It’s an anomaly being Vegetarian and Paleo at the same time. Or is it? There are people all over the world who recognize the importance of animal preservation. Animals globally are being saved by loving Vegetarians and Vegans every day. While the animals are thanking you for their salvage, are you sacrificing your own health to save animals? The answer is YES and NO. We’ll dive a little deeper into that a little later on. The question is can we categorize Vegetarianism with Paleo? The Paleo lifestyle is about omitting all grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, soy and starches, which is fundamental in the Vegetarian world. So what’s a Paleo Vegetarian to eat? The part of Vegetarianism that people get stuck on is getting enough protein, vitamin and mineral absorption such as B12, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Paleo is eating lots of high fat meats from a trusted, grass fed source. While most Vegetarian eaters get their protein from soy, nuts, seeds, grains, some dairy, eggs, legumes, and plants. If they omit soy and grains, will this be enough to sustain good health? Let’s explore that question…
Paleo vs. Vegetarian Philosophy
Paleo beliefs are we should eat a diet that is similar to the way ancient man ate in the hunter/gatherer era, which consisted of wild game, tubers, some fruits, and limited vegetables. Today, to get the quality of food that our ancestors did is a rare find; especially in the United States or modernized countries. While our ancestors feasted on wild game, there were plenty of times where famine took precedence hence leaving them mal-nourished and/or dead. We have since “modernized” food, became biology junkies and question how the body works. Many philosophers, politicians, chemists, and farmers came together to form their own idea of health and became fascinated with human nutrition.
Today’s Paleo eater faces many challenges such as finding reputable meats, wild game, and clean organic fruits and vegetables. Also, the importance of good fats in our modern diet is more important than ever. Since the American Standard Diet is deficient in nutrients, we have depleted and deprived our vital organs of saturated fat. Paleo is the perfect diet for anyone who suffers from disease, depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD and the list goes on.
All Vegetarians and Vegans omit meat from their diet due to a choice. As many of us, we make choices to fit our beliefs, and perhaps save our body from rotting carcass in our bellies. Vegetarian ideology is that no animal should be killed for human existence. Vegetarians and Vegans have every right to advocate for animals as we all should. No animal should be treated unjustly and “murdered” just to feed America. The truth of the matter is most of the grain fed, corporate “farming” slaughter houses are not thinking in terms of our health…their thinking in terms of money. The dairy and beef industry is a multi-million dollar business. Just like our genetically engineered grain and vegetable crops, most modern day Midwest farmers aren’t thinking in terms of our health either. They need to feed their family just as much as we do and don’t want to piss off the big guys like Monsanto. Vegetarians and Vegans are the biggest confronters when it comes to animal advocacy. We all should be advocates for our own health and open our eyes to what is happening to our food.
The problem with going Vegetarian is the lack of B12, vitamins and minerals. Since technology and bio-engineering, we can now supplement these deficiencies and for the most part, we can live a healthy lifestyle as Vegetarians. Sadly, most people do not do their homework and choose a life without animal protein just for the cause to save animals. The latest health issues that Vegetarians face is they develop thyroid issues, struggles with addiction such as alcoholism, obesity, heart disease, depression, Metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Some Vegetarians turn to junk food; cookies, cakes, pizza, bread galore, fast food, etc. When this happens, that’s when all systems fail.
There is good news though; there are similarities to both diet philosophies. Each “diet” models the importance of eating from the earth. They both stress that eating organically without pesticides or use of anti-biotics is vital for maintaining good health. They also believe that the products we use on our skin should be of higher quality without mistreatment or cruelty.
The Evolving Human
Have we evolved enough to absorb all nutrients from grains? Modern day grains are more gluten filled than ever before. Since we have engineered food to “feed the world” it hasn’t done much good for our overall health in the long run. As civilized as we are, we have lost our ability to naturally feed ourselves with our own intuition for what’s good for our individual body. The ancient man most likely didn’t eat meat every meal; he was most likely more in tune with the flow of nature. During the winter months, we typically hibernated and stored fat. We used our energy scarcely and understood gathering tubers, vegetables for the winter was essential for survival. The modern day man doesn’t think in terms of scarcity or survival, unless we are stuck in traffic or fighting for a parking spot. As with anything, there are also some cons to the Paleo lifestyle as well, not many that have been researched as of yet, but one that remains consistent is constipation. Due to omitting grains, it can lead to a lack of fiber in the diet, and can harden our waist leaving it to sit and rot in the lining of our gut. This can cause serious issues over time, such as bowel obstructed defecation or colonic inertia. Most Paleo lifers avoid grains, and fibrous, starchy foods at all cost but some Vegetarians still aren’t convinced this is necessary for our health. Have our bodies evolved enough to omit meat for good, and switch to grains?
How Can Vegetarians Turn Paleo Without Eating Meat?
Its sounds completely UNPALEO since eating animal fats is the primary food source for Paleo lifers. Most people alter the Paleo diet anyway, and that’s what will have to happen for the avid Paleo Vegetarian. A healthy lifestyle can be balanced without eating meat with altering each diet to fit individual needs. We still need the everyday essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, and carbohydrates to function normally. To help the modern day Paleo Vegetarian figure out what to eat, here’s a list of foods that can be eaten to fit the new age Paleolithic Vegetarian lifestyle.
- All fruits and vegetables excluding excessive amounts of bananas, dates, figs and red apples
- Pastured eggs
- Chia, hemp, and flax seeds
- Avocado, sardines or small fish (if fish is consumed) – omega 3 fatty acids, fats
- Sweet potatoes, non starchy root vegetables, squashes
- Raw chocolate
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut
- Mushrooms such as shitake, Portobello, maitake, Quorn (fungi- avoid if candida prone), raw spirulina
- Soaked and sprouted beans, buckwheat, nuts and seeds in moderation
- Nut butters and milks
These are just examples of living a meatless Paleo lifestyle. It’s okay to modify and adjust to your personal needs and preference.
In short, we CAN unite Paleo and Vegetarianism. The important factor is to avoid gluten containing grains, and lectins and ensure a balance of vitamins and minerals. For those who are on the Vegetarian fence, now you know you have options, no one has to eat meat at every meal just to call it Paleo. It’s better for our body to eat ALL foods in moderation and continue an awareness of the quality of food that we’re consuming. Paying attention to your body and realizing how to fuel it is essential. Educate yourself on what your body needs for optimal health. You don’t have to sacrifice your health while sparing animals lives. In fact, we all should have a part in helping animals be well. Our health counts on it!