + beer is simply better than long life - beer.
ETA: Thank you everyone so far for all the superb and thoughtful answers. He's tentatively agreed to try Paleo + Beer, meaning he'll stop ordering pizza, and get broccoli with his steak when he goes out to eat rather than curly fries. Baby steps. :)
I am a heavy drinker and have benefited enormously from going paleo and feel fine. Advise him to change for low suger/dry alcoholic drinks such as red wine or whisky. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.
The book Potatoes not Prozac makes a case that the relationship between alcoholism and sugar addiction is correlative. Maybe paleo straightens that out for him.
Paleo won't substitute for beer. Assuming he really is an alcoholic, he wont' change until he's ready, such as when he's hit rock bottom. No amount of nagging will get him there.
A judicious exercise program paradoxically may actually improve his aches and pains, so he could lose that excuse for drinking. But there will be plenly other of excuses.
If he denies he's an alcoholic, drinking beer just because he enjoys it and could stop anytime, you might challenge him to abstain completely for two weeks. Losing that challenge might plant a seed in his mind that, in fact, he's got a problem.
If he buys into paleo except for the beer, suggest one of the lower carb beers such as Michelob Ultra or MGD 64.
It does'nt sound like your friend is psychologically ready to make major lifestyle changes. You're going to be limited in what you can do. You can be supportive and informative, then stand back.
Maybe it was not necessary to introduce Paleo as a "beer-free zone". Strict paleo doesn't allow beer, sure, but I think a beer drinker will still benefit from eating Paleo. So let him eat Paleo and when his fitness improve, maybe he will become more motivated to continually get rid of alcohol.
This seems to be a logical approach. He can make each next step when he feels he is ready. 1) paleo eating + keep drinking beer 2) paleo eating + swithing to healthier beer (low-carb/gluten-free beer) 3) paleo eating + switching to (red) wine 3) paleo eating + reducing the amount of wine
P.S. : I've just started paleo a few weeks ago.
If you want to convince him to eat paleo, while assuming that he'll continue to drink beer, you could mention 'the drinking man's diet,' which seems to support low carb and lots of meat. If he's insistent on drinking for the fun, why can't he switch to gluten free spirits or cider?
Have him over to watch Fat Head. Tom Naughton inspired me to look at myself straight in the beer goggles and drop it for a better life and lighter frame. He talks more specifically about the connection between beer and sugar addiction in an interview with Nora Gedgaudas here (Episode 41). She has some great strategies for dealing with it.
Good luck with your friend.
Alcoholism is probably a bigger issue than anything. Going paleo is like putting a band-aid gunshot to the gut. Given his preference for beer over longevity/health, what makes you think he'd be on board with paleo? How many SAD Americans choose crap-for-food over longevity/health?
Ciders, which are gluten free already Gluten-free beers (like Bard's or Redbridge)
That's assuming of course he wants to drink something akin to beer, and not wine or spirits. Anyhow, both of the above are good options, but still support paleo's commitment to no gluten. Many of these are also lower in sugar (though not all) which is good. So, while it isn't strictly paleo, it might be a good step in the right direction.
Paleo + beer is better than SAD + Beer, it's probably better than SAD by itself!
Personally I wasn't willing to stop drinking when I went paleo. I started drinking liquour and wine and cider though. Eventually I got more in tune with what alcohol does to my body and drink A LOT less now. Either way paleo in place of SAD is still better either way and will help replace all the important B vitamins and magnessium you lose when drinking a lot (among other things).