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

How to Handle Constructive Criticism as a Primal Advocate

Constructive Criticism FinalIt’s a role that’s probably more often thrust upon us than one we individually choose—that of Primal advocate. There we are minding our own healthy business, and somebody’s question or comment fixes the spotlight (or interrogation light) on us. Why do we eat “so much” protein? What could possibly be wrong with bread? Why do we wear the shoes we do or race down the street like we stole something?

Sometimes it’s the people in our inner circle who are the inquiring minds. Other times it’s co-workers or even strangers. It might even be our doctors. Whatever the case, what might begin as a simple question can often devolve into a full-blown harangue about how we’re putting our health in grave peril. On the flip side, it may be we who descend into an extended diatribe on all things Primal as the other person tries to slink away, having just been intrigued by our lettuce wrapped “un-wich.” How do we respond in these conversations without losing all patience or perspective?

Not all of us are out to become Primal advocates, of course. But you don’t need to be sporting a Grok “Live Long, Drop Dead” t-shirt to garner attention. The fact is, our choices can make us stick out. Just by eating what we eat (or avoiding what we don’t) or otherwise going about our Primal routines, we become accidental examples for a lifestyle conventional wisdom finds unusual or even dangerous.

A lot of people these days have heard enough about paleo/Primal (usually misunderstanding it) to have an opinion, but they may not know other flesh-and-blood adherents. Suddenly you’ve become the spokesperson, poster child, resident expert and/or prime target in their midst. This can be a good thing—or not—depending on their agenda.

Many of us by now have witnessed the positive angle of this. Someone you know (or don’t) asks a question out of genuine curiosity, and you end up having a great discussion. By the end, they’re determined to learn more or even give it a whirl. You walk away having felt like you enjoyed a fulfilling conversation and did an act of public service.

On the other hand, we’ve likely been put in the hot seat, too. Perhaps we’re honest about our lifestyle changes at a physician appointment. Maybe we take a pass on dessert or appear to be an expert at menu substitutions or another choice entirely, but our nonconformity ruffles some feathers. Two minutes into dinner (or a doctor appointment) we find ourselves the center of everyone’s conversation and worry about what we’re doing to our bodies.

I’ve certainly offered my share of tongue-in-cheek suggestions for meeting Primal critiques, but let’s take a serious look at how to respond to those who try to offer their ardent “constructive” criticism and what to consider when we’re moved to share our experience for others’ benefit…

Walk away from outright attacks

I’m going to start by drawing a line in the sand. As they say, you don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to. There’s a difference between constructive criticism and flat out attack. You can sense whether someone is genuinely curious or concerned or if that person is gunning for a fight (verbal or otherwise). Do they immediately descend into judgment of your character or otherwise make it melodramatically personal (to you or them)? Don’t waste your time or energy.

Don’t argue with fear

Maybe it’s your mother in tears as you announce you’re going Primal or an anxious spouse who’s nervous about the changes ahead or even your doctor’s impassioned warning about eating “extra” fat. These people mean well. They do. Their resistance and emotion aren’t an attack; they’re simply misplaced fear spilling over.

They’re making an assessment based on false assumptions, and the more fearful they are the less they’re able to hear logic. In some cases, you might be able to explain the simple reasoning behind the Primal Blueprint and how it will and won’t change your life (see below). In the case of your physician, you might ask him/her to suspend judgment until the biomarkers speak for themselves.

At times, however, (particularly in the case of loved ones), you’ll find your best response is to honor the other person’s emotion itself. Tell (and show) them you hear their fear and that you feel the love behind it. Let them know you wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing if you didn’t have absolute confidence that it would only make you healthier because you want to live a long and vital life with and for them.

Couch it as a personal choice

How does living Primally make you feel? What’s it done for you lately? People can wrangle with you about statistics this, statistics that—likely erroneous numbers or skewed understanding of research anyway. It’s much harder to argue against a person’s individual experience. In fact, it’s near impossible.

If you’ve lost fifty pounds, come off of your blood pressure meds or are otherwise living with enhanced health and energy, then your story is the perfect answer to their criticism, however constructive. Some will continue at the same line of reasoning, attempting to deny the extent of your success. All you have to say in this instance is, “I’m happy with my results. That’s all I need to know.”

Subtract yourself from their choice

Unfortunately, some people feel that because you say you’ve reclaimed your health and vitality with the Primal Blueprint that you’re dictating to them they have to do the same. Sure, it would behoove them (twenty-five cent word of the day) to try it out, too. But I’ve never advocated dragging or nagging anyone to the Primal Blueprint. Your personal success is your best argument—always. The other person will either be willing to acknowledge it or not, but their inability to do so (when that’s the case) will have nothing to do with you.

And flat out tell them they’re free to choose their own path. In fact, tell them you’re not arguing they should do what you did. Maybe it’s not a good fit for them, say. But then say they can always stop by the site or forum if they change their minds about wanting to know more.

Keep any explanation simple

Of course, you may find yourself in the kind of conversation where it makes sense to share the logic of the Primal Blueprint. In this case, it’s best to keep it simple.

Because so many people have false assumptions about the ancestral health movement, it might be most effective to address those first. No, we don’t only eat meat. No, we don’t all sleep on the floor (although some people find it more comfortable). No, we don’t walk around in loin cloths. I’m sure you can add to the list of myths.

And then offer a bit about what it means to you—how you personally practice it. I can’t speak for you, but I know some people who might say it means eating as close to natural and ancestral as they can reasonably put together—animal proteins ideally from livestock (or hunted animals) raised in relatively natural and healthy living conditions with their natural feed with nutrient dense vegetables and some fruit.

They might say shaping their workouts to fit the ancestral model of lifting heavy things, moving a lot at slow to moderate paces and pushing for maximum power and speed a few times a week. (You can add this saves time and is a lot more fun than the average workout routine.) They might share they try to get to bed earlier for the best quality sleep and that they prioritize time outdoors for the peace, activity and vitamin D.

There are as many answers here as there are Primal adherents, but you know the basics as they matter to your vision. Instead of arguing a dogma (something the Primal Blueprint definitely is not), simply tell your story of what appealed to you about the principles and how you’ve shaped it to your life and values. A story can reach people in a way rationale can’t.

Don’t try to save anyone

I know this sounds counter intuitive to the purpose here, but suspend judgment for a moment while you read further. We tend to get stuck on the question of why people wouldn’t do what’s healthy for themselves. If they just knew more, we think. If we just offer one more example or statistic, they might wake up. But that’s not your job. It’s theirs.

Trust me. I’m in this business to help people. I am still 100% committed to the goal I set of helping ten million people take back their health. There’s nothing that satisfies me more than seeing people regain their vitality through the simple means of living by ancestral principle.

But here’s the thing. At some point we have to see that health transformation is for people who want it not for people who need it. As the old saying goes, “You can only lead a horse to water. You can’t make him drink.” Self-advocacy has to be a part of the picture. Spare yourself unnecessary frustration by accepting you’ll never make a difference in peoples’ lives who aren’t open to change and who don’t make themselves available for help and education.

Advocating for a lifestyle model you believe in is a noble pursuit. All of us who have improved our lives through the Primal Blueprint (myself included) want to make the same knowledge and support available to others. Rest assured, the proof is always in the pudding no matter what else gets said. Live well, and let the results be your best promotional strategy as well as your personal reward.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Share how you’ve chosen to respond to others’ critiques and what your thoughts are on Primal advocacy. Have a great end to your week.

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

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. Can’t win. On one hand I hear acquaintances say how healthy or younger or energetic or happy I look, followed by prodding to reveal my secret. “I went Primal”, I say, and await the inevitable questions. After I explain, then it’s often a “Oh, another one of those fad diets”.

    John Caton wrote on March 17th, 2016
    • How very true, John. I don’t preach and I don’t call attention to what I eat. When I (rarely) get asked how I manage to stay slim and trim, I usually keep it low-key and just say I don’t eat sweets or grain products very often. Invariably the askers will respond with, “Oh, I could never do that.” And that’s the end of the discussion. I don’t say, “Sure you can…if you really want to lose that extra 50 pounds you’re packing”, and I don’t harp about non-Paleo foods being toxic or poisonous–which they aren’t. It’s really just a case of someone asked and I answered. I don’t have any need to justify my choices.

      Shary wrote on March 17th, 2016
      • Luckily I live in Santa Cruz and most of my friends are middle aged surfers. So the the primal concepts (eat real food, watch the carbs, get exercise) are just an accepted truism. If you want to keep surfing as you age and keep the weight down, you kind of figure it out on your own. That doesn’t mean everyone necessarily follows those guidelines that well, but everyone I know understands it’s true.

        This town also loves good food. Fast food joints have a very hard time getting zoning approval to set up shop here.We literally only have six McDonalds in the entire county of 269,000 people. And only two are in Santa Cruz city limits, which is about half the per capita ratio nationwide.

        For most people, the right environment is the deciding factor. So if you live in a place that already is moving that way socially, it makes things way easier.

        Clay wrote on March 18th, 2016
  2. When I first adapted primal, I was always after peoples approval. “Good Job” was what I wanted to hear from the others around me. When I didint get the encouragement, I realized that the healthy choices I made, no one else really gave a damn. And why should they? The decisions I make about my lifestyle dont really matter to the people around me, and at the end of the day, regardless if I ate a pile of donuts or a pile of kale, my relationship with my peers will be the exact same. And why should I try to encourage my peers to adapt primal living? I found primal because I wanted to improve my health, if my peers want o improve their health, they will find primal. Good health doesnt find you, you find good health. Cheers.

    luke wrote on March 17th, 2016
    • “Good health doesn’t find you, you find good health.”

      … yes so very true!! Reminds me of another saying I read just recently, I think it was on one of the success stories….

      ” Needing it [good health] isn’t enough…. you have to WANT it !”
      :-)

      Sparrow wrote on March 21st, 2016
  3. I don’t know, I think it is catching on. I’m even seeing RD’s start warming up to it. I mean, you can’t argue a big ass salad or steak and broccoli is unhealthy. Usually when people ask me why I don’t eat bread I tell them I don’t do well with gluten and carbs. They usually reply “well, I probably eat too much bread.” I then send them here for great recipes, and they usually stumble on the “Why Grains are Unhealthy” post and tell me they’ll give it a shot. You have no idea how many of my patients have failed the calories in – calories out, myfitnesspal logging low fat hell.

    Myles wrote on March 17th, 2016
  4. My father: Our neighbors eat bread and cereal everyday and are in their 90s. Why eat like this when you can die anytime? We aren’t meant to live forever?
    I still don’t know how to respond to that. It’s true I could die today in a car accident, regardless of what I eat. I just hate when people say “I might die fat but I’m going to die happy”….

    Patrick wrote on March 17th, 2016
    • One thing you could point out is that you feel better, happier, and more energetic every day that you don’t die. Also, I think my bigass salad is much more tasty than cereal and bread.

      JoeBrewer wrote on March 17th, 2016
    • Patrick, I would just say, “Eat whatever you want, Dad. I eat this way because it makes me feel better.” End of story!!

      Marge wrote on March 17th, 2016
      • ““Eat whatever you want, Dad. Curious, is the estate plan up to date? I’d like to avoid probate when I am struck with grief”

        Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on March 17th, 2016
        • +1

          IJulie wrote on March 18th, 2016
      • I have a friend who has asked me various health questions over the last 5 years, inevitably my reply is, try Primal eating it will address x, y, z. She never does, then a few months later another question comes along. The latest being, do you think the GP could do anything about my knees? My answer, try 30 days eating the way I suggest before you do anything… it’s the same old, same old.

        Kelda wrote on March 18th, 2016
    • Ha, “I might die fat but I’m going to die happy.”

      Yep. Totally. Cuz peeps are happy being fat. They like that it takes significantly more energy to do simple things. They like always being hungry. They like buying bigger and bigger clothes. They like the health complications that come with being overweight.

      What’s up with peeps thinking they’ll go out in a blaze of glory? Like one day they’ll just spontaneously combust and game over? Nah, that’s not how life works. Being overweight leads to a lowered quality of life which leads to multiple medications, a roller coaster relationship with diets and exercise, lowered mobility until ya get to the point that ya can’t support yourself. Then some disease attacks you and you lose the battle there. No blaze of glory here. Long and slow. But hey, it’s easier to just do what ya want and be fat and wait for your body to give up on ya. I prefer to live long and drop dead here.

      *sigh*

      /endrant

      Happy St Paddy’s Day lol

      Eddie wrote on March 17th, 2016
      • Exactly. Life in a wheelchair is just so much fun.

        “If I knew I was going to live so long, I would have taken better care of my health.”

        Walter Bushell wrote on March 17th, 2016
    • Sometimes a little humor goes a long way — when I’m reminded that I’m going to die regardless of what or how I eat so I might as well just enjoy myself I tell them:
      “You’re right – but my goal is to be the healthiest corpse in the morgue!”

      PrimalGrandma wrote on March 17th, 2016
      • :-)

        wildgrok wrote on March 17th, 2016
  5. I have toned my evangelism WAY down over the years–if anyone wants the info, Mark’s had it all here for the last decade or so. If someone doesn’t own or have access to a computer or the internet, there are books. There is no excuse!

    After seeing Primal and Paleo books I lent to my neighbor end up in his trash can covered in coffee grounds and banana peels, I, too, have come to the realization that not everyone can be saved. In fact, there are people who don’t want saving at all. I have finally gotten to a place where I can accept this.

    Now I let my own physique speak the volumes for me. I’ve lost 43 lbs., and all post-menopausal. My neighbors are jealous, especially the one who lives behind me that tries to out-walk a bad diet. I shake my head and wonder as I count up the money saved, the time saved, and all the dietary short-cuts I’ve learned along the way (like which foods and meat cuts offer the most nutritional bang for my buck).

    To all of them, I say: “It wasn’t easy, but it CAN be.” It just kills me that I feel like I’m sitting on top of the world’s best secret for losing weight, and can’t tell anybody–nobody wants to hear it. That’s alright–I’ll keep sitting on it to make the line of future clientele grow so long that Mark will have to start teaching from the grave!

    I can say the same for Jimmy Moore, Jason Fung, and a few others–they, too, will have to learn how to teach from the grave, because hoards of people will end up on their cyber-doorsteps one day, and that one day may be one day too late.

    Wenchypoo wrote on March 17th, 2016
    • I wouldn’t exactly hold up Jimmy Moore as a paragon of health.

      Amanda wrote on March 18th, 2016
  6. The last item has always been hardest for me. It’s not the people who aren’t trying, it’s the people who are. Watching someone close struggle with ill health and try to fix it with conventional wisdom while dismissing any alternative really breaks my heart but it’s true, pushing them just causes people to turn away. Often better, but far harder, to act as an example rather than a preacher.

    Becky D wrote on March 17th, 2016
    • I have an old school friend who is doing exactly that. She is convinced that I’m “just lucky” that I don’t “need” a dozen different prescriptions and haven’t been in the hospital twice in the last 6 months. It’s difficult but I just bite my tongue because her doctors know everything she needs to know, and she isn’t open to suggestions from those of us who don’t have the appropriate credentials. Meanwhile she’s getting worse. Every time I talk to her I wonder if it will be the last time.

      Shary wrote on March 17th, 2016
    • Yes, it’s beyond frustrating isn’t it.

      Kelda wrote on March 18th, 2016
  7. I hear family members and co workers complain about their weight and how poorly they feel and ask me what I did to change things for myself.
    So I tell them.
    The next thing I know they’ve all signed up to a national weight loss program with the initials w.w. and they then complain they are hungry, and haven’t lost any weight, that it’s a hard program, that once they stop all the weight comes back etc etc
    It’s hard to listen to and so preventable.

    Laurie wrote on March 17th, 2016
    • W. W. as a business works, because it doesn’t work as a fat loss program. If it actually worked they would be out of business by now.

      Walter Bushell wrote on March 17th, 2016
      • It does seem that way, but if MDA works then Mark should be out of business. Just change the phrase ‘out of business’ to ‘making huge amounts of profit from other people’s misery by positioning themselves as the authority on the subject’.

        Kit wrote on March 18th, 2016
    • I’m a 40 year old male. Lost 40 lbs using WW and have kept it off. (And I don’t live life hungry) The latest version of WW does better than previous versions teaching people how to eat healthy. I use WW and some paleo and primal sites like MDA to continue living at my goal weight and decrease my body fat %.

      TheLateShow wrote on March 17th, 2016
  8. Nice timely article. I’m seeing my GP today. I’m 15 lbs lighter, dropped 5% more body fat, and can do twice as many push-ups and sit-ups as I did the last checkup. Perhaps this time it may sink in when say I simply avoid modern processed foods practice the primal blueprint as much as I can. He has many executives that are overweight and it would benefit his practice by recognizing benefits of the primal lifestyle.

    Jack Lea Mason wrote on March 17th, 2016
    • Good luck. I have a GP in a CW practice who personally practices a primal diet, looks awesome, has shared with me that she has no health issues, yet many of the people who work there are overweight, have the expected health issues and still look at her like she’s weird when she passes on the bread, donuts, birthday cakes, etc.

      Paleo4life wrote on March 17th, 2016
      • I discovered his assistant is Primal. When it came to break fast, I rejected the Yopait, granola bar and juice box. The assistant gave me a Maple Kind bar from her personal stash and we agreed that was the perfect balance of fat, protein, fiber and sugar. She even agreed that Maple is the best natural sugar by the Glucose/Sucrose ratio. Win! The GP’s main issue is dietary fat and arterial plaque. If I’m going to sway him off of whole grains, it’s going to take hard evidence that fructose and grains lead to heart disease. When providing constructive criticism to professionals, it’s best to use sniper tactics than the hand grenade approach. Issues like the Omega 3/6 dietary imbalance or the fructose effect on liver enzymes is a sniper approach. Mentioning the Primal diet is like dropping a hand grenade. Patients are supposed to learn from professionals. not the otherway around. So ask them questions you already know the answer to but do it in the form of, “What does this study mean?”

        Jack Lea Mason wrote on March 18th, 2016
  9. Tell folks you follow a Mediterranean diet but you stay away from beans and take in a bit more protein and they all nod with approval, tell them you follow a Primal diet and they’ll get alarmed and criticize you for following a dangerous fad lol.

    Then there are the chronic cardio people who complain they are always tired and constantly have a cold or the flu … trying telling them to stop that and lift weights, do HIIT once or twice a week and do walking instead … see how that works out. :)

    HealthyHombre wrote on March 17th, 2016
  10. Mark your aim is to help 10 million people. I’m wondering how you are counting them and what progress you have made. Did you count me??!!!

    Helen wrote on March 17th, 2016
  11. re: “Couch it as a personal choice” and “Don’t try to save anyone”:
    I did give up on trying to tell people my “weird diet” could actually benefit everyone (or nearly everyone) and just tell people I feel better. But now, instead of considering Primal as an option for themselves, other people dismiss me as some kind of outlier and think that none of it applies to them. My mom desperately needs to lose a bunch of weight and her health is suffering, but she’s wary of diets in general (lots of yo-yo’ing in the past) and even she says to me “well yeah, it worked for YOU, but I don’t have a problem with gluten” etc… I’ve given up trying to “convert” her, but it took me a while to let that go and it’s still painful to see her health deteriorating when she could be gaining so much…

    Linda wrote on March 17th, 2016
  12. Excellent guidelines, Mark–and ones I’ll definitely share with clients, many of whom struggle with explaining their changed eating patterns to others.

    The biggest thing in my own life and in my work with others has been first, to point to personal experience, offering some version of: “Eating this way makes me feel good and look better. Not eating this way causes me health problems, weight gain, etc.”

    AND it still floors me that even faced with another’s clear, measurable successes, belief can trump reality, and another (often overweight or unhealthy) person will STILL counter with: “Eating that way is unhealthy. You need to be eating whole grains. You need to eat less fat, less protein, etc.”

    As I tell my clients, if someone is insistent around pushing this, the issue is about them, not my clients. It’s far easier to create a distraction around someone else than to face their own reality and places in need of attention and work.

    I also encourage clients to teach by doing, never by pushing. Eat the way they eat…and others will see the results. Whether they choose to follow along or not, we cannot walk someone else’s path for them.

    Dr. Dana Leigh Lyons wrote on March 17th, 2016
  13. My approach has been to follow the advice of St. Francis of Assisi who once (allegedly) replied to the question, “What’s the best way to share our faith with others?” with the following statement:

    “Preach the Gospel at all times… and, if necessary, use words.”

    Our consistency, actions, and results speak far louder than any words we can ever speak.

    Ron Pereira wrote on March 17th, 2016
    • Great quote!

      Reading the word consistency reminds me of a good, better, best analogy I put together for myself after listening to a podcast in the primalpotential.com archives (Episode 094 if you’re interested):

      Best = Perfection
      Better = Persistent
      Good = Consistent

      Being as none of us are perfect (in any area), and this article suggests that we not be persistent (as it relates to primal advocacy, using the definition of: obstinately refusing to give up or let go), then good/consistent is where I need to focus the majority of my energy in all things.

      – Shalom –

      Da Big Shoe wrote on March 18th, 2016
  14. CW strikes again. From a lead researcher of the 2016 County Health Rankings & Roadmap (CNN website):

    “People have an impression of rural areas as healthy living and the great outdoors, but there aren’t sidewalks. It can actually be more difficult to get out and exercise. Urban can offer more recreation facilities and more safe options.”

    Run through a field, climb a rock, swing from a branch & jump a fallen tree? You weirdo.

    TR wrote on March 17th, 2016
  15. It is so hard when you see friends eating crap, or even worse, giving it their kids. Or what about when acquaintances complain about their kid’s behavior or talk about getting their kids on ADHD meds while feeding them goldfish and juice!
    But if you really want them to change, you can’t attack. You can’t make them feel like they’re bad parents.
    Now, if they want to ask me about what I would recommend they feed their kids…..

    Christina wrote on March 17th, 2016
  16. This is really interesting. I’m on day 11 of going primal, and I’ve lost 10 pounds effortlessly so far. I know some of that is water weight, but I’m feeling a lot better and less hungry and like I’m feeding my body good healthy nutrients. I decided to go primal in part because I have been having constant headaches that I think are related to hormones, and I’m trying to level those bad boys out.

    Everyone who asks about my diet change immediately says “oh so you’re just doing Atkins” and I want to scream at them! But you’re right. When people ask, I tell them what I’m up to. When they question how I feel, I tell them I feel great. When they ask how long i’m doing it, I reply “hopefully forever” and they look at me like i’m a space alien.

    Lenora wrote on March 17th, 2016
  17. I had someone close to me who really freaked out about me removing grains from my diet. When it worked for me, they were willing to concede that maybe I couldn’t eat them, but also, shouldn’t I make sure my kids are getting whole grains?
    Well, it’s been years now. Either the judgement has passed, or they’ve just given up on me.
    Either way, it’s nice not to argue about it.

    Beth wrote on March 17th, 2016
  18. At some point I will inherit my mother’s house (where I also live) and I will have to bring in room mates to help pay expenses. But I recently realized that at that time, when I have to advertise for room mates, I will say in my add, “Big preference for someone who follows Primal Blueprint.”

    I would gladly share my home with someone who lives this lifestyle.

    Jed wrote on March 17th, 2016
  19. I stopped preaching years ago – I just live it and enjoy it.

    Most people have stopped criticizing my way of eating and many of them seem to have addressed there own eating habits.

    Haven’t had a sick day in years.

    At the gym I’m often criticized for not going enough, not working-out hard enough, not staying long enough, not being serious enough, or doing yoga.

    On the other hand it’s nice for a middle aged man to get compliments from people of all ages and backgrounds (including health/fitness professionals) for his physique, strength, appearance of health at gym/yoga/work/family/social-situations.

    Just live it and be well – maybe they’ll re-assess their own lifestyle and dietary habits.

    I already ‘knew’ how/what to eat – Mark just reminded me and ‘said it was OK’ to return to doing it.

    Mitch wrote on March 17th, 2016
  20. I WISH the people around me would ask me how I stay healthy and pain-free, maintain a normal weight, and stay happy, energetic, and motivated but they don’t. I never get a chance to use any of these intelligent and well-timed responses. I WISH I could watch people “regain their vitality through the simple means of living by ancestral principle.” It’s so hard to watch friends and relatives and their kids eat crap and then try to fix their ills with CW and ineffective/harmful medicines. I’ve only managed to get one person to go gluten-free, but that’s where it stopped; she eats GF junk food and thinks it’s fine. I had to stop preaching because I want them to stay my friends, but they make me sad. I have friends that are dying and I can’t save them. I feel very alone in my primal endeavor, and if it weren’t for this website platform, I would be.

    Jen wrote on March 17th, 2016
    • Some places have ancestral health (paleo/primal/wild/keto) meet up groups.I haven’t attended one, but I have thought about it.

      Kit wrote on March 18th, 2016
    • Hi Jen, I work for a company that has a culture of: different colored donuts for breakfast treats and birthday cake after lunch and I think they got tired of trying forcing these on me to the point I now work at home full time and I sneak into work early in the morning to pick up mail and a quick chat with team members about once a week, how cool is that!

      And some use their aches and pain like a badge of honor. I’m always surprised when I hear others bragging about their pain and ask: “Why do you feel like that?” It’s really outside my 9 dots.

      Now, one of my other team members has started a primal diet without my introduction but I do support her whenever I can.

      Jack wrote on March 18th, 2016
  21. I was totally suprised today at a meeting with people outside my usual circles, usually people, while not being primal, are respectful and kind. Today however in the context of discussing health food trends with a person who wants to start an oil business (flax. Hazelnut. Canola. Etc). I mentioned paleo is a trend. I was so suprised everyone who had heard of it started saying oh paleos eat lots of meat and that its a diet and a fad and just eat whats right for your body. All in a negative way which was so weird. Made me realize like mark said. People have heard about it but dont understand it. All well. I thought paleo was a well recieved trend (too much time on MDA😊) but apparently still not. I did not say anymore, no time to counter those perceptions but was actually kind of speechless. I did not realize the extent that people are holding on to what ever they are holding on too.

    I’ve been there, I used to nag my old boyfriend about not eating breakfast…most important meal of the day etc…blah blah blah. He did not eat breakfast nor ate junk food really. Ate salad and worked as a rock scaler..totally ripped. He followed his instinct. I however was dogmatic in following the CW breakfast most important BS and was most decidedly not ripped!

    gwen wrote on March 17th, 2016
  22. Primal guideline “look after yourself’. If you are fit and healthy, you can help others. However you help them, they will have respect for you and will be more receptive to what you say. Jared Diamond – Papua New Guinian Big Men – this could feature in Western society more.

    Kit wrote on March 18th, 2016
  23. You could always push “PrimalCare” through Congress and fine them if they don’t participate…

    skeedaddy wrote on March 18th, 2016
    • Or push for a “grain tax” to replace the carbon tax I’ve been hearing about.

      Casey wrote on March 19th, 2016
  24. “I can’t tell you what to eat. I can only tell you what I eat and what it has done for me.” Also, “I’m tired of trying to save the world because frankly, it doesn’t want to be saved.” — Dr. Kurt Harris.

    Squeebie wrote on March 18th, 2016
  25. Very interesting point of view!

    Robert Langwagen wrote on March 18th, 2016
  26. Talking about my weight loss to my exhusband, I told him all I did was eat real food: meat, fruit, veggies, whole milk, butter, no grains, no processed food. He asked if I was paleo? I said no, what’s that? A few months ago I came across MDA, validated my diet, and teaching me other life style changes, Primal.

    I take my Grands to the farmers market, they love it, flourless brownies, pygmy goat milk, sampling colorful healthy food. Back to my house to help me cook, then take their favorite foods home. At home they started begging my son (their dad) to take them to the farmers market, rabbit, fresh eggs, raw milk and kombucha (now his favs).

    Invite a friend or family member to the farmers market, make them a tasty healthy meal, ask them to go for a walk. A healthy life style change, no label, not a diet or fad. I won the kids first, then my son, hopefully his wife next.

    Search wrote on March 18th, 2016
  27. The ABC’s of behavior change are: A = awareness, B = belief and C = commitment. We can only make people aware of the primal lifestyle and make them believe that a primal lifestyle is a healthier way to live, but we can’t make people commit to a lifestyle change if they don’t want to. This has helped cut down a lot of frustration for me.

    Bob wrote on March 18th, 2016
  28. It is indeed the sad truth that people rarely want to hear the truth. I try not to get into it with most people. I talk about details only with the folks that REALLY want to know.

    Marge wrote on March 19th, 2016
  29. It’s a fairly common misconception that people change their behaviour based on information. They (almost always) don’t; they change based on a trusted peer providing a compelling story. So, you can help people to change if you are a trusted peer for them, but only by lowering their fears and expanding their comfort circle first (e.g. ‘I didn’t think it would be easy, and in fact, it was difficult in the beginning, but now I’m so used to it and I feel so good that I don’t want to go back.’ = you can do it too!).

    They’ve done studies on this and social approval is very, very powerful. A huge percentage of the time, people will not choose a good action if it ostracises them, and conversely, they will choose one to be part of a desired group. In one study, if a male in a particular town had a friend become obese, there was a 100% chance he would also become obese. Needing an entire new set of friends is very daunting!

    For anyone interested, I recommend the book ‘Changeology’ (which is about large social change programs, but the theories still apply in small scale): http://www.enablingchange.com.au/htctw.html

    Nat wrote on March 22nd, 2016
  30. I find this to be the hardest part of living primal(going on 7 years now). Giving up bread, beans, chronic cardio, seed oils was easy after a few months. But the consistent arguments of people(who are usually fat and on 2-3 prescription meds) that it’s a fad or I somehow insinuating that I am too good for them is wearisome. I have become less social which is I know counterproductive to my health.

    Tim Tollefson wrote on March 25th, 2016
  31. Hello Mark I had lost alot of weight. I went from over 200 pounds to 115 pounds. No one noticed or said anything no one said you look so much better. There was no reward and no incentive to keep up with it. Basically I found out that no one cares Jen

    Jennifer Korell wrote on May 21st, 2016

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