What tools have you found effective for spreading the word about paleo to friends and family who express some interest?
I got my foodie friend Fat: An Appreciation of Misunderstood Ingredient for her birthday after she told me that she would eat more meat, but she worried about its effects. Good Calories, Bad Calories goes to more scientifically oriented friends. The Vegetarian Myth for sympathetic, but misguided (worry they have to eat less meat to save the envi) environmentalist friends. I got my mom, my grandma, and my anthropology professor Full Moon Feast, I think it's good for older women or less scientific hippie types who aren't about to give up their morning whole grain oatmeal. None of these are really paleo books, they are fat is good books!
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- I share my food with friends.
- I post recipes on my blog, which auto-posts on my facebook profile.
- To friends who are curious, I send my list of paleo blogs for them to read.
- I send testimonials and scientific research abstracts to friends who are interested; because they're short and easy to read.
I've found myself to be the best tool! (Did I just call myself a tool?)
When friends/family have inquired about how I've lost weight and gotten healthier, I just explain to them what I've been doing. I don't preach it as gospel, but I show what I did and how I ate to get to the healthier version of me. Should they want to borrow a book or learn more online, I offer them the suggestion of that if they seem interested. I'm not one to push something too hard on somebody, which is why I never did terribly well in commission-based sales. :)
Spreading the Word sounds like political activism -- scary thought. Politics is more detrimental to health than is bad nutrition. I don't want to meddle in anyone else's affairs, just like I don't want any one else to meddle in mine. Anyone has the right to eat whatever he wants. Of course, if someone expresses interest about what I'm doing, I'll tell him. But if his interest is only to criticize me because I'm not doing what he I thinks I ought to, if he's a friend, I'll talk about Mickey Mantle; if not I'll leave. I think the best way for me to spread the word is to become healthy and fit so that everyone will notice.
Just avoid being like one of those new vegetarians that'll email you pictures of animals treated horribly without you asking for it. That's so annoying that it'll probably get you the opposite of what you want.
I've sent the Paleo/Primal by Numbers: Email Template for Friends & Family from Pay Now, Live Later to my own friends and family. I can't say for sure whether it was well received or not, but it seems a good start.
I have thought about creating a flyer/brochure full of key points from "Good Calories, Bad Calories", "Paleo Diet", "Neanderthin", "Primal Blueprint" and other works in the paleo/primal genre.
Individual approach. It helps that I'm gluten-intolerant with a diabetic family and they know that I've learned a lot about nutrition that way.
Point out to the cook how delectable French cooking is.
Point out to the diabetic how their blood sugar spikes after eating grains, and then have them read Bernstein's book, which is the most sensible and approachable paleo-friendly book for the uninitiated I've seen.
Point out to close family that you're gluten-intolerant and that means they probably are too. Tell others that at least 30% of people are gluten-intolerant. Mention all the ways your health has improved.
If someone complains of a random gluten side-effect, jump on it! "I used to have the worst seasonal allergies in the world too, and dontchaknow they totally disappeared when I went GF! Weirdest thing. Apparently it's quite common, though. Because wheat is a grass, you know. And if you're allergic to grass, you shouldn't be eating it! Somehow "eating grass" aka wheat makes your immune system susceptible during allergy season."
If you know a paleo answer to their medical problem (obviously not while they're in a hospital bed recovering from a major scare), gently point it out. No preaching. "Dad, I just read an article about how gout is caused by fructose. Yeah, the fruit sugar. Yeah, I know they say it's the purines it meat, but apparently it's the way your liver processes sugar, makes crystals in your joints or something, and remember how well Atkins and South Beach worked for you? You never had gout then... I dunno, worth trying, isn't it?"
Finally, always stress how normal your diet is. I know some paleos like to eat a stick of butter in one sitting, but that's no way introduce the lifestyle to newbies! I eat hunks of meat, potatoes, veggies, generous helpings of cream and butter, and very modest amounts of sugar. Just no flour products, and most people are somewhat intolerant to them anyways, right? That's not so different from the mid-century American diet, is it? Or the European diet, and look how much healthier and blah blah blah.
I think maybe the best thing to do (in most things actually) is to say nothing, but lead by example. Especially if your changes are dramatic people will
a) be curious about them
b) be more curious about them because you never said anything the whole time/didn't shove the whole system down their throat
c) respect you more due to b) and probably be more willing to listen.
Keep in mind that I have not managed to shut up about this (hahaha I just send the paleo hack before and after pics to my mom and dad who could definitely benefit). But I think, franky, the less evangelical you are the better. Worst case people get a bad taste in their mouth re: paleo b/c you were too abrasive about it and shy away from something that could be really beneficial.
I usually start with http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/fashion/10caveman.html
Then I point people at Taubes's piece at http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html?pagewanted=all which is a more approachable précis of GCBC.
The Colbert Report episode featured John Durant giving a perfect elevator pitch. http://grokonlife.com/john-durant-bringing-paleo-to-the-colbert-report/
Show me -- don't tell me. That is my plan at least.
I am in better shape than I've ever been and wear pants that would have been tight on me at 16. I've lost around 40 lbs. I went from size 40 to size 34 pants. I no longer require bloodpressure or triglyceride medicine. My last bloodwork was BP 117/70; Trig 73; HDL 61; LDL 126.
People stop me to ask me what I've done. I don't need to seek them out.
And when people ask me what I eat, I tell them. They have trouble believing I eat mostly bacon and cheese. They assume I mean Atkins, but I explain that I do not and point them to the PaNu get started page.
Lead by example - that is the best tool for spreading the word in my book.
Edit: I posted the above for the original question that was just 'how to spread the word', not how to spread the word to those interested.