How to Follow the Paleo Diet Without Eating a Single Piece of Meat

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“The Paleo diet for vegetarians.”  At first glance, it seems like a contradiction in terms.

The Paleo diet is everywhere these days. Four Hour Workweek author Tim Ferriss does it. Former pro Ironman triathlete Mark Sisson promotes a variant of it in his book, The Primal Blueprint, and on his blog. And it’s the diet prescribed in the Rebel Fitness.

But the Paleo diet is by no means veggie-friendly.  It’s heavy on the protein and fat, and as we’ll see, most of the common vegetarian sources of protein are off limits.

Does that mean you can’t be a Paleo-vegetarian?  I don’t think so.  Welcome to my next diet experiment.

Why Paleo?

The rationale for the Paleo diet is the same rationale I like to apply to almost anything related to diet and fitness: Do what we’re built to do.

Our bodies have adapted over the course of millions of years to a form that is highly suited for survival in its environment.  Therefore, by looking at how humans ate and lived for most of our evolution, we can determine what the type of diet we’re “meant” to eat.

Unfortunately for vegetarians, a lot of what we are “meant” to eat, in the evolutionary sense, is probably meat:  Relatively speaking, agriculture is a recent development.  For a much longer period than we’ve been growing our own food, we hunted it and we gathered it.  That basic principle is what the Paleo diet is based on.

Paleo diet basics

My intention with this post is not to give an in-depth description of the Paleo diet.  If you find yourself intrigued, you should absolutely do your own research or talk to a doctor to make sure it’s right for you.  For a more in-depth introduction to the Paleo diet, I’ll refer you to my friend Steve Kamb’s Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet.

If you want to go deeper still, I recommend The Paleo Diet for Athletes, which adapts the Paleo diet so as to make it jive with a higher-carbohydrate, endurance-sports diet.  It’s worth it for the detailed section on pre-, during-, and post-workout nutrition, even if the closest you ever get to Paleo is s’mores and not-dogs around the campfire.

Briefly, here the basic tenets of a standard Paleo diet for endurance athletes (as outlined in The Paleo Diet for Athletes):

  • The breakdown: Roughly, 35% fat, 40% carbohydrate, 25% protein.
  • Staple foods: Wild and free-range meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, nut-like seeds, some tubers, such as sweet potatoes
  • Not allowed (here’s the tricky part): All grains, including wheat, rice, barley, oats, rye, and corn; grain-like seeds, including quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat; all legumes, including beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, and soy; starchy tubers such as potatoes; dairy, alcohol, most sugars except in fruit

(See a complete list of Paleo foods here.)

I’m not going to go into the detailed reasons for what’s allowed and what isn’t.  The basic explanation: Pre-agricultural man (and woman) ate a lot of the staple foods, and had very limited or no access to the disallowed foods.

So, simply ignoring the meat issue for now, we see that if you were to follow the Paleo diet as a vegetarian or vegan, you’d be eating a lot of lots of fruits and vegetables, sweet potatoes, oils like olive, coconut, and canola, nuts, and nut-like seeds.  And pretty much any sugar you’d eat would come from fruits.

A bit bland, perhaps, but doable.

Hopefully, you’re already eating a lot of these foods.  And—bonus!—most Paleo diets allow you to eat as much as you feel like eating.  If cavemen had appointed kings, that’s what you’d be eating like.

But…do you see the problem?

If you don’t see why the Paleo diet is tough for vegetarians, either (a) you’re skimming this post while you eat a quinoa salad with tofu and black beans, or (b) your version of a vegetarian/vegan diet is severely lacking in protein.

First, note that grains are out.  Tough, since they’re a big part of most vegetarians’ diets, especially runners’.  But that’s not the worst part.

The hardest thing about this is that every major vegan protein source is off limits in a strict Paleo diet.  Anything soy, every kind of bean except string beans, and quinoa are all Paleo no-no’s.

Your Paleo options as a vegetarian

It appears impossible to strictly follow the Paleo diet as a vegetarian.  And to be honest, it probably is.  Since we don’t eat meat, and the diet is based on eating meat—it should account for up to 55% of one’s calories, according to The Paleo Diet for Athletes—anything we do as vegetarians is going to be a bastardization.

But then again, aren’t all modern Paleo diets pretty poor substitutes for the real thing?  The fruits, vegetables, and tubers we find in modern grocery stores, even farmers markets, probably do not resemble the fibrous ones Paleolithic humans were eating.  And while a dedicated Paleo-dieter might be able to eat truly wild meats a high percentage of the time, it’s likely that the vast majority of modern Paleos either can’t access or can’t afford such authenticity, and must resort to the factory-farmed meat they find at the grocery store.

My point:  Any modern Paleo diet is merely an approximation to the real thing.  So as vegetarians, we can (and must) approximate too.  Here’s how I suggest going about it.

Vegetarian Paleo Diet Option #1: Eat lots of eggs

Obviously, this option is not for vegans.  And it’s not exactly Paleo, since the versions I’ve seen usually recommend eggs in moderation, say, up to six per week.  But theoretically, one could eat lots of eggs and meet the protein requirements of the Paleo diet without eating any unauthorized foods.

One egg has about six grams of protein, so if they’re going to be your primary source (lets say they’ll provide 50% of your protein), you could be eating a dozen eggs a day.  Possible, but you’d better like eggs.

Vegetarian Paleo Diet Option #2: Allow hemp seed and grain-like seeds

The argument against grain-like seeds like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat is that they behave more like grains than like nuts.  While seeds like sunflower seeds contain mostly fat and protein with just a small amount of carbohydrates, these grain-like seeds contain mostly carbohydrate.

But carbohydrate isn’t the only problem.  Grain-like seeds have other negative properties of grains: Quinoa, for example, “includes chemical defense systems that irritate the gut,” according to an excerpt from Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution.

Option #2 is to allow these grain-like seeds in your diet to help you meet the Paleo diets protein requirements.  The bonus prize behind Door #2 is that quinoa can be used in cooking like rice, or even made into “pasta,” so you’ll gain some variety in your meals over those based on strict Paleo fare.

But let’s not forget about our old friend hemp.  I’ve been unable to get a definitive answer to whether or not hempseed is considered “grain-like.”  In terms of macronutrient content, it’s more like a nut: high in protein and good fats, very low in carbohydrates.  If it’s allowed, the inclusion of whole hempseeds and minimally processed hemp protein powder could provide enough protein to make the other deviations from the strict Paleo diet unnecessary.

Vegetarian Paleo Diet Option #3: Allow soaked or sprouted beans and legumes

To me, this seems like the easiest option, and perhaps the best.  “Easiest” in that it wouldn’t represent a major change from the way many of us already eat, minus the grains.  “Best” in that allowing beans and legumes would provide us with about a dozen obvious sources of protein.

Though pre-agricultural man didn’t eat beans (at all?), that’s not the major issue most Paleos have with them.  Instead, it’s the “antinutrients” in beans and other legumes, the enzyme inhibitors which make them inedible in their raw state and which may interfere with digestion even after cooking.

We can reduce the amounts of these antinutrients by soaking and sprouting legumes.  According to Tim Ferriss, who claims to eat a lot of lentils on his version of a Paleo diet, “Soaking for 24 hours at room temperature has been shown to remove 66% of the trypsin (protease) inhibitor activity in mung bean, 93% in lentil, 59% in chickpea, and 100% in broad bean.”  Soaked beans should of course be well-cooked in order to make them non-toxic.

Sprouting goes a step farther in reducing the amounts of enzyme inhibitors, in addition to converting some of the starches into sugars, and proteins into amino acids.  Though some sprouts can be eaten raw, cooking them will eliminate more of the antinutrients.  For more on sprouting and related health issues (such as not eating toxic soybean and kidney bean sprouts), see a post from GrowYouthful.com.

All of this assumes, of course, that you’re starting with dried beans.  The pre-cooked, canned versions won’t do here.

‘This sounds reasonable, even if extremely dull.  But if we’re meant to eat meat, why be vegetarian at all?’

To me, the evidence that we are built to hunt and eat meat is pretty convincing.

Does that mean we should eat meat at every meal?  No.  But does it mean we should eat meat sometimes?

If your only goal is health, I’d say you’d do well to eat an occasional piece of fish, or even wild land animals.  It would certainly make getting an optimal Paleo balance of nutrients easier.

But let’s not forget that by the same argument, males are “built” to impregnate as many women as possible.  That’s what would maximize the chances of having ones genes propagate, and probably still would today.

But most of us don’t do that anymore, because as a species we’re beyond that.  And that’s how I feel about eating animals.  Even if it’s what we’re built to do because eating them helped us survive and thrive in the past, it’s something most of us are now capable of making a choice not to do, thanks to our advancement as a civilization.

Feedback, please!

I can’t wait to give this a try.  I’ll likely mix options 2 and 3.  (Completely accidentally, this plan is somewhat similar to that outlined in Brendan Brazier’s Thrive.)

Like I said, I’ll be starting Steve’s Rebel Fitness program after the Marine Corps Marathon on October 31.  And since the Paleo diet is the prescribed diet there, this vegetarian version is what I’ll be following.

I’d love get some feedback on this, especially from those who are familiar with the standard Paleo diet.  Does this capture the spirit of the original?

Disclosure: Product links in this post are affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. This article comes at the perfect time! I was wondering about this topic a few hours ago. I’ve been looking into taking a CrossFit class & I was just going to tell them that I could do the work but not the diet.

    You’ve provided some great options for vegetarians, but I still don’t think I could, or would want to, have this diet. I love grains, legumes & pretty much everything that’s restricted.. but I eat it in moderation which is key I believe.

    I still might try the plan you’ve outlined & thanks for the article! :]

    • Anastasia, does CrossFit promote the Paleo diet? I didn’t know that.

      You’re right, this doesn’t sound like the most exciting food. But as I’m sure you know, that’s not what it’s about; I’m doing it to see what athletic/health benefits I might get. Thanks for your comment!

      • My (partial and likely biased) understanding is that CrossFit officially promotes the Zone diet, and Robb Wolf was actually kicked out for going against the party line on this. However, Paleo is very common in CrossFit. Many affiliates, including the one I go to, ignore HQ and promote Paleo instead.

        • CrossFit is all about the Paleo Diet….at least there are a TON of cross-fitters and affiliate owners eating like that and mentioning it.

          • I have been doing CrossFit for 2-1/2 years and just recently, as in 2-months ago started my vegetarian-paleo diet. I’ve dropped 12 pounds, lowering my body fat % 10%, plus increased my muscle mass 3%, so far. It’s a great diet to get stronger, lose fat and be animal and environmentally friendly.
            Yes, not always easy to do and does get a bit boring, but for me not having to think about what I eat Mon-Fri and doing that same thing helps me stick to my plan and reach my goals. It’s usually the weekends that are the struggle! ;0)
            Great info, thanks!

          • Isabella says:

            Yup, this is why I chose not to join Cross Fit. I found a wonderful outdoors bootcamp instead. We pretty much do all the same workouts as the Cross Fit folks and it is extremely challenging. They don’t promote any specific diet which is good. Anna, sounds like you got it down! I would love to hear about what your daily diet includes and maybe some recipes.

          • Anna, what is your Veg Paleo diet specifically like? Id love to see a sample diet log of what u eat, as well as your cals and macro %s. Im really interested into doing this diet…im currently following a 811-type diet, but feel i would do better with more protein/fat. Thanks!

    • You appear to have completely ignored the fact that many greens are complete poteins. It is virtually impossible to eat a diet (any diet!) insufficient in protein if you get sufficient calories. eg http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2

      • Actually, no they’re not. Not on their own, anyway. Complete protein foods are foods that provide an adequate proportion of all nine essential amino acids. Unfortunately, most of the vegetarian/vegan foods that offer all nine essential amino acids are actually off limits to the paleo diet, which is where it gets tricky. One needs to be eating a certain combination of greens and other plant based foods to be getting complete proteins in a quantity adequate to their nutritional needs.

    • This was great info.. I am really excited to get started. I will eat some fish occasionally, so I am going to try that and eggs as the protein, as well as hemp protein powder and seeds. Thanks for sharing all your ideas and research. Looking forward to starting this on Monday!!

  2. You are brave!! Honestly, the hardest part for me would be giving up beans. I would have beans every day if I could.

    The only diet that I have tried that might come close was the Zone diet. It worked great for two months. I got very lean. Then, it hit me. Life is too short to live without cupcakes and bread. And a bowl of beans. Good luck!!

    • Nicole, agreed. To me, this sounds like something that would be very hard to do long-term. But, if the benefits are there (and noticeable), it’s feasible that one could decide it’s worth it. I guess it depends on what you value more. (And I’m not definitely not saying one way is “right.”)

    • LOL! “Life is too short to live without cupcakes.” I totally agree!! :)

  3. To be honest, I’m not convinced. It feels like there’s a large deviation from the original diet. But if you can make it work, I applaud you.

    I’ve seen Mark on Daily Apple talk about hemp protein and he doesn’t seem too against it(I use it and like it). Hemp protein is cheapest when you buy 3lb bags on Amazon. I try to eat partially paleo and my usual breakfast is a banana mashed and mixed with hemp protein and a little water, covered in almond butter and coconut.

    • Evan, thanks for the feedback. You make a good point; in my excitement about this I do tend to forget that these deviations are pretty big. If, say, I was a meat-eater and still ate things like beans and grain-like seeds in a lame attempt at the Paleo diet, I’d feel in my heart like I really hadn’t done it correctly. But as far as I can see, this is the best I can do if I want to do this as a vegetarian. I know you said you’ve tried Paleo… any suggestions to make my version closer to the real thing?

      • How did the hemp protein go for you? I bought a lot of it once when it went on at an unbelievable price but I find it’s like drinking mud, so I have little desire to make smoothies with it. The best compromise I’ve found is to mix it with some raw cacao and stevia (although my stevia is Stevita and contains erythritol, which I worry about a little bit), and it’s kind of tolerable, but still nothing I would drink if I didn’t have to.

  4. Matt,

    I’ll be interested to hear how the Paleo Diet treats you and your running. Personally, the more fat I eat the worse I feel and run. Just can’t do it, regardless of the source of the fat. As for the diet itselfe, while it may be an upgrade to some people’s current diet, I think you can do much better as far as a long-term healthy diet. Just my 2 cents. Good luck with it.
    RJ

  5. Hey Matt–this is “avabee” from the paleo thread on the NMA forums. As I mentioned in my post there, I’ve been experimenting with a paleo/primal-style diet.

    I’ve been shooting for @60 grams of protein a day. Usually one meal largely consists of eggs (3-4 large eggs contains @19.5-26 grams). A second meal is often a smoothie with protein powder, for an additional 20 grams. The rest comes from a variety of sources: some legumes, some nuts, nut butter, seeds, etc., some dairy kefir, vegetable sources, and occasionally (yet) more eggs. I try not to double up the egg dishes too often; it’s so easy to get sick of eggs!

  6. I just recently learned of the Paleo diet when I met a girl who was following it herself. Although I don’t prescribe to a certain type of diet (I’m a flexitarian I guess), I find all diets highly interesting and I really enjoyed reading your take on an adaptable vegetarian version.

  7. I have a question, and I mean no disrespect, but are you trying this out of curiosity, or more because something is lacking/not right with your current diet?

    • Maryea, what could be disrespectful about that question? I’m doing it out of curiosity, because of the rave reviews it gets from people like the ones I mentioned. I’m very happy with my current diet; for me it works better than any other I’ve ever tried. But I don’t like to sit still with things when there’s so much out there to explore!

  8. Definitely going to be popping on your blog more often, as you were the one who peaked my interest in Paleo-diets and now you are going to actually do it! If I may be so bold as to make a request, which is the same one I made on your recent survey, please include recipes! :) I am experimenting with reducing my gluten intake and am also a vegetarian and am too scared to go-all-paleo! Thanks for being such a curious and self-inflicted guinea pig :) Good luck

  9. Hi Matt

    I’m really surprised at “To me, the evidence that we are built to hunt and eat meat is pretty convincing.”

    To me it’s the contrary. The entire alimentary canal of humans is biased against eating flesh.
    – 8 large incisors, 20 premolars/molars, small canines (more suited for chewing not tearing)
    – A lower jaw that has 2 degrees of motion and the enormous pressure it can generate while grinding slowly (more suitable for eating plants and grains)
    – Salivary Amylase (enzyme to break carbs into sugar) is the only enzyme in Saliva … why an animal that ate no grains for millenia would need Amylase?
    – The thickness (lack of) of stomach lining and low acidity (relative) of stomach acid.
    – The length of the intestines …
    I could go on.

    The point is that humans have been opportunistic omnivores with plants being the major source of nutrition for most of humans.

    • Gaurav, this is all interesting. I’ve heard a few of these before, but not all. I guess I’ve just heard many more arguments that we are built to be omnivores (like you say), but that hunter/gatherers favored meat when it was available. But I’m willing to admit that it’s not something I’ve researched extensively at all.

      Honestly, I don’t see why it’s such a big argument. Wouldn’t both sides agree that we’re well equipped to eat both plants and animals, except perhaps in tiny pockets of the world where one diet has been predominant because of availability of a certain type of food only? In that case, the ideal diet physiologically seems like it would be a “selectively omnivorous” one. And luckily, that’s easily adaptable to completely vegetarian for those of us who don’t think it’s right to eat animals.

      Am I on the right track here? Like I said, it’s not something I’ve spent too much time looking at or thinking about, but it is interesting and it sounds like you know a lot about it.

      • Matt

        There is some serious questioning of the ‘Hunter Gatherer’ theory. Evolutionary biology just doesn’t support humans to be predominantly meat eaters. We can’t hunt for meat without tools and safely/consistently consume meat without fire. Homo Sapiens appeared 3 million years ago, tools showed up 2 million years ago, fire (depending on who you believe) 800,000 years or 60,000 years ago).
        Humans probably did eat animals as a rich source of fat when they could by scavenging etc but mostly liver, marrow and brains, but it is a biological leap to say that humans evolved as omnivores that ate a balance of plants and meat. More plausible that humans ate mostly plants and some meat when the necessity/opportunity arose. For non-human primates the primary non-plant food is actually insects not meat!
        And why does the paleo diet leave out peas? Peas are the most accessible/delicious legume that is also a complete protein. So the prehistoric man could pick berries but not pods?

        • Look at persistence hunting.

          We appear to be adapted for efficiently running over long distances slowly. Combine that with a relatively hairless body and sweat glands. In a hot climate, we are able to push animals to heat exhausting by startling them into sprinting, and then tracking them faster than they can cool off.

          After 3 hours the animals collapse of heat exhaustion. Their meat is freshly cooked and ready for eating.

          • =)

            Both sides love to cherry pick (and misinterpret) data to suit their agendas.

            I prefer to look at the data, and to note the evidence smiling back at me in the mirror each morning.

        • Insects are still meat! Monkeys today eat meat. Chimps go to war with other chimps and eat their enemies. I choose to not eat meat, but I do so knowing it goes against evolutionary biology. I just feel that with today’s modern technology, meat is no longer necessary. We don’t even eat it like we used to. There is no gratitude or respect or appreciation for the sacrifice. People have become so disconnected from what’s really on their plate. That’s why I choose to eat only the things I could feel comfortably gathering and killing myself. If I couldn’t kill it, I shouldn’t eat it.

        • Guarav – I agree completely. We were much better gatherers than hunters. From our teeth to our colons – our bodies were designed for a high grain diet and not a high meat diet. The massive consumption of meat is what has lead to a society of people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and constipation. It’s not rocket science that what we put in our mouths is going to affect the rest of our bodies.

          I also don’t condone or agree with the theory of factory farming of innocent sentient beings. I cannot participate of support this heinous activity in any form.

      • The diet is not easy.
        I was vegeterian for over 6 years and then suddenly I wasn’t able to ingest any food. The doctors told me I’m allergic to grains; especially gluten. I can’t have corn, wheat or rice. I did starting eating meat again but I’m allergic to fish and red meat. FYI: I don’t like chicken: I have one a pet. I’d prefer not to ingest them
        I am forced to be a paleo vegeterian. I do eat lots of cheese and eggs. The diet is very expensive. I do eat dairy products, it costs 3$ for a cup of grain free Yogurt). The diet is really boring. I have to eat everything plain and fresh. There’s nothing tasty or mouthwatering recipes.
        I am very healthy. I have get iron levels, enzymes and protein intake. There are many sources like beets and nuts. (Unfortunate, usually you eat them separate. Example: beets salads are not good. Salad dressing with vinegar may have gluten. Some yeast do produce it as a side product)

        To ensure I’m extra healthy, multivitamins. It’s costs a fortunate. It tastes horrible because you must take it as powder or liquid. There are no/few gluten free or grain free capsules.

        • Make your own yogurt! It’s really easy and much cheaper if you are going to be having a lot of it. Also you know what’s in it. I haven’t made any for ages but all you needed was a warm place like an airing cupboard, a live starter yogurt, milk of your choice, sterilized jars ( do that in the oven) a hot water bottle and a cardboard box – I used to call it my yogurt hotel :>) Lots of recipes online!

    • Amen to that! I have been wondering the same thing. Not to mention killing an animal was quite the chore back in the day so I really doubt they came that easy.

      • Evolutionary anthropologists also look at similar cultures and have noted that non-agricultural planst, herbs, fruits nuts and beans make up the vast majority of their diet, with meat playing a relatively minor part. In regards to evolving for running…recent studies have shown that women have evolved very differently from men in both their eye sight and skeletal structure…Men evolved to run longer distances as stated, better “long-sight” for spotting prey far away, whereas the females have greater peripheral vision which improved their gathering activities.

        A basic flaw of the paleo diet is that despite the fact that many of the non-paleo foods do lead to poor health, this is usually a result of abuse and overconsumption and over a longer period of time than most paleolithic people even lived. Hard (not impossible) to die of cancer when you only live to the ripe old age 30.

        • That peripheral vision in women was also for minding the children *while* gathering (vegetarian) food.

          I think the eating habits/patterns of our closest evolutionary relatives can instruct us. The apes don’t grab something from over there, pick something from that tree, pull up something from over here, stick them all neatly on the ground in front of them and have a meal. (Do they?) They “food combine” in that they eat what’s there/available, then move on. (I always feel my healthiest/lightest on a food-combining veg diet.) And their killing/eating of territorial enemies is extremely rare. But at least they don’t waste the “meat” (ahem).

          If we’re going to talk about a “paleo” diet being “what we are ‘meant’ to eat, in the evolutionary sense,’ then the paleo pushers had better stop pushing meat from domesticated animals, cuz they haven’t been around that long (about the same length of time as agriculture) and, in North America at least, their flesh is unhealthy and filled with terrible cruelty.

          Thanks for this post. I’ve been wanting to get that stuff about the paleo diet off my chest for a while now, but am always afraid to do it around meat eaters cuz, well, they’re eating that cruel and unhealthy meat!

  10. I did a modified Paleo for a while, and I used a lot of hemp hearts. We love hemp hearts for protein around here! I was eating a great spinach hemp salad for breakfast. :)

    I eat beans a lot in my current meal plans… and while I do use dried a lot, I do not exclusively… it was those times of being busy and using canned beans that just got me further away from the Paleo “thoughts”.

  11. I’m interested to read how it goes! I’ve been re-reading Thrive Fitness lately and trying out a lot of the recipes, so this should go perfectly with where I’m at! Have fun!

  12. I want to do this too! I just read about the Paleo diet las week, but I’m mostly vegetarian so I wasn’t sure how I would do it. I think I’ll reread this later and probably try to do it with you :)

  13. If it wouldn’t bore your readers (and I think from the responses here it wouldn’t), I’d love for you to post a daily or weekly “menu” of what you’re eating. I understand what you’ve outlined here but am curious to see how it translates to day to day meals.

    Also, just curious and you can ignore this if it’s none of our business, but does your wife do these diet changes with you?

    • Deena, I will try to post some of the things I’m eating. The reason I haven’t posted many recipes recently is because I just don’t make up that many myself. A lot of times I cook from books or adapt recipes from books. I know it’s technically legal to post adapted recipes, but I’ve heard from authors that they don’t like it, and I can understand why. So I’ve been only posting recipes if they’re from a new book I’m trying out that they’ve given me permission to share X number of recipes, as well as recipes that my sister makes up.

      All of that said, it doesn’t apply too much to the veg-Paleo stuff, since most of this I probably will have to make up myself. It won’t be anything gourmet, but I’ll do my best to post some of what I’m eating for you.

      Thanks for being interested!

      • I would love to see a daily diet log too, as well as your macro % and cals, and how u feel ont the diet (athletically, body composition changes, mood, digestion, etc). Where can we find these blogs?

        This diet sort of sound similar to the Dr Fuhrman Nutritarian diet…are u familiar with it and have u tried it?

  14. I have to admit, all of these “experiments” – no caffeine, no solid foods, etc. – make me less interested in this blog. You lose a lot of credibility for me when you jump on these “fad diet” bandwagons. I don’t mean to offend, that’s just how I feel.

    • Hey Sharon, that’s cool; it sounds like my blog probably isn’t for you then. I try all these things because I’m fascinated by the different approaches to health, and I like to evaluate them firsthand rather than simply reading people’s arguments for and against them. I’m not going to hide the stuff that I actually do in real life from my blog in some attempt to appear more credible. Sorry :)

      Thanks for the feedback though and for reading up until now.

  15. I think this seems so far off from Paleo that it’s entirely something different. Maybe low grain veggie? I too, like you, enjoy seeing how things work and am definitely interested to see how your running stamina is affected.

    Keep us posted.

  16. I wouldn’t be able to keep that up, as if I were existing during the “paleo” period, I would have already perished due to my inability to hunt animals.

    And yes, I agree we are “beyond” males going off with every woman possible.

  17. I’ll be interested to see how this works for you with your adaptations. It does seems pretty challenging and unlikely for vegetarians to get enough protein without the changes though. Sometimes I read Mark’s daily apple and can never picture myself without grains. I like many kinds and could eat quinoa a lot but want the option to eat other whole grains.

  18. Hey Matt- So awesome that you’re trying this. I am currently doing the same thing (started October 3rd, going to go for at least 1 month). Basically I took the Paleo Diet and the Thrive Diet and mashed them together as best I can. I ran into a lot of the same conundrums you mentioned above. I am still eating some gluten (although very little, just my breakfast cereal) and have been consuming quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat, but in very small quantities. Same with peanuts. I chose to allow hemp, especially since it’s so highly featured in the Thrive diet. Luckily for me, I love almond butter, so I’ve been getting a lot of protein from that. I’m still in a rest cycle after my last 50k, but I’m curious how this is going to feel fuel-wise when I start running again. Will be interested to see how your experiment goes as well!

  19. I see this as more of a “diet”. I can’t see just avoiding grains all together. That just seems like a huge beating, even for somebody like myself that eats 50%+ raw foods. I eat a lot of sprouted grain breads. To me, this moves away from maintaining a food philosophy and borders on “diet.” There just seems to be way much monitoring of food intake involved.

    I know it sounds contradictory to my mostly raw food intake, but with raw foods it’s very simple to know what’s good and what is bad. Also, not being 100% raw leaves me the freedom to eat any healthy cooked meal.

  20. 1st off… grains suck! There are a TON of reasons to not eat them. Once you figure out how to cook/eat without the worthless calorie vehicle society calls “grains”, you will feel a ton better.

    That’s not an opinion.

    ——–

    It’s basically impossible to be Veg & paleo if you follow those macros. It’s just not going to happen. This is fine. Those protein levels are not necessary IMO, and definitely not something to worry about. Cats like Herschel Walker solidify this for me.

    That said, the paleo diet can be largely veggie based. In my journey from meat to veg, I worried about the protein intake at first. Ate a pile of nuts, hemp, spirulina, & some soaked/boiled beans. Beans are not paleo, so I called them a cheat. I also did some quinoa. I have not totally demonised these foods, as I believe prepared properly, they’re not all that bad now and again. That said, I haven’t touched them in 3 months.

    Basically I’ve traded meat/fat for fruit. I’ve gone from a paleo diet of almost 80% fat, to a veg only, to a raw veg only diet of 80% carbs.

    I don’t feel fruit is all that paleo. Despite what vegans think/fantasize about humans feasting on piles of fruit, the fact is… most of the fruit has been cultivated by man. Does that mean it’s unhealthy or not optimal? No, it’s just not what we evolved millions of years on.

    Bottom line, eat whatever the hell fruits veggies you want. Eat lots of them. Fuel your machine.

    The food being boring is a total crock. Anyone who says that, just doesn’t know how to cook ;)

    I have a lot more to say, but too tired right now. Check out my site in the near future for more random ramblings & stupid thoughts.

  21. The vegetarian paleo diet appears to be a cooked version of the Raw Food Diet.

  22. I love the very last part…where it starts with “This sounds reasonable, even if extremely dull. But if we’re meant to eat meat, why be vegetarian at all?”

    I’ve been vegetarian for three years and I still have yet to give a good answer when someone brings the ol “we’re meant for eating meat” upon me. Thanks for the insight!

  23. interesting and thanks for thinking this one out, i looked briefly into the paleo diet but as a vegetarian who doesn’t like eggs it seemed impossible, which i think you just confirmed for me? also i dont really agree with the whole “we were born to eat meat” thing and not to argue too much about it but the human anatomy seems to be more equip for herbivorous consumption so i guess what im saying is upon second thought this is just another bad fad diet

  24. I love the analogy about impregnating as many people as possible. That’s exactly why I’m vegetarian: because no matter what my body is “meant” to do or is capable of doing, my mind and my emotions are capable of (and, I dare say, “meant” for) evaluating those choices in a meaningful way.

  25. I have often wondered about the argument that humans were designed to be meat eaters so vegetarianism is going against evolution. I don’t have the answer but for all you Nutrition geeks out there, here is a debate between Loren Cordain (Paleo Diet) and Colin Campbell (China Study) on the subject…interesting none the less
    http://www.cathletics.com/articles/proteinDebate.pdf

  26. This sounds more like a Cro-Magnon diet. We are Homo Sapiens. Just because we are able to consume meat, doesn’t mean we need to. I feel better physically, mentally, and spiritually being meat-free. It’s better for the environment. Reading “Diet For a Small Planet” convinced me…

  27. These diets are interesting; however, it’s unreasonable to assume that 10,000 years is not enough time for us to have evolved from our prehistoric ancestors. Whatever they lived on back then is most likely not enough for us today: we have bigger brains, different bacteria in our gut (they too evolved over the past 10,000 years), and different caloric needs.

    Also, cavemen only lived to be about 25-30 years old; why would we want to approximate their diet?

    Most healthy diets advocate less processed food and additives that our body is absolutely not evolutionarily adapted to, since they were only introduced during the past century; maybe we should look at the past 100 or 1000 years instead of 10,000 years.

    • Cavemen lived short lives, because it was possible to die from something as simple as a hangnail back then. Given the environments, that’s not a bad lifespan. Ever been camping with zero gear (including clothes)? Try it sometime and get back to me.

      Chances are you’d be dead right now it it weren’t for modern medicine.

    • My main issue with the whole “Paleo is how we used to be” and the emphasis on meat is that meat is completely different than it was thousands of years ago … just like we have vegetables and fruits (seedless grapes y’all?) that have been bred and invented, essentially the same thing happened to animal ag … hence why you won’t see the same kind of cows that are today’s dairy cows wildly frolicking the plains of Oklahoma. The idea that anything we eat today is similar to what was around 10k years ago is pretty absurd.

  28. Definitely an interesting idea Matt! I’ve been kind of leaning toward this way as I’ve started my own 30 day veg experiment. During my previous 30 days of pure paleo, I discovered how much better I felt without all the grains, so I want to continue with that way of eating as much as possible. I doubt I’ll be quite doing pure veg-paleo, due to some of the difficulties you’ve outlined, but that’s definitely the direction I’m leaning.

  29. I tried paleo for several months. Not veggie paleo, mind you, but more or less the version outlined on Mark Sisson’s site. For the first couple weeks, I actually felt great. My bf% dropped rapidly as well, which was certainly nice. Being as mindful of my body image as I am, that was enough to keep me on the diet for several months, although I quickly started to feel the lethargy many experience with consistent hypoglycemia. That snowballed, until I was basically hibernating, forsaking my workouts and most everything else. My weight dropped from a healthy 155 to 129 (I’m a 5’10 22 year old male). Finally, my I developed a fairly mild case of pancreitis, as well as experiencing rather elevated liver enzymes. Carbs and grains get a bad rap in a lot of places these days, but I didn’t get healthy until I started eating them again. In fact, I went the other direction, eschewing meat (more or less at my doctor’s orders) in order to keep my pancreas happy. Admittedly, much of this story is not relevant to you, Matt, because you’re trying a veggie version. It’s just that, having had a decidedly negative experience with the whole thing, I’m inherently skiddish when anyone expresses and interest in experimenting. But honestly, good luck. I know plenty of people have found better health with a paleo diet, and good for them, but it’s not a panacea.

  30. I’n not vegetarian and even so I find this diet terribly restrictive and… a DIET. That word should start alarms and whistles.

  31. I’m a nutritionist and I still experiment constantly with new foods, recipes and dietary tweaks. I love that you get people thinking about why we need the things we think we do and that one size doesn’t fit all vegetarians, vegans or flexitarians. I don’t eat wheat or diary or meat. I do eat fish and some legumes. I found this through trial and error.

    • Kim Robinson says:

      You cannot call yourself vegetarian if you eat fish…bones plus skin plus eyes plus a complete inability to photosynthesize their food makes them an…ANIMAL!

      As a “true” vegetarian, I get so tired of fish-eaters calling themselves vegetarians. A fish is not a plant…as a nutritionist, I would think you would know better!

      • I don’t see that Lauren said she was a vegetarian?

        • Nice!

        • CoyoteLovely says:

          I agree with Grok – Lauren didn’t say she was a Vegetarian.

          Though, being a Pescetarian (That is Vegetarian + Fish) I can tell you that most Pescetarians do say “Vegetarian” because it takes four times as long to explain what a Pescetarian is to the layman.

      • Many Buddhists eat fish even though they are vegetarian in every other aspect. Some even eat chicken. They make a distinction between lower and higher lifeforms. So do many other vegetarians who have no problems killing bugs before getting the chance to eat them with their organic lettuce.

        • LOL. In this regard I was joking to myself during my last run that a real vegan or vegetarian runner would be impossible with all these little bugs eager to commit suicide flying straing into your throat.
          Hate them, really…

      • Samsalmon says:

        Why do you feel the need to point out your “true”-ness as a vegetarian? It seems to me that you’re a vegetarian based on vanity, if what another person is saying about their diet is getting to you that much. I’ll never understand why SOME people are so impatient to put labels on everything and everyone, including diet.

        • It’s more about someone making claims about something they’re not. Some people take pride in being vegetarian, and expect others who call themselves vegetarians to adhere to the same guidelines. It’s like a doctor getting upset if a nurse was to call him/herself a “doctor” because that’s what they wanted to call themselves and hey, it’s close enough, right?

        • I don’t think Kim is being vain by calling herself a “true” vegetarian… she’s defining vegetarianism. If you eat something that was once a living, breathing animal then by definition you are not a vegetarian. And flexitarian is a joke – if you eat meat, you are an omnivore. Doesn’t matter if you eat it once a week, or once a month.

          It shouldn’t be that complicated:

          Eat meat = omnivore
          Don’t eat meat = vegetarian
          Don’t eat anything that is produced by an animal (eg: milk) = vegan

          I think what has got Kim frustrated is the fact that by calling themselves vegetarians, people who still consume fish and/or chicken confuse the heck out of everyone else as to what a vegetarian is. I went to a restaurant once that boasted about having an entire page of vegatarian options in their menu, but half included chicken broth or fish.

      • I’m pretty sure she realizes she is not a true vegetarian. I also only eat fish, no other type of meat. The term is pescatarian, but saying that in public can be obnoxious. People tend to look at you like you are an alien. Ocasionally saying you are a vegetarian makes it easier to get the general point across.

  32. Veggies, wild-caught salmon, and green tea are all the foods that I need to be happy and healthy.

  33. I’ve been wondering about this one as well since there is a lot of hype these days about the paleo diet. I personally feel no need to try every new diet that comes out and this one seems like one that would be very hard for vegetarians. But I look forward to more information if you do try it!

  34. I’m actually swinging the opposite way, favoring The China Study (which recommends mostly plants and almost no animals) rather than The Paleo Diet. It makes me nervous to see a book recommending that people in the year 2010 eat what people ate in the year 2010BCE, or earlier than that. Why? Because nothing we eat today – nothing we can grow in our gardens or buy at the grocery store – is the same as it was several thousand years ago, by definition. Artificial selection has fundamentally changed all the plants and animals that we eat. So we can’t just go back to the way things were when “zerg” and “ugga” were valid vocabulary words.

    • So how again does this make the plant based china study diet better than the paleo diet?

      • first of all, it’s kind of offensive when someone hijacks someone else’s comment section.

        secondly, i don’t believe Alexa is saying you’re wrong, just that it seems a big illogical to try to mimic the lifestyle of a caveman in 2010. you argue about us being alive using modern medicine in an earlier comment, and you wouldn’t refuse that, would you? then why would you eat the same way? i think that was what Alexa was saying, and I totally agree. I don’t think there’s any one diet that does it all.

        • I’m sorry, you must think I care if you’re offended? Hijacked? Matt contacted me and asked that I comment on this thread.

          The gov & mainstream science community both advocate the SAD diet. Maybe you should eat that way?

          I just found it interesting that you shouldn’t try to follow a paleo style diet on the basis that all the foods are hybridized, but it’s ok to eat china study style and eat the all the same hybridized food?

          I won’t comment further on the china study. That’s not what this thread is about. Besides, it’d be about as productive as beating a dead horse.

          • if matt contacted you and asked you to comment, i no longer am going to read NMA. i find you horribly offensive and it really lowers what i think about matt.

            my point was NOT that the china study is the answer, because it has flaws as well. i just agreed the logic behind the paleo diet doesn’t seem sound. i’m entitled to my opinion just as you are yours.

          • Rebekah, I did ask Grok for input about my plan. I found him when I was searching for resources on Paleo dieting and vegetarianism, since he’s been interested in both approaches. That doesn’t seem like it should cause you to stop reading NMA, but if it does, I’m sorry to hear it.

          • i appreciate his input from a nutritional standpoint, but the character of the people you associate does say a lot. i have no problems with you, and think i’ve probably said enough now.

          • Slightly confused by how asking questions is offensive?

            Well Matt, you’ve gained a new reader. I applaud objective thinking.

          • Rebekah- I find your comments laughable. I fail to see where Grok’s response was in any way “horribly offensive”- if that is what you consider offensive, you aren’t getting out much in the computer world are you. He merely stated his opinion, as did you.

            The comments “the character of the people you associate does say a lot”, and “if matt contacted you and asked you to comment, i no longer am going to read NMA” are quite ridiculous. I found your initial comment to be quite offensive myself since it wasn’t your place to step in Alexa’s place to comment on Grok’s question to her. If you are seriously that sensitive to others opinions that are different than yours, then there are going to be a lot of blogs you will stop reading in the future. :)

  35. Seems bread has been around longer than previously thought, 30,000 years ago!

    This was on Yahoo this morning:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101018/india_nm/india522760

  36. Thank you so much for posting this. I also do CrossFit and I do believe they advocate a paleo/zone diet.. however as a vegan I do not follow it. I disagree about said “evidence” that we are built to hunt and eat meat. A natural diet for any given species should be the one that gives the species optimum health. Given the health ailments that are significantly reduced by eliminating animal products (cancer, heart disease, diabetes), it suggests that we were never meant to eat animal products.

    But, all that aside, I do like the other ideas behind the paleo diet and I may look into following the veg-paleo version for awhile and see how it goes

    • Katelyn, what is your Vegan diet specifically like? Id love to see a sample diet log of what u eat, as well as your cals and macro %s.

  37. Thank you so much for this post!! I’ve been wanting to try this diet but I refuse to revert to eating meat. I really appreciate someone researching our options!

  38. Matt – great post. I’m a little late to the game on this one, as it was posted 3 months ago, but I find this experiment captivating.

    I experimented a bit with different “variations” of Paleo in 2010, albeit in non-veg ways. In its first incarnation (90 days),, I eliminated all legumes, starches, and rice, focused upon meat and vegetables, but did eat fruit. I lost about 30 pounds (15% of my original weight), performed a LOT better with CrossFIt (where I was originally acquainted with it), gained a lot of energy, and (naturally) shifted the muscle:fat ratio in a dramatic way.

    Since then, I’ve tried two other 90-day variations, with slight tweaks (disallowing fruit, allowing cashews and other nuts), all of which worked well. One previous commenter alluded to pancreatitis and liver issues; while I am not a physician, it lends to the notion that not all bodies are suited to the biochemical adaptations that occur when glucose consumption pathways are shifted.

    Anyway, I firmly believe in Paleo. I did fall off the bandwagon last fall and am paying for it in terms of muscle and performance. In 2011, I’ve kicked off a “Ferriss” style of Paleo, including legumes.

    I’m intrigued by your veg adaptation. Quinoa and hemp sound reasonable. How did the experiment go?

  39. Matt, how are you doing with your veggie derivation of the Paleo Diet? My cousin is a big fan of it, and a CrossFit Gym owner. He is 53 and in fantastic shape, and to boot, has muscular dystrophy.
    I refuse to follow the Paleo Diet because I refuse to eat meat. I have been trying to find info on a veggie version of the Paleo diet. Would love to hear a progress report from you.

    • In trying to decide whether to join our local Cross-Fit gym (I know a few vegans who swear by theirs in other parts of the US), I Googled “vegan/vegetarian Paleo,” and this link popped up. As a certified personal trainer/running coach and in my age group, being 3rd in state (FL) in the 200, 400 & 1500 meters, and having just placed in my 49th 5K race, an unprocessed vegan diet has worked well for me for the better part of 32 years. As a TV investigative/consumer reporter for 18 years, trying to dodge breast cancer that got my mom, aunt & both sisters, is the investigative reporting job of my life. I’m always reading, being open to what works for the health of all animals and the environment. I’m curious to know how it went, Matt. I’ll keep reading the thread to see.

  40. I appreciate this article because I was wondering if maybe I should try the Paleo Diet. However, I’m not going to give up being a vegetarian! I see how limited my options would be on the Paleo as a vegetarian,…and you know what,…its just too much trouble. Thank you for pointing out what would be involved in the vegetarian option-

  41. This was an awesome article!! Thank you for breaking down the facts so well..I was starting to believe that being a vegetarian was a disadvantage to my training. Any chance you would post a sample diet for veggies interested in pursuing the paleo-esque diet?

    • Amanda, if I ever go further with this, I’ll definitely post a sample diet. Check out the book Thrive by Brendan Brazier; the diet he suggests really isn’t too far from what a “paleo vegetarian” diet would look like.

  42. The paleo diet takes one hypothesis “Eating like our ancestors will make us healthier because it’s what we’re adapted for” and seems to break it down into two recommendations:

    1. Eat a paleo-defined mix of carbs/protein/fat that has more protein than a typical US diet and emphasizes low glycemic index sources.
    2. Avoid grains, legumes, and milk (more than you would to meet the guidelines of #1) because humans aren’t adapted for them, and they lead to allergic reactions and digestive problems like leaky gut.

    I think that #1 makes a *huge* amount of sense. As much bad press as the Atkins diet had, I believe it succeeded for many people because it followed some of these principles. Paleo improves on it because of it’s focus on lean meats, fruits, and non-starch vegetables. I’ve also seen positive effect from cutting way back on carbohydrates in my own diet.

    #2 is a different story. I don’t see its value. I don’t have a leaky gut. No one in my family does. I am descended from that unknown central European whose mutated gene allowed him (and now me) to digest lactose after infancy. (A mutation that was so successful that within a couple of thousand years 90% of Western Europeans had inherited it.) I am also not allergic to milk products.

    I would like to see vegetarian diet experts focus on #1 and leave #2 for those who have a leaky gut, are lactose intolerant, or are allergic to milk or legumes. Freed from the constraint of #2, I bet those experts can come up with some good near-paleo vegetarian diets that use good quality meatless protein and adhere to the guidelines of #1.

  43. Adam Wolf says:

    “But then again, aren’t all modern Paleo diets pretty poor substitutes for the real thing?”

    Modern Paleo diets are certainly substitutes for the real thing but I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “poor” substitutes. Modern Paleo is an an approximation but if you stick to quality grass-fed meats, eat offal, and get enough veggie intake it comes out to be very close to our ancestral diet.

    On the other hand my opinion is that vegetarian “Paleo” is a huge deviation. Avoiding the anti-nutrients in grains, nuts, legumes and seeds will definitely make you a healthier vegetarian. But keep in mind that not all proteins are created equal. Robb Wolf’s book, which you mentioned above, calls them “third world proteins” and says “you’ll survive, but you won’t thrive”.

    Also, fructose is a poison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM . Just like alcohol your body can process small amounts at a time without deleterious effects. Unfortunately our modern concept of what a serving of fruit is so skewed thanks to 10,000 years of selective breeding (and some genetic manipulation to-boot). My advice would be to stick to non-potato tubers when you can.

    Finally, if people reading your blog are (or are thinking of becoming) vegetarian only because of the horrendous conditions in the United States meat industry then they should consider buying only free-range and grass fed instead. It seems to me that voting with your dollar is a much more direct way to effect a change in the market for meat.

    • I wouldn’t say “poor substitute,” either; “silly fabrication” would be more like it. Before about 100,000-50,000 Ka, the meat in hominid diets most likely consisted primarily of insects, rodents, snakes, frogs, worms and other small prey, supplemented by scavenged left-overs now and then. The “paleo diet” privileges the food animals preferred by well-off Westerners over those actually used for subsistence in the past and in the present across the Third World.

      We don’t know what our “ancestral diet” was, and probably never will. The notion of such a thing existing is dubious, at best. Different hominid populations living in different regions at different times would all have different baseline diets. And beyond being able to tell what foods a specific individual probably subsisted on in their life, the fossil record just isn’t capable giving us a lot of information about it. The entire “paleo diet” is a romantic projection of 100 percent modern Western cultural notions onto a sparse (at best) fossil record. The Paleolithic was a time of rapid climate upheaval, scarcity, squalor, disease and struggle, not some lost paradise populated by spear-toting personal trainers.

      As for the grass-fed recommendation, you seem to miss the point that people who become vegans and vegetarians for ethical reasons do so because they’ve concluded it’s wrong to treat nonhuman animals as property in the first place. Grass-fed and (mythical) “free-range” animals are still treated as property, and still slaughtered. No ethical vegan or vegetarian anywhere would be OK with that.

      • CoyoteLovely says:

        Interesting feedback… I’d been thinking along these lines m’self.

        I’m also in agreement with the several other posts above that state that this is still, no matter how healthy, a diet.

        I think my baseline problem is that I see Paleo as something that is only healthy in the short term, much like Atkins. I have a hard time viewing this as as true “lifestyle change” which makes it less attractive to me in the long haul.

      • 5000fingers says:

        I would argue that we DO know what our ancestral diet is. Or at least, we know what it was approximately.

        You are absolutely right that there certainly was no “paleo diet.” Early humans in the lower paleolithic period were confined east of the Great Rift Valley in Africa, and by the end of the Upper Paleolithic they were strewn out across the planet, with a diet that was highly adapted to local conditions. So the question would be, which paleo diet are you referring to? And importantly, these early humans that began hunting WERE NOT PHYSICALLY ADAPTED TO WHAT THEY WERE EATING! There is no possible way that a mostly herbivorousherbivorous species could become physically adapted to eating meat within a few thousand generations. These humans flourished, not because the introduction of meat was so healthy for them, but that it allowed survival in environments outside of the tropical environment that gave birth to our species. So, we know what our “ancestral diet” WASN’T. It wasn’t the “paleo diet.”

        We can get an approximate sense of what our natural diet is by looking at primates with similar genetics and similar anatomies (lots of molars, no long fangs, long. Also, we can learn from the epidemiology and the correlation of diseases with different diets. Both of these approaches invariably point well away from a meat-based diet and towards a natural diet dominated by leafy greens, fruits, tubers, berries, nuts, seeds, supplemented by small quantities of animal foods.

        • “We can get an approximate sense of what our natural diet is by looking at primates with similar genetics and similar anatomies (lots of molars, no long fangs, long. ” I’m not sure what that last “long” referred to, but I think we can get an even better understanding of nutritional needs by looking at the entire alimentary tract, not just dentition. For example, cats and ferrets have very short overall GI tracts, and they are either strict or obligate carnivores. Dogs have a medium length GI tract, and they are omnivores. Cows, sheep, goats and many other mostly-grass eating species are ruminants, meaning that they ingest grass/hay, and whatever grain humans feed them, and then it all ferments in the first few stomach compartments (out of 4). Humans don’t have this type of GI system, which is why a diet for a cow would be wholly insufficient for a human. Horses, while also eating mostly grass, have a different system in which most of the fermentation occurs in the cecum, which is a large outpouching of the GI tract between the large and small intestine. Then, in order to absorb nutrients from the fermentation that occurs from the cecum, the large intestine is extremely long. This adaptation to an herbivorous diet is also one that humans do not have. Gorillas, while being mostly leaf-eaters, are actually hindgut fermenters like horses. Once again, humans do not have those digestive/fermentative abilities, so it would be unwise to look to the gorilla’s diet as an example of what humans should eat.

          • The only proper use of evolutionary theory in the field of nutrition is to look at what’s healthy for us today, and deduce backwards from there. The preponderance of present evidence indicates that a plant-dominant diet is probably healyhiest for most people today. Hence, something like this was probably also true for our immediate ancestors.

            However, the rub is that dietary plasticity is one of the defining traits of primates, so no modern primate (including us!) is going to be a reliable guide to what the “ancestral” diet was.

            That said, I suspect that 20+ million years of hominoid homology would represent a significant constraint on modern humans, which helps explain why plant-based diets appear to be healthiest on average.

            From a health perspective, I don’t care what cavemen ate, and neither should anyone else. My chief criticism of the paleo diet is that it doesn’t deduce from present evidence, but begins with a paleofantasy and then goes on a fishing expedition to find evidence to support it. It’s a clear case of confirmation bias and just-so stories reinforcing each other.

      • “The Paleolithic was a time of rapid climate upheaval, scarcity, squalor, disease and struggle, not some lost paradise populated by spear-toting personal trainers”

        Hahaha I can’t stop laughing at this – it’s so true! We imagine something like the movie 300, while they were probably lying in a cave hoping a lizard would crawl past before they starve to death.

      • Humane Hominid, love your intelligent comments on this thread. The oversimplifications of some of the new Paleo bothers me no end. The first wave of Paleo that inspired Cordain (see the Paleolithic Prescription by Eaton, Shostak, and Konner) came to really different conclusions about diet, recommending whole grains and low-fat dairy, among other things, to provide something nutritionally equivalent to an ancestral diet. Humans are pretty dang adaptable, we’re like the primate equivalent of rats or crows, able to thrive in many environments with different available foods. And we get to choose what to eat– and can choose from a wide range of foods and still be healthy.

    • “Voting with your dollars.” Love the concept, wish more people would act on it.

    • 5000fingers says:

      While I do agree that eating a lot of grains (introduced very recently in our evolution) is problematic, these “third world proteins” (nuts, seeds, legumes, etc) are not only all your body needs, they are in fact the main sources of proteins eaten by virtually all of the healthiest and most long-lived human populations! By contrast, eating meat is negatively correlated with longevity, and positively correlated with an exhaustive list of potentially fatal diseases. And looking at our evolution it isn’t hard to see why. Over millions of years our bodies evolved not to a diet of flesh meats, but a nearly completely herbivorous diet supplemented by only small quantities of insects and grubs. Humans have only been eating flesh meat for the last few hundred thousand years, and on a daily, year-round basis for only the last hundred years or so!

      Moreover, we are not, as the paleo fad diet claims, a “hunter gatherer” species. Or to be more exact, the term “hunter gatherer” refers to a *cultural* adaptation (i.e., we learned to hunt and eat more meat, allowing us a better short-term survival in a greater diversity of environments). But if we want to live a long time and enjoy optimum health we need to follow the dictates of our species’ *physical* adaptation as a primate species with an arboreal, (mostly) herbivorous diet. If we do that, we can easily see that our modern obsession with protein, especially animal protein, is waaaaaay overblown.

      I would highly suggest for anybody who wants to follow a fad diet like paleo, do you really want to go back to some arbitrary time in our recent (in evolutionary terms) past to replicate a diet when people only live thirty years on average?

      Take a look at a mountain gorilla. Four hundred pounds of solid muscle, generally 2% or 3% body fat. Extremely healthy and strong. How much protein does it take to maintain a primate body? No more than a few percent of total calories, and all of that protein is available in leafy greens. Did you know that broccoli has more protein per calorie than beef?

      • I completely agree with your post. It is simply not sensical to think that animal protein is the way our body was designed to function. We have to be realistic about the world our ancestors lived in, what makes the most sense is that they ate food sources that were readily available.

  44. Thanks for taking the time to think this out and write it up. It’s the first (and probably best) useful resource I found for the paleo diet veggie-style, and now I can stop wondering and going paleo. I’ve pretty much decided it’s not worth it to me. It would be far too restrictive and require even more time for food prep out of my limited schedule, and while I like eggs, there’s no way I could eat a dozen a day. I’m thinking if I stick to mostly whole foods, avoid junk food, excess sugar and refined grains…I’m still probably better off than 80% of America. Maybe even 90%. And I’m sure my being tired most of the day has way more to do with my lack of sleep from studying than have a vegetarian diet. Thanks again!

  45. Hey Matt!
    I have one small question about this vegetarian diet. I’ve heard that a lot of people who are vegetarian often lack Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Now, it’s reasonable to assume that you can get these from organic eggs, but what if you don’t eat eggs? Would you resort to supplements? Or is there another type of food that offers these awesome fatty acids?

    Thanks!
    Deepika

  46. Hey Deepika,

    As a vegan, I get my omega 3′s from flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp, walnuts, and the small amounts that are in other nuts/seeds.

    My brother leans pretty heavily toward paleo. When he cooks stuff I’ll eat everything except the meat. Veggies, fruit, etc. It surprises me sometimes how much paleo and veganism intersect. They both want to cut out the sh*t and be healthier.

  47. I’m glad you noted this approach is almost identical to Brendan Brazier’s Thrive program, because I was thinking the same thing myself as I read it.

    As for the notion of “paleo” diets in general, I’m forced to chuckle, both as a vegan and as a paleontology student. The fossil record isn’t even close to being conclusive on the matter (though there is no doubt that more recent species of human ate plenty of meat).

    Also, we need to get over this idea that evolution “designed” us to do anything. It didn’t. There is no design or purpose in evolution; it isn’t linear or progressive, and nature did not have us in mind. It also doesn’t care what we eat, so long as we have babies who reach sexual maturity. All the characters you’ve inherited arose by accident.

    I’m also baffled by the focus that the “paleo” diet places on large mammals, when there’s every chance that the animal foods in our ancestors’ diets were (until recently) mostly insects, rodents, snakes and other small prey for which they wouldn’t have had to compete with larger, better-equipped predators. Why waste all that money on grain-fed beef when you can just forage for roaches and rats in your immediate surroundings, like your ancestors did?

    I applaud your experiment, though. I’m on the Thrive plan right now, and I’m finding it really rewarding. You’ve found a new reader in me.

  48. I am a vegetarian. My trainer is having me do the paleo diet, I get 200g to 250g of protein almost all from protein drinks

  49. barbara says:

    Thanks for the info. My doctor recomends the Paleo diet, but I can’t take all the meat required. I’m going to include option 2 and 3 to give my body a break!

  50. Sheila Haynes says:

    I have been doing crossfit for two years, and we are currently doing a paleo challenge at our gym here on Maui. We are only 3 days in to a six week challenge. I did it a few months ago as well, for 2 months, and I saw great results. I am the only vegetarian in our challenge group, so I have many more obstacles than the others. I am thrilled to find your website, as I need more ideas of creative things to eat. Looks like I need to learn how to sprout some beans! Thank you for the helpful information.

  51. Loved finding this post. I’m definitely #3 with about 3-4 eggs / day, although I’m contemplating adding an occasional amount of fish. What I especially like is how you succinctly go into the need to rinse and boil your legumes. Once you’re doing that, I think legumes should be added to diets.

  52. Don’t forget nuts nuts nuts! i try to eat paleo, but my husband is a pesca-veg. } make lots of raw cooking nut-based recipes, including soups, sauces and spreads. it adds great variety; raw, organic nuts are underemployed!

    • Nuts are great and I love them,too. In fact, I know I probably overeat them, but keep in mind that they are usually seeds, too, and as such have some of the same antinutrients and other issues associated with grains (for more info look up phytates and lectin). Also, many of them are pretty high in Omega-6 fats which most of us already consume too much of and which can promote inflammation and other undesirable health effects if our ratio of it is out of whack.

  53. I have to poke around your blog a little more, but I had to comment on this one (a little late compared to the posting date). Honestly, I never once thought that being vegan/vegetarian and being Paleo were mutually exclusive, just that a veg should eat what can be gathered. That is, fruits, vegetables, and NUTS AND SEEDS!

    I have been doing the Paleo diet with varying levels of strictness for 2 1/2 years now and will never go to any other kind of diet, just because this doesn’t feel like a diet. However, when I went to Navy boot camp in January, my “restrictive” (in some people’s minds) diet became suddenly very restrictive. One piece of whatever-the-heck meat they prepared for that meal, and then tons of salad, apples, bananas, and sunflower seeds. To get enough calories, I ate Sunbutter like it was my job. Especially on the days when all the meat was coated in breading and cheese.

    I got very lean, my skin cleared up, and life was great, or about as great as it can be at boot camp. I plan on trying something similar, but maybe a little more exciting, with an emphasis on nuts and seeds as my primary sources of proteins and fats. I think it’s entirely do-able and entirely within the Paleo philosophy, so long as you stay away from the beans/legumes and starchy things.

  54. Holly Hopper says:

    GREENS people! I don’t understand why no one mentions dark leafy greens when talking about where vegans and vegetarians can get their protein from! Just make yourself a big green smoothie or green juice every day and you’ll have all the protein you need! Good article if you’re looking for more information: http://greensmoothiesblog.com/abundance-of-proteins-in-greens/

  55. Ann-Drea says:

    I’m personally not convinced about the Paleo or any no grain diet. Just because ancestors ate something does not mean that it was good for them or will be good for you. Cavemen didn’t have modern medicine either so should we not take advantage of that when we break a bone? Many cultures survive and thrive on diets that include grains and are healthier in general than most people. To me it seems like a fad, but it is definitely far better than the SAD or standard “developed” country diet.

  56. I have an O blood type, and I noticed a huge improvement across the board when I cut out grains, legumes and potato. In this post: nourishingpath.blogspot.com/2011/06/preference-for-poison.html I link 2 amazing articles about grains. However, I was trying to address some specific health concerns. I think it is important to listen to your body to find your optimal diet.

  57. This is a great post. I love it because I’m a vegetarian, but paleo just aligns so much with my beliefs.

  58. I love this article! It’s a very interesting approach and I’m going to give it a try. One question – I love starting my mornings with a whey protein shake. With less than one gram of carbohydrates, less than one gram of sugar, and 18 grams of protein, it seems so great that it leaves me wondering if there’s some kind of catch here. Do you know what kind of effect whey protein has on our bodies, and do you think I could continue using it as I start the Paleo Vegetarian diet?

  59. Firstly, Thank You.

    Raw Vegan (or Semi Vegan) may be what you’re trying to describe. As for boring? No, not at all unless the only food you find interesting is flesh. Raw Cuisine has many unusual ways of preparation that are quite surprising. It’s not just one long salad bar. :D

    I’ve been contemplating the place where Paleo meets Vegetarian and find myself more and more convinced that High Raw Semi-Vegan is where I find myself.

    On the where to find protein issue, please don’t forget that some plants are fairly high in protein (for a plant that is.) Spinach is 17% protein for example. I generally avoid beans unless they are sprouted, and then usually only mung or snow peas. Hemp seed has always seemed more nut-like than grain to me, but that’s not based on anything but my mouth.

    Soaked and sprouted grains seem to me to be allowable, because once the enzyme reaction begins, they are living, and a living plant.

    I think most Paleos tend think that Hunter-food was more common than Gatherer-food. I tend to disagree. During the warm growing months, or year round if one was between the Tropic of Capricorn and Cancer, growing food was available. You did not have to hunt it down, you just had to learn from your fore-bearers where it grew. A peach tree does not need to be stalked. :D You would have to hunt for new plants, but many were part of the migration route. Animals on the other hand required patience and stealth. In modern tribal peoples one finds these jobs separated by gender, which makes lots of sense when observing common gender differences.

    One thing I’ve never seen discussed is seasonal diet, along the same lines as followed by Ayurvedics.
    In the areas outside of the Tropics and subtropics, meat would likely have been a winter necessity.

    Much of Paleo tends to focus on the past, and that’s a good thing, in reason, we absolutely must look to the future, and act as wisely, I’ve read that in the next 40 years we will need to produce as much food as we have in the entire 8000 years preceding, total. If the majority of people switch to a meat based diet, this could be disastrous, as it takes much more room to raise meat than veg, and even more room to raise grass-fed beef. Perhaps the answer would be less of a emphasis on beef in Paleo, and a focus on smaller animals that create less impact.

    Is Raw a complete way of eating? This is why I call myself a semi-vegan. The lifestyle is still evolving. (I tend to prefer to eat my fish raw but limit it due to current levels of ocean pollution and pressure on fish populations.) There is a huge aspect to Veganism involving ethics, but I’m not going there with this. But we do have a responsibility to practice husbandry of our food sources and to be careful to not foul our nest, as of yet we have no where else to live.

    Again, thank you for writing this, it’s a topic that needs much more exploration. :D
    Have fun.
    K

    • YES! Ayurveda satifies people’s need to feel “ancient” and “scientific” without being obsolete. Ayurveda (the art and science of living) is still very much relevant. It explains how different body types require slightly different diets to keep their bodies functioning optimally. Also, according to Ayurveda the food one eats should vary by season. So in the spring it’s a good time to eat mostly sprouts and green plants etc. and to do things like fasting and cleansing. In the summer fruits and grains are ripe and abundant and the body is very active and able to burn off all the carbs etc. so that is the time when it makes sense to have a slightly more fruit/grain heavy diet. In the winter there will be more root veggies and squash available and it’s the time to eat heavier denser oiler foods- even including some oily fish like salmon can help to balance against the cold dry winter air. A paleo diet might work better in the winter but not all year long.
      A good book if you want to read more is “the three season diet” by Dr. John Doulliard (lifespa.com) he’s an Ayurvedic doctor who makes a lot of sense to me. You don’t have to be vegetarian to eat ayurvedically but it is highly compatible with vegetarian diet. It sounds like the thrive diet is similar and would be great for the competitive athlete who wants to use diet to help maximize not only health but physical endurance as well. I wonder if even elite athletes can and should look into seasonal eating? Aren’t their race schedules planned according to the seasons? Why not diet too?

  60. Thank you for the information.We have a 16 year old son suffering from acne.we read that the Paleo diet helps avoid acne.Our son is vegetarian and has been on the paleo diet for ten days and it looks like it is working.It is difficult to nourish a growing boy with the paleo diet for vegetarians but it is definitely worth the trouble of finding recipes for vegetarian Paleos.

  61. I ate dedicated Paleo for months and months and finally decided that my body doesn’t need that much animal protein… nor does it want it. I went back to eating more vegan and I suddenly had energy and digestion was way better.

    But now I’m in the all-carbs-all-the-time mode and I’m not feeling great anymore. I do value what Paleo offers but there has to be a medium between the two.

    I LOVE this post because it offers SO many options and still holds true to the “Paleolithic” meal plans, in a way, at least. I maybe be taking a lot of consideration from this post and recipe/meal ideas! Thank you!

  62. This is a very interesting post. I am a CrossFitter and have been eating Paleo for about 6 months. I find that I feel wonderful when following the diet. When I stray from the “program” as I call it, I often feel sick.

    But my comment is not about this post, it is directed at your recipes on this blog. I looked through your recipes and found that they are not remotely close to following the Paleo diet.

    Like you have rissotto, and gnocci, and listed recipes that use grains, potatoes, and protein powder (which I am assuming comes from whey or soy, or dairy), and those items are completely NOT Paleo.

    Just curious if those are your own recipes, or just popular vegetarian and vegan recipes you listed.

    Thanks,
    Allison

  63. Nice treatment of the subject. I’m going to share it with my gym. We have several vegetarian athletes – I’d love to get them to stop eating pasta and Quorn and tofu.

  64. I applaud your efforts to construct a healthier vegetarian diet! However, I believe that calling this program “paleo” is misleading. Both modern chimpanzees and bonobos hunt and eat meat, hominids’ first known stone tools (~2.4 Mya) were used to deflesh bones, and modern hunter-gatherers average perhaps 2/3rds of calories from animal sources – and there are no known vegetarian ancestral cultures. Further, sprouted legumes and pathological quantities of quinoa/hempseed (or protein powders) are inferior substitutes for the nutrition contained in real, whole animal products.

    That being said, this approach is far better for you than the standard soy/wheat vegetarian diet (seitan…shudder), so for a committed vegetarian, it’ll be a huge improvement.

    The Weston A. Price Foundation has lots of good information on sprouting grains and legumes. Frankly, you’re much closer to their program than to anything resembling a paleo diet, and I’d encourage you to investigate their work.

    JS

  65. I would think it is impossible to live healthily on a vegetarian/vegan diet. I’m vegetarian myself, and I’ll admit, it’s not the healthiest thing to do.

    Green vegetables, limited fruit, limited roots, nuts, seeds, and eggs

    Proteins, Omega-3(EPA & DHA), and minerals would be impossible to obtain healthily for us vegetarians/vegans.

    In order to get enough protein as a vegan paleo (1g per pound of muscle), you would have to eat A LOT of nuts and seeds. The problem with this is that seeds don’t contain the DHA and EPA versions of the omega-3 fatty acid, and contain a lot of omega-6 PUFA. So immediately, you’re going to mess up your omega 3 to 6 ratio, and that leads to heart disease. And besides, our paleo ancestors only had limited access to nuts and seeds. Eggs were very limited too and will mess up the 3-6 ratio.

    Our ancestors had limited access to adequately digestible plant matter, and most plant matter was actually grass. We can’t digest grass because we are not herbivores. If we had to use digestible plant matter to obtain enough protein, nutrients, and vitamins, it would be both impossible. First of all, it’s the dietary fibre. We actually don’t need that much fibre in our diet. Fibre blocks the absorption of many amino acids, and minerals. As result, they pass through our digestive system without being absorbed. Also, vegetables don’t have all the amino acids we need to form complete proteins. We would have to eat pounds of vegetables to barely get nutrients from it.

    Vitamin B12 is a byproduct of bacteria and not meat.

    *sigh* it’s times like these, that I wish we were herbivores. Then we can get everything we need because grass is everywhere. Life is not fair.

  66. john john john says:

    I am a vegetarian athlete, personal trainer, and nutrition consultant. I was vegan for many years, but recently started adding organic eggs to my diet for the B12. I try to follow a vegetarian version of the paleo diet, although I do eat cooked legumes. I have given up wheat, rice, beer, et cetera and am considering giving up oats. A typical day for me is as follows:

    Breakfast = cashews
    Lunch = almonds
    Post-workout shake = Oats, apples, berries, peanut butter
    Dinner = eggs, collards or kale, beans, lentils, et cetera
    Dessert = fruit, pistachios, sunflower seeds, et cetera.

    Email me and we can talk more about vegetarian nutrition and paleo stuff! I am interested in hearing and learning from all of yall! evolveahimsa@gmail.com

  67. “But most of us don’t do that anymore, because as a species we’re beyond that. ”

    I think the more valid statement is that as a “culture” we are beyond that. (And not even all cultures fwiw)

    As a species we have not evolved out of the need to rapidly designate our genes, nor our have we evolved away from our nutritional requirements. But as a culture we may find ways around our genes, wither for moral or other reasons.

  68. There are ways to maximize the nutrition we extract from plant matter. Slow-cooking, fermenting, freezing and liquidizing, juicing. I really think it is individual, although there may be tumes when our ethics and our physiological needs are out of alignment. Then I guess we choose. Nutritional healing for blood cancers involves tons of red meat, but a vegetarian might decide not to pursue that path.

  69. Hi Matt, I started Crossfit few months back and always finish last in the WOD’s. And I was advised it may be cos’ I am a vegetarian and was advised to try the Paleo diet which turns out to be Meat lover paradise. Hence was searching for a Vegetarian Paleo diet since I am from India Wheat (Chappati) and Rice are the staple food along with vegetables, grains, lentils, legumes, yogurt etc.. May be this is what I am going to try- Eggs for breakfast, salads / vegetables with nuts for lunch and Vegetables and Eggs for dinner – not sure how I can keep up on this diet but going to try for a months. It will be really tough not to be eating Chappati’s and rice but let’s see. Thanks for posting and hosting this website.

  70. I have been researching the Paleo diet because I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I’ve been told this will potentially cure my condition, which is an autoimmune disease. I do eat meat occasionally, the idea of eating as much as is suggested worries me as I also have gallbladder issues. I prefer a mostly vegie diet but am not against occasional fish and lean meats.
    Any idea if RA is still “cured” or lessened with the Veggie Version of Paleo??

  71. Fun to find this post, even if I’m late to the game. I have a lot to say about the fallacies embedded in the paleo diet, but I will resist for the sake of keeping my cool :) I will say, however, that I appreciate your giving vegetarians a set of appropriate paleo options, should they get sucked in.

  72. It's a change of life says:

    I have done zone in the past and lost 25lbs. The so called diet became old and my schedule became complicated. I am a vegetarian and I see the paleo being difficult too. I love tofu and soy and now all the sudden people say it’s bad for me. So seriously I can change the way I eat but the challenge is having variety. There has to be a way to combine zone and paleo for vegetarians.

  73. CoyoteLovely says:

    Good Post. Gave me a lot to think about. An Omnivore friend of mine wanted me to go in on the Whole30 with her for the New Year.

    I just don’t think Paleo is for me. I might go ahead and get back on the healthy eating wagon while she Whole30s, but I’m a woman who believes more in Lifestyles than Diets. I like to be able to eat healthy… and still enjoy a good pancake from time to time as well.

  74. I’m doing an 80/20 version of primal/paleo meaning I eat that way most of the time, and also exercise regularly. I have lost 90 lbs, about half of it on paleo, and the first half doing Ye Olde Portion Control and Exercise (minus junk food). For me, paleo is easier and tastier. I don’t eat a lot of meat, though I do eat plenty of eggs. About 3 days a week, I try to not eat any meat and the other days (other than the or salmon cakes), I only eat it at dinner. I’m a monster about eating vegetables of all types and colors as long as they are low starch or low glycemic, and I also juice raw vegetables in the morning. Don’t eat a lot of fruit. Coconut flour and almond flour have become my go-tos when I need to bake something or indulge in a muffin, biscuit, pancake, or the like.

    I feel frickin amazing. Most of this I attribute to the veggie juice, veggies, removal of grains/starches/sugars, and exercise, plus trying to get enough sleep.

    The best thing that has happened, though, is that I am finally free of the wild blood sugar swings I used to get. I was never diagnosed with a blood sugar issue after my regular blood panels, but I would turn into the Wicked Witch of the West, if I was past due for a meal and would just feel like crap. Now, I can sail past a meal time when I have to, and even being hungry, I don’t have the jitters or the urge to rip off someone’s face. I’m hungry but it’s cool. I can wait.

    I’m also relieved of the constant desire to eat. I used be like a dang Hobbit: ooh, is it time for snack? How about some elevenses? I was always thinking about the next meal or snack, and how soon I could justify having it. I felt addicted to food. With a huge protein breakfast and a low glycemic diet, all that is over. As a person that used to weigh in at 245(5’8″) and be obsessed with food, you can’t know what a gift that has been for me. It’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and everyday I’m grateful for it.

    Last thing, I would just like to point out that the Primal Blueprint is not just a diet but addresses many lifestyle factors from getting enough sleep, reducing stress, smart exercise, getting enough sunshine, to even having good posture.

    Thanks for your post on this and I hope you’ve had the results you were going for. I’ll be looking for your more recent posts on this.

    • snowmoonelk says:

      Hi Tina, I wonder if you are still following your lifestyle and feeling great? I have just found this website and really connected with your comments. I also feel like a Hobbit! I have tried and failed to lose weight – well I lose it and it sneaks back on again! I have tried Paleo and I love it but my partner is vegetarian and then I end up eating rice and pasta because that’s what he loves. Bleh! Well, all power to the vegetarian paleos out there and I am going to give it a shot cos I feel unhealthy and it has to stop!

      • Hi snowmoonelk (love that name),

        Yes, I am still doing Paleo (or more specifically the primal blueprint) and I love it. It’s changed my life and I can’t see going back to the way I felt before. I felt addicted to food and thought about it all the time. I still spend time thinking about it but it doesn’t rule my life like it used to. I hated how bitchy and horrid I would get when hungry and past meal time. And I love being able to eat rich food and still lose weight. I will say that I definitely had to watch myself while in weight loss mode. One can go overboard on the fat and stymie weight loss. But, it is still much easier for me than portion control.

        As for your predicament with your vegetarian partner, realize that you can quite effectively lose weight if you keep your carb count under 75 grams a day. Maybe you can save up your carbs for dinner if that is the meal that you both share the most. Also, rice, especially white rice is more Paleo-acceptable than pasta since it is highly digestible so maybe you can talk your partner to shift to more rice. I have also recently seen almond flour based Paleo pasta available online (warning: expensive!) maybe you can have that some of the time. Dreamfields brand low carb pasta tastes just like any other out-of-the-box pasta and would probably be a good compromise, especially if you are fairly certain you don’t have any issues with wheat consumption.

        About the Hobbity feeling, that might be a sign that you are leptin resistant. Leptin is a hormone involved in controlling hunger and satiety. When you are resistant to it, you tend to be hungry a lot. Google around and also check out Dr. Jack Kruse’s blog. He has a leptin reset protocol you can look into. One thing that really helps is a huge protein breakfast, like 50 grams of protein, at least during the reset. I eat about 30 grams (eggs) with a good dollop of fat (fried in coconut oil) in morning along with a blueberry/sprouted flaxseed/almond milk smoothie and that holds me for a good five hours or more.

        Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions and best of luck to you. I just read about a Paleo blog called Make Sh(f)t Happen. This guy is one of the Primal Blueprint Success Stories (always fun checking out the Before and Afters there) and has developed techniques based on the ways well run companies are run to apply to losing wright and getting in shape.

  75. I love experimenting with my diet. I think it’s interesting to see how eating differently can enhance(or not), your energy levels and moods. I’ve recently had some success with Tim Ferriss’s “slow carb” method. I modified it to keep it vegetarian. Next is “paleo”. Thanks for the great blog!

  76. Thank you for Matt for this post. I was recently recommended by my doctor and nutritionist to change my diet to gluten-free, limited grain, and limited sugar, and they recommended I check out the paleo diet. I’ve been struggling with it because of the high amount of recommended animal protein. I eat meat, but I think of it more as a special treat or side dish than the bulk of my diet.

    So thank you, because I think that your twist on paleo is one that I can actually enjoy.

  77. I am a medical doctor with 25 years of experience. I specialize in metabolic & nutritional medicine. I read all the comments from Anatasia’s on October 12, 2010 to Amber’s on December 30, 2011. The pros and cons of a paleo diet (e.g., Dr. Loren Cordain’s approach) vs. a plant-based diet (e.g., Dr. Colin Campbell’s approach) is very interesting. Too much of this debate is based on emotion and speculation and not hard numbers. I’m of the “test-don’t-guess” camp. What we have today that the caveman did not have, are state-of-the-art laboratory tests that can ascertain whether one’s dietary approach is making a real metabolic/biochemical difference. By this, I mean, does one have optimal levels of proven health and longevity biomarkers such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, homocysteine, LDL density pattern, lipoprotein(a), and proinsulin, just to name a few. Just because something sounds good in theory, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. My advice is to test, don’t-guess. Try the paleo and plant-based approaches separately, and have comprehensive before-and-after bloodwork to see which approach produces better numbers.

    • Hi Dr. Thomas,

      You may be interested in Dr. Jack Kruse’s blog if you haven’t already seen it. He is paleo and very much test-don’t-guess. He has developed a leptin reset protocol and has quite a bit of techical information on the site (most of it over my head).

  78. I really enjoyed The Humane Hominid’s comments from January 3, 2012. I wholeheartedly agree with his/her comment, “My chief criticism of the paleo diet is that it doesn’t deduce from present evidence.” For me as a medical doctor specializeing in metabolic & nutritional medicine for 25 years, the best “present evidence” are bloodwork numbers, specifically those biomarkers known to be associated with improved health and longevity. Until one looks at these hard numbers, the argument of what “works” better (paleo vs. vegan) is too often based on emotion and speculation. I encourage everyone participating in this blog get the necessary bloodwork to know for sure. Then let’s talk about the pros and cons of paleo vs. vegan.

  79. I can’t speak to my own blood work as I have been waiting for the new year and refreshed insurance situation in order to have a panel done. However, my husband was told he had high triglycerides last year. His cholesterol was 198, triglycerides 280, HDL 52, LDL 91. After a moderate uptick in exercise (2-3 times per week), fish oil, and a 75/25 version of paleo/primal (following the diet about 75% of the time), his numbers a year later are: total chol. 199, triglycerides 119 (!), HDL 62, and LDL 113. That does bring his LDL to slightly above optimal but look at the improvement in triglycerides and HDL. The other factors you mention, unfortunately, I can’t speak to since they did not measure them at the last blood panel.

    • Hi Tina. Optimal lipid levels are Total Chlolesterol 160-180, LDL 50-99, HDL >60, and Triglyerides <80. One can achieve equally excellent lipid levels with a paleo diet or a vegan diet. Bloodwork needs to include far more than a lipid panel. But unless your doctor is up to date on the other tests, he/she will likely not order them. Without those tests, you will not fully know if you are making a difference that will translate into greater health and longevity.

  80. When I order laboratory tests on a patient, I’m extremely thorough. I don’t like to gamble with their future wellbeing, so more than just helping a patient “look” or “feel” better, I want to know for certain, that the dietary approach and/or treatment regimen I’ve recommended is making a difference that can be objectively measured. I want to leave no doubt whatsoever that I’m inducing measurable metabolic and physiologic changes that will actually translate into better health and longevity. When we adopt a new dietary approach, most of us do so because it sounds good in theory, or makes our conscience feel better, and then we assume (or hope or pray) that it will make a bona fide difference in terms of health and longevity. I’ve had numerous savvy patients over the years who sincerely thought they were doing the right thing, when in fact, they weren’t, and I was able to prove it through proper laboratory testing. Bottom line is, we are all dying, some of us faster than others. I’m not saying that paleo is better than vegan, or visa versa, as this can differ from person to person. The right laboratory tests will tell you for sure if your chosen dietary approach is truly slowing the aging process and reducing your risk of diseases associated with aging. What are the “right” or “proper” laboratory tests? They go far beyond what the average or even well-informed doctor typically orders. I will list those tests in another posting.

    • Gisela Fiege says:

      Hello Dr, Thomas, just curious to know if you are in the Chicago area as I would like to find a Dr. that is educated on nutrition and has a more holistic approach to treatment. If your not could you recommend some one here. I just came across this page as I was looking for a recipe.
      Namaste :)

  81. In alphabetical order, below are the laboratory tests I order on most patients. Is it “overkill?” Not in the least. The information derived from these tests is invaluable. You will know for certain whether your health habits and/or your doctor’s treatment plan are making the kind of metabolic and physiologic differences that will truly slow the aging process and reduce your risk of diseases associated with aging. Such information cannot be gained from the standard/routine tests that most doctors order.

    CBC
    CMP
    DHEA-S
    Estradiol
    Fasting & Two-Hour Postprandial Glucose and Insulin
    Ferritin
    Fibrinogen
    Free T3
    Gastrointestinal Function Profile
    Hemoglobin A1c
    Homocysteine
    hs-CRP
    IGF-1
    LDL Density Pattern
    Lipid Panel
    Lipoprotein(a)
    Lp-PLA2
    Oxidative Damage Profile
    Pregnenolone
    Progesterone
    Proinsulin
    PSA (men)
    Salivary Cortisol x 4
    Total & Free Testosterone
    Uric Acid
    Urinary Organic Acids
    Vitamin D

    • Thank you for this list, Dr. Daniels! I will take it to the doctor and ask that these are included on the work up. Though I have been following a primal/Paleo regime (80-85% off the time) for over a year, I am very interested in the blood panel results. Because, if the numbers aren’t good, adjustments will need to be made regardless of how good I feel or how easily I can now maintain my weight.

      • You’re welcome Tina. It’s important to understand that “looking good” and “feeling good” should not be the standards by which we judge the effectiveness of any dietary approach. I have had countless slender diabetic patients who look good because they’re not fat, and feel good even with blood sugar levels above 300. Furthermore, one should not judge the effectiveness of any dietary approach by the results of the standard/routine tests that most doctors order. While such tests are important, there are other tests that are far more useful in ascertaining one’s health. Don’t let your doctor shortchange you.

  82. Great article! I am a crossfitter and an endurance athlete. They totally promote paleo at crossfit. You are very right that not very many people can do it “strict”. My crossfit is having a Paleo challenge for the next 40 days. I am not officially doing it, but trying it on my own. Going to eat a lot of eggs! Keep up the great work.
    Alea Burke

  83. Hey, let’s all follow the Paleo diet so we can all have a life expectancy of 35 like Paleolithic man! :D

  84. I have been a vegetarian for about 15 years now and a big portion of my rotein comes from soy, which of course isn’t paleo. However while I was living in the UK and the Middle East I was using a brand called Quorn which is a vegetarian meat substitute derived from mycoprotein (fungi family). It’s now available in Australia from Coles and Woolworths supermarkets and I think it’s available in the States as well. http://www.quorn.com.au

    Given that it’s derived from a mushroom like protein does that make it Paleo?

    It’s also very versatile and tastes great. I have made bolognaise sauce using the Quorn mince and served it to non-vegetarians and they didn’t know the difference.

    Thoughts?

    • Nothing derived from another food or genetically modified is going to be Paleo. Does that make it harmful? No, but it makes it highly suspect. Our bodies evolved eating foods, if you want to find an man-made food that is meant to substitute for something you had better be sure that you know better than your body. There is no way to know. There has been no significant chunk of humans living a predominantly healthy life on man-made foods so there is nothing for me to base any confidence on them. If you won’t/can’t eat animal protein then perhaps having some man-made protein can fill that void in a limited way but I would never base my diet around it. Mother’s milk is animal protein if you think about it. :) If mushrooms have protein in them then why not just eat the mushrooms? Sounds like just another boxed food with questionable value.

      • I think Jesse’s probably right about Quorn being off the paleo table because it’s not a food found in nature but a highly processed invention.

        Sadly for me, because it’s so versatile and available in so many forms, it’s also off my table because it makes me violently ill. From what I’ve read on the Internet, I’m far from the only one affected this way. The manufacturer says it’s probably because of the fiber, which I doubt – I’ve been eating a high fiber vegetarian diet for 25 years – but I’ve seen others suggest it may be a mold allergy which seems more plausible.

        I think I’m going to try Matt’s approach including hemp seeds (I didn’t know those were banned & have been having them daily, oops) and maybe sprouted lentils. I’m so glad to have found this post and all the helpful comments. My gym is doing a 30-day Paleo challenge and I really want to participate because of the motivational boost I get from that kind of thing. Thanks for helping me see how I can sort-of do it!

  85. Reading through a lot of these comments I definitely see a lot of emotion and belief in a certain lifestyle paleo or vegan/vegetarian. With my personal experience for the past year and a half I went on a journey to find out what diet worked best for me. I cut out dairy and gluten containing grains and felt a lot better, but over time my health just kept depleting. I was tired all the time, had gastrointestinal discomFort, had dry skin, rashes, joint pain, hormonal imbalances, and mild depression. I was basically eating a diet full of vegetables, lots and lots of green and vegetable juices and smoothies, grains like quinoa, free range chicken every now and then, nuts and nut butters, chia seeds, and all what is deemed to be healthy for everyone. So why in the hell was I so unhealthy? I went to a doctor and had a ton of tests and bloodwork done and the major issues were in the grains and legumes I was eating. I have what are called “delayed food allergies” which most people don’t even know about! I literally had no idea I was allergic to anything. These allergies and the anti-nutrients in the grains and legumes caused me to be deficient in vital nutrients like zinc and disrupted my omega 3/6 balance, low in b12 (a vitamin mostly in animal protein, and I was just overall not getting enough protein even though I was eating protein enriched grains, legumes, nuts, and dark leafy green vegetables.

    This just goes to show that there isn’t one way fits all. I’m currently eating full paleo without any dairy and my joint pain is gone, no more bloating or gas, I feel stronger, not as tired during the day, my hormones are back on tract, and my skin is so much clearer. I could not be happier with this lifestyle. The cooking is a lot of fun, way more fun that the grains and beans I used to eat, and I’m just happy overall with the results and in no way see this as a fad diet.

    Then again, I have a friend who has lyme disease and as a result can’t digest meat or dairy. So there isn’t one diet fits all. We all come from different background and different genes that some might thrive off paleo and some might thrive off being vegan. Just figure it out for yourself and I strongly believe in getting tests and bloodwork done. The guessing game which I played for awhile isn’t worth it at all because you’ll end up spending a lot of time and money in the wrong direction.

    Great post though you really have a lot of followers and supporters and definitely stirred up and interesting debate!

    Alyssa

  86. But let’s not forget that by the same argument, males are “built” to impregnate as many women as possible. That’s what would maximize the chances of having ones genes propagate, and probably still would today.

    Incorrect.

    Some species (like fruit flies) do utilize a “scatter gun” approach to reproduction – with the goal of producing as many offspring as possible. However primates (including humans) do not, instead investing a lot of resources into fewer offspring.

    Reproductive success for a man does not equal impregnating as many women as possible. Rather, it hinges on having his offspring reach reproductive age (which takes immense resources, time and care-giving compared to other species).

  87. I’ve been a vegetarian for 35 years, because I *hate* meat, chicken and fish :^P For some of us, it’s not a choice, I just can’t bring myself to eat the stuff. The only reason I ate meat as a kid was because I was made to, just like very other kid who had to eat their dinner and clean their plate.

    When I was 15, and the only kid left at home, I read an article about vegetarians, said “hey that’s me!” Meat doesn’t tempt me bit.

  88. Even if the proportions happen to be correct this “paleo” thingy is flawed from an anthropological point of view:

    The first point is that humans aren’t such good hunters to allow us to cover more 55% of the daily food intake in the form of meat. Even considering the evidence of modern hunter-gatherers if such evidence exist. And I am not talking about anecdotes and third-party quotes.

    Another interesting point here is the merely physical: For today’s humans driving to the grocery store to buy a piece of meat does not cost many calories. A hunting party or even a recollection party does (still) require a lot. I recommend watching the Discovery channel show Dual Survival a few times, it’s quite enlightening.
    Seafood and fish are not accessible for everybody and we have to recall that we were desert and savannah dwellers for a huge amount of time.

    Another interesting point is that humans do have a certain amount of enzymes specifically designed to break down starches (amylase).

    Regarding grains I read that two ancient populations of hunter -gatherers in the British Islands and the Balkans who included a large amount and variety of grains in their diet. In fact the difference among them and later agricultural populations was the reduction in species of grain consumed.

    A third point is that there is no specific evidence that a paleo diet provides any sort of advantage: Elite athlete’s diets vary from vegan to fast-food devourers, from paleo to pizza and there is no single point of evidence that neither diet provides any advantage.

    A fourth important point is that people, including hunter gatherers, have been thriving on a wide variety of diets too, depending on the surrounding ecosystem: This includes paleo-alike diets like the Eskimos or grain based diets.

    I have read somewhere that he theory behind not eating grains is based on the fact that humans did not invent cooking until 300.000 – 250.000 years ago. This may be indeed a fact… but there is another extremely important point missed here: We, Homo sapiens, appeared actually 300.000- 250.000 years ago (!). Thus maybe the paleo-diet may have been the diet of our ancestors, but unfortunately of the WRONG SPECIES. There are in fact a whole new current that relates the evolutive leap from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens with it’s increase in brain volume and reduction in jaw size and muscles to the fact that we began cooking our food being thus able to extract more calories from it as the process made the digestion easier.

    A point against the claim that we humans are not prepared for the neolithic diet is very simple to score: If this were true we would never have had a population explosion. In fact and given taking into account the pressure of natural selection if the neolithic diet were unhealthy the populations who applied it would have suffered a selective disadvantage. And this has quite obviously not been the case. I guess that here again the paleo advocates part from the idea that people in the neolithic were just driving down to the closest supermarket to buy their stuff.

    I am thus extremely sceptic in regard to any type of miracle diet. I am vegetarian for ethical reasons and until now it has proven useful for controlling the amount of calories I consume. I agree that modern day diet is far from optimal but this has nothing to do with carbohydrates, starches or fats (as such) but on modern synthetic pseudo-foot that we are actually not made to eat and an ultra-sedentary lifestyle.

    Just applying the pure logic of real life evidence and history I would say that humans can happily cope with any diet and any macronutrient distribution with a wide margin of error.

    I would therefore suggest to vegetarians (and omnivores too) that want to try the “paleo” approach just concentrate on the macronutrient percentages and forget any pseudo-scientific stuff about forbidden things and poisonous grains applying common sense instead. And of course, if it doesn’t work just go back to anything that works for you as long as it’s healthy and you enjoy it ;)

    • The point of not eating grains is not that we started cooking 250,000-300,000 years ago. It’s that we started eating them 10,000-15,000 years ago and are therefore not that well adapted to eating them. Supporting evidence for this includes celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, possibly Crohn’s disease, and various autoimmune problems that are ameliorated by the removal of grains from the diet. It’s also recognition that plants themselves have adapted to avoid being eaten especially to avoid their seeds, the next generation, from being eaten by having indigestible seed coatings that include antinutrients such as those I mentioned previously, namely phytates and lectins.

      You also say in another comment,”Even if the proportions happen to be correct this “paleo” thingy is flawed from an anthropological point of view:

      The first point is that humans aren’t such good hunters to allow us to cover more 55% of the daily food intake in the form of meat.”

      Where is it written that people following the paleo lifestyle eat more than 55% of their daily intake in the form of meat? Some of them may but I eat about 5-7 servings of meat a week, not including eggs, and, based on your description of your own vegetarian diet, I eat way more veggies than you do, about 10-11 servings a day.

      • All the proof i need that a vegan diet is awesome is the health of my family and myself over the last 10 years. Unbelievable health improvements, amazing love life, glowing skin, energy a n d vitality. I look better now than i did as a teenager! And healthy, happy children. :)

  89. trainerj0hn says:

    Muscle-building Paleo Vegetarian Menu:

    Breakfast= pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, apples. 800 kcal, 30g protein

    Lunch= pistachios, walnuts, bananas. 1300 kcal, 30g protein

    Dinner=
    1. Squash/zucchini spaghetti with tomato marinara and pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and basil. 1200 kcal, 20g protein

    2. Taco salad with fajita veggies and guacamole and cashew “cheese” 900 kcal, 25g protein

    3. Collard greens, pecans, and watermelon!!! 1200 kcal, 35g protein

    Dessert= Large tropical fruit salad

    Total= 3200 kcal, 85g protein.

    • Following a normal diet aiming at bodybuilding I use to take at least 0.8 times my weight (in pounds) in protein, that’s more or less 115g of protein.

      Here is my approach (not paleo but it can be adapted):

      BF: 50g muesly with tons of nuts and dried fruit (of the organic kind). + 20g Oats

      Lunch: 50g of soy/hemp or rice protein + 20g of wheat germ + 10g of oat bran

      + tons of coffe, tea and rooibos

      Dinner: Whatever. After BF and lunch I usually am already reaching my protein count, I thus add some more vegetable protein isolate and whatever I fancy up to as many calories as I need / feel like (generally not many actually).

      And to glue it all together I normally take 5g of L-glutamine and 6g of beta-alanine.

      This is my ‘getting-fat-fast’ diet for resting periods. I think it should be fairly easy to “paleo-ize” it but I don’t believe in the very base of the paleo diet as humans do have a vast arsenal of enzymes (not present in other animals!) just aimed at breaking down starches of any kind including grains. And regarding gluten allergy (or better said “hidden” gluten allergy) I believe in that as much as I believe in Santa’s underpants. It just makes no sense and natural selection would have wiped it out a long time ago. And keep in mind that natural selection was as active during the time of the cavemen as it was during the Roman Empire or the middle ages. It wasn’t until the industrial revolution that we as species were able to ignore natural selection. I think it’s a very healthy thing to never underestimate the Darwin factor ;)

      • I’m sorry but, no, this would not be easy to “paleo-ize”. It’s so far from paleo that you couldn’t rightly “adapt” it so much as change it completely. Can you site your source for gluten allergy information? As I understand it, besides the people who go to the doctor because their guts are pissed off, we have an additional 29% of people who produce a-gliadin, an antibody produced in response to gluten signifying an immune response even if the effects of the response are not at “clinical” levels.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1373929/

        We’ve only been eating grains in regular quantities for 10,000 or so years. That is not enough time to adapt, though some people show more adaptation than others. Your idea of the speed of natural selection seems to have a speed of its own that I doubt correlates with actual data.

        If I ate this diet, I’d be right back to Blood Sugar Swing City not to mention Bloated Gutville. A few terms for you to investigate: wheat germ agglutinin, lectins, phytates, and then look up what oats do to your blood sugar. Or not. It’s just your health.

        • Homo Sapiens appeared 250.000 years ago, the modern types possibly include a good part of Neandertal lineage, this happened no more than 35.000 years ago.

          Natural selection and evolution do not have a pre-determined speed. Specially not when a population arises with a specific selective advantage: A population with intolerance to gluten would have been wiped out by other populations which do not have it.

          Now I am not talking about hunter-gatherers, but about the 10.000 years during which we have had Roman and Egyptian Empires and Mongol hordes.

          Grain was a stable food source. In Asia the ability to grow rice without interruption made empires such as the Chinese possible.

          In Europe you can also see the effects of a changes in the availability of grain in such dramatic episodes as the black plagues. In fact there were several oscillations in the grain supply caused by climate variations and which caused the population to decrease to a fraction of what it was during the period of maximum resources. The reduction was dramatic, 30-60% of European population. This is BTW natural selection at work and it did not take all too long.

          Of course, the inability to assimilate gluten would have been a mayor selective disadvantage.

          Remember two things: On one side that natural selection is nothing more and nothing less than differential procreation.
          And recall that for 80-90% of the population during a good part of these 10.000 years the only food source was cereal based. Remember that we are not talking about ONE person living 10.000 years but about generations of people who either were able to assimilate gluten or else die as a child and never be heard of again. That is how selection works.

          I some times have the impression that some people believe that the humans one day woke up and just decided to stop eating “paleo” and decided to go to the supermarket instead to buy donoughts… but this is not how it works.

          Yes, there are some studies, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a finding is not what it seems and / or that a new study just contradicts the previous one/s, specially in nutrition.

          Regarding my health: My blood sugar is OK. I am still increasing my mileage (planning to go up to 70 in two months) and I have run 3 PR in a row this year and going for 3 more. I guess this can be considered pretty healthy.

          But maybe it’s that I belong to these rare mutants that are able to thrive on gluten based stuff and run with a Morton’s toe, LOL.

          • The thing is, I’m not trying to argue that the Agricultural Revolution was not a sea change for us as a species or nothing short of a miracle foodstuff for millions. I’m also not saying we have an ‘inability to assimilate’ grains or that no one was ever able to eat grains. Clearly, we can and do consume them. And, clearly there are people out there who appear to not have a problem digesting them. Then, there are people who say their Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s disease either went away or became much better when they gave up grains. There are also the people whose systems are creating antibodies to gluten even if they aren’t miserable after they eat it.

            What I’m saying is I doubt that grain consumption results in our best health. Just because you can eat something, and, in some instances, have to in order to survive, does not mean there are not negative impacts on one’s system. If that was all there was to eat, I sure as heck would eat it, too. Again, I still don’t think 10,000 is enough time for natural selection to do its thing. Neither, presumably,is it an all or nothing proposition. Some of those who don’t adapt well are going to manage to procreate and it seems plausible that varying levels of adaptation will result. Does the information you cite about Asia and rice consumption reflect consumption of white or brown rice? Because you can eat white rice all day and not have any complaints from your bowel (blood sugar is a different story). Another question, how do you know amylase is not meant for breaking down starches like bananas and root vegetables? Just because we have an enzyme that breaks down starch, does not address the fact that phytates in grain bind to minerals preventing their absorption or that lectins in grains interfere with our insulin process.

            It has been demonstrated that grains, particularly gluten, damage intestinal lining leading to inflammation and increased mucus production. Since inflammation is highly correlated with cancer, and since I come from a line of folks who have had colon cancer, that is one reason for me to eliminate grains even though I am not officially gluten intolerant. I’m pretty sure that they affect my blood sugar, though, and that I used to be 95 lbs overweight, eating constantly in response to always feeling hungry, and that I felt like a failure and a food addict. You argue in a previous comment that it’s not starches that are the problem but rather “pseudo food”. But, when I was overweight and hungry all the time, I did not eat junk food, candy, patisserie, sodas, or whatever crap they can stuff into a box. I made most of my own food and was the person who bought the organic, multigrain bread for her sandwiches and usually had a salad with dinner.

            Since I went low carb and eliminated eating grains and sugar most of the time, my life has changed. Not only do I feel better than I ever have but I have a stellar cholesterol profile, very low systemic levels of inflammation as measured by a C-reactive protein test, am insulin sensitive, have good adrenal preserves, very good kidney and liver function,and normal hormonal levels. Of course, I can’t say this is all due to eliminating grains but it sure isn’t an argument for them since this all happens in their absence.

            Lastly, your consumption of grains is your business and we can argue all day probably about evolutionary adaptation. The question comes down to your own body and health. There are triathletes out there consuming grains so how much you exercise doesn’t enter into it. If you go and have a comprehensive blood panel and measure not just cholesterol but inflammation, organ function, urinary organic acids, insulin sensitivity, vitamin D levels, blood pressure, gastrointestinal function, (and I could go on) and you come back normal with a thumbs up from your doctor, then there is no reason, probably, to change your diet. In that case, go forth and enjoy your freshly baked bread and your muesli. I will only be slightly jealous.

    • trainerjohn: But how much fat is that? Yikes

  90. I tried making nuts a staple, but it hasn’t worked for me. Since nuts and seeds have to be soaked to be consumed in any quantity, I was always short the necessary amount unless I had planned ahead. Or, I was throwing away moldy almonds (at $13/lbs!) because they don’t keep once soaked. The nut and seed butters and pates left me feeling uncomfortably full, not nourished, if I ate them as meals. I put soaked seeds in my smoothies, and that works.

    I also find that my body cycles. Raw eating might feel cleansing and energizing for a week, and then I need meat, and then I can eat cooked veg, etc.

    • trainerjohn says:

      Nuts and seeds don’t necessarily have to be soaked to be consumed in large quantities. Soaking has some benefits, such as increased enzyme activity, but it certainly isn’t a requirement for eating large quantities of nuts and seeds.

      I eat an entire cup of roasted pumpkin seeds for breakfast every morning (40 g protein!). I also go through a large bag of roasted sunflower seeds every few days (50+ g protein!). I also eat about 3-4 tablespoons of almond butter every day (15-20 g protein!).

      I usually eat nuts and seeds as quick convenient high-protein snacks, and then my meals are large and mostly vegetables and fruit.

      • I can’t judge since I probably eat too many nuts myself but watch the ol’ Omega-6 fatty acid count there. That sounds like a lot of pro-inflammatory fat.

        • Speaking of inflammatory… Going vegan was the only way i was able to beat my lifelong, crippling back pain. Meat is obviously inflammatory and hard on the body. You’ll figure it out, eventually.

  91. Very interesting and worthwile post! I deeply appreciate it. Have been looking for a primal, natural diet which at the same time doesn’t kill or exploit animals.

    I hope I’ll try some kind of diet based on huge amounts of vegetables, and carrots, cabbage, onion, leak, garlic, ginger etc. But also nuts, seeds, fruit and all kinds of nutritious stuff or “superfoods” like goji, cacao and algae. .. =)

  92. I had two children before I realized that grains impair my metabolism, so a sensitivity of the type I have would not be weeded out by natural selection. That human populations have exploded since the cultivation of grains as a dietary staple is clear, but I’m not sure that prives that grains are good for us. I’m also not sure current population levels are sustainable without grain-based diets, and I expect them to endure.

    • Your argument is not valid for two reasons:

      1) Modern western populations are not subject to natural selection in the same way that pre-industrial populations were. In fact if you compare the nutritional patterns of us modern Westerners and any other previous human population we could even be different species.

      2) For a scientific theory to be valid it must be able to do predictions, meaning that you must be able to explain other aspects of reality based on the premises set by the theory. In fact the theory of gluten allergy does fail in this sense as it seems to contradict historical evidence (using the term ‘historical’ in an extended sense).

      I do not argue against the fact that there is a modern population of that show a certain level of certain enzymes, but we may be completely wrong on the meaning of the presence of these enzymes. Just recall the case of lactate that for many years have been thought a dangerous bi-product of our metabolism while are just realizing that reality is much more complex and the “bad guy’ seems actually to be playing a hero role.

      There is also the possibility that these enzymes were not there in ancient populations and that they are a product of a different gene expression caused by modern live style.

      Until I get more data I will for know continue being sceptic on paleo diet and a great part of the science it’s based on.

  93. I didn’t make a case for a scientific theory-I’m not interested in convincing anyone to eat “paleo”; if your diet works for you then there’s no problem. But I don’t have a gluten allergy as far as I know; when I eat grains I feel bad and don’t digest well. Modern medicine did not save me from such an allergy prior to childbearing. I don’t know anyone who has required medical salvation from frain sensitivity. The connection between grains and ill health are unclear to me, but I sure know I feel different if I eat them.

  94. Theresa Estebo says:

    Oh, gee, I just started doing crossfit which of course loves Paleo diet. But my husband started working for PETA and we are going vegetarian and moving towards vegan. I am (for now) including eggs, legumes, some whole wheat grains, oats. Of course nuts, seeds, and all those related things. Oh and I’ve discovered a product called Coconut Bliss (freezer section of health food stores). I bet I would lose more weight if I stayed away from that. It is heavenly.

  95. Joseph Hudson says:

    This is what works for me. Only animal protein-omega 3 eggs. Only dairy-butter. Only legumes-peas,baby lima beans, edamame. Only fruit-dried. Only grain-white rice flour toast(rarely). Only brain boost-instant coffee+splenda sweetener. Never touch-vegetable oil, nuts & seeds, cheese, meat. This list may seem odd but I would say that it is best to find what works for you rather than following someone else’s ideas. I did a paleo diet about 15 years ago when it was not widely known about. I never chose to become a vegetarian and it happened slowly, without any effort. Sometimes it’s best to tell your brain to shut up and allow some space for compassion to possibly arise.

  96. Samuel Khasin says:

    Another option is to supplement with whey protein. As for fat, coconut oil and coconut milk are both excellent sources, and are used in tons of primal recipes–these products are basically primal staples (along with coconut flour and almond flour). As for 6 eggs a day at most–where did you read that? I eat way more than that. I have 2 eggs per day just in my morning shake, sometimes 2 hard boiled eggs with my lunch, and make omelets, scrambled eggs, thai pancakes, and other egg-centric dishes regularly.

    • Do Paleos eat whey? I thought they were anti-dairy (for health reasons, not ethical).

      • Samuel Khasin says:

        I can’t speak for paleos per se because I follow the Primal Blueprint, which is similar, but not the same. Not actually sure what the differences are. Mark Sisson, the guy who wrote The Primal Blueprint, considers it in a gray area. I think the main problem with it is that a lot of people don’t tolerate dairy, but most people do tolerate whey, which is a byproduct of milk fermentation.

        I just looked up the milk issue–strict paleos are completely against it on the basis that it’s historically recent (as far as human consumption goes). Primal is more willing to accept modern foods (chocolate and wine are other examples), as long as they’re healthy. So maybe for vegetarians, primal is a better choice than strict paleo.

        • Based on a few Robb Wolf podcast episodes whey protein is not ideal but ok especially for post workout (and he is referring to heavy workouts like metcons a la Crossfit).

          The reason, as I understand it, why he is cautious towards whey powder is the fact whey does illicit an insulin response and is therefore not ideal for people who are just starting out, trying to get rid of their inflammation issues and need to lean out.

          But I reckon for Paleo Vegetarians it should be considered. There have been hundreds of studies about whey and how it benefits strength and muscle gain. If you want to make it more Paleo you could stick to grass-fed whey protein, I guess

          • Samuel Khasin says:

            I have not heard of whey eliciting an insulin response, as it has little to no lactose. What would cause the insulin response?

            And Source Naturals True Whey is the protein that I use and it comes from milk from grass-fed hormone/antibiotic-free cows. Unfortunately, it’s not organic, but I think it’s close enough. Tastes great, too. I mix 3 scoops of it with a can of light coconut milk, 2 raw eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a bit of stevia and it tastes like egg nog. Can also mix with coffee grounds and chocolate for a mocha taste.

  97. SOOOO grateful that I just found your blog. Truly thank you! I am a life long vegetarian that has always struggled with energy and wanted to try paleo but couldn’t figure out how. I am beyond looking forward to reading your whole roster of recipes..eep!

  98. I’m so happy that I found your blog! I recently became interested in the paleo diet but was curious how it would be possible as a vegetarian. (I’m also a marathon runner so I’ll definitely be coming back to your site to check out some running posts!) Thanks so much for all of your great insight! I think I might try to do the 30 day challenge without any of the exceptions. But if I decide to stick with it long term, I’m sure I’ll include some quinoa and black beans in to my diet as well.

  99. Carol Murphy says:

    Hi Matt. Love the website but strongly disagree with your statement about humans being built to hunt and eat meat. True carnivores (lions, tigers, etc.) have sharp claws to kill and shred their meat; we do not. True carnivores have sharp incissors to shred and tear; we do not; true carnivores have jaws which move in a grinding motion; we do not. True carnivores have short intestinal tracts; we have approximately 30 feet of intestines, so because it takes so long for meat to digest, it basically rots in our intestines/colons. I could go on and on. Man was not intended to eat meat, and hunting is not characterized by going out and shooting a defenseless animal. Thanks for letting me comment.

  100. Samuel Khasin says:

    Carol:

    Please stop repeating unfounded vegetarian/vegan propaganda. Humans are not carnivores, we are omnivores. Our jaws do move in a grinding motion, although this motion is more characteristic of herbivores (think of how cows chew grass). Unless you meant something else. Meat does not rot in our colons or intestines, that’s just bullshit and pretty shoddy bullshit at that. A cow is not adapted for eating meat. We are. We DO have incisors (those are our pointy canine teeth). No, they are not long like a dog’s, but I personally have no trouble eating a steak, so clearly my teeth are adapted enough for the task. Unless you’re a creationist, understand that evolution is not a guided process. No one made our teeth for a certain task, we evolved to be the way we are, and if smaller teeth caused no issues with survival, smaller teeth are what we got. My guess would be that we evolved smaller teeth because the ability to communicate took precedence over the ability to tear meat with our teeth. Additionally, we have hands to manipulate our food with, something that other carnivores do not have. Additionally, chimps will eat other animals (even smaller primates) if they can catch them, so there we have one of our closest relatives eating meat as well. You may choose to be a vegetarian because you love animals, religious reasons, because you think it’s healthier, or whatever, and that’s fine, but don’t spread around bullshit, it just weakens your position.

    • Aurora Cooney says:

      Carol, I agree with you. We might have the capability to digest meat, but it’s not the optimal diet. We are designed very poorly for hunting and for eating meat. And Bononos, along with Chimpanzees, are considered our closest relatives and they are vegetarians. It’s also been shown that Chimps will usually only attack other mammals when their territory is threatended. Why eat meat when it’s not necessary? If you believe in evolution, then evolve.

      • Samuel Khasin says:

        Changing your behavior is not evolution. Nothing you do during your life will cause evolution, with the possible exception of giving birth to children with a genetic mutation. Whether you understand the fact of evolution (because it’s really not about belief) or not, you should know that.

      • Samuel Khasin says:

        Be vegetarian if you want, I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is the lies that are spread. Which seems pointless anyway–every vegetarian I know is vegetarian because they love animals and don’t want them mistreated or killed for food. I don’t know anyone that is vegetarian because other apes are vegetarians, nor anyone who is vegetarian because of the length of their digestive system.

        “We know that although chimpanzees have been recorded to eat more than 35 types of vertebrate animals (Uehara 1997), the most important vertebrate prey species in their diet is the red colobus monkey.”

        Note that the following link (where the quote above came from) is from the University of Southern California website:
        http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~stanford/chimphunt.html

    • I used to worry about the question of whether humans are natural herbivores or omnivores. Now, I think it’s a stupid question, that entirely misunderstands nature and evolution. Both “sides” in the “debate” tend towards appeal-to-nature fallacies.

      Everything in nature changes, and nothing is designed for our benefit. Nature produces no “optimal diet.” All that matters is, what do you want out of your diet, and what does the science say is best for achieving that goal?

      I want healthy longevity, plenty of energy, good BMI, and the lowest possible risk factors for degenerative disease. The solution to that is clear to me: a vegan diet built on whole plant foods.

      Is this “natural”? Why give a shit?

      • Yes! My optimal diet sounds totally different than yours for achieving those ends, but I completely agree with your outlook. What works? Do that. We can look to evolutionary biology and history for clues, but probably not answers.

  101. Carol Murphy says:

    Samuel,

    Why are you so angry and posting that anger on a site meant for the vegetarian athlete? My “proganda” is founded. Science will tell you our intestinal tracts are longer than carnivores, and if you don’t think meat rots in our intestines and colons, explain why John Wayne had pounds of shit packed in his when he died. Fruits and vegetables are digested very nicely. Man had “adapted” into an omnivore. If man was meant to eat meat, he wouldn’t have to cook it and cut it with a knife and fork. You can eat any fruit, vegetable, seed or grain raw. Yes, our jaws do grind . . . like cows – herbivores. Personally, I believe in the Divine Creation which states that God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to eat of every fruit, seed and plant (except the Tree of Life, of course), and man was created AFTER the animals – to care for them, not eat them. They were not created for us but rather the opposite. My position is as strong as yours, BTW. Your position is your opinion. Your angry reaction seemingly comes from a sense of guilt perhaps. Or maybe it is your body’s reaction to indulging in the hormones of fear and anguish that passed to the animals blood upon its slaughter before you consumed it. Hhhhmmmmmmm . . . .

    • Samuel Khasin says:

      Are you assuming that I’m angry because I said “bullshit?” That’d be an incorrect assumption. Not angry, just get annoyed by falsehoods and propaganda. I’m posting here because my roommates are vegetarians and were trying to eat paleo. I was trying to help them.

      No, my position is a lot stronger than yours, especially on your creationist bullshit. Cuz you know, I actually have science to back it up. And if you believe in creation, why are you talking about science at all (“Science will tell you our intestinal tracts are longer than carnivores…”), since you obviously don’t care what science says about the origins of life?

      Oh, John Wayne had pounds of shit packed in his intestines? Well, I guess a single case proves… Uh… Proves… Ummm… Yeah.

      And we’re not adapted for eating grains, by the way (that’s a big part of what paleo’s about). It causes systemic inflammation and a slew of other issues.

      We also can (and some people do) eat raw meat. We choose not to. And, due to factory farming practices, it’s dangerous to eat raw meat. If we were living a few hundred years ago, we could absolutely eat raw meat safely. It would be more nutritious, too.

      • If grains are so bad for the body, why did my bread baking , vegan grandparents live to be a robust 97 &99 and the meat eating ones die in their 40s, as well a a whole other flesh eaters i knew. Quit your meat propaganda bullshit. A day will come when you will see.

  102. Carol Murphy says:

    I see nothing in your post that could justify your position, Samuel. Aside from that, these discussion boards are for discussion purposes and not heated debates. If you cannot control your demeanor and carry on a conversation without belittling other posters, you have no business posting at all. My initial comment was to Matt and was, I thought, said in a polite manner expressing my beliefs. I have no desire (or time) to carry on a debate with someone who does not care to hear others’ point of view. You are closed-minded and do not have all the facts; you have the facts that you want to hear. With that, I will not continue bantering back and forth. Check out some bookstores or websites and you will see that I have plenty to back my own beliefs/opinions, including reknowned cardiac surgeons, nutritionists, spiritual advisers and former ranchers.

    • Samuel Khasin says:

      Spiritual advisors, lol.

      I have no desire to continue either, clearly it’s pointless. Enjoy your fantasies (except the naughty ones).

  103. I’d just like to add that some of the Paleo stuff about raw foods ie: tubers, legumes etc which need to be cooked, is based on science which is controversial, to say the least.

    Just a couple of months ago, scientists in South Africa found evidence that humans may have been using fire for a million years – that’s plenty of time to adapt to cooked food

    A vegan diet is quite limited already; and legumes, lentils and seeds such as Quinoa provide very good sources of protein and nutrients. I don’t think that they should be written off on the basis of science that the scientists themselves are still arguing over.

    I’d also like to add in something which I really feel is missing from these Paleo and Raw approaches – fermenting !! I am a bit of a fanatic fermenter, but fermenting not only reduces antinutrients, it also makes more nutrients available from the fermented foods, as well as adding beneficial micro-organisms.

    Lactobacillus will ferment almost anything and are omnipresent in our environment. I can’t believe that our ancient ancestors didn’t take advantage of this to prepare and preserve foods. I highly recommend Sandor Katz’s Wild Fermentation as an excellent field guide to this approach.

    I also highly recommend Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple as the most thoughtful approach to the Paleo lifestyle out there. He’s not a fanatic, which is refreshing and advocates a more relaxed 80%/20% approach. Obviously, we can’t do this as Vegans but as Paleo Vegans (I’m Gluten free as well) I think this 80/20 rule is useful when it comes to things such as legumes, quinoa and tubers. The science is still out, so why deprive ourselves of useful, nutritious and delicious food sources ?

    Also, I hope you don’t mind me adding this link, but it contains some truly fabulous Paleo Vegan recipes

    http://www.vegiehead.com/vegan-paleo-recipes.html

  104. Do hemp hearts need to be ground to powder in order for them to be digested properly? thanks!

  105. Albert Calvet says:

    Wow! I’ve just discovered your blog via some other article on the web and I’m amazed to see how much do we resemble each other! I’m also a vegetarian for personal ethics and also an endurance runner! (first an amateur bodybuilder then I got more and more into endurance running, currently I’m into both sports, PB on 10K 35:24 and 2:56 for the marathon but currently I’m a little bit in bad shape so what’s why I got here in a way).

    I like your point of view that seems pretty unbiased even when you could be biased by your personal beliefs. I think I look at it in a pretty similar fashion, trying to find the truth based on more and more research.

    I’ve got to this post while doing some research about the grains/beans/legumes thing because even trying to eat in a very healthy fashion I’ve some issues regarding mood and wellness that would like to have addressed and I think that this may have something to do with it. It really seems to make sense but as may people said it’s pretty tied to everyone’s own body. I liked a lot Dr. Daniel Thomas advice about to measure based on real numbers and not just by feeling, also enjoyed Tina’s knowledgeable advice.

    Will keep an eye on your blog, and excuse my poor English (I’m an Spaniard) ;)

  106. I actually like the idea (no meat paleo).

  107. Thank you for this post! I googles Paleo+vegetarian and stumbled upon this post. I don’t label myself a vegetarian, vegan, paleo, low-carber or anything else. Instead, I try to make healthy choices, which would some days mean going vegetarian, some days paleo … you get the picture. I try not to be too strict and allow myself now and than to have something that I really would like, although it is not in line with my food vision. I do so because I don’t want to get obsessed and want to take py psychological health into accout. Works different for everybody, this works for me.

    Anyway, I was googling because I was thinking about how to combine a paleo lifestyle with my egan/egetarian days. Lot’s of info gathered here, I want to thank you for that!

    Kind regards,

    Angela

  108. I just found your blog while researching Paleo vegetarian diets. i have been vegetarian for 21 years- almost half my life! I am also a marathon runner, and am looking into starting Crossfit as well. I loved reading your Veggie versions of the Paleo diet and may even try it myself. thanks!

  109. Good on you bro, you’re right about us not needing to eat animals at this stage in our developement. Great points, you answered a lot of my questions. Back to sprouting for me. Oh yeah the pea protein I use is supposed to be good. The muscle guy at my vitamin store rotates it with others he thinks so highly of it, highly absorbable plant proteins.

    Cheers,
    Michael

  110. This article definitely pinpointed some questions I personally had. However, I feel that as a vegetarian I would not consume meat, even if it indicated to be a better choice for my health. As far a the paleo-vegetarian-diet goes, it seems a bit unrealistic for me considering that majority of my protein is obtain from many sources of beans, including soy bean. Is there a reason why the paleo diet does not consist of soy? Also, although I consume dairy produce, I do not eat egg. I stopped costuming egg long before I became vegetarian because I was unable to tolerate the smell it gives off while it cooks. However, egg would be a great protein resource that complies with the paleo-diet. One of my main concerns with the paleo-vegetarian diet would be lack of energy. As a runner, I need all the energy I could obtain from my food, and honestly I am not sure that vegetables and fruits alone would be able to sustain me in a healthy running state. I really enjoyed reading this article. My respect to those incredible and dedicated individuals who feel capable to have a paleo-vegetarian diet. Best of luck!

  111. Hi Matt,

    Great article and info, thank you so much. I’ve been interested in the results of the Paleo diet for a while but am a vegetarian with many food intolerances and a chronic bowel condition I have had for over 20 years. I have studied nutrition on a personal level for years and trying new things for the soul purpose of regaining constant health whilst being kind to the planet. While reading your article I realise that I eat that way mainly from lack of choice. I am intolerant to nuts, eggs, soy, dairy, shellfish, and other things, making my diet very restrictive. To all the people who say it is boring, I say I have made it less so. I have experimented so much and come up with fabulous and different soups and vary how I put things together to give different tasted and textures. I also use hemp and carob powder as sources of protein. It is a restrictive lifestyle, but one that I feel is worth it.

    Thank you for your article, it is great to see others keen interest in nutrition and health.

    • albert83bcn says:

      Penny,

      Just my 2 cents, from what you say, I think you could do pretty well on a grain free, veggie based diet with some fruit and maybe whey suplement as a good protein source if you do not have intolerance to it, it could work wonders. If it’s not for personal believes, I also think that some lean meat could cut the edge for you. Plant based + lean meat + seafood (not in your case for the sensitivities) not processed food, sugar and phytate free, as in paleo, I think it is unbeateable for health, although I have been myself ovo-lacto-vegetarian for personal believes. You could also look for seaweed derived Omega-3 DHA if you can find it and also some Omega-3 based supps seem to not cause to create reactions on some people that are fish sensitive.

  112. Whats the point? A vegitarian diet with grains is healthy than the paleo diet. Seventh Day Aventist diet for example, includes whole grains and leads to the longer life spam and better health than any other diet known. But if you really want to eat what we evolved to eat… then eat insects, fruits and leaves — not meat. More paleo than the so called paleo diet. Termites!

  113. Thank you for sharing this. I have been eating an adapted Paleo-Vegetarian/Vegan diet for about a year now & I feel great! There is so little commentary or resources about this out there about this particula diet for veggies. Thanks for helping to change that! :)

  114. Interesting post! How did your experiment go?

    An important note to this post is that you’re a highly specialized in endurance sports.
    I’d be curious to get thoughts on vegan paleo if your goal is to be fit (as in all-round fitness including strength and power)

  115. Hello!
    Thanks fo your researches and your testimony.
    I am myself a vegetarian, since about 20 years, and rely on a growing portion of wild plants, who happen to be full of protein: comfrey, nettles, and the likes. As a yoga teacher, I feel they offer a free food to sustain heavy practices, provided you are not leaving in town, or surrounded by intensive agriculture; but I am not a scientist.
    For retreats in wilderness, I have lived on what I could pluck with delight, and without damages, which is quite traditional in India. I have not found what to do during the winter though… Hunting seems the most natural thing at that time. And that’s a real question for me…

  116. You say that men are designed to impregnate as many women as possible, but we don’t do that now because we are beyond that. You go onto say that we shouldn’t eat meat because at this stage in the history of humans, we should be beyond that as well.

    Perhaps you are right in that mentally and spiritually we should be beyond eating meat. I don’t agree but I will concede that concept for the sake of argument. The problem is that our bodies are evolving at a much slower rate than our mental capacity for reflection and existentialism. We must feed our bodies what our bodies tell us to. Going against that is going against nature and there are repercussions for that.

    I’m not a paleo practitioner. I get about 15-20% of my protein from meat. I would never defend the copious amounts of meat the so called paloelithic eaters consume. However I will also never defend, from a physiological stand point, that humans should consume no meat.

  117. Im beginning my slow transition from a full on Paleo eater to a more vegan lifestyle. Primarily for animal ethics reasons. However – and this pains me to do so – at certain times of my menstrual cycle, I feel incredibly lethargic and only meat brings me back from a zombie-type existence. So to counteract, my plan is to eat meat during that part of the cycle only. Thats the plan anyway. True vegans and vegetarians will probably laugh at my attempt, some may find it cheating and not really caring about animals, but to each their own – this is my path and Im genuinely trying to be a less violence-based eater. Coming from a culture where meat was in EVERY meal, its very very hard to stop eating it – but slooooooowly its beginning to feel easier.
    Thank you for outlining the arguments above – its very helpful. Cant say that being a Vegan Paleo is sounding like too much fun, but im willing to try and see if i can make it work for me.

    Have to disagree with just one point you wrote – the part about males “needing” to impregnate women for evolution’s sake – not strictly true – and has been bastardised to mean (by men) that its men only that do this. By evolutionary standards, it is in a woman’s every interest to sleep with as many men as possible to ensure the fittest sperm “wins the deal” so to speak. It is the rise of agricultural communities and the subsequent effect on social roles and order that led to mass sexism and oppression of women that led to current “norms” being the status quo (ie men are allowed, and women arent). Every human being, male or female, wants to procreate with the best possible specimen – and that means, more often than not, trying out multiple specimen. Let’s just call a spade a spade, shall we? :)

    But i digress. Nice blog. Will be back.

    • Aneta, thanks for the comment and I’m glad you found my blog. (And that you’re transitioning to a lower-meat diet). As for evolution, I’m no expert but I’ve read a bit on it. What I learned from Dawkins’ the Selfish Gene that relates here is that males historically have had very little / no cost to procreating. Sperm is cheap, so it’s in their best interest to spread it around to as many females as possible, to maximize the number of chances (children) of passing on their genes. Females, though, do have a significant cost of procreation — the time and effort it takes to be pregnant, plus nursing and caring for children (at least immediately) after birth — if that time is wasted on babies that aren’t fit for survival, the female loses chances of passing on her genes. So females need to be choosier about whom they procreate with. Now, if were true that sleeping with a whole lot of men set up a fair competition among sperm, and the fittest sperm truly did belong to the fittest male, then your point would make sense … but does it work that way? I don’t think so, especially not the first part. I would think that the first man she slept with would have a huge advantage over the others, and hence she’d be choosy about who that was.

      Like I said, I’m not an expert, but evolution is so interesting to me. Interested to hear an expert’s response.

    • As a vegan, I applaud and support any attempt to reduce meat. It doesn’t have to be 100% of the time. We practice PROGRESS, not PERFECTION. My nephew said he wold be vegan except he loves bacon once in awhile. I suggested he might try being a vegan who occasionally eats bacon! Any effort to reduce suffering is appreciated.

  118. Ive been a vegetarian for about 18 years and always did some type of fitness routine…gym, running, exercise tapes, hiking, biking etc… Then I got introduced to CrossFit and absolutely love it.
    HOWEVER, I noticed I got winded quite quickly, did not see my strength and agility improving and still had my string-bean like physique.
    My box then introduced me to Whole 30 and the Paleo diet. Now that I eat a strict Paleo/Whole 30 diet, I feel stronger, sleep more soundly, have a better physique, and continually see improved results.
    Now I’m questioning my long term health with my consumption of pretty much only meat, veggies and some fruits, only, might be harmful. I am at a road block. This animal protein that I was lacking I feel has had a significant positive effect on me physically and mentally. But now I feel I should ban this diet and go back vegetarian for health reasons. This website has been a great starting point for me.

  119. lotsa good info. i like the idea of eating more hemp seed. i’ve had sprouted quinoa. haven’t tried buckwheat. also like to soak, germinate or sprout nuts and seeds. will try eating more cooked sprouted lentils. i do eat some eggs, but not plannin on a dozen a day! thnx.

  120. Valerie says:

    I have a Masters in Anthropology and I am sick of the “Paleo” diet! First from fossil evidence, many early hominids had very large and heavy jaws to process the coarse, fiberous plant foods that made up the bulk of their diet. Modern humans have mixed dentition, with the front part of our mouths resembling carnivores and the back part ruminants (cows, etc.) and early hominids were opportunistic omnivores, but by no means does this mean that meat was a common staple food. From both archaeological evidence and detailed participant observation studies of modern hunter-gatherers the early hominid diet was most likely 90% or better plant foods supplemented with 5-10% from animal proteins. From cut marks on ancient animal bones it appears the earliest of hominids were scavengers of recently killed animals and then slowly began to follow animal herds and then began to hunt. So the “Paleo” diet is really just a flavor of Atkins and has NO basis on scientific anything!! A few points about eating “what out ancient ancestors ate” through natural selection our jaw size has decreased greatly from that of early hominids and the plant foods that those hominids ate have been domesticated to have much larger seed heads and be easier to harvest and chew. So the exact plant foods of that marvelous Paleo time for the most part don’t exist. So what are the closest foods for a modern diet? Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables cooked very lightly or eaten raw, no refined flour but whole grain would be fine, nuts, seeds and 3-5 ozs. of meat or sea food once every 2 weeks to a month. Clearly, a vegetarian diet oriented to whole foods is really a LOT closer to what early hominids ate that the “Paleo” diet!

    • I respect your Masters in Anthropology but humbly submit that it does not translate to expertise in nutrition. I disagree that a modern analogue for Paleo era vegetation in the diet is whole grains. Grains are seeds that have evolved seed coatings to protect them from being eaten. Do a little research on lectins and phytates and you will see why I am suggesting this does not render them ideal foods. There is also the issue of glycemic index of many whole grains. Some of these have been pulverized for flour which results in having a moderate to high glycemic load, and this contributes to insulin resistance and weight gain.

      I am starting to suspect the idea that we because can’t exactly mimic a paleolithic diet, it can’t be paleo is a bit of a straw man argument. The real question, to my mind, is what results in our best health? There are too many people out there talking about reduced or eliminated bowel/gut problems and reduced/eliminated autoimmune issues such as rheumatoid arthritis not to mention weight loss to just casually dismiss the paleo diet. Everyone should have comprehensive blood work done as well as physical evaluations regardless of what diet they are on. That is probably the best way to know, along with feeling well and not having symptoms, to know that we are actually healthy and responding well to a diet.

      Also, paleo, the way I and many others do it, is not a jumped-up Atkins diet. I would say that my diet is about 75-80% vegetable and 15-20% meat/cheese (yeah, cheese is not paleo, I know) plus about 14-18 eggs a week. So, that puts me not too far from your percentages you list above. I, too, am not convinced that we are meant to eat vast quantities of meat since it seems reasonable that it wasn’t so routinely available “back in the day”. I kind of suspect that meat eating waxed and waned with the luck of the hunt.

  121. Thx for the great info on the site and comments. Im a vegi that is interested in the Paleo diet. However, i dont think i can go cold turkey on grains so i did some googling as to what is a healthier grain to consume. I read that the chinese foxtail millet is gluten free, anti-nutrient free, high protein, and low starch. My wife also told me that it is traditionally eaten by the chinese as porridge and is known to be very nutritious and comfortable on the digestive systems. Has anyone tried the chinese millet in their diet and how were the results?

  122. I came across your information at an interesting time. I have been on again, off again vegan for 10 years. Currently I am following a vegetarian diet, but have been struggling with weight loss even though I have switched up my workout routine and am really watching what I put in my body. I started researching Paleo diet on the recommendation of a friend. I was discouraged by the meat eating emphasis I found. I think I will try one of the variations and just be aware of the amount of fruit and grains I put into my body. Hope it works!

  123. I have no problem eating eggs, as long as it comes from a local family farm that does not practice any of the cruel procedures of corporate facilities. If you’re vegan, consider looking into that, especially if you became one to fight animal cruelty.

  124. “To me, the evidence that we are built to hunt and eat meat is pretty convincing.” …… BS

    We don’t have fangs or strong jaws designed to rip meat apart.
    We aren’t designed to digest meat raw unlike every other meat eater. It makes us sick.
    Our intestines are long, while other carnivores have short intestinal tracks meant to pass rotting flesh quickly.
    Or teeth designed are meant to grind foods such as leaves and plants and nuts.
    Our legs are not designed for quick and powerful chases like a dog, bear of cheetah.
    Our stomachs are less acidic than that of a carnivore.
    Humans developed tools not to hunt, but to reach and harvest their food sources quicker and build a shelter, much like large apes do in the jungle.

    The evidence is overwhelming… “yeah right”
    We are natural vegetarians. The PROBLEM with this is that every herbivore on the planet eats all day long. Horses and cows graze in the fields, koalas eat leaves for hours each day. Horses have some of the best physiques around being naturally muscular and lean. Humans haven’t adapted to eat meat at all. We have adapted a lifestyle that cuts our grazing time and deprives us of nutrients. Eating meat fills the hole but causes problems on it’s own.

    Anyone who reads this article needs to think twice about using it for advice.

  125. Is there an update post to how this went for you? Curious but didn’t find anything.

  126. I didn’t read all the comments to see if you’ve updated as to your experience with this style of eating but wanted to get your feedback on the experience.

    I’ve been eating organic, GF, Corn/Soy/Dairy Free, high raw, plant strong (occasional fish) for several years to heal my Hashimotos and was feeling amazing until the past few months when my hormones started wreaking havoc on my thryroid due to approaching peri-menopause. This caused my Hashi’s to become active again.

    After a great deal of research I’ve decided to adapt my diet to be free of grains, beans/legumes and all high glycemic foods to repair the damage the recent attack on my thyroid has caused to my gut and vitality.

    I have seriously considered adding clean meat back in to my diet (it’s been 12 years) but every time I see it in the market I can’t do it. I see the living creature in my mind and I can’t fathom what it would be like chewing animal meat. I don’t have the same issues with seafood for some reason.

    My plan is to do more hemp protein, sea food twice a week, peas and green beans plus all the leafy greens for protein. (I know that beans & nuts, even soaked have become an issue for me so they are both out. I think I can do seeds if I don’t overdo it. I just am not confident that I can meet my protein requirements (40-50 grams daily) with this and live the same balanced (non food obsessed) life I’ve been enjoying for several years.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

  127. Great article! I’m looking at experimenting with this eating plan in the near future also and for long endurance running in particular- i don’t see it being the “ideal” way- but i suppose once the body is using fat for fuel low glucose wont really be a problem- aside form the initial switch dramas. A high fruit and some nuts and seeds (which can be eaten raw) means no cooking and no high heat nutrient destruction. If our ancestors had to cook in a quick light optimal fire every 3-4hrs i can’t see that happening too often… Meat or not- i had eliminated all grains from my diet for 15 days- then reintroduced wheat and found stomach issues. Quinoa, millet, buckwheat and some oats etc would be better grain choices. Wheat aint what it used to be and was messed with around 6 decades ago :(. Cheers,
    ZAC

  128. Paleo and Vegetarian don’t even belong in the same sentence. Just shameful!

  129. I spoke with a young entrepreneur about his new product, sprouted almond butter. He explained about the value of sprouting, going into the effect of the antinutrient phytic acid. He recomended soaking the grains, e.g.brown rice and oats for 24 hours and said adding “some” acid removes a lot of the phytic acid. So your option 3 might also include grains along with the legumes.

    In this case, I’m practically back to my current diet of grains, legumes, and multi-colored veggies and leafy greens.

    SOAK

  130. Without getting too over analytical, here’s a much easier approach:
    - No magic – eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re not.
    - Fat leads the way, then protein, then carbs
    - Snacks to the rescue – always have some on hand
    - Hydrate by thirst (water, teas, coffee)
    - Intermittent fasting – a handy device

  131. Thank you so much for posting this! I really like the idea of the paleo diet, but I have been vegan for 7 years now and the thought of consuming today’s mass-produced meat makes me sick. I also don’t think I could kill an animal myself to eat. Options 2 and 3 in conjuction seem like a reasonable solution, and I am eager to give it a try. Thanks again!

  132. This is perfect for me! I’m trying to do a Primal/Paleo challenge with my gym but with only 1 kidney I can’t have more than 1 serving of animal protein per day. Your ideas have helped guide me so that I can figure out my own way to do it. Thanks! :)

  133. I have been eating a vegetarian paleo diet for years. I agree with a lot of the paleo theory, but ethically do not want to take a life to sustain mine when I don’t have to. I do however eat a lot of eggs. I was never able to understand the reason for limiting eggs in the paleo diet and wondered if that was because of the yolks. So I eat 12 egg whites a day and get my fat from other sources. Does anyone know if the limit on eggs pertains to the whole egg?

  134. Actually, there is an option: Spirulina! It is high in protein and its nutritional composition is closer to nuts and meat (high protein and fat / low carbs). Plus it has been farmed from ponds for centuries. Ostensibly, our per-agricultural ancestors could have access to it so long as they were near sea shores or lakes with conditions in which spirulina can easily grow.

  135. I am a pescetarian personal trainer and follow the paleo diet. I love it! I eat wild fish, organic pasture eggs and have a high quality vegan protein powder (Sunwarrior Warrior Blend). The rest of my diet consists of veggies (tons!), healthy fats (mostly from coconut oil and avocados) and a little bit of fruit. I have never felt better!

    • Nicole, if u don’t mind me asking, what macronutrient percentages do u feel best on? That’s bee a big debate among paleo and vegan crowds lately.

      I’d love to see what a sample days meals looks like for u. Can u also post a typical days bf, lunch, dinner, snacks? Seeing how u concoct this could help a lot of us struggling to find balance. Kudos for living so healthfully!

  136. Thanks so much for writing this article. I found it not only informative, but inspiring. You give me hope that our species will, someday soon, evolve past violence, alltogether. Awesomesauce. :)

  137. I live in Japan, and they believe your blood type is a big part of your personality and diet. I’m A+ and shouldn’t eat a lot of meat. A natural vegetarian, if you will. I mean, Paleo diet is based on the fact that we haven’t evolved in over 50,000 years? This is quite wrong.

    Type O was the first blood type and thrived with the big game hunters. But after most of the big game was extinct meat became harder to come by. This is when ancient peoples turned to cultivation and agriculture. Around 30,000 years ago cities were created and people farmed grains and raised livestock. This is where type A was born. The gut changed to handle this new city life and eat less meat. Type A lost the ability to be carnivores like the hunter-gatherers.

    I’m willing to bet most vegetarians are going to be blood type A and their bodies think different than the carnivorous O. This type of Paleo diet would be as toxic to them as the agricultural diet is to O. If you’re O and you’re a vegetarian you might want to go back to meat and the normal Paleo diet would be best for you.

    I think Paleo has the right idea, cut out processed foods and eat fresh. I’ll take that and use it for my veggie loving type A blood.

    • I’m type o and thrive on a vegan diet. Idk if blood type diet is valid for many people. What other animals eat according to their blood type? None

  138. Hey guys,
    I have been a vegetarian, vegan, and even raw food vegan. I tried this lifestyle because I weighed 325 and wanted to change. When I went plant based I lost 10 pounds but could not lose any more even with a strict work out regiment. In comes a friend who put me on to paleo, in 7 months I lost 78 pounds! I dropped from 42 pants to 36 waist, from xxl and xxl to large! Paleo works well this is undeniable! The carbs that many vegetarians eat are actually slowing them down, its far to much sugar from all the carbs and fruits. Paleo will take a little getting use to in the beginning when you spend your entire lives eating sugar producing carbs your going to feel a little off to start. But once you teach your body to work off of fat rather than carbs you get lean and mean. And guess what? You can eat as much vegetables as you want! The negative paleo propaganda makes many people believe that we just eat slabs of meat and fat all day but micronutrients are of huge importance on this diet! I even did a test a few weeks ago and did a typical vegetarian diet for a week, I GAINED WEIGHT and haven’t felt that tired and weak in a long time. I have nothing against vegetarians and if you are ablt to maintian the body compisition you want while being vegetarian than thats great but I know many fat overweight vegatarians(me being one of them) I definitely can’t say that I know fat palo people. Just my thoughts. Also remember how much processed, highly salted crap vegetarians eat like tofu, and other pre made vegatarian fare.

    • I have been stewing on this a long time…since I did my first high protein diet (anyone remember the Stillman diets? ;) ) at age 18. I’m now 61, have tried most diets on the planet to dodge a family history that gave my mom, aunt & both sisters breast cancer and much more. Since I posted before, I’ve placed 7th nationally in the US W60-64AG in the 1500 meters (and more, but won’t bore you here), and have placed in 62 5K or longer races. Yes, it would appear that high protein diets can accomplish quick weight loss results, but at what expense? The heart? Alzheimer’s? Sexual dysfunction (all those arteries are connected). I always say, blood tests never lie.

      As a certified personal trainer and running coach, I am finally getting “Paleo Vegan” published, ETA April ’14 by Book Publishing Co., which has published my other two books. I also say, generally different things work for different people. But I am delighted to find more and more women in my running age group and older have gone vegan to 1)lose or maintain a healthy weight 2)avoid arthritis (so many my age are dropping out because of that) 3)recover way more quickly than our meat-eating colleagues. I could write a whole book on that last point, which is why my 4th book on my 43-year-long fitness story is already getting offers.

      You’re right…it’s how you feel and look. I’m always getting pegged 10-20 years younger than I am. I’m told it is very rare for anyone with my sprint times to have ever finished a marathon (fast vs. slow-twitch genes/muscles). While my marathon times won’t break any records, I was the 5th oldest female to finish the last one I did. Most people my age who still compete say the goal is to finish without injury because we want to be able to keep this fit all of our days.

      A balanced vegan diet can absolutely work and provide energy and muscle to those who spend the time working at it while remaining injury/disease free until their 90′s. As Matt has written, there is much common ground between vegans and Paleo. But it is quite possible for those who want to remain vegan for a variety of reasons to incorporate the best of Paleo.

      Btw, personally, I lost 25 pounds going from Atkins to low-fat vegan. My cholesterol during that 6 months time went from 203 to 150 (all my blood work is posted as a Star McDougaller on Dr. McDougall’s website). I also was in the ER facing a hysterectomy from hemorrhaging fibroids that shrank so much upon returning to a vegan diet that I never needed the hysterectomy. Results are typical. ;)

      Given that everybody in my immediate family had heart disease and diabetes from a lifetime of heavy meat and sweet-eating, I fortunately had many docs telling me to do things differently. It’s worked well for me.

      I’m glad you’re finding answers in the short term. But I felt it was important to share for others who might see your post my long-term results after decades of trials and errors. I was a trained cooking instructor for PCRM’s The Cancer Project, and saw many others have all kinds of great results, including a student who lost 120 pounds in 8 months. The local paper ran her before and after pix/story. No money in broccoli, though. So sometimes it’s hard to get the word out. ;)

      • Gisela Fiege says:

        Hello Ellen , I applaud you for all you’ve accomplished.
        I have been on a low fat plant based diet since June 2013 lost 3 dress sizes dropped my cholesterol by 60 points and feel fabulous more so even then when I was a kid.
        Lots of heart disease and diabetes in my family history also. So I decided to head it off and
        make the change to better health before my body was telling me too.
        I do believe that eating plant based is the best way to live yet not every one is going to come to this conclusion. My other driving reason was also to help mother earth and our fellow creatures that suffer dreadfully before they end up on a plate. My whish goal is to take the Mc Dougall program so that I can have more responses to questions I get asked on a daily basis about my eating choices and if I’m sure I’m getting the proper nourishment eating only plants. :) I also whish some of my Family members would follow my lead to get healthy and off of all the drugs they have to take to function. It is heart breaking to watch knowing how they can heal them selves. I forget who said this ‘Let thy food be thy medicine” The most challenging thing though eating this way is not being able to go to restaurants with family and friends as there is little if nothing for me to order as I also do not eat oils or sugars unless in natural form as in avacado’s or the sugar from fruits. How is this for you?

  139. It my choice if I’m a vegetarian why does this person go make this whole thing just for vegetarians then hate on them at the end.

  140. No meat athlete – great blog.

  141. Thanks so much for this post! I just can’t stomach the amount of meat that you would eat on a paleo diet, both literally and figuratively (financially and in terms of the environment–although the Weston A Price foundation has different opinions on it). After doing a Whole30 (a paleo induction phase) I will try this for long term– and I think that fermented soy is so OK–the fermentation process adds so many vitamins and nutrients and bugs that pre-digest for us–so maybe having buckwheat and tempeh once a week won’t sink me!
    There are some great grain-free blogs out there that make the food so exciting and delicious. subbing a portobello mushroom for a cut of meat, or slabs of another vegetable and compensating the protein with the hemp protein powder or extra nuts.
    I think the main thing is to think of vegetables as our main source of sustenance, and that seems to be supported by every study that has ever been done!

    • I agree that vegetables are one of the main pillars of wellness. Just to clarify, though, many people eating paleo do not stuff themselves with meat at every meal. I eat about 5 servings of meat a week. Other protein comes from eggs mostly, seafood, and limited cheese. For most/many paleo eaters, two thirds of the plate are vegetables. One third is meat/seafood/eggs. I aim to eat 12 servings of veggies a day. For me, this is only accomplished by juicing veggies for 4-5 of those servings. If you want to do limited grains, the “safest” are rice, non-gmo corn, millet, teff, sorghum, quinoa, and amaranth. Good luck with your Whole30! You may feel so awesome that you decide to keep on keeping on. :-)

  142. I’m looking into going paleo and I’m a vegetarian – i’ve read what everybody else has said about how they modify it – very interesting! The majority of my protein now comes from greek yogurt – I understand the basis of the paleo diet, but how would this affect me? On a side note – I LOVE greek yogurt and also how it regulates my digestive system… it would be really hard to give it up!

    • Don’t give it up. Go read Mark Sisson’s website. He offers something very similar to paleo called the Primal Blueprint, and greek yogurt is okay! (One of the main differences between the two eating styles is that the Primal Blueprint allows for moderate amounts of high fat dairy.) Good luck in your dietary adventures.

  143. “If your only goal is health, I’d say you’d do well to eat an occasional piece of fish, or even wild land animals.”

    This is an idea I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Health is not my ONLY goal, but I’d be willing to eat an occasional piece of fish or an oyster or an egg (all pastured, “sustainable”, etc.) IF I could find some compelling and convincing reasons why doing so occasionally would actually be beneficial. How would you define “occasional”? How much, how often? What exactly would the tangible benefit be? How much would be enough to preclude the need for supplements? I posted a similar question in another one of your posts by the way. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  144. Humans did hunt without weapons for milenians. Research ‘persistent hunters’ in which man tracked an ran animals to exaaustion without weapons thus developing our run waking abilities and our capacity to sweat the way we do to enables us to run nearly indefenetly. ‘Born To Run’ deals with this subject among many other publications and research. In fact it is also believed that hunting without weapons and tracking was the human beginning of spirituality. No sources available w me but easily searchable.

  145. V Martinez says:

    Please be VERY CAREFUL about QUORN: do an internet search about it. I ate it, enjoyed it a great deal, but very quickly developed a sensitivity to it that resulted in a nearly fatal reaction. Blood pressure drop, severe GI symptoms, ambulance trip to ER. It’s somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of people with mold allergies can have a bad reaction to the stuff. Good luck and thanks for the awesome website!

  146. Thank you for this article. My food allergies make my diet resemble paleo (though I can eat a handful of banned foods) and I didn’t think vegetarianism was possible. Thank you for giving me some ideas of how to make it work.

  147. Barbara says:

    The statement near the top of the article, that Paleo is not veggie-friendly, is false. I own dozens of Paleo cookbooks, and they all include many vegetable recipes. It is true that it would be difficult (but not impossible) for a vegetarian to follow this eating plan.

    Some Paleo adherents do allow some dairy, if there are no digestion issues.

    The primary reason for the modern Paleo plan is that we have difficulties digesting certain foods. Legumes, sprouted, soaked, or not are NOT Paleo for that reason. If you regularly include legumes in your diet, you are lying to yourself to call it Paleo.

    To stay Paleo, vegetarians can stick to eggs, and possibly organic cheese if no dietary issues present. Vegans’ best bet is hemp powder protein.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Read – How to Follow the Paleo Diet Without Eating a Single Piece of Meat Also, read – Sports Business: The Brains Behind BeachBody’s [...]

  2. [...] How to follow the paleo diet without eating a single piece of meat [...]

  3. [...] hear about a diet that's extreme on the other side of the spectrum that also works. The Paleo diet (and its close relative, Primal) focuses on high-protein, high fat, and lower carbohydrates.  [...]

  4. [...] topic is addressed by Matt Frazie of The No Meat Athlete. The Paleo Diet, as you know, is based on the principles of what we are “designed to [...]

  5. [...] you begin a search online, one of the first places that comes up is the No Meat Athlete, a healthy and active vegetarian who discusses a no-meat Paleo option and the reasoning behind this [...]

  6. [...] Quorn starts life as a mushroom — specifically, fusarium venenatum. It is then fermented in vats, where it produces a byproduct called mycoprotein, which is then mixed with egg whites, flavored, and shaped into poultry-and-meat-like foods. Quorn products have zero cholesterol and less saturated fat than the real thing — although some products have more fat than others. Quorn was rated a “Best Bites” citation in Nutrition Action, the newsletter published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based nutrition watchdog group. “The new product is made from a fungus, but a darn good-tasting one,” the citation notes. Quorn can be sauteed, grilled, stir-fried, broiled, or used in burgers, and generally used as a meat substitute. There are other sources,low fat cottage cheese, fromage frais, and quark are all mentioned and permitted on the diet. Unlike vegans, vegetarians allow themselves these products as well as eggs (also permitted on the diet). These foods can be used liberally although with some restriction on egg yolks and milk.heres a link I picked up that may be usefull: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegetarian-paleo-diet/ [...]

  7. [...] you would like a little bit more information, look at No Meat Athlete’s post (How to Follow the Paleo Diet Without Eating a Single Piece of Meat, written by Matt [...]

  8. [...] diet (limit grains, sugars, dairy) and still be a vegetarian? I wonder. So I’m going to try a modified version of this whole Paleo thing for a few weeks and conduct a non-controlled study of one (very [...]

  9. [...] vegetarian take on paleo here Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

  10. [...] Paleo and being vegetarian – a Paleo vegetarian if you will. I found little, except for this post on being Paleo vegetarian by Matt Frazier. After reading it several times, I decided to [...]

  11. [...] MB: Fine. Google it. Me: Fine! I will! GoogleGoogleGoogle Me: Ah HA! MB: What? Me: Look! That No Meat Athlete Guy says it can be done. And he is HARD CORE Vegetarian. He might even be Vegan. MB: Okay fine. [...]

  12. [...] is a backer of the paleo diet. However, it should be stated that it is totally possible to be go paleo and vegan.  Paleo advocates getting rid of junk food, so it goes without saying that this would be a wise [...]

  13. [...] One vegetarian’s perspective on doing “Paleo” without meat – yep, you read that right. [...]

  14. [...] a more-than-regular basis.  We did some searching online and found some info about following the paleo diet as a vegetarian and some recipes to get us through the [...]

  15. [...] One vegetarian’s perspective on doing “Paleo” without meat – yep, you read that right. [...]

  16. [...] How to Follow the Paleo Diet Without Eating a Single Piece of Meat [...]

  17. [...] 22. No Meat Athlete Matt Frazier, the founder of No Meat Athlete, runs on plants. Franzier, who ditched the meat and still manages to be a speed and strength demon, writes how athletes can fuel up and lean out without animal protein. Probably the coolest recent post from one of his writers? The Paleo diet for vegetarians. [...]

  18. [...] but are vegetarian?? Here’s a post from Matt of The No Meat Athlete blog that details his experimentation into the Paleo world without taking a single bite of meat. The comments are really interesting as [...]

  19. [...] eggs. They’ll fill me up for hours. However, this isn’t Paleo Vegetarian (which has been successfully done many times), but Paleo VEGAN! No eggs for me! Instead, I grabbed the bulkiest convenient food I had: a giant [...]

  20. [...] No Meat Athlete :: How to follow the Paleo diet without eating a single piece of meat. [...]

  21. […] How to Follow the Paleo Diet without Eating a Single Piece of Meat […]

  22. […] didn’t exist). And also, it’d be way too hard (though not impossible:The Paleo Diet for Vegetarians) to go paleo vegetarian, as I also hate eggs – and I’d have to eat a lot of them on […]

  23. […] informative source as he took on the challenge himself for 30 days.  You can read more about it here.  I am seriously considering doing my own 30 day challenge. Mostly because I was motivated by […]

  24. […] you’re a vegetarian, then read this article for some tips on how to do paleo without […]

  25. […] Här kan du läsa mer om hur det fungerar att äta Vegetarisk Paleo. […]

  26. […] Yes, it is possible to be vegetarian and follow a paleo diet, it just requires that you be more mindful of your protein sources, which is important for vegetarians in general. You’ll be choosing vegetarian proteins instead of meat and poultry. And you might find that you need to modify the paleo diet a bit. You might find, for example, that including higher-protein grains (quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat) works for you. And/or you can include hemp seeds, lentils and soaked/sprouted beans. For more info, check out this No Meat blog. […]

  27. […] you’re a vegetarian, then read this article for some tips on how to do paleo without […]

  28. […] How to Follow the Paleo Diet without Eating a Single Piece of Meat […]

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