We are officially on the road! More about the first few days of our road trip later this week, because today we’re following up on a question we answered on our Paleolithic Solutions Podcast with Robb Wolf and Andy Deas. (As an aside, we discovered that recording an hour long Podcast is way harder than it sounds. We fumbled and stumbled a bit, and still find ourselves saying, “Oh, man, I wish I had said that on the Podcast…” but all in all, we had a great time, managed to get most of our key points across, and were happy to be able to help solve some of our readers’ problems.)
One of our questions, submitted by Tim in Hawaii, asked us to re-vamp our CrossFit Elevator Pitch and present a similar summary of the Paleo diet. Now, we may not be bio-chemists like Robb, and certainly couldn’t answer some of the more technical questions he takes on during his Podcasts, but the request for a Paleo Pitch was right up our alley. We’re all about the practical application of some pretty science-y nutrition concepts, and there is nothing more practical than being able to explain to your family, friends and other curious parties why you eat the way you do. As Tim discovered, however, that’s not as easy as it sounds. He wrote to us about an experience he had trying to explain his daily nutrition to a co-worker. Tim said, “I tell her and the new supervisor that I recently cut out grains, legumes and dairy. I also did my best Robb Wolf impression and went into the whole grains have anti-nutrients, etc. After further small talk they leave. Not sure I made the impression that I was going for.”
Uh, maybe not, Tim… but it’s not your fault. There’s a fine line to be walked here – explaining your dietary choices, the science behind them and the resulting health benefits, without losing your audience to overly technical concepts, defensiveness about their own food choices or just plain confusion as you try to override a lifetime of government, doctor and SELF magazine-promoted “healthy eating” recommendations. So we took a crack at Tim’s Paleo Pitch on the Podcast, and tightened it up here in written format for our readers.
When asked, “What’s this diet you’re on?”, most Paleo people approach their response entirely the wrong way. The first thing we mention are all the things we DON’T eat – grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and processed foods. Trouble is, there is probably at least ONE of those food groups in their listener’s diet, and starting the discussion with a judgment of their dietary choices (whether real or imagined) immediately puts the listener on the defensive. (As we say in our How to Win Friends post, us Paleo people have the ability to make people feel bad about what they’re doing, JUST by doing what we’re doing.) In addition, jumping into the foods you don’t eat first immediately closes off further conversation if the listener jumps to some fast conclusions about your level of dietary fanaticism, or the restrictive nature of your self-imposed regimen. (For most people, not eating ANY of those food groups is hard to wrap your head around.) Finally, that kind of lead-off also places you in the unfortunate position of then having to justify from a scientific (“prove it”) perspective why the foods you don’t eat are actually not that good for you. And as many of you have discovered, that’s darn near impossible when up against a lifetime of “milk gives you strong bones”, “whole grains have extra nutrition” and “black beans are a good source of protein”.)
So we approached our Paleo pitch from a different angle – emphasizing the foods we DO eat, why we eat them, and the general (and well documented) health benefits associated with the foods we choose. And then we seal the deal with a personal testimonial – how this way of eating has affected YOU, personally. It’s hard to argue with, “Since going Paleo, I put 25# on my deadlift, cut my 5K time by 5:00, lost 10 pounds, and my skin has totally cleared up”, right?
So here’s our final version – Whole9 Paleo Elevator Pitch. Give it a read, give it a test run with the next person you see, and share your thoughts, feedback, experiences and suggestions in comments.
The Whole9 Nutrition Elevator Pitch
I eat “real” food – fresh, natural food like meat, vegetables and fruit. I choose foods that are nutrient dense, with lots of naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, over foods that have more calories but less nutrition. And food quality is important – I’m careful about where my meat comes from, and buy produce locally and organically as often as possible.
It’s not a low calorie “diet” – I eat as much as I need to maintain strength, energy and a healthy weight. In fact, my diet is probably much higher in fat than you’d imagine. Fat isn’t the enemy – it’s a great energy source when it comes from high quality foods like avocado, coconut and nuts. And I’m not trying to do a “low carb” thing, but since I’m eating vegetables and fruits instead of bread, cereal and pasta, it just happens to work out that way.
Eating like this is good for maintaining a healthy metabolism, and reducing inflammation within the body. It’s been doing great things for my energy levels, body composition and performance in the gym. It also helps to minimize my risk for a whole host of lifestyle diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack and stroke.
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