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. Peter Soliman wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • The chicken is breaded in pork rinds and coconut flour before anyone goes crazy about having breading on my chicken. ;)

      Peter Soliman wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  2. I have many friends who do not believe in evolution, but rather are creationists. Many have asked how I lost weight. Rather than trying to get them to see things from an evolutionary perspective, I explain that I like to eat the way man was able to eat before the fall from grace. I eat whole fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, eggs, and nuts rather than the grains that man was forced to toil over to farm and process after being exiled from the Garden of Eden. How wonderful this modern age is; we no longer have to be slaves to our food.

    EloiseWildflower wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Eloise, I’m personally a Christian and creationist as well. So when I tell people I don’t eat grains, believe me, I get an earful! I don’t feel like there is any contradiction between my going primal and my faith.

      You can find my earlier comment to see how it all makes sense to me, but I usually tell them that I think God is probably more concerned with my well-being today than with something he said a few thousand years ago.

      Being the”staff of life” doesn’t mean that something is the best thing you can eat, or even that it’s comparatively healthy. It just means you can rely on it to keep you alive.

      I usually tell people I don’t think that God created grains to be the perfect food, but that he made them to get humanity through the ages of relative scarcity that much of the world has yet to emerge from. They have their place, and the world needs them, and I personally feel blessed to live in a time and place where I don’t have to rely on them.

      Podsixia wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • Also speaking from a Christian perspective here’s my take. Grains are from Babel—remember the big cities and big tower? Only possible with grain based agriculture. We weren’t supposed to go there but we did anyway. Now there’s pollution and plastic and nuclear waste. That’s all manmade too. Just because we can doesn’t necessarily mean we should.

        Rhonda the Red wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • If the God of Abraham really did love grains so much we’d be reading about how Abraham sacrificed some grass seeds at the mountain, instead of a ram which probably represents one of the healthiest things you can eat, and thus one of the worthiest of sacrifices, after almost giving his son the worst surprise present ever. I also seem to recall Cain sacrificing grains while Abel sacrificing an animal… how did it turn out for Cain again?
        Besides when Jesus multiplied bread and fish, he was feeding the poor with poor-people foods (fish back then was the cheapest meat; all you needed was a boat, a net and a few hours to “make” fish, basically)

        mm wrote on June 10th, 2012
  3. I started eating paleo/primal last year. When people ask why, I say I wanted to change up my eating habits, which were already healthy but I was bored and wanted something new to try. They just shrug their shoulders, a few will make the “that paleo thing” comment, but typically leave me alone. Some of my friends avoid carbs for gluten-intolerant reasons, other say they just watch their portions of everything.

    I REALLY wish that if I sent this article to my carb-hogging dad and stepmom, they’d read it and take it to heart. They are walking time bombs, her especially with IBS and bladder disease and grossly overweight. Dad says he “feels good” all the time but all I can think is, “you’d feel even BETTER if you’d change you diet!” Short of moving back across the country to be their personal chef, you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. :(

    Tiffany wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  4. The big ones I get are, “But whole wheat is so good for you, I understand about refined flour though.” the other one is ” and cave men spent all day chasing their food, you dont so clearly you are getting too much fat and will gain weight”

    I have lost 40 lbs doing this but since that cant be true I must be lieing.

    warmbear wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  5. I’m one of those whose found that her GERD is pretty much gone with the removal of grains. I can tell when I eat too many carbs, particularly grains and (hangs head) sugars, because the next day my hands swell, all my joints ache, and I’m looking for the Tums.

    Years ago I worked with doctor at my local naturopathic pratice (though he himself is an MD) and found that I was allergic to wheat. The tests for celiac say that I don’t have it, but any more than a small amount of wheat, rye, or barley, upset my innards and wheat made me wheeze. The doc told me he had a lot of the local GIs send him patients, and it was amazing the number of people who would rather suffer from Crohn’s, IBS, etc, and have to take massive quantities of drugs with horrific side effects, or even have major, potentially life-altering, surgery, than get rid of the pasta from their diets. My father seemed to take my grain intolerance as a personal affront for the first few years.

    As it is, I found last year that even in quantities too small to trigger my asthma, wheat would trigger a migraine. That honey glazed donut ceases to appeal when you associate it with an ice-pick to skull. Pavlov works. Now if I could just develop an immediate painful reaction to Lindt White Chocolate Truffles….

    Pippa wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  6. The one I get is a variation on the everything in moderation argument: “My aunt Tilly lived to 120 and ate bread every day.” I’ve given up trying to defend or explain other than to just say that it makes me feel better and I didn’t realize I’m intolerant until I went without for a while.

    Diane wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  7. These responses are great, since most of my friends eat “everything in moderation.” I went primal on a good friend’s recommendation, even though I have never had a negative reaction or health problem due to grains. However, I witnessed first hand this weekend that carboloading in preparation for a triathlon can wreak havoc! After two slices of toast, two pancakes, two eggs, a banana, some protein powder in milk, and an energy gel right before the swim start, I did not feel light, fit, and ready to tackle the race! Lesson learned.

    Genevieve wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  8. How about – oh, is that like Atkins?

    James wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  9. Mark, the only thing I don’t like about your site is that there is no ‘thumbs-up’ thingy because I woulda been pushing that for almost EVERYONE haha!

    One thing that gets that blank-eyed stare from people is when I say “we don’t need fiber, we need roughage.”

    I have auto-immune (lupus) — a fellow crossfitter went to Robb Wolf’s nutrition seminar (about 3 1/2 yrs ago), came back and told me I had to give up grains. A bunch of us went paleo that day — one vegetarian even started eating meat. We were very lucky because we had a small group of people going cluten-free at the same time so we shared recipes, went shopping together, talked about changes/results — and then my gym had a 30-day challenge and another 40 people joined our caveman community. Beer was probably my biggest intake of gluten at that time (lol) but the hugest result was being able to sleep thru the night & just existing relatively pain free (fluid on my hips had kept me sleepless for a year & a half.) I feel it in my body & my mind whenever I cheat.
    Thanks for this post Mark! Awesome as always.

    kath@crossfitnorthatlanta.com wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  10. Awesome article Mark! I always get the “Oh, okay, so you’re doing the Atkins thing” or “Still on that health kick?” They start to challenge me, but it takes my background knowledge in personal training level nutrition countered with what I know now to throw them off. They’re usually disinterested by the time I say “glycogen”.

    Maralee wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  11. Thank you, thank you! I get hit with these questions every week and I do my best to answer politely. But, you’ve really boiled it down to perfect, short and sweet responses. Can’t wait to use them!

    Thomas wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  12. How do I gain weight while eating primal?????? Help :)

    Berta wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Eat more high carb vegetables? Eg. Sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin?

      Roanne wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  13. People we know didn’t really give us a hard time about going Primal (2+ years now), but now that we have a one-year-old, we’re always fielding criticisms about getting her a “balanced” diet — and then they’re always really shocked when she happily eats things like crab and garlic, etc. “I’ve never seen a kid that likes that!” My favorite incident so far? She got a toy cart for her birthday, and it came with a mesh bag full of plastic food. She pulled out and started trying to eat the grapes, chicken leg, etc. Then she got to the loaf of bread and stared at it like, “what the hell is this?” before tossing it nonchalantly over her shoulder as evidently not being food :D

    Erin wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Love your story!

      Jess wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  14. Great responses, and very tactful ones at that.
    If a friend/family member saw the results you were getting, I would think their skepticism might turn into curiosity. Meaning, if you look great from the Primal diet, they would probably just say “wow, well it sure looks like it’s working well”…

    chris dowell wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  15. My favorite is you don’t eat grains why are you sick. I am always amazed how much bad information people will believe. I no longer feel the need to defend the way I eat. My energy level and fit body is my proof.

    Trish wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  16. whoa – you ain’t seen nothing till you see the “you are bloody f-king insane and should be institutionalized” look on europeans faces when we say this to them! course her in switzerland, they are much too meek and polite to say anything except “oh that’s interesting” to your apparent madness.

    a fun game nonetheless to mess with their heads…

    ravi wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  17. Ah yes, ‘everything in moderation.’ That’s my favorite. Why do I have to be so extreeeeeeme!!, after all, is the big complaint.

    I dunno, why do they insist on not eating obviously rotten seafood or moldy food which merely will give them food poisoning and kill them? Gee, you need to MODERATE your intake of foods that are likely to kill you, right?

    :)

    Actually, since gluten intolerance has become more mainstream, people give me a lot less static.

    Oceanside Grokette wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  18. I try not to get too annoyed when people say, “Oh, you’re doing the Atkins thing,” because if that’s the only way they can understand it then fine.

    What bothers me more is when I’m a guest at someone’s house and they know very well my dietary choices, yet they push and push cookies, brownies, potatoes, muffins, and corn on me. And say “well, you can go back to your diet when you leave.” Well you’re making me feel unhealthy so maybe I’ll leave now!

    Also, my boyfriend knows this diet very well and lost 20 pounds on it, but we’re in a long-distance relationship. Whenever we see each other we eat non-primal food and go out to eat a lot. He says it shouldn’t matter because we hardly see each other and it’s a special occasion, but I don’t like the special occasion excuse because there are too many “special occasions” for food indulgences. Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, Memorial Day, birthday’s, anniversaries, celebrations of good grades or promotions.

    Any suggestions on how I should handle these situations?

    Elizabeth R wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • I love this saying that someone sent me awhile back:

      “Do not reward yourself with food, you are not a dog.”

      Somehow we have been trained to use food as a reward for good behavior which has lead to those “everything (and anything) in moderation” mantras.

      Mary wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • If you must celebrate with food, find a Brazilian steakhouse and wear it out. That’s our go-to place for special occasions … like days that end in Y.

      Lissa wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  19. I swear, 6 years of vegetarianism was where I cut my teeth defending my diet (my biggest Primal surprise was that so many of us were the other extreme of veg-headism at one time).

    Not eating anything-with-a-face for so many years freaked out the masses like nothing else. I cultivated these responses to quickly end prolonged debates:

    “I do what I do to get the results I desire. You can do whatever you want to do to get the results you desire. No one is stopping you.”

    “My results speak for themselves, your results speak for themselves.”

    “What works for you doesn’t work for me.”

    Paula wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  20. I don’t get too much flak for not eating grain, in fact many people seem to have heard of the Paleo diet in my area. The two main areas I do get flak are: “Isn’t that a diet to lose weight?? You are already so skinny!!” To which I reply: “I was skinny, now I am fit and healthy.” The other one I get is: “Oh I could never give up bread/cereal/popcorn/etc.” to which I reply… “Of course you can. I was a full on carb junky…. some days I would eat nothing but carbs. It has been a year and a half and I hardly miss bread anymore. It takes time but it well worth it!”

    And then they look at my glowing skin, bright eyes, shiny hair, super fit body and tons of energy and think.. “hmmmmm…”

    Mary wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • hah, people say to me “you’re already skinny, you don’t need to be on a diet”
      I always tell them how much it has fixed me, not to mention the near 20 pounds of pure muscle I’ve gained

      Andrew wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  21. “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.”

    What I don’t get though, is if the above is true (and I don’t doubt) then why are we allowed to eat seeds and nuts? Aren’t they all essentially “seeds”, even grains??? If you plant them, they will grow. So why does the PB advocate eating seeds and nuts?

    Sandra from NZ wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • This is the way it was explained to me, it’s because some “seeds” use different kinds of defenses.

      Grain seeds are open and easily available on relatively short plants as they swing and drift openly into the air, so they had to evolve a much more aggressive chemical warfare.

      Nut seeds on the other hand don’t need to invest in nearly as much chemical warfare because they come from much taller plants and the seeds are much heavier so will sink into the ground forage more quickly. Nuts also come with the seed encased in a very hard outer shell that acts somewhat as a deterrent against getting chewed up by mammals.

      Paul M. wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • Because they don’t have the same level of anti-nutrients. There are posts about nuts that go into more detail about the good and the bad.

      The PB promotes liver, but they don’t recommend you eat polar bear liver. Just because polar bears have toxic levels of vitamin A doesn’t mean all animal livers do.

      Grass fed beef is more nutritious than grain fed beef. Both are better than straight grains. It’s up to personal choice where you draw the line.

      Aaron wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  22. I’ve seriously thought about returning to school for nutrition/diet/something-something. I’m very curious to hear about what certs Mark and Robb Wolf are doing. And if these would be available to others :) In Canada!

    Love this post, Mark. It’s gonna have to be blogged about by yours truly STAT!

    primal pat wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  23. I’ve been grain and sugar free (with the only exception being berries) for 3 1/2 years.

    About half the people that I encounter just give me the smirk and head raise, “oh you’re another one of those low carb health nuts.” Some come right out and say it, some just think it. I know when they just think it because their reactions look exactly the same.

    The funny thing is, they also often let me know how great I look when I let them know I’m 52.

    Paul M. wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  24. You’ll get stomach/bowel/ colon cancer if you don’t eat grains!

    Don’t know where this one come from!

    SophieE wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  25. “Isn’t is unhealthy to leave out an entire food group?” is definitely the question we get most at our site. We constantly have to explain that you don’t need grains for fiber, and you don’t need milk for calcium. Until we can take down the food pyramid these stigmas will be alive and well.

    Tony Frezza wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  26. Can you do a similar post for going dairy-free? I get tons of question about that! Where so you get calcium? How do you live without queso? Ice cream? But Greek yogurt is healthy!

    Good article!!!

    Christina wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  27. What about this:

    – “The grains… ah grains… *sob* I wish I could eat them. Such a cheap and filling source of calories. But I cannot, I have a genetic disorder!”
    – “Oh, really… sorry to hear, what is it?”
    – “I miss the phytase enzyme, you know… all that phytic acid found in grains, it would… well, not kill me, but give me serious mineral deficiencies…”

    primal_alex wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • when i’m not in the mood i always tell people i have a gluten/lactose intolerance or invent something up. people feel bad and this pretty much ends any discussion

      DavidDP wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • I just cut to the chase: “I don’t eat grains because they make me feel like warmed-over shit. I don’t want to feel like warmed-over shit–would you? Okay then. End of story.”

        More Butter, Please wrote on May 22nd, 2012
        • I still eat grains, but I eat far fewer carbs and more protein and fat than most my coworkers (all the girls are some variation on vegetarian). They know I am gluten sensitive, but when the protein+fat over carb issue comes up, or the fact that I eat a lot of red meat, I get all TMI on them. “I eat this way because otherwise, my PCOS flares and my period doesn’t show up.”

          Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf wrote on May 24th, 2012
  28. I was once training twice a day PLUS running everywhere,(no scooter)I needed to go. It was a lot of daily cardio. After awhile I added pasta, rice, & oatmeal to help fuel all of this activity. This went fine for a few weeks. I then returned to training after a few months back home. This time I had a scooter, (no need to run as much)still trained twice daily and added back in the grains again. After 4 weeks I had developed visible belly fat! Then I eliminated the grains, (got back on coffee also) and 2 weeks later, belly fat gone! True story!

    Bill Berry wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  29. Actually you know, this “primal stuff” never sounded crazy to me at all. I found the site, I started reading, and I couldn’t (and haven’t stopped). Truly an example of the “eureka phenomenon” !!

    Chance Bunger wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  30. When I stopped eating grains due to finding I was coeliac, my asthma of 45 years disappeared – apart from the hayfever season when there is too much wheat pollen in the air!!

    I remember when they tested me at 15 yrs that I reacted to practically every grain – but nobody made the connection to coeliac in spite of the fact I hadn’t grown enough – but then people didn’t.

    Jenny W wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  31. I get funny looks and comments (mostly from coworkers) insinuating I have some type of eating disorder. This coming from people who when things are stressful go, “There are cupcakes in the faculty room.” It bothers me for half a second and then I think to myself, “I’m not crazy, you’re the one making yourself sick,” and carry on. Nutrition & wellness are like religion, people have very different philosophies and they can do what they want, I’ll do what’s right for me.

    Jessica wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  32. Although I have yet to receive any snark remarks about my diet… I can imagine some people getting, “Oh loosen up and live a little” or something to the extent of being an uptight food snob…. any good come backs for that anyone?

    katie wrote on May 22nd, 2012
    • how about “live a litttle longer”!!

      Josh wrote on May 23rd, 2012
  33. I just shake them til they stop talking and coins fall out. Sorry, wait, that’s what I WISH i could do :D

    Nionvox wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  34. This article is AMAZING! Thank you for providing simple, easy answers that I can tell people. I generally just say that not eating grains makes me feel better, and everyone should give it a shot :)

    Emily wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  35. To Berta who worried about gaining weight – if you are underweight (as I was, bumping along the bottom of the normal range )you will spontaneously, if slowly, gain weight on the primal diet until you reach the correct BMI.

    For the first 3 years I just gained weight but didn’t change body shape, so presume I was putting calcium into my bones -always a good thing. Latterly I have put on some shape – but where it was needed! It is much more comfortable and I no longer feel cold as I always used to.

    Jenny W wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  36. this is fabulous and so much to the point. My French relatives became incredibly angry and insulted when I explained to them why I didn’t eat bread – which they eat with every meal, along with a cocktail of pills for a host of ailments including indigestion (clearly nothing to do with the food they were eating ). I also often get asked ‘How do you fill up without eating bread/potatoes/pasta?’ Unfortunately it seems that we have got used to the idea of bulk being the main point of a meal, regardless of nutritional content.

    Loren wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  37. Mark I think you left out the: how can you not eat 5-6 small meals a day? and the: you should drink more water or…

    DavidDP wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  38. Well Done Mark!
    Your responses to these questions are concise and easy for the most ‘primal-ly naive’ to understand.

    Isaac wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  39. I get this prodding all the time, especially still being a “kid” and making such choices for myself.
    I find it a opportunity to inform. These are some great shorter and easier response rather than going into a mass of detail.
    Thanks

    Andrew wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  40. I wish it was that simple, but it ends up turning into an argument.

    I just chew on steak and smile, nodding until they change the subject.

    Plus, what do you say to the rebuttal of “the less grains you eat the more sensitive you are to them, so that’s the only reason you feel crappy when you eat them”?

    NoSaladWithoutMeat wrote on May 22nd, 2012

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