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!
(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.”
(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!”
(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.”
(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.”
(Or this one…) “By the way, have you ever tried bugs? Very eco-friendly protein source. Primal folks love ‘em!”
(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.”
(Or how about this one?) “I don’t like your tone. Don’t expect an invitation to our next pig roast.”
(For those who face the cultural argument) “Aren’t we all primal by origin? I’m just digging deeper into my past.”
(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.”
(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.