Paleo Diet: How do I convince someone to try it?

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.

Resistance is Futile

I love my parents the same way pretty much everyone loves their parents. To the core of my being. I lost my dad in July of 2005 and his loss is a void in my life every day. My mom is still hanging on, but both parents smoked, were diabetic and my pops had some booze issues. That I was not able to convince my dad (and still cannot convince my mom) to change their eating in a way that would save their lives has been a tough pill to swallow and has taken a lot of time to come to terms with. I have a decent relationship with my mom and that is due in large part to me accepting who she is and that she is unwilling to make some basic dietary changes that would reverse her diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Everyday I meet or receive emails from folks in my mom’s situation who DID change. That fact can bedevil you if you let it because you know an effective solution IS at hand…my mom just won’t take the simple steps to save herself. Even writing this requires a DEEP inhale and a long slow exhale. If you feel frustrated please consider this: I’ve been beating this drum for almost 15 years. I’ve felt Peak Oil levels of frustration.

When my dad was alive his diabetes was terribly managed at first. He was on sulfonylurea drugs which RELEASE insulin. Yep, let’s take an INSULIN RESISTANT individual and hammer them with a drug that releases MORE insulin. The common problem with this line of treatment (aside from death) is peripheral neuropathy from the nerves dying due to insulin resistance (very painful) and gangrenous sores that start at the extremities and work their way in (very nasty). I watched this process play out as my dad battled with a foot ulcer for several years. What started off as a sore that would not heal ended up a gangrenous wound necessitating the docs to take his big toe. Then the one next to it. Cutting off the rotting piece of tissue bought a little time, but when you cut a body-part off, you end up with….an open wound! Which does not heal well because you have poorly managed diabetes, you smoke (vasoconstrictor…makes circulation even worse) and you drink. You don’t need to “Leave Las Vegas” for ethanol to help kill you. Due to my background I helped a fair amount with my dad’s wound care which left long periods of time for us to talk. I’d try to convince him to cut back on the booze, eat low carb and maybe get a handle on his smoking. Nothing doing. It’d frustrate the hell out of me and we’d argue. If you know me I can be pretty zesty once I’m angry, so you can imagine how that played out.

I remember when my dad’s whole foot was really infected, antibiotics were worthless due to his poor circulation. His doctors were trying to figure out what to do with him and the options were grim. While I was trying to patch up dad’s foot for the umpteenth time, he took in a big breath, let it out in a sigh and said (cigarette in one hand, beer in the other) “Well. I guess I’ll let them take the foot. Then we’ll finally be done.”

I looked at him for a moment and then said:

“Done? Like, they take the foot, you quit smoking, drinking and eating poorly? Because this is not some nebulous deal with the universe. If you don’t change, it’s the foot today, up to your knee in 3-6 months…”

About a week later they “took” my dad’s right foot just above the ankle. Four months after that they “took “ his leg up to his knee. Once they hit his knee his circulation was sufficient to keep him ulcer free on the right leg. Then he started having problems with his left foot…

Dad died about a year after that, in his sleep, from a heart attack. And it takes a conscious effort to not wonder what I could have done differently such that I might have helped my own father.

So, neither of my parents ever did, nor ever will take responsibility for their health. Both had rough childhoods, did the best they could, but were (in my opinion) wracked by fear and largely incapable of change. My home environment was very co-dependant and dysfunctional. This has provided me with a kind of “Spidey Sense” in which I sniff out bull-shit better than a blood hound tracks Jack-Rabbits. If you are dodging responsibility I will know it within milliseconds of talking with you. And you generally get one (1, Uno, Eine) chance to get your shit together or I am done. But I’m not done because I don’t care. No, it’s because I know we do not have much time.

Loss is the Only Constant

My brother was killed when I was 13. My girlfriend died of a brain tumor when I was 16. These events shaped me in pretty powerful ways. I have an almost daily confrontation with the specter of my own death and the loss of the people whom I love. I’m not particularly religious so I do not have that to fall back on as a means of solace. I am genuinely envious of you folks who do have religion in your life in many ways, but I think this actually provides me an interesting advantage:

I am NOT afraid to love people. People I know, people I have only just met. I’m not afraid to look like a jack-ass or to speak my mind because I know tomorrow, I or they, might be gone. I’m moved to tears by shit that other people find mundane, and I think that’s because I have this countdown timer in the back of my head and I know all too clearly that it will either be me getting left again…or I’ll be doing the leaving. Folks with a belief in the afterlife have a built in “do over” setting in their psyche. I however think you get one chance to get it right or wrong, but either way this is the one shot you’ve got.

Khmer Can Do

I think I mentioned this story in a podcast, but it’s worth repeating. I spent a lot of time with a Cambodian family when I lived in Long Beach, CA back in the early 90’s. I was close friends with a kid named Sayla and got to know his family pretty well. Initially, I could not figure out HOW Sayla’s mom had so many kids as she was only in her early 30’s. Including Sayla there were 6 kids in the house and several were really close in age. What I discovered was that Sayla’s family escaped the Khmer Rouge near the end of Pol Pot’s despotic rule. Sayla’s family was pretty wealthy in Cambodia, but they lived in the constant terror typical of communist regimes. Overnight a neighboring family would simply “disappear”, never to be seen or heard from again. So Sayla’s parents decided to make a run for Thailand with the hopes of making it to the US. During the border crossing Thai border police machine-gunned most of the group they were with, leaving Sayla’s parents, his older sister, and a group of 4 orphans. His parents effectively adopted the children on the spot, made their way to Thailand, lived in a concentration camp for about a year before a family member in Texas could sponsor them over to the US.

It may seem risky to make such an undertaking, and it certainly was, but if you are unfamiliar with the history of Camboida, it’s worth a read. The Khemer Rouge tried to take the society back to the stone age by killing virtually anyone with an education. Once the parents were dead, the children had to be dealt with and the Khemer Rouge had a particularly brutal method of ensuring the children would not rise up against them later. And we wring our hands about “No child Left Behind” and video games…

So, Sayla’s family made their way to the US, and in the matter of about 8 years managed to work and save such that they owned a donut shop, Chinese fast food shop, and a cleaners, all in a strip mall. The parents slept on cots in the back of these businesses and were up at 3am every day to get the donut shop rolling. Then they bounced between the cleaners and Chinese food place after the donut shop closed about noon. I have never seen anyone work harder than those people, and they never complained. All they could talk about was how amazing it was to live somewhere they could be free and safe. The last I talked to them they were putting all six kids through college.

Be Here Now

So, who I am (from a coaching perspective) is this  weird combination of

1-Sniffing out codependency and fear. I have a radar for this that is remarkably attuned. Oddly, it works great for ferreting out Narcissistic Personality Disorders.

2-A wicked sense of pending mortality. I’m highly motivated to do things right and do them NOW because there may not be a tomorrow.

3-The clear knowledge that anyone can do damn near anything they so desire.

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 blogosphere 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.”

THAT is my greasy, Used Car Salesman pitch. And if THAT is too much to ask of a person, if that individual is so full of ego or fear such that they refuse to just TRY, then they are beyond help. I can mourn for that person’s difficulties, but I cannot in good conscience be consumed by their situation, because that means not only will they not make a change, neither will anyone else. It’s my opinion, that now that you are informed of the options before you, you have the same decisions to make.

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.


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.

Some people have been missing the picture of Keystone form the old site, so here is  a little something to tide you over:

 Robb Wolf's Cat Keystone








Categories: Paleo Diet Basics


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. says

    I appreciate that you teach and not preach 😀 I appreciate that you had the information available when I was ready to accept it. I don’t want anything forced on me or shoved down my throat; diet, religion, politics or anything else. You can’t make people do what they don’t want to – It’s our own lives to live the way we choose, even if other people don’t agree with what we do… even if we don’t agree with what they do.

    “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”
    ― Socrates

    • jake3_14 says

      Readiness is all. I think that’s what Rob is overlooking most of all in his comments. You shouldn’t even try to influence someone head-on until they’re ready. If you’re friendly with the person, you probably know how to pique their interest, and do a few other things that lowers his/her resistance to change, but only s/he can get him/herself ready for change. If you’re not a friend, then you’re not likely to influence someone at all, except by example, unless that person approaches you first.

  2. says

    Powerful post Robb!

    Thanks for taking the time to write this as I am sure many people can relate to this as it seems getting family to change is the hardest even as fitness professionals.

    Like you say living the change and hoping it rubs off and brings them in opposed to away is all we can do while making our time on this one way trip through life worthwhile;-)

  3. Brad says

    Powerful post indeed Robb. I had no idea about your experiences with loss. I was camping with my son’s boyscout troop last weekend, and a totally obese kid who said before the campout during food planning that he had diabetes (later modified to pre-diabetic) ate a Wendy’s frosty on Friday, ate Nutella out of the jar on Saturday and sat down with a bottle of maple syrup on Sunday with plans to chug it straight. Incredible. I stopped him on the Nutella and the syrup, but it’s a sticky situation depending upon his parents view point (he says his dad drinks ketchup straight from the bottle-he’s a porker too).

    • Steve says

      Brad, please tell me you’re making this up!?! this sounds like an urban myth but I have a horrible feeling you’re telling the truth. Reminds me of a story I heard from a friend of a friend who was a community nurse who saw parents pouring soda into a bag of potato chips, mashing it up and feeding it to their babies…

  4. Bev says

    I’d love to read your thoughts on the proposed Universal Healthcare…it seems most current spending is on diseases preventable through a Paleo diet. Seems unfair for those of us being responsible with our health having to pay for the masses who either don’t care or don’t have the motivation to change.

    • says

      I’m appalled by universal health care. I’ve tried to weave some of that into my posts but it pisses people off so I’m going to take the political stuff to another venue. the irony is that the Libertarian/free market approach is to politics what paleo/low carb is to nutrition: The Solution. I think that’s why so many peeps in the paleo scen have leanings towards Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.

      And yea, I do NOT think I should be risk averaged with someone with reversible, lifestyle diseases.

      • says

        Thanks for the good work you do! If you intend to take your thoughts on Universal Healthcare, and other leanings of the sorts, to other venues, let us know where. Those of us who are like minded would like to continue the conversation.

          • says

            Being a former disgruntled employee working in corporate strategy at BCBS, I would be very very interested in reading some paleo-oriented views towards healthcare reform!

            Also, I know that you (Robb) and some other paleos get into food policy issues pretty often. Well, I’m trying out to be the food policy writer for the next couple weeks! I would love to weave in some ancestral perspectives into these articles, but also fear that will cost me the gig.

        • Dan says

          For most they go hand in hand (Paleo and Libertarian), however for many people, they just cant get their head around the fact that the government was crap with dietary advice, what else are they crap at? Everything.

      • Paul says

        I really shouldn’t, but I must wade in!

        First, small digression, but why do Libertarians shed one belief system (i.e., monotheism) only to replace it with another (i.e., free market)? I say, free yourself of all! :)

        OK, “appalled”?! Ha ha.

        Robb, do you not have health insurance? If so, needless to say, you’re already risk averaged with lots of people with “reversible, lifestyle diseases.” This is how insurance works, not universal health care or Obamacare in particular.

        Moreover, you’re likely grouped among people with congenital and/or irreversible diseases and injuries. Do you have a problem with being risk averaged with these people?

        Should people grouped with your parents begrudge them? Or should the rest of us, Paleo or not, let their disease(s) (which would include addictive personality in your father’s case, it sounds like) and their symptoms be punishment enough? Or we ALSO want to send them into poverty and an even earlier grave to individually save a few bucks a year in taxes/premiums? I find it hard to believe your father CHOSE his addictive personality, any more than I chose my distaste for alcohol.

        Perhaps you are concerned about the millions of poor people who will be able to afford to join health insurance groups, who also tend to be unhealhier. Well, they, technically, may not be part of your health insurance group average right now, but in the end we all end up paying for them anyway. Except, instead of paying for preventative care, even if it be non-Paleo (which is better than nothing, right?!), we are paying for their emergency care.

        Plus, it’s a bit unfair to just blame poor people for our farm subsidy priorities.

        Along with the poor, of course, will be millions of healthy, young people contributing their fair share and bringing down your average, so it’s probably a wash anyway.

        Regardless, you do realize Paleo is not an invisible shield against accidents and ALL diseases? You cannot guarantee you won’t end up in a wheelchair tomorrow for the rest of your life due to some unfortunate event. I certainly hope not, but if you did, I would hope society, to the extent that you needed, would lend a hand.

        Moreover still, even if you have health insurance, you cannot not guarantee, before Obamacare, that you wouldn’t just be dropped because of some ridiculous reason your health insurance proffered.

        Bev, more or less the same points to you. Also, under Obamacare, will you be paying more into the system than you receive in subsidies? ( Just curious, though I’m sure your stance is purely on principle, right? :)

        To your point about “the masses who either don’t care or don’t have the motivation to change.” I think most adherents of Paleo did not make a rational decision. Maybe YOU weighed ALL the nutrition/dietary evidence available and conducted clinical trials to fill in any gaps and arrived at a fully-informed decision (I’m impressed!), but I think most people stumbled upon Paleo and just gave it a shot and then exercised their confirmation bias muscles with selective data.

        I, for one, was vegetarian for a decade and my condition worsed, so it was not for lack of trying before Paleo.

        So, you can choose to speak condescendingly of “the masses” being lazy just because they haven’t heard of Paleo or are too skeptical of it given that it’s contrary to what they hear every day, but I’d suggest more understanding and not cheap self ego boosts.

        Frankly, for those who truly want to practice self-determination and, indeed, a genuine Paleo lifestyle, and be independent of poor people, fatties, society, taxes, “the masses,” I suggest you go live in the woods. But I’m guessing that’s going to have its drawbacks too.

        Why not just be thankful we weren’t born with congenital/irreversible diseases or personality disorders and that we HAPPENED upon Paleo at some point in our lives AND it was successful for us, and just pitch in to help the less fortunate in the understanding that it could’ve been us, or could yet be our children?

        Oof, that was longer than I anticipated.

        • Paul says

          Upon further review, my “live in the woods” comment is worded a bit heavy-handedly.

          I was not suggesting anyone go “live in the woods” because I disagree with them. My point was: that is precisely what you’d have to do to accomplish the objectives mentioned. You cannot live in an interdependent society, and not contribute just because FYIGM.

        • says

          You know whats funny, I ALMOST added “I’m fine being risk averaged with folks suffering genetic disorders etc. If we avoid this catastrophe from metabolic derangement then we’ll be fine with ALL the other stuff…it’s cheap in comparison…”

          Now, I deleted that because I also had the thought (surely no one will be a big enough dick to take me to task on this…the economice are obvious…”


          Paul, I run my insurance with an HSA + high risk catastrophic deductible. This is much the way that folks did things before the 3rd payer system destroyed the market based mechanisms that allowed for free clinics etc. 40 years ago NO ONE (baring racial prejudices etc) were passed over for care because there was adequate profit in the account ledgers to absorb uninsured individuals.People actually “paid” for things like prescriptions, broken legs etc and did not expect all that stuff to be “free”. Now, that is gone as doctors, hospitals etc make less (both in inflation adjusted dolars and in real dolars) than they did even 20 years ago.You want everythign to be free, which means we are now going to ration it.

          Paul Libertarianism is NOT about self determinism in your black or white, straw man esque story, It’s about SELF ACCOUNTABILITY. And part of that actually extends to my accountability to the folks in my society. Contributing to charity, helping my neighbors etc. Where I had condescension in this is beyond me. If that’s what holding people accountable for their actions means in NewSpeak then I guess guilty as charged. I was crystal clear what the context was here…you are bending this to something quite different. I’d recommend reading this book:

          Arm yourself. You brought a butter knife to a gunfight on this one :0)

          And as to your question about the resources allocated to my parents: They NEVER had a sense they needed to ration or be accountable for anything. Once they got in the system (and my whole family is on the dole in one capacity or another) it just became worse. We could easily take the current system, provide a HSA type account that folks get a yearly dispersal of funds. And then THAT”S IT. They need to make informed decisions about how they spend THEIR money.

          So, with all do respect, but you can bag this stuff. We could still disperse social security type measures but make people accountable for how it’s spent…the studies have been, done, i’d recommend educating yourself on this.

          Looks like I really do need to do that political site…

          • Dana says

            Your parents are also sick. Your brain is an organ. If you don’t feed the rest of your body right and you get diabetes, what do you think that’s doing to your brain? They can’t help the way they are. Unfortunately this isn’t seen for the mental illness it is, so no one is going to intervene for them, least of all you.

            Sounds harsh, and you’re probably wondering where I’m coming from here–I have experienced what happens to my mental status when my blood sugar is deranged. I’m not diabetic but I’ve had reactive hypoglycemia and was suffering from a lack of animal fats in my diet. Got the blood sugar taken care of with low carb; that helped some. Started eating butter and cream and coconut oil; that took care of much of the rest of it. Avoiding gluten has worked still better on top of everything else (I wouldn’t ditch the other behaviors now on a bet). I MIGHT have a prayer of fixing my life now. Before, I wouldn’t have. I was a wreck and everyone around me knew it. I have almost no friends now and none of them are local.

            People don’t get this. We’re not spirit imps driving meat cars, at least not according to the evidence. We ARE our brains. And if the brain’s on the fritz, we’re going to make dumb decisions because that’s what “irrationality” means. It’s not on purpose. It’s what our brains drive us to do.

            So we as a society have two choices. We can prop people like this up and at least keep them alive long enough that they might get some help. Or we can make it kind and quick and take them out in the back field. But just leaving them with nothing is going to do nothing but kill them slowly. Or they’ll turn to criminal behavior–equally undesirable, but hey, when you’re desperate…

          • Paul says

            On the “condescension” bit, it was pretty clear that I was addressing ‘Bev’ as I quoted her use of “the masses” and addressed her by name a couple of paragraphs prior, so it seems you have been unnecessarily offended by it.

            According to you, I “want everything to be free”?! Really? Straw man much? Ha ha.

            Again, it’s subsidies for lower income people’s health insurance premiums so that they have access to preventative care, which is a cheaper alternative for everyone else, who currently pay for the poor’s emergency care. Yes, for those around and below the poverty line, care will be completely subsidized via Medicaid, but doctors are not being forced to provide free care as you kind of seem to be implying, perhaps inadvertently.

            As for the “straw man” charge you laid against me: “Libertarianism is NOT about self determinism”?!

   definition of ‘self-determination’: “free choice of one’s own acts or states without external compulsion”

   under 1.0 Personal Liberty: “Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make.”

            Obviously, LP’s platform is multi-faceted, but I never said or implied otherwise. And their 1.0 bullet-point seems to be precisely the root of your and Bev’s arguments, so not sure what’s “black or white” or “straw man esque” about what I said if it was based on your posts. You want people to “accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make” and not be yourselves “punished” (as it is often framed) for it, right?

            And my main counterargument to that is that it’s easy for those of us who are healthy to judge those who are not. But, personally, I find it difficult to blame people, such as your parents, or anyone, for their shortcomings. As you said, in your parents’ case, they had rough childhoods, and you probably don’t know the half of it. Who are we to judge?

            I just think some people have enough problems that we don’t need to further punish them by denying them health care (or subsidies to make it accessible) just to teach them some grotesque lesson about personal responsibility, and/or force them (further) into poverty to save us a few bucks.

            Even people who are born relatively healthy and had perfectly nice childhoods may never hear about Paleo. I know anyone reading this blog spends a lot of time in the Paleo bubble, so it may seem like common knowledge, but it’s not. Most of us stumbled upon Paleo by chance.

            Do you have sources for the following?
            – “40 years ago NO ONE (baring racial prejudices etc) were passed over for care”
            – “doctors, hospitals etc make less (both in inflation adjusted dolars and in real dolars) than they did even 20 years ago.”?

            Preferably, free and publicly accessible and not CATO/Heritage/AEI/etc.

            So, you’re okay with subsidizing people born with congenital disorders only because it’s relatively uncommon? Ha ha. Not sure you gained much moral high ground with that one, and YET saw fit to characterize my asking you this legitimate question in a respectful manner without presumption or accusation as being a “big enough dick”? Hm, interesting!

            Anyway, for someone who doesn’t think he’ll need much health care, you seem overly concerned with its rationing. Perhaps on principle? And YET is also proposing an HSA system, which is just another form of rationing! Ha ha. As you put it, “a yearly dispersal of funds and THAT’s it!” Presumably, unless you can afford more?

            And what makes you think THIS form of rationing will magically cause people to change? Because it abides by your ideological beliefs and saves you a few bucks? For those that exhaust their stipend and can afford no more, would you deny any and all further medical attention? Even emergency medical attention? If not, we’re back where we started!

            I’m pretty (small l) libertarian on social and national security/defense issues, so I think we would find much common ground there. I think our main point of contention here is our estimation of people’s free will and their control over their personality and actions, and, of course, your religious adherence to a political ideology as “The Solution”.

            Nevertheless, I don’t think we need to call each other names over our disagreements! :)

          • says

            AH! the Bev thing makes sense now, I thought it was typo, my bad.

            Most of what you are asking for is in that book, if you want me to mail you a copy I’ll do it.

            You ask several time “who are we to judge?” I’ll tell ya: a major section I considered adding to the original post was about most of my family being on the dole, working unemployment etc. I’m not a fan, but I’m not recommending every safety net goes away as you continue to suggest.I’d rather see that stuff implemented by state and city gov’s (more transparency, less waste) AND I want some kind of market accountability for the folks receiving benefits. As things sare right now folks are dis-incentivized to go off welfare for example as they lose medical benefits. If however, that money was paid into an HSA type account, the individual could take that money with him/her (to be used on medical expenses) as they get a better job.

            You said:
            “And what makes you think THIS form of rationing will magically cause people to change? Because it abides by your ideological beliefs and saves you a few bucks? For those that exhaust their stipend and can afford no more, would you deny any and all further medical attention? Even emergency medical attention? If not, we’re back where we started!”

            Because programs that have been run this way have proven to be effective in encouraging people to figure out what matters MOST for their individual care. consumption goes down, quality of care goes up (as judged by morbidity/mortality and more subjective measures). And again, you paint this “all or nothing scenario…as it is program like medical have VERY specific guidelines of what they will or will not cover. BUT if a physician feels a non-coverage drug may be particularly beneficial then they can put in a TAR for that drug, and typically it is approved. to answer you question specifically: if you make things free (no sense of the costs for the consumer) then folks consume at an almost 9infinite level. Then, instead of market based rationing, we have governmental rationing. The folks in Canada who are happy with the program are young, non-consumers. “customer satisfaction” is not so good with older folks who are in the system.

            Paul, this is feeling a lot like when someone makes a statement “There is no science to back the paleo concept” then when you ask if the person has read basic stuff like cordain and lindeberg, the answer is “no”. All I can tell ya is to read that book, and spend some time digging around on those websites you obviously do not like.

          • says

            You asked for a non-CATO reference, here is something to consider:

            squatchy posted this in another comment, it’s really worth a read. Of particular interest as per our discussion is the prison/psychopath story. Those folks are put in a situation in which they are both self accountable and mutually dependent. AND they have a very hard set of rules to follow. Non-compliance means prison time again. Heart wrenching? yes, but if you are going to save the many, the few who will NOT play by the rules are going to face tougher situations. If you ever run a business, hire and fire employees etc I think you will get a sens of this.

          • Debbie B in MD says

            Robb, I already had a great deal of respect for before this post and reply, but…. WOW, what an awesome response on health care. I have been following the paleo way for about a year now. What a great change!!! Keep preachin’ it and many will learn!

          • Tammy says

            Thank you Robb! Accountability, or the lack thereof, and the excuses made for such forcing us all into enablers, are definitely on the top of my list of pet peeves.

          • Paul says

            If the only reference or source available for a fact is partisan literature meant to preach to the choir, that “fact” (or more accurately: belief) should be re-visited, or dropped all together.

            In similar fashion, I wouldn’t accept a “Paleo Enterprise Institute,” if there were one, as a source for Paleo. If that’s the best we had, we’d be in trouble. But that’s not the case, as one can easily point to all sorts of independent, scientific studies and data.

            Besides, a religious person could use the same reasoning on you: Have you read all of the Bible, and the Koran, and all of L Ron Hubbard’s writings, etc., etc., etc.? Then, how can you reject them?

            Easy: because their premise is bullshit.

            You disagree in regards to your Libertarian ideology, no biggie; but comparing its partisan literature to the (actual) science behind Paleo is pretty flimsy at best.

        • says

          Now that you’ve got the juices flowing let’s tackle that addition piece. How do we compassionately deal with that? Tax EVERYONE into oblivion? No. Cease the ridiculous war on drugs, legalize the vast majority (all of them) and tax them with the knowledge some % must go to treatment. other “more advanced” societies do exactly this.

          Do you even understand what the libertarian platform is about?

          • janet says

            How abo ut getting this going on Naugthtons site too. Paul. Getting a little tired of smug libertarian attitudes. Now got to go feed my granddaughter some bacon. Why no blame going to Gop? They are more responsible for larding up gov policy areas with coporate buddies. On steroids during bushy boy but yet libertarians will moan and groan but still voteGOP. More harm than good voting for those crazies. Been watching carefully since 2001. Sorry on typos this tablet sucks on typing. I will NEVER vot GOP again and i used to be one. If you dont vote well shut up.

      • Dave A says

        AMEN on the Libertarian/paleo solution. I’ll also second the request to find out where the “other venue” is you’re posting about universal health care. Having spent the past 10 years in Korea, Singapore, Iraq, and Kuwait (with brief visits to Jordan) I’ve seen and read SO much on different ways of life and lifestyle…and none of it makes as much sense, or has as much promise, as the Paleo (or Primal for the Mark Sisson fans) way of life.

        I have always appreciated the academics behind the arguments you provide; and the application of the mindset and lifestyle to the rest of life (like the video of your elk kill…awesome).

        And in the true libertarian mindset – life and freedom are about choices. Universal health care takes away choices and makes us all responsible for the mistakes of others. You can’t make someone healthy – they have to want it for themselves.

        As always, great post. Thank you.

  5. says

    New to Paleo this year and have gotten the “but you NEED grains” statement from my mom a few times. “It is the staff of life!” she says. Meanwhile I’ve convinced my dad to cut out as much bread and grains at possible. Being Italian and living in an “Italian town” he is surrounded by pasta, bread, and cannolis and has made the effort to cut it out almost completely so I am really proud of him! He has lost 11 pounds in just a month and kicked popping Tums every night. DESPITE my mom being slightly resistant to the idea. I hope that through my positive example eating Paleo and my dad’s improvement in health, it will convince my mom to change her ways. But if I don’t, at least my dad is seeing the positive effects and hopefully he’ll be able to kick the statins soon too.

    Thanks for all you do, Robb.

  6. paleoslayer says

    If there is a god Im sure he would count you on his side.

    Im going to a talk at my local hospital today. Im afraid she’s gonna put down the paleo diet, you know “we dont recommend cutting out whole food groups, its not sustainable,etc.) Im just thinking if I should start debating w her or would it be futile?

    “From Caffeine to Gluten: Nutrition Limits, Truths, Facts, and Myths”
    Jennifer Sygo, M.Sc., RD, is the Director of Nutrition for Cleveland Clinic Canada and the nutrition columnist for the National Post. The rise in popularity of wheat and gluten-free diets, and whether there is any validity to the claims being made The evidence base for high protein, low carb, and Paleolithic (“caveman”) diets for weight loss and health
    Whether controversial foods, including coffee, eggs, potatoes, and soy, have a place in our diet, and why we believe they do, or don’t, cause us harm
    Why it seems that we hear one study say one thing, only to hear something completely different the next day, week, month, or year

    With practical advice and an easy-going style, Jennifer’s presentation will help you sift through the seemingly endless amount of nutrition information, and misinformation, and provide you with the tools to critically assess new information. Time for questions will be allowed both during and after the presentation.

    • says


      I’d ask if they are ok with vegetarianism…perhaps even before you talk. When they say “yes” you have your counter to the “eliminating whole food groups”.

  7. says

    Thanks for this post, Robb. I am in a similar situation – brother dying of cancer, overweight mom with diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure, aunt recently diagnosed with multiple cancers, and a whole family tree riddled with auto-immune disorders. And here’s little ole me a Paleo health coach who nobody listens to. It’s HARD to watch those we love most hurt and sometimes die from preventable things. I have had a very difficult time coming to terms with the fact that I am utterly powerless when it comes to getting them to change. It is an ENORMOUS help to me knowing that you and others are in the same boat. I’m just going to try to save someone else’s mom/brother/aunt and let go of the frustration and sadness with my own family.
    This post was a tremendous help. Many many thanks.

    • says

      Goodness, your post is timely! I am struggling with this personally and professionally as well, as a nutrition educator (focusing on the GAPS therapeutic diet, which is like a therapeutic Paleo/Primal diet), while watching family members struggle with diabetes, heart disease, and a multitude of autoimmune disorders. They have watched me improve my health over a decade, but choose to keep eating crap and take medicines instead of truly taking responsibility. So hard, so painful. Thank you for your perspective–I need to post it to the inside of my eyelids!

  8. michelle says

    I have just learned about this diet, and having health issues like insulin resistance, pros, various aches and pains, lethargy…..etc. I decided that other avenues of food intake have not helped me with my issues. After a week of eating this way, I feel so much better. I have energy, I ache way less, I am not hungry all the time, I joined the gym, and my stomach does not bother me anymore, my sugar is under control, and I just want to thank you! Looking forward to a better, fit me!

    • says

      Michelle! that is fan-tastic! And let’s flip this around, let’s say it did not work, but you gave it a shot, it was a couple weeks of your time. Not a big deal. Luckily it does work, but I just don’t think people consider what is really being asked of them. Give it a shot, see what happens. Not a big thing, unless you consider saving your life a big thing :0) Keep us posted.

  9. Tamara says

    I am another one who tried and bought all in, now even finally giving crossfit a try. My whole family is trying yet I watch a few of my inlaws refuse to change and truly deal with their diseases. I have a similar philosophy as a flight instructor/pilot. I don’t try to teach folks who are not putting effort into learning and obtaining the skills and knowledge. A recent one I flew his airplane for him to his home in Cali fits both scenarios. He has been a student forever yet never found a way to finish, and now is in his 60’s with several obvious metabolic conditions which he claimed eating once a day losing weight to get a medical. After spending a weekend with him no he isn’t just eating once a day and still drinking full sugar sodas and loads of fried foods etc. I ate best I could to the paleo standard in despite this even ordering meals and not eating the pasta etc, something I noticed most people have difficultly doing. I know he can not get a medical as he is likely diabetic and they do test for that. Plus his age they do EKG which may or may not have issues. We discussed diets once but in the end he talked a good game but never veered from his path. When you are close to someone such as marriage or family it’s harder to watch them take that road, but sometimes hats the lesson we need to learn to let others take their chosen path and deal with the consequences, that would include diet, or substance abuse, or medical choices. I have chosen paleo and let others choose theirs, but dare ask me about it and I’ll wax forever about the benefits, practically a walking talking book. But once I see the person not trying I know it’s time to move on.

  10. Bill says

    Great post Robb!
    With out a doubt, living the paleo lifestyle showed my whole family how easy is it is to live a healthier lifestyle. They all adopted it and got healthier each in their individual way.
    It is honesty the BEST gift I have ever given my parents – I know they have added years to their life and are just plain happier now. Hell, my mom’s mental acuity increased significantly alone! Its an amazing bond too – sharing about how all feel better!
    IT may seem like a cult, but for F’ing sake, it works and I will advocate it to anyone who wants to generally be healthier and happier.
    Keep up the great work – we are ever grateful.

  11. says

    Hey Robb, thanks for explaining how you’ve reached your current world-view, I am always interested in hearing what people consider their formative experiences, as well as what insights they extract from these, in order to find pieces of the puzzle I may be missing. I don’t have any comments on paleo or nutrition or coaching, what you are saying either makes perfect sense to me or flies over my head. On the personal stuff and the general outlook on things going on, I think you’d benefit from taking a look at what these people have found: Marshall Rosenberg (intro: the Basics of Non Violent Communication, on YouTube), Nathaniel Branden (intro: The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem), Murray Rothbard (intro: What Has Government Done to Our Money). All life-changing stuff for me, as significant as breaking out of the common myths on exercise and nutrition.

  12. Jennifer says

    Thank you! I feel know your passion as I sit here with a father needing a liver transplant and a mom with diabetes. They both thing that these are thing that just happened and that it was always going to be this way. They have made up their mind that this is life with a pill, with a insulin shot, on the transplant list, and a list of can’ts a mile long. My heart breaks a hundred times when I can’t even convince them to drink water or to try a new recipe. I agree, there is no excuse. That is a period and end of subject to me when people have a thousand reasons as to why they can’t do something. Thank you for all that you are doing to change the world. I wish everyone could hear it and spread the word with as much passion and love as you do.

    • says

      Thanks Jennifer. I’m sorry for your situation…just not a good thing. I guess it makes us strong and perhaps helps to drill in priorities. Hang in there and be strong.

  13. mmb says

    Amen. My boyfriend’s parents are much like your own parents; in fact his dad just had a surgery to clean out a gangrenous sore in his foot! My sister is a cardiac anesthesiologist, and when I told her this, she sighed and said, “He’s going to lose that foot. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of his life”. I am proud to say my parents follow pretty much a Paleo existence after my mom lost about 60 lb and kept it off for the last 15-ish years? My dad (also a doctor) has always been thin and ran, but he just stopped doing Crossfit at 69 because it was too much impact for his scoliosis (switched to a ‘normal’ gym). His doctor said he couldn’t believe he was so active, that in someone else his degree of scoliosis would put them in a wheelchair.

    I should mention both sets of grandparents had a myriad of diseases – diabetes, several cancers, CHF, etc. My parents have managed to sidestep all of that by living well, exercising, and taking a steady stream of supplements. Can you tell I am proud of my family? :) (Oh, and I just switched from Crossfit to Olympic-lifting because CF caused me adrenal fatigue…bleh).

    • mmb says

      Oh wait.. I forgot to mention my boyfriend’s mom is overweight and diabetic, too. Joint pain, whining daily, you name it. I hate to say it but I am glad we don’t live near them. The other kids in the family are all overweight, my boyfriend’s saved because of quarterly PRTs & eating some of what I cook.

  14. says


    That one really hit home. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

    I am struggling with the frustration of trying to help my sick parents, and it sometimes turns into anger. I am not dealing with it very well.

    • says

      Well amigo, for the sake of the relationship it may be necessary to let go of changing them, love them for who they are an enjoy the time you’ve got. Not saying that IS the way to go, but it might be. I feel for you brother!

  15. Beck says

    Robb, that was a very honest post. Thanks for sharing. I agree with you, but I’d also like to add one bit of practical advice. If the hubs would agree to shop and cook the paleo meals, perhaps his wife would come around. I’m not assuming she is doing all the cooking and shopping, but if she is, then I can see the resistance – cooking for real, is a whole lot of work – not just in the kitchen. Add kids to the mix (and their eating craziness)and I’d chuck it too – at least for the present.

    Also, I asked my 5 yo if she was going to sleep in her own bed. She said she’d try. I said “do or do not, there is no try”. She paused and said “do not”. Smartass.

    • says

      Well, this was my point abut the “change your relationship to the situation”. If the couple is not operating as a team, then they have bigger fish to fry than their food. And yea, I’m pretty excited to see what type of smartass the combination of nicki and I produce.

  16. says

    Thanks Rob,

    Very powerful post. I’m sorry for the loss you’ve gone through, but I’m glad you putting that pain to good use. Huge props to you man.

    Thanks for all you’ve done for me. I know now how to control what my body looks like and feels, which is remarkable for me because I’ve always struggled with it.

    Anyways, keep up the good work.


  17. says

    Interesting post, Robb. I have been reading your book and wondered what happened to your parents – whether they took your advice on board.

    I saw your tweet (which was forwarded to me since I have ‘experience’) and I was curious about your response. This is a huge issue for people. The hardest thing is to be helpless in the face of someone else’s suffering.

    You’re right, you can’t change anyone, not really. I’ve said as much in several posts. But you can work on yourself and you can influence others by your example. Sometimes. If you’re lucky and you live with them, you can enable them to change slowly over time. Again, sometimes. And you can always choose to accept people as they are. They’re on their own journey and we have to respect that. Ultimately, we have no choice. Especially if we don’t want a divorce.

  18. Amy says

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!!! It has motivated me both for paleo-evangelizing and sharing my (Christian) faith more effectively, aka not cramming down people’s throats, as both are really important to me. I’m starring this on my reader so I can easily come back to it. :)

  19. Michelle says

    Great post Robb. I appreciate the insight into the psyche – I find this stuff fascinating. I will note that my own success rate in getting people to consider changing their diet/lifestyle is very low… much less than 50%. Luckily my significant other is continuously willing and eager to adapt (while calling b.s. on any of my overeager experiments).

    I’ll add, for anyone interested, that I also really enjoyed Emily Deans’ post on the same topic. Another perspective on why it’s so hard to get people to change.

  20. Stephen D. says

    Thanks for this. This post echoes my own attitude concerning all the “other options” I’ve explored and then tried to get people to try. I think I’ll print this and keep it around when I run into the 25%.

  21. Derek says

    This is awesome. I’ve sort of heard this whole post from you having listened to the podcast over the years, but it’s awesome to see the “manifesto” written out.

    Thanks for the work you do.

  22. says

    Beautiful revealings. EVERYONE has a story, a reason why, and the compositions that draft forth a human being…are amazing…sometimes tragic and always bittersweet. Inevitable growth, loss and recreation – the true nature of a something that breathes and feels as it works its way through time.
    New sprouting blossoms,
    brittle winter buds.
    Thank you for not hiding your feelings.

    Gone through a very personal tragedy in 2012 has made me realize how important it is to talk about it, let it out. I believe there would be less judgement, alienation, assumptions and distance between people if we shared our most inner, with the outside world.
    (go art! – and Brene Brown!)

    Also, Robb, thank you for your DRIVE.

  23. says

    Beautiful revealings. EVERYONE has a story, a reason why, and the compositions that draft forth a human being…are amazing…sometimes tragic and always bittersweet. Inevitable growth, loss and recreation – the true nature of a something that breathes and feels as it works its way through time.

    New sprouting blossoms,
    brittle winter buds.
    Thank you for not hiding your feelings.

    Gone through a very personal tragedy in 2012 has made me realize how important it is to talk about it, let it out. I believe there would be less judgement, alienation, assumptions and distance between people if we shared our most inner, with the outside world.
    (go art! – and Brene Brown!)

    Also, Robb, thank you for your DRIVE.

  24. Mark says

    Sorta in the same boat. I did paleo on my own because I knew I could not get my wife to try it out. So I thought I’ll try it and see how it works. It worked great, as expected. I still never tried to convince my wife because that would be a huge battle and I wasn’t ready for it yet. Then one day we are talking a little about it and she says “Don’t try to get me to eat that way.” and I said “I know.” and that was the end of the.

    The worst part is she moans and groans every night about putting on weight and having headaches and lots of sinus problems and pms cramps etc… And asks me what do I think. And I just have to shrug my shoulders while yelling in my head, I already gave you the solution. One of these days I will be saying it out loud that I told her what she could do and she thinks I am wrong so try it or stop asking.

  25. Roger says

    Thanks for sharing!
    Reading about your dad brought back memories of my grandmother. She also died from diabetes complications. To this day I clearly recall how even after getting her leg amputated she refused to make changes in her eating habits. Sad.

  26. LeonRover says

    Robb – thank you for this post.

    It heartfelt & this comes across.
    Your sincerity and compassion shines through.

    I endorse your message:

    Each one of us can only change oneself.

    When one’s own example cannot persuade another to change, one cannot force it, only engage pleasantly and with love.


  27. Rose says

    You’re a Good Man Robb Wolf
    Thank you so much for this. Clearly it was hard to write. With my parent’s, it’s the same. Rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease torment Mom. Cardiovascular disease and Parkinson’s torment Dad. I’m 49 years old. Since reading your book, I’ve been Paleo for 6 months. I’ve lost 12 pounds, gone from a size 10 to a size 4. My GERD is GONE, IBS GONE, Psoriasis GONE, Depression GONE. They SEE this. They tell me how great I look, and I say just TRY IT! It’s SO EASY! What have you got to lose! Yet they won’t do it. My mom won’t even try a simple wheat elimination, not even for a week. I can not wrap my mind around it. It breaks my heart, because they suffer so terribly, and it just doesn’t have to be this way. They’re so trapped in a paradigm—trusting doctors, trusting drugs—all the while growing sicker and sicker, yet they can’t comprehend another way. Their world is flat; they dare not venture toward the horizon.

  28. Dean says

    My wife is coming around. Just went to Doctors after 3 months on Paleo. I am loosing weight. No more high blood pressure and my cholestoral numbers are outstanding. She really could not believe my cholestoral numbers, given the number of eggs that I have been eating.

  29. Stephanie says

    Thanks for sharing your personal story. I totally get where you are coming from and I’m so thankful that our community has people like you dedicated to spreading the word and saving lives, even through the frustration of being ridiculed by those that support the food pyramid. One lesson I did learn as a vegetarian for ~15 years is that EVERYONE thinks they know EVERYTHING about nutrition, whether or not they actually know anything, and they all want to tell you how to eat.

    I really don’t understand libertarianism but I look forward to reading your perspective on it because I would really like to understand it more. Hope you have time for the political blog even with the new baby on the way! I do know that this blog post
    kinda made me feel like becoming libertarian.

  30. Christa says

    Wow Robb. Thank you for taking the time to write this post and I truly appreciate your vulnerability. My dad died July 2000 from a diabetes related heart attack and there’s not a day that goes by where it does not haunt me. This is why I’m so gung-ho on what you and so many in the Paleosphere offer. I’ve talked my family members & friends over and over again about the life benefits of Paleo and some have hopped on board and others come back with almost the same shitty copouts, “But I can’t give up my bread and pasta!” or “Well, I know you have a gluten problem, but I don’t. I’m just fine.” Pisses me off to the bone some days and other days it just makes me want to cry, because I go back to the moment I received the call that my dad had a heart attack and I needed to get to the hospital ASAP. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over the guilt of thinking I could not save my dad.

    Despite the frustration, I know there’s only one person that I can change and that’s me. I can save myself. If there’s one thing I can say from all the people I’ve lost over the years, and there are many, is that they have given me a gift – a gift of knowledge, understanding and self-respect. Also this has taught me to let go of control, since we know we can practically beat this information into people and they will run away faster than Sir Robin and his minstrels.

    Knowledge is power, but it just floors me how many people are too afraid to take the red pill. What I and so many of us here can offer is an example. And maybe an occasional punch in the kneecap.

    I think popping in some Alice In Chains’ “No Excuses” seems apropros right now. :) Thank you for the Keystone picture, that simmered me down a bit. Keep up the good fight.

  31. says

    Robb –
    Thanks for sharing this personal stuff… Ironically, as one WITH religion, I run into people all the time who use God as their excuse for not working hard for their health. They view it as an “idol” that is taking the place of God if they prioritize it too much. I understand that view – it is easy to obsess about a new lifestyle initially and feel like it is all consuming. My thought though, is that it is worth the time of being “out of balance” if it means that you find good solid health to carry you through the rest of life. But, many friends of mine won’t focus on something like a shift to paleo eating because it isn’t “spiritual” enough.

    Anyways, I appreciate your perspective and respect your desire to live each day fully. They are all a gift, in my opinion.

    • Paleoslayer says

      “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body,” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

      • Ramsmom says

        Excellent verse – thank you! My MIL is a 3-times-a-week a least church-goer, but absolutely treats her temple like a junkyard! I resent it because one of these days (and it’s coming fast!), I’m going to be the one taking care of her and FIL! And you know they throw Ruth following and caring for her MIL around. Ah well, as one who has eating disorders, I struggle to not treat my temple like a junkyard as well. :)

    • says

      My parents are so the opposite, my dad is a very commited Christian, and is very concerned about his health. He switched to the Zone diet after a year of observing my results, and a paleo one recently. He believes in looking after the gifts he has been given – one of those is his body and another his mind. He is a psychiatrist and at 81 is still practicing part time. In doing that he has to keep on top on pretty intense medical info to keep up to date.
      His view I think would be that God wanted him to know about this. Despite being a creationist, he is very commited to paleo for health.

      If it wasn’t for Robb’s stance in the Crossfit community – I wouldn’t have known abut paleo. All I want to do it pass the info on here in New Zealand.

    • Mike says

      That’s crazy. My wife and I led a health and fitness group at our church based around paleo and (smart) crossfit-style workouts. We were able to tie a lot of verses into a Bible study that fit beautifully with the Paleo lifestyle.

    • Paul says

      As an (Anglican) Christian let me say, there is nothing in least “spiritual” about neglecting your health and stuffing yourself with junk. Anyone who says this, is at best deluded, at worst guilty of blsphemy,if not heresy.

  32. Jay says

    This post really hit home for me. Over the past nine months my girlfriend has watched me drop from 235 to 175 and put on a noticeable amount of muscle all from eating paleo and starting crossfit. She’s talked about going paleo several times as she’s seen the changes in me. I’ve offered as much support and encouragement as possible without pushing her, but it’s never happened.

    The difference between us in capacity is significant enough now that if she joins me hiking this summer she’d be unable to keep and and end up slowing me down. At this point I’m not sure any further effort on my part is worthwhile.

  33. Trevor says

    Really powerful post. Hit me right at the right time in my life. As much as we can try, we can NOT change people (even if we bring them to your final Paleo Solution Seminar and hear them say “I can do anything for 30 days”, only to buy candy bars on the ride home…true story). Very sorry to hear of the amount of loss in your life, but it has clearly molded you into a very inspirational guy that empowers people to change THEMSELVES. Thanks for sharing what makes you tick – impending Wolf cub is one lucky lobito

  34. says

    Hey Robb, thanks for the great post. It can’t be easy to put some of that stuff out there so thanks for sharing. I have had some recent luck with my wife and getting her to try the Paleo Diet. After watching me get healthy and slim down for the past 6 month she has finally given in to trying it out. It also helped that I do all of the shopping for the house and the cooking too.;) I’m hoping that I will have some similar success with the rest of my family. Maybe The Paleo Solution for Christmas presents?

    • says

      Right on man! That’s how I slowly eased nicki into all this. I’d cook for her and for me. My stuff looked better than her brown vegan beans & rice scene.

  35. Chris Espinosa says

    I spammed you this morning. My apologise, damn porn sites (joking).
    I just want to whole heartedly and sincerely thank you and give you a virtual hug for all that you do. You are literally a life saver and changer and the way you do, from the background you have and the person you are and have become is what made all that possible. I have known you for a few years and though very, very snarky, you have never steered me wrong, sugar coated (no pun intended) and saved me. Also those close to me have also been saved, not entirely but like you said a long time ago when I asked you about changing family members for the better, you put your hand on my shoulder and said “good luck, let me know how that goes.” It is a work in progress.
    Just wanted to thank you again for all that you do. I have always modeled myself after you (we have the same parents, literally and similar up bringing) you were the 1st badass i met that wore glasses and I knew there was hope for me after all. Thank you ever so much senor.

    • says

      I’m glad I’ve been able to help man. Also glad I do nto wear glasses any longer!

      Seriously though, all we have is each other. When I really embrace that life is a whole lot better.

  36. says

    “I want people to know they have another option.”

    Right on! I think this is so unbelievably key. Some people are in OK health eating how they are eating even if it is not the best. They are having the time of their life and may suffer through problems down the road. Who knows. I think the absolute key is to simply educate the world that there is this other option. That no one is destined to get sick. That eating delicious whole foods may heal ya! And that all you have to do is give it a shot. Do it strict for 30 days and then analyze. Change some things if ya need to. Realize this is something you do for life but as life goes on you will change how you do things. Always tweak.

    People just need to know that this is an option.

    Very well written post Robb. It definitely touched me for sure.

  37. Heather Longoria says

    Great post. I sent the link to my parents to read who struggle with tons of chronic conditions and just smile and nod when I try to convince them to go primal. They are also the ones smoking at my uncle’s funeral. He died from lung cancer. Argh.

  38. says

    Every day I hear someone talking about their diet/food situation. And, every day I battle that impulse to jump out of my seat and yell “stop eating grains!”. Some days I am able to at least plant the seed of thought to someone who has opened the door wide enough for me to get my Paleo speech in. And other days I manage to piss someone off just a little because they are just too defensive about their diet and/or someone they know and refuse to think any differently.
    It took me a year after reading the Paleo Solution before I could commit to the Paleo way of life/eating. I guess people just have to do it when they are ready. All you can do is plant the seed.
    After reading this blog I see that you have the steam behind you to keep spreading the word. I’ll do what I can as well by living by example. Thanks Robb. You are making a difference in the world.

  39. Jen says

    Thank you for sharing! My family sounds very similar to yours. We’re chock full of type-2 diabetes, obesity, crones, dysfunctional thryoids and arthritis. My mother just had a second surgery to try to remedy her non-healing knee replacement. At least 15 years ago I remember my mother being told to eat gluten-free but somewhere along the line that got too hard, but soda, cheesies and pain-killers were so much easier.

    I’ve been gluten-free for about 5 years with quite a lot of improvement but not quite where I knew I should be. I recently discovered Paleo and converted at New Years. It’s insane how much better I feel! I talked my sister (also with her share of health concerns) into converting as well. I’ve been challenging my father (type-2 diabetic with arthritis) to just try eating Paleo for 30 days. At the 2 week mark, he’s lost 15 lbs, has mental clarity like he can’t remember, his joint pain is easing up and his blood sugar has never been better. He even bought your book and made sure I got to borrow it from him (it was on my wishlist). I have the feeling he’s a convert for life, but can’t see my mother moving past her stubborn ways, living in pain, crying that orthodox medicine can’t do anything for her. You can only reach those that are willing to listen I guess.

  40. sarah says

    I have a sister who has been overweight since she was a small child. I KNOW she has insulin resistance and even though she has not been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, she is. When I first started doing in-depth reading about this I thought about her, but as she is ultra-sensitive about weight and health stuff I was hesitant to say much directly but did share some of my new found wisdom on Facebook. No response from her.
    But then she called and was talking about this bootcamp class she had signed up for and the dietary guidelines they had given her. She was frustrated that there weren’t any recipes. The guidelines sounded a lot like Paleo so it gave me an opportunity to share with her. I sent her your blog and several Paleo foodie blogs. I never followed up but recently learned she is giving it a shot & has lost 10lbs in just a few weeks! She also committed to a year of the bootcamp classes.
    So excited to see her on the road to health and wellness. But I think the truth is that people need to be in a place to receive the knowledge we have. I have a co-worker whose husband is struggling with crippling IBS and she doesn’t seem willing to try this. Getting in her face won’t help so I just keep trying to highlight the positive effects it has had on me and those I know. Maybe one day….

  41. Dana says

    No! DO NOT DONATE CRAP TO CHARITY! Any idiot can afford a bag of noodles! Six hours panhandling and you could stock your fridge with noodles! Do not donate crap to poor people! Them getting bad food is exactly what keeps them stuck in poverty! Their brains are not working right anymore and they’re freaking out and NOT COPING and that means they will not get hired and will not get out of their situations!

    Can you tell I feel strongly about this? WTF!

    Don’t wring hands at me and weep about all the poor charities not getting food donations, then, either. Put on your big-boy shorts and your big-girl panties, people, and go out and BUY SOME CANNED MEAT AND VEGGIES AND DONATE THOSE. Yeah, I know, BPA, but gluten and sugar will kill you faster!

    It’s called crap for a reason. Crap goes down the toilet. In this case the packaging would run you up a plumber’s bill, so throw it in the garbage instead!

    Yes. HUGE pet peeve of mine. I was suffering malnutrition in pregnancy because I was broke, alienated from my kid’s father and people were “helping” me by bringing noodles and crackers over. My daughter was born with reflux into both her kidneys (yes, urine reflux) and teeth that rotted easily when they erupted, because of all that. They aren’t putting good nutrients into those prenatal vitamins they hand out at the OB/GYN clinic. So it wasn’t enough to make up for the rest. (I’ve seen prenatals since then with NO VITAMIN A IN THEM. Not even beta carotene.) Did some digging years later and some of my health problems as well as her two major issues pointed to a vitamin A shortage. The carbs had only made it worse.

    (No, I wasn’t on food stamps. I was on Medicaid and WIC, and WIC is almost as craptastic as well-meaning-dieter food-pantry donations. I don’t know what my mental block is about food stamps and welfare. Maybe not wanting to be yelled at for the rest of my life ’cause I have no right to food I didn’t earn? I dunno.)

    So anyway. Yeah. Please keep all that in mind. Thank you.

  42. Dana says

    That said, I feel ya about your mom and dad. Both my parents are still alive but in that exact situation: Dad drinks, and both Mom and Dad are diabetic. I had to once explain to my dad what kidneys do. I know them both well enough to understand that it doesn’t matter what I say, they won’t listen. You wish sometimes you could just cook for them and make them eat it for a month and when their blood sugar normalizes, maybe they’ll get it. Though I’m starting to wonder if that would be possible for Mom by this point. Know what I said about messed-up diet messing up the brain? That’s happened to her. It’s sad.

  43. Sue Twyford says

    My parents are the same. Both are on statins and blood pressure meds. My dad has cancer and heart disease. Both of them just don’t want to change ..”it’s too hard” . It disappoints me a lot that my family just think I’m a nut, but I know I’m better off and won’t be in their situation in my later years.

  44. Shell's Bells says

    Hi Robb,
    I am new to Paleo. Have heard about it for about a month from the Cross-fit group at my gym. The instructor who also leads other non-cross fit classes was giving me some pointers to help with my nutrition. I listened, but found it rather daunting and wondered how in the heck I was going to be able to get my kids and my husband to eat the Paleo way. My husband already complained when I would bake or grill chicken rather than rolling it in flour and deep frying it. My daughter (8) is not much a meat eater but loves fruits and veggies, while my son (5) will eat meat but not veggies and very little fruit.
    Sorry for the side note…
    Back to the story… February 13, 2012 I was fine all day, until out of the blue I was doubled over in pain. Now, I have had 2 children with natural childbirth that did not feel as bad as the pain I was feeling…. I called my best friend to take me to the hospital so my husband could stay with the kids… After 4 hours, I was DX’d with diverticulitis, plus my bloodwork was very abnormal on many of the labs. I was sent to see a gastro-intestinal doctor who wanted to do a colonoscopy. I woke up to find that I had a polyp removed and still had diverticulitis. the next day I received the call that my bloodwork confirmed, along with the condition of my colon that i had celiac’s disease and that I was one of the low percentage of people with this form who actually were obese… YAY me! LOL!!!
    So now I am told that I need to follow not only a diverticulitis diet, but also a gluten-free diet. Paleo starts to flash before my eyes. But then I think that I cannot do this because I am not supposed to eat nuts or seeds with my diverticulitis. What was i to do?
    March 26, 2012 I made the plunge to go Paleo. I was feeling great! It was such a high knowing i was fueling my body with goodness. I swear, even my workouts took on more energy..
    March 31st, my daughter’s BFF birthday. I caved and ate pizza CAKE, and they were not the Paleo variety! Then my daughter’s birthday was April 1st. I made sloppy Joes and there was more cake… Not only did I feel wretched about eating like total crap, but i was physically ill. I thought i was going to end up in the hospital again. No one held a gun to my head to eat the crap, so why in the Hell was I so eager to?
    Denial? Addiction? Both?
    April 2, 2012 I re-committed to doing Paleo. The difference? I know how sick i can be if not. I flashed back to how crappy I have felt nearly my whole life, but just powered through as though everything was perfectly fine and normal. I wasn’t and I am not. What i do know is that the body human is extraordinary and I am a rockstar at the gym.
    I began bench-pressing this week, I stepped up my running and cycling and i throw swimming into the mix as well.
    Thanks for reading this far!

  45. says

    Preach the Good Word, Brother Robb! You can count on us re-posting this message over & over! Very nicely done! It’s heart-breaking when you can’t get to your own family but it’s so true you must get to those you can get to & help those who want & need our help. Time is of the essence! By the way, just for the record, you’re not an asshole, you’re a realist and that makes you a lot better at what you do. We’re proud to call you friend. Great post! Keep em coming!

    Love ya!

  46. Tonja Pizzo says

    And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why Robb Wolf is a bad ass! A couple of years ago, I watched my mom die of cancer after a lifetime of ill health and horrible habits. Luckily (which might sound shitty to some) it lasted all of 30 days from diagnosis to her death. After “burying” her(I say that metaphorically as she was cremated and we sprinkled her really) I vowed to NEVER end up like her and found my way to the low carb “Paleo” phenomena. It was the best thing I ever did for myself, my family, and now my friends!! Like the starfish–I’m paying it forward. Thank you, Robb, for this story and all that you do. I love your cut to the chase and get rid of the bull shit attitude. This was such a fantastic post. I know you must feel guilt in the fact that you have helped thousands of people but were unable to help the ones you love the most. Cyber hug to you.

  47. Cath says

    You made me CRY!!! Can’t wait to hear about the wolf cub – so excited for you both.

    Hugs from down under and thanks for sharing something from so deep down.

    You cant’ save them all but you have saved so many, and the ripple effects will be felt for generations, kids who’s parents are still around, grandkids who’s grandparents are around, lovers who are spared the pain of watching their loved ones go through what you did . . .

    Please don’t forget that the changes YOU have made, lil ole you, YOU, to so many people’s lives are unquantifiable (if that’s a word), but sadly you can’t always help those you love and that is always going to hurt, amd I’m sorry you’ve got that to live with…

    For me – weight loss, being pain free from crippling arthritis and inflamation, the ability to run jump, skip, hop, live laugh and cry with my kids – that’s what you’ve given me – a complete stranger. You’ve given my husband, my kids, their kids and their kids a gift – you’ve given them back MY life.

    And THAT dude, that is powerful stuff indeed.

    PS – thanks to Nikki for sharing you with us as well.

  48. says

    Wow. What a powerful post. I thank you.

    I bought your book several months ago, as I suffer from pre-diabetes (even though I’m not overweight and have always tried to stay lower carb in my diet). I had a terrible case of gestational diabetes (6 insulin shots a day WHILE eating very few carbs), and knew that the writing was “on the wall”, so to speak.

    Your book gave me the tools, but blog posts like these give me the motivation to continue. PLEASE keep up your great work.

  49. says

    Oh wow Robb, your timing on this post is nothing short of profound. I am a Holistic Nutritionist, and promote the paleo WOE to my clients. Like you, I have a strong, passionate desire to help people who are suffering, and I have many family members and friends who simply WILL NOT accept help, but rather choose to live in misery or illness.

    I myself come from a strong background of metabolic disorders and DMT2. I was showing pre-diabetic signs 2 years ago when I embarked on the paleo road myself. I saved myself, and know that in order to keep the beast at bay, I will need to continue the paleo way of life.

    I have encountered sarcasm, eye rolling, and rude comments due to my own personal choices, usually made my people who are sick and/or morbidly obese themselves. I was at dinner with friends less than a week ago, where I declined to eat something that had been “dusted” with wheat flour. One of my (asshole) friends seemed to get frustrated with this and loudly exclaimed, “Heaven forbid she should eat wheat!”

    I have been feeling pretty pissed off and down about this incident all week. Until now. Now I see that you and other people as well are facing the same ignorance and apathy as I am. I am so bookmarking this!!


  50. says

    Robb Wolf, I am forever grateful for all that you have done and continue to do. I have you to thank for turning my life around – vegetarian of 13 years turned paleo overnight (defiantly a band-aid all off at once kinda gal). Your reccomenda…tions have reversed my mums RA and helped with her hashimotos. Our gym is a Whole 30 partner in Australia and we continue to pay it forward paleo style to everyone that walks in the door and everyone we meet! Big ups to you for sharing your heartfelt story with the world! You are my hero! Forever Thankful. Lisa

  51. Rob says


    I live in your hometown of Redding. I am an Emergency Physician, chronically overweight and don’t know why the hell it took me so long to hear of the Paleo diet and approach to life. Learned about it on Jan 29th. It has changed my life for the immeasurably better and probably saved or at least prolonged my life and functionality. I’m sure I daily work with / talk to some of the docs that took your dad’s leg bit by bit. Thank you for what you do and who you are. You are one of my true heroes. Thank you. Only wish you were still in Chico so I could shake your hand, but I may make it to Reno one of these days. My regards to you and your family, and my respect.


  52. Brandon says

    Great post. I think this article ( illuminates a primary hurdle to effect change in people. That is, having an acceptable standard by which to prove change is necessary. The article also illuminates the extent to which our country has been able to deny that we can no longer see our own feet without the aid of a mirror. 60%!? Really!?

    The study referenced can be found here (looks legit):

  53. says

    I think it’s the combination of honesty and consistency (and Science with a capital ‘S’) that drew me to Paleo. People in the Paleo community (and especially you gurus (as much as you dislike that word)) are not afraid to share their journeys, they’ve already conquered their biggest flinch (and thanks for mentioning that book). But also the consistency. Whether they’ve conquered diabetes, obesity, or multiple sclerosis, the story is the same: get rid of grains, eat real food, play in the sun – this is all it took to turn their lives around. If this is how well it works for the extreme cases, what wonders can it do for the average Joe? Just please don’t ever stop trying to beat the idea into our heads.

    And to everyone else, if you get a chance to visit Cambodia, go for it. As Robb mentioned, their recent history is totally surreal. Even more so after meeting the locals who are so completely open and friendly.

  54. Christopher says

    Great post. I feel the same way regarding getting the information out there. I just want people to know the information and that the option exists. As long as they know they may be able to save their own lives or improve them using this stuff, that’s what I’m after. Whether they choose to use the information or to use those options is up to them.

    Speaking of changing or dying, this was something I read a while back that was listed in a lesson as part of my Wellcoaches class, it’s a pretty interesting article.

  55. Clyde Rathbone says

    Rob, outfuckingstanding post! I’m proud of you mate.

    Your post is now my official “go to” to get people at the very least thinking about lifestyle change.



  56. says

    Thanks Robb, for again making it personal.
    From a pedagogical point of view, your work resonated best with those who have a general openness in confronting their epistemic beliefs about what constitutes health and illness. As knowledge is constantly filtered and interpreted, certain people, (your 20-30%) find comfort in having others monitor their cognitive processes and provide ‘easy to digest’ health solutions. These people, as you rightly say, resist and become intimidated by attempts at helping them confront their epistemic beliefs. Typical cognitive dissonance. But luckily, and this I find resonates best through your work, people do have the ability to reflect through humility and personal experience upon the limits of the ‘knowledge’ we gain from certain scientific pronouncements. I see in so many of the comments to your posts, people miss your main point – from what I gather, that paleo is a framework through which each and everyone of us use their own experiences to generate uniquely specific healyh ideas that do not have to fall into vague categories of reductionist scien ce.

  57. Laura says

    Awesome, awesome post. I lost my Dad to a heart attack when I was 14. He was a heavy smoker and had a terrible diet (but wasn’t overweight). I fought with him every day to get him to stop smoking – even as a kid I knew it wasn’t good. Losing someone close to you changes things… Anyway, it was a long time ago and people weren’t really aware of all of the damage that diet and such could cause.

    I’ve just started delving into the paleo world and your post was just the timely “kick in the pants” that I needed to decide to give 30 days a try.


  58. says

    Robb, just wanted to thank you for your honesty. I’m really sorry about the loss of your dad, and I’m sorry you aren’t able to “convince” your mother to change. Knowing what you know, and seeing all sorts of examples of positive results from change must be more than frustrating.

    To be honest I don’t have any medical issues (that I’m aware of, but then again, no one will test me here in the Netherlands without “good” reason), in fact I’m healthy as a horse (if that’s the saying!). BUT – I’m overweight and I have been stalled with weight loss for 2+ years. i have tried so many things to break the plateau, gone to experts, had blood work, etc. I don’t get enough sleep, so I have issues with Cortisol, but NO ONE advised me what to do about it. Until I met my personal trainer, and the Paleo Solution podcasts. Now after about 8 weeks and a struggle to start (and I still am not 100% – hey I’m honest too), I have lost a little over 2KG AND I make sure that I do NOT overtain and that I get enough sleep. I’m taking some supplements as well, which help a lot. Again NO ONE – not the doctor, the two nutritionists and the sports doc advised me of any of this. Only my PT and, well, you and Greg.

    So thanks for that. Imagine what will happen when I give up grains 100% (at this stage I have bread maybe on a Saturday but completely finished with pasta and rice, and I still have a little bit of dairy, mostly the goat’s milk type and grass-fed full fat butter)!!!

  59. Damon says

    Reading this post makes me feel like an idiot for a question I sent in to the podcast a couple weeks ago. I now hope that question never sees the light of day. The answer was (indirectly but obviously) completely contained in this post.

  60. says

    What a deeply impactful, powerful post. I am the head nutrition “guru” at my CrossFit box. We usually just employ the ME Black Box method, or exceptionally light workouts for those trying to stay in shape… never main site programming, all thanks to what our coaching staff has learned from reading your book, listening to your podcasts, and checking out your blog. As I gear up to lead a “Nutrition” (Paleo) Seminar at the gym in two weeks, this will be on my mind. Thank you for this post, and for sharing yourself so openly.

    • says

      Good stuff John. A well run CrossFit facility can transform a community…sounds like you guys are doing it right! Good luck on the upcoming talk.

  61. Jill says

    Robb, I can really relate to this. I can’t even get my mother to *admit* that she is gluten-intolerant, much less give up gluten. I watch her eat gluten-filled dishes and then complain about her stomach hurting and having to use the bathroom. She says she has IBS, and there’s nothing that can be done. But then she’ll admit that she just can’t give up bread. My grandmother recently admitted she thinks she has been gluten-intolerant her whole life, but she’s not willing to give up gluten either. *sigh* (Both my brother and I are gluten-intolerant; I’m recently paleo and brother is not…yet.)

  62. Jamie Eadie says

    Hi Robb

    A brilliant article and very thought provoking. I would have to agree with you as those that don’t want help, can’t be helped, especially when it come to health.

    Robb, you are someone who I admire and look up to for all the great things you do in the paleo movement. However I would hope that the paleo movement does not become political much like the vegan scene has.

    At the moment one of the attracting things about the paleo movement is the openess and acceptance of different people with different beleifs. Whilst I respect and completely understand your views on libertarianism, views which you have every right to have, I can only hope that the paleo movement does not become aligned with any one type of political views as that may only serve to alienate large groups of people and any newcomers may have there views on it changed as a result.

    For me the paleo scene is about food, health and helping people with an open dialogue of different views and opinions. Mixing political views with the paleo scene may result in some negative consequences.

    Much love.

    • says

      that’s why I’m going to do the bulk of that talking elsewhere…but the painful thing for me is that our food sourcing, healthcare etc are all market based considerations. if we don’t give a hoot about that i don’t think we are seeing the full picture…but alas, that’s my political opinion.

      thanks for the support and kind words!

  63. Steven Zavalney says

    Nothing to add, but “Thanks for all you do, the lives you have saved (including mine) and the ones you (and WE, hopefully) will save in the future by spreading this word. I wholly agree you can’t change them if they don’t want to change – My mother is stubborn and as a former public health nurse and director of a nursing school…. well you can only imagine the CW she is steeped in. I have slowly changed a few things, but on the whole… she’s going to do what shes going to do…

    Thanks again my friend, and I add blessings to you and your family… best of luck and hope to see you again real soon!…

    PS – I Always thought “CROM” was with a “K” – “KROM”???? lol

  64. George says


    Perhaps it was the inclusion of the personal glimpses into your life, but this article is the best thing you’ve written….and I read everything you write!

    Thank you for all you do and keep up the great work!

  65. April says

    Like others, this post really resonated with me. I’m in the same type of situation – family that is really sick and unhealthy and refuses to change. I’m so, so sick of hearing “there is no way I could give up bread!” or “oh, I need to have sweets and chips in the house – I have kids!”. It makes me so angry, and so sad, to see my 12 year old nephew drinking those Monster energy drinks and eating nothing but processed food all day long. (BTW, he has aspberger’s syndrome autism as well. You would think that would be an even bigger reason to clean up his diet…but I digress). Or to watch my parents light up yet another cigarette. Or to watch the guy my husband works with feed his 3 year old, who was diagnosed with leukemia, cheezits and Coke.

    But, like you, I came to the realization that there is just nothing that I can do, other than leading by example. And it sucks. I mean, it really, really, REALLY sucks to watch someone you love so much, hurt themselves voluntarily, and there is nothing you can do about it.

    However…if my mom tells me one more time that my husband and I need to feed my 15 month old son garlic bread, pizza, candy, cake, etc. so that he has a “normal childhood”, I think I just might lose it. I’m gearing up for a week long trip back home in a few days, so I’m practicing the “smile and change the subject” so that I don’t go nuts.

    On a happier note, I love the new budget paleo book. I’ve actually saved quite a bit of money once I got the hang of it – learning how to use stuff up and get in season fruits/veggies (well, as much as you can do that in Minnesota), and buy 1/4 grassfed/finished beef from a local farmer.

    Thanks for the work you do. I hope you know how much it is appreciated.

  66. Wendy says

    Such a powerful post; thank you for showing us the battle that brought you to today.

    I’ve only been eating paleo for the last six months, and have lost 45 pounds and gained untold strength in that time. I have a long way to go still, but I look better, feel fantastic, and the people in my life tell me about it every day. And when they ask questions, I answer – with all the enthusiasm of the proselyte, probably – but I don’t waste my time trying to persuade or convert anyone. People come to Paleo in their own time, as I did (after a year of seeing the difference it made to a friend), or they don’t. The strongest form of persuasion, I’ve found, is to set the example. My homemade lunches are the envy and admiration of the entire office, for example. :) And it’s hard to argue with the visible results of going down three clothing sizes and being able to hump cases of paper without breaking a sweat or pulling a muscle. I’ll wager I’m stronger than some of the men in our office.

    My mom was recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic, and her doctor put her on a low-carb, high-fat diet to try to reverse the disease (which is awesome of him). Which she has largely embraced, fortunately. Though she still feels the need to provide carbs for my dad (who’s very healthy), and for company when she entertains, and was quick to identify a booze with no carbs (gin), though she hardly drinks at all anyway. We’ve worked together to find grain-free recipes for things she cannot live without, like stuffing for the Christmas turkey, and she’s learning to be very choosy about where she’ll spend her carbs, just as I did.

    My husband came to paleo entirely by accident, last week. He tore his Achilles tendon (right off the bone), had to have surgery to repair it, and is now largely immobile for the next three months. He also got a bit of a reality check about his weight, diet, and general health, when the surgeon asked him if he’d ever been screened for diabetes (he hadn’t). Two separate blood glucose tests (Random Glucose and the A1C) came back well above normal, and the surgeon and the anaesthesiologist both cautioned him to watch his food intake while he’s immobile. He will be screened for diabetes once he’s more mobile and we can go in to see our GP, but in the meantime I’m (well, we both are) doing my (our) best to reverse the damage with food. And so far he hasn’t complained about the lack of bread, though he’s always been a grainivore. Possibly because he’s motivated to lose some weight, so it’s easier to get around on the crutches that will be his constant companions for three months at least.

    Thank you for all you do; you are one of my guiding lights on this journey. I’m only up to episode 60-something on the podcast (still with Andy Deas), which is my commuting companion, and I’ve learned tons already. I look forward to learning tons more as I catch up to 2012!

  67. Patty Dewey says

    Thank you for sharing your story Robb, it brought me to tears in some of it. I used to be one of those people who tried to save the hard cases. The bitchers and moaners who said they wanted better health/change, but didn`t do much about it but bitch and whine some more. I can happily say I`m done, and have been for awhile now. I still spread the word but I won`t waste my breath anymore on people who don`t walk the walk. Thank you again for all you do.

  68. Simon says

    Hi Robb,

    Your post is just what I needed to read. My mum’s due to have surgery on her lung due to cancer and suffers from many ailments due to her diet: psoriasis, acid-reflux and rheumatoid athritis. I’ve tried telling her that her bread and cereals diet is the thing that’s making her so bad, and that she needs to start eating the meat and veg to get better, but she’s not wiling to change. However, your post has made me hopeful for the capacity to change for myself and for my mother as it’s a high-stakes time right now and she’s more receptive to change.

    Glad you’ve started posting again as you can really write. Thanks Simon.

  69. Tammy says

    I have a dear friend that thinks of herself as the “health guru” and she thrives of the praise of others. Although she can be a little draining, she is basically a positive upbeat person. I worked with her at a gym in NV for a few years and learned quickly that it was just easier to agree with her and walk away and do what I have found truly works for me. She recently decided to start giving daily health tips on her Facebook page and earlier this week posted that she was concerned that people were not replying to her posts. I must admit that I regressed a little and threw in a little pitch about how her plan was okay, better than none, but that I had found much more success with Paleo and truly felt better than I have felt in all of my life with less time working out and not feeling deprived of anything. I received the following reply:

    “Love you Tam, but not in line with my eating plan…My plan is for long-term health and fitness..I strongly disagree with cutting out whole grains, legumes…Eating a wide-variety of healthy foods will prolong your life, keep your body and colon clean and give you the needed energy to live that long healthy life…Let’s not debate it though…Just here to help.:)”

    I guess I will regress and consider myself put in my place, although how strong can you truly feel about your plan when you aren’t willing to debate?

    I will continue to spread your website and promote your book where ever I go because I want everyone to feel as great as I do!

    Thank you Robb!!!

    • says

      it’s funny but I hope that the nutriton and lifestyle stuff get’s so common place that all we have left to talk about is lifting weights, gymnastics, gardening and raising kids. If folks migrate away from a message it’s BC they don’t need or want it! Interesting stuff.

  70. Selvi says

    Big hugs to you Robb!! I admire you for all your efforts in teaching whoever would listen. Love the no bull attitude.

    After losing my dad to Diabetes, seeing my mom and brother with their diabetes tablets I am all in for paleo. Among all the families I know and related to in India, at least one person has diabetes in every family.

    I wish your teachings would reach everyone in the world soon!


  71. Charles says

    Great post…love the website and everything that you do for the Paleo community. Really curious to see what comes out of the risk assessment program that you will be participating in. Please keep us updated.

  72. says


    Wow, this is so crazy. I think when its your own family it makes it even tougher to persuade. My brother and dad are going down the same path your dad went.

    I wish there was something we could do for our own families Robb!

    I am a competitive crossfitter and I eat paleo. My brother watches nascar (not that theres anything wrong with that), drinks beer (recently switched to hard alcohol because someone said its better for weight loss vs beer), and diets for the first three months of the year. He is 280 and looks horrible. How can families be so different. Its crazy.

    Keep working on your mom Robb. Hopefully she will come around.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

    • says

      When Nicki met my family she was convinced I was misplaced at birth. if I had nto been the spitting image of my dad, and carry many of his mannerisms…I’d have supported that ;0)

  73. paleoslayer says

    I just went to a talk given by a RD and while she didnt rule out all grains and legumes, she did advise to steer clear of bread (even whole wheat!). She also gave the thumbs up to egg consumption!, and cited studies supporting low carb type diets for improving wt loss and CV risk factors. Her only criticisms were that these “diets” are not sustainable. I commented I’ve been sustaining it for >2 years now, and that its a lifestyle, not a diet. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised.
    But the pessimistic side of me says it will not make it mainstream anytime soon ,at least not w/o a fight.
    Paleo and politics? One link bw paleo and politics relates to its potential for acceptance. The science is on our side, but the political will and big bu$ine$$ are racked agst us.

    Also, “they” don’t want us to think independently and formulate our own ideas, whether it be nutrition based or politics. No large corp or govt study backs paleo. “they” want us to choose bw whatever options they serve us.

    “Man’s mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without a knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch-or build a cyclotron-without a knowledge of his aim and of the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think.

    “But to think is an act of choice. man is a being of volitional consciousness. Reason does not work automatically; thinking is not a mechanical process; the connections of logic are not made by instinct. The function of your stomach, lungs or heart is automatic; the function of your mind is not. In any hour and issue of your life, you are free to think or to evade that effort. But you are not free to escape from your nature, from the fact that reason is your means of survival-so that for you, who are a human being, the question ‘to be or not to be’ is the question ‘to’ think or not to think.’ – John Galt

  74. Erica says

    This post brought me to tears and is especially relevant as I’m on my way to visit my parents for the Easter holiday tomorrow. My mother has been “sick” for years and “doctors don’t know what is wrong” with her. She exists almost solely on a diet of processed food. She won’t let me add salt to recipes that I make because of her high blood pressure, but she will eat McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. She had a sinus infection recently and said that she couldn’t take her antibiotics because “I can’t tolerate them, they make me feel crazy…” then she asked me to go buy her a pack of cigarettes.

    Any time I even try to broach the subject of “you have control over these things, Mom,” she WILL NOT EVEN LISTEN. I brought up the fact that a low-sugar, gluten-free diet has stopped the growth of a tumor in her 8 year old niece, and she comments “But that’s a TUMOR, it’s not the same thing!” She thinks that all people’s health problems are just their dumb luck, and that health just HAPPENS to people. Your post indicates that you are MORE than aware of how this feels to a child. It breaks my heart every time I go home. The last time I was there, I ended up freaking out on her slightly. It’s just so so hard to watch.

    I am having some luck with my Dad. He’s a real outdoorsy, nature-loving guy, and I know he gets the concept. The other day, he even sent me a link from Mark’s Daily Apple and said he’s been reading the email updates. But my mom? I just don’t know.

    Thank you for this post.

  75. says

    Awesome post, Robb. Especially vivid since I work full time in a wound-healing and hyperbaric center and see patients that fit your dad’s profile to a tee! I’m not sure which irks me more, the refusal of the patients to consider that their current lifestyle is killing them literally inch by inch, or that they are fed absolute crap while in the hospital.

  76. Michael says

    This is so true. I’m in a very similar position where I have to choose between a relationship with my parents or the constant nagging them to JUST TRY. It can be very frustrating, but eventually you have to decide not to waste what precious time you have left with someone trying to extend that time when they just WON’T change.

  77. says

    Brilliant Robb, just brilliant ! I kinda know the feeling with parents sharing cancer, diabetes, and r-arthritis, but very reluctant to do anything much about it. Keep fighting the good fight and we look forward to seeing you 3 in Aus soon… We have a spare room and my partner is a midwife 😉

  78. Patrick says

    Robb, I just want to say that I am very impressed by your willingness to engage in and respond to so many comments. That is rare for “bloggers”, and I can only imagine the time requirement. Thank you for your posts, your work and your willingness to discuss complicated manners.

  79. paleoslayer says
    The days grow shorter and the nights are getting long
    Feels like we’re running out of time
    Every day it seems much harder tellin’ right from wrong
    You got to read between the lines
    Don’t get discouraged, don’t be afraid, we can
    Make it through another day
    Make it worth the price we pay
    The Good Book says it’s better to give than to receive
    I do my best to do my part
    Nothin’ in my pockets I got nothin’ up my sleeve
    I keep my magic in my heart
    Keep up your spirit, keep up your faith, baby
    I am counting on you
    You know what you’ve got to do
    Fight the good fight every moment
    Every minute every day
    Fight the good fight every moment
    It’s your only way

    All your life you’ve been waiting for your chance
    Where you’ll fit into the plan
    But you’re the master of your own destiny
    So give and take the best that you can

    You think that a little more money can buy your soul some rest
    You better think something else instead
    You’re so afraid of being honest with yourself
    You’d better take a look inside your head

    Nothing is easy, nothing good is free
    But I can tell you where to start
    Take a look inside your heart
    There’s an answer in your heart
    Fight the good fight every moment
    Every minute every day
    Fight the good fight every moment
    Make it worth the price we pay

    Every moment of your lifetime
    Every minute every day
    Fight the good fight every moment
    Make it worth the price we pay

  80. Kara says

    Great post! Makes total sense, and I think is why I keep hoping my mom will ask me how to try this…but why I won’t push it on her and make her mad. Anyway – I want to know if the Sayla you talk about is the Sayla who owns the dojo where I train. I’d love to show him this article if it is. I think it would be great for him to get this kind of message out to his students.

  81. Sayla says

    Robb, Congrate on the all the achievement. It been a long long time brother. So sorry about your lost. Miss you!!

  82. Alan S says

    Brilliant article, very insightful. That’s massive about the risk assessment program, hopefully it opens the floodgates. First time poster here but been following your approach a long time. I have pretty much all the Paleo/Primal books out there and have been following the Podcast for a good while too, really good information Robb. I’m actually halfway through Lights Out at the minute aswell, very cool read. I follow your approach mainly as I’m a CF Level 1 coach and train BJJ also, so obviously our needs are a bit different than most folk. I’ve been back and forth between your recommendations and Berardi’s (Grapplers Guide)for a while with regards optimal recovery between workouts. I’m sure I’ll have a few questions on that in the future but for now I cam across this piece and thought with the disease discussion it was fitting: I love hearing how eating properly has these positive effects on autoimmune diseases, it all really makes sense and this is a great story about beating cancer, but it was his remarks regarding Fish Oil that interested me. I’ve been a big proponent of Fish-Oil both for myself and my clients so I was wondering what your take on this is. I know the Omega 6:Omega 3 ratios are whats most important here, and I have the majority of my folk eating Paleo now, but the remarks about possible toxicity and impairing the immune system took me by surprise! Personally I’ve only ever seen the positive effects of Fish Oil like helping joints and leaning people out, as well as the obvious insulin sensitivity benefits, so I was hoping to get a more qualified response on it! Cheers Robb

  83. says

    Wow, you covered a lot of ground with this one.

    Over the last 15 years a professional business and leadership coach, I have learned a lot about people and their “crazy”. One of the hardest, but most helpful, lessons I have learned is you can’t help someone that doesn’t want the help, and you can’t want it for them. You can believe in the them, love them, accept them , support them, but you can’t want it for them. And in fact wanting it for them actually makes it more difficult for them to do it. It’s a total double-bind. Have you ever (or noticed others) not done something you wanted to do, just because you knew someone else really wanted you to do it?…. and you just couldn’t give them the satisfaction? I know it’s crazy, but it happens all the time. We inadvertently create resistance in people by wanting them to do something. It’s doubly difficult when it is our family or people we care about. That is the paradox of the situation, the people who you can help the most are likely the ones you don’t feel as close to. It’s crazy and frustrating, but over the last 15 years, I have found it true, in almost all cases.

    Keep up the good work, help the ones you can, and let the others go, it’s all you can do.

  84. says

    Thanks so much for bearing your soul here. I’m sure it can’t be easy. I too use the DEEP inhale and long slow exhale technique. :) Also have ailing parents who refuse to change. This is a great thing to read, I’m going to read it again and again I’m sure. Thanks for everything you do. And most importantly thanks for the pic of the cat, ha! Hope you get a nice break to bring baby Wolf into the world. :)

  85. Lisa says

    Thank goodness I read this before bringing my family to my parents’ house for the holiday weekend. I share a similar experience with regard to my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, and I find it INCREDIBLY frustrating that every time I visit here, I am confronted with a new and dazzling variety of pills and other “solutions” to a plethora of health problems. Either that, or my relatives continue to be baffled by why all these horrible things keep happening to them! I really appreciate your sharing your thoughts on this. You have helped me to cope more than you know…

  86. says

    I feel your pain, brotha’.

    my parents are eating themselves to death and no amount of arguing, or my drastic health and body composition improvements sway them. so I have given up. Instead I just give out copies of your book to my patients who are willing to listen. its the best I can do. I have seen some remarkable health changes in my patients health. not bad for a dentist! There is a little pale tribe growing in the Smithtown area of Long Island NY.

    Thank you for all you do , Robb, keep fighting the good fight! I have your back!


  87. says

    I feel your pain, brotha’.

    my parents are eating themselves to death and no amount of arguing, or my drastic health and body composition improvements sway them. so I have given up. Instead I just give out copies of your book to my patients who are willing to listen. its the best I can do. I have seen some remarkable changes in my patients health. not bad for a dentist! There is a little Paleo tribe growing in the Smithtown area of Long Island NY.

    Thank you for all you do , Robb, keep fighting the good fight! I have your back!


  88. Alice says

    Amazing, thank you!

    My parents in law were struggling with chronic illnesses when they finally gave Paleo a shot.
    They have never really bought the science behind it and would only barely tolerate me reading out pages from your book on the phone, but they committed and did the 30 days and have never looked back.

    My vegetarian/vegan parents however are their own island and will not be breached!
    I find their struggle with weight and health matters as depressing as their apathetic acceptance of the situation.

    I won’t give up but after reading your post I feel inspired to keep the focus on my children and husband (all thriving on Paleo) knowing that we will be a great example and resource if they ever have the courage to try something else.

    Thank you for your wonderful work and all the best for the arrival of your little one.


  89. Roguepixie says

    Incredibly powerful post. This is so close to home and I too inhale and exhale deeply when facing certain family member’s and their dangerous lifestyle habits.

    Sadly, I know that my husband is playing a kind of Russian roulette with his health – his father died of hearth disease young (as did said father’s brothers … see the link?) and his mother’s side of the family have a tendency towards diabetes. I make the changes I can but have to accept that a person will only change when they want to. No amount of ‘nagging’ (and that’s what it becomes) will make them ‘see the truth’. I run a paleo home now but what happens outside is out of my control and I have to accept that.

    Thank you again for posting an immensely powerful testament. I am going to make my other half read it.

  90. Beck says

    Fantastic post, Robb. Thanks so much for this site and all your resources, including your honest wisdom. You are right to focus on the 75% who have the potential for change. And your statement about wasting time on the 25% who won’t keeps you from getting the message to at least one other person who will is right on.

    Paleo is changing my life. I started seeing improvements from day 1, waking up without the nasal congestion I’ve become accustomed to. I sleep better, my head is clearer, my memory better, and I’m melting off the pounds. And I’m 60!

    If people are too unwilling to at least try it for 30 days, nothing — NOTHING — will change their minds. And anyone who does do it will become a convert. The results speak for themselves. Thanks again for getting the message out.

  91. says

    Actually, there are good reasons why they shouldn’t “just TRY it”.

    Why try the paleo diet, where there are a zillion other different nutritional factions out there saying that their nutritional cure-all will work, and pretty much none of them do?

    To go down that road is to spend one’s life trying fad after fad. How to know which are and which aren’t “fads”? If you can tell me that, then I want to follow your stock portfolio, please.

    • says

      I’ll tell you, Jim,

      200,000 years of eating this way (or not eating the other way). Consuming a diet that our species evolved to eat and thieved on for over 200,000 years is a pretty solid argument. If this is a fad diet then its the longest fad to date. as in 200,000 years.

  92. Sarah says

    Hi Rob & thank you so much for opening up about your touching story. I lost my Dad in 2005 as well & still miss him every day too. My Dad actually led a very healthy life, he meditated, excercised regularly (hiking/x-country skiing)& didn’t drink or smoke, ate well & wasn’t overweight…& in some ways I guess his overall health & fitness kind of disguised the fact that he had prostrate cancer (& in fact must have had it undetected for a few years, as it had already progressed into his bones by the time it was found in the prostrate)Having said that, I feel that the cancer may have come from other issues, related to a very difficult childhood & losing his mother at a very early age(as well as other emotional issues throughout his life…)& really I suppose my point is that the fact that he generally led a healthy life, most likely gave him a much better quality of life even with the cancer. In fact it was probably really only the last 4 months of his life that were pretty bad.
    I can’t agree more with you about how important it is to look after your body – it is the only one we are given. A few years ago I changed my eating habits (cutting out most carbs) through following a pretty similar sort of regime (I won’t mention the name of the guy who set it up, but he talks about so many health issues being totally avoidable through a good diet & less sugar etc etc.) I learnt a lot through him & that is not to say I follow it religiously, but I always notice the difference when I revert back to it!I am still very interested in hearing your priciples…it would be good to hear if they back up what I have learnt from him… Keep up the great work :)
    BTW Im off for a walk!!

  93. Axel says

    Thank you, Robb!

    Thanks so much for sharing your very personal experiences. Your advise and reminder comes just right for me, after I’ve put some heavy strain on the relationships to both my girlfriends. One is a vegetarian and sugar addict, the other a lousy eater and heavy sugar addict. (I myself used to follow a high carb “endurance athlete diet” with too much sugar and factory food, too.)

    After discovering and understanding Paleo and promptly having started with it, I made bold assaults on both to cut the crap (eating) and join me. With the only result of bad mood and them avoiding the nutrition topic completely with me. The first puts ethics (“don’t kill animals”) higher than her own health, the second claims to not have the ease of mind to try something as difficult as to eat healthy and lose the sugar addiction.

    I’m well over 30 days into my new eating habits now, have effortlessly lost more than 10 kg and regained my slim body shape I used to have some 10 or 15 years ago. After 2 months of Paleo it’s becoming normal for me and I don’t make the amount of fuss over it than I used to do in the beginning. This seems to finally have some effect on the girls.

    What really struck me though is that I like to think of myself as being in the same Yoda camp as you are. I totally did and not tried the Paleo way. But I fail to do and not only try (and fail) in other areas of my life (like planning/organising). I wonder what lies beneath this…

    Keep up your good work, Robb. You’re coming through to a lot of people who are searching and open for change, like myself. Even many thousand kilometres away, over here in Germany. :-)

  94. Matt says


    I relate more than you know. Lost my Dad in 2000 (he was 68). He was a diabetic since 1980 and a smoker/shitty eater since about the age of 15. I witnessed him battle poor circulation, blood clots, CHF and the loss of toes and finally a leg. Diabetes ate his body away and he was on dialysis for the final 8 months of his life. Hooked up to a machine that cleaned his blood 3 hours a day 3 days per week, he was a hollow shell of his former self in the end.

    I love and miss him everyday, but I am the polar opposite. I circuit/crossfit train 5 days a week and follow the Paleo Lifestyle. At 41, I am in better shape and health than I was running cross country in college.

    Maybe it was seeing my dad go through life in and out of hospitals that struck a chord with me early on…maybe it was my love and desire for a healthier, richer lifetyle…maybe is was fear for my own mortality and prolonging it as much as humanly possible…

    Whatever it may be, I truly believe that following the Paleo Principals and protecting my physical self has made a life worth living.

    Thanks for the work you do Robb…


  95. Shannon says

    You’re a well-tumbled gem-stone, Mr. Wolf. Thanks for all you do–it’s changed my life in the most positive way. You unplugged me from The Matrix.

  96. Steve says

    Cook her great tasting breakfasts and dinners and pack her lunches. Also, do the grocery shopping. I’m sure she’ll agree to that for 30 days. Assuming between meal consumption isn’t too bad — and since you’re doing the shopping it won’t be at home — she should see the results.

  97. says

    Hi Rob. Glen at Victory Belt forwarded me this article for another perspective on deaths in the family. Looks more like you and I have about the same perspective, however.

    My dad died 2 weeks ago from Alzheimer’s. My sister 1 1/2 years ago of a prescription drug overdose. My mom is on her way out with just about every ailment you can imagine and a similar drug addiction.

    For me, dealing with these deaths is kind of more of an issue of dealing with family members, logistics, and keeping my guilt in check… It’s not that I don’t feel. My dad and sister were great and we were very close. (I wrote about him here. But brooding about it just doesn’t do much good and really just isn’t in my nature.

    I spent years trying to help my family. They didn’t want to change though. Eventually, I accepted this. For those that are stuck in it, that’s just life. There’s little that can be done. I spent years hurting over their pain and my inability to penetrate them. Now I realize that was futile.

    Anyway, I certainly don’t think you’re an asshole. you’re just a guy who is honestly and rationally living in this messed up world.

    By the way, your response “divorce” is great advice. Trying to hold onto a relationship is only worth so much. The happy, clear headed, driven person that one becomes when they make diet and lifestyle changes just don’t mesh with depressed, self-pittying, jerks that are still living their days in suffering. (I’ve experienced this one too.)

  98. Corey says


    Thank you for your heartfelt candor. My mother has had disphagia for as long as I can remember. She had a few espophgeal surgeries and still claims she does not eat a lot of bread. Her health is complete shi, so I can empathize with you. It is because of you I found out about the link between disphagia and grain consumption. Thanks again.

  99. Gaby A. says

    Life is too short for drama and misery…that’s why I needed to focus on my health before trying to accomplish everything else I wanted to do in my life as I barrel down towards 40 (in one year), and having nothing to show for it. It’s pretty simple for me: eliminate, then optimize, and only then add. Paleo is a great template for one and two (as well as watching my calories, because let’s face it, 3500 calories of grass-fed beef and coconut oil will still cause me to gain weight).

    One more thing, to avoid ANY excuse, especially if you’re a lousy cook like myself: GET A SLOW COOKER!

  100. Lardlad says

    Wheel and deal with the Universe… How many times do people do these things? So many times people feel they have no control. Too often is will just surrendered. What is that!? Why?

    Making deals with imaginary entities does allow a person to pretend they are not responsible. The entity had to be ‘created’ to explain why it wasn’t their fault, or at least to lessen the blame. And as long as anyone has a friend who can ‘eat what ever they want’ there will be people who feel being fat and sick is the result of being dealt a bad hand and they cannot escape it.

    Obviously I don’t know the specifics of the mental makeup of the people in this story, but I know plenty people like this. “Wheel and Deal with the Universe”… sounds like a book.

  101. Bribree says

    Just so true! I was sitting around bitching to my husband about my diabetic dad who would prefer to inject himself daily than to cut out the 9 litres of milk he drinks in his coffee everyday! And my Mum who is so dishonest about what she eats (and what she used to sneak to my kids – fortunately she is 2500km away now!). When I suddenly thought hang on, you haven’t been prepared to try the diet your naturopath is recommending when it could improve your health! Hello Paleo! and so my Paleo journey began, 3 months later, I am pain and pain med free from AS, UC under control and lost 15kg (that’s 33 pounds to you non Australians :) )
    Yeehah! I get questioned all the time due to the weight loss but I refer them to my naturopath and a couple of websites and let them find their own way.

  102. Sharon T says

    Believe it or not, I heard about Paleo and the Whole30 on a gamers site. Honestly! I had never heard of either so I looked it up, found it really interesting. I have tried a multitude of diets to no avail. I shared the info with my husband and we have both agreed to try it for 30 days. Thanks for the wealth of information.

  103. Kate says

    you’re amazing. i liked you after reading your book and listening to some of your podcasts, but i like you even more now. and not just as an intellect, but as a person. that brutal honesty is hard to find and to be more that way is to encourage others to be, and that’s how you get people to look at themselves and make changes. keep up the good work. i do desperately hope i get to meet you one day, it would mean a lot.

  104. Vicki says

    Posted this to My Favorites. Such an inspiring story. I gave up trying to convince friends/family with Crohns, peripheral neuropathy, ulcerative colitis and just general health improvement to change their diet but am continually frustrated by their lack of desire/commitment to improve their health through diet. Your story gave me some good grounding.

  105. says

    Every time I read this post (and I have read it numerous times), I cry. I guess I am crying for the ones who will NOT change. I keep telling them… just try it for 30 days, but I won’t lose sleep over it any more.

    also… Keystone looks a LOT like my old cat Oreo, who peacefully left this world two months ago.

  106. says

    My wife genuinely thinks I have some eating disorder. And she is right assuming disorder is defined as something the majority does not do. That disorder helped me to completely clear my psoriasis I had for 30 years.

  107. says

    well i am slowly learning that in life one has to expect less and accept more of people. because if not, we can just kinda lose it. the important thing in my book is doing what’s right for me and sticking to it. to be honest, i don’t want to convince anyone. if they want to know, i will give them info. i may even initiate that giving if i think it might really help. otherwise, i live my life and try my best to accept others for what they can give (or not) and where they are at in their lives. very difficult sometimes, esp with family. but the stress and heaviness that i had when i always expected so much more from them is gone. i can let them be and take ownership.

  108. Marie says

    What serendipity this post is for me!! I’m struggling with wanting to help people (too much? yikes) because I see things!! Things like hot flashes for years (she’s up against it she says, but, “what? give up my morning toast?,” OMG ). Or someone else with a very sick kid, nephrotic syndrome, failure to thrive, and ice cream treats, and Mom loves to bake. She absolutely refuses to even consider the gluten/food connection! Then she FBs asking what can she can feed her child to make him gain weight? Answers? Things like ice cream and other ridiculous answers. My problem? Learning to keep my mouth shut when I KNOW it’s futile (I must be codependent because I have a really hard time letting this stuff go!!). This post will help me let it go AND keep my mouth shut. I KNOW I’m wasting my time. I, BTW, had valve replacement surgery less than a year ago, have lost about 50 pounds (more to the point probably, went from roughly a size XL down to a M). I am 69yo, am weaning off of thyroid meds. Other than the thyroid meds, I am on NO medications. So I think I’m kind of a good example of how to live this lifestyle!! So, I’ll just keep my mouth shut from now on and do what I have to do for me. If I had known about gluten and Paleo 10, 20, 30 years ago, I would still have my ovaries, my uterus, and possibly my aortic valve and a healthy thyroid. Not to speak of the freedom from anxiety and what that would have meant for my life!! Better late than never though!! I’m thankful every day for the internet and bloggers like you! I am so sorry about your parents, Robb, that’s way tougher than clueless friends. If I had known about Paleo when my mother contracted cancer and/or my father moved to a trash-for-food assisted living, I might have needed to learn the love-them-in-spite-of-things lesson. That’s really tough to see them suffer and at the same time be convinced to the bottom of your being that there truly is a better way.

  109. says

    Reading this post struck a chord with me – my father passed away in 2008, years before I was ever exposed to CrossFit or Paleo, from cancer, diabetes, and complications from a bout with pneumonia. He lived a long life – 77 – but I sorely wish I had known about Paleo ten years ago, when there may have been a chance to turn it all around for him and allowed him to live his last days healthy, comfortable, and self-sufficient rather than in pain and bedridden, and having had to suffer through all those chemo treatments.

    I know I’m a bit late to the game myself (I just got into CrossFit in February, and started the Paleo diet in late April), but I’m glad I’ve made the change. There are still some things (bad habits) that I haven’t let go, and this post is motivation for me to get on the right track. I quit smoking last year and was tobacco free for 6 months until a close friend was killed in Afghanistan in December. I fell off the no-smoking bandwagon – hard. While I’ve turned my life around in every other way, giving up the tobacco again has been a hurdle I have not yet cleared. Excuses, I know. I need to just get my head down and do it, so I can live long enough to see my grand children and hopefully some great grandkids too.

    Thanks for the two-by-four to the head, I needed it. I already knew what needed to be done, I just need to go and do it, and I feel like now I’m motivated to do so.

  110. Anne says

    Robb, this is an excellent post. (The section on your Cambodian friends made me cry – bless them!) I’m totally with you on giving more attention to the 75% who are willing to change as opposed to the 25% who won’t. I discovered at a young age that eating low carb and avoiding grains and sugar was the way for me to go. There have been times when I’d test it “just to be sure” and sure enough, I’d go back to the right way. Heart problems run in my family and that is a path I didn’t want to go down. People are not meant to be sickly and it takes work to be the healthy individual that you are meant to be. Some people don’t want to put in the work. They wanna do what they wanna do and just want someone to come up with a magic pill so they can continue their way. As we know, there is no magic pill, although the medical profession thinks differently.
    Anyway, keep up the good work and thank you!

  111. Theresa says


    THANK YOU for telling it like it is, with no apologies or excuses.
    I have had Crohns Disease for 41 years and in January of this year, at the urging of my buff 27 year old son, who is very health conscious, I tried the Paleo “Lifestyle” and have seen significant improvement in my overall health. Although I am now on a regimen of Remicade and 6-MP for the Crohns, it is my hope that one day I may be able to stop taking these horrible drugs.
    My biggest problem, though, is my husband of 36 years, who has been diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure, and has been prescribed medication. It is becoming extremely frustrating for me trying to convince him that if he followed the lifestyle, he would NOT NEED the meds and could cure himself. He has watched me improve and lose weight (12lbs), sees how I look ten years younger and hears people comment on “What did you do? You look great!”, but continues to drink ( when we dine out) and sneak sweets and white carbs. He has, in the past, when he was first diagnosed as pre-diabetic and got the s**t scared out of him, changed, lost 20lbs and rode a bike almost every night, AND got both his sugar and blood pressure to normal levels. But he stopped after a while, and now he is officially diabetic, although controlling it via the meds. He watches BUT NOT ENOUGH! He seems to always have an excuse when I tell him if he is having a drink, then he shouldn’t have the french fries, or a dessert; if he wants to splurge then it’s one, not all! But I feel like I am talking to a wall. I love my husband and want him around with me for as long as possible, and it kills me to know that he can improve if only he would change.
    Your advice on “making the best pitch you can” and “live by example” just doesn’t seem to be working, so what do I do, just give up? It’s not in my nature to do this, but I am afraid I am becoming a nuisance and all he hears when I preach is “yada, yada, yada”. HELP!
    And BTW, I HAVE converted 3 friends, each with various health problems, to just “try it for 30 days”, and they are SOLD, having seen improvements within 3 weeks.
    WHile it is difficult to change a lifetime of habits, the improvement in the way you start to feel is incentive enough to continue. I know; I did this religiously for 7 months, felt awesome, and then we went away on vacation for a week just recently, and I ate poorly (bread, sweets, ice cream, CARBS!!!!) and saw first hand how horrible I started to feel. Needless to say, I am back to my “lifestyle”.
    Love your blog, it keeps me motivated; it makes me feel that I am NOT the only person in the world that lives this way. (I am sure you have people look at you when you are having a meal and think (and say!) that you are crazy and over the top, as I have).

  112. Scott says

    “The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. ~ ”

    ― Thomas A. Edison

    Guy wasn’t wrong about a lot, but this one is way off! SMH!

  113. says

    Dear Rob,

    Been trying to follow you and finally had time to read ALL of one of your blogs, THANKs, you rock and roll with it, I needed to know that my frustration with my family ( not only in arena of physical health)is not just something I suffer with. Now I know it doesn’t have to even be my problem, I just need to find a do or do not way of dealing with it more efficiently. I find it amazing how people love to hold on to their suffering. Thanks again for just being YOU~!

  114. Waldo says

    I like to disseminate information that will I’ve built
    up with the season to help enhance team overall performance.

  115. Paul says

    It’s really frustrating to read of people who won’t change when they see the evidence in front of their eyes and would rather die. They seem to think that SAD is some kind of sacred trust to be preserved at all costs. If only they but knew it, they’re on a crusade to nowhere-except an early grave.

  116. Jennifer C says

    Thank you, rob. Beautifully expressed and full of valuable thought. Hard as it was for you to write, I believe much good will come from this post. I so appreciate your directness and humor. Keep it coming.

  117. Sarah says

    I love how you are so not full of bullshit!!!
    And I have to say that after reading this post , I feel great hope! And not alone on the path. You family story so mirrors mine its crazy!
    So thankful I picked up your book!

  118. Joe A says

    Very easy to sell religion to a dying person…..But trying to sell Paleo to a fairly fit, fairly healthy individual is another thing.

    The thing that messes up Paleo is the whole romantic Paleo Caveman story. Trust me…our ancestors never ate this well!
    You want to see True HG diet in action? There is a Documentary on Discovery Called “The Legend of Mick Dodge”. This guy scarfs down Nightcrawlers like their spaghetti, pinches his fingers gathering stinging nettles, and foreges for wild mushrooms. Every now and again he will catch a fish or trap a rabbit. Its a hugh departure from the Supermarket “Paleo” Diet we are fortunate to be able to practice.

    What the diet really is…Is a Nutrient Dense, Low GL, Low Inflammation Diet that is especially beneficial to those with Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome or any Auto Immune condition. Its a mouthful…so I say “Paleo”.

    I introduced the diet to a friend of mine who has UC. He is 50 years old and has the Bones of an 80YO due to Corticorsteroids, had out of control Candida Overgrowth due to antibiotics and Immunosuppresants. He has been able throw away his meds and still takes a probiotic for insurance.

    Me…I am still a work in progess…BS numbers are better, Triglycerides have dropped 25-30%…Still working on my LDL Particle number. Any Tips??

  119. Kimmi G says

    Love this post. I did not even know that I was sick until after I went Paleo and I started to feel amazing. It has been about 4 mos now and I am no longer Anemic, my thyroid is back to normal, I’m back to my 30 year old size, I haven’t had an asthma attack in months and I have more energy now (nearing 50), than I did in my 30’s. Of course my doctor was reluctant to accept my explanation of Paleo nutrition. He had me take the genetics test for Celiac (due to family history), he is convinced that is the cause of my issues. My husband is also a hard sell. He is in the gym everyday and he looks extremely fit regardless of his smoking habit and his love of pasta. Since I am the one that shops and cooks, I would say that he is about 80% paleo without even knowing it! =) I feel good about that and since he supports my decision to be completely Paleo, largely due to my blood work improvement, I think he will come all the way around, sooner rather then later.

  120. Barb Duncan says

    Hi Robb. This was a great read. Thank you for sharing your story. I relate to all of it in one way or another…. losing people to cancer and family members with conditions that are completely avoidable but choose to take a pill or go to the doctor for the latest medicine.

    Ive experienced the same frustration regarding my new way of eating but also experienced it when I became a Christian. Like your passion for nutrition and good health I have the same passion for people. And while I respect each person’s right to choose I’m saddened to think that a soul might be lost. I do not intend to preach to you but I would ask that, like you ask others to “try it for 30 days,” that you look to the sky and ask God to reveal himself to you because He will. And even though I believe this life is temporary and that I will have life after death, I don’t live in such a way that I think I can live recklessly. And most Believers know that it is not what we have been called to do. Its quite the opposite! We are told that our bodies are the Temple of the living God and that we are to treat it as such.. Knowing that we live under grace is not an excuse for mistreating our bodies. It gives us every reason to want to take the best care of ourselves while we can while we’re here. I’m sorry if you have not seen that in the Christians that you have encountered.. I am well aware that this life is short and every day is a gift not to be taken for granted. Thanks again for such a great article and for sharing your story, your passion. Blessings!

  121. Karen says

    I would be satisfied with my family just not being willing to make a change in their lives. Unfortunately, my family actually thinks that I am extremely gullible to buy into this way of life. Basically they think I will just believe anything someone on the Internet tells me. Recently I have had had a string of illness which I now believe is related to an antibiotic I was taking. My parents cornered my husband and told him that they were convinced that it was somehow related to me following whole30/paleo and I was eating too much acid????!!!!!???? I can’t tell you how frustrating this is and it reaffirms my belief that I should never have told them what I was doing in the first place and I will never discuss it with them again. Perhaps you can detect here that there are more issues in this relationship than those explained above:)))).

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