Thursday, April 14, 2011

Explaining Paleo

Trying to explain the paleo diet is like nothing I've ever experienced.  It's incredibly easy, yet impossibly difficult at the same time.

We've just returned from an awesome vacation to California.  Much of the trip was spent in San Diego, although we stayed at my parents' house in Temecula (where I grew up).  Staying there meant we could still stick to our paleo ways fairly well.  It also meant we had to explain paleo about 100 times.

When people ask what the paleo diet is I usually spit out the same spiel, varying depending on how interested the other person sounds and on how much I really feel like talking at the moment.  I usually try to keep it short and simple:  "It's paleo, as in paleolithic.  So eating the foods we were designed to eat.  Meats, veggies, fruits, and nuts.  No grains, dairy, or legumes.  Everything that was available before the Agricultural Revolution."  In this sense, paleo is very easy to explain.  There are a few large food groups I choose to eat, and a few large food groups I choose not to eat.  Simple...

Not so fast!  This of course leads to about 5-6 "Can you eat X?" questions.  A few "Why do you do it?" questions.  A few "How is it giving up X?" questions.  And a few follow up questions to each of the "why" and "how" questions.  This is where explaining paleo becomes a bit murky.

When reading The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Solution all of the science makes sense.  I have to read some parts 3-4 times to really understand it, but it eventually makes sense.  The hard part is:
  1. Knowing the science well enough to be able to describe it off the top of my head
  2. Being able to describe it in a way people will understand
  3. Keeping their eyes from glazing over as you take them to Science Town
This occasionally comes with a 3b) or a 4) Keeping their eyes from glazing over because they just don't want to hear that eating SAD is bad for them because they're addicted to X, or could never give up Y.

Well, I enjoy a good challenge, so it's time to buckle down and really study this stuff.  Know the science well enough to describe it to my mother, and try to come up with some sort of way to make the science interesting (if that can be done).  We'll hopefully post some of this in a few weeks.  Should be fun!

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