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Help me convince my sister paleo is not a scam/fad diet??

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 30, 2011 at 10:47 PM

My cynical 14 y.o. sister is convinced the paleo diet is a fad diet/scam/money making deal for Mark Sisson, Loren Cordain, etc. We have arguments/debates and when I asked her to read the Primal Blueprint or the Paleo Diet (only paleo books i have) she refused to, saying that all the authors want to do is make money, so they are willing to say anything. She claims she doesn't "believe" in the paleo diet and that it is just a silly fad diet. HEADDESK. Help?

C0237fd9e277fcef496d538beda1f35b

(287)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:52 PM

Throw in a good huff and foot stomp, too. Perhaps a door slam if you feel up to it. :)

3351f6c8ec1ea64435e419f380ca6468

(1255)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:08 PM

Why not? You can "bleep" over the scientific references and it's still a great read.

83d6a06c93bb3490dbca339cbbb63385

(526)

on October 21, 2011
at 06:52 PM

Well, first ask her to define her terms.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on July 02, 2011
at 05:08 PM

For a 14 year old? Surely you are joking

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on July 01, 2011
at 07:02 PM

I agree with Kelly. My ideas: If she is unwilling to learn or listen -ignore her. If she keeps ragging on you about it or you really want her support -shut her out and act like Paleo living is way too exclusive, too hard to understand for someone so young, and way too cool for her. That will get her interested. You can have your book of choice and website list waiting in the wings.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 01, 2011
at 03:53 PM

His wife is pretty hot. Okay, Mark Sisson sells books and supps and seminars and stufz. But he makes his living doing this. And he puts out a hell of a lot of good info - for free! I only bought his book as payback for the value I had already gotten from his website.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 01, 2011
at 03:48 PM

The eye rolling is the really important part. Be very dramatic!

A0b8c4cc369f93ee987ce15b1bf323fe

on July 01, 2011
at 03:48 PM

sounds like a classic tween rebel

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 01, 2011
at 03:46 PM

You can't convince a 14 y.o. anything - they pretty much know it all by that age. It takes another 5-10 years to realize that "it all" is unknowable - and some never figure this out.

D9032e4f6540f9e6bcbb07143002bedd

(449)

on July 01, 2011
at 01:35 AM

agreed...most 14 yos are dumb as rocks, at least your sister is a cynic

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 01, 2011
at 12:35 AM

I want to be ABSOLUTELY clear that I am not proposing a threesome here.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 01, 2011
at 12:32 AM

Baconbitch, I know some women find Mark Sisson hot. Are you sure that we are using the word "screw" in the same sense?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 01, 2011
at 12:28 AM

Go Thomas! I upvoted for the same reason.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 01, 2011
at 12:21 AM

Upvoted for "screwing" Mark Sisson and crew.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on June 30, 2011
at 11:13 PM

LoL Exactly! Everybody doing anything is "doing it for the money" by that logic! Does she wear clothes? Use a cell-phone? Go online and chat on facebook? Lol! Selective cynicism at it's best!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 30, 2011
at 11:07 PM

that last point is an excellent one. its a good thing to be a critical thinker at such a young age. great answer.

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17 Answers

17
7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on June 30, 2011
at 10:52 PM

Why does it matter so much to you what she thinks about your diet and that she reads these books? What's the point of getting into these debates, apart from frustrating yourself?

But if you want my advice I would say that I had a similar view to your sister at one point. What got me into Paleo was reading Kurt Harris, Chris Masterjohn, etc. Smart, scientifically-minded writers whose websites didn't suggest that their main goal was to sell books or supplements. I was a few years older though. How scientifically literate is your sister?

Also, I actually think it's a good thing if at 14 she's already skeptical about quick fixes and fad diets and doesn't fall for things easily, even if it's frustrating to you in this instance. Maybe just leave it be?

D9032e4f6540f9e6bcbb07143002bedd

(449)

on July 01, 2011
at 01:35 AM

agreed...most 14 yos are dumb as rocks, at least your sister is a cynic

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 30, 2011
at 11:07 PM

that last point is an excellent one. its a good thing to be a critical thinker at such a young age. great answer.

15
Medium avatar

(19479)

on June 30, 2011
at 11:15 PM

I say, look at her with a real exhausted look and say "Yeah, what human beings did for 90% of our evolution is totally a FAD. I'm sure all of our ancestors were in it for the money." Then roll your eyes and walk away.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 01, 2011
at 03:48 PM

The eye rolling is the really important part. Be very dramatic!

C0237fd9e277fcef496d538beda1f35b

(287)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:52 PM

Throw in a good huff and foot stomp, too. Perhaps a door slam if you feel up to it. :)

9
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 30, 2011
at 11:52 PM

Have you ever considered that she might be right? Communication runs both ways. Like it or not, Paleo diet, as put forward by some Paleo gurus, has all of the trappings of a fad diet.

7
Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 10:55 PM

I think all you can do is lead by example. It doesn't sound like she wants to listen, kind of a requirement for 14-yr. olds, isn't it?

I don't get her money-making argument. I've found so much info online that I haven't spent any money yet on products. The only new people that are getting my money are local farmers.

6
C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on July 01, 2011
at 07:09 PM

My 16 year old daughter is getting in to paleo for political reasons. For her paleo is punk and anarchy and rebelling against the system (which beats her going veggie to rebel against me lol). Point out to her how much money is made by big business selling processed and grain based foods. Get her to research the marketing tactics of brands - big ones like Coca Cola. Then perhaps she'll see that the only way to not be suckered by hype, marketing, etc is to eat food that has not been processed and preferably where you can talk to the guy who grew/raised it. Any money being made out of paleo by Mark Sisson or Loren Cordain pales into insignificance compared to that made by the big food processors and brands! Get her to read The Omnivore's Dilemma, Against The Grain, Food Inc, etc. Those books are not selling any diet but exposing the way the SAD is produced. Having read them, of course, its pretty hard not to come to the conclusion that paleo is the only thing that makes sense.

3
B7fec4bf394de8dfa6403067aea94e1b

on June 30, 2011
at 11:09 PM

She's 14 - at that age, girls know everything, so it's best just to wait out their teenage years.

2
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on July 02, 2011
at 02:53 PM

Actually being that much of a cynic at 14 years old should be applauded, not discouraged. So what if she believes your way of eating is a fad. She will (just like many of us) have to make her own conclusions. I didn't start getting ill from my diet until my late 20's - and discovered shortly after that eradicating grains, pulses, and lactose was the solution.

She still has a lot of learning to do. Let her do it and draw her own conclusions. Attempting to convince any 14 year old of anything they don't want to be convinced of, is a surefire way to keep them from agreeing with you.

2
77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on July 01, 2011
at 03:40 PM

Ask her what type of evidence she would accept. If she says none, then she's not ready for an adult conversation. If she says anything else, you can probably provide it.

2
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on July 01, 2011
at 12:06 AM

screw mark sisson and crew,

show her:

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200251h.html

The Kitava Study http://www.staffanlindeberg.com/TheKitavaStudy.html

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 01, 2011
at 12:32 AM

Baconbitch, I know some women find Mark Sisson hot. Are you sure that we are using the word "screw" in the same sense?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 01, 2011
at 12:21 AM

Upvoted for "screwing" Mark Sisson and crew.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 01, 2011
at 12:35 AM

I want to be ABSOLUTELY clear that I am not proposing a threesome here.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 01, 2011
at 12:28 AM

Go Thomas! I upvoted for the same reason.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 01, 2011
at 03:53 PM

His wife is pretty hot. Okay, Mark Sisson sells books and supps and seminars and stufz. But he makes his living doing this. And he puts out a hell of a lot of good info - for free! I only bought his book as payback for the value I had already gotten from his website.

2
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on June 30, 2011
at 11:25 PM

good luck! but can you blame her? Theres been one fad diet after another, all writing books, making protein bars etc. She sounds smart, and she's probably trying to show you she's smarter too! (speaking from experience with teenage children) But remember she's a teenager, they always pick the opposite end of the conversation spectrum, even if they know they are wrong (skies blue, no its not, its yellow, no its not...)

Best thing you can do is to show her with time and by example and not try to convince her of anything, her loss if she continues to take the other end just for arguments sake.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on July 01, 2011
at 07:02 PM

I agree with Kelly. My ideas: If she is unwilling to learn or listen -ignore her. If she keeps ragging on you about it or you really want her support -shut her out and act like Paleo living is way too exclusive, too hard to understand for someone so young, and way too cool for her. That will get her interested. You can have your book of choice and website list waiting in the wings.

2
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on June 30, 2011
at 10:59 PM

By her reasoning we should consider every book ever written on anything a money-making scam because some guys wrote about some stuff that may or may not have been true in order to sell books. The conclusion is that we should refuse to read anything, because it might be a scam. I mean they made evil scary money from it, right?

The correct protocol is to read the book, read a bunch of the references and make up your own mind. More quickly, here is Loren Cordain answering critics of the paleo diet http://robbwolf.com/2011/06/09/us-news-best-diets/

So I dunno, a scam that greatly improves health even in clinical setting which aren't usually indicative of what we do, getting into it and working on it and such.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on June 30, 2011
at 11:13 PM

LoL Exactly! Everybody doing anything is "doing it for the money" by that logic! Does she wear clothes? Use a cell-phone? Go online and chat on facebook? Lol! Selective cynicism at it's best!

1
3f3236d1f951d4b4c25eff387699a905

(554)

on July 01, 2011
at 02:43 AM

I know I searched for a lot of answers at that age and unfortunately fell for vegetarianism (gaining over 30kg and feeling like crap didn't convince me that it didn't work or wasn't healthy!). I'd recommend Gary Taubes' Good Calories Bad Calories, since it's a real eye opener. I think it's good that she's interested!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on July 02, 2011
at 05:08 PM

For a 14 year old? Surely you are joking

3351f6c8ec1ea64435e419f380ca6468

(1255)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:08 PM

Why not? You can "bleep" over the scientific references and it's still a great read.

1
6b72eeb3f0c98b487f712efcb5092c90

on July 01, 2011
at 01:20 AM

If she wants a diet that is "a money-making deal," she should check out the likes of NutriSystem, Jenny Craig, or even Weight Watchers. Those programs require all kinds of fees, and the first 2 require you to purchase most of your food through them. Even if you're not using Weight Watchers products, you still have to pay to join Weight Watchers to get their plan info, and pay ongoing membership fees to continue to have access to their resources/information.

On the other hand, the paleo experts you listed above give away an incredible amount of information for free through their websites--enough that you can pursue "the diet" on your own--and they don't require you to purchase anything. You can purchase their books as resources, but you can also check them out at the library for free, and the books aren't necessary to follow the program. Not to mention the fact that these authors back up what they're saying with scientific studies. Jenny Craig and Nutri System? Not so much.

To my way of thinking, her argument that these folks are in it only for the money doesn't hold water. It's good to be skeptical. But it's another thing to be argumentative just for the sake of being argumentative.

That said, if she doesn't want to be convinced, you won't convince her, nor will anything this community says. After all, pardon the expression, but we're drinking the same Kool-Aid you are. . Just give her links to the info that's out there, set a good example with your own health, and let her draw her own conclusions. But don't expect her to ever say you were right: as a 14 year old girl, she'd lose all her girl cred if she did that.

1
1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

on June 30, 2011
at 11:52 PM

Operative phrase here is 14 y/o

I was a staunch vegan/ vegetarian (I can't remember I occasionally indulged in dairy and eggs back then) 12 years ago (when I was 14) and no amount of sense could have convinced me otherwise. My dad brought me scientific tidbit after tidbit on the dangers of soy, how vegetables aren't complete proteins, how healthy neurons require animal omega 3's and I wouldn't listen. I wasn't overweight at that point in my life and having this annoying, uncool person who was 26 years older than I was carrying around an extra 30 pounds around his middle wasn't very convincing. Give her time.

1
786f000633dc20975d0e176da2e28aef

on June 30, 2011
at 11:44 PM

she is a girl, and a teenager... just tell her that she is right, and walk away! Ive been married and have 2 daughters, i know how this game works :D

1
67460907f9d818f56e1ef4c846317386

on June 30, 2011
at 11:15 PM

As someone else pointed out, she is 14, even if a argument is valid it might not work. With that said, if there is a chance anthropology is probably the answer.

Tell her that up until 20,000 years ago, humans didn't ingest non-paleolithic foods. If they weren't available prior to that time, then we didn't evolve to properly digest them. This is simply because of natural selection, if you weren't born with the proper makeup to be healthy when eating the foods that were available to you, you perished.

Weston Price is probably the best person to cite if she wants a real life example of this as well. Being that he was a dentist in the 1930's and studied several of the healthiest cultures in the world that only at their own cultural foods. Their is even a nonprofit (keyword here for your argument) foundation online called westonprice.org dedicated to spreading the vital knowledge he uncovered so many decades ago.

And Gary Taubes talks about the falsified research by Ansel Keys (or something like that) that led to the incorrect nutritional knowledge that now prevails as our conventional wisdom. Read into this a little bit if you want some real fuel for you fire.

Good luck putting that little squirt in her place! :D

-2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:02 PM

MARK SISSON IS A FRAUD. SO IS ANTHONY COLPO. YOUR SISTER IS COMPLETEL;Y RIGHT.

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