If you haven’t read Robb Wolf’s latest post, go now. It speaks to how easy it is to get bogged down by all the craziness out there labeled as normal while we toil away in our wacko, unhealthy diet. If you’ve been paying attention to the headlines lately, it can sure feel like the entire world is against Paleo, and if you’re fielding vitriol from friends or family, you’re probably really feeling besieged.
I’ve been eating this way for over eight months now, and I can admit to getting a little tired waiting for everyone else to catch on. I should imagine how Art DeVany feels after 30 years of this! But this is the way many people feel about a topic they hold near and dear. Heck, there’s probably a vegan blogger typing right now about their frustration that Paleo is starting to catch on: “If only they could realize the error of their animal-eating ways!”
It’s so exciting in the beginning when we make the discovery and we want to learn all about it and share it with everyone. But then it becomes daily life. And yes, I get tired of explaining myself at every dinner party, of saying I’d-rather-my-daughter-not-have-a-cracker, of asking about ingredients at restaurants. Can’t they just see the results (weight loss, muscle gain, less anxiety, clear skin, etc.) and appreciate that perhaps I’m onto something?
But these annoyances are a tiny price to pay for nutritional enlightenment. Nobody said that completely reversing a dominant paradigm fueled by corporate interests, government complicity, and billions of sleepwalking consumers would be easy. Our culture generally doesn’t reward rebellion, and those rebels that are rewarded earn it by facing enormous, soul-crushing resistance. If someone hasn’t called you crazy, you’re not doing it right.
It’s time to turn the tables on the dominant, destructive paradigm that’s literally killing people and robbing them of the fundamental health that is their birthright. There are a few simple things we can do:
Stop framing our diet as being outside the norm. We are not the ones on a weird diet. The rest of America (and, increasingly, the rest of the world) is eating a weird diet. All of our ancestors prior to our great-grandparents would agree with me. The sooner we stop thinking of meat, vegetables, fruit, and nuts as being difficult or inconvenient or “other”, the better off we’ll be in our own skin and the more convincing we’ll be to others. Besides, if you look at the advice CW nutritionists are peddling, Paleo folks are actually following those guidelines closer than any low-fat, sugar-free Dreyer’s ice cream consumers.
- As much as possible, don’t let cost determine your health. Nobody should be having to make the choice between fresh healthy foods and paying the electric bill. NOBODY. Do the best you can with what you’ve got. Your health is the best thing you can invest in, so do it every day. Every dollar you can put into the pocket of a local farmer or rancher is another dollar that Nabisco won’t get, and it matters. We have to starve these beasts. What have they done for you lately?
- Start enjoying your maverick status. Have fun with it. Some people are naturally better at going against the grain (pun intended) than others, but if you can smile about it, others will feel more relaxed about it too.
If you find your resolve to continue on the path of real food wavering, please reference J. Stanton’s awesome piece, “You Are a Radical, and So Am I”. If I quoted it, I’d end up just copying and pasting the whole damn thing here, so do us both a favor and read it in its entirety. Gandhi lends the article its thesis: “First, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” We are clearly in the third stage here. I will leave you with his conclusion, because I can say it no better. Take it to heart:
Be proud of your health and how you’ve attained it. Do not be pushy, but do not apologize for how you eat and live. And, most importantly, be prepared for the storm.