5 Ways to Explain Your Lifestyle to Judgmental Friends

Ok, so you’ve taken the paleo plunge, or even just a 30 day challenge. Great! Things are going to start to change. Your body, your emotions, your moods, and your food. Someone is going to notice! I can’t tell you how many times I have had people see me eat one meal, and ask why I skipped the dinner roll, mashed potatoes, or rice. This is a fantastic opportunity that you are going to want to take advantage of, and trust me, they are ready to listen. Some might be intrigued by this lifestyle, while others will shun its facts in a glorious trample (or stumble) of your information. But dont get nervous, here are 5 steps you can follow to explain your lifestyle to your friends:

  1. “Its a nutritionally dense diet.” Most people will agree that a diet rich with fruits and vegetables is ideal for superior health. By explaining how the paleo diet is rich with micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, your friends will understand why a paleo diet is optimal. Dont be afraid to use the classic “livers are more nutritious than bread” line. Once they see how much nutrition you are actually getting from the diet, they will start to loosen up. It is hard to disagree with eating more nutrients. Once you have completed this step, you can take a stab at explaining to them antinutrients.
  2. “Its an anti inflammatory diet.” Another great way to get someone intrigued by the paleo diet is by explaining the anti inflammatory benefits of not eating grains or vegetable oils. In recent years, vegetable oil has had a halo surrounding its “low-fat” nature. However, the high amounts of omega 6 fatty acids found in vegetable oils, as well as grains and grain fed animals, actually increases inflammation in our systems. Systemic inflammation can lead to sickness, which we are all trying to avoid. Once your friends have hear about the insane inflammation that occurs from omega 6 fatty acids, they will begin to have their minds turned.
  3. “Our previous thoughts about fat consumption are skewed.” This one might be a bit tougher to explain. A lot of people have some real issues with accepting the fact that the “lipid hypothesis” was faulty. It seems to have been seared into our brains that fat is bad. One way to explain this to your friends is to tell them all about Ancel Keys and his 21 Countries study that was actually only 7 countries (click here to read more about Ancel Keys). You could also tell your judgmental friends that fat is absolutely necessary for proper digestion of vitamins and minerals (aka why they are called “fat soluble vitamins”). I find the latter of the two explanations to usually sit better in the stomachs of “non paleo’s (muggles?)” But give them both a shot if your feeling perky.
  4. Functional fitness. Ahh functional fitness. The term that has been oh so celebrated amongst crossfitters, and paleo people alike. Its quite the sell, and it makes sense. The idea that you can train not to suck at life seems to make everyone absolutely giddy. But how do you explain it to your friends? Well, i think its just that simple! Tell them that functional fitness trains you not to suck at life. Explain to them how functional movements like the deadlift, pushup, pullup and squat train you for everyday activities so that when your old and (not) decrepit, you will still be able to pick up your grandchildren.
  5. Basics. Its never a bad idea to just toss the basics out there. Giving a broad overview of the topic of paleo can sometimes really hit home with your friends. Remember to mention paleo as a lifestyle rather than just a diet. Tell them about antinutrients, omega fatty acids, and how this diet is optimal for human health. Some people will catch on right away with the basics, others will need a bit more in depth explanation. But that’s what we are here for!
Any ideas on how to explain this lifestyle to your friends? Leave a Comment!


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About The Author


Max is a passionate pursuer of integrative health. He has been drafted by a professional baseball team, worked in publishing scientific laboratories and spoken to groups of students on health and well-being. He is currently a biology major and philosophy minor at Denison University. Max spends his time reading, weightlifting, traveling and learning. Email Max at mungar810@gmail.com.

10 Responses

  1. Ryan
    Ryan September 8, 2012 at 7:56 pm | | Reply

    Hey guys,

    I have seriously been waiting for a solid “how to explain this to your friends” write-up from all the paleo bloggers since hearing about the lifestyle a year ago. None of these ideas once crossed my mind and all of them make sense. Being the more science-guy I am, I always go straight into the details of it, which makes people think I’m some fringe crazy that is on a “fad diet.” I really like the advice you just put out.

    Keep doing what you’re doing!


  2. GiGi Eats Celebrities
    GiGi Eats Celebrities September 9, 2012 at 12:45 am | | Reply

    In college I told everyone that I was allergic to the things I didn’t eat….. But, then I had my large intestine taken out and guess what, I cannot digest pretty much anything, so really I didn’t lie! LOL

    1. Chelsea
      Chelsea September 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm | | Reply

      Haha! I’ve done that a few times with some *ahem* intolerable people. But usually I just say “I feel good when I eat this way” and that usually ends the conversation. My friends/family still look at me like I’m crazy, but hey…Another interesting note: when I’m introduced to new people and/or even with old acquaintances/friends they see me as a ‘health nut’ and automatically assume that I’m vegetarian/vegan. Ha! If they only knew…

  3. Ralph
    Ralph September 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm | | Reply

    So basically, my mom is the judgmental one! I am trying the Paleo diet for a week, but she constantly criticizes me.
    She basically repeats to me the fact that there are few complex carbs in the diet, and therefore its basically the Atkins diet. Obviously I know it’s not the same.
    My question: how to explain to her that eating very few complex carbs isn’t a horrible thing?

  4. Elena
    Elena October 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm | | Reply

    Great post! It’s been hard trying to explain this to friends, and most think I’m on some fad diet for instant weight loss – so wrong! I think ‘nutritionally dense diet’ will be my new phrase. After being Paleo for several months, I find that eating bread/rice upsets my stomach anyway, so it’s not a lie anymore when I say I can’t digest starchy carbs. Keep up the good work! 🙂

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