Getting my parents to go primal?
Hey guys and gals,
Very new here. Not even to the end of the book yet, but I am already feeling ambitious for the lifestyle changes I feel are coming. Forgive me if this has been discussed elsewhere, couldn't find it.
Myself, I try to live my life as open-minded and as optimistically as possible. Though for the first time I am adopting ideals that appear radical to some. Led by my conversion to BF running this last year, now to the idea of going Primal, I have had defend my stance more than once. While often I feel like I never know enough to convey my meaning, for the most part people seem to 'get it' (at least until they are out of earshot. And, I must admit I often enjoy the glares I get as I run by BF). That is except my parents. They just think I am crazy and pretend I am 'in a phase'. I know the were hippies once, how do they not get new, 'radical' ideas?
Anyway, right now, I live with them and have minimal income being a recent grad in a down economy (anyone need an architect?). I am, for the most part, at the mercy of having to eat what is around the house. My dad who was once large-frame but thin, like me, now has a quite a belly and my mother is not overweight but suffers from 'getting old' as she puts it (not true, but then she likes guilt). They both sit at a desk all day and are too tired to exercise when they get home at night. My dad is in charge of the kitchen and cooks a tasty meal, but it is always loaded with all the bad things I keep reading about. My novel idea last night was that, since I am strapped for cash right now, that my holiday gift for them this year would be to take control of the kitchen. An intervention of sorts. Get rid of all the bad stuff in the house that I don't want to eat, and that they shouldn't. Cook primal dinners. Have them go walk the dogs or something while I cook dinner. Etc.
Now, they are both very opinionated, strong minded people that are set in their ways a bit, and quite defensive on these touchy subjects like weight and exercise. They would not read Primal Blueprint if I bought it for them. What I want to know from you guys and gals in the Primal community is: Has anyone tried this intervention style approach? Should I be more subtle about it? How should I begin? Any tips or advice from those who have tried to convert loved ones would be great. I am going to need all the info I can to back my announcement as I am sure a debate will ensue. I am not normally one to try and 'change' someone or push my views, but they are unhealthy and will only get worse if nothing is said.
Thanks so much for your advice, and I hope everyone has a happy holiday.
I look forward to learning much more from this forum as I begin my own transition to a more healthy lifestyle.
Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.
Do be more subtle, and just be honest. "Mom, I love you and I'm worried about your health." They will be more receptive to your worry than your intervention.
Honestly, I think taking over the kitchen is a bad idea. If you're not working (in or out of your field) it might be a good idea to do something to make some cash for food. Instead of being a kitchen commando, just offer to cook now and then- maybe a couple nights a week, out of niceness. The trick will be to make really delicious Primal fare, stuff so good they don't even realize what's missing. Hell, I don't live with my parents and I pull this on them. They appreciate not having to cook occasionally, and they're eating a delicious, healthy meal.
Mostly it's about being an example. Or ask for one change here, or one change there... something little and seemingly minor. "Mom, can you at least stop buying things with HFCS?" "Dad, will you try using butter instead of margerine. I was reading a study the other day that said how bad that stuff is for you."
Stuff like that.
I don't think it's a bad idea to offer to help out in the kitchen a few times a week, doing the shopping and meal prep because of the good, helpful son you are . If those meals happen to be primal, well so be it, but make them yummy. I suggest bacon is involved. But approach with caution. One time, years ago, DH decided we should stop drinking caffeinated coffee and started making it daily without caffeine. After a week of terrible headaches and the thought that I was dying of a brain tumor, seriously!, he bestowed the knowledge of the decaf on me. He's lucky I didn't file for divorce on the way back from the espresso house. I don't think a few primal meals will trigger carb rage but go easy on 'em.
I second the opinion of most who posted above.
Offer to help take a couple nights regularly to cook, mention as the opportunities present themselves a little change here or there and leave a copy of the book just laying out somewhere! They may get curious and just flip through it! Or, photo copy some pages, read it and highlight some stuff but again just leave it lying around. Maybe the bathroom if your family is one that does the bathroom reading thing?
And also just give it a shot as best as you can yourself (i.e do your best to buy and eat as primally as you can manage) and let them see your results. Then have the 'I'm worried about your health' talk and ask them to try more PB.
i would be even *more* subtle.
"mom, dad, because i'm living with you, i want to pitch in more. I thought that i would keep the house and take care of the cooking--since i'm living here basically for free room and board. I would really love to do this for you guys, and it will keep me out of trouble until i have a job, and give you guys some added down time to do whatever you want."
Then, serve the best primal meals you can find, potentially primal-izing their favorites. people, in general, do not turn down delicious food. as long as they have no specific qualms, delicious food is delicious food. Make primal cookies for them, and the like, so that they can have a few sweets too.
do not talk about their health, your concerns about it, weight, or anything else, honestly. just don't.
leave the book around. if they happen to read it, then good. if not, then no problem. just keep cooking and eating and so on.
and when you do get that job and move out on your own, leave them a copy of the cookbook with all of their favorite recipes marked. Tell them "this is how we've been eating the past few months, and I hope you enjoyed it."
focus on the positives of what you are doing--after they have had time to notice.
i have given up on trying to convince ANYONE of the way that i eat, in particular family. when they are at my house, i serve what i would normally serve. they love it, rave about, and say "i just don't know how you do it!" yeah, ok. whatevs. if they ask, then i'll tell them. otherwise, i leave them be.
(codependency runs in the family. i'm breaking that cycle. example: mom, dad, and sister--obese sugar addicts--were eating a TON of cookies. they had decided that the "deserved" a "cookie feast" because of all the stress they were under. so, they bought about 10 different bags of favorite cookies. i was not emotionally eating any more, and i didn't want the cookies anyway, but they kept going "c'mon, have the cookies!" and i just said no thanks. but then, in my head, as they were chowing down, my head said "I should eat a lot of those cookies because I am healthy and can handle it. They are just hurting themselves, and if i eat more cookies than them, then those are cookies that they are not eating, which means they won't be as sick."
HOW MESSED UP IS THAT? which is what my head also said after it had said the other thing. I learned, in that moment, that *i cannot save these people*. they have to 'save' themselves. they have to want their own health for their own reasons. they just have to do it on their own. and if i toss books in their faces or tell them that i "care about their health" then i'm just stressing them out and they get pissed off at me, and we both get frustrated and it's just no fun.
so, i let them be. they are grown ups. if they want to have a cookie feast, it's their own damn business. sucks, but there it is.)
ok, rant over. just cook good food.
What everyone said. Not 'I'll take control' (believe me, losing control is a huge and growing fear for people conscious of getting older, and they will fight it with all they have) but cooking a few meals a week, and letting the food do the selling for you. (You can actually give people 'vouchers' for Christmas for such things as washing up, cleaning the bathroom, cooking the evening meal, breakfast in bed... - and they redeem said vouchers with you when they choose.)
And not mentioning the health thing at all unless you're asked. Set an example, share your good news occasionally - just the results as they come - and wait to be asked for information.
Thanks everyone. Great advice.
The subtle approach is the way to go it seems. I should have known this, as you all make very valid points. I guess perhaps I am so excited to see the changes in my own life that I wanted to take a few others with me in the process. Which, now I see, I can; just under the radar. You are very right when you say they must be the ones to 'save' or change their own life, as I feel I have recently taken control of mine, that makes a lot of sense. Duh.
Thanks so much. I will give it a shot and see how it goes.
There is nothing like the zeal of the newly converted, and I am starting to feel that zeal because this is such an amazing program. The best way, I've found, is to let people see the changes in you and get curious. Sadly, a lot of people are unwilling to change or have tried so many bad diets that they've given up. Tempt them with primal goodies and let them see the joys of the lifestyle. If they are curious at some point, show them some pics of the really spectacular success stories.
Originally Posted by soul.of.mine
Shat is correct. Lead by example is a great approach. Deeds speak louder than words. Also, ....
You will be fighting a VERY losing battle. Trust me, they have seen one FAD diet after another for most of their lives. And YOU are just a young impressionable kid being influenced by just another FAD. Just because you say it, and it is written in another FAD Diet Book doesn't make it so. They will LAUGH at you for even suggesting to give up bread & grains.
You must convince them beyond any shadow of doubt that Paleo is not a FAD, and not just another CRAZY diet. The only way to do this is to give them INDISPUTABLE medical proof that is clear and easy to understand.
Please see the links at the bottom of my message for the facts from the best doctors & universities in the USA. These links will also help your friends and relatives to believe in the message. I've been through this battle many times, and even with the medical facts at your fingertips, it is still a hard sell. People are addicted to the grains & sugars. It is almost like telling someone to quit smoking. They are so addicted that they just CAN'T.
PS) You need to convince them to also take 5,000 to 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3. See the many threads on this site re: Vitamin D3, or section 19.8 in my research report.
Best of luck to you, please keep us informed on your progress,
Last edited by Grizz; 12-11-2010 at 07:44 AM.
grizz: that would be talking about health stuff, though.
my father is a scientist. he is smart-as. insanely intellegent. it's his emotional situation that dictates his health, not his rational mind.
most people are like this. comfortable with what they are doing, it's the way it's always been done, i don't want to change. etc. human stuff.
so while i agree that the studies and everything are fabulous, they didn't convince me, and they aren't going to convince someone coming from an emotional POV toward their bodies and their diets. it has to come from another angle. really, it just has to come from within.