For many health enthusiasts, vegan and paleo seemingly don’t mix – one is based entirely on the power of plants. At the same time, the other is stirred by the diets of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, including meat. But, regardless of the difference, we believe that these can be effectively combined.
So, if you ask whether the paleo diet can be for vegans, vegetarians, and plant-based, too, the answer is yes. As long as you maintain an adaptable and playful attitude towards your food, the possibility of integrating elements from both diets is feasible.
In this article, we’ll understand the paleo diet along with a few more things:
A paleo diet calls to skip grains (both refined and whole), legumes, packaged snacks, dairy, and sugar in favor of vegetables, fruit, meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, fats, and oils. It is a dietary plan based on foods similar to what was available in the stone age.
It includes natural and unprocessed foods, fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats. Emulating this food concept with the foods available nowadays while increasing focus on high food quality and sustainability is the heart of the paleo diet.
However, it doesn’t mean that we are giving up our hard-earned standard of living just because we adapt to the paleolithic diet. This lifestyle is about taking the proven nutritional approaches, understanding what is good for our body, and integrating the paleo idea with the knowledge of modern science.
Paleo diet was easy for cave dwellers back in the paleolithic days as they were not tempted with thousands of processed foods we have access to now. This is where the challenge comes in for present-day humans since the only hunting we do is good deals at the supermarket.
Good deals meaning bread, cheese, yogurt, rice, candy bars, milk, chips, cereal, and so on, go in the cart.
But, the more you understand and adapt to it, the more you will realize that it is more than a diet. It is a lifestyle fitting for anyone wanting a healthier change.
If you wonder whether vegans, vegetarians, and plant-based can follow a paleo eating plan, the answer is simple – it is possible. However, with the pegan diet or plant-based paleo, you have to examine your health goals first.
Vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based diets are at odds with paleo – the previous advocates for eliminating dairy, meat, and fish, while the latter encourages eating meat and fish. Nonetheless, the root of these lifestyles ultimately lies in the same thing – eating whole foods and plants.
Veganism is a lifestyle that tries to exclude all forms of animal abuse and cruelty, whether for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Thus, the vegan diet is empty of all animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy.
The vegan diet has different types, but the most common are:
The vegetarian diet implies complete abstinence from meat, fish, and poultry. The most common reason for adapting to a vegetarian lifestyle is almost like the vegan’s, mainly for religious or personal reasons and ethical issues like protecting animal rights.
A percentage of vegetarians became such for environmental reasons. Recently, a study has been published about the increase of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production and its contribution to climate change and excessive water consumption.
Vegetarianism comes in different forms, each with its restrictions. The most common types are:
A plant-based diet involves eating patterns focusing on foods primarily from plants. It includes fruits and vegetables and nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans.
To put it simply, a vegan diet excludes all meat and animal products (meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy, and eggs); a vegetarian diet removes the meat, poultry, ﬁsh, and seafood. In contrast, a plant-based diet may choose to eat meat and animal products for different reasons.
The paleo diet adheres to food available only during the paleolithic times. These foods include vegetables, fruits, and meat and exclude dairy, grains, processed sugar, and food presented after the invention of agriculture.
These diets follow entirely different concepts and downright contradict each other. Thus, there is no general answer for it. Everyone has a decision for themselves with anything that they can find advantageous or disadvantageous for them.
The best question to ask is – is your current diet healthy?
If you are 100% sure it is, then good for you. But, if you are uncertain, then that means no. From there, you can decide which of the diets we’ve mentioned above can work suitably with your nutritional needs. It is crucial that you adapt to a diet appropriate to your personal and health conditions.
Vegan paleo or pegan is a result of combining the vegan and paleo diets. Strictly speaking, though, vegan paleo is not 100% paleo, but it doesn’t mean it is not a working diet.
See, a vegan diet does not contain animal or dairy products. It relies solely on plant-based foods. On the other hand, the paleo diet includes meat, fish, and eggs while leaving out grains and legumes. This contradiction raises the problem.
But, as with a lot of things, something has to give. If you are not strictly vegan, pegan diet may work for you. Fundamentally, pegan is the same as paleo. Only it deals with fewer animal products. While it has a similar focus on fruits and vegetables, it also includes certain grains to widen its nutritional value.
If you first assumed that going paleo and vegan at the same time sounds impossible, you are among a significant percentage of health enthusiasts still confused.
In spite of its name, the pegan diet is a unique kind of diet with its own set of guidelines. In reality, it is less restrictive than either paleo or vegan. The pegan diet emphasizes vegetables and fruits. But, intake of slight to moderate amounts of meat, certain fish, nuts, seeds, and some legumes is allowed.
If you think a more sustainable diet that you can follow indefinitely is what you need, rather than the typical and short-term ones, then the pegan diet is what you should practice.
When you do, make sure that you watch out for greens with a high glycemic index, as it can lead to a spike in your blood sugar level. Pick those with the least glycemic index possible. With the proper planning and discipline, combining both diets – becoming pegan can be successfully implemented.
Leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables
Starchy vegetables and fruits:
Photo from Veggie Lexi
Photo from NY Times
Photo from Fuss Free Flavors
Photo from Pickled Plum
Photo from So Vegan
Photo from Bake It Paleo
The global pandemic that is COVID-19 brought more and more people into eating less meat or completely giving it up. The reasons do not merely rely on how sustainable this diet is but its positive impact on the environment and how it is beneficial for the body.
Taking a healthy path with simple and delicious plant-based dishes allows everyone to make a small contribution to the environment. Going pegan is not about utterly preceding animal products but rather finding your balance and trying not to do too much at the same time.
Everyone can manage to eat healthily. It doesn’t have to happen overnight, especially that it usually doesn’t work that way.
Remember to take small steps and start slowly. It can be as simple as replacing your heavy breakfast of bacon and eggs with porridge or chia pudding.
We hope that through this article we were able to inspire you to take a step towards improving your health and the environment.
What diet are you currently on? How is it working for you?
Which diet are you willing to try or have second thoughts about?
What food can you easily give up? And what food can you never give up?
Share your thoughts about plant based paleo, paleo and plant based in the comments below!