Paleo vs Vegan the War of the Diets

By Kelly Behr

Native Foods Cafe



One day one of my friends declared that her and her husband were now Paleo. I had no idea what this meant. I thought it was a new workout class they were taking since I knew he was super into cross-fit. She laughed and said, no, we are on the cave man diet. I was like the, what?! 

Well fast forward a couple of years and I, like most people, have now at least heard of the paleo diet. From what I had learned about it, it was pretty much the polar opposite of my diet…filled with meat. The idea is to eat more like a hunter-gatherer. (Except, to my knowledge, none of these people are actually hunting or gathering unless that includes fighting for a parking spot at Whole Foods and then gathering mass amounts of food in shopping carts).

The Denver Post just recently wrote an article, entitled the Tale of Two Diets comparing the two. You can read the entire article here. 

Author William Porter described the differences between the two: 

Paleo is  big on meat-derived proteins and unprocessed produce. It shuns gluten, legumes and refined cooking oils. Dairy products are also frowned on by some pro-paleo people.

Vegans avoid animal-derived foods such as meat, fish and eggs, as well as dairy products such as milk and butter. Even honey is off limits for purists. Proteins are derived from vegetable sources — including the "supergrain" quinoa — which, eaten in variety, deliver the essential amino acids found in meats. Bread is acceptable, though some anti-gluten vegans avoid it and certain other grains.

 They interviewed Rich Roll, a vegan athlete, who said his argument for veganism was that you do not need eat animal protein for athletic performance. When we interviewed John Salley, the former NBA player, he laughed and said if he would have subscribed to a plant based diet earlier in his career that he could still be playing today. 

Veganism, as we know, incorporates more of a lifestyle change. Where some people adhere to the diet alone a lot of vegans choose not to eat animal products for ethical and moral reasons. 

The paleo supporters are for pure health reasons claiming it can help lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This could seem counterintuitive as the article points out since it is a diet so rich in animal protein. But the supporters say it is all about eating more like our ancestors and not the readily available fatty meat we are often surrounded by. (I have a hunch our ancestors weren't eating as much meat as the average American either). 

I found this article interesting because when I first heard of the paleo diet I thought it sounded so ridiculous and that we were moving in reverse, I mean literally living like caveman didn't seem like where the future should be heading. But reading more about it just shows people are paying more attention to their health and eating clean. All of this helps, even vegans as we move towards being aware of what we are putting in our bodies and start implementing better practices for how we obtain our food and treat our animals. 



Read more: A tale of two diets: paleo vs. vegan – The Denver Post 
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