Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
June 10, 2009

How to Tell Friends About the Primal Lifestyle

By Mark Sisson
45 Comments

Yesterday, we gave some somewhat humorous rejoinders to the common challenges we get from people who just don’t get the Primal Blueprint. Jokes are good for the closed-minded among us who’d never actually listen, but what about the people who really do show interest in the lifestyle? What about friends, family, or co-workers – people you actually have a shot at getting through to – who could use a little nudge in the right direction, away from CW and toward Grok?

It can be incredibly frustrating when people you care about can’t seem to shake CW and give the PB a shot. Its tenets are logical, scientifically sound, and there is ample anecdotal evidence that it really does work – but because they tend to contradict everything most people have ever been taught about food, exercise, and living, it’s easier to ignore them. Or if you are lucky enough to catch a skeptic’s ear, there’s usually some trigger word or phrase (“saturated fat,” anyone?) that causes a meltdown and renders further discussion pointless.

So, in just such a (common) situation, what is the Primal evangelist to do? How are you going to spread the word without alienating your intended audience? And, perhaps most importantly, how might you get through to them without going crazy yourself?

A number of you have expressed a desire to have a handy, go-to quick summary of the basics of the PB for those occasions when you have neither the time nor the inclination to spend ten minutes describing what you do and why you do it. Forum member Cameron Perry said it best:

I do want to echo Jedi’s sentiment in that it’s hard when friends and family don’t really “get it.” Some shake their head. Others go overboard in trying to over-accommodate the primal menu when we share meals (I try to explain the 80% idea). Many tend to look at it as “a Diet” (capital D – like weight watchers) rather than “diet.” Why is that “D” word so ingrained into our heads that we think it’s a set period of time where you eat food you hate? I’m eating food I love (hello – whole avocados!) AND I’m maintaining my weight while losing fat and getting stronger. It’s exactly as you teach, Mark – this should be enjoyable and good for us. I’ve never been healthier or happier with how I’m living. It’s great!

Cameron’s social challenges are echoed by some members of the forum in this thread, so I came up with a simple PDF explaining what we do and why we do it as a partial solution. I don’t delve too deep into the specifics, but I do give the evolutionary logic behind the Primal Blueprint and list some of the benefits a Primal newbie can expect after adopting the lifestyle. My staff and I are confident that anyone with an open mind, a casual knowledge of evolution and natural selection, and a desire to get healthy will find it persuasive and impossible to completely ignore. At the very least, they’ll come check out the site.

Download the Primal Blueprint Flyer (PDF)

Getting the word out about healthy Primal living is more important than ever. Bad habits are asserting themselves and we, as a society, are living ever more unhealthily. Increasing incidences of highly preventable diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s won’t just affect the patients themselves and their immediate families; society as a whole will bear the burden with rising health care costs and higher taxes.

Now, I’m not asking you to wear a loincloth, carry a spear, and go hand out flyers in some downtown square, nor am I asking you to put on your short sleeve shirt and tie and go door-to-door. We don’t want to scare people away! But we do want more people to know about what we’re doing. I think we can really help, and you guys are a huge part of making that happen. Next time someone comments on your weird food, or your uncle comes home with a bag full of statins, slip them a flyer. If your co-workers give you the look during lunch, email them the PDF. If they like what they hear, give them a copy of the book or tell them about it and direct them to the Primal Blueprint 101 page.

So, onward, good Primal soldiers: pack your knapsacks with pemmican and nuts, slip on your Vibram Fivefingers, print out a few flyers, and pound the pavement (try to land on the balls of your feet, so as not to incur joint damage!)! Good luck, and thank you!

Update: The new PDF now has a Grok logo in the background.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

Leave a Reply

45 Comments on "How to Tell Friends About the Primal Lifestyle"

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
marci
marci
7 years 3 months ago

this is great! the pdf will be emailed to any number of pals & family members soon- thanks!

smf
7 years 3 months ago

Mark, I like the flyer, great for sharing with friends. You need an eye catcher to use it on a wall. Grok logo.
I have always thought a good visual would be the total daily food for Krog vs. Grok all laid out on a table with an overhead view. “Which would you rather eat”? CW or like your genes want?

brahnamin
7 years 3 months ago

The trouble I have encountered (new as I am to all of this) is couching the entire conversation in a non-caveman format for christian family members and friends who just aren’t receptive to any idea that incorporates the concept of evolution.

One of the things I love most about your website is that you cite and link to enough science that (thusfar) I have been able to do so.

Though, honestly, without Grok the story just isn’t as fun.

Dave, RN
Dave, RN
7 years 3 months ago
I’m a Christian and believe that the primal lifestyle and explanation fits fine. It’s not a matter of evolution so much as adaptation to foods (or lack thereof) and how we were designed to eat. Lets face, there was no bakery in the garden of eden. Just veggies, fruit (it wan’t called “the GARDEN of Eden for nothing) and animals, of which you can explain that God gave us dominion over them. Not to abuse of course, but for food and to be beasts of burden.Explain to them that we messed up, got kicked out of the Garden of Eden… Read more »
mike
mike
6 years 3 months ago
I think the diet makes MORE sense is you think of the body as designed to operate a certain way. Throughout most human cultures throughout most of human history we ate primally. It would make sense that returning to that would be healthier. Kind of like the footwear thing Mark talks about regularly. Most of history- minimal or no footwear was the norm. IF it turns out that our feet we designed to work that way, you would expect minimal or no footwear to be fantastic and healthy (which it is). If however feet were the product of random chance… Read more »
Nathan
Nathan
6 years 10 months ago

Another thing I like to think about toward this lifestyle/diet is 1 Corintians 6:19: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”

Therefore, take care of your body. I think this is one of the best ways to do so.

Ali
5 years 9 months ago
I work at a gear shop (in the South Eastern US) and sell Vibram five fingers. LOTS of our customers are extremely conservative and religious. I constantly get questioned about “those crazy shoes.” I’ve started putting it like this: It doesn’t matter what you believe; that we were designed or that we evolved. Either way, we’re supposed to be running around barefoot. These shoes allow you to do that without cutting your feet open or getting gnarly calluses. The same really goes for Paleo. Regardless of whether we evolved or were created, we’re not really supposed to be eating processed,… Read more »
Furious Mittens
Furious Mittens
7 years 3 months ago

Must obtain a color printer! I’m going to have to find the balance between casually suggesting my friends and loved ones read this flyer, and parading around the airport handing it out to strangers.

maba
maba
7 years 3 months ago

I agree. I’m afraid to approach people on my own because just before I started Primal I was on South Beach and when I talk about PB, I don’t want them to shake it off as just another fad diet I’m following. I’m hoping there’s enough physical change in me soon for them to notice and ask.

Peggy
Peggy
7 years 3 months ago

THANKS!! I’m printing several to leave displayed at my local health food market…

Jedi
Jedi
7 years 3 months ago

Mark would it be OK for me to translate this into French for friends here?

Ryan Robitaille
7 years 3 months ago

Just the mental image of me with a loincloth and a spear – handing out Primal Blueprint flyers in the mall and grunting at people is just too funny. I love it. Def candid-camera moment.

Great PDF. I’ve been looking for an ‘Elevator Pitch’ for this and similar lifestyles for quite sometime. You seem to have hit the nail on the head (as always).

Cheers!

(is it wrong to also say that its a genius piece on the PB book marketing front too? Well played, sir. Well played!)

Berto at PricePlow
7 years 3 months ago

A good idea, but too many words. Needs charts and pictures to grab attention

Peggy
Peggy
7 years 3 months ago

hah! aren’t we becoming our own “picture”? Like the guy yesterday who flexed his bicep @ ppl making fun of his salads…

maba
maba
7 years 3 months ago

Peggy, I think that’s what I’m going to do too when my colleagues make fun of me passing up the bread or not eating mounds of rice.

Holly
Holly
7 years 3 months ago

Great PDF! Already emailed it to a bunch of ppl (even the ones that already support me) just because its so well put! Thank you, for once again, making our lives a little bit easier.

Jane
Jane
7 years 3 months ago

I’m posting the link to the flyer on my FB and twitter. Now alllll my friends will know!

Vin - NaturalBias.com
7 years 3 months ago
I never explain my eating habits as “primal” or “paleo.” Instead, I mention how common disease, obesity and general poor health and poor quality of life have become and then point out all of the drastic changes that we’ve made to our lifestyles over just the past century. Diet is obviously one of the big ones, but it’s certainly not the only factor. Even despite grains and dairy, people ate more whole foods 100 years ago, and I think that’s the main point … to get people eating more of the natural whole foods that we [evolved on, adapted to,… Read more »
maba
maba
7 years 3 months ago

Vin, I was talking to a friend this morning and that’s exactly what I told him too. That I’m trying to eat like my grandmother did and avoiding processed foods like the plague. I was so tempted to tell him about primal, but what I told him would be enough to make him consider lifestyle changes and when he makes them, I’m going to try and talk about Primal. For anyone who lives on Processed Foods, going Primal is a drastic change. On the other hand, if they are eating natural foods, the transition to Primal will be easier.

Sir Grandma
Sir Grandma
7 years 3 months ago

vin, you summed up kinda where I am at with this whole thing. Eat healthy, clean, non-processed food. 100 years ago or 10,000 years ago lets just have real food. People get that as a life style choice. People also get no-grain as a Diet (as in low-carb) but they don’t get it as a life style. What people just don’t fathom on any level is animal fat. It’s just too hard to swallow for people. So when they say I’m going to die, I just say C’est La Vie.

Shine
7 years 3 months ago

Thanks so much for the flyer! I hope this will help in convincing my family to earnestly give healthier living a shot. It really distresses me to know that their misery and discomfort is entirely avoidable.

Gigi @ Girl Eats Bacon
7 years 3 months ago
The printout is a fantastic idea, Mark. I think it could use one or two visual bullet-points to make it pop, though… maybe a brightly-colored illustration or photograph of the huge variety of foods you can eat? One of the most common reactions I get from people when trying to explain a Primal-type eating approach as simply as possible is this one: “It must be so monotonous to eat nothing but meat and vegetables!” I think a lot of people, deprived of real food for so long, automatically conjure up images of nothing but lettuce, broccoli, chicken breasts… and maybe… Read more »
pjnoir
pjnoir
7 years 3 months ago

Species that do not have to work for their food will always have health and weight issues. The process of planning, gathering, preparing and eating your meal is a forgotten element toward a sound mind and body. Very Zen like.

maba
maba
7 years 3 months ago

My physician husband shook off my diet as another fad. Normally, I would argue to try to get my point across but this information is far too valuable for me to make him understand by arguing. So I’m going to let him see my physical changes and then come ask me, because I REALLY want him to take up this lifestyle.

Mamatha (maba in the forums)

Kane
Kane
7 years 3 months ago
Hey Mark, I just finsished the book… And loved it! And this post couldnt come at a better time because I just lent it to my dad. My dad is (sadly) a vegetarian and very set in his dietry ways through years of reading yoga scriptures. He was very active untill about two years ago (teaching martial arts and yoga) and then he turned 50 and stopped being active and started downing the cakes. After showing him your picture (both) on the book cover (especially the beach shot) he went “ooohhh, how old is this guy”. When he found out… Read more »
Miriam
Miriam
7 years 3 months ago

Thanks Mark, I actually had a friend of a friend ask me to send her your link the other day as she and her husband are primal without even knowing it! The pdf will definitely be distributed to family and friends.

Reverie
Reverie
7 years 3 months ago
Love the idea. I do think the first paragraph is misleading that we can eat whatever we want whenever we want. I probably would not read any further thinking it might be yet another gimmick. Would love to leave the flyers at clinics, work, fund raisers for breast cancer, MS, diabetes, etc. My 23-yo niece just moved in and I am very slowly bringing her into the Primal way. She loves the food I prepare. But she still equates ‘healthy’ with low fat. It has been hard to turn that around. Same with the rest of my family, actually. They… Read more »
marci
marci
7 years 3 months ago

Mark-
As I’ve mentioned, I attended classes at the Institute for Intergrative Nutrition (now just called Integrative Nutrition) back in ’05-06. You should be one of their speakers! Contact Joshua Rosenthal at founder@integrativenutrition.com
IN reaches alot of people…and the graduate’s duty as a health consulor is to teach clients about benefits of eating cleanly– there may be many converts to the PB!

Anand Srivastava
Anand Srivastava
7 years 3 months ago
I was thinking that “The Biggest Loser” contest was the prime place to show this. If a contestant were to adopt the primal lifestyle for the contest and then win it. It would be the best publicity that can be obtained. It is becoming very frustrating for me. The problem is that most of the people are either completely vegetarian or mostly vegetarian. Even if they do understand what I am saying they will not take up a predominately meat diet. It is just not part of the culture. The situation starts with my wife. She is a vegetarian. She… Read more »
meatman
meatman
6 years 10 months ago

Actually I found India not to be all that tough to manage. I had the cooked vegetables at the table.
A family friend took us to an all-veg place and I got by fine on the veggies and stuff.
not ideal and I definitely confuse people when I refuse roti or rice…but not too bad.

luyi
luyi
7 years 3 months ago

one of the things i find challenging is to convince my mum(she’s high on CW,and we are asians so theres the rice issue and i’ve to put up with faux soy vegetarian food); and to convince (esp ladies) that it’s not a diet and i’m not dieting.

oh i feel injustified that women(esp. from fellow females) get the flak for wanting to be healthy, and not for the looks.

and i think your picture do get the point across, and us, being role model are the best testimonials.

thanks Mark! =)

trackback

[…] How to Tell Friends About the Primal Lifestyle […]

trackback

[…] week, after a few posts of discussing the perils of trying to teach others healthier eating ways (of the ‘primal’ fashion in Mark’s case) and their […]

Victor
Victor
6 years 8 months ago

As far as I know, we are not older because of doctors (except maybe because of vaccinations), but mainly because of better sanitation. Plus many Gorks probably died in battle or died of hunger or were at least weakened by it; do not romanticize that time, be happy to life now.

trackback

[…] How to Tell Friends About the Primal Lifestyle – Not sure what to say to folks who give you a funny look when they see you slamming down fatty foods? This post includes a printout, an actual PDF file you can print and hand them, introducing them to the world of the modern Grok. […]

trackback

[…] How to Tell Friends About the Primal Lifestyle […]

trackback
[…] I’m somewhat familiar with the Warrior Diet, and I mostly like what I’ve heard. Ori Hofmekler, the author, recommends a pretty Primal list of foods. He’s against modern, processed stuff, and lists wheat as the “worst grain.” Like the PB, the Warrior Diet takes a soft stance on carbohydrate intake, recommending lower-glycemic fruits and vegetables in general but leaving the door open for higher intakes if you need them. You’ll often hear it reported as a daily fast with a single large meal at night, but that isn’t entirely accurate. You snack lightly throughout the day on things like… Read more »
John
John
5 years 2 months ago

I just tell people I eat like a caveman, and point out that animals designed to eat grass have multiple stomachs and since I only have one I don’t eat grass. (So wheat, corn, other grains and I lump sugar in there at the same time as sugar cane is a grass)

trackback

[…] superior in some way. You feel lucky enough to be privy to a secret is all, and you’d like to share what you know with the people around you – even strangers – who appear to be hurting unnecessarily. […]

trackback
3 years 1 month ago

[…] the justifications, and just share  the stuff that makes for good conversation (and understanding). How about  making a meal for your buddies, or showing off your Primal […]

wpDiscuz