“There were no red bell peppers in the Stone Age!”
“You can only eat raw meat, right?”
“Is butter allowed?”
These are the questions I face as I take on the Paleo diet, from outsiders who know little about this new culinary choice. It’s a little painful and awkward to correct people.
A lot of Chewse customers and potentials have reached out to us about meal options for Paleo, and they are definitely feeling the pain. As a founder, I want to feel that pain too.
And even MOAR pain:
One of our core beliefs at Chewse is that food is an emblem of identity. That what’s on your plate has become just as important as what’s in your closet or who you hang out with. And nothing has reminded me more of this fact than when I challenge myself to take on Paleo for 30 days — and not simply a new diet, but a new lifestyle.
What the hell is Paleo
Paleo diets encourage you to eat the right fats, anything that moves (animals), and to avoid grains. The basic health principle is that modern foods disrupt our digestive system and lead to killer diseases — foods that we should never have processed for consumption. This includes bread (celiac disease) and processed sugar (diabetes). The two things I love most.
As a diet that’s less than 15 years old and somewhat crowd-sourced, there is no single answer. In my opinion, the diet tries to maximize two feats: living primal and living healthy (which are sometimes mutually exclusive). So when I get questions about why I can’t eat legumes (beans, peas, lentils, peanuts etc.) even though ostensibly they were around in primal/caveman times, I understand why it’s confusing.
Note: Legumes apparently are poisonous in their raw form, due to certain chemicals that need to be processed in order to prevent them doing damage to the human body. Chemistry nerds can read up here.
Why founders should always feel pain
While I’m still unconvinced of Paleo’s magic, I do prescribe to the underlying principle that founders should spend some quality time feeling the pain of their customers.
I worked with administrative assistants to order company meals while at USC. And the painful 2 hours that I took to order a catering for 30 people was the most valuable 120 minutes I’ve ever experienced.
2 hours of pain brought me through 3 years of my startup.
You know when you see someone get stabbed in a movie and you wince? A little flesh wound can be good for you as a founder (please don’t take that the wrong way!). There’s something utterly visceral about going through what they go through — and that fuels your need to build a product or service that solves it.
Go feel the burn. Your customers will love you for it.