Revised August 27, 2011 to clarify that you cannot be a Primal or Paleo vegan. Veganism will destroy your health, which is antithetical to Primal and Paleo.
If you are vegetarian for ethical reasons, I understand. Like many followers of Primal and Paleo, I have been vegetarian and even vegan. Can a vegetarian do Primal? Yes, you can. It is not a high protein plan. The Primal Blueprint is not a diet. It is a whole lifestyle.
Anyone can easily be on most of the Primal Blueprint.
Most of us can:
1. Move around a lot at a steady pace – avoid being sedentary.
2. Lift heavy things . . . some.
3. Sprint for 20 minutes on foot or bike or in the water a couple times a week.
4. Get enough good quality sleep and rest.
6. Get lots of sunlight or supplement with thousands of milligrams of vitamin D. One thousand milligrams per 25 pounds body weight.
7. Avoid doing stupid things.
8. Avoid poisonous things. For primal, that includes junk food, tobacco and the other stuff that health writers all tell you about. Unfortunately, it also includes grains and beans.
9. Use your mind. Keep it active, e.g. with crossword puzzles.
10. Eat lots of animals and plants.
I don’t agree that you have to eat lots of both animals and plants. Humans have thrived on nearly carnivore and nearly vegetarian diets. But in my opinion, you cannot do pure carnivore or vegan if you want long term health. However, each approach can be good for you in the short term. (See the video by Don Matesz below, which talks about the effects of vegetable vs. animal foods.)
You do need protein and saturated fat. You can get saturated fat from coconut oil and nuts, and of course eggs and dairy. You don’t have to get protein from meat. But meat can be raised in an ethical way that enriches the earth and provides excellent nutrition for humans (and other carnivores such as your cat.) You can argue about how much animal food paleolithic people ate. They did eat meat, all the way to our chimpanzee-like earliest ancestors. Vegetarianism is not paleolithic.
Veganism: Here are Mark Sisson’s ideas about being a primal vegan. In my opinion, long term veganism will destroy your health and eventually kill you. Veganism is based on completely incorrect ideas and is morally wrong. I encourage you to read The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. Here is Mark’s review and here is the first chapter. Keith’s mental and physical health were destroyed by veganism. She pushed veganism philosophically to the point of realizing that we are born to kill and be killed, eat and be eaten.
There was a post called Vegan No More by “Tasha,” who had been a radical vegan evangelist. Veganism destroyed her health. She chose to stop blogging and took down all her posts but you can read an interview here. (Her picture at the time of the interview has to be one of the most glowingly healthy I’ve ever seen.
Read through Primal and Paleo forums. You will find many more of us whose health was damaged by veganism.
Lacto and/or ovum vegetarian: You may get tired of eggs and dairy, but you can do it. Mark’s son is 100% vegetarian and has been since birth.
As for my kids, my daughter is omnivorous and my son is a dedicated vegetarian. Both follow basic Primal principles, with a bit of wiggle room, of course. The big bad guys are for the most part out, though – gluten grains, refined sugar, and vegetable oils. They’re healthy, happy, and active, so I’m not worried.
Beans can provide some protein. Be sure to use the traditional soaking method or buy Eden Foods ones. Think about adding oysters and other shell fish. So far as I can see, they are not much different from plants. They have no central nervous system. On the other hand, plants do react to injury.
Fish eater: Yes, I know that this is not really vegetarian. Mark’s wife Carrie is a pescatarian. Here is her blog about various things, including her diet of eating fish but not beef, pork, chicken, etc.
- “Ancestral nutrition: An alternative approach” (video) by Don Matesz, MA, MS. 2011 Ancestral Health Symposium. Chinese medicine-oriented “paleo.” Slides.
- “How to win an argument with a vegetarian” (video) by Denise Minger. 2011 Ancestral Health Symposium. Slides.
- Those Darn Vegetarians
- In Defense of Meat Eaters Part 1
- In Defense of Meat Eaters Part 2
- Did Grok Really Eat That Much Meat?
- Protein Amounts in Foods
- Ten Best and Worst Protein Sources.
- Escape from Vegan Island
- Beyond Vegetarianism
Clip Art Credit: Johnny Automatic