Summing-up Primal/Paleo in a "non-scary" way.
Every time, I wish people would buy the book or visit the site, that my good health alone could spark their interest. But people are lazy and, if you want to explain Primal/Paleo to them, you need to catch them when they're relaxed (most people get block-headed and jump to justify their diet when they're feeling bad) and sum it up in such a way that it doesn't sound "hard" or "scary".
This is how I explain it, and, usually, in this order.
-I eat whatever I want, whenever I want and I don't put on fat or get tired after meals. I'm fitter, stronger and in every sense healthier than ever before.
-I just eat whole foods, nothing pre-prepared. If it IS pre-prepared, it has to be preparation you can do easily at home (cubed beef, for example).
-I eat out once in a while and let myself cheat very occasionally, but whatever's in my house has to be good food, that way you stop yourself cheating.
-I do exercise. I don't put a lot of time into it (max 3 hours a week), but the type of exercise I do means I don't have to.
-The human body is not delicate. It is very robust as long as it is treated the way nature intended.
-I just eat vegetables, fruit, nuts, meat and some dairy. Because you're eating less carbs, your body will need fat for fuel. Use good quality, natural fats, like those animals eat in the wild: avocado, animal fat, butter, olive oil...
"But isn't fat unhealthy?"
-Only if you eat the wrong sort. Every animal study that correlates dietary fat with cholesterol and/or heart problems used artificial fats like hydrogenated oils. Every human study didn't differentiate between diets high in natural fat and diets high in artificial fat. Most people who eat high-fat eat a lot of junk food, which means bad far and refined sugar.
"What about healthy wholegrains?"
-What makes them so healthy?
-Is there anything in grains you can't get in vegetables? (Explain how there is not.)(Explain how many people are allergic to grains.)
"But aren't nuts and seeds similar to grains?"
-Yes, but there are differences. Firstly, a lot of grains are less nutritious, due to intensive farming on poor soil and some (like wheat, rye, barley and oats) are known to have slight negative effects on many people.
Also, most people eat 300-2000g of grain-based foods a day. That is usually refined and bulked to some degree, so you're probably eating 250-1800g of grains. When you eat nuts or seeds, you rarely break 100g a day, so, as they are less likely to be toxic and you eat less, they're safer. Eating 50g of oats wouldn't do much harm either, but the key is to remove as much as possible (and remove entirely if you find yourself to be intolerant): grain should not be a staple.
-I eat whenever I want. Don't count kcals or stress if you miss a meal: just let your body get used to eating natural food and it'll regulate itself.
"But doesn't missing meals make you feel hungrier later?"
-Everybody works differently. Some people need to eat more often, some people can skip meals with no adverse effect. Just eat when you're hungry and don't force yourself if you're not, even if it's a "meal time".
"And shouldn't you make sure to not eat over 2000kcal a day/to get your five-a-day/to control your fat/carbs..?"
-Daily intake is mostly irrelevant. What happens over the course of a week or two is what really matters. As long as you're eating what your body wants and don't feel unwell, there is no problem in eating 1200kcal one day and 3400kcal the next. Your body is robust and "smart" by nature: it will balance itself out.
-Eat plenty of fruit and veg.
"Isn't all that sugar/carbs bad for you?"
-They're natural sugars, that are good energy for you. If you're trying to lose weight you may want to limit them, but most people work more efficiently with a balance of natural fats and natural sugars. Besides, you won't hit anywhere near the amount of carbs you used to eat, so you'll be eating less from the get-go.
"I thought people on your diet were supposed to be low carb/low fat/legume-free/dairy-free..?"
-Some are and some aren't. A lot of people try removing other foods and find they're intolerant to them, so they never add them back in. A lot of people are happy just eating whatever they fancy. You don't have to follow specific guidelines; just try a few things out and see what makes you feel best.
"I thought you had to do lots of jogging/cardio to be healthy?"
-Not at all. People who jog a lot usually end up with damaged knees and ankles and even poor heart health when, later in life, they can't jog anymore. It's far more natural to do a lot of light exercise and occassional intense exercise.
"I don't have time for exercise."
-Everyone is surprised when they find how they have an hour or two a week for intense exercise! You could do some calisthenics or light weights whilst watching TV or during your lunch break. And lighter exercise is even easier: do the coffee-trips at work, go for a walk at lunch, walk to collect your shopping... It only takes a few more minutes out of your day and you're healthier for it.
"Don't you have to work out really hard to stay fit?"
-Not at all. The human body needs some exercise but, if you don't have the time to rest properly, it's better to do some lighter weightlifting and walking than to do intense weightlifting. Just try and do some lifting, some walking and maybe some sprinting and climbing every week.
"Won't women get bulky doing weightlifting?"
-Not unless they're trying very hard. Gaining muscle is difficult and requires hard work and a careful control of your diet. You can't "get bulky" overnight, especially not if you're a woman. You'll notice on time to stop yourself getting bigger than you want.
I rarely talk to people about Paleo/Primal, but, when I do, it's when they're NOT complaining about their weight or health.
You see, I don't really "do" pity. And one thing I've learned about people is that they're more open to suggestion when they're happy and stable. When they complain they only ever want pity, not to be advised.