3

votes

Help Me Explain Paleo to my 85 Year Old Grandmother

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 26, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Hi Everyone,

I'm at a family gathering this week and it's the first time I'm seeing my extended family since I started Paleo. My grandma is very interested in what I eat and don't eat (although I have been having my resolve tested by apple pie and ice cream) and wants to know more about what I purport to be a healthy diet. She has been dieting since the 50's - always low fat ad infitum. As far back as I can remember she eats low fat margarine, low fat cottage cheese, chicken breast and low fat whole wheat bread. She has also been overweight and diabetic with high blood pressure as far back as I can remember, so obviously it hasn't been working. When I told her to try real butter instead of margarine on her low fat whole wheat toast in the morning - it had been so long since she'd eaten butter that she had forgotten how good it was!

My grandma is a very inquisitive person - she always wants to know why, why why. I have read so much about Paleo that I don't know where to start, and end up going all over the place and getting flustered when I try to explain to her. I also tend to talk in technical terms since I'm a chemical/biological engineer, but don't want to lose her with science talk.

Please help me explain why everything she was told by the nutritional establishment is wrong, and what she should eat going forward. She is on a fixed income and eats Kosher, so no bacon or shellfish.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on June 26, 2011
at 08:08 PM

Yeah, it is not foolproof (hence I reckoned on 80%), but I know here in the UK it would mean my grandparents list cooking with animal fat, seasonal veggies, butter, grassfed beef, tongue and liver, bone broths etc... There will be a few grey areas (not least the dairy and things like corn, and some bread - but bread made very differently from what is eaten now). There would be little in the way of cereals (more likely porrige/oats) no low fat crapinabox, much less in the way of sugared drinks, no HFCS, not much in the way of industrial oils and no calorie counting.

145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

(1932)

on June 26, 2011
at 07:38 PM

I am over 60 and I mainly remember big bowls of corn on the table. Good try, but not likely to work :-)

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:22 PM

yes, eat the pie indeed. i haven't had a single granny parent since I was eight. my great grand daddy lived with us until he was 100, but he wasn't baking any pies. Just scotch and liverwurst for him.

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12 Answers

12
35b6ce9b7f9dda8d40d3e6a1812ab0a9

on June 26, 2011
at 02:49 PM

First off, eat your Grandma's Apple Pie. You aren't always going to have a Grandma making you pie. While you're at it, learn her technique. Then teach it to your paleo children. It's history. It's family. It's what really matters. OR at least get her to write out her recipe in her own handwriting, frame it, and put it in your kitchen.

She might understand it as Farmer Food minus the biscuits and potatoes. Put it in terms of how healthy her peers were as kids before the government started telling us what to eat, when they ate what they had that grew in their garden/orchard/pasture. Explaining the evils of biscuits and potatoes might be harder because that takes more of the science stuff, but if you can get through to her on how healthy people USED to be, maybe she'll get it.

My 72 y/o MIL didn't understand barefoot running (Husband in Huaraches, me bare) but quit telling us it was stupid when we pointed out that her dad used to run 6 miles each way to baseball practice without shoes and he was healthy to the very end.

Good Luck. I miss my Grandmas.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:22 PM

yes, eat the pie indeed. i haven't had a single granny parent since I was eight. my great grand daddy lived with us until he was 100, but he wasn't baking any pies. Just scotch and liverwurst for him.

9
637042e24e38a81dfc089ef55bed9d46

(826)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:38 PM

If she is in anyway religious, I have found (with my husband's granny) that referring to God-made food versus man-made food is quite effective in getting the point across.

3
F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

on June 26, 2011
at 04:12 PM

A good explanation for ANYONE over the age of about 60 is to ask them what their parents fed them when they were children. The diet they describe will probably cover 80% of the Paleo 2.0 diet!

145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

(1932)

on June 26, 2011
at 07:38 PM

I am over 60 and I mainly remember big bowls of corn on the table. Good try, but not likely to work :-)

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on June 26, 2011
at 08:08 PM

Yeah, it is not foolproof (hence I reckoned on 80%), but I know here in the UK it would mean my grandparents list cooking with animal fat, seasonal veggies, butter, grassfed beef, tongue and liver, bone broths etc... There will be a few grey areas (not least the dairy and things like corn, and some bread - but bread made very differently from what is eaten now). There would be little in the way of cereals (more likely porrige/oats) no low fat crapinabox, much less in the way of sugared drinks, no HFCS, not much in the way of industrial oils and no calorie counting.

2
Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 21, 2011
at 05:52 PM

She's 85. Don't preach health. Too late for going on a diet.

I would tell her you've dropped eating all the healthy foods and gone back to eating good old fashioned meat and potatoes. Just like her grandparents did. I would hope that you could tell her that you walk a lot, too.

2
3558d8feb56bc681144f87e67140f885

on June 26, 2011
at 05:08 PM

It's rough being a religious Jew and keeping paleo! :-) We don't eat challah on Shabbat anymore, which is kind of sad.

Anyway, I wish I had something more useful to say. :-)

1
D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on September 21, 2011
at 05:33 PM

Is all the nutritional advice given to her wrong? She's 85 and presumeably healthy - why change what works. Better is often the enemy of good.

Here's what I would say:

Grandma, you're 85 years old. With a projected USA life expectancy of 80.1 years, who am I to tell you to change what has been working for you all these years. The paleo community is always talking about N=1 experiments and the theoretical effects. Your N=1 experiment is not theoretical and you have demonstrated that it works. Could things have been better, maybe/maybe not. That's the thing about life: you have one shot and do your best.

I love you. (give a hug)

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:57 PM

Give me your Grandmother's phone number, and I will help you to explain Paleo to her.

0
34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

Wow - she's 85, you should be thrilled to share her genes! I'm jealous, my mother died at 54, her mother died at 45 - my father is the longest living person in my family at 70 years old! I'm just hoping to make it as far as he has!

I don't have anything to add here, I've talked to my father about paleo because it's what I'm into and I got my brother into it when he found himself pre-diabetic. My father isn't buying the "humans have not adapted to eating grain" though. I don't want to argue with him, I think in general he eats well, I don't think he eats a lot of crap food so it's not worth fighting about and it would be a fight, he's ornery!

0
Medium avatar

(19479)

on September 21, 2011
at 07:36 PM

Ask her what her grandmother ate, and her grandmother, and her grandmother... Sooner or later you'll get to "Paleo".

0
144e1a4e0753f285f3520d1e9ddbd690

on September 21, 2011
at 05:22 PM

My mom is 85 (soon to be 86) and she is definitely on board with the primal/paleo thing. She's even making her own kimchi right now! She has always been interested in food and nutrition. When I was much younger, she worked in a "health food" store and was always bringing home weird supplements and things to try out. I have given her a copy of Sisson's Primal Blueprint and Easy Meals cookbook and she loves them. So far, she's dropped about 10 pounds. Her doctor is really impressed...but my mom hasn't really explained the reason. I wish she would. Wonder what the doc would say.

Her proof--she stopped eating grains for a week or so and completely lost the bloating in her belly. Right there, that was enough for her. She'll have a slice of bread once in a while,but it's happening less and less, since she just doesn't feel that great afterwards.

I wish my boyfriend was on board. He doesn't buy into it...maybe because I really haven't stuck to it as much as I should and have not really lost the weight I need to.

0
145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

on June 26, 2011
at 07:44 PM

I can't help but be curious. Would you have trouble explaining paleo to someone younger than your grandmother? If not, how would you do that? I mean, literally sit down and write it out (since you are technically inclined, do it in outline form using the terms that you are most comfortable with). Organize the material into points from most to least important.

Then, rewrite, refine....and then work on substituting terms that your grandmother would understand. Practice on a good-natured neighbor or friend....or their kids....see what questions arise. Eventually you will get it down to a cohesive narrative.

Obviously, you already know the answers to the questions she is likely to ask. It's clearly not about knowing but about how to present the material. I feel for ya....I have a similar problem explaining anything verbally to anyone. In other words, I'd be a crummy teacher, but I KNOW my material :-)

0
560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on June 26, 2011
at 02:55 PM

That's awesome, show your grandma some of the robb wolf success stories and buy her some butter.

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