Paleo Diet: Can We Force People To Be Paleo?

Can’t we just hold a knife to people’s throats, or threaten to blow their houses up, if they don’t change to a Paleo Template way of eating? Can’t we hold their children for ransom, or throw bricks through their windows if they won’t

voluntarily come over to the fuzzy side of the force? No? Well, that is a shame isn’t it, because that would indeed be much easier than trying to overcome a lifetime of inGRAINed dogma and conventional wisdom.


Can't we just take them hostage?

Can We Force People To Be Paleo?

Robb Wolf posted an article on his blog yesterday, April 4th entitled “Paleo Diet: How Do I Convince Someone To Try It?”. I have to admit that I visit Robb’s blog quite frequently… least once a day, but I never enjoy the post from the others on his team, quite as much as I enjoy them straight from the horse’s mouth. Hell, it could later end-up being someone writing for him, and using his name if his popularity keeps growing. The man is going to be too busy to write blog posts! However, for now I have to say that I like Robb’s writing/speaking style…’s engaging and intellectual, yet totally down-to-earth at the same time. He is truly one of those “cool guys” that I could absolutely see sitting and drinking a Margarita with one day. I should be so lucky, right?!

I actually feel that it’s appropriate to begin with the END of this particular article, because he discloses some very exciting information, that I think deserves to be mentioned first:


As I was writing this post I received word that a large US city has signed a contract for a risk assessment program (of which I am a part) to monitor their police and fire department, screen for metabolic problems and implement paleo/low carb as the intervention for individuals with lab work indicating they are at high risk of cardiovascular disease/metabolic syndrome. This is a BIG event and it happened because I’ve focused on getting the 75% to buy-in instead of arguing with the 25% who will not.”

Wow!! Ok, so he doesn’t go into great detail here, but in my opinion, a large US city recruiting Robb to oversee their Police and Fire Department’s health reformation, using Paleo principles is nothing short of stellar! I think that’s incredible, and potentially means bigger things than most people would imagine. Anytime there is the opportunity to get a Paleo-foot through the door of government business, it’s a big win for the Paleo community.

Onward with the rest of the piece!…

“I received a twitter message last week that went something like this:

“Robb, how do I convince my spouse to eat paleo? She has numerous diseases, is always miserable, but is resistant to change. Help”

My response:


I doubt that person converted to a twitter follower!

Now, I was not simply trying to be a jerk. I was trying to be a little funny…AND I really was stumped what to tell this person. I’m really not that good of a “Cheerleader of the Soul.” I come more from the Yoda camp of “Do or do not, there is no try.” I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just sharing how I’m wired and I’m going to share how I’ve come to be who I am. Some of you will like it, other will hate it. Fine either way. I’m going to share some deeply personal stuff as part of explaining how I’ve approached coaching people for the past 10 years but if you get what I’m trying to convey I think you will understand my motivations and why I’m disinclined to devote significant time and energy trying to “convince” people to do much of anything.”

Robb goes on to talk about his experience with losing his Father, after fighting Diabetes for years, his Brother when he was 13, and his girlfriend when he was 16. Robb has experienced a lot of loss during his life, and seen many people succumb to diseases and conditions that left him wondering if he couldn’t have helped these people that he lost, if they just would have listened. Make sure you go to the blog, and read the rest of the piece, because it really gives us a sense of where he’s coming from.

Obviously that is the driving force behind his philosophy. He isn’t one to chase people down and force anything down their throat, but what he does say, over and over, is to just try it. Just give it a go for 30 days, and “see how you look, feel, and perform”.

I couldn’t agree more!

“These experiences, for good or ill, are what forged the asshole behind the keyboard.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m up to, what I’m trying to accomplish. And I think it boils down to this: I want people to know they have another option. You don’t

need sulfonyurea drugs to “treat” your diabetes. You don’t need to HAVE diabetes! Not many people are aware of this. I am, and I feel morally obligated to get that message out to as many people as I possibly can. Nicki’s mom died from complications surrounding her Rheumatoid arthritis. THREE MONTHS before Nicki met me. How many testimonials do we have on the blog from people putting RA into remission? A dozen? I know in the blogoshpere there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of examples…and it’s just not happening fast enough because wonderful, good people will die needlessly because I’ve failed to get this idea “out there” faster.

And this is the interesting, seemingly contradictory dynamic that forms my psyche…I love helping people, I want desperately to get this information out to folks and see them thrive and live a long, productive life. But I will not waste my time on someone unwilling to change. That one person, that one roadblock…the know-it-all who prefers sickness to change is wasting my time and that means the person who WOULD change may not get the message in time.

And let’s be crystal-fucking-clear about the onerous task I am asking of folks to save their own skins:

Try it.

For 30 days.

Tell me what happened.

That’s it. 30 days, and we will know if it “Did or did Not.””

I have to respect him of that perspective, and that attitude. Don’t you?

7 Steps to Success

The program that I laid out in my book is pretty solid and it was born of observing people both succeed and fail in the attempt to change their lives. Here are the broad brush-strokes of what you need to do to change:

1-Clean out the entire house. All the crap get’s bagged up and donated to charity. The crap you are trying to justify saving for the kids will undermine your efforts, follow the program.

2-Go shopping. Use my shopping and food guide and go get some chow. A lot. Learn to cook, use the food matrix.

3-Go to bed early. In a dark room. Repeat daily.

4-Get some exercise. I do not care what kind. Make sure it is appropriate for your fitness level. I personally like lifting weights, but I’m just kind of a meat head. Do what you like.

5-Do this for 30 days. Change takes time. Patterns establish with repetition. Most psychology gurus say we need to do something for 21 days to affect change. Fine, we’ll go 30.

6-Track progress. I describe how to do it in the book, I provided a reminder here. If you ask me about your weight, we are going to have a hell of a problem!

7-Report your experience.

That’s it. Henceforth when someone asks “How do I convince someone to eat Paleo” they will get a “Let me Google that for you” link to this post. There are some folks who like to specialize in “hard cases.” Good for them, but I’m not sure that is very productive. I’ve noticed that about 50% of folks are willing to try something like paleo, just to give it a go and see what happens. About 50% of the remainder will, with some arm bending and cajoling, give things a shot and generally stick to the program. Unfortunately, 20-25% of people simply WILL NOT CHANGE. They are the person smoking a cigarette through the tracheotomy hole, or my dad trying to wheel and deal with the Universe: “Just take my foot and then make everything ok.” Focusing on those people seems an epic waste of time. If your situation is like that of the twitter message I received, that your spouse is sick, but unwilling to change you have three options as I see it:

1-Make the best pitch you can. Perhaps just “live as an example” and hope for the best.

2-Accept the situation, much as I did with my parents.

3-Change the situation. As in YOU change your interaction with the situation.

This may seem a bit of a buzz-kill but it’s all in your perspective. Most people WILL at least give things a shot. And if we can get folks to just try, usually they are bought in. All of us however will face folks who will not, under any circumstance, change. You need to understand that and take accountability for how You respond.”

This is a great, honest, well-intentioned kick in the ass! Robb certainly has a way with words, doesn’t he!

After all that, there’s nothing left to say, other than…..

If you don’t like the way the world is, CHANGE IT!


Go to, and download my 30-Day UN-Challenge eBook now……It’s a step-by-step guide to your personal health revolution.

Barry Cripps is a Paleo-based, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, who operates out of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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One Response to Paleo Diet: Can We Force People To Be Paleo?

  1. saraeye April 5, 2012 at 7:47 am

    I’ve encountered this same issue recently. It’s only been just over a year since I’ve gone Paleo, and everyone in my family (husband included) recognizes how much my health has improved, and how well the kids are doing. But it’s a difficult approach to ask a spouse or parent to PLEASE please please go Paleo. The spouse is absolutely resistent and I’ve given up hope. (but he at least eats ‘healthier’ now). And the diabetic parent with joint problems, arthritis, and allergies taking up to 20 pills a day. She’s beginning to come around. Why is it so much eaiser with actual clients (I’m a nutritionist) than it is with family?? THAT is my question. I don’t even push this on clients… I simply let them choose books from my library and we discuss them as they read… and most of the time they come to their own conclusion to do Paleo and I have so many success stories from them now. But I would much rather see my husband gain more health and energy, lose weight and feel good about himself… and not have to sit back and watch diabetes and food choice kill my mother.