10 Things to Tell People that Don’t “Get” the Primal Blueprint Eating Plan

It’s practically inevitable. We mean, of course, the attempts at explanation met with blank stares, odd questions, and suspicious concern. Of course, the best argument for the Primal eating plan is the story and success of each person who makes it his/her own. (And always feel free to point any skeptics/otherwise interested parties our way to learn more! Everybody has to start somewhere on their road to health! We take all kinds.) Nonetheless, after the 54th time you’ve been told by another ill-informed conventional wisdom devotee that you’re on the brink of a heart attack, you might be looking for more creative comebacks.

We must admit that we had some fun swapping stories in prep for this one. One point of agreement: once you get past the “It’s not the Atkins/Zone/South Beach/you-fill-in-the-blank diet,” the conversation tends to take several common paths.

Maybe the person hones in on the low carb thing. (“Low” carb being apparently anything less than the 300-400+ gram gorge of the typical American diet. Seriously, doesn’t anybody “get” moderate these days?)

And how could we possibly ignore the shocking disbelief we’re so often met with when we explain the role of fat in our diets. You can talk from dawn ‘til dusk about clean meats, omega-3s, healthy, intact saturated fats as opposed to rancid polys, but all is lost on this group. From the moment you mentioned higher fat, some deeply instilled alarm fires off in their minds, and it’s all dramatic warnings and impassioned protests from there.

Perhaps your conversation mate targets the protein piece. From the “You’ll kill your kidneys” (actually, no) claim to a whole host of environmental/animal rights objections, you’re under the spotlight now being read the riot act. You could be stuck here a while, you realize, as your mind wanders to those Southwest Airlines commercials. (Please just let me get away….)

And then there’s always someone who is utterly stricken by the “Primal” label, distraught that you appear to have joined some unsavory cult. Surely you must be sneaking out into the night, donning skins, drumming and dancing, eating wild pig off of a stick. What’s wrong with you that you would shuck modernity and all its advantages? Is this some kind of role-playing group? The other fork in this discussion, of course, involves the self-declared history mavens who will actually turn the conversation into a marathon debate of the exact year prehistoric man erected hearths.

Finally, (believe it or not) we know stories of those who’ve face a more confounding reaction. Some people, apparently very invested in the emotional and cultural elements of food, somehow feel your diet is a slap in the face to tradition. In their minds you are rejecting your culture and its cherished delicacies. An unforgivable sin to be sure. Though it can come from all cultural directions and usually takes a mere sentimental cast, the response can occasionally show bizarre undertones. No donuts? No dinner rolls? No Chex Mix? You must have it out for farmers! What do you have against our way of life? Suddenly they look at you like you’ve killed Mickey Mouse.

As you can see, we thought we’d take a break from the serious stuff and let our primal hair down a bit today. Now for our responses to these and other reactions from those who just don’t “get” the Primal eating plan….  Enjoy!

  1. (For those stuck on the Atkins comparison) “Yeah, that’s right. It’s exactly like Atkins. Who needs veggies and fruit? I’m all about the bacon.”
  2. (For those who make an issue of the “low” carb principle) “I can’t help it. Wilford Brimley, that scary Sunbeam girl, Uncle Ben. Fruit and vegetables don’t get spokespeople. It’s a conspiracy!”
  3. (For those who are sent into full-blown panic over dietary fat) “Yes, I know my heart is going to explode. I’m actually looking into a bionic version.”
  4. (For the environmental/animal rights arguments… Actually, we empathize with these perspectives. Nonetheless, healthy is healthy.) “We didn’t invent factory farms, and I support using the whole carcass. Organ meats – yum. Waste not, want not, as they say.”
  5. (Or this one…) “By the way, have you ever tried bugs? Very eco-friendly protein source. Primal folks love ‘em!”
  6. (For those who get bizarrely fixated on the “primal” connotation. This one is all about the delivery. It needs to be accompanied by a crazy look in your eyes.) “I was a caveman in a former life, you know. Quit harping on my people.”
  7. (Or how about this one?) “I don’t like your tone. Don’t expect an invitation to our next pig roast.”
  8. (For those who face the cultural argument) “Aren’t we all primal by origin? I’m just digging deeper into my past.”
  9. (Or, if you’re in a really bad mood – ultimate conversation ender) “Yes, I killed Mickey Mouse – and ate him with a side of fava beans and a nice chianti.”
  10. (Finally, a good catch-all response) “Despite the fact that counting calories, slogging away on the treadmill and eating nothing but Special K are so much fun, I’ve decided to do something that really works.”

We now return to our regularly scheduled science, recipe, fitness and health industry programming, but not before you all have your say! Additions to the list you’ve used or saved up in your own Primal defense?

Check back tomorrow when we’ll be ditching the irreverent ‘tude for some genuinely helpful tips on how to manage those difficult social situations.

TAGS:  humor

About the Author

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

85 thoughts on “10 Things to Tell People that Don’t “Get” the Primal Blueprint Eating Plan”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I’ll have to try some of these. 🙂 Probably the most common comment I get is “Oh, so you’re basically following the Atkins diet?” NO!

    Whenever I explain that I eat the food we evolved on, another common response is the misconception that cavemen had short lifespans.

    Here’s my favorite. A lot of people say I have “strange eating habits” when the see me eating a large serving of barely cooked meat with some vegetables … particularly when it’s breakfast. 🙂 I’m always fascinated by the irony. No, eating grains, sugar and all kinds of chemicals isn’t strange at all.

  2. I run into the “Breads in the bible” argument all the time (I’m from Missouri, it’s apparently a logical argument here… anyway). I usually respond with “I doubt Jesus had high fructose corn syrup, exthoxylated mono and diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, dicalcium phosphate, diammonium phosphate, or calcium propionate in mind when he said to take and eat.” I don’t usually say ALL of them, but that usually get’s the point accross. Then they say “well no, but you can bake the bread yourself, homemade…” and to finally kill the conversation, I say “Ok, but only if you are harvesting natural, wild growing wheat from the field, stone grinding it yourself, using the resulting flour, AND getting all the other ingredients in a similar manner… THEN you should be ok eating the bread for your religious purposes.”
    On a side note (not that I have any problem with religion) I think I would question any practice that wanted me to purposefully ingest a known toxin on a regular basis as part of the faith. =)

    1. LORDY!

      I get this sort os stuff ALL the time. When I’m with friends and somebody is buying some food product and offers the rest of us some, one jerk in thr group will say, “Oh, Rachel can’t eat that. It has monosachasoyglucosginate in it – she can’t eat that on her diet.” Apparently me bringing up all the junk in processed food as become a sore spot so they mock me.

      Another “friend” said, “wow, you’ve really taken this stuff hook, line and sinker. You’re going to die when you’re 50.” I just say, yeah, we’ll I guess we’ll see when you’re in a hospital bed, taken meds out the whazoo and have no idea what’s going on because of alzheimers thanks to your processed food and grain diet.

      As for the Bible, I would mention “In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.”

      You could also bring up Leviticus 3:9-10
      “From the fellowship offering he is to bring a sacrifice made to the LORD by fire: its fat, the entire fat tail cut off close to the backbone, all the fat that covers the inner parts or is connected to them, both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the covering of the liver, which he will remove with the kidneys.”

      Basically, God likes meat & fat not bread 😉

    2. I love the Jesus argument. I’ve used it to defend my egg eating habit (12 a day). When my mom or other people questions my egg habit, I tell them there is nothing wrong with it because Jesus created eggs. If you believe that eggs are bad for you then it is like admitting that Jesus’ creation is not perfect making Jesus imperfect. That usually shut them up.

  3. Cliff, I’ve run into that one as well. Bread being in the bible doesn’t change the fact that the 10,000 years that grain has been in our diet isn’t long enough for us to have fully adapted. All it means is that the bible was written after the advent of agriculture. 🙂

    1. Early bread in the bible was the live sprouted type; the recipe in the bible has it encased in human dung to keep it moist during baking. And at the last supper, “the bread’ was the body (meat) of christ.

      1. Romans emphasized this when persecuting Christians. Catholics believe in a process called transubstantian where the bread and wine of the Eucharist/Holy Communion actually turns into the body and blood of Christ. However, Prostestants are different. They assert that the Eucharist is only done in the memory of the last supper and does not actually become flesh and blood.

        It’s very interesting and makes us wonder how Christians demonized animal sacrifice and pagan religions when their practices can be deemed/seem just as blood and brutal.

    2. No not adapted at all as you can tell from the fact that a huge percent of the population of the world has gluten aka “wheat” allergies. It’s not well publicized but its getting there just check out your specialty foods isle at your local grocer

    3. Ahh, but the earth is only 6,000 years old. Explain yourself now, buddy!

        1. Cause God only created the world 6000 years ago! Some guy had some theory about evolution and for some reason everybody beleives the crap! It’s so more far out that everything happened on accident, than to realise that God created all of this! Just look outside, it’s indeniable!.

          It’s kind of the same as realising everything you thought about food is wrong and going primal!

          Except you realise everything you thought about the history of the world is wrong and start beleiving in the Creator!

          Except you are on the skeptic side of the conversation..

          I don’t buy into the whole ‘we evolved on this food’ crap, cause evolution is false.

          I dont understand how people can treat a random theory as truth, it’s insane.

          Anyway, not sure about the whole bread in the bible thing.. Although animal sacrifice is old testament, and is not relevant anymore to christians, since the death(sacrifice) and resurrection of Jesus, the lamb of God.

          Wow I sound insane, just like when your trying to explain to people about the primal lifestyle..

        2. I don’t believe Mr. Sisson intends this to be a forum for bible class, but I would be more than happy to educate anyone who is interested in knowing how the earth IS billions (or more) years old AND God’s Word is absolutely 100% accurate via email. If anyone is interested in the Gap Doctrine just let me know.

  4. This is actually quite well timed. I just got into a long argument with my premed friend, who believe she knows more than me because she switched from architecture to premed last year.

    She kept going on about how I can’t believe everything I read, and I kept saying she was doing the same thing by blindly believing what her textbooks and professors say.

    She said I was going to kill my heart by the time I’m 50. Well, sadly, its going to take me 30 years to prove her wrong.

    For the year I’ve really been reading and researching, I have found that you can find conflicting research on anything. I just go primal because it is the only thing that is based on logic and not just manipulated studies and flawed assumptions.

  5. as they say: ROTFLMAO!!!
    the conversations usually start with “Wow! You look Great!” & then I tell them my (new) way of life & then I get the “but I thought you were a Vegetarian?” response. Yes! That’s how much Sense PB & MDA makes! One friend was seriously concerned about my change after what she read on Wikipedia (search “primal diet”). I read that article & told her that was not what I was about. Once again I had to just recite the MDA spot. Another was very skeptical about what I was saying about fat & I also referred this page. Another light bulb began to illuminate…
    In short, I just pimp out the MDA site as much as possible.

    1. LOL…that’s what I started doing.
      I used to try and explain my way of eating when I couldn’t have the grains and sugar offered to me. But that usually turned into minute long discussions followed by complete avoidance and strange looks.
      Now, it’s best to just lie and move on with a friendly smile.

  6. let me ramp it up a bit.

    i wonder how many people on MDA would look at me like i had an appendage growing out of my head if they saw me eat my usual bowl of raw meat in the lunchroom at work.

    THAT is a conversation starter. (heh)

  7. 6. and 7. made me laugh 😀

    I’ve also had a problem talking with the “bread is in the Bible” people. Every member of my family is Christian except for me (agnostic), and the instant they found out I’d given up grains the feathers went up (of course the first time I heard about Atkins etc. I thought it was nutty, too, so I understand where they’re coming from). It’s just sad because my father recently discovered he has celiac disease, so clearly HE’S very sensitive to grains—he still won’t give them up entirely though, just the “bad” ones like wheat ): Not to mention practically everyone on my mother’s side of the family started off thin as a rail and then got really heavy in middle-age, clearly related to an overload of carbohydrates (they’ve all got lots of “wheat bloat” going on). They’re all genetically strong people who live a long time and rarely develop serious diseases, but they’re just chronically bogged down by this garbage they’re eating. Their bodies are sluggish when they could easily be lean and full of energy.

    My older sister is starting to come around a little though; she used to be an oatmeal/egg whites/chicken breast person, and now she’s actually thinking about using butter and egg yolks and cream again. She’s already a fan of coconut oil so that’s good (:

  8. P.S. I showed her pictures of Mark and Son of Grok the other day and she was VERY impressed lol

    Also I got her to watch Fat Head and even with the evolutionary arguments she loved it.

  9. Ha! I love the last one! As a female in her twenties, I could get a lot of people with that…

  10. How about this: The Primal lifestyle is so simple even a caveman can do it!

  11. While back in (environmental) school, I was known as the “guy who had steaks every day”. Only an average of 1 out of 10 people approaching me where genuinely interested in why. The others where only motivated by a need to deliver a “moral reprimand”.

    For the latter, I had a response, which, when delivered with a straight and very earnest face, did wonders:

    They: “I can’t believe you eat red meat every day”
    Me: “Well, it’s not like I have it during night worship”
    They: “Why, whats your religion affiliation?”
    Me: “I’m a Satanist”

  12. about the Biblical argument… Somewhere (and I can’t remember where) I read that the grains that were available a few thousand years ago weren’t quite the same as the ones we have now. in other words they were better somehow. I just wish I cold remember where I read it and the details…And really, back in the garden of eden, when everything was perfect, I’m pretty sure their wasn’t a bakery. They just gathered and hunted what they needed. Primal at it’s best.

    1. Dave, I’m not sure if this is what you’re referring to, but in Dangerous Grains, there’s a discussion about how modern grains, particularly those grown in northern climates, contain much more gluten. This is a result of the gluten allowing the grains to withstand colder climates better.

    2. Doctor Davis has a new book called wheat belly it explains the difference between the wheat of only 70 years ago and today’s wheat

  13. Always fun to add some levity. You’re spot on about eating and social interaction though. People get very emotional about their food…

  14. See I’m young and healthy so I have to use my dad as an example for people. At 58 and after being told by his doctor he would have to bump up his blood pressure meds, and acid reflux meds. I convinced him to make some changes in diet and lifestyle very primalish. Now at almost 60 he is off all meds, down 35 lbs, and in better shape than he’s been in for 20 years.

  15. For those who are obviously going to be defensive or argumentative I generally cop out and say “My naturopath suggested I ditch grains and my symptoms have improved so I plan to continue”. Amazing how the mention of a Dr, even an “alternative” one, seems to add credibility (rolls eyes).

    For those who seem genuinely interested I send them to MDA. I also have a form email that I send out to anyone who asks for it.

  16. Oh yeah you guys will love this one! One of the guys in my back shop at work aked me if I was some kind of “chick” because I eat salad every day. I said nothing, and just rolled up my sleeve and gave him a bicept flex. He almost choked on his triple cheese burger, cause at 6′, and about 170lbs I don’t look like a big guy, but my 17″ arms don’t look very girly. Its pretty out of character for me but seemed like a good idea, and was very effective.

    1. Hahaha that would have been great, I can just picture a bored expression on your face as you were doing it.

      Apparently Arthur De Vany values celery highly in improving testosterone levels. There must be something to it.

  17. Interestingly enough, I’ve had the “bias” argument used against the Mark Sisson “brand” of paleo lifestyle.

    I wax poetic and enthusiastic about Primal, eventually give out the URL, and as soon as the person loads the page they say, “oh, he sells supplements. well, obviously this is not a person to be listened to”.

    It still frustrates me to no end that following your passion while being dirt-poor or having it be a hobby is somehow more respectable or just “better” than using your passion and knowledge to make a profit. Who better to utilize their areas of expertise than those whose income and livelihoods depend on it???

    The best counter-argument I have for the “he sells supplements!!” folks is to ask them the last diet book they read or really liked. Regardless the answer, I then ask them if they renounced the contents of the book after they found out the author was getting royalties…

    1. I really appreciate this acknowledgment, abqandrea. There really is no easy way for to me to avoid this apparent conflict of interest without shutting down my supplement company.

      Primal Nutrition is a company devoted to helping people achieve health and wellness. Part of what I do is provide people with the absolute best supplements money can buy. (In fact I originally founded the company in part so my family and I would have the best – I wasn’t satisfied with what was available in the market.) But it doesn’t end there. As you know, I pour a great deal of time and resources into education – resources that really are only available because of the success of my company.

      At the end of the day people that read this blog regularly understand that I have a genuine passion for health and fitness. (I like to think this comes across in the writing.) AND I also wholeheartedly believe supplementation is an important part of this lifestyle. It’s a shame that people would throw out the baby with the bath water in this case as I think most people could benefit from what we do here – even if they never even consider supplementation!

      Also, I’d like to point out that out of the 1500+ articles we’ve published on MDA there are probably only a dozen or so that refer to supplementation specifically. I’d love to go into it in much more detail. I’m sure you can see why I generally avoid the issue. Though, if you’re interested just sign up to my newsletter. I’ve started a series in which I discuss the latest research on the top vitamins and nutrients you may want to consider taking for optimum health.

      Thanks for the support!

      1. I have to admit that my first visit to the site worried me on that level as well. I saw the side bar with the protein powder and groaned a little. Reading for more than a few seconds, however, prooved to me that you weren’t using this site as a vehicle for self-promotion and suppliment sales. You have so much information to share and the suppliments are simply there for me if I want them but not thrown at me from all directions like I’ve seen from some other folks. I appreciate that and you gained MUCH credibility with me, on that point alone. Keep up the great work, please!

      2. I also had a little red flag go up when I saw that-however, considering almost all the info on here is FREE, and how your passion comes through your writings, I stomped on the red flag.

        1. The education and information Mr. Sisson provides FOR FREE is priceless. Folks can take THAT without obligation to buy a supplement. I think most folks are looking for a reason (read excuse) to NOT make an effort to get healthy.

        2. I have to admit that the thing that most convinced me to keep reading was that most of the resources are free and there is no “selling” in the blog.

          ….also this way of life makes complete sense and, after trying it for 30 days, I can’t imagine a single thing that would make me go back to the S.A.D. Nothing.

      3. I have been living Primal for over a year now, I went 5 months before buying any products (books) and have yet to buy any supplements.

        One of the FIRST things I tell people when giving them the MDA website is that “The website will link you to books/supplements if you’d like to buy them. The person giving out free knowledge does need to support his family. However, I didn’t buy anything until after I’d used all the free information and found that it worked and I wanted to learn more.”

        And that “Everything you need to start Primal and actually live on Primal for the rest of your life is free. If you find that you want deeper answers/info, buy a book. If you’d like a supplement, buy one. If not, and you feel this lifestyle change has helped you greatly, tell someone else who needs to get out of SAD living. I’m sure that would make Mark just as happy.”

  18. Funny stuff.
    As for tradition, Michael Pollan eloquently states that there are other reasons we eat besides “nutrition.” I would think that tradition and communal bonding over food have there roots in the Primal existence.
    That being said, using Mark’s 80/20 approach, I’m usually able to partake in traditional family holiday meals without offending the host or even without anyone taking notice. Maybe a bite or two of grandama’s pasta and homemade tomato sauce from that old country recipe might have some other benefits (after all, grandma’s 92, doing well, and even practiced IF back in the 1930’s– they called it the Great Depression– she might have something to teach us).

  19. I usually just respond that I don’t mind if they eat grains and sugar, but they just don’t agree with me. I’m not out to convince anyone of anything, really. No point.

  20. It’s true, people hate being preached to. I’ve had many conversations regarding PB and related dietary approaches, but they never get too heated (at least not from my end); people comment on how much better I’m looking lately and I tell them what I attribute it to. If they don’t like it that’s OK, but I’ll still argue my point so long as they want to argue theirs. Debates are fun!

    The only people I’ve ever actually broached the subject with are friends and family members who I know are concerned about health. I figure if it worked from me, it might just work for them too. In the case of immediate family it will *likely* work for them, since our DNA is so similar. And they used to pester me when I was vegetarian, so I figure it’s my turn to nag a little for awhile hehe

  21. I think the most stringent objections I get are over the intermittent fasting.

    But I use that to actually strengthen the case for the Paleo diet.

    “Oh, yea, you’d probably have a very difficult time with fasting. The hunger is often nauseating and debilitating. But, once you shift from being a sugar burner that needs fuel every few hours, to being a fat burner with a 3-4 month gas tank, you find that fasting becomes natural, almost essential.”

    I recently handled a few other objections in a blog post here:


    1. Opps, Mark…I mean, “strengthen the case for the Primal Blueprint.”


    2. Me too! I can keep their attention until part three, actually skipping a meal or two. Blasphemy!!!

  22. I love it when people get all offended – and give you the “so you think you know better than all the doctors and nutritionists in the world!” line.

    Which I like to respond by saying, “Yeah, pretty much.”

    They usually roll their eyes, walk away, and tell everyone that you’re pretentious after that.

    Oh well. At least I’m in good company. 🙂

  23. I know some people that i’d just like to take a 45 gallon trash bag and go into their pantry and fridge and just empty it out. And label the bag, eat at your own risk! I still wander if they’d get it then.

  24. Hypoglycemiacs: If they start harping on you about needing to eat grains, or telling you that the stuff isn’t “that bad for you”, tell them you’re diabetic. You’re technically right, and they’ll probably get it.

    You might also mention the toxins present in raw grains, beans, and potatoes. You know that disgusting, starchy taste you get when you eat them raw? That’s the foods’ way of saying “do not touch”. Cooking removes part of the toxins, but not all. (I explained this to a Costco employee who was managing a sample stand for “veggie chips” – puffed potatoes with minuscule quantities of carrot and spinach – and she was very cool with it.)

    Other suggestions:

    “If cavemen were so unhealthy, how did they manage to take over the world?”

    “You expect me to take dietary advice from someone who treats spinach/kale/brussels sprouts like a mortal enemy?”

    “Shut up or I’ll hunt you down and eat your organs.”

    “Strange person keep talking… Grok not understand.” *scratch self*

    “Actually, I just changed from Atkins to Paleo.” – I did! It was a subtle change, but an awesome one.

    “It’s FOOD, not religion. Calm down.”

    “All those people who are suffering from obesity, diabetes, heart attacks? They’re not eating like this. They’re not eating a four-ounce piece of steak; they’re biting into a supersized Big Mac and an order of fries. You cannot compare the two.”

      1. Hmm… “Atkins to Primal” might be a better expression in that case. I never did buy into their claim that saturated fats were bad, having learned the truth about it while doing Atkins.

    1. “Strange person keep talking… Grok not understand.” *scratch self* :O

  25. I have a mother-in-law who can’t come for a visit without bringing 3 or 4 sugar laden desserts. That is just how she feeds people.

    This is what she typically brings, brownies, oatmeal cookies (they are good for you because they are made with oatmeal!), and apple pie with ice cream. She also buys a tub of margarine, skim milk, frozen biscuits and a jar of jelly every visit. I can’t tell you how many mostly full open jars of jelly I have in my fridge.

    I watched my grandfather die a slow death over 20 years from complications to diabetes. It could have been prevented and I don’t want that to happen to me. I remember that when I want a cookie.

  26. I love the, “Oh. you mean you eat ‘healthy fats.'” And I say Yes-BUTTER.

  27. I have started telling my workmates I am a fat connoisseur and I have a jar of coconut oil on my desk and have a spoonful if I am hungry and always compliment myself on my fantastic breakfasts/lunches (we all eat at our desks) and slurp up the excess oil, annoying yes, but I think the message is getting across (though one very over weight workmate smugly likes to tell me she doesn’t eat fat, so what does she eat to get so big?!).

    My bf supports my way of life but she cracks me up when she says that she couldn’t eat like this as her husband is Italian and it is in his genes to eat bread and pasta.

    1. Miriam, this is an extremely late reply (I have just read your comment), but I believe your co-worker is probably eating grains and processed foods (which may claim to not have any fat). It’s ironic, though, that she claims to not eat fat, but carries it around nonetheless.

  28. You know what I tell people when they question my diet/fitness? “Scoreboard”. Simple as that, most people who ask me are simply not in as good shape as I am, so I just throw up the scoreboard argument, meaning that I’m winning while carb eaters are losing (not weight).

    Call me a cold hearted SOB, but I just don’t like defending something that provides results in a clearly visible manner. I guess I’m just tired of answering the same question over and over.

    By the way, I fully acknowledge that a person can attain great health as well as a fantastic physique with many different types of nutrition and workout. I’m just referring to those who question the primal-esque approach.

    All the Best,

    Andrew R
    Go Healthy Go Fit

  29. People react to dietary change strangely. [Any change, really.] They see it as some kind of attack on their lifestyle choices. I don’t have much patience for it, actually. “I’ll eat what I want, you do the same” is about as gracious as I get before “No, for the 18th time I don’t eat that and don’t want it. Now fu%k off.”

    Honestly, I don’t bristle much at the Atkins or Paleo comparisons. Of course, Primal is paleo, in a sense.

    Not in the Cordain “Paleo-Diet” sense, but in the general paleolithic diet understanding of the term [which I actually came across before Cordain.]

    In fact I’d almost argue that Cordain’s fear of sat fat actually is more significant departure than Atkins on fruits and veg, in terms of comparing it to Primal.

    I’d say the earliest versions of Atkins [on the maintenance level, and before they started pushing all the frankenfoods] are really similar diet wise to Primal.

    But again, the key difference of Primal is, to use Mark’s word, its holistic approach, rather than simply a dietary approach. The emphasis on fitness, exercise, environment, gene expression, and his continued research, interaction and support with the community he’s developed have been key, imho.

    Just finished The Primal Blueprint last weekend, btw. Outstanding.

    1. I agree I was on Atkins liked it and lost weight on it several years ago. But primal is ‘purer’ in my opinion. I mean ‘no grains’ and no artificial sweetners and primal seems to limit dairy a bit more.

  30. Interesting that you should write about this today. With my new-found energy, weight-loss and lack of allergic inflammation, I have been asked a couple times as to what I have been doing to look so good.

    I start with the basics “I lift weights, do some cardio and eat lots of vegetables, some fruits and good fats, mainly”. This of course is followed up by “Good FATS?” (Blinking stare from the overweight woman who RE-gained all her previous weight, and then some, after Weight-Watchers).

    “Yes, I respond, GOOD fats.” I will tell them the basics, and if they bite, they bite, if not, well, it’s not up to me to save the world because there are just too many damn stubborn folks inhabiting it!

    I told my husband last night, that I will not ‘spew’ this stuff all over everyone, but only those who are genuinely interesting in LEARNING instead of arguing. I will tell the ‘nay-sayers’ that I am allergic to grains, most starches and processed sugars (this ‘diet’ completely eliminated ALL allergic inflammations that I had, including acne, tendonitis AND eczema!!!).

    You can’t argue with results and people who love to stand by “Conventional Wisdom” never argue with “My Dr. told me too” or “I am allergic to….”. So I find that this just simply shuts them right up! 😉

    For those who just think I am nuts, well, I know MY RESULTS, so think what you will.

    BTW – I am a Christian, but that whole “Breaking bread” thing is just ridiculous. I merely means that we ‘commune’ together over a meal. The Old Testament also told us not to wear jewelry or eat pork…why? Old laws, old society with no refrigeration. 😛

  31. If people want to bring up “tradition”, try mentioning how our body has a 2+ million year old tradition of NOT eating grains, sugar, and other unhealthy garbage.

    See what they think about “tradition” then.

  32. As for the bread argument: the grains were soaked and/or fermented prior to baking, so they were much easier to digest. I certainly enjoy sourdough or sprouted-grain bread once in a while (with lots of butter!), and I haven’t noticed any ill effects.

    The greatest weapon you have in convincing people that conventional nutritional dogma is wrong, is counter-evidence. Look at the indigenous peoples studied in the twentieth century whose diets included up to 60% of calories from animal fats (e.g. the Inuit and the Masai tribespeople), and had absolutely no heart disease, diabetes, stroke or cancer. Now I know the Primal enthusiasts don’t want to hear it, but there were also many groups in northern Europe who got a lot of calories from grains and dairy, but again, they were soaked/fermented. The key was that their diets all included rich, saturated fats and fermented food, and lacked anything refined. It’s as simple as that!

    1. A slight correction… The Inuit got more like 80% of their calories from fat. Vilhjalmur Stefansson book “The Fat of the Land” is finally online. In it he discusses the Inuit diet. It consisted largely of whale and seal meat and blubber, caribou, and salmon depending on the region.

  33. how funny how yesterday I tried a sample burger meat from this restaurant that had samples at the philly zoo and i asked for it with just the tomato (without the bun or bbq sauce) and she looked at me and was like, “oh one of those atkins kids, eh?”

    BAH! Can’t people just eat meat and tomatoes?


  34. Hi Mark,

    I was just wondering if you have read the 80/10/10 by Doug Graham and your thoughts on it.

    His idea of the natural diet is fruits and greens = High Carb.

  35. I know I may be a bit late on this, but I’ve seen no mention of my favorite come back to the “dogma” of “conventional wisdom”

    When told that I am wrong and that people have been eating grains since the dawn of time, I smile and simple reply,

    “Everyone KNEW the world was flat until 1492. What will the world KNOW tomorrow?”

    Then I usually do a Captain Planet “fist pump.”

  36. “When told that I am wrong and that people have been eating grains since the dawn of time…”

    My reply, for your consideration:

    “Some work off hundreds and thousands of years of history. I’m working off 2.5 million.”

  37. Mark wrote: “And then there’s always someone who is utterly stricken by the “Primal” label, distraught that you appear to have joined some unsavory cult. Surely you must be sneaking out into the night, donning skins, drumming and dancing, eating wild pig off of a stick.”

    Sounds like great fun to me! \”/

  38. 10,000 years ago, and probably until about 400 years ago, the soil the grains were grown in probably had a billion times more minerals and other nutrients plants need to grow healthy. So it was a better quality of wheat grown in much better soil. And since it wasn’t processed in a factory, it was 35 cents per ton so the people of the past probably didn’t sit down and eat a quart of rice or a loaf of bread at each meal.

  39. I’m starting the primal diet today and trying to find out how life is without grains because I just learned about both this morning but for a while I’ve already been mostly avoiding refined grains, sugar, and additives. So when I went into Tim Hortons the other day to apply and was sitting waiting for the manager to show up and one of the girls behind the counter offered me a donut for the wait I declined. She gave me some incredulous look and shortly after I overheard her telling the other girl in what seemed almost like a disgusted tone of voice that I didn’t want a donut, to which the other girl replied, “He’s weird.”

    1. that’s funny cause I have never liked donuts, they smell funny and I remember eating at the mall once on a holiday as a kid cause I was starving hungry! yuck!

  40. The most frustrating thing I run into are people, that seem to be health oriented or at least aware to some degree concerning food and exercise, who argue without any base of reference.

    I’ve sent a ‘few links’ to MDA articles to a ‘few people’ and the most positive response is “Yeah.. seems interesting, I’ll read it sometime when I have the time/get around to it.”
    I know it’s a polite way to say “thanks for the link but I don’t care about where my food/nutrition comes from or the fact that I’m getting mediocre results from my fitness regimen”. People are just OK with half-assing and laziness.

    And then there are those persons that don’t want to read the links I send them so that they can keep their existing opinion regarding nutrition. Beware the one who has read only one book, indeed.

    One person even said to me when I said that I don’t eat bread that she didn’t want to be ‘skinny fat’… I guess her being fatty-fat is just ok. 🙂 Didn’t tell her that of course cause then she would of had a hissy-fit but sometimes I wished that people would be ok if you just told them how things were, no holds barred.

    So, nowdays I mostly tell people if they want to argue/discuss with me to go and read a bunch of stuff so that we can talk on the same level before they try to bulldoze me with their opinions (not facts)… Or I’ll just say that I don’t eat some stuff and not elaborate on it.

    Just say like:

    “I don’t eat grains.”
    “I just don’t.”


    “I don’t eat grains.”
    -“Where do you get all the FIBER you need?”
    “I get it elsewhere.”

    The most funny thing is, that I have bought the PB to a few persons that I thought would benefit the most from it… they of course didn’t read it I think but I don’t have to be responsible for those people so I figure I did my part and now they have to do theirs.

    Still some of this ignorance still bugs me… It bugs me that people don’t care about themselves. And it bugs me that if I offer my knowledge to help them, they won’t accept it. It’s confusing at times.

  41. I really recommend being patient and kind with folks that don’t get primal. Thinking back, I was just like them at one time. But gradually that mind set was replaced by another – but if someone had been snarky with me I might have never investigated further. You could really help someone by realizing we are all products of our environment and pointing the way – gently!

  42. A quick example – a whole head ( not even very large) of cauliflower at the local shop this week $9!!! I’m waiting for the price to go down as I want to make the “pizza” base but I won’t pay it on principle….

  43. 10.(Finally, a good catch-all response) “Despite the fact that counting calories, slogging away on the treadmill and eating nothing but Special K are so much fun, I’ve decided to do something that really works.”


  44. One of my favourite “play” activities is a session with my very own punch bag. Probably because of the comments I sometimes get from people. I don’t mind questions about it, I mean normal questions; but I mean when people get all self-righteous about conventional wisdom. I also get the ‘anorexia’ thing a lot, especially if I’m doing a stint of IF, because I’m a model, and they’re all anorexic right?

    I was on holiday recently, and I loved the look on people’s faces when they saw me coming back from the buffet at breakfast with a huge serving of eggs, bacon, nuts and avocados. LOL.

  45. I used a simple one the other day, all in good bantering fun. I was told I eat the “weirdest shit” (she had canned tomato soup and crackers, I had salmon with onions, cabbage, and spice) so I just said “At least what I eat isn’t made in a laboratory.” No rebuttal. It’s just not really possible.

  46. I like watching my co-workers keeping hitting the vending machines like diseased bees all day long, become sluggish and irritable like CLOCKWORK every day after lunch, slug back energy drinks that seem to have no impact other than causing jitters and sleep disruption, and complain to one another about how much they are working out without losing weight. Nothing convinces me more that I am on the right path.

    When they tell me I am the unhealthy one, I just smile politely and tell them I seem to be doing just fine. My constant energy, positive attitude, and (not to brag) kick ass figure will hopefully speak for themselves.

  47. Oh, and what the hell is with those portioned out snack packs of Oreos and Wheat Thins?! Even if I were still eating S.A.D., that is just insulting. If you need the mad scientist who made your food to count out five crackers, put them in extra packaging, and charge you MORE for them because you are powerless against eating the entire box (because your body is so starved for nutrition that you are endlessly hungry)… grains might be clouding your logic.

  48. My favorite “explanation”: When I was 27, my doctor informed me I have “Celiac Disease”(i.e., my body cannot process gluten), as well as numerous allergies and intolerances to many other foods (tomatoes and lettuce- believe it or not). I found paleo and for the first time in my life I don’t have abdominal pains or other “issues”. I Love my new way of Life!

  49. sooo…I just geard about this and I am wondering: did none of you ever hear that humans actually lived as gatherers (berries, fallen fruit etc) rather than hunters? did none of you notice that we are the only species that can’t even hunt without tools and machinery? oh, no, because peolle just buy their meat that magically grows in the stores. eating too much meat, cooked or uncooked, raises risk of cancer and is proven so many times to be the food supply for us to be co sumed the least. humans are made to be all-eaters, yes, but mostly plants. how do you guys hink the cavemen hunted back then before they had proper tools? once in a while the maybe managed to hunt something but inbetween those hunts they had to live off berries and whatever was growing. just leaving this here.