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

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May 22 2012

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

By Mark Sisson
572 Comments

As 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?

TAGS:  gluten

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572 thoughts on “Top 8 Most Common Reactions to Your Grain-Free Diet (and How to Respond)”

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    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. there is absolutely no solid proof that anything other than “sustenance” are necessary.

        2. Ok, so this is an old thread, but…
          I was just about to say this about cholesterol. If “a concerned mom” decides to believe all that Harvard says as absolute authority, then she should also read their reports on how saturated fats do not cause high cholesterol and how cholesterol does not cause heart disease. I agree with you. Grains are not necessary. I am a holistic nutritionist with both mainstream and alternative training. I am confident in my own understanding of this matter.

      2. 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?

      3. 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.

      4. 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.

      5. Did IQ’s drop??!?

        If you’re feeling worse since you’ve gone Paleo I’d go to the doctor if I were you. “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.”

        What are you eating? Are you eating foods enriched with vitamins, minerals, etc.?

        Sounds as if there could be something else going on than just changing diets.

        1. Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis comes to mind for folks who feel better eating carbohydrates. I am just the opposite. My body requires a high normal potassium level to feel normal.. and functional. Paleo and better yet extremely low carbohydrate is the winning ticket for me. Insulin spike lowers my potassium and often causes severe reactions up to and including paralysis even with potassium wnl.

      6. It’s not a bogus science and if you’re taking advice strictly from Harvard and the Mayo clinic then maybe you should verify resources. Especially ones who are known to receive government funding. Just a thought. . . .

      7. I get physicals yearly….. Having gone primal my physicals are the best EVER. The fat on my body is GONE… You are crazy. The proof is what happens to our body not what people say in text books! Ridiculous.

      8. I have been grain free for 3 months now, and I have never had so much energy, so much brain power, so much quick wit, and also, veggies & meat have never tasted so good. Whenever I eat any kind of grain, I get bloated, I get tired, I feel depression setting in. If you really want to learn about how gluten-based foods attack the immune system, causing inflammation and even auto-immune diseases over time, watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvUgcLQOUSA

        I don’t eat rice, noodles, corn, or wheat. I eat home-cooked soups & salads that I prepare myself & some dark red tart fruits & acidic fruits. I eat some dairy, like cottage cheese, and I stay away from sugars. I only drink water & tea sweetened with 100% pure, never any juice or soda, All juices, even carrot juices, are flash-pasteurized, therefore, all the living organisms & enzymes & proteins are destroyed and the juice becomes pretty much flavored mineral vitamin sugar water….

        There was a study done recently that proves a grain-free diet high in calcium & vitamin D literally repairs tooth decay & cavities. I myself am noticing tooth repair in my mouth.

        Read about the study here:

        http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/03/reversing-tooth-decay.html

        Our bodies are not built to process grains, even if grains are a staple to many cultures’ diets, grains are filler, cheap, easy to grow and distribute to the masses, when dark greens & dark red veggies & fruits & some meats should be the staple diet.

        1. Interesting article. I agree completely that it is highly likely that no further cavities or decay is possible. I do not believe anything can reverse the decay process once it has begun, though.

        2. My heart doctor recommended a grain-free diet which I really like. Same benefits as you mention. However, after two months, I am losing a pound a day. That sounds good, but scary. Did you experience this?

        3. HEEEEELPPP!!!!!
          Hello, I have been grain free for 2 1/2 month, I good at the beginning but in the past month my digestion has slowed down to where I have small bowel movements 5-6 times a week!!! I eat 2-3 cups of veggies and fruits a day (total of 5), protein (chicken) 9cups of water, nuts 4-6 days a week , 3 meals- 2 snacks! And I tried eating whole wheat bread and I felt terrible, bloated 🙁 I’m in desperate help!!!!!

          1. I don’t know if you will see this, but small bowel movements are actually natural. Eating a lot of grains add bulk to the stools and that is often unnecessary, it stretches the intestines and can damage them. I suggest you do a beet or chlorophyll tablet test to see how fast your transit is. If you see dark fuchsia or dark green in your stool within a 6-18 hour period, you are most likely doing quite good, bowel movement wise. But everyone’s transit time is different. You can worry if your transit is over 24-32 hours from eating to passing the beets/chlorophyll. Stool should be painless, quick to pass and with no straining. Quite soft, too. But well formed. People are used to big stools that they can really “feel” coming out. That is not a good thing.

      9. Pipe down crazy lady. If you want to keep your fat slob American children full of grains, and sugars, and otber garbage do it and shut the heck up. We dont need your BS preaching on here about a completely healthy and better alternative because youre too weak stupid and fat to control what you or your kids eat. Get some self control.

      10. It’s an interesting argument! My ancestors are from a small town in Italy and they lived very very long lives on no/low meat diets. They ate homemade breads, homemade pastas, but the staples were also lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of beans and greens, and some seafood. Very little cheese or milk as they were harder to come by. They were active and very social. I’m not convinced that going grain free is necessary but the problem these days is that people eat much too much processed grain products and much too much sugar! Protein is good in that it keeps you full longer and if lean, is fewer calories. A vegetable heavy Paleo approach might be a great way to lose weight quickly though

        1. I think the key word is “ancestors”. I bet they ate real, freshly milled wheat flour that was not GMO and treated with a bunch of harmful chemicals. That would make a big difference, especially with all their other good habits. My personal opinion tho. 🙂

      11. Dropping my cholesterol by 40 points and lowering my blood sugar to pre-diabetic from diabetic levels in 2 months is hardly bogus science. I realize not every eating program is for every person as we are all different, but no grains and no sugar worked for me. Before going off on a rant maybe talk to some of the people who have tried it. Taking grains out of my diet has been life changing for me.

      12. How do you explain Eskimos? They eat mostly fat, no grain, and have almost zero heart problems.

        1. They are called Inuit, they don’t really like being Eskimo. Inuit means “the people”. Eskimo means “raw meat eater”.

      13. NO way….lol I cannot believe so many people are not getting the BIGGER picture here. I am 33 and have always been slim and active from a very young age. I seriously couldn’t tell you at what age I just automatically hardly ate grain foods. I just didn’t find any tasty or appetiting. It was until a few years ago I got told certain grains, like Oats for Porridge was healthy breakfast. I have had this for breakfast the last 3 years and BAM! I have not felt so unhealthy, tired and even having bowl issues. I have cut all all Gluten from my diet too and slowly getting back to my usual self. People who DO NOT or DO NOT WANT to see the FACTS are not having health issues because mind is not seeing it, maybe because most people do not link health issues with our food chain. I am totally all for this article and good for you whoever the blogger of this website is. Sorry for my ignorance. All I can say is, basically if we all eat healthy by the TRUTH FACTs than all the doctors and professionals will be out of a job, simple. Eat eating unhealthy, all you’re doing is punishing yourself and helping those professionals gain more bounses in offering medication. I am actually SHOCKED at the knowledge of GPs (UK) IBS is mainly due Gluten intolerance but no doctor I know of, will admit this to you. It is the same with Diabeties, I know many who go by the tablets from the GP, some actually change their diet and seem to improve on their illness. What the doctors say, eat in moderation. I might as well with my daily Vitamins on the odd occasion pop in an LSD pill, oh it’ll be ok, although many have died from just one pill, many more still live on, but we know it is dangerous, but in moderation, I’ll be fine….PMSL. WAKE UP!!! I WOULD LIKE TO SAY, I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THIS WEBSITE 100.000.000%. What I’ve learnt in life, since a close friend of mine passed away at 32, two years ago, you cannot help those who do not want to be help, think number one. So long as I am health, sod the rest of you naive individuals.

      14. I’ve got the beginnings of rheumatoid arthritis. So does my entire family. I went grain free and immediately the pain went away. I don’t think grains are any great loss. We don’t need them.

      15. I’ve gotten phenomenal results on this type of diet. I’m never really sick and I have way less bodyfat.

      16. Gluten was the source of my terrible fatigue, brain fog, peripheral neuropathy, and dermatitis. It is no fad like that concerned ignoramus below suggests.

      17. Agreed! How come every time someone discovers a way of eating that works for them they have to try to prove that everyone else’s way of eating is wrong or prove that their way of eating is THE best way? Each of our bodies are designed uniquely (genetic makeup) and we each carry different sensitivities to various things (foods, environmental factors, etc) so we obviously do not all benefit from the exact same way of eating…not to mention varying lifestyles (strenuous work vs stationary work) It’s important to see a certified nutritionist and come up with a plan that puts your own body in its most healthy state. Kudos to the author for discovering what what works for him!

      18. It’s not bogus at all. I was suffering 40 different food sensitivities. And if you look at the medical literature. Grains have show damaging effects to the villi of you small intestine, the very finger like projectiles that take in these nutrients. Grain are rough on these villi. As for fruits and vegetables, the stuff we should be consuming, (fruit can be debatable) are unfortunately very depleted of the very minerals our body requires. Why are we not replenising these mineral back into the soil of commercially easier farming. Would that be a good start? Not to mention the chemicals that are going into the ground to fend off unwanted critters and weeds, These chemicals are killing off the healthy soil organisms that break down these minerals to be soaked up by the plants to therefore have the plant produce my vitmains. People, you been to understand, minerals and water are the staff of life for health and wellness. Without them we and the other living organisms around up wouldn’t be here. Example. Why do we forify pet food with all the right minerals, vitamind, amino acids and fatty acids to sustain good health in every meal they eat but we humans do not? When plants get disease, what do Gardner’s do? They identify the deficiency of the plant and fertilise it to become happy again. Fertiliser is generally made up of minerals and elements. So if you want to learn something about health. Go see a farmer or horticulturalist. A commerical farmer will tell you what minerals he replaces in him soils every crop season. You might be in for a surprise. And a horticulturalist can teach you quiet a lot about minerals and that without the right minerals a plant can’t produce the adaquet amounts of vitmains (B1, C, D, K, ECT).

        Don’t anyways trust what you know about health. Learn from nature, and go there educate yourself from other fields of study.

      19. I emphatically disagree. Eating refined grains is not healthy. It leads to inflammation, heart disease, and diabetes. Completely cutting it out of your diet will do wonders for your health. You’re being silly. I hope you’re just trolling.

      20. I understand your a concerned mom, as I am myself but you might want to start doing some more research. Now days wheat and other grains are filled with substances and chemicals that absolutely no one should be consuming, especially children! There are documentaries on netflix, there are books, and many med websites that can give you more understanding of this.

    2. 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.

      1. I am genuinely pleased and happy to see genuine people who actually see the truth. I always say, it is like taking risks, and being blinded to things, most people wouldn’t think of helping a certain charity until that particular cause has something linked with them. Why wait, until it is too late?. I am not sure how to post on here only reply. If you do not get harmed or notice it, people will just continue with their bad habits. More fool them. I am glad you’re a lot healthier now and as you say, you do not need medication, that is brilliant. I wish you all the very best in life and with your health.

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        1. Omg, that looks AWESOME! With all the food trucks here in LA, there must be one or two like that!

    2. 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. 🙂

      1. Jody, sorry to hear that your weather predicting skill went away with the grains. Hopefully meteorology wasn’t your career path.

    3. 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

  2. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

  3. I normally say something like “Mind your own goddamned business,” but that’s just me.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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

        2. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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. 🙁

    1. Sad thing is, they are worrying about yours too. It’s all about what research you hear/believe/trust.

      1. + 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…

        1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

      1. +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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

        3. 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.” 🙂

        4. 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?

      2. 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.

        1. 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”.

        2. 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.

      3. 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.

      4. 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?

        1. 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.

      5. 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?!”

        1. 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.

    5. 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.

      1. 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.)

      2. Suggest they eat more fat. If you eat more fat, you don’t need all that fiber to “stay regular.”

        1. 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.

      3. hope you don’t mind I showed this to all my friends… great comment!

      4. 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

      5. 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.

      6. 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).

        1. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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!

  6. 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.

    1. 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…

    2. 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”

      1. 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).

        1. 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.

        2. 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?

        3. 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

  7. 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.

    1. 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…

    2. 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.

      1. 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…

    3. “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.

      1. 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.

  8. “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.

    1. 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.

  9. 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!! 🙂

  10. 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!

  11. Dear Mark,

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

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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…

        3. 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?”

        4. 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)

        5. Alcohol is a type of fuel, therefore, a food group. It was very popular in the 19th century.

  12. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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..”

        1. “He’s just a kid” — hahah, like you’re doing something terrible to torture him! How could you, you monster!

      3. 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.

    3. In-N-Out Burger, a local favorite, serves “Protein Style” burger wrapped in lettuce, no bun. It’s on their not-so-secret menu.

    4. 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.

  13. 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.

    1. 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

  14. 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.

    1. You know the wheel running and grooming captive vermin exhibit is actually anxiety induced obsessive behavior…

    2. 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.

      1. 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

        1. 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.

        2. 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!”

        3. 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!!

        4. 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.

        5. 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 🙂

      2. 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.

        1. I love hearing that! I’m so happy for your mom. Life can get better, even as we age.

      1. Me too, it made me laugh.

        I have an over active imagination 😀

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. I believe Robb Wolf and Sisson are working on thei own unique certifications.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

      4. 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

      5. 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!

    2. Holy COW! That’s awesome… Endo’s have the reputation of being some of the hardest in the medical field to convince.

  17. 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!

    1. 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.

        1. please explain a cauliflower crust pizza!!! 🙂 Sounds…tempting to try and see if it actually tastes good 🙂

  18. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

  19. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

  20. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. I’ve got a 2 1/6 year old. Mac n Cheese! Pretzels! Gold fish! Cheerios!

        1. 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.

      2. 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?

      3. 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!

    2. 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!

      1. 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?

        1. 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.

        2. turned down a steak. They tend to not want crap when they are full from tasty animals and plants

        3. 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??

  21. 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

  22. 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!

    1. RIght. A “diet” is a temporary nutritional change for temporary weight loss.

      1. 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.”

    2. 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.

    3. I tell the diet people that I’m doing a lifestyle optimalization:)

      1. I tell people I’m running an “experiment” to find out if something or other works (i.e., no dairy).

  23. 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.”

  24. 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.

    1. 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.

  25. “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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

    2. Because grains are a seed, not a plant! Seeds do not want to be eaten as they want to grow up to be plants.

      1. 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.

        1. 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)

  28. 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 🙂

    1. 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 🙁

  29. My normal response is that in my case the grains are incredibly hunger-inducing, making me feeling starved while gaining weight.

  30. 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!!

  31. 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.

  32. 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!

  33. 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!!!

  34. “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!

  35. 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.

  36. I had outpatient surgery awhile ago. When I came out of recovery and was waiting to be released, the nurse offered me a plastic wrapped industrial cranberry orange muffin to eat. I passed and reached into my bag and pulled out my plastic bowl of grilled chicken and salad. She looked at me, laughed and said “that’s why your stomach is so flat”!.

  37. I LOVE this post. Thank you for the quick and easy talking points. I hate all the questions because I often don’t know how to answer with enough authority. I also hate trying to explain that it’s not a “diet” as others have mentioned, but an ongoing lifestyle. People just don’t get it.

  38. I say that all humans, or at least most, have an inherent intolerance to grains, some just more acute than others.

  39. I have been TRYING to go grain-free for months. Part of the problem is that living with grain-eaters means that the stuff is EVERYWHERE. And I swear, sometimes it feels like they are sabotaging me. “Oh, I forgot you don’t eat this” is such a common refrain. I have Celiac-Sprue, but they still “forget” that they can’t put flour in potato soup, sauces, etc. They throw sugar in EVERYTHING, even my coleslaw. It’s like they can’t accept that I am allergic to the wheat, and that I do not want to eat sugar and grains. I just get so freaking tired of it.

    Maybe some of this will help me in my situation. Because I WANT to be primal. I am sick and tired of being SICK and TIRED. Sorry, I got a little ranty. Anyway, thanks for the responses.

      1. I do. And they throw their garbage in it anyway. “The sauce was thin, so I added some flour to thicken it.” That kind of stuff.

        I’m going to have to start locking up my food to keep it safe.

    1. Potato flour (or starch) works great in potato soup for thickening.

  40. When I told a coworker I was off grains, like no pasta, bread, tortillas, etc, she (who is quite overweight) said, “What else is there?”. Hmmm….wow.

  41. My 350 lb. neighbor who is on statins and a sleep apnea machine told me I eat like a girl. This really through me for a loop. I just laughed and said, “how is your diet working for ya?”

  42. My go-to answer to question number 1: “It’s not a low carb thing so much as a grains-are-trying-to-kill-me thing”. The looks on people’s faces…

  43. I’m still so surprised when people seem personally offended by my family’s Paleo lifestyle. I think deep down they feel threatened, like, “Wait, I don’t want to change what I eat, so I need to make sure that you are a crazy person so I don’t need to feel convicted to change my lifestyle.”

    The most common question I hear is, “How long are you going to do this? You’ll go back to eating grains, right?”

    I usually tell them that I haven’t missed grains so far — in fact, I feel much better without them — so this is a permanent change.

    1. “I think deep down they feel threatened, like, “Wait, I don’t want to change what I eat, so I need to make sure that you are a crazy person so I don’t need to feel convicted to change my lifestyle.””

      ^^ This exactly.

  44. I started eating primal about 3 months ago and I noticed that the eczema that has been with me for 30 years is completely gone. Has anybody else had any similar reactions? Not to mention how much better I feel and that I’ve dropped weight without cutting down on calories.

    1. From childhood I always had hayfever and a severe allergy to horses. Any contact with them, even second hand contact ie if I touched someone who had been stroking a horse, made me sneeze and wheeze, come out in a rash, and puffy, itchy eyes. This wouldn’t have been too difficult to cope with, other than the fact that my husband has 3 horses! I’ve been gluten-free for 3 months, and grain-free for 2. A couple of weeks ago I noticed I hadn’t been sneezing and wheezing at all lately. I wanted to test how much I’d improved so I went and stroked the horses, cuddled them, rubbed my face in their mane, and .. absolutely nothing, not so much as a tickly nose. A fantastic added bonus that I never expected.

      1. I’ve run a 100% dairy free, grain free “experiment” since mid-March. And I’ve only used two allergy tablets this season. Usually, I’m miserable. But I’m not sure if it’s the no-grain, or the no-diary, or the combo. Last year when I was 95% primal with diary and a very occassional piece of toast, I still had terrible hayfever.

  45. My favorite thing to point out about the USDA food pyramid is…well…it’s the *USDA* food pyramid. Not that I can imagine the FDA or HHS being willing to argue with it right now, but it’s kinda’ fun to watch people realize that their eating guidelines are coming from the grain department rather than the health department. 😀

    1. The first two key activities straight from the USDA Mission Statement: “expanding markets for agricultural products and support international economic development, further developing alternative markets for agricultural products and activities…”

      There is no balance in those statements. They don’t care what the “agricultural products” are, just that they want to find more and new uses for them.

      http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=MISSION_STATEMENT

  46. I usually get the “everything in moderation” argument. The SAD consists of wheat at every meal (breakfast cereal, lunch sandwich, lasagna dinner with a side of garlic bread) and every snack (Nutrigrain bar, doritos, pretzels). Doesn’t sound like moderation to me. Heck, I wouldn’t recommend any food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, not even spinach or eggs! I think grains have become insidious, and because they come in so many different forms, most people don’t even realize they are eating them 5-6 times a day.

  47. I took Prilosec for 16 years for (I’m only 38) for GERD (reflux disease). It was so bad I could tell time by it…..

    I cut grains and have not had to take a pill in almost two years. At one point I starting eating the “old way” and had to take pills again. For one, I am done. Not a diet, a choice.

    1. Thanks Rick! I know this is an old post,but I’m reading here to get the motivation to get back “on the wagon…” I’ve started taking Prilosec again after a 3 year break–the grains are taking over my health again and causing my reflux to become unbearable AGAIN…This statement was the one that jolted me–thank you!

  48. I only wish people knew how dense meat and veggies really are. I have WAY too many people telling me I need to get my blood work done yet it’s the same people saying this that are on meds for blood thinning/clotting, diabetes, etc. INSANITY!

  49. I gave up grains for one week and my arthritis in my knees all but disappeared. I went back on grains and it came back. I do love my bread but I keep it to a bare minimum now, once or twice a week, and never the day before I have to do a lot of walking. I feel great!

  50. On a Boy Scout campout, I got into a conversation with a dietician and OB/Gyn, both of whom “knew” that you needed to eat carbs to survive, and they had the training to prove it. I quoted the results of the arctic explorers who discovered the Inuits and then told them I have personally thrived with little or no carbs. That cemented my “low-carb-looney” reputation. However, a few months ago, one of our assistant scoutmasters, a mid-30s, very fit individual came up with high blood sugar on his annual physical. A friend of his, a cardiologist, told him he needed to do something. Remembering my comments on the subject, he started a paleo diet. Lo and behold, his fasting blood sugar went down 20 points in six weeks, his energy levels went up, and he lost almost ten pounds. He was ecstatic. His diet comment was classic “the food pyramid is bulls**t.”

    1. This goes to show that when we think our information is falling on deaf ears, it may not be as futile as we first believe.

  51. Great responses. Personally, I got a dose of reality. I have been doing Primal for a while and about a week ago, I was put in the position of having to eat a bagel for breakfast at a business network meeting and then a sandwich and fries for catered lunch.

    I felt terrible all afternoon long and had to fight to keep from going to sleep in a 3pm powerpoint meeting.

    That day made me fully aware of the fact that I am not missing anything not eating grains and recall how bad I felt that day.

    1. QUOTE

      … had to fight to keep from going to sleep in a 3pm powerpoint meeting.

      UNQUOTE

      C’mon. Grok would have been the same. Powerpoint = lethargy. Nuthin’ to do with food (IMO).

  52. lol my favorite is “where do you get your fiber?” Seriously this is the first question i get asked… every single time. my answer: “I’ve always suffered from constipation so I ate more and more oatmeal and grains to solve it. I am more regular and feel better now than I’ve ever felt. Grains are evil!” 🙂 thanks MDA!!! btw I always say ‘grains are evil’ haha

    1. Okay, my TMI Moment of the Day:

      My crazy (nosy, judgmental, gossipy) grandmother asked me the fiber question a couple of weeks ago. So I asked her, “Why do I even need fiber?” and she replied, “Well…you know…so you don’t have bathroom issues.

      I confess: love to mess with her.

      So I told her, “I have plenty of bathroom issues! Elle Decor and House Beautiful are my favorites. But I never get to look at them anymore! Ever since I started eating lots of fat, everything just slides right on out.”

      It’s okay. She already thinks I’m a deranged, doomed harlot anyway…

      1. hahahahaa…. More Butter–that was hilarious! Thanks for the great belly laugh.

  53. And about moderation, MDA says full fat dairy is ok in moderation if it does not affect a person negatively. Therefore i have it in moderation.
    I cannot do grains in moderation because they kick off CRAVINGS for more grains. So best to leave them alone

  54. Awesome. You summed up the logic I arrived at about the whole “staff of life” thing. For religious reasons, I really had to think about not eating grains based on what is said in the Bible. With some thought, I realized that civilization could only have gotten so far without grains. Populations would have been limited to smaller groups, and the massive communities from which so many technological advances have come would have been impossible.

    Grains, in spite of their harmful health effects, have been essential to moving civilization forward, and they’re still essential as a source of calories in many parts of the world. But those of us fortunate enough to live in more developed economies no longer have to rely on them, and can eat more in accordance with how our bodies were designed.

    1. If grains allow an organism to live long enough to reproduce (as opposed to starve do death with their absence), then they are beneficial to the propagation of that organism.

      This whole life thing is a sliding scale. However, quality of life is different from quantity of life.

      1. Thanks Aaron, I totally know what you’re saying. The point I was trying make, poorly, and I guess it’s more an unsubstantiated theory than a point anyway, was more anthropological perhaps than biological/evolutionary.

        I was just saying that I think without grains and agriculture, it wouldn’t be possible for humans to congregate in groups larger than a few hundred, because game and forage within a practical distance would become scarce. We’d hit our carrying capacity in the ecosystem and groups would have to split off and go somewhere else where the environment could sustain their needs.

        Grains made it possible for people to congregate in the thousands, which in turn led to the innovation and advances in learning and technology that have gotten us into the modern age. Like I said, it’s just a theory that seems logical to me. I don’t think there would have been a Renaissance if the largest group of humans living together was just a few hundred.

        1. interesting that the “environment doesnt seem able to sustain our needs” with 7 billion of us….i think grain eating served its purpose and now its time to re-evaluate. also,we can raise animals instead of hunting them, so we can still live in large groups.

        2. Evolutionarily grains may have helped bring humanity into a modern age – they may also be the downfall of humanity.

          The carrying capacity of the planet without using petro-chemical derived fertilizer is much less than the current almost 7-billion hominids.

          So maybe wheat is literally killing humans, just slowly, over a millennia.

        3. You’re wrong! The God of Abraham really does believe grains are good – after Abraham almost sacrificed his only son to form the Covenant, but then saw ram instead. He figured God must have wanted that as a sacrifice but then God was like “NO! do you see that grass the ram is eating? YES! THAT! Sacrifice THAT!”. That was the sacrifice that marked the beginning of the covenant, so the foodstuff that was sacrificed signified symbolically what was valued.
          Because God loves grains. For further proof see: Cain & Abel – see what each one sacrificed and how god reacted.
          When Jesus split bread to feed poor people along with fish, it wasn’t because bread and fish were associated with the poor due to their low cost and abundance, it was because Jesus knew how awesome bread was.

    2. I like to tell my Christian friends that as punishment Adam and Eve were sent out to til the soil, whereas previously they ate from the garden.

      Farm food is punishment LOL

    3. Some of us are fortunate enough to live in such ‘under’developed communities that they have never needed to rely on them…

  55. hahahaha I love this! I hate getting asked those questions, especially when I don’t always know how to respond. Paleo for life! 🙂 Great post.

  56. I usually get the same reaction one would get who is a fundamentalist Christian trying to alter someone’s belief system. I think the remarks and comments like, “Oh, never mind, you don’t eat [sugar, bread, etc] is a way to get back at me for their hatred of their own inability to accept the truth, and then make the change. Facing the reality of your diet and the fact that you “aren’t all that” is tough for many, mostly men. Women tend to listen more, but most men make excuses.

  57. I’ve had a couple “debates” on FB with friends about all this. At one point, I was told to drop it because you (Craig) represent a VERY SMALL percentage of the population and that the “vast majority of us are thriving on grains and bread.”

    At that point I decided to just drop the debate, but it always haunts me. Frustrating. But thanks Mark for the good words. I’ve taken the quick approach over the last few months of describing how good I feel and why and then move on. Help those that want to be helped at this point.

    It’s hard to see those “Wheat Bellies” out there and you just know the answer.

    1. I’d then ask them what is the rate of obesity among the population that is “thriving on grains and bread” as well as diabetes, heart disease, etc. Then compare to the paleo/primal/low carb crowd. (Anyone know if there are actual numbers for that?)

  58. My favorite response when I told a co-worker that I didn’t eat grains (basically low carb): Why? You don’t need to lose weight!

    I have never been overweight and have no major health problems, but after reading about and doing some (minor) research decided that primal/paleo was healthy, not the ubiquitous whole grain, low fat advice. (For the record, I never ate low fat anyway…without a weight problem, I never saw the need. And diets are all about weight, right?)
    I have seen a few benefits since going primal at the beginning of the year: I don’t need as much water, I don’t pee as much, I don’t need to eat breakfast every day, I don’t need the late night cup of cereal and milk, I don’t feel bloated in the 2nd half of the day and I lost my baby weight easy-peasy. But, these are not the best selling points when communicating with people about primal. I have no awesome personal success story. And I’m literally surrounded by family and friends with weight issues, arthritis (juvenile and adult), autoimmune disorders, diabetes, gluten intolerant…I could go on. But I can’t just point to me and say, look! It works! They are all just convinced I have good genes and could eat anything and look this way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful for my health and grateful to my parents for practically raising me primal before primal even existed, but I am so saddened and frustrated to see it ignored by people who would benefit from it so much more than I do!
    I am trying my best to live by example and keep up with the research so that I have answers for people when I can’t give them a personal example. Thanks, Mark, for being such a wealth of info. I always point people here first, because of your moderate, simple approach.

  59. Bless you Mark! I’m sending a copy of this brilliant piece to many of the ‘unbelievers’ I know.

  60. I have a friend whose response is simple but elegant. When asked why she doesn’t eat grains, she simply says, “for health reasons”. I think that about sums it up. They likely assume she has a health problem, but she just wants to continue to enjoy good health.

    1. RIGHT ON! That’s what I say, too. While many people might like to hear about a great way of eating like primal/paleo, for most people there are just too many mental roadblocks (installed by the CW) in the way to welcome any details, and it’s too easy to sound preachy (takes me about 5 seconds), so I limit my responses to one or two words, if the conversation progresses. Reverse psychology? Yes, but it’s much more friendly than launching a verbose explanation about something.

      I think once the paleo thing gets more exposure and some more studies are done, people will be more receptive. It’s going to take a while, though.

  61. Can’t wait to hear what my Doctor will ask next month at my yearly check up. She hasn’t seen me this year.I went Primal in Jan. I’ve lost 36 lbs. so far and still working on it — got 15 to go. At my age, 67, I’ve got a lot of work to do to get in shape, but felt the weight loss had to come first. Someone please tell me the wrinkles that have deepened will even out with time and work. Actually, the wrinkles aren’t that bad I’m so glad to be thinner and so much more comfortable. Grains once upon a time were my best friend, no more.

    1. In response to the fact that grains have been eaten for centuries and bread was not shunned in the Bible, most people don’t know that grains, especially wheat, bear little resemblance to the grains from even 50 years ago. Wheat has been hybridized and altered to possess resistance to pests and droughts, and has been altered to grow much shorter for ease of harvesting, and yield ten times as much per acre. It has had the gluten increased to make lighter dough. And grains are now sprayed with more chemicals than decades ago, are raised in soil first stripped bare by”round-up” which kills natural healthy organisms in the soil. Corn is mostly all genetically modified. Grains now are not at all like they were a century ago, much less in Bible times, and even if they were, by the time the grains are ground, processed, package, shipped and stored before being consumed, little of the nutrients they ever processed remain.

  62. My friend and a personal trainer whom I never use. She leans more vegan in her mind, and will only accept me not eating grains as required by the government pyramid/plate and beans too by accepting thatim allergic or sensitive. Otherwise I couldn’t possibly be healhy without. She does eat meat, but no offal for her bvitamins as she can’t get that naturally in her tofu. It’s become my response for most people is just claim allergic to it and folks just back off.

  63. Hi, Mark. GREAT post!!!!!! Thanks for keeping it straightforward. I get soooo tired of people nodding like they understand and saying, “So you’re basically doing the Atkins diet. Got it.” No, they don’t.
    Would you mind terribly if I carried you around in my pocket for the next half-century or so? I need your words quite often. 😉

  64. I think my favorite response was, “How can you eat like a caveman? Cavemen came from all over the world and ate different things so do you just eat like a caveman from your region? But the cavemen in Peru probably ate potatoes, they had all those potatoes there.” Um, argumentative much?

  65. My favorite experience was a fast-food place near Chicago where the two assembly line cooks froze and looked at each other when I ordered “no bun”. They seriously didn’t know how to serve it and I had to tell them it would fit in their plastic bowls. 🙂

    I’ve never had a reaction anywhere else in ten years. BTW, Hardees has the romaine-wrapped burgers, in case it hasn’t been mentioned.

  66. I just say it’s a food allergy thing and leave it at that. The way I say it let’s the enquiring mind know that their curiousity will not be satisfied.

    If I get pressed I say something like, “well, if you were allergic to peanuts, would you eat them? Same thing here.” I don’t bother to go into a bunch of hullaballoo about it.

    Thanks Mark for presenting management tips for the real-life issues that we paleo’s face.

  67. I get all of these questions from friends and coworkers all the time. And I agree with what someone else said that people often do find my choices to be offensive for some reason. I think it’s because I choose to not eat grains even though there is no obvious medical reason for it. I think they feel it reflects on them for some reason. Weird. These ‘elevator’ answers are GOLD!!

    I recently had surgery on my foot for an injury. In the process, I had to go through a bunch of medical questions with a bunch of new doctors (ortho surgeon, anesthesiologist, etc). They were all so amazed at my health! When one doc asked if I had problem with heartburn/acid re-flux and I said ‘not since going paleo’, all 4 other people in the room at the time stopped what they were doing and looked at me. He said ‘really?’ and when I said yes, there was a lot of sudden interest in the diet. I shared more website and book recommendations that day!

  68. Another great post.

    #1 is the one that kills me. Primal/Paleo eating is not inherently “low-carb” – frankly, it’s not inherently anything, other than sensible and natural. It can be specifically tailored to any individual to fit their exact needs. Maybe you’re severely overweight, and are shedding pounds after becoming keto-adapted. Maybe you’re Nell Stephenson, and need copious amounts of fruit and starches. Personally, I eat just as many, if not more, carbs on paleo than I did on SAD.

    Become an intuitive eater, eat natural foods, and eat whatever you need to optimize your health. It doesn’t get more primal than that.

  69. I love the one about everything in moderation. I feel so much better and younger too. I have more energy and I just started in January. Lost 25 pounds almost pain free except for foggy days. Walk from 5 to 20 miles a week and am loving it. Life is so much more full filling

  70. I was amazed at how much better I felt after giving up most grains (I have some rice every now and then), but that was before I realized that I’m severely gluten intolerant. So people tend to back off after I tell them that. But I’m having trouble with the primal diet. Been doing it for a little over a year and I’m heavier than I’ve ever been! I work out several times per week, eat lots of meat, veggies, and natural fats, nothing artificial (except the occasional indulgence of a gluten free sammich). What am I missing? Someone please help!

    1. Who can say…but one thing you might try, is to back off on the fats, since they’re the most caloricly-dense component (so a little goes a long way.)

      I had the opposite issue; I was just eating lean meats and tons of veggies, and found I had to make a conscious effort to add some fat to my diet so I wouldn’t lose weight too fast (if that was even a problem.) It was momentarily puzzling but solved by just stirring some fat into my meat-veggie melange that I nuke up every night.

      1. Backing up on the fats won’t do anything if this guy is already greatly overweight (unless he eats like 20,000 calories/day) since fat cells make leptin to tell your brain that you’re too fat & must waste reckless amounts of calories to get thin before you get eaten by a predator for being the slowest in your group. If you fix insulin resistance/elevated insulin levels in blood/elevated blood glucose levels by going low carb (esp. zero carb in extreme cases) then somethign else must be the problem….

        Try a 2-day fat fast: less than 10% calories from protein, 90% fat … if that helps your body was turning a lot of protein into sugar and still carb-addicted. Remember it’s low/zero carb that really helps to lose excess fat once you’ve messed up your carb metabolism and have gotten fat.

        Don’t do dumb workouts like excessive cardio… lift heavy things infrequently.

        Do intermitten fasting: Try to eat only in a small window i.e. 4-6 hour window. This will keep you at a fat-burning state longer (and will help your cells get rid of more junk proteins and may make you live longer and will improve your brain)

        It is possible something else if keeping you fat or aggravating the problem i.e. a medical condition like a malfunctioning thyroid

    2. Have your thyroid checked. And don’t test only TSH, get the Free T3 and Free T4 checked as well. Also do a Complete Metabolic profile, an iron panel, B12 and Vitamin D. Then stop in at StopTheThyroidMadness.com to check your results, log into their Facebook groups and see what these very wise and experienced people have to say. Thyroid-adrenal-iron imbalance is the most common cause of inability to lose weight.

    3. Intermittent fasting and/or an eating window — eat within an 8 hour timeframe each day and don’t eat outside that timeframe. i.e., eat a big breakfast and then lunch (or a very early dinner, like 2 or 3 pm) and then stop eating for the day.

  71. I got the raised eyebrows from a new doctor I went to see this morning when I told her I take my coffee with heavy cream. My husband wanted me to get my cholesterol tested because of the increase in fats. The doctor is very interested to see the results because I’ve lost weight with the change to primal. I’m interested in the results too!

  72. Aren’t you worried about your heart!? Isn’t saturated fat bad for you!? What do your blood tests look like!?

    …This is what I hear all the time.

  73. I love this article. Myfriends cal me crazy on a daily basis but if they felt how I do then they would realize that they are the crazy ones. I have NEVER felt so good about myself EVER… Everything is better, food, exercise, sex, everything!

    I love my diet… there, i said it… i love how I eat and I have no idea why I ever ate any other way!

  74. Everything in moderation is my pet peeve. Why do only really heavy people say this to me and act like I am some kid of freak-show for how I eat, when I am lean and fit? Seems to not be working out so well for them, so why do they say it? Makes steam come out of my ears. It is such a cop-out to avoid making tough changes to see real results.

    1. “Moderation in all things, including moderation.”

      One of my favorite quotes. 🙂

  75. Love it. i get asked all the time and haven’t had a short smooth response until now. would also like to see a cliff’s notes version of good and bad fats. thanks mark!

    1. The chicken is breaded in pork rinds and coconut flour before anyone goes crazy about having breading on my chicken. 😉

  76. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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)

  77. 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. 🙁

  78. 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.

  79. 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….

  80. 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.

  81. 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.

  82. 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.

  83. 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”.

  84. 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!

    1. Eat more high carb vegetables? Eg. Sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin?

  85. 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 😀

  86. 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”…

  87. 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.

  88. 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…

  89. 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.

  90. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  91. 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.”

  92. 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…”

    1. 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

  93. “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?

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  94. 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!

  95. 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.

  96. You’ll get stomach/bowel/ colon cancer if you don’t eat grains!

    Don’t know where this one come from!

  97. “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.

  98. 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!!!

  99. 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…”

    1. 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

      1. 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.”

        1. 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.”

  100. 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!

  101. 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” !!

  102. 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.

  103. 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.

  104. 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?

  105. I just shake them til they stop talking and coins fall out. Sorry, wait, that’s what I WISH i could do 😀

  106. 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 🙂

  107. 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.

  108. 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.

  109. 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…

  110. Well Done Mark!
    Your responses to these questions are concise and easy for the most ‘primal-ly naive’ to understand.

  111. 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

  112. 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”?

  113. “Are you gluten intolerant?”
    “… Yes, I have non-atypical gluten-intolerance”

  114. How about this? ” I just don’t eat grains.” and save all the amateur doctor stuff to yourself. If we lecture folks they start to think we’re nuts.

  115. People are weak and just don’t want to make any sacrafices everything is just a big inconveniance but they just don’t mind complaining. Although I have noticed a few people have started to change the way they eat. And ask me more questions about paleo. I know they see a big differance in me so they are curious. The way we look and feel speaak for itself.

  116. This is precisely why I don’t say anything! It’s a strange way to eat, unless you tell people that it makes you sick. Then, they stop giving you a hard time, and they never ask if you’re still on your diet.

    1. I agree, if i’m asked I’ll respond but I don’t push it.

      1. I never thought I would like eating like this but I love it.

  117. Great post! Not only does it help me in voicing these facts to others when they give me that “You don’t eat grains…?” confusion/protest/etc… but it also helps reinforce to MYSELF why I don’t eat grains. Lol. Sometimes I start to fall for the brainwashing… but then I read posts like this, and get set back on track. 😀

  118. God described the Israelite’s Promised Land as “a land of wheat and barley” (Deut 8:8). Was it a coincidence that the young boy in John 6:9-13 brought Jesus five barley loaves with which He fed thousands? Barley has been consumed for thousands of years and is known to improve potency, vigor, and strength. Roman gladiators at times were called “barley eaters” because they ate barley before their contests for bursts of strength.

    1. We just got back from the Holy Land and we saw tons of meat, fish, cheese, dairy products, veggies, fruit, as well as beans and bread everywhere we went. No where did we see people eating bread and beans excessively. In fact we were really pleased to see that we could eat mostly meat and fish and were not forced to eat carbs unless we wanted to.

      Oh, by the way, the only obese people we saw were the tourists!!!

      1. Your point is well taken; though I speak on behalf of the Scriptures alone.

        The Israelites of antiquity folllowed a diet established by God and were consistently healtheir than all of their neighbors. Regardless of your religious preference, any honest student of the Scriptures must admit the wisdom of the Bible extends far beyond the spiritual issues to encompass every area of life–including dietary, hygienic, and moral guidelines.

        Peter Rothschild, in his book The Art of Health, writes this about the nation of Israel: “There is abundant historic evidence that reveals that the average Israelite, up to the end of the last century [19th], was much longer lived than the average Gentile. We wish to emphasize that we are referring to the Israelites up to the end of the last century, because up to those years, the overwhelming majority of Jews obeyed God’s laws by and large. However, beginning with World War 1, both diet and hygiene began to slacken among the children of Israel all over the planet, until only a small fraction remains true to biblical tradition….worldwide statistics bear witness to their changing eating habits. The trend of longevity is gradually vanishing among the non-observant. It appears that God indeed knew what nourishment to recommend.”

        Also, a critical thing to consider with any empirical evidence is that Correlation does not imply causation.

  119. I just tell people that I’m gluten intolerant and have food allergies.
    That seems to be an acceptable answer. Then they just nod and smile.
    They’ll even mention about their family members who have those “issues”.
    I don’t have the energy or desire to keep explaining it to most people.

  120. Terrific post! I was delighted recently to learn a young friend who’d suffered horribly form food allergies has gone primal AND FEELS SO MUCH BETTER. I felt just fine recommending this way of eating to another friend who has just developed rheumatoid. I hope it helps her, as I believe it will!

  121. Great post! I have been grain free now for 3 months and feel like a different person. People have made comments like the ones you indicate in your post and I just let them know I am feeling better than ever.

  122. The questions I get aren’t really questions; they are the looks of disgust at the amounts of butter and bacon I eat. I just smile.

    1. Exactly! I eat 4 eggs, fried in butter, with bacon for breakfast and get “you eat too much fat, you are over eating”

      I ask, “ok, if I am over eating, how did I lose 30 pounds?”

    2. I love those grossed-out looks. It just means more bacon and butter for me!

  123. I’m just not with you on the “Everything in moderation” rebuttal – I don’t get any adverse reaction to eating grains/processed food/junk food, and that’s after being totally clean and primal for several months! I’ve been primal for about 5 months now, and I made sure not to eat ANY grains, sugar, processed foods and legumes for the first 2.5 months. After that I planned to test whether I had a gluten sensitivity, so I dove in and ate like 4 slices of pizza… I felt great! The only reaction, if any, was an unusual rush of energy. Since then I’ve eaten non-primal foods only very occasionally – just a couple of times since the pizza binge, and never have a negative reaction at all. My response would be more along the lines you started with – that long term, grains, etc., are a poor choice as a staple part of your diet in the long run. I indulge occasionally, and only when I have good reason to do so, but as a lifestyle I choose to generally avoid those foods.

  124. I simply boil it down to “I can’t.” without further explanation. And if commentary comes, I repeat “I just can’t.”

    My friends, family, co-workers have seen 80 lbs melt away – nothing more needs to be said, point made.

    For strangers, no explanation of “I can’t” is necessary – its rude to push for an explanation of what someone can or can’t eat, or to discuss a stranger’s weight, or to ask about medical conditions.

    Only explain if you feel like there is sincere interest and you’re in the mood to tell your tale.

  125. I give a little scenario. Just think if you were a prisoner of war. Every morning you had to eat a spinach omelate. For lunch a chicken breast and salad. For dinner, A steak and broccoliwith a glass or two of wine. And in between they made you exercise. Would it be inhuman becasue they omitted grains?……

  126. What about athletes that train several hours a day 4 or 5 days a week? Wouldn’t it be difficult to get sustained energy without the use of any grains?

    1. Not when their bodies have become used to burning fat for energy. That is ketones adaptation.

  127. Well, when I get that “all things in moderation” crap I just tell them — Well, gee, that means I only get ONE pack of cigarettes a day, I only get ONE line of coke to snort a day, I can only drink ONE 12/pack of sodas a day, etc. etc. — you get the idea.

    Works every time – define “moderation” people, and everyone will have an entirely different version of what it is. Turns out – basically – they don’t have a friggin’ clue—-

    If you’re allergic to something (say peanuts) eating peanuts in “moderation” will not be a suitable compromise.

  128. Oh my goodness. One day “Everything in moderation” is going to get me fired after another overweight coworker tries to explain why I’m wrong and conveniently skip over the fact that they’re still fat. I always come back with “Ok, how about a little heroin this weekend?”

    Obviously that response always gets laughed off but I don’t understand why. The same thought process one applies to decide whether to do or not do drugs should absolutely be applied to the foods they are putting in their body on a daily basis. Of course this still doesn’t get me anywhere and I have to excuse myself to go walk the stairs and bust out some air squats at the top.

    1. I don’t have co-workers, as I’m self-employed. But I do volunteer work, and at one of my gigs the org’s volunteer social culture centers around people bringing in “treats”–which are always junk food. Cookies, brownies, and cupcakes are the favorites, and there are always big bowls of candy in the break room and by the timeclock. Only a few of the staff are significantly overweight, but most of the volunteers are. (And yeah, I’m still going to be one of the fatties for a good while longer.)

      For the first few months I was there, another volunteer I work with kept offering to bring me a “treat” back when she took breaks (which were basically her excuse to go across campus on a junk-food run, because volunteer shifts are only three hours long and a restroom is right there in our unit). And each time, I’d say, “No thank you.”

      Eventually, she noticed that I never ate treats, and asked why. I told her–I just don’t eat sugar or grains. She asked why, and I explained the health benefits I’ve experienced; I also credited it for the significant weight loss I’ve had lately.

      And then she started in with the “moderation” spiel. To which I replied, “So tell me–how’s that moderation thing working for you?”

      Which was a douchey thing to say because she weighs at least 350 lbs and at 27-28 already has a lot of chronic health problems. Sleep apnea, asthma, allergies, early arthritis, and PCOS to name the few I know about, and she also has terrible acne. I feel bad for her, and hope she figures it out and (re)gains her health, but goddamn it, I was not going to hear a lecture on moderation from a full-blown addict who couldn’t go three f#@%ing hours without a fix.

      I apologized the following week, and we’re on friendly terms again, but still.

      And I think back to my days as a vegan working temp office jobs, and how the overweight donut junkies would make a big deal of my not eating meat, and having to hold my tongue–

      Yeah, there’s a reason I’m self-employed. It’s the surest way to avoid getting fired.

  129. This is what I usually say, more or less.

    “I’m trying this paleo diet, totally cut out grains and most sugar, except from fruit. I think it’s fascinating! The idea is that we evolved eating certain things, and that the human body hasn’t changed much since then, even though civilization has erupted and we started doing things differently. And people back before civilization didn’t even have grains. They ate mostly meat and vegetables. So that’s what I’m trying, and I feel great! It makes a lot of sense to me. And I don’t know, maybe it’s not the best thing to do, who knows, but it’s been fun and effective for me.”

    Something like that, really upbeat and open, you know? And people usually think it’s interested or even want to find out more. Honestly I don’t even miss grains. I had a bit of rice in sushi the other day because I was totally pressed for time and had to grab something quick that I liked, but in general…I’m actually surprised how little I miss it. It seems so much simpler this way, less to worry about. I’ve always had a really rocky relationship with food, but since starting this diet I haven’t really had a problem enjoying what I eat. 🙂

  130. I tell people I’m ” wheat free” and they say meat free? I laugh and say” just the opposite, grain free and processed sugar free.”.

    It’s how I maintain my 72 pound weight loss. Meats, vegetables and a few fruits with oils like Coconut/ olive oil and a few macadamias thrown in. My joints don’t ache, I have tons of energy, never slept better and my weight is stable. I feel better than I ever have. It’s the fountain of youth!

    Zip, zip hooray my pants always fit.

    Some get it, some don’t, but it always influences people. :). In addition to the Primal blueprint I always recommend Refuse to regain by Barbara Berkeley, which is where I learned about the Primal way of life in the first place. . The combo of a primal/paleo diet was and is key to my maintenance success.

    Great post!!!

    1. I’ve started to slip lately… my weight went up 8lbs.

      Of course during the same period my pants size still kept going down(another 2 sizes. I am now between a 36 and a 38!), and I have discovered that I can now do chin-ups!

  131. Wow…just wow!!! Excellent post Mark. This is what we need!!! Thank you so much for writing this. I hear ALL these complaints ALL the time!

  132. My standard response to “no grains????” is “do i look like a bird”….

  133. I wear a T-shirt that says “No Grains No Dariy No Legumes” and has a cute pic of a bbq on it! People talk to me about it sometimes. I find it hard not to talk about it because being well is so awesome and being sick is so awful!!!!

  134. Fantastic! This helps in my relationship too. I’ve had all these questions from my wife, and because I’m the husband, I haven’t given a very good answer trying to explain it on my own.

    1. You could always try something I recommend for friends in a relationship. Get her the Taubes book (either one), and ask her to take a look and help you understand cause it is a little over your head…

      Once she has read through that, she is primed to be introduced to anything you want. 😉

  135. it seems quite easy to see that much of the world lives quite well and healthfully while consuming grains. i know that properly perpared grains are not bad for me because I feel good when I eat them. Meat bothers my body more than grains. I know a lot of other people that feel the same way. Its never that simple.

  136. This is hands down, one of my favorite from Mark’s Daily Apple! Thanks!!

  137. Great article thanks!

    Some people mistake vegan for primal/paleo…I say oh on the contrary..

  138. Though I really enjoyed this article, I may have a 9th reaction-opinion which is clearly a subjective matter but I wonder why this happens. I have been eating primal for about a year and a half and I find that my athletic performane, brain function, weight are at their best when I consume some grains like rice and buckwheat. I have been grain free for a long time and especially when I introduced rice back to my diet, I lost weight without really trying, gained strentgh e.t.c. So I am gonna keep eating them but I wonder why this is the way my body reacts since I dont do tremendous amounts of cardio. Some facts about me, I am female, 5’4″, 123 lbs and probably eat about 6-8 servings of rice/buckwheat/corn daily.

    1. Sounds like you have found what works for you! Paul Jaiminet who wrote The Perfect Health Diet (check out his blog of the same name) recommends just what you are doing. Works very well for lots of other folks too – not so well for other.

  139. I get that it is too difficult to meal plan for me to be able to eat at family gatherings. I tell them to just put out some simple meat and a veggie and I’ll be fine. If it’s a potluck I will tell them I will bring some veggies. Makes it simple. Plus it puts the problem back on the person talking to me.

    I also get asked where my daughter or I am getting my calcium and I simply say leafy vegetables and offal. If they are curiosu I go into the nutritional aspect but it usually makes them drop it.

  140. There really are people who eat an awful lot of grain and sugar and don’t get fat. Generations of them. Check out the blog Mennonite Girls Can Cook. And your ancestors were not my ancestors, who up until the 70s didn’t have access to green leafy vegetables but did have root vegetables, beans, fish and meat. What have you got against beans, by the way, that Mexicans, vegetarian Asians, and people in the middle east have managed not to know about, and somehow thrive? Real questions. Hope you have some real answers.

    1. Most of the people you mention DO NOT eat lots of sugar. The Mennonite cookbooks feature treats but they would not have been eaten every day. And the Mexicans and Asians eat lots and lots of fresh veggies and fruits, and not so many grains, and some beans. The diet we see them eating on TV is not what’s eaten in their homes!! Fish is also a staple in Asian cooking. Rural people also work hard, often don’t have mass-transit and that makes a huge difference!!!!

    2. Beans are also traditionally soaked and fermented in asia and mexico… this gets rid of most of the “bad” stuff. Unfortunately modern preparation has skipped all those steps.

      There are exceptions to this too… I don’t think Soy is worth eating under any circumstances myself. Just think to yourself whenever you want to eat a soy bean(edamame) or a soy product(i.e. tofu/miso) “this is what they use to make birth control pills.”

  141. I dumped grain, even so called “healthy” whole grain from my diet, I cant believe how great I feel, and people still try to convince me to eat grain because they been deceived by the “experts”that we need to eat them to be healthy, how misinformed they are.

  142. I love the look of shock horror on people faces when they say “So what, your never going to eat bread again, for the rest of your life?”

    1. I’ve gotten this a lot, especially from family. My response is “I may or may not eat bread ever again. I probably will eat it again, but not on a regular basis. I feel better when I don’t eat it, so I don’t eat it.”

  143. Whilst I appreciate I might be doing myself and my body an awful disservice in the long run… I just couldn’t give up beer, sorry!

  144. From my mother: “But I wouldn’t know what to feed you when you come around for dinner!” Ummm… meat and veg will be great? And there’s quarter of a grass-fed beef animal in their freezer from our place, so no shortage of meat. Bless my mother, a Type 2 diabetic living mostly on carbs, as recommended by her dietician…

  145. I really like the Paleo approach but I’m wondering: if everyone on the planet ate that much meat wouldn’t that have a big ecological impact? All the land that you would need for the livestock (and for producing the food for the livestock!)? That would result in more and more deforestation, especially in already vulnerable places … That’s the only thing that makes me a bit unhappy about this whole ‘eat more meat’ part :/

    1. One thing that would really help would be banning the cultivation of tobacco. There’s a heck of a lot of land out there that’s being used to produce poison. If we could liberate that and set it to cows and sheep instead it would be a big help.

      1. Tobacco is a very primal plant. US native indians highly regarded tobacco for its medicinal purposes. The raising and curing of tobacco was a skilled and treasured practice left to the medicine man; a tribal position of great honor, respect and status.

        The key is the cultivation and curing. You’ll have no arguments from me regarding the chemicals used and contained in the most popular final product form, a cigarette.

        The Roskamp Institute (check out their bio and mission statement) has researched tobacco for its anti inflammatory properties with very interesting results.

        Besides, private land ownership is a basis for free and civilized society.

        1. Bon: but at some point all land was free and did not belong to anyone, right? So one could debate about whether or not landownership is, philosophically speaking, really fair, just, etc …

        2. Yes, there may be some possible medicinal applications of tobacco, I’ll grant you. But you’d need far far less of it than for the current cigarette production.

      2. And I guess the same could be argued for those huge palm oil plantations intended for this inefficient bio-fuel?

        1. @ Jerome

          The origin of private land ownership is a very interesting topic and several great thinkers/writers/philosophers have written their views, points, and arguments on the topic (Locke, Marx, Mises, Rothbard, and many others).

          I have explored this topic myself and if you are interested the subject you should read into it, think about it, and formulate your personal view. I for one found the Mises/Rothard explanation to make a lot sense.

          Below is an excerpt of a Crusoe island approach by Murray Rothbard:

          Crusoe, landing upon a large island, may grandiosely trumpet to the winds his “ownership” of the entire island. But, in natural fact, he owns only the part that he settles and transforms into use.… Note that we are not saying that, in order for property in land to be valid, it must be continually in use. The only requirement is that the land be once put into use, and thus become the property of the one who has mixed his labor with, who imprinted the stamp of his personal energy upon, the land.

    2. You’re assuming resources would remain static. Increased demand would send meat prices up. Entrepreneurs bring together land, labor, and capital with the idea the net product or service is worth greater than the sum of the individual parts, i.e. profits. There would be a shift of resources to bring more meat to market, which would involve the reallocation of resources to do so.

      Then comes the most demanding and unforgiving aspect: the consumer. Consumer demand can be thought as an election for products where each vote is casted with a spent dollar. Thus the pricing mechanism is the most important function in any economy. So moral and ethical issues on how the land and animals are treated can be factored into consumer choice via price. Initially such items will cost more, but if demand and profits are there then supply will increase, bringing down prices. (Which is more difficult to with a constantly devalued dollar).

      The beauty of the marketplace is the constant state of flux of products and services that exist to make the consumers’ lives better. A better standard of living is a very primal desire!

    3. There is so much land out there not being used it’s just amazing!! And most of it would be perfect for cattle and sheep – and CAN’T be used for crops. We could feed every man, woman and child in the world many times over with meat and dairy products with no problems if we used the available land properly and stopped growing mono-crops. Google around – the information is out there.

    4. Mark has a post on sustainable meat… It is doable, and sustainable.

    5. I see a ton of grass that needs mowing down by herbivores along the highways. And we are not limited to cattle.

      I’m definitely willing to eat goat meat, too. And ground hogs. Especially the one I’m mad at right now.

  146. Love your writings. I’ve been Paleo and been grain /dairy free for about 6 months after doing heaps of reading. Feeling really good too. A couple of weeks ago I thought I’d try some bread….had a headache and sharp pains in my stomach for the next 2 days. On Monday I thought I’d try another couple of slices and bingo stomach pain and headache. I cannot believe I was so de-sensitised . Keep up your inspirational work. Im spreading the word, her on the North Shore in Auckland NZ. Cheers

  147. When I’m with a certain group of people, we always have coffee and cake, and I always (or almost always) refuse the cake. They are mostly overweight or obese, and they look me up and down and say something like ‘but certainly, YOU don’t need to diet’. Well, no, because in their eyes I’m on a constant diet. When I tell them about it and emphazise the eggs and bacon for breakfast, they reply ‘but I’d want a piece of bread with that’. Well, yes, I guess you would. I’ve just learned to bite my tongue and change the subject.

  148. Yes in my determination to give up grains to get rid of aches and to heal my son’s chronic eczema, this is just what I needed to stave off my annoying mother-in-laws incessant complaints that what I am doing is not healthy or appropriate for my kids. Thank you 🙂

  149. My family doctor: “Your diet must be so hard/expensive/depressing. If I was in my 30s I wouldn’t want to be stuck with those constraints.”

    Me: “Um, what? It’s easy. It costs about the same because I don’t eat grain replacements. My diet cured my depression!”

    1. I’ve noticed that this “diet” actually saves me money.

      1. Reduced meds for my son (about $75 per month).
      2. Higher fat foods, more calorie dense, more satiating, end up eating less.
      3. Harder to find restaurants that are friendly to this lifestyle, eat out less, eat at home more.

  150. From my 91-year old Dad, “Are you having problems with your “sugar”? No, Dad, I’m trying to AVOID having problems with my “sugar”. With a lot of attention on gluten-free or gluten sensitivity most questions I get are not about going grain free. I get the most odd looks and PASSIONATE discourses about my fat consumption and particularly, saturated fat, consumption. Butter instead of Smart Balance? Bacon? Really? Nuts and avocados? Watch the fat! You will get fat and develop diabetes! So it goes. Grok on, everyone.

  151. So much win.
    I think I will share this with my friends, to answer their ceaseless questions. Thanks a bunch, Mark!

  152. Wow, read 5 pages of these comments last night and finished them up this morning. The information and encouragement I’ve read is wonderful. I’m very new to the Paleo/Primal scene and slowly working my way through it all. My chance to use this information will be this weekend when all my wife’s side of the family comes over for a cook out this weekend.
    Thanks to Mark for this site.
    Fred

  153. How timely! Twice this week I was told “you need grains for health.” One even made the old “everything in moderation” statement. I responded o.k. but would have done better with this information.

  154. I can usually answer all of those remarks easily but I am a Christian and I get this question when I teach people about the trouble with grians……”If grain is bad why did Jesus say he was the BREAD of life?” Very frustrating trying to answer that one in Biblical perspective to give satisfaction to those addicted to wheat…

    1. Simple answer: God didn’t make the grains that we use today. The grains available today are genetically-modified horror-hybrids that no one really bothered to test the long-range effects of before supplanting the real stuff with Frankenstein’s monster in grain form.

      1. And we no longer prepare the grains the same way. Major portions of the process were cut in the name of convenience.

    2. Don’t forget Jesus told Peter to put out his nets, and that the catch was FISH. And the Passover Supper was LAMB. And He fed the people with loaves and FISHES!!!!!!!!

      Cain sacrificed the fruit of the land, but Abel sacrificed one of his herd – which was more pleasing to God? So we can’t simply “cherry pick” things from the Bible. All of creation is good. All food is good. Some of us can eat a little more grain than others (80/20???). Some can eat more meat/fish than others. That’s just the way it is – makes sense, no?

    3. bread is an english word, Id be looking for the greek or hebrew word and reading the scripture in context.

      I dont know but Im betting that “bread” was an interpretation not a actual meaning…

      for eg in some parts of the bible the word for love is agape (godly love), and in others its philli (brotherly love) and rayah (female friend love)

      just a thought….

  155. I’ve gotten the whole “simple and complex carbs” speech a few times from friends. Yawn.

  156. Went primal: September 2011.

    After reading this, I just realized my knee hasn’t bothered since December.

    Come to think of it, I haven’t woken up with a sore neck/shoulders, either!

    [/sarcasm]
    This leads me to believe you *may* be on to something! Not that you back it up with research!
    [/end sarcasm]

    Thanks Mark! We appreciate your efforts! 🙂

  157. I haven´t gotten many comments. I just say they make me sick and that´s enough for everybody around me.

    Trying to convince others that grains are making them sick, too, is another thing altogether. I see them with weight problem and sugarcrasches (which I resolved going lowcarb/paleoish), migraines, allergies (I lost my asthma somewhere along the way), inflammations and aces and pains. But it wouldn´t work for them, right? I don´t even try. I just answer questions if anyone is curious on my newfound vibrancy.

    Just over a year ago I was on my way to beeing middleaged, fat, sick, unhappy and all the aces and pains that were creeping up was just age. I thought. I felt better when the pounds came off and that´s why I didn´t have acing knees. Or so I thought until I ate some bread last fall. It all came back! Gas, bloating, munchies, joint pains. From a slice of bread?! I tried it a couple of times after that, just to make sure I wasn´t imagining things. I wasn´t.

    I´m 46 years old. Feel like I did when I was 25. Grains make me feel like I´m 65. 😉 It´s a no-brainer: I keep away from the stuff like it´s poison.

  158. Sticking with fruits and vegetables as my primary source of carbohydrates made huge difference in my overall health and energy levels. Give it a try. It’s life changing experience. You won’t turn back.

  159. I’ve spent a lot of time in hospital in the last year.(UK hospitals feed their patients for as little as possible, and so meals are mainly carb or plastic meats.)When I go in, I speak to the head nurse and ask her to arrange my meals — no excuses or explanations or pleadings –I just state that I am ‘severely starch and sugar intolerant’. Pretty well the whole world knows by now that you deal with a food intolerance by not eating that food, so now I don’t get starch/sugar.

  160. I plan on going grain free with the Julian Bakery’s new grain free bread called The Paleo Bread….comes out June 15th.

  161. Thanks so much for these detailed responses! As a Personal Trainer spreading the no grain gospel I needed both the brainy version and the watered down one! You have a way with words Mr. Mark! Grok on!

  162. Example of pressure from the family : “now that you have reached your weight goal, stop eating like this, and eat normally with and like all of the family members”. My usual response would be something like “it’s not a diet, it’s a change in the way I feed myself, I don’t feel like stopping right now and I’m not sure I will, keep eating white death (=sugar) if you feel like to.”

    1. Reply: “So since I finally have success, I should go back to what made me gain in the first place?”

  163. Love your blog Mark 🙂
    Just wondered…Does anyone have any vision problems living grain-free? I do about a week and then I notice I have a little trouble focusing properly, I then have a small amount of brown rice (1oz) and the next day my vision is fine again. I don’t know anyone else experiencing this on grain-free, do you? Any ideas would be very welcome, thank you.

  164. I’m sure there are others, but I’ll just name one … What about quinoa? They say it’s so healthy. A “Good carb.” Do you disagree?

  165. I’m astounded by the resistance I’ve encountered since eliminating grains from my diet. In the past at one time or another I’ve given up dairy, desserts, deep-fry, meat, caffeine, alcohol, etc. and never had a backlash. This time, wherein I’ve lost 10+ pounds in a couple of months and I FEEL great, I’ve encountered all kinds of hostile opposition. It’s weird!

  166. You know what I often hear? You’ll never be able to stick to no grains. It will be impossible.

    1. Usually from the people most anxious to sabotage you. They know they need to change, but they’re addicts. Addicts can’t see other people go off the stuff because that means that they can, too, and they don’t want to. Because they’re addicted.

  167. This usually comes from an overweight person, so I like to say, “Well, I don’t eat grains, look at me. You do, look at you. Who do you think is right?

  168. I tell people I’m allergic to gluten, and they usually only ask me what I eat. I’ve had some variation of these questions sometimes when I order at restaurants – usually from the server. So when I say “Meat, veggies, sometimes fruit” when they ask me what I eat I usually get a light bulb-face. It’s almost like they could eat like that and understand. My “diet” doesn’t seem so sparse. Then usually it goes away quickly when they realize they’d have to give up some vices. My dad and younger sister are also allergic to gluten. Family gatherings are usually really easy. A family that has allergies (in common) together… can eat together. 🙂

  169. Good stuff as usual. But there are also teaching moments to be exploited. Best not to always be on the defensive when you encounter them.

    I got a different type of comment the other day at Radio Shack when the clerk asked

    “Dude do you do P90X or something? You look like Bruce Lee”.

    I was quickly able to reply that believe it or not, I hardly work out at all. My secret was healthy animal fats supplemented with fruits, vegetables, and “one ingredient foods”. Without any defensive posture from me, the interested party was eager to hear more and we continued the conversation for several minutes. Based on his reaction to my open and non-defensive insights, I’m thinking we may have another success story in the making.

    Kill ’em with kindness, before they kill themselves with food. That’s how I roll…

    1. +1 for a great attitude and kind approach. I like the way you roll. I need to keep that in my heart, too.

  170. Under the moderation question you wrote “I’m just not seeing where the deprivation comes in.”

    This touches on a very overlooked topic many paleo experts have little experience with, which is the emotional aspect of food. Many of us have our food tied in with our emotions so many feel deprived when they’re forcing themselves to eat in a completely different way than they’re used to (i.e. dieting). I am a compulsive over-eater and am trying to live as paleo as I can given my emotional background. If I deprive myself too much of what I want I end up binging, so sometimes non-paleo things are good in moderation because they prevent big over-indulgences in them later.

    Unfortunately we are human and self-control is finite no matter what issue you are tackling, whether it be controlling your eating or tackling another type of addiction. Those who don’t have emotional issues with food may not feel deprived or need moderation, but there are tons like me who do. Hopefully you will recognize the emotional aspect of food in your future articles.

  171. When I tell people I don’t eat grains or processed sugars, most people I meet look at me quizzically or with a scrunched face and say, “I’m sorry. What do you eat?”

    On my cynical days I say, “Don’t be. I’ve learned to subsist on shards of glass.”

    On my better days I say, “It’s actually been a boon for my health. I feel great, and I don’t miss them at all. I’m stronger now, and I recover better from workouts. I have filled that empty space on my plate with more fresh vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats.”

    By the end of the conversation, many people begin confessing to me their health and diet woes. Funny how that works.

    1. I usually answer “well, let me ask you… if I told you that you had access to as much meat and vegetables as you wanted, how many different meals could you come up with?”. Its interesting to see them stop and think about it.

      1. On the other hand, it is kind of sad to see how many can’t come up with anything other than salad.

  172. I give very similar answers to those to people who are interested in pursuing it or who are curious and open. If they are challenging and/or closed to it, I get much more dense and really start quoting facts and stats at them… You know what they say, baffle them with brilliance. 😉

  173. As far as sandwiches are concerned, in Venezuela’s Maracaibo bay they have a great grain-free solution (although probably not strictly primal): patacones. These are regular meat, cheese, onions etc, but instead of bread, the contents are held by two plaintain sorta “tortillas”. Genius and yummy.

  174. My mother hit me with a story of her friend’s husband, that when he went “low carb” he had a heart attack and a quintuple bypass. Typical, somebody else story without any science at all, just worry.

  175. I carry my before and after photo around, me in bikini at 80+ kg and me 12 weeks later at 56kg in same bikini.

    I say see this… this is what happens when you stop putting grain in your stomach, and put bacon and eggs in it instead.

    Then I show them my fingernails, better than any acrylic ones, and my clear skin, shiny hair, and tell them what I’ve eaten that day, and plan to eat that night.

    I also add, Ive been 56kg for a year, and my recurrent constipation that I used to suffer with has completely gone..

    If they are still standing there, I keep at them until the leave with a piece of paper with Mark’s Daily Apple written on it.. my phone number and they give me their email, so I can email them a list of eat this:
    and don’t eat this:

    I am a BIT of a hard sell, but so far I’ve converted all of my best friends and some of their friends, my two kids, my relatives and so on.

    If you believe in something, then I feel it’s your duty to share the love…

    Im always surprised at how many of them come back for MORE information. A sign that Im not scaring them off I think.

  176. Mark, this post was fantastic. And hilarious. I actually read it to my mom(who is grain and dairy free). I was cracking up. “Arsenic? Sure, I’ll have a bite!”

  177. I guess my stance is – I agree with the vast majority of what the paleo diet promotes. However, I think there is more to diet than just eating like a caveman. There is certainly biochemical individuality and there is no one right diet for every person.

    To condemn natural foods like brown rice (a staple food for centuries in the Asian cultures, well known for being among the healthiest and longest-lived), 100% whole grains, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, legumes and so on for healthy carb-tolerant people, especially those who are highly active and already reasonably lean, doesn’t make a whit of sense to me.

    Also, how is there a paleo supplement line and paleo protein bars? That’s kind of an oxymoron, don’t you think?

    I want to finish by saying I love the site and I love how the internet has built such a large health community. I definitely subscribe to the idea that no one should be eating any processed foods!

  178. I love reading posts like this where mark really tears into the CW ignorance.

    Great read!

  179. This always creates a never-ending circle of questions. The only people who seem to ask me why I don’t eat grains are the people trying to explain why I’m wrong. I inevitably get asked, “well if you’re not eating grains, what do you eat?” I answer with “A juicy, flame-grilled t-bone, with stir fried zucchini and mushroom on the side.” What happens then…I get an explanation of how I need to watch out for red meat and all that fat. If I answer with any fish, I get told abou mercury. That leads to the everything in moderation topic, then back to grains, then on to something unrelated, then eventually I just get an eyeroll like they’re sure I’m dying at 30 from heart disease or malnutrition. I almost wish I lived in a cave like Grok. Then if anyone approached me and questioned my food, I could just club them and be on with my day.

    The big question/comment that makes my head want to explode is “I can find you any study to support or oppose any position you want.” I try to answer with “yes, but if you read the details of the studies, you can figure out which ones are correct and which ones are loaded,” but they usually started ignoring me by then.

  180. I cheated today after being 15 days Primal. I had a small sandwich thinking it was a TREAT and now I feel like iv swallowed a big bowl of broken glass. I’m bloated and in a lot of pain. NEVER AGAIN!!How about that for a response.

  181. I love sharing info but am sick of the questions from people when you can tell they think you’re weird or a science experiment (versus true curiosity). I’ve been on a gluten free diet for almost a decade so it’s just getting old. The other day at a dinner party someone asked “What can you even eat?!?!?” (as I was loading my plate full of food right in front of them… what a mystery) and I waved her off and said it wasn’t worth getting into. I hope I wasn’t rude about it but what the hell is the point? I’m going to explain, they’re going to act like it’s so bizarre or life debilitating, tell me how they could never do it or how emotionally distraught it would make them… great. What a pointless conversation. These intelligent responses in the article are awesome and things I would use if I was trying to convince an ill family member to give the diet a shot. Random people at dinner parties acting like you’re a weirdo, who cares. Let them think you’re weird, nothing you’ll say will likely convince them otherwise. I only open the door to the conversation with the politely curious, the interested and fascinated, the frustrated-with-the-status-quo-and-motivated, not the kind of person Mark describes at the beginning of his article. Those people I like to befuddle even more by eating bacon, smiling and talking about how I’ve lost fat and gained health and leaving it at that.

  182. My husband and I and our two young children are all Primal/Paleo. This is the comment I get all the time…”don’t you think you are making it hard on your children when they have to go to school or to their peers houses and they see what everyone else eats?” I know. Crazy isn’t it? I’m the one making it hard on my kids. Wow. I don’t even know how to respond to this without offending the person asking the question.

    1. Assuming your kids rarely get sick, if I was in your situation, I’d respond with something like “Yeah, life’s rough for them because they never get sick or sluggish from eating dull, chewy, bloat-inducing grains.” Since you’ve already been insulted, the offenders are fair game, IMO 😉

  183. HAH! Pro article! Steak and eggs for breakfast is what I’m having right now.

    Silly grain eaters.

    John Wade

  184. “Besides, do a rib-eye, some buttered broccoli, and a glass of red wine sound like deprivation to you?”

    Mark, although I think this may very well be the best source of information on health and nutrition on the net (or anywhere), I’d have to disagree with you here.

    If giving up pasta and bread and pizza weren’t deprivation, many more people would have given these things up a long time ago. The fact is that they are comfort foods and they make us feel good when we’re eating them. And probably many people are addicted to these foods.

    I have strong cravings for them at times and find it nearly impossible to give up bread/pasta/pizza completely.

    And something else. If you put broccoli and pizza in a cage match, your broccoli will get killed in the first round. No one on the planet prefers eating vegetables to pizza. We just force ourselves.

    So I disagree. There is a certain amount of deprivation involved in the Paleo diet. Clearly, the more disciplined you are in restricting the bad foods, the better health will result. But let’s not deny that there is a certain amount of willpower and discipline and deprivation involved.

    And that’s why there will always be x% of the population that will say “screw this diet.” They’d rather enjoy their pizza and bread and pasta throughout their lives and suffer the consequences later.

    But a rib-eye and a glass of wine I’m sure everyone will agree is not deprivation. However, many people even in the US can’t afford steaks for their families on a regular basis. So economic issues play a big role. And you did mention it in your article.

    Fantastic site. I love your writing and your research. I’ve made some major adjustments in my diet and I would have to say you are the greatest positive influence.

    Thanks and keep it up.

  185. So just to add something to my previous comment.

    The Paleo diet comes from “what did Grok eat?”

    But the problem is that Grok didn’t have temptations of donuts, pizza, junk food, french bakeries at every corner.

    And Grok didn’t grow up eating pizza and then later in life logged on to marksdailyapple.com to realize his diet sucked.

    The Inuits only ever had access to seal meat and blubber.

    If not eating pasta is not deprivation, why do you have a recipe on your site for mock pasta with zucchini strips? Clearly, it’s because people are feeling deprived of pasta.

    Personally, I won’t bother with the mock Primal versions of carb poison. I’d rather have the real thing, but only occasionally.

    I think one meal a week letting yourself go and eating whatever you like is fine and won’t cause any harm to long-term physical health. And it’s good for emotional well-being.

  186. Oh, panda, the Inuit had far more available than seal meat, and if you meant seal “blubber” there’s really no such thing. Muktuk, commonly called blubber, is from the whale. Seal fat liquifies into oil at room temperature, and has always been used by the northern people to preserve field greens and berries picked in summer so they can be eaten year-round. In addition to seal, walrus, and fish (for example, cod), they also had crab, clams, and other seafood. They had eggs gathered from the nests of colonies of murre and other wild birds. I know this because I was told about it in great detail by a man I knew for years, who grew up in the old culture, and who described how they lived. Paleo to the max, until “contact” introduced tobacco, condensed milk, pilot bread crackers, candy, liquor, and other poisons.

  187. Linda, I may have been wrong about their diet but that was my main point. They were Paleo until the poisons were introduced.

    What do you mean by “contact”? First time I hear that expression.

    So you agree with Mark then that we should avoid all these poisons that we’re constantly tempted with at all times? You’ve been successful at doing this for how long now? When’s the last time you had pizza? And do you ever wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat dreaming of one?

  188. Wow, don’t I wish my adult children would show some concern about my diet. I did the best I could when I was raising them to give them home cooked meals, homemade lunches and not being depriving when it came to eating other things. Now, I see them swigging juice and slathering on the low fat margarine or worse eating vegetarian and all I can do is keep my mouth shut and eat my primal and wait for the day when we’re out somewhere together and people mistake us for siblings! I agree with Jan above. One suggestion I’ve heard is to have business cards made up with names of websites and other info you would tell them. Give it to them and let them do their own info finding.

  189. Mark,this is all great and I’m sympathetic too and considering going paleo. However,what do you make of the fodd habits of the Greek monks that live on Mt Athos ? Tons of bread( often white by the way),lentils and no meat. The result ? Vanishingly small levels of cancer,heart disease and dementia. It’s these guys that hold me back from a more primal approach to diet,so I’d love peoples thoughts.

  190. I recently contacted Mark regarding fatigue from heavy lifting and having been told by a team mate “you need to eat more carbs, introduce grains.. gluten free oats, quinoa, etc.” I asked Mark what his suggestion is and he referred me to his post of Safe Starches as well as this one.

    In response to his question, “what else do people say when you tell them you don’t eat grains, and how do you respond?” That same team mate told me that perhaps eating paleo/primal is more of a fad/suggested way to eat and that there really is no research or evidence to prove the benefits. While I know this is not true, my only response (because I cannot pin point the research done) was that I feel like a different person while eating paleo. Honestly, black and white, night and day and that is evidence enough for me!

  191. The best one is the “everything in moderation” mantra, because of course you sound like a crazy person if you try and argue that moderation is bad…..right?? Mark’s response was the perfect ammo I will use next time my overweight family members come at me with that crap (because responding with “moderation is obviously working for you” in a very sarcastic tone of voice is probably counter-productive) 🙂

  192. @Wylie Edwards,
    Moderation is a loosely defined term that could mean anything. To some people, moderation means 2 slices of bread a day rather than 8 servings of whole grains a day.

    So that doesn’t mean total abstinence is the only necessary alternative either.

    For me, “moderation” of less than optimal foods means 1 meal a week where you’re allowed to eat just about anything you like. To me, this will have minimal negative impact to health and will allow a strict diet such as Paleo to be more sustainable in the long-term.

    But that’s just me. If you can give up pizza for the rest of your life, knock yourself out.

    I honestly don’t think you HAVE to. I think you can cheat a little. But these people who say “everything in moderation” are cheating too much. They have a little bread here, a Coca-Cola there, a Big Mac here, and by the end of the week it adds up to way too much poison.

    A dose of mercury is fine.

    1. But for me, that one meal makes me sick and I do not like being sick. So I do not have the need to cheat. I would rather feel good.

  193. First decision is whether I am wanting to convert someone is just politely answer their query. If the latter, it is a simple – “for health reasons” – get very few questions after that, occasionally some condolences.

    If I am wanting to convert, I have found the first rule of influence someone else’s behaviour is to empathize. I usually ask if they experience heartburn, cramping, bloating (these are people I know, not strangers in an elevator), or mid-afternoon energy crashes (almost universally positive response to this one). I then tell them I had those conditions as well and since I made a lifestyle change (I avoid the word diet like the plague it is), I have completely eliminated those conditions.

    Then I wait for them to ask what the lifestyle changes were. I start by saying “I finally had enough of the pain and low energy – after doing some research that showed almost everyone has some level of sensitivity to grains, I eliminated them as a test. I was amazed at the results … yada, yada, yada.

    I have had more people asked for a reference for web site from this approach than any of the others I have tried.

  194. So the other day i was speaking with my aunt about eating grain. She asked why not eat somethig that God created? I told her – God created tobacco too, so why dont you smoke?
    Im a bit sarcastic as you can probably tell. =)

  195. I can say I’ve done this one and couldn’t agree more. I started with grain free for other reasons (mainly a hormone test), and found it amazing.

    I’ve been an athlete all my life but found myself in my late 40’s & 20 lbs heavier than ever. I stopped the grains (& cheese too) and lost it all.

    Now, when I do eat an occasional something due to holiday or some other momentary reason, I do feel the bloat, the yuck in the gut.

    It’s good habit to adopt.

  196. What about beans? Would you give beans the greenlight or cut those out of the diet as well?

    Are beans “primal”, as you say?

    I ask because I eat a lot of beans (and grains unfortunately) and I would like to start making shifts in my diet.

  197. mark wrote a blog about beans. just type beans in the search engine and it will come up.

  198. Although I agree with the grain free thing – al least gluten free for most – I cannot understand the concept in pushing more meat, especially bacon – it is rare to find this unprocessed. Has anyone read The China Study??? And I don’t think there is one right way for everyone to eat – it is very dependent on the culture you were raised in and your blood type. Our wheat in the US was stripped in the 70’s which i think may account for the amount of gluten allergies today – when I travel in Europe, I can eat bread without bloating because it’s made from ancient wheat and I walk for hours.

    1. If you are basing your opinions on meat using the China Study you should really read Denise Minger’s analysis of it. Very enlightening. Saying that I would definitely agree that the quality of meat you get is fairly important, the less processed it is the better it is for you.

  199. My fave response: “I love love love cheese and bread and eggs- they just don’t love me. Hate me in fact- major gastric distress. Beans too…”

    Usually by now I can tell I’ve made my point by the scrunched up face of fear I’ll describe the GI distress in detail. Which I’ve done. I admit it.

  200. My 157 pound weight loss speaks for itself. When folks see the new me they can’t argue with my lifestyle. I carry around a stack of cards with my blog web address on them. Rather that get into a lengthy conversation, I say Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) it’s all on my blog, read it.

    I have posted a link to this article on my blog.

  201. Thank you for your great site/blog! I’ve been eating Primal for over a year now, not perfect, but pretty good. My question is about those who say that soaking, sprouting, and fermenting grains in order to neutralize phytic acid and allow nutrient availability. It sounds like a good argument? Wanted to get your opinion on that…would soaking, sprouting and/or fermenting a grain or legume render it more digestible, less toxic, and closer to Primal? Thanks for your input!

    1. Sure, soaking, sprouting and/or fermenting probably render grains MORE digestible, and LESS toxic. That is a far cry from being healthy for. Less bad for you is still bad for you.

  202. I went on vacation to see some friends and they were amazed how I look (ideal weight and younger in appearance were some statements.) Until the restaurant. When I offered away the tortillas from the fajitas (only Primal meal there), they began to act shocked when I stated I don’t do grains. My response was…All I know is that all the IBS symptoms requiring a daily Anti-D pill, the pain in my joints, and double chin are gone, and my blood lipids measure just fine. Oh, and I sleep real good now. They refrained from any further questions and congratulated me.

  203. When I tried eating primally, to my surprise I ended up being hungry most of the time — even though I was eating large quantities of meat and veggies. I am thin, and frequently had loose stools and/or diarrhea with no physical cause that could be found by the medical profession, and was thus diagnosed as IBS. A fan of this website turned me on to the “fodmaps” concept, which includes non-gluten grains as well as potatoes. I found that if I added potatoes or non-gluten grains to each meal I could then be sated at least until the next meal, and my digestion was much better. We are all individuals.

  204. I am new to all this and reading a ton. Just talked to my husband this morning who is very supportive.
    Here’s one thing you all have going in your favor—you’re all having a lot more fun!!! I have been laughing out loud at comments on several posts. Can’t say as I would do that on a vegan site.

  205. MY response:

    Grains are for poor people. I am not poor. If I was a starving third world kid, then I would eat them…

  206. I love this article about grains. I’ve recently stopped eating various grains with corn being high on my list. My reason, I have allergies to them, especially corn. Slowly and deliberately over a period of time I noticed what certain foods were doing to me. The more grains I ate the sicker I got. Since stopping, I haven’t had allergies, I feel healthier and I’m not on antihistamines anymore either. I’m still finding it hard to eat what I would deem a clean diet as I still have the mentality to reach for things like pasta but stop myself. Not out of deprivation but out of habit. At least I’ve started a new habit of eating foods that heal and nourish rather than harm me.

  207. I gave up grains last year, and feel great!! I noticed the last time I ate bread (one little slice), in just a few hours, my knees were in so much pain and my stomach felt like it was in a knot. After giving up grains, my skin has pretty much cleared up, my feet have stopped looking so peely, and I do feel better.
    I simply reply with, “I’m allergic to wheat” when people see me not eat bread when it comes with a meal. Perhaps I should start mentioning some of these facts to those who ask??
    Thank you for all the wonderful advice!!

  208. I’ve had a few people respond with, “Well, I wouldn’t wanna do that because then it just makes you more sensitive to all that stuff.” What’s the scoop on developing more of a sensitivity to foods like gluten after eliminating them? My hunch is that the fear is bogus. My response is, “Yeah, but the consequence of eating them regularly is worse than an increased sensitivity to something I eat rarely as a cheat.”

  209. A reaction I hear often is “Well so and so ate grains etc. and they lived to an old age and never was ill” or “I eat all I want and I’m never sick” or “everybody eats grains, so everybody is wrong” and all kinds of variations of this, in reaction I mostly say that they just should give it a chance for a month or so and see how they feel and leave it at that, but any suggestions on another/better reaction is welcome.

    All I can say is that I myself wish someone introduced me to Primal Living way way sooner, could have spared me alot of grief, to me it just made sense, a 2 million year old tried and tested diet vs. 10.000 year old diet (grains) vs. 60 year old diet (dutch food guide), wich one would you pick?