So you’ve decided to take your health into your own hands. You’ve cleaned out your pantry, stocked up on primal-approved foods, and bought yourself a new cookbook. You are ready! But unfortunately, not everybody is going to be as enthusiastic about your new lifestyle choices as you are. Let me tell you, I was woefully unprepared for the onslaught of constant questions from skeptical friends and family.
Reactions may range from genuine curiosity to what might seem like outward personal attacks. Keep in mind that this is a radical lifestyle change opposite to most traditional dietary advice. Rightly or wrongly, people may see your decision as criticism of their own lifestyle choices.
Instead of getting sucked into a lengthy discussion with everyone you know, arm yourself with a brief script that you feel comfortable sharing. Feel free to personalize this, but here’s what I’ve settled on:
“I came across some strong evidence for removing grains and legumes from my diet. Ever since doing so, I have never looked or felt better. My family is reaping the rewards as well. I realize that I’m challenging the status quo and that is bound to make some people uncomfortable. Change is scary. I understand that it may not appeal to everybody, but this is the way my family and I have chosen to live our lives.”
As well, educate yourself to come up with quick answers to the following topics:
- People have been eating wheat and grains for years. It can’t be so bad.
- Our ancient ancestors didn’t live as long as us.
- Your fiber/cholesterol/fat levels will be dangerously high/low!
This is guaranteed to be a common stumbling block. Beyond the obvious, like ordering salads or meat-based entrees, there are a few tricks to learn. You may not be able to stay completely primal, but with a few smart choices you can limit the damage:
- You do not HAVE TO eat everything that is served at a restaurant meal. Add these phrases to your restaurant orders: “Dressing on the side”, “No bread, please”, “Hold the rice and beans as well.
- Due to exploding food allergies and celiac cases, restaurants are more accommodating of special requests such as “Cook in butter instead of vegetable oil” or asking for a replacement side dish instead of fries.
Eating at a family or friend’s house is a bit trickier. Not having control over your food choices, plus the social factors of not wanting to offend the host, can pose a challenge. Possible solutions include:
- Load up on friendly foods when you can
- Eat a hamburger without the bun
- Politely inform your host/hostess ahead of time that you do not need a dinner roll or bean salad
- Eat smaller portions of non-primal food – small scoop of pasta salad, half a baked potato, smallest slice of cake
Finally, if there really isn’t a choice, don’t sweat it. A non-primal meal now and then will not be the end of the world. Primal perfection should not come at the expense of your personal relationships!