Are you thriving on a paleo lifestyle, or want to try, but your partner or kids are resisting it? Hear from some of the UK's top Paleo folks on how you can try to overcome any issues ....

I asked the following question at a recent event hosted by UK Paleo Society:

How do you deal with children and family members who aren't 'getting' Paleo?

Let me give you a little background to my question: My 2 eldest sons are 10 and 8. They've largely joined me on my paleo journey for the last 5 years and are equally well educated on the benefits of paleo food and lifestyle.

One still wants grain-based cereal for breakfast every day, would eat nuggets and fries every day if I let him (I don't for the record!) and would happily sit on his tablet for hours every day.

The other has eggs for breakfast every day, asks for a variety of salads and can't wait to get outside after school and explore or ride his bike! As for my 15 month-old, he doesn't know any different and will (I hope) be the most ‘Paleo' by default.

It's a bit of a ‘nature vs. nurture' debate and ‘how you parent' debate wrapped up in one!

... Anyway, it got me thinking there's a really good discussion to be had here as there's always different ways of achieving the same goal, So, below are the really useful and informative thoughts from those very much ‘in the know' in the UK to help you if you're having a Paleo battle at home!

Charleh Dickinson, Designed2Eat

I helped family members and friends become more Paleo by cooking them delicious meals and letting them enjoy it together.

And comment from her father, Peter Dickinson, Designed2Eat: I fall into No2. Charleh did her best to educate and we made some progress but it wasn't until I broke, that I became determined to fix me without meds. Which I am on with. Off the meds but not fixed but work in progress. My diet isn't strictly Paleo but it is close to. Charleh did really try and we made good progress but it's down to changing habits and that can be really hard.

Even when you are broken it's taken a lot of research to identify what to do as there is so much bad information out there that you have to check every piece of information from multiple sources in order to know it's the right thing to do. There is a huge amount of inertia to get over the status quo.

Donna Crous, Eighty20 Nutrition

My teenage daughters (19 and 16) are exactly the same as your boys. Regarding the one who pushes the boundaries, we have a simple approach with her, at home she needs to eat the same as the rest of us, which is a large percentage of the time, so if she indulges when she goes out with friends it is not a big issue.

She does it unwillingly at times, but what is interesting she is the one her friends turn to for weight help and nutritional advice, and truth be told she loves that she is the one being asked. She knows the answers and slowly but surely she is coming around to the idea (it's only taken 6 years) - I firmly believe as parents we need to lead by example and they will eventually follow.

Mark Whelan, Paleo Castle

With family, I think just telling them about your diet isn't gonna cut it. This goes mostly for adults, but the principle applies to kids to an extent. What motivates most people is something that they can see or feel, and so I think you need to lead with that. When they see that you're looking better, or that you have more energy, or that your hair is thicker and shinier - that sort of stuff has an impact. In my experience, family members will always get curious. 

I think badgering them about diet & health can have the opposite effect. It might lead to sporadic diet attempts but without any real drive, and also with a negative association towards the whole thing. 

Once that initial motivation is stimulated, I think you have to simply be there to provide a framework. By this I mean recipes and accountability, and things of that nature. 

As for kids, again, I think you have to lead with a tangible reward. This is the main key. Practically speaking though, there are countless recipes for fast-food favourites and substitutes that can be "Paleo-fied" that kids will love.

Vanessa Woozley, The Life Sutra

You have to find what works for you family, I can only tell you how it works in ours. I'm a strict Mamma, we have a paleoish way of eating and she has the rest of her life to rebel but I want to put down a good foundation that will help her to understand why we eat a certain way. I focus on how foods can make you feel and I try to always make substitutes so she understands it's not about deprivation.

So, there you go, what are your experiences? Are we genetically wired to react differently to the same information (yes imho). Can we rewire our thinking (or the thinking of our children?) – heck I'm trying, watch this space ….. ;-)

My next post will explore going beyond the family … how do we re-educate the general public on a paleo lifestyle that encourages them to try it? Until then, ta-ta for now!