Trying to explain going Paleo to your parents can feel like explaining social media to people who have never used the internet (… which your folks might also act like, on occasion).
While the Paleo philosophy stems from the way people ate way back when, the guidelines can feel quite modern to parents who are all about those boxes of cereal (and the occasional microwavable dinner).
So here’s to those of us who are embracing their inner cave-people and are choosing to fight the good (read: unprocessed) fight. We feel you.
1. No, Dad, just because it’s referred to as the “caveman diet” doesn’t mean I actually hunt and gather.
It simply means I’m sticking to whole, natural foods—like cavemen used to.
2. And no, it’s not another complicated fad diet.
It just means eating grass-fed meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, and veggies… you know, those wholesome foods you raised me on!
3. Eating Paleo doesn’t have to mean eating totally differently.
For folks who already eat a lot of produce and lean protein, a few small changes—like opting for (mostly) organic and saying au revoir to legumes—do the trick.
4. Paleo eaters avoid processed foods, which means I am learning to live without prepackaged snacks.
As much as I already miss Lunchables, I love the way Paleo makes me feel more.
5. No, Mom, eliminating certain foods isn’t going to equal starvation.
Believe it or not, high-protein meals and snacks are more satisfying than a good ol’ bag of chips. And one of the big benefits of Paleo: Counting calories isn’t a thing.
6. I swear, it’s not carb-free! Fruits and vegetables are carbs too—and I eat tons of them!
I see your peanut butter and jelly sandwich and raise you an apple with almond butter.
7. Sticking to natural sugars doesn’t mean I’m in for a dessert-free future.
I can have dessert. I can have carbs. I can still enjoy life! It’s OK!
8. Sooo, you’re saying you don’t want to cook for me when I come to visit?
Hey, look at it this way: Now you have an excuse to drag me to the farmer’s market with you. And I’ll even take turns making dinner! (And if there are berries, almonds, and avocado in the house, I’ll be a-OK—promise.)
9. Yes, eating Paleo means eating large amounts of fat and protein. But no, it is NOT the Atkins Diet.
Grass-fed steak? Heck yes. Oscar Mayer bacon at every meal with a side of fried egg and melted cheese? Not so much.
10. Concerned that I might not be able to afford this lavish lifestyle?
Buying organic meats and produce is more expensive, but I’m eating out less and making more food at home, so it ends up balancing out, for the most part. And isn’t feeling healthy priceless?
11. No, you don’t have to worry about my fiber intake, Mom. Grains aren’t the only source of fiber.
Produce has fiber too: greens, berries, avocados… plenty of it. Promise.
12. I prefer not feeling bloated, OK?!
Sorry for the overshare, but dairy gives me gas!
13. For the last time, eating a certain way doesn’t mean I’m trying to lose weight!
Sure, I might end up dropping a few pounds because I’m eating high-quality, nutritious food, but eating Paleo is about so much more than that!
14. Low-fat is so last season.
And guess what: Eating a high-fat diet doesn’t always lead to heart disease—there’s even strong evidence to suggest that it can be much healthier than a high-carb diet. It’s all about quality.
15. I know there’s a lot of fake news out there, but the Paleo diet is legit.
16. Of course I’m not giving up your (in)famous ice cream cake forever!
Eating Paleo is up for interpretation, and everyone does it a bit differently. While some people do cut dairy for good, it’s not a must.
17. I know, Dad. I know that peanut butter isn’t a carb.
But peanuts are legumes—a.k.a. on the Paleo blacklist. And eating Paleo isn’t focused on low-carb, anyway!
18. Just because it has “bean” in its name doesn’t mean that it’s off-limits.
I love that you’re concerned about me not eating enough green beans, but their nutritional quality is different from Paleo legume offenders, like black and lima beans. Green beans, FTW!
19. Just because I turned down a beer doesn’t mean I’m shunning booze for good.
White wine and gluten-free spirits are a-OK with me. Everything in moderation, right?
Tara Goodrum is a freelance writer and content strategist living in Brooklyn. She likes words and snacks.