I, too, have a positive! My aunt, the same one who was comparing this to Atkins when I discussed it with her, read the book I gave her. Her and her boyfriend are both doing Paleo now. I am so excited when she texts me about them experimenting with different veggies and meats. I feel less alone now. My mom called me yesterday and they want to have a Paleo meal for my brother's B-day! I come from a very stubborn family (I am stubborn myself) and I think it will be really great to see that same determined stubbornness used in application for a lifestyle change such as this. They all have really terrible health problems too (IBS, Crohn's, depression, CFS, high blood pressure, Type II diabetics). I hope this sticks. I fear for my brother's life, it's that bad. I just keep putting out the example, giving resources, and hopefully the people I love will see the positive change and want it too.
So true - too many people do think that vegetarian or vegan diets are the healthiest!
My first year as a vegan, I really was super healthy! Of course, I was eating all real food, gluten free, almost entirely grain free, no legumes, and tons and tons of veggies. So basically, nearly Whole30... minus the essential fat and protein and plus too many fruits and nuts. I think it's people who are successful (however temporarily) on a mostly raw, grain free vegan or vegetarian diet that make it seem like vegetarianism is a great idea.
Then in my case, the lack of fat, lack of diversity of amino acids, and insufficiency of certain micronutrients caught up with me and I had a really hard second year of injuries, fatigue, and less than stellar health.
Thankfully, as a chef, I already knew lots of good local farmers. While it was a tough decision ethically to stop being vegetarian/vegan, I had the resources available to do it right. When I transitioned back to eating meat, but before I told everyone, there were plenty of people who said I looked great - they called me glowing, energetic, more balanced. My skin was clearer. I had a bounce in my step again.
I explained why and far too many people just didn't believe that adding (good quality, hormone free, properly raised, properly prepared) meat and eggs back into my diet was a reason for major improvements in health!