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

Top 8 Most Common Reactions to Your Grain-Free Diet (and How to Respond)

sharingbreadAs I’m sure you’ve seen, eyes raise and questions arise when you order a burger wrapped in lettuce or discard a “wrap” and eat the contents. And then, when you answer with “Oh, I don’t eat grains,” minds boggle and mouths gape as they stumble to grasp the notion of someone who doesn’t eat bread or pasta. Eventually, though, they fire off responses, challenges, questions, and proclamations. This isn’t right, this isn’t possible, this doesn’t agree with their idea of how people should eat. It just isn’t normal. You’re not normal, and you should be ashamed of yourself for introducing a new paradigm. But not all are personally offended by your decision. Some are honestly curious and flabbergasted. Some just want to know why someone would give up grains and how they get along without them.

So, what kind of stuff do we hear out there in the wild?

Rather than just linking to yet another MDA post, maybe on why grains are unhealthy or how to give them up, let’s take a look at the eight most popular and prevalent questions and then try to come up with some good responses to them. I’ll give both longer ones and succincter ones (that you can fire off in an elevator).

“Oh, is that a low-carb thing?”

While grains represent an easy, cheap source of carbohydrates (that most sedentary people simply don’t need), they also contain “anti-nutrients,” proteins and lectins and other nutritional factors that impair digestion, perforate the intestinal lining, increase inflammation, and can even exacerbate or (possibly) induce auto-immune diseases. Since the purpose of life is to reproduce and that grain has to make it into the ground to germinate and turn into a plant, grains don’t want to be eaten, and they use the anti-nutrients to dissuade consumption in lieu of the running, climbing, flying, crawling, biting, and stinging that animals use to survive.

Response: “Kinda, but it’s more than that. In order to survive and spread their genes, a grain uses anti-nutrients to dissuade animals from eating them. Some animals have adapted quite well, but humans haven’t, so I choose not to eat them.”

“I could never give up bread. And aren’t grains the staff of life?”

For the past several thousand years of human history, bread has been a staple food. The ancient Egyptians baked it. The Greeks and Romans made it. You probably grew up with it. It was – and is – cheap and filling. Today, because billions simply need calories from wherever they can get them, grains are the ticket, the “staff of life.” But it’s not like we’ll wither away into nothingness, all because we failed to heed the biological dietary necessity to eat grains ordained by some higher power. Grains aren’t the staff of life in an inherent sense, but rather because they’re cheap, reliable, and easy to work with. They provide calories and a modicum of nutrients to people who absolutely require those calories, regardless of any nutritional downsides. Having joint pain and bloating because you ate some whole wheat, while unpleasant, is better than dying of starvation because you refused it.

Response: “An unfortunately large number of people are forced to subsist on grains as a staple, because they’re cheap and plentiful and calories are scarce, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to eat. Grains aren’t necessary if you have access to plenty of fresh animals and plants.”

“Where do you get your fiber?”

As if only cereal grains contain non-starch polysaccharides. As if all the world’s inulin, pectin, chitin, beta-glucans, and oligosaccharides are found solely in wheat, barley, rye, rice, oat, and corn. As if some of the richest sources of soluble fiber – you know, prebiotics, or the kind that our gut bacteria can ferment and convert into metabolically-active short chain fatty acids – aren’t fruits, roots, nuts, and green vegetables. And, as if the richest sources of insoluble fiber – the metabolically-inert stuff that pretty much nothing can digest and which serves only as a bulking agent for improving the robustness of our bowel movements – aren’t whole grains.

Response: “I get my fiber from fruits and vegetables. Best of all, our gut bacteria can actually digest the fiber from fruits and vegetables, thereby producing short chain fatty acids that improve our metabolic health. Grain fiber is just a bulking agent that fills your toilet bowl.”

“What about the USDA food pyramid?”

What about it? Take a look around you. The obesity rate is the highest it’s ever been, and almost everyone who’s not obese is “just” overweight. Diabetes is on the rise. People live out the end of their lives relying on a complicated cocktail of pharmaceuticals and medical apparati just to eke out a few more years. All this, despite the majestic, all-powerful USDA dietary recommendations informing everything we put into our collective mouths. How’s that USDA food pyramid working out for us so far, I’d like to ask. I’m not necessarily assigning a causative role to the pyramid (though it certainly plays a role, in my view) in the obesity epidemic. I’m just saying that it has done absolutely nothing to stanch the rise of diet-related illness. I’m saying it doesn’t have a real impressive track record.

Response: “Since the USDA food pyramid was released in 1992, the obesity rate has increased unabated. What about it?”

“That must be terribly inconvenient. What do you eat for breakfast? What about sandwiches? What about dining out?”

Well, you see, all you gotta do for a bread-free sandwich is spread a little mayo on your right hand, some mustard on the left, and pile on the avocado, the deli slices, and the tomato slices in between. Easy as pie. Seriously, though, I don’t get this question. Have these people never heard of bacon and eggs? Omelets? A steak and salad? Do they think a sandwich is indivisible? That once you place the final slice of bread atop the meat, lettuce, and cheese the sandwich can never be altered, that you physically cannot pry the bread off the innards? Have they ever even witnessed the creation of a sandwich? Are they going to weird fascistic restaurants that force you to consume the bread and pasta? I just don’t get this one. I really don’t.

Response: “Just take off the bread and eat the other stuff. Bam.”

“Everything in moderation, I say. I don’t like to deprive myself of anything.”

Ah, yes, the eminent voice of reason. “Everything in moderation”, they say. Trans-fat? Bring it on, or else it’s deprivation! Margarine? Slather it on my veggies! Must not deprive! Arsenic? Sure, I’ll have a bite! Why not? That said, I’m just not seeing where the deprivation comes in. I fail to see how not eating a food that leads to poor health, digestive upset, and bloating is somehow deprivation. You could say that I’m technically depriving myself of feeling like crap by not eating grains, but that’s a good kind of deprivation. If you want to be quite literal, eating grains deprives you of a full, healthy existence.

Response: “When I eat grains, I feel terrible, bloated, and not like myself. The way I see it, I’d be depriving myself of a full, rich, healthy, happy life if I were to eat grains in moderation. Besides, do a rib-eye, some buttered broccoli, and a glass of red wine sound like deprivation to you?”

“I’ve been eating grains all my life and don’t seem to have a problem.”

You may not have an obvious problem now, but that’s only because you’ve grown accustomed to your body and it to your diet. The signals of discomfort are dulled, and the intensity of the pain has reduced. You’ve gotten used to the stomach upset, the intermittent bouts of diarrhea. You know how all those “things just happen” as you get older, a view that is reinforced when you see the same thing happening to everyone else around you (all of whom also happen to eat grains)? How you start going downhill at 40, it becomes hard to lose weight, all that stuff. Spend some time looking at what everyone is eating – grains, grains, and more grains – and you might notice a connection.

Response: “I felt the same way until I tried ditching them for 30 days. All those little niggling aches and pains and complaints that I figured were just an inevitable aspect of life have disappeared. I feel better than ever.”

“Where do you get your minerals?”

Although whole grains may look nutrient-dense, simply looking at the mineral content of a whole grain on a nutrition website tell you very little about how your body absorbs (or doesn’t absorb) those minerals. Remember those anti-nutritional factors present in most whole grains? Another one is called phytic acid, which binds to minerals in the grain and prevents their absorption in the gut. Calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and several others are susceptible to the lure of phytic acid, and research shows that cultures who rely on grains for the bulk of their macronutrients and micronutrients display deficiencies in these and other minerals.

Response: “Since they’re bound up to phytic acid, the minerals in grains aren’t really even all that bioavailable to your body. What you see listed on the nutritional facts isn’t what you’re actually absorbing and assimilating. I get my minerals from plants, fruits, and animals, which our bodies can actually absorb.”

Whenever you deviate from the norm, people are going to ask questions and try to challenge you. That’s fine and totally understandable. Remember – there was a time when all this Primal stuff sounded crazy to you, too. We are different. And people are going to react. They’re going to be defensive, inquisitive, accusatory, or all of the above. Try not to be defensive yourself. Try to maintain composure and think back to when the idea of giving up grains was utter madness, take a nice diaphragmatic breath, and respond. This is a time to educate, and perhaps even inspire. Utilize it.

I know I didn’t cover everything. I must have missed more than a few. So, readers, tell me: what else do people say when you tell them you don’t eat grains, and how do you respond?

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. This is great thanks!

    Merky wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Not only do I feel you are doing a disservice by promoting this bogus fad of grain free you are possibly causing a dangerous situation when parents listen to this and do such diets on growing young children. There are only a few people who need to go grain free. People have been shown to thrive with whole grains and legumes and are crucial to meet nutrient requirements. People do not get fat on oats and beans they get fat on sugar foods. They have high cholesterol from eating red meat. Your so called voodooo science is based on short term bogus studies. I have watched people go on to have eating disorders after following the palio diet of no grains. The fact you need a argument against good sound nutrition only testifies on how weak your argument really is, when the Harvard Medical the MAYO clinic and most nutritionists are in disagreement with this bogus science.

      A Concerned Mom wrote on April 6th, 2014
      • I can relate. I have never felt so sick and had so much difficulty getting food down and keeping it there since I have been experimenting with grain free. I’m seriously considering ditching paleo…still following some good parts of it, but give me beans and rice!!!:-)

        Bethie Lou wrote on April 14th, 2014
      • Actually, the idea that red meat causes high cholesterol has been debunked. People have high cholesterol from hydrogenated fats.
        Also, paleo diets don’t cause eating disorders, mental problems like depression, anxiety, and body dismorphic disorder causes eating disorders. And the author is absolutely correct about grains having phytic acids that stops the absorption of minerals- that I learned in my nutrition class.
        There is absolutely no solid proof that grains are necessary.

        Macy wrote on April 15th, 2014
      • I respectfully, but completely disagree. Carbs are carbs – you can readily get them from fruits and vegetables and do not need breads, cereals, rice, pastas and other grain products. I’m not saying they are bad for everyone necessarily, I’m just saying they are completely unnecessary for providing energy for the body; which is what carbs do. As for micronutrients, please show me how eating 2500 calories of plant based, whole foods doesn’t provide such nutrients. I myself didn’t see anything anti-legume here, but I am sticking with legumes (just no grains). Perhaps I could get on the whole grain thing again if they were unprocessed…how about chewing on some wheat straight off the field? Maybe? Anyway, I think a lot of us have had the wool pulled over our eyes by the Dairy Council and their 4 Food Groups (including later deviations of this – like pyramids). Grains: necessary for those that need them (limited access to foods). Dairy: come on…is this really a daily requirement? I’ll start drinking cow’s milk again when everyone else starts to drink milk from other non-human animals…dog’s milk anyone?

        cbrett29 wrote on May 20th, 2014
      • If you haven’t dealt with any severe digestive difficulties or other aches and pains, a grain free diet may seem like a weird fad diet. I was put on a grain free paleo type diet by a nutritional therapist when I was in daily pain. The doctors were out of ideas on how to help me, thousands had been spent on medical tests, I had been on various medications and nothing helped….until I went grain free and started taking digestive enzymes and eating foods with probiotics. My digestive problems went away and I finally feel normal again! Why in the world would I chose to eat “normal” foods and live in pain? I would highly recommend a paleo diet to anyone who has digestive complaints.

        Adelle wrote on July 24th, 2014
      • You must believe everything you hear from the government seriously. I bet you believe the food pyramid is the way to go also from the government. Whole grains and legumes are in fact not crucial to meet nutrient requirements…. Do some actual research instead of just listening to the kings and queens who rule you.

        Nathaniel Yost wrote on September 8th, 2014
    • It took me a while to do it, but being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and having meds prescribed changed everything for me. I cut only “processed” foods out and lost 25 lbs, levelled my blood sugars, lowered my blood pressure, lowered my LDL cholesterol, raised my HDL cholesterol, cleared my skin, lost inflammation, reversed ED – all within 90 days. I only realized after that I was really mostly cutting out grains in doing so (as I didn’t consume too much refined sugary foods to begin with). I live fine on a plant-based diet with nuts, seeds, legumes, soy-based foods and occassional meats. While I admit that it is more expensive, I do not need medication and haven’t felt this good in years. I am a 45 y.o. male. I still include corn as it is a whole food, but have made found a way to make easy substitutions such as spaghetti squash for pasta. The food pyriamid is a joke – we don’t need grains; nor do we need dairy.

      cbrett29 wrote on May 20th, 2014
  2. Fabulous article. I really enjoy your writing!

    Michelle wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  3. All my little aches and pains, especially in my joints went away when I ditched grains (including beer). I used to really feel changes in barometric pressure in my right knee (old lingering injury). No longer. My joints are happy and fluid.

    Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • I read your comment in Ron Burgundy’s voice.

      Chris wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • That makes two of us

        Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • Me too! Please post more, it tickles.

        Charlotte wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • lol

        tyler wrote on June 8th, 2012
        • I love Paleo Ron Burgundy….he makes me smile

          Veronica wrote on September 14th, 2012
    • I agree with you, Ron. I have arthritis and my right LCL would be sore after playing basketball, and my right knee would always stiffen up. Since ditching grains, those pains go away soon after playing, instead of 2 days after. One night after playing ball, my girlfriend made me a bowl of pasta, my 1st in 3 months after going Primal. The next day, my right knee was swollen, and people who barely knew me at work asked me why I was limping. No need to convince me!
      Stay classy.

      Alexander wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • I went primal (mostly…baby steps) around the same time I started running barefoot; I actually found this site looking for info on vibes. When my years-old nagging knee injury went away, I attributed it to the change in my stride taking pressure off my knee, but now I’m thinking there could be more to it.

        jensen wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • took me a good three breaths in and out to work out what the heck vibes were? I had visions of you on an adult web site looking at… well… you know… my brain did a stop rewind change gears sound, and then I finally realised you meant vibrams… I thought I was in an alternate universe for a sec. EEK.

          Jane wrote on May 23rd, 2012
      • now you have to ditch your girlfriend as well!

        Rama wrote on September 2nd, 2013
    • You stay Primal, San Diego

      Davetron wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • Omg, that looks AWESOME! With all the food trucks here in LA, there must be one or two like that!

          Brooke wrote on June 6th, 2012
        • There’s one here in Denver, too, called Caveman Cafeteria.

          Mantonat wrote on May 14th, 2013
    • Once upon a time I was able to accurately predict the coming of any precipitation two days in advance through pain in my leg from an old injury. After cutting grains out my diet I have unfortunately lost that ability. Although I now walk without a constant limp and the rest of my body is happy. Pros and cons. :)

      Jody Ruttan wrote on May 23rd, 2012
    • i love your pic… you are hilarious… and you didn’t post anything that is funny… but reading it like ron burgandy would say it is super hilarious

      Jojo wrote on June 6th, 2012
  4. These are perfect answers – concise and educational, but not snarky. I passed your post on to my fans. Those who don’t eat grains will have these handy when the inevitable questions come up and those who still do can ponder why.

    Thanks!

    Debra wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • I now use something I heard Matt Lalonde say. To paraphrase: “I do my best to eat foods that are low in toxins, low in inflammatories, and dense in nutrients”.

      Tough to dispute that statement.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Good post. I find the answers just a bit *too* didactic, though. I don’t quite go for the mind your own business of EG and others, below, but tend to say (which is true): I’m intolerant to gluten and lactose, and allergic to shellfish, eggs and casein.

      I figure I’m in Mark’s choir, but other people might not want the lesson.

      On another note: Mark said, ‘Do they think … that once you place the final slice of bread atop the meat, lettuce, and cheese the sandwich can never be altered, that you physically cannot pry the bread off the innards?’ To be honest, I’ve been served sandwiches just like this! The ‘emergency solution’ to bad catering (pulling the inside of the sandwich out) sometimes doesn’t work with soggy, stale white bread sandwiches.

      P.S. I’ve been having trouble leaving comments because I’ve taken up Mark’s challenge not to be on the computer after 7:00 pm!

      Violet wrote on May 23rd, 2012
  5. I normally say something like “Mind your own goddamned business,” but that’s just me.

    EG wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Haha!

      Joe wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Yes, I have a similar response, although I am a little more polite. ;-)

      Alison Golden - PaleoNonPaleo wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Yep. IMO it’s pretty f#@%ing rude to harangue people about what they’re eating or not eating, and I don’t consider it my job to try to convince people to eat primal.

      Don! wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • When I first went Primal, I felt SO GOOD, that I wanted to spread the word and told anyone who I thought would listen about my discovery of the PB. That resulted in frustration (on more than my part). I have learned that some people do not want to be healthy and even feel amazing if it means drastic change.

        So, even though I want to tell my (terribly) allergy-suffering co-workers that their symptoms will abate if they stop allowing inflamatory food into their systems, they will think I am a nag, not helpful. So, I just feel sympathetic and keep my mouth shut.

        Nicole wrote on May 23rd, 2012
        • I hear you. Whats hard for me is hearing coworkers talk about their children’s allergies and hearing them talk about upchucky cheese and/or McDiabetes in the same sentence. I had horrible allergies as a child, even as a baby I threw up constantly. I can only imagine what might have happened if I’d been fed a low sugar, grain free, seed oil free diet like I feed my kids today (with occasional exceptions). But the sad truth is that cooking from scratch means hamburger helper and cake from a box for lots of folks, certainly where I am. And my shaming them isn’t going to make them change, only make them thing I’m a jerk. So I just keep on living well and those who ask get a taste. Those who ask for more, get more. Though I have a hard time not being snarky, for a while my favorite response to ‘how did you lose all that weight?’ was: ‘I have a fifteen foot tapeworm. Her name is Martha.’

          -Tim

          Tim wrote on May 23rd, 2012
        • I know what you mean.Change is hard.Some people are not willing to do something hard.Some people just want to carry on the way they are and pop the pills.What annoys me,is when they want sympathy for their ailments.I find it hard to be sympathetic to someone who sin’t willing to even try something new.

          Mel wrote on May 15th, 2013
    • hahaha

      peony girl wrote on June 6th, 2013
  6. Thanks for the helpful suggestions. When I first converted I was very defensive especially around my low fat, more grain friends.

    Some of those friends try to sabotage my eating style with temptations or simply make a back-handed comment about just what I’ll eat when going through a buffet line behind me.

    I have learned to ignore them and eat what is available as a way to show them, I’m not going hungry – that’s for sure!

    Pam wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  7. Thanks, Mark! My parents think I’m crazy and lecture me about fiber all the time. I wish I could get them off the grains. They tease me and think this is just “a phase”. *sigh* I worry about their health. :(

    Primal Pants wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Sad thing is, they are worrying about yours too. It’s all about what research you hear/believe/trust.

      Aaron wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • + 1

        My parents also lecture me with their superficial knowledge because they are “worried”. (Honestly, I don’t get how you can be worried about somebody who is medication- and pain-free for the first time in years and feeling better than ever…)

        Plus, they are completely stubborn. After all explaining failed, I started to mention studies which are as fake as the whole page here according to them. Full stop. Sometimes the wording “Growing up is when parents start to become stressful” just IS a perfect match…

        Isabel wrote on May 23rd, 2012
        • You can be sick – its normal. You can be on medication – its normal. You may be still getting sicker – its normal. You can’t change your diet using proven commonsense and get better – thats not normal. Thats the new bleached, brainwashed world for you.

          Rama wrote on September 2nd, 2013
    • Yes, parents. I am in the process of converting them and this was exactly the post I needed. Even bought them the blueprint for their anniversary. Thanks Mark.

      Vince wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Yeah, my parent’s were worried about my saturated fat and cholesterol intake for a while… But after I got my dad to take a look at MDA, he’s become a believer. He is actually thinking about trying the primal thing, but is a bit worried about how the increased fat intake will affect his pancreatitis.

      Wes wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • I feel ya on this… similar situation here

      Andrew wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Don’t you just love being lectured about your health by your very unhealthy in-laws or parents because you look too thin (more like your not fat enough – like them)and do weird stuff like not eat grains or partake in sugar overdoses. Even as their kidneys fail and they pop another round of medication they still manage to tell how we should eat & live.

      Anthony wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • +1 for this! I hate it when people say I look too thin – actually due to my muscle mass, I’m nearer the higher end of the okay BMI range. And every time I see family I haven’t seen in a few months, they ask me if I’ve lost weight. Um, no. If I had lost weight every time you asked me that, I’d be dead by now. Sorry you have the image of me, 35lbs. fatter, inexorably etched in your mind.

        Rachel wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • We have, as a society, completely lost sight of what a ‘normal’ weight is. We think it is 15lbs heavier than it really is. I ignore people who say I look ‘too thin’ – and they are always at least 20lbs overweight.

          Alison Golden - PaleoNonPaleo wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • I just remind them that everyone else is simply getting fatter – and I am staying the same weight year after year. That’s why I look thin.

          karen wrote on May 23rd, 2012
        • I just wanted to let you know that I laughed out loud when I read “if I’d lost weight every time you asked me that, I’d be dead by now.” :)

          Ginger wrote on June 6th, 2012
        • I’m in my 40s, and over my adult lifetime have gone from a size M to an S. My jeans size has decreased to ‘0’ over the years. And I have weighed exactly the same the entire time! Anyone else notice the shifting clothing sizes?

          Anna wrote on May 16th, 2013
      • oh anthony! i feel you! i get the “you’re too skinny” debate every time i go to a family dinner. i just take a deep breath, smile, and remember i am leading by example.

        primal aly wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • I hear you Alison! I am absolutely amazed at how our society’s perception of a “healthy” weight has shifted upward and what was “overweight” a couple of decades ago is now considered “normal”.

          Happycyclegirl wrote on May 23rd, 2012
        • What is the saying about you can’t fly with the eagles when you are scratching around with the turkeys? I hope you know what I mean, but you can’t let others – even our dear old families who always know what’s best for us, right? try and bring us down to their level. These types of people are happiest when others are as miserable and unhealthy as they are. Misery loves company & I don’t mind being on my own.

          Anthony wrote on May 23rd, 2012
      • Oh man, try having Italian in-laws. If you don’t have a protruding gut, dark circles under your eyes and groan with every move you’re malnourished.

        ces wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • Hahaha, very well said!

          L.Z. wrote on June 6th, 2012
      • Yep. Just happened last weekend.

        Radrev wrote on June 6th, 2012
      • When someone exclaims, “Oh, you’re too thin!”

        I always want to say (but don’t), “No. You’re too fat. Rude, right?”

        Because, if you think about it, someone saying “You’re too thin!” is JUST as impolite; it’s a criticism on someone’s body. And even if it’s said out of concern, being overweight is cause for concern, too.

        Or am I just mean?

        Nicole wrote on June 7th, 2012
        • Nicole, I have lived with the derogatory “you’re so thin” my entire life! (almost 50) I too have always wanted to reply “you’re so fat” in a pleasant voice and see the response. But you’re right, rude. I have just come to the conclusion that overweight people don’t think they are the ones overweight. Really listen to them some time. They will talk about other unhealthy people but not include them selves, it’s just denial. So consider the source and say “thank you” and if you can walk away. They will get the message, and if not it’s their problem.

          Terri wrote on January 15th, 2013
      • How unfortunate that you can’t just say…. “Look at YOU! How many medications are you on now? How often are you complaining about joint pain, muscle pain, sleep problems, and weight gain? YOU’RE giving ME advice, and you expect me to listen?!”

        mrsunderstood wrote on November 20th, 2013
        • Never and I am over my recommended weight. Skinny people dont have to go through the pain of someone scared to sit by you cause you are “too skinny”. Dont whine about being skinny in a world where the mentality is: the thinner the better.

          Luna K wrote on May 25th, 2014
    • A diet high in insoluble fiber can actually cause colon cancer, the fiber is like eating sticks & twigs that beat up the delicate 1 cell thick layer of epithelial cells lining the colon.

      Fiber has much the same damaging effect on colon epithelium as sugar does in arterial endothelial cells which is why high blood sugar & high carb diets & intakes are bad. Cardiologist Dr. Dwight Lundell in his podcast interview with Jimmy Moore says high blood sugar is like taking a wire brush or sandpaper to the 1 layer thick endothelial cell lining of your arteries every time you eat carbohydrates which causes massive E cell & arterial damage.

      Dr Lundell says the arteries of every patient he operated on had all the classic signs of inflammation; redness, swelling & heat. Now imagine that same process happening in your colon every time you eat insoluble fiber foods, not good.

      Chronic fiber intake causes chronic cell damage which causes chronic inflammation which causes chronic cellular hypoxia which in turn can cause cell death & tissue necrosis & bowel death requiring a surgical resection if you’re lucky, and cancer if you’re not.

      There is plenty of research showing that the people that eat the most fiber get the most colon cancer. Refer your parents to Konstantin Monastyrsky’s website gutsense.org & his book FIBER MENACE and the review by the Weston Price Foundation, just google FIBER MENACE you’ll see the Weston Price review in the search results.

      cancerclasses wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • I’m with you 100% on that.

        Arty wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • Excellent points. I read a Yahoo(ey) article on Gibb’s death from colon cancer which suggested that it was odd for him to have contracted that disease as he was vegan. (I may be wrong but I assume grains & possibly soy were heavy in his diet.) They also threw in the “link” to read meat and colon cancer. How frustrating. I can only hope more people come to realize the detriments of a grain-heavy diet, both for themselves and in regard to larger ecological issues (GMO’s, monoculture, etc.)

        L Pilolla wrote on May 23rd, 2012
      • Suggest they eat more fat. If you eat more fat, you don’t need all that fiber to “stay regular.”

        karen wrote on May 23rd, 2012
        • No, plant foods are what you need plus they contain antioxidants. You don’t get those from meats. I cut way down on grains and dairy (I don’t stress over small amounts in my diet) so now I eat lots of raw salads with chicken or fish added. Instead of dairy I drink almond milk or water. I think its bad advice to tell people to simply eat more fat. Some fat is fine, just don’t overdo it.

          Rob wrote on April 9th, 2014
      • hope you don’t mind I showed this to all my friends… great comment!

        Jane wrote on May 23rd, 2012
      • Im glad to see other people posting about the whole fiber thing. I eat what is mostly a carnivorous diet. Just have never been a veggie fan and I am more regular now than ever. At the risk of being TMI I am perfect on the Bristol Stool Scale http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_Stool_Scale lol the thigns you learn about yourself when you go paleo

        CMHFFEMT wrote on May 24th, 2012
      • True… but I’m pretty sure our intestinal walls are a bit more than one cell thick or else there’d be no room for immature gut cells & stem cells.

        The only good news is most paleolithic veggies had way more fiber than selectively-bred neolithic veggies, so we’ve evolved to deal with a little fiber………. so long as the gut is 100% healthy.

        mm wrote on June 10th, 2012
      • Learning this (along with other things) literally changed my life. I am a life long IBS/Crohns sufferer and was constantly told I needed fiber to ‘get better’. Now I don’t use any fiber (beyond what I get from fruits and veggies) and most of my digestive symptoms have disappeared (but will appear if I cheat and have anything with gluten in it).

        Bet wrote on May 28th, 2013
        • I don’t know who told you as a Crohns sufferer that you need fibre!!! My wife has a similar issue and she eats refined white bread and rice. brown rice and whole grain bread irritate her condition. High fibre foods are the last thing she needs! Btw, over a billion Chinese eat white rice and are neither sick nor fat.

          Rob wrote on April 9th, 2014
    • I have the same problem. Specifically with my mother. She went on the offensive (both senses of this word) recently by sending me multiple emails with links to Harvard studies about saturated fat and cholesterol. Many of them appeared to be funded by Moonsanto (misspelled purposely) too, oddly enough. I heard all about how terrible my ‘low carb diet’ is, how my kidneys must be groaning and my heart must be crying itself to sleep every night at my Tim foolery. All despite my stellar cholesterol numbers (60 HDL, 112 LDL, 176 total), nonexistent triglycerides, evaporated allergies, and the fact that I am on the verge of having a six pack for the first time in my life. (I’ve also had a creative awakening that has me making more and better things than ever before, I don’t know if it’s the omega 3s or what but I LOVE it)

      That said, I realize there’s nothing I can do to sway her opinion. I can only continue to live well and look and feel amazing. Those who follow the opinion of credentialed authorities may very well take their brown rice and flax to the grave. We can’t save everyone and we won’t convince anyone by arguing with them and throwing our facts in their faces.

      Tim wrote on May 23rd, 2012
    • Even my diabetes educator thinks this is just (for me) a passing phase and I will not be able to live it as a life style…… although she did not have a hissy fit when I told her this was how I was living these days… she simply said IT WON’T LAST!

      Clare wrote on May 21st, 2013
  8. Excellent post! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Leah H wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  9. Once again, an article which answered all my questions!

    Korry wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  10. My usual response to the inevitable “no grains? Oh, you poor thing! I could never give them up!” is something like “All that money I was spending on bread and pasta? Now I spend it on steak.” People seem willing to admit that this is a reasonable trade-off.

    Ware wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Yes!! I used to waste so much money on bread and cereal that would just get stale or moldy. Now I can afford grass-fed ribeyes! Mmmmmm…

      Primal Pants wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • I have to remember that steak comment for next time I hear, “that must be so expensive buying all those gluten free specialty foods.”

      Usually I just look at them, add a dramatic pause, and say, “I don’t”

      Jody Ruttan wrote on May 23rd, 2012
      • Totally. It boggles my mind all the gluten free garbage out there. My Aunt is a Celiac, my cousin is wheat intolerant and her daughter is a Celiac. However, rather than get calories from fat, they all eat rice flour gushing with seed oils and preservatives by the butt-ton. My kids eat bacon, eggs, sausage, grass fed beef, lamb and pork, ghee, butter, lard… I’d use tallow if I could but the organic farmer I get my beef from literally doesn’t believe that I want it. It’s hard just to get the lard and leaf lard (OMG, that stuff is amazing when rendered, the whole house smells like french pastry). I wish I could get some duck or goose fat but our local jewish community is small and keeps very much to themselves (understandably).

        Tim wrote on May 23rd, 2012
        • I have a lot of fat in the freezer from roasting the meat. I have chicken, duck, turkey, ham… When you roast a duck or goose, it sounds like bacon is frying from all the fat that comes off. My mother taught me a trick when I had fat left over from a Christmas goose. Take the roasted fat and extra fat or skin you might have reserved, put them in a saucepan with water. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. Let the pan cool (in a cold place is great). The fat will solidify at the top and the impurities will remain in the water.
          The last time I made bone broth with a beef knuckle, I got a bit of tallow that I skimmed off. I save it in ice cube trays. I need it because my farmers’ grass fed hamburger is too lean. You can probably find another farmer that will sell tallow or suet. Certainly it is avail from US Wellness Meat.

          ValerieH wrote on May 23rd, 2012
        • Tim, I agree with the g-free garbage. I was told I’m a Celiac last August(or was it 2 Augusts ago?). I also have IBS. People usually comment, “You’re gonna get so skinny.” and I laugh at that, since there are still sugars, rice/potato/corn flours. I’m annoyed because I haven’t mastered what hurts and what helps my stomach. I’ve picked up some things from these posts, so thank you…but I’m still wondering how to find the best balance. I find I am hungry easy and a little bit light-headed when I try to ‘eat healthy/organic’. Any tips?

          Lauren wrote on May 24th, 2012
        • Hi Lauren,

          I don’t know if you’ll ever see this but my wife had severe IBS symptoms, which we had assumed were due to her gall bladder removal surgery, but then they resolved about 90% after going to a paleo/primal diet philosophy, as did my asthma and my allergies. For the final bit of her IBS, we’ve been experimenting with removing dairy here, nuts there, etc. I think we’ve narrowed it down to nuts at this point but it’s an ongoing process. Take heart, work hard, be diligent, and I believe you can see an end to your symptoms or at minimum a significant reduction in their frequency.

          -Tim

          Tim wrote on June 7th, 2012
  11. Good article. I workout four days a week and have been eating primal for a few months now. I’ve never been good at speaking so I’m just going to take my shirt off and show them them my six-pack and ask, “Are you really going to argue with this?” Then flex until they bow their heads in shame.

    Paul wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Exactly! Let the proof speak for itself! We all need to show people that this works…rhetoric will never work…unless they are asking about it…

      Primal Pants wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • hehehe. Love this. I usually wait until my friends/family tell me how great I look, then I tell them how I am doing it and how they could do it too if they wanted.

      Merky wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • When they see results others are getting… That’s usually when the willful self-delusion becomes evident. Showing people a way out doesn’t do anything for the internal barriers that keep us from doing stuff that takes effort but would be good for us. I speak from experience…

        Podsixia wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • tee hee hee, awesomeness

      yoolieboolie wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • “show them them my six-pack and ask, “Are you really going to argue with this?”

      Ha-ha! That is EXACTLY why I took the final Primal plunge. I looked at the images of Mark on MDA and said: “I’m not going to argue with a fifty-seven year old with a six-pack.”

      If we really want to new bring people into the primal fold, the LGN angle might be a more effective “in” to their CW-chained brains than any nutrition lectures.

      oxide wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • Reminds me of a muscleheads cartoon I saw years ago of of an ab-roller salesman trying to sell it to a group of bodybuilders. The bodybuilder has pulled up his singlet to reveal a 6 pack and asks: Tell me again why I should buy your product?
        When your good health and shape is all evident, it should be explanation enough.

        Anthony wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Love this!

      Jess wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • *applause* LOVE IT.

      primal aly wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  12. “Just take off the bread and eat the other stuff. Bam.”

    Just eat meat and veggies, bam.
    Just go outside and do stuff, bam.

    im going to end every sentence today with bam.

    MikeD wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Hahahahabamhahahaa

      ces wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Bam is the buzzword of my sentence ending relative to short primal explanations. Nevertheless, I do start with the six-pack flash and flex. So it goes like this (e.g.): Flash & Flex Six-Pack, Do this and that for 30 days…wait for it…BAM! (No, really now, the BAM gets now “wait for it, in most cases at least.)

      Irrespective of the jolly comment I above, what is really hard is trying to argue your case to those who, as Mark posited, have accustomed themselves with the small discomforts produced by eating non-ancestrally (or even non-primally – which is more permissive)since such individuals always counteract with saying that they eat everything I do and also those other non-paleo/primal foods (in moderation some add) and they feel in order. They say that the post-40 gradual health decrease that is to come is just a natural evolution (or rather devolution, as I see it) of the human cycle of life. Plus, they also throw in the bad genes inheritance argument and will by no means accept that one can reprogram his genes solely with individual efforts.

      Dan wrote on May 26th, 2012
  13. Bam. I love it Mark. Eating like a king, feeling fantastic. Stick to your grains and your ailments if you like and I’ll stick to what’s working for me. Pow!! :)

    Oliver Kelly wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  14. When my Gran had a nervous breakdown in the 1930s the doctor prescribed Arsenic, a pint of Guinness a day and sitting in the garden. She was going strong into her nineties, so it can’t be all bad!

    Mr Ed wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Hahahaha

      Nick wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Brilliant, now thats a doctor

      David wrote on May 23rd, 2012
  15. Dear Mark,

    You’ve unaccountably missed out the classic,
    ‘Shouldn’t you eat a balanced diet that includes all the major food groups?’

    Hilary wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • isn’t that the food pyramid question?

      yoolieboolie wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • There’s a variation that goes, “I just don’t think it’s healthy to cut out an entire food group…”

        It’s kind of the “all things in moderation” argument plus the “food pyramid argument” plus a big dose of self-righteousness.

        You may have guessed, I hear this one a lot from my friends.

        merryish wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • I respond, wheat is not a food group, it’s a carbohydrate/anti-nutrient. Try 30 days without it and see how much better your digestive tract feels. That was all it took for me, no digestive problems since ditching grains almost two years ago. If I’m traveling through Europe and succumb to the temptation for fresh bread and croissants it only serves to remind me how poorly I feel afterwords and I’m back on the wagon.

          David wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • I’ve heard it as a reason not to try dropping grains from someone who’s chronically ill with auto-immune problems. I do understand her not having the energy to change (I mean, how many new recipes did I try when I last had ‘flu?), but still… sigh…

          Hilary wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • My response to that is, “But grains aren’t really food. Not for humans, at any rate.”

          And, when pressed, after “moderation” has been invoked, I say, “Given what they do to the human body–and to my body in particular–grains are a slow-acting poison. How do you eat poisons in moderation?”

          More Butter, Please wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • That’s the exact comment I got from my vegetarian friend who came to my home for dinner.She brought wheat thins and hummus for appetizers.I told her I was avoiding wheat for now. “It’s bad to eliminate a food group. You need grains, etc..” She eats wheat and was tested for Celiac disease and was told she did not have the condition. She was thrilled, b/c she eats mostly pasta, cereals, etc. However, she has suffered for years with pre-osteoporosis condition. She is very thin and does chronic cardio too.
          (I wanted to say: “Isn’t cutting out meat eliminating a food group?” but I left it alone…best not to argue with a cellular biologist PHD)

          Ann Marie wrote on June 6th, 2012
        • Alcohol is a type of fuel, therefore, a food group. It was very popular in the 19th century.

          mm wrote on June 10th, 2012
  16. I have no idea how long it’s been offerred, but Jimmy John’s here in Minnesota (basically a sob shop) offers an “unwich” version of all their sandwiches. Progress!

    ProudDaddy wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • My local cheese steak cart will give me a ‘south beach special.’ It was Atkins, South Beach & c. that gave us widely available bunless burgers. Mad respect.

      Ion Freeman wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • I ordered a roast beef sandwich last night with out bread. The server cameback and asked me how the kitchen should make the sandwich since there was not a “no bread button” on the computer register.

      I smiled and said exactly the same way but instead of bread use two big pieces of whole lettuce. I could see her mind was blown.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • I did a similar thing… Ordered the Cali-Chicken Sandwhich no bread… They came back with sliced chicken on a wrap… When I took the biscuit off my plate the server looked at me and said, “You said no bread, not no wrap.”

        Sigh, it takes times.

        Chris wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • I once ordered a burger with no bun at a pub near my office and the waitress started to walk away then turned back and said “Are you sure? No bread?” Then she came back from the kitchen a few minutes later and said, “The cook doesn’t know how to DO that!! He’s just a KID!” I kind of had no idea what to say for a minute then said, “The plate is the bottom bun… then just don’t put a top bun on..”

        Mike wrote on May 23rd, 2012
        • Hahahaha! So good!

          L.Z. wrote on June 6th, 2012
        • “He’s just a kid” — hahah, like you’re doing something terrible to torture him! How could you, you monster!

          Jenny wrote on June 6th, 2012
      • This is interesting because where I live, I rarely have a problem with ordering food without bread, rice, etc. They say “OK” with a smile and keep it moving. I guess in Portland servers are used to people who are Primal, gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, soy-free, or any combo.

        Carla wrote on June 6th, 2012
    • In-N-Out Burger, a local favorite, serves “Protein Style” burger wrapped in lettuce, no bun. It’s on their not-so-secret menu.

      HillsideGina wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Yes!!! The Jimmy John’s unwich is my favorite go to meal if I didn’t have time to prepare a lunch or I’ve been out running errands and need to fill my belly. They have a little piece of my heart for this.

      Ruth wrote on May 23rd, 2012
  17. This is good. Unfortunately when there’s such dogma involved in the old grain paradigm, no amount of facts, reason or logic will convince them. Even the amazing physical, tangible results that are manifested in front of their eyes won’t convince them. A lady I know says that people at her work think she purges because she lost so much weight eating “unhealthy, fatty foods”.

    I agree completely here though. The trick is not to preach. The last thing you want to do is act like a snarky vegan. IF they ask, then tell them why you are doing it. But never go on a tangent telling them they are wrong for not eating Paleo. That’ll only turn people off.

    Shipmaster Mahoney wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • My avatar is better!!!

      Trav wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • Ha. It is. I agree.

        Shipmaster Mahoney wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • When I told my GP I had gone GRAIN FREE she simply asked me if I was ensuring to take B vitamins :-) No worries there

      Clare wrote on May 21st, 2013
  18. I don’t usually get those. Of course most people I am with know that I lost (by choice lol) over 65 pounds, 7 years ago, had kept it off, and for the past 1-1/2 years started exercising. (Yes, it’s true, 80% of weight loss and health is diet, not human replica’s of mindless hamsters/gerbils on a tread-mill for hours! Nothing against hamsters/gerbils mind you…)
    What I usually get is Why? and not a sarcastic, but truly inquisitive why. And since most people are familiar these days with Celiac “disease”, I start with the extreme and what they know and lead them along the path of knowledge.

    John Pilla wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • You know the wheel running and grooming captive vermin exhibit is actually anxiety induced obsessive behavior…

      Gem wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • When I tell people that I avoid grains for health reasons, they understandably assume I have Celiac. I tell them I don’t but that I do have a sensitivity to proteins found in grains such that grains make my arthritis hurt/flare up.

      People then wonder if a doctor prescribed a grain-free diet for arthritis. I say no (they prescribed meds). That I found this on the internet and did a 30 day experiment. I also say that lost of people have a grain sensitivity and don’t even know it.

      The people who have a chronic physical issue often say, “maybe I should try that” and sometimes they do- because chronic pain is something that makes people more willing to look outside the usual paradigm.

      Susannah wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • You know better people than I do! Instead of “maybe I should try that” I always end up with “Oh, I could never give up pasta and bread!”

        So, most of the time I just lead with “gluten sensitive” and leave it at that. After all this time without any, it’s probably true. =D

        merryish wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • The people with mild problems do say “oh I could never give up pasta and bread”. It’s the people with more severe problems who say “maybe I should try that”. Pain and loss of function makes them desperate and more willing to try something radically different.
          Even people in pain do get nervous about life without lots of carbohydrate. Instead of trying to talk them into making two paradigm shifts at once, I bring up the non-grain sources of carbohydrate such as potatoes (white and sweet) and squash.
          I wasn’t willing to try this experiment until I got desperate either. Joint pain drove me to it. So I am unsurprised when I find a correlation between degree of desperation and willingless to experiment.

          Susannah wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • When they say, “I could never give it up!” I say, could you try doing it for 30 days? Or even just two weeks? If you don’t feel better and start losing weight, you can go right back to eating it. Just try it as an experiment, and see what happens.”

          Most people can’t bear the thought of giving up grains permanently, but if you turn it into a short-term challenge they might actually give it a go. And if they’re anything like me, they’ll feel so lousy when they go back to grains it will at least make them consider giving them up–if they don’t immediately decide “no more!”

          More Butter, Please wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • When people tell me “Oh, I could never give up pasta and bread”, I just smile politely and say “I didn’t think I could, either. But, I feel so amazing and youthful again, I will never go back to eating grains.”
          The word “youthful” seems to spark an interest in those who are skeptical. I know I sure did NOT feel youthful pre-Primal.

          Thank you, Mark, for another terrific article!!

          Sue wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • When my doctor recommended the paleo diet and I did my research, that was my original thinking… how unthinkable to give them up!

          On the other hand, I was tired of the inflammation and post-meal crashes. I took it one meal/restaurant at a time.

          2 months later, and I don’t miss it so much. In fact, I just had something from the patisserie recently, and regretted it for the next couple of days. I love my non-toxic and delicious food so much more.

          Melinda wrote on June 1st, 2012
        • I got sick and tired of well intentioned friends showing me and buying for me gluten free goodies at the supermarket. Those things are full of unhealthy ingredients. I would not buy food stuffs like that normally – why would I do it just because the label said GF? Tiz so much easier now I am totally grain free…..
          Got a conference to go to shortly and I will take my own food parcel for lunch and dinner…… have no intentions of eating the GF stuff they will provide….. and I doubt the double camembert will be on the menu :-)

          Clare wrote on May 21st, 2013
      • My mother, who is 84, has been grain-free since last October. She has rheumatoid arthritis for 20+ years. Two months after we restricted her grains, her rheumatologist was amazed at her progress. No edema in her legs. Instead of 9-12 swollen finger joints, only 1!! And she lost 10 pounds. Her success caused him to recommend a grain-free diet to his other patients. There are a few open-minded MDs out there.

        Laurie wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • I love hearing that! I’m so happy for your mom. Life can get better, even as we age.

          Jem wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • Wonderful!!!

          Teresa wrote on May 25th, 2012
  19. Oops, “sUb shop”.

    ProudDaddy wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • I actually liked it better the first way. :)

      merryish wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • Me too, it made me laugh.

        I have an over active imagination :D

        Polly wrote on June 6th, 2013
  20. If I get “the look” then I explain that I too thought this was a silly gimmick at first (like some Dr Oz-esque “super food” diet deserving of an eye roll). Then I tried it for a week and looked better. I tried it for a month and felt better. Now, after more than a year of mostly Primal eating, I’ve lost over 30 lbs. I’m happy to explain what I do to anyone who asks, but I know what works for ME and if folks don’t like it, I don’t care. Haters gonna hate. Period.

    AustinGirl wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  21. Mark, I have to tell you that a friend of mine is an endocrinologist and after seeing my success, I sent her to your site in late January. I saw her the other day and she told me she has been telling patients to follow the diet/lifestyle on your site and has seen great results. Keep up the great work!

    Marisa wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • I’m signing up for school to get a Dietetic degree. I totally want to be the bastard child of dietitians. I’m going to be the dietitian whose patients actually lose weight, feel better, beat Type II without medication, etc.

      Shipmaster Mahoney wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • I have been thinking of doing this too, I’m just not sure I could swallow all the CW, and then regurgitate it for the exams. Plus I’d probably get fired for all the counter-culture dietary advice I’d be giving. I’m still thinking about it though.

        spincycle wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • Same here.

          ces wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • My twins are finishing their one semester health class in high school, and since Dad has lost 55 lbs. doing the no-carb plan, they questioned a lot of the “healthywholegrains” dogma they were being taught. Teacher was not too supportive, saying that it’s risky and goes against when the experts say. Then I met her at an open house, and she looks like how I used to look…obese. They had little choice but to answer the tests the way the teacher wanted, and we eat low-carb at home. They get it.

          Chris wrote on May 23rd, 2012
      • I, too, was thinking of doing this. Even though I live in Chile they recognize certifications/degrees/training from other countries and then I would be allowed to open my health and wellness center which is something I’ve been dreaming of doing. The only thing: I need to find an accredited training program online.

        mila wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • I believe Robb Wolf and Sisson are working on thei own unique certifications.

        Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • There’s actually a place near where I live that has paleo dietitians and physicians. There’s my in.

          I figure it might be hard to get a job as a contrarian nutritionist. Still, I want to do this. If I can’t get hired, I’ll start my own program from my basement. Just don’t tell the Feds.

          Shipmaster Mahoney wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • That’s exciting to hear. I would totally be interested in an online MDA certification, especially if it somehow then allowed me to meet the CA cert requirements.

          StoneCutter wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • Sweet.

          ces wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • I plan to study similar subjects in college.
        I also feel I will be forced to learn and be tested on much CW I don’t agree with, but I definitely hope when I am not under the thumb of CW education, I can attribute to the revolution

        Andrew wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • I was enrolled in a Bach of Dietetics and Nutrition, eating CW and fat. I thought I’d take advantage of everyone’s fat and disease and be assured of a job.

        One year into my degree I had a lecturer suggest I “do some research” into the metabolism of carbs (wink wink nudge nudge…). I did and then I quit CW/Dietetics and Nutrition and re-enrolled in Bach of Science/Bach of Education. I will teach high school math science. Meanwhile for FUN I hang out on my own F-book Primal page, where I currently have 60 friends (yay) most of whom are losing weight at an astounding rate….

        I find helping people find health as a “hobby” so rewarding…

        I just couldnt do one more minute of CW study… it was KILLING ME!

        Jane wrote on May 23rd, 2012
    • Holy COW! That’s awesome… Endo’s have the reputation of being some of the hardest in the medical field to convince.

      Barb wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  22. Hey, Mark! Love your stuff (and your bod, too). I just had a RD tell me that pizza is healthy! Had to laugh at that one. No more joint pain for me, and no more pizza either!

    Claudette wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • I agree, no more pizza for me………….buuuuuuuuut…I will have plenty of “meatza.” I learned this during my time on Atkins and is something I’ve kept in the arsenal.

      mila wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • Yeah, cauliflower crust pizza is good too.

        Sitara wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • please explain a cauliflower crust pizza!!! :) Sounds…tempting to try and see if it actually tastes good :)

          Lauren wrote on May 25th, 2012
    • not eating grains sure hasn’t stopped me from eating pizza! Just get creative with it.
      http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/01/16/cauliflower-crust-hawaiian-pizza/

      kath wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  23. I was the one asking annoying questions and getting sidelong glances a few years ago. I get more questions abouf my five fingers than my diet, though. I just bought “Eat Like A Dinosaur” for my kid who starts kindergarten in the fall so he can have some understanding about why we eat the way we do. I “lol” inside when I start reading “we’re different because we don’t eat grains”, but I know he’ll be challenged. I almost went for homeschooling just so he wouldn’t be handed cookies and cupcakes every day like he was in preschool. Time will tell, but having these pearls of wisdom to spout off will certainly help plant some seeds in the big brain of CW.

    yoolieboolie wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • That book was just recommended to me the other day for my daughter. Can’t wait to go get a copy of it. I’ve been fortunate that her preschool does not provide food unless you want them to, so I pack all her food for the day, and have been able to keep her mostly primal.

      Cathy wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • My daughter is 2.5 and obsessed with the PBS show, Dinosaur Train. I love how her favorite characters are the herbivores, and she’s nicknamed baby spinach leaves after the triceratops, Tank. At mealtime, she says, “Mommy, I want some Tank leaves, please!”

        That and dinosaur kale. What a perfect name to get a kid to eat it.

        Doesn’t hurt that she’s occasionally a carnivore, too!

        We’ve kept her about 95% primal. We let her have Cheerios and a breakfast bar periodically. Its unfortunate that we can’t pack nuts for her to snack on at school–there are too many other kids with allergies.

        defrog wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • The book is a bit carb heavy, and plays to kids’ love of sweet treats, so I have to remember that they are still for the kids, not me. There are plenty of great egg and meat recipes too, though, and a whole chapter on packing lunches.

        His preschool wouldn’t allow packed lunches without a doctor’s note. We finally pulled him after it got so bad that he was having violent tantrums every two hours- tantrums that would only be calmed by having him eat a slice of bread. Thank goodness I found the resources to get him off grains, he’s so much healthier and happier now.

        yoolieboolie wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • Just started baby steps on Primal eating the last couple of weeks, and of course its a fight getting my daughter off bread and nutella. Would love to know about the resources you mention for helping get kids off grains.

          Jacquee wrote on May 31st, 2013
  24. Yesterday, I ate out at a burger joint and noticed they had gluten-free bread. I hadn’t eaten a piece of actual bread in over a year and wondered how I would fare.Well…today I feel like crap. My muscles ache, and I feel groggy. Soooo I’m glad to be finished with that experiment!

    Caroline wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • More often than not, gluten free is an oxymoron. Per FDA there is a threshold for gluten that can be deemed as gluten free. Further more, even if the bread or dough, etc, were gluten free, most likely the kitchen is not.

      Ironically certain states have tighter standards than the FDA. I read that JWU Culinary dept. plans to build a gluten free lab/kitchen.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • Even if it is totally 100% gluten-free, it may still be a hot mess. I’ve found some gluten-free items that are loaded with starches, sugars, and chemicals. Kind of like the ‘fat-free’ cookies that have more sugar and junk than regular ones!

        Moe wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  25. The bulk of the questions I get are about whether this lifestyle is healthy for my daughter (5 years old). I usually remind people that she is the child who is NEVER out of school sick (has missed one day due to illness since she started preschool three years ago). I get comments all the time about how healthy and calm she is, compared to her sugared-up classmates. The results speak for themselves, I guess.

    Cathy wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • I’m working on shifting my 2.5 year old now. Not an easy task (he is giving me fits) I’m only a week in though, hopefully he’ll come around.

      zack wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • I’ve got a 2 1/6 year old. Mac n Cheese! Pretzels! Gold fish! Cheerios!

        Ion Freeman wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • Bacon! Baconbaconbaconbacon!!!

          Jake wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • When I was vegetarian and had a toddler, even then made no sense that were were feeding our little kids cereal, crackers, a sandwich. Even then I realized it’s all the same, just packaged differently. Different shapes does not make it nutritionally diverse.

          karen wrote on May 23rd, 2012
      • It will come, can you plant a garden for him? My grandson loves to help and eat the garden items. He loves grilled onions and red peppers, broccoli and steak. Yes he likes mac and cheese too so I make a cheese sauce all organic and as healthy of mac and cheese I can. Over all he never liked sweets and breads. maybe born primal?

        shirley wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • At least you can use the Quinoa pasta for the mac part.

          Sitara wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • hey zack,
        we made the switch when my son was 3, and my daughter was 1. There were a few challenges, since the boy loved his waffles and oatmeal, and raw veggies can be hard for an infant to get down. But there weren’t any other options in the house, and we tried not to make it a fight as much as possible. If he gets hungry enough, he’ll eat, and there are alternatives. We made some of the snacks from Elana’s Pantry, with alternative flours, to help ease the transition, but we don’t even do that much any more. Anyway, the main point of it all is kids will come around, and we’ve even been able to cut down on overall snacking for both kids now (they’re 2 and 4 now), because they seem to be fuller longer. Keep at it!

        trojan_n_phx wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • There’s no need to eat raw veggies.

          HillsideGina wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Ugh! Mac’n’Cheese – the bane of my existence! Our daughter has been primal for a year now, she’s almost three. She has nearly forgotten about all the junkie food out there EXCEPT the blue box! You would think that stuff is made of toddler crack!

      Megan wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • Amy’s pasta has a gluten free version of mac and cheese that tastes JUST like the blue box, but a bit less like chemicals. I keep it around for moments of my own weakness. Its great stuff. Maybe that would work for your kiddo?

        AustinGirl wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • Maybe. I am thinking about just giving in and buying some of the ludicrously priced “Paleo Pasta” – or possibly a pasta sold in the organic section of our grocer that’s made from brown rice – and trying out a homemade version. Real cheese, organic milk and cream, real butter. Knowing my kid though, she’ll probably hate it. Toddlers are incredibly irritating, lol.

          Megan wrote on May 23rd, 2012
        • Even as toddlers, my kids NEVER

          Jeff wrote on May 24th, 2012
        • turned down a steak. They tend to not want crap when they are full from tasty animals and plants

          Jeff wrote on May 24th, 2012
        • See, if she hates it, just tell her that means she doesn’t like mac and cheese anymore. “It’s baby food!”

          … I’m kidding, but sometimes it’s tempting to put a certain spin on things with our toddlers, isn’t it??

          Jenny wrote on June 6th, 2012
  26. This is exactly what I was looking for when you asked what we wanted in future posts. It’s my ‘elevator pitch’. This will be very helpful and may help me convert a few more friends!
    Thanks Mark!
    Jim

    Jim wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  27. I tend to get the ‘oh, what diet are you on?’ question a lot. I hate that diet has become a word used to describe some weight loss regime opposed to ‘lifestyle’. CW thinks that a diet is a weight loss regime I guess.(?)

    People seem to be even more confussed by that notion more so than why I don’t eat grains and other select foods.

    I enjoy the opportunity to discuss with people the difference between a CW diet and a lifestyle [obviously centered around the paleo lifestyle]. People seem to become highly interested when we compare meals; everything from calories, fat, carbs, etc. to how the food was, or was NOT processed, to taste. My lunch of grass fed beef w/ some veggies and some fruit [or whatever I pack that day] is the trump card–it never looses.

    Thanks for the post, Mark! and great comments!

    Nic.A wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • RIght. A “diet” is a temporary nutritional change for temporary weight loss.

      Shipmaster Mahoney wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • For people still baffled by this, I use an analogy: “A vegetarian isn’t somebody on a diet. That’s just how they eat. I’m the same way, only STEAK.”

        Jenny wrote on June 6th, 2012
    • I get asked that all the time too. “Are you still on your diet?” And then there are the people who just glare at me because I’m on a “diet” yet I’m thin and don’t need to lose any weight. I stopped answering.

      Sharon wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • I tell the diet people that I’m doing a lifestyle optimalization:)

      Thomas wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • I tell people I’m running an “experiment” to find out if something or other works (i.e., no dairy).

        karen wrote on May 23rd, 2012
  28. One question I had a couple times, which is not in the list, is: “Aren’t you gonna feel hungry very fast ?”

    Considering I no longer felt snack cravings every two hours, that really took me by surprise. The proper way to answer should be along the lines of “As I do not eat grains anymore, I no longer subject my body to the insulin roller-coaster that makes you feel hyper after an hour, then tired and hungry after two hours. Besides, I found a duck filet roasted in its fat and a big bowl of steaming spinach drizzling in butter is plentiful enough for a full day’s worth of work.”

    Jesrad wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  29. funnily, I don’t really ever get questions. I thought for sure I would this weekend at a festival when the only edible option was a lamb sandwich without the bun. “so just the meat, then?”, said the girl and she didn’t even raise a brow.

    I have to question how fair it is to cast so much blame at the food pyramid (now MyPlate) when only about 3% of people actually follow it. Sure, people think they’re trying, but they fall sort. What’s one of the main areas of imbalance? Most people eat way more grains than recommended and way less vegetables and fruit. Most of those grains come along with extra sugar and vegetable oils and trans fats too.

    Real Food RD wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Yes. Blame the food pyramid. Because doctors and dieticians are forced to learn it, and it affects what types of nutritional research gets funded, and what gets blacklisted.

      Read Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories for an interesting history lesson on modern nutrition “science” & policy.

      mm wrote on June 10th, 2012
  30. “and can even exacerbate or (possibly) induce auto-immune diseases”

    My son has chronic urticaria, an auto-immune disorder which had him taking adult level dosages of steroids and other medicine (he’s 10). Going grain-free has cleared up his hives. When he’s eaten grains (pizza at a friends, bread when eating at a family member’s house) his hives come back.

    Aaron wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  31. Heh. My mother is obsessed with all the “wholesome” B vitamins that are *cough* added *cough* to grain products. “Where do you get your B vitamins?” is what she always asks. Not eating enough offal here, so I need to figure out a better answer to that one.

    Jennifer wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Try liverwurst.

      Aaron wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • You get plenty of bioavailable B vitamins from muscle meat.

      Paul M. wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  32. Question: what if people ask, why do grains have natural defenses, but other plants that we eat don’t? My husband asked me this question and I didn’t have an answer. Does anyone know?

    You can see where this argument was going – very convenient for high-carb grains to have anti-nutrients and lectins, but low-carb vegetables don’t have them. Sounds like “diet magic” to the uneducated.

    BootstrapsOnMyFivefingers wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Some plants want you to eat them, it is part of their reproduction cycle. This is mostly true where you are eating the fruit of the plant, and not the plant itself. When animals that eat these parts defecate, they then deposit the seeds in geographically isolated areas.

      Some other plants, we have evolved to more readily break down and eat (like how rodents and birds can eat grains without as much ill-effect as us). You know that avocados contain a chemical called persin that is toxic to birds, but not to us? That onions/garlic/chocolate are toxic to dogs, but not us?

      Evolution works that way. Whatever causes the greatest success (at the time) for the organism wins out. If a plant is more successful because it makes delicious fruit that causes its seed to spread it may win out. If a genetic mutation causes poisonous fruit that keeps the fruit (and seed) from being eaten, it might win out in certain situations.

      High-carb tubers don’t have the same level of anti-nutrients that grains have. Though some do get joint pain when eating potatoes.

      Aaron wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • Thanks, great question and great reply.

        spincycle wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • To be honest, I wonder about this. The argument for evolutionary poison only works if the seeds kill you directly, or at least before you have kids, so that you don’t pass on those grain-eating genes.

        But since grains don’t kill you until after you’ve had kids (and usually they don’t kill you at all), there’s no selection to NOT eat grains.

        If the grains are trying to kill us off by evolution, they aren’t doing a very good job of it. If anything, the grains are allowing us to breed more humans which may mutate into the equivalent of a superbug which can tolerate grain seeds and destroy little grain babies.

        oxide wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • Evolution isn’t cut and dry. It is a process. Those anti-nutrients may be enough to kill off some organisms (bacterial possibly) immediately. Genetic adaptation isn’t universally advantageous. The thick layers of fat on a seal would have it die from heat exhaustion in the tropics.

          What is advantageous changes, see the story about the Peppered moth and the Industrial Revolution.

          Grains don’t choose to kill us or not. At some point in their history grains with higher concentrations of anti-nutrients were more successful than those without. This could be because they simply existed within a plant that had a more substantial advantage, such as resistance to fire.

          Why the plant evolved the way it did does not matter. It is a less than ideal food source for humans as found by research/experience. Having that knowledge, it then comes down to necessity/choice on whether or not we consume it and how.

          Aaron wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • It may not kill you but it can make you sick enough for other people to not want to mate with you as much, reducing the propagation of whatever mutant genes you had that made you try to eat them, if any.

          Thus, the selection is in how hot you,re going to look so you can have a lot of people who want to share some genes with you, how much energy & healthy, non-inflamed joints/etc you’ll have to oblige them all night long and how long you’ll be able to live without catching a disease of civilization so you can keep on sharing them genes of yours with only the most genetically fittest specimens of the opposite sex… purely for scientific purposes *ahem*…

          Nowadays it seems grains aren’t trying to kill us… we’re trying to kill us – the strain of dwarf wheat we’ve been using sine the ’50s was selected to have much more gluten (for better baking) than normal.

          mm wrote on June 10th, 2012
    • Because grains are a seed, not a plant! Seeds do not want to be eaten as they want to grow up to be plants.

      Andy wrote on May 24th, 2012
      • I think if we look at the evolution from the plants POV, not ours, it makes more sense – the plant isn’t trying to kill us – the plant is trying to get it’s seed transported to another location while in “still-able-to-germinate” form.

        When mammals eat the seeds and spread them though defecation, the seeds can grow in the new locale. If the host/transportation device (the mammal) digests the seed, it can no longer germinate, it becomes a negative evolutionary event for the plant.

        Plants have evolved the anti-nutrients to protect their offspring, not to harm us.

        Egalitaire wrote on May 29th, 2012
        • This is also probably why seeds have phytic acid to keep us from absorbing calcium…

          Calcium: it’s what a growing eukaryote-based lifeform needs. (This message brought to you by the phytic acid council)

          mm wrote on June 10th, 2012
      • What about nuts?

        Anna wrote on May 16th, 2013
  33. Wonderful, fun post.
    Yeah grains don’t ‘seem’ to cause problems in most people before 30 years of age, but I strongly believe they were a MAJOR factor in my Acne.
    I definitely believe they are a cause or major factor of a lot of problems after 40 and at 48 I am happy to be free of them. Love the responses :)

    Gayle wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • I totally agree. If i have any grains gluten I’m guaranteed some fresh new pimples the next day like BAM but not in a good way :(

      Gem wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  34. My normal response is that in my case the grains are incredibly hunger-inducing, making me feeling starved while gaining weight.

    leida wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  35. Funny the timing of an article like this. I mentioned over the weekend to someone that statin drugs might not be the best idea and got an earful from that. “Scientists have done thousands of double blind studies with statins. They save lives. It’s science!”. And I wasn’t sure how to respond to that either. So I emailed him a PDF and let him read. Best response is to send a link to Marks site. If you can’t find it here, it doesn’t exist!!

    Steve wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  36. I actually love when this happens. I spent 6 years as a vegetarian/vegan and was always defending/arguing my choices to people. I’ve been primal 2 months now and every time someone tries to argue moderation/SAD/grains are the right way I simply smile, laugh, and ask them why they are trying to argue with me. I tell them I’m not trying to tell them how to eat and frankly, the “proof is in the puddin'” (*points to self*). HAHA I’ve turned more people onto primal living this way then by attempting to defend my decisions through argumentation.

    Aimee wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  37. A great post I recommend to anyone diagnosed with celiac or gluten-sensitivity is this one from Wellness Mama: http://wellnessmama.com/2359/does-the-bible-say-we-should-eat-grains/. She does a great job of answering the biblical question around bread. That one post really changed my perspective from one as a patient with a restricted diet to a whole person who chooses to eat what my body deserves. I’m much happier with the latter attitude!

    Melie wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  38. Thank you for another brilliant piece of writing Mark! Educational, amusing, and so well presented. This is why I come to your site daily for some apple. I continually learn from you about this primal lifestyle and the laughs are simply ‘butter on the steak’! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

    Anji wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  39. “I’ve been eating grains all my life and don’t seem to have a problem.”

    My mom JUST said this to me…thanks for a good response! I’m sending this to a bunch of people!

    Nanette wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  40. We tell people that grains are high calorie foods with minimal useable nutrients. Grains are used to fatten up cattle, and I don’t want to look like I’m living on the feedlot. There’s no point trying to eat a “low-fat diet.” Even if you eat no actual fat whatsoever, all your grains and starchy foods turn straight into sugar once they’re digested and are stored by your body as fat.

    Miss Understood wrote on May 22nd, 2012

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