Your Diet: Paleo OR Vegan
Posted in: Food
There are so many diets and so much information on their variations, so where do you start? This week, we will compare veganism with a Paleolithic diet.
What is Veganism?
Most vegans would define what they believe as abstaining from eating anything with a face or anything that comes from something with a face. In other words, they do not consume meat, meat products (such as gelatin), fish, eggs and dairy. The strictest vegans also don’t use honey or buy products made with wool, silk, fur or animal hide. A vegan diet abounds in cereal grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and of course vegetables.
What is Paleo?
The Paleolithic diet is often referred to as “eating in a primal way” because the theory is that we should eat food the way our ancestors ate before the agricultural revolution, that is, natural and unprocessed. The supporters of the Paleo diet abstain from eating grains, legumes and dairy. They do, however, consume meat (lean protein like chicken breast and salmon), eggs, nuts, seeds and fruits and vegetables. The diet is all about eating food in its natural form, which means that processed foods are out of the question.
Pros and Cons of the Vegan and Paleo Diets
Many people, Bill Clinton included, have touted the virtues of veganism. Vegans tend to have lower cholesterol, a lower blood pressure and lower BMI or body fat. Being a vegan also creates a smaller environmental footprint and resonates with those who love animals or are simply concerned for animal ethics, since the beginning of mass-production that was needed to support our current consumption of animal products there has been a rise in animal abuse and torture.
On the other hand, a vegan diet tends to be heavy based on carbohydrates (whether complex or simple), since vegans must consume a great deal of this energy source in order to meet their dietary need, especially protein. Moreover, although thought of as a healthier way to live, junk food vegans exist. After all, French fries are vegan and the number of vegan processed foods available has grown in response to the vegan trend. Since vitamin B12 is only available from consuming animal products (fortified cereals and nutritional yeast may help, but this claim is still debatable), many vegans suffer from B12 deficiency. Getting enough complete proteins and vitamin D3 may also be a concern for vegans.
According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman: “The primary benefit of a vegan diet is that the removal of animal products usually necessitates a higher amount of nutrient-rich plant produce. The cons of a vegan diet could be the inclusion of too much heavily processed food, including seitan and isolated soy protein, flour, sweeteners and oils.”
As for the Paleo diet, the advantages are that it emphasizes whole, unprocessed foods and good quality fats. Like vegans, it advocates for the elimination of dairy, which has been shown to be linked to a whole host of ailments. On the other hand, the Paleo diet throws the baby out with the bath water, because we have to process grains to be able to eat them, they say no to grains, although whole grains have been shown to be a part of a healthy diet. As beans contain lectins and phytates, they say no to this source of nutrition as well, although beans are full of satiating fibre and protein, not to mention iron.
“I think the Paleo argument of no grains is interesting and has some merit,” says Dr. Mark Hyman. “If you go with traditional grains, such as buckwheat, quinoa and millet, which have been around for 10,000 years, you’re better off. But gluten-containing refined grains, and modern dwarf wheat full of super-starch and super-gluten, can be problematic.”
Should you become a Paleo vegan or vegan Paleo?
The choice is largely personal. Dr. Mark Hyman advocates for an eating regimen that focuses on common grounds and incorporates the benefits of both diets:
- A very low glycemic load – low in sugar, flour and refined carbohydrates of all kinds
- Omit dairy
- High in vegetables and fruits
- Low in pesticides, antibiotics and hormones and probably no or a low amount of GMO foods.
- High in good quality fats (omega 3, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated) from quality sources such as olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados.
- Adequate protein for appetite control and muscle synthesis, especially in the elderly.
- Ideally organic, local and fresh foods should be the majority of your diet.
- If animal products are consumed, they should be sustainably raised or grass fed.
- Fish with low levels of mercury.
Image via Pixabay.com
Writte by MYC Writer Simone M. SamuelsSubscribe to UpdatesRelated Articles