Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
9 Jun

10 Things to Tell People that Don’t “Get” the Primal Blueprint Eating Plan

It’s practically inevitable. We mean, of course, the attempts at explanation met with blank stares, odd questions, and suspicious concern. Of course, the best argument for the Primal eating plan is the story and success of each person who makes it his/her own. (And always feel free to point any skeptics/otherwise interested parties our way to learn more! Everybody has to start somewhere on their road to health! We take all kinds.) Nonetheless, after the 54th time you’ve been told by another ill-informed conventional wisdom devotee that you’re on the brink of a heart attack, you might be looking for more creative comebacks.

We must admit that we had some fun swapping stories in prep for this one. One point of agreement: once you get past the “It’s not the Atkins/Zone/South Beach/you-fill-in-the-blank diet,” the conversation tends to take several common paths.

Maybe the person hones in on the low carb thing. (“Low” carb being apparently anything less than the 300-400+ gram gorge of the typical American diet. Seriously, doesn’t anybody “get” moderate these days?)

And how could we possibly ignore the shocking disbelief we’re so often met with when we explain the role of fat in our diets. You can talk from dawn ‘til dusk about clean meats, omega-3s, healthy, intact saturated fats as opposed to rancid polys, but all is lost on this group. From the moment you mentioned higher fat, some deeply instilled alarm fires off in their minds, and it’s all dramatic warnings and impassioned protests from there.

Perhaps your conversation mate targets the protein piece. From the “You’ll kill your kidneys” (actually, no) claim to a whole host of environmental/animal rights objections, you’re under the spotlight now being read the riot act. You could be stuck here a while, you realize, as your mind wanders to those Southwest Airlines commercials. (Please just let me get away….)

And then there’s always someone who is utterly stricken by the “Primal” label, distraught that you appear to have joined some unsavory cult. Surely you must be sneaking out into the night, donning skins, drumming and dancing, eating wild pig off of a stick. What’s wrong with you that you would shuck modernity and all its advantages? Is this some kind of role-playing group? The other fork in this discussion, of course, involves the self-declared history mavens who will actually turn the conversation into a marathon debate of the exact year prehistoric man erected hearths.

Finally, (believe it or not) we know stories of those who’ve face a more confounding reaction. Some people, apparently very invested in the emotional and cultural elements of food, somehow feel your diet is a slap in the face to tradition. In their minds you are rejecting your culture and its cherished delicacies. An unforgivable sin to be sure. Though it can come from all cultural directions and usually takes a mere sentimental cast, the response can occasionally show bizarre undertones. No donuts? No dinner rolls? No Chex Mix? You must have it out for farmers! What do you have against our way of life? Suddenly they look at you like you’ve killed Mickey Mouse.

As you can see, we thought we’d take a break from the serious stuff and let our primal hair down a bit today. Now for our responses to these and other reactions from those who just don’t “get” the Primal eating plan….  Enjoy!

  1. (For those stuck on the Atkins comparison) “Yeah, that’s right. It’s exactly like Atkins. Who needs veggies and fruit? I’m all about the bacon.”
  2. (For those who make an issue of the “low” carb principle) “I can’t help it. Wilford Brimley, that scary Sunbeam girl, Uncle Ben. Fruit and vegetables don’t get spokespeople. It’s a conspiracy!”
  3. (For those who are sent into full-blown panic over dietary fat) “Yes, I know my heart is going to explode. I’m actually looking into a bionic version.”
  4. (For the environmental/animal rights arguments… Actually, we empathize with these perspectives. Nonetheless, healthy is healthy.) “We didn’t invent factory farms, and I support using the whole carcass. Organ meats – yum. Waste not, want not, as they say.”
  5. (Or this one…) “By the way, have you ever tried bugs? Very eco-friendly protein source. Primal folks love ‘em!”
  6. (For those who get bizarrely fixated on the “primal” connotation. This one is all about the delivery. It needs to be accompanied by a crazy look in your eyes.) “I was a caveman in a former life, you know. Quit harping on my people.”
  7. (Or how about this one?) “I don’t like your tone. Don’t expect an invitation to our next pig roast.”
  8. (For those who face the cultural argument) “Aren’t we all primal by origin? I’m just digging deeper into my past.”
  9. (Or, if you’re in a really bad mood – ultimate conversation ender) “Yes, I killed Mickey Mouse – and ate him with a side of fava beans and a nice chianti.”
  10. (Finally, a good catch-all response) “Despite the fact that counting calories, slogging away on the treadmill and eating nothing but Special K are so much fun, I’ve decided to do something that really works.”

We now return to our regularly scheduled science, recipe, fitness and health industry programming, but not before you all have your say! Additions to the list you’ve used or saved up in your own Primal defense?

Check back tomorrow when we’ll be ditching the irreverent ‘tude for some genuinely helpful tips on how to manage those difficult social situations.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Mark wrote: “And then there’s always someone who is utterly stricken by the “Primal” label, distraught that you appear to have joined some unsavory cult. Surely you must be sneaking out into the night, donning skins, drumming and dancing, eating wild pig off of a stick.”

    Sounds like great fun to me! \”/

    Maxine wrote on June 14th, 2010
  2. 10,000 years ago, and probably until about 400 years ago, the soil the grains were grown in probably had a billion times more minerals and other nutrients plants need to grow healthy. So it was a better quality of wheat grown in much better soil. And since it wasn’t processed in a factory, it was 35 cents per ton so the people of the past probably didn’t sit down and eat a quart of rice or a loaf of bread at each meal.

    Tom wrote on January 12th, 2011
  3. I’m starting the primal diet today and trying to find out how life is without grains because I just learned about both this morning but for a while I’ve already been mostly avoiding refined grains, sugar, and additives. So when I went into Tim Hortons the other day to apply and was sitting waiting for the manager to show up and one of the girls behind the counter offered me a donut for the wait I declined. She gave me some incredulous look and shortly after I overheard her telling the other girl in what seemed almost like a disgusted tone of voice that I didn’t want a donut, to which the other girl replied, “He’s weird.”

    Tim wrote on January 30th, 2011
    • that’s funny cause I have never liked donuts, they smell funny and I remember eating at the mall once on a holiday as a kid cause I was starving hungry! yuck!

      Kate wrote on January 1st, 2012
  4. The most frustrating thing I run into are people, that seem to be health oriented or at least aware to some degree concerning food and exercise, who argue without any base of reference.

    I’ve sent a ‘few links’ to MDA articles to a ‘few people’ and the most positive response is “Yeah.. seems interesting, I’ll read it sometime when I have the time/get around to it.”
    I know it’s a polite way to say “thanks for the link but I don’t care about where my food/nutrition comes from or the fact that I’m getting mediocre results from my fitness regimen”. People are just OK with half-assing and laziness.

    And then there are those persons that don’t want to read the links I send them so that they can keep their existing opinion regarding nutrition. Beware the one who has read only one book, indeed.

    One person even said to me when I said that I don’t eat bread that she didn’t want to be ‘skinny fat’… I guess her being fatty-fat is just ok. :) Didn’t tell her that of course cause then she would of had a hissy-fit but sometimes I wished that people would be ok if you just told them how things were, no holds barred.

    So, nowdays I mostly tell people if they want to argue/discuss with me to go and read a bunch of stuff so that we can talk on the same level before they try to bulldoze me with their opinions (not facts)… Or I’ll just say that I don’t eat some stuff and not elaborate on it.

    Just say like:

    “I don’t eat grains.”
    “I just don’t.”


    “I don’t eat grains.”
    -“Where do you get all the FIBER you need?”
    “I get it elsewhere.”

    The most funny thing is, that I have bought the PB to a few persons that I thought would benefit the most from it… they of course didn’t read it I think but I don’t have to be responsible for those people so I figure I did my part and now they have to do theirs.

    Still some of this ignorance still bugs me… It bugs me that people don’t care about themselves. And it bugs me that if I offer my knowledge to help them, they won’t accept it. It’s confusing at times.

    BigMancini wrote on February 1st, 2011
  5. I really recommend being patient and kind with folks that don’t get primal. Thinking back, I was just like them at one time. But gradually that mind set was replaced by another – but if someone had been snarky with me I might have never investigated further. You could really help someone by realizing we are all products of our environment and pointing the way – gently!

    Erica wrote on March 9th, 2011
  6. A quick example – a whole head ( not even very large) of cauliflower at the local shop this week $9!!! I’m waiting for the price to go down as I want to make the “pizza” base but I won’t pay it on principle….

    Kym wrote on March 10th, 2011
  7. 10.(Finally, a good catch-all response) “Despite the fact that counting calories, slogging away on the treadmill and eating nothing but Special K are so much fun, I’ve decided to do something that really works.”


    Desi wrote on July 7th, 2011
  8. One of my favourite “play” activities is a session with my very own punch bag. Probably because of the comments I sometimes get from people. I don’t mind questions about it, I mean normal questions; but I mean when people get all self-righteous about conventional wisdom. I also get the ‘anorexia’ thing a lot, especially if I’m doing a stint of IF, because I’m a model, and they’re all anorexic right?

    I was on holiday recently, and I loved the look on people’s faces when they saw me coming back from the buffet at breakfast with a huge serving of eggs, bacon, nuts and avocados. LOL.

    Milla wrote on September 3rd, 2011
  9. I used a simple one the other day, all in good bantering fun. I was told I eat the “weirdest shit” (she had canned tomato soup and crackers, I had salmon with onions, cabbage, and spice) so I just said “At least what I eat isn’t made in a laboratory.” No rebuttal. It’s just not really possible.

    Animanarchy wrote on January 8th, 2012
  10. I like watching my co-workers keeping hitting the vending machines like diseased bees all day long, become sluggish and irritable like CLOCKWORK every day after lunch, slug back energy drinks that seem to have no impact other than causing jitters and sleep disruption, and complain to one another about how much they are working out without losing weight. Nothing convinces me more that I am on the right path.

    When they tell me I am the unhealthy one, I just smile politely and tell them I seem to be doing just fine. My constant energy, positive attitude, and (not to brag) kick ass figure will hopefully speak for themselves.

    Mari wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  11. Oh, and what the hell is with those portioned out snack packs of Oreos and Wheat Thins?! Even if I were still eating S.A.D., that is just insulting. If you need the mad scientist who made your food to count out five crackers, put them in extra packaging, and charge you MORE for them because you are powerless against eating the entire box (because your body is so starved for nutrition that you are endlessly hungry)… grains might be clouding your logic.

    Mari wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  12. My favorite “explanation”: When I was 27, my doctor informed me I have “Celiac Disease”(i.e., my body cannot process gluten), as well as numerous allergies and intolerances to many other foods (tomatoes and lettuce- believe it or not). I found paleo and for the first time in my life I don’t have abdominal pains or other “issues”. I Love my new way of Life!

    Will wrote on February 3rd, 2012

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