Experience Life Magazine

Paleo Vs. Vegan

Both Paleo and vegan diets have become popular in the last few years. But what are their pros and cons, and how might they affect your health? We assembled a roundtable of experts to make sense of the debate.

#1: Paleo Vs. Vegan

For generations, a great many Americans have sat down to dinner expecting to see more or less of the same thing: meat, potato, vegetable, bread. These days, it’s not nearly so simple. What you’ll see on any given table, and on any individual plate, depends in large part on how the eaters in question define their food ideology.

Today, popular eating styles vary — from hardcore vegan to anything-goes omnivore — and it’s not all that unusual for such differences to exist within the same family or tightly knit social group.

Sometimes that coexistence is harmonious; other times, not so much. That’s because eating is an intensely personal act, and one’s food choices might be based on anything from cultural and religious traditions to social norms, ethical and environmental concerns, nutritional principles, and aesthetic preferences.

Proponents of divergent food traditions have been known to defend them passionately and promote them with an almost religious zeal. And nowhere is this more evident than among advocates of two inherently different approaches to eating: veganism and the Paleolithic (Paleo for short) diet.

Unlike vegetarians, who may consume eggs and dairy, vegans eat only plant-based foods — eschewing any animal products. “Paleos” typically embrace foods that hearken back to what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate — such as grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, roots, tubers, veggies and, to some extent, fruits — while avoiding grains, legumes, sugars, processed foods, dairy (for the most part) and most anything else that did not exist pre-agriculture.

The clash between vegans and Paleos has escalated recently, with the release of dozens of books, blogs and documentary films making a case for one model or the other. Too often, though, the relative benefits and liabilities have been overshadowed by emotionally charged arguments and oversimplified science.

To better understand the precepts of each camp, we invited advocates from both sides to share their perspectives in a civil exchange. We also brought in a panel of well-informed medical and nutritional experts to help moderate.

Read on to discover how these two groups differ, what they have in common, and what makes sense for you. Who knows? You might take some tips from each camp. As integrative doc Mark Hyman, MD, puts it, “If you look at the science, there’s a lot of evidence for both sides. Paleo and vegan diets are not, in many respects, mutually exclusive.”

Vegans believe animal products cause chronic disease and that a diet high in veggies, fruits and grains is best. Paleos like veggies, too, but think that grass-fed and wild meats are important for health, and they believe grains, starches and sugars are the real health-killers. Who’s right? Read on — then decide for yourself.

Paleo Advocates

Nora Gedgaudas is a certified nutritional therapist and neurofeedback specialist in private practice in Portland, Ore. She’s the author of Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life (Healing Arts Press, 2011).

Robb Wolf is a former biochemical researcher who studied under Paleo-pioneer Loren Cordain. Wolf is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet (Victory Belt Publishing, 2010).

Lierre Keith is a writer, small farmer and environmental activist. Her book, The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability (PM Press, 2009), has been called “the most important ecological book of this generation.”

Vegan Advocates

Brendan Brazier is a former professional Ironman triathlete and the creator of an award-winning line of vegan nutritional products. Brazier details his plant-based diet advice in Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health (Da Capo, 2011).

Kris Carr is a New York Times best-selling author, wellness coach and creator of CrazySexyLife.com. Carr is also the creator of the inspirational documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer. Her latest book is Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It! (Skirt!, 2011).

John McDougall, MD, is a board-certified internist and founder of the McDougall Program, a 10-day residential wellness program in Santa Rosa, Calif. McDougall’s latest book, coauthored with his wife, Mary, is The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good! (Rodale Books, 2012).

Moderators

Joel Fuhrman, MD, is a family physician and nutritional researcher who specializes in preventing and reversing disease primarily through diet. He’s the author of several books, including Eat to Live: the Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss (Little, Brown and Company, 2011).

Mark Hyman, MD, is a family physician, the author of four New York Times bestsellers, and chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine. His latest book is The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now! (Little, Brown and Company, 2012).

Frank Lipman, MD, practices internal medicine with additional training in acupuncture, Chinese medicine, functional medicine, meditation and yoga. The founder and director of Eleven-Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, Lipman’s most recent book is Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again (Touchstone, 2009).

On Eating Animals

The Paleos Say . . .

Lierre Keith — “A Paleo diet is based on what humans and our ancestral progenitors ate. That would have been meat, especially the nutrient-dense organ meats and fat. It also would have included nuts, edible greens and some seasonal fruit. Wild meat is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and has a very different nutritional profile than factory-farmed, grain-fed meat, which is pro-inflammatory. Most Paleo people go to great lengths to get grass-fed ruminants, wild-caught fish or hunted meat rather than eat inhumanely raised factory-farmed meat.”

Nora Gedgaudas — “I personally have worked on behalf of animals for a good part of my life and am deeply passionate about suffering. I see nothing in any part of the way I eat that is incompatible with any of it. There is a cycle of life (and death) of which we all are a part, and my way of eating honors that. I will also add that the health of any meat is directly related to the health of the animal that that meat came from. Any meat from an animal fed foods unnatural to it (i.e., grains and other substances commonly used as filler), shot full of hormones and antibiotics, and forced into crowded, cruel and stressful conditions is not healthy food. This is a point upon which most Paleo followers, vegans and vegetarians can commonly agree. Many people think that the Paleo diet is all about mindlessly gorging on meat with few or no vegetables. I actually eat more vegetables than most vegetarians and moderate my protein intake.”

The Vegans Say . . .  

Kris Carr — “As I began to connect the dots beyond just my health, a compassionate plant-based diet became the cornerstone of my activism and my spiritual practice. This way of living doesn’t contribute to suffering — cellular suffering (caused by poor diet, lifestyle and environmental factors), animal torture and suffering, and planetary suffering (caused by the factory-farm system). And, all protein is not created equal — animal protein is highly acidic and not as healthy as plant protein. We get hung up on the misbelief that we must get a ‘complete protein’ from a single source. While mammal flesh is technically complete — meaning it contains all the essential amino acids — it’s also complete with a host of problems. The FedEx guy is a complete protein, but that doesn’t mean you should eat him. Eating a varied plant-based diet, on the other hand, provides plenty of protein in a safe and easy-to-digest form.”

Brendan Brazier — “There is a misconception about how much effort it takes to eat a vegan diet and avoid animal products. A lot of interests want you to eat meat and dairy, which has built misconceptions into our psyche. I was a victim of that for many years, but it’s not correct. If people saw how simply I eat and how little prep I put into my food, they would see how convenient it is.”

The Moderators Say . . .

“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.” — Joel Fuhrman

“Coca-Cola and potato chips can qualify as a ‘vegan diet.’ It’s important to understand that doing veganism well requires a fair bit of discernment to get a healthy amount of proteins, nuts, seeds, etc. If all you’re eating as a vegan is fruit and grains, you could easily get diabetes.” — Mark Hyman

Daily Menu

PALEO: Robb Wolf

“A ‘typical’ day is tough to pin down for me. Some days, I have leftovers from dinner for breakfast. Other days, I might have some grilled salmon with fruit, or scrambled eggs with greens. For lunch, I’ll have poultry or fish with a salad and sweet potato, and dinner might be pork loin and veggies in marinara over spaghetti squash. This changes based on what is seasonal and what looks good in the grocery store, what’s free-range or organic, and so on. Between meals, I snack on nuts and seeds.”

VEGAN: Kris Carr

“For breakfast, I have many options: organic vegetable juice or a green smoothie, seed pancakes, tofu scramble, sprouted-grain bread (or gluten-free bread) with almond butter or avocado, or millet porridge with peaches. For lunch and dinner I focus on vegetables: I might have a big salad or sautéed veggies with a tasty sauce accompanied by something like bean soup, a burrito, falafel, vegetarian shepherd’s pie, tempeh Reuben with sauerkraut, or a hearty root-vegetable stew.”

 

On Eating Grains

The Paleos Say . . .

Robb Wolf —“People who believe the prohibition of grains is extreme or unnecessary have managed to completely ignore the relevant research. When people put dogmatic
doctrine (veganism) ahead of science, no amount of research will change minds. If a conventional eater wanted to embrace a more moderate version of the Paleo diet, simply avoiding all grains, as well as all liquid calories (juices, sugary coffee drinks, etc.), would be a great first step.”

Nora Gedgaudas — “There is a dizzying ocean of literature in the field of immunology, gastroenterology, neurology and metabolic science pouring out right now and underscoring the adverse impacts of grains in all these areas of health. I would also say there is a lack of grasp of the depth and breadth of gluten’s devastating influence over more disease processes than I have room to list here (no fewer than 55 diseases are known clearly to be associated with grain consumption). The undeniable connection between grains and every manner of immunological, inflammatory, neurological and physiological disease process is literally overwhelming and deeply, deeply troubling. It is literally a public health catastrophe. According to the journal Gastroenterology, the incidence of full-blown celiac disease (the mere tip of the gluten-intolerance iceberg) has increased 400 percent in the last 50 years alone. No one who lives or breathes anywhere on this planet has a ‘grain deficiency’ . . . but countless millions suffer from the myriad potentially devastating effects of grains on their health, many of whom don’t even suspect the underlying culprit. What is ‘extreme’ is not the avoidance of grains but their unprecedented and unnatural prevalence in our modern food supply. We’ve only been incorporating grains for no more than the last 0.4 percent of our total evolutionary history (2.6 million years). We are simply ill designed and poorly suited to consume these foods.”

The Vegans Say . . .

John McDougall — “Cereal grains are currently the most important nutritional component of the human diet — and for more than 10,000 years, grains have been recognized as staples and were once extolled as ‘the staff of life.’ The most important support for my conclusion that we are close to vegan, primarily starch-eaters is based on an observation that you can easily validate for yourself: All large populations of trim, healthy people throughout written human history have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch. Examples of thriving people now and in the past include Japanese and Chinese in Asia eating rice, buckwheat and sweet potatoes; Mayans and Aztecs in Central America who ate corn; and Egyptians in the Middle East who once thrived on wheat.”

Kris Carr — “Refined grains act like sugar in the body and are not recommended. However, along with legumes, nuts, seeds, and a wealth of vegetables and fruits, whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, kamut, amaranth and others are filling, offer quick energy, are simple for our bodies to digest, and are a key component of a healthy diet.”

The Moderators Say . . .

“I think the Paleo argument of no grains is interesting and has some merit. 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.” — Mark Hyman

“When it comes to crafting your own eating plan, listen to your body. I think we are all biochemically unique, and there is no one right diet that works well for everyone. But for many people, both the Paleo and the vegan diets can work well, and there are aspects to both I like a lot, especially avoiding sugar and dairy [for most Paleos], not counting calories, and rather simply eating recommended foods. It’s important in the vegan diet to get adequate protein, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids and to not eat too much sugar or gluten. On the Paleo diet, try to avoid factory-farmed meats and only eat low-mercury fish.” — Frank Lipman

“The biggest potential benefits of a Paleo diet are that it is low-glycemic and it prohibits refined foods, concentrated sweeteners and processed grains — foods that are at the
foundation of our obesity and diabetes epidemic. It can be an unhealthy way to eat, though, if you’re using commercially raised meats, or if the ratio of plant produce to animal products is not high enough.” — Joel Fuhrman

On The Environment

The Paleos Say . . .

Nora Gedgaudas — “The idea of meat-eating being necessarily destructive to the environment is absurd (unless we’re talking about feedlot farming, which I would never advocate). The planet is filled with plentiful non-agricultural grassland that can be used for sustainably raising livestock.”

Lierre Keith — “The food I eat builds topsoil, requires no fossil fuel, supports local farmers who are my neighbors, repairs habitat and waterways, and sequesters carbon. In contrast, every form of row-cropping releases carbon. Indeed, agriculture marks the beginning of global warming. But grasslands sequester carbon at an extraordinary rate.”

The Vegans Say . . .

Brendan Brazier — “Seventy percent of land used in North America to grow food is used for animal feed. By growing it and passing it through an animal first, a lot of energy is lost. Yes, some plains are better suited to grazing and supporting pasture-fed animals, but if we all followed the Paleo lead and ate meat three times a day, we couldn’t meet the demand. There just wouldn’t be enough food for everyone without agriculture.”

John McDougall — “People who make the claim that agriculture is the most destructive thing people have ever done to the planet — and that it leads to deforestation of rainforests and destruction of prairies — are often overlooking the impact of livestock on the environment. The largest part of that deforestation is done to grow cattle, pigs, sheep and chicken for Westerners. The amount of land used to grow calories from animal food is 17 times greater than the amount required to grow the same number of calories from starches (potatoes, etc.).”

The Moderators Say . . .

“Reaching an optimal diet can be achieved in several ways. Some indigenous cultures like the Pima Indians ate a diet that was 80 percent plant-based. On the other hand, Inuits eat a diet that is 80 percent animal fat. Both are fine. If everybody is fighting with each other about what kind of foods we should be eating, we are missing the bigger picture of how industrialized foods are destroying the earth.” — Mark Hyman

“I advise all people to avoid foods that have been altered by processing or environmental toxins. You can’t assume that just because cavemen ate a certain type of food, that type of food is the same in this day and age. For example, Paleo fishermen caught fish without mercury, dioxin and sex-altering hormones, but it’s very hard to find clean fish these days, even if you catch them yourself.” — Frank Lipman

On Processed/Industrialized Foods

The Paleos Say . . .

Robb Wolf — “Modern foods bypass the evolutionarily evolved appetite-control mechanisms. Doughnuts, waffles, bagels and ice cream are pretty darn yummy. It takes a strong desire to be healthy to forgo these foods! If, however, folks are willing to give a Paleo diet an earnest try for 30 days, they find the cravings for modern, processed foods tend to decrease, and adherence is quite easy.”

Lierre Keith — “I destroyed my body eating a vegan diet. I now have a degenerative disease of the spine and an autoimmune disease. The Paleo diet is the only diet that has helped. The taste is so satisfying compared with the low-fat, hormonally disruptive soy glop laced with rancid industrial oils that I ate for 20 years.”

The Vegans Say . . .

Kris Carr — “I totally agree that processed foods are unhealthy. No matter where they come from. But processed foods are totally unnecessary. People often use them when transitioning to a plant-based diet because they are afraid to give up the idea and texture of chicken, beef, etc. But real food is the only food that will truly serve us. We don’t need meat or a meatlike substance at the center of our plates. Plants contain all the nutritional value we need.”

Brendan Brazier — “A vegan diet is so broad now and can technically include refined and processed foods such as vegan ice cream and vegan hot dogs. That’s one of the reasons I developed the Thrive diet, so that it’s not just about not eating animal products. There is a lot more in common between the Thrive diet and a Paleo diet than there is different between the two. I advocate for a lot of whole, unprocessed foods, and I’m not a big grain eater.”

From Disease to Wellness

All our Paleo and vegan sources are passionate about their respective diets’ potential for healing the body. For example, Robb Wolf says he came to embrace a Paleo style of eating because his vegan diet caused his health to degrade. Lierre Keith (a former vegan) and Nora Gedgaudas (a former vegetarian) had similar experiences. In contrast, Kris Carr embraced veganism almost a decade ago after being diagnosed with stage 4 vascular cancer (her tumors are currently dormant). Here’s a closer look at both Wolf’s and Carr’s “aha!” moments:

PALEO: Robb Wolf

“I became very ill eating a vegan diet. I had ulcerative colitis, IBS and a host of other problems. I had started eating a vegan diet thinking this was a healthy way of eating. At the time, I was a research biochemist, and someone suggested that my problems might be resolved with the adoption of an ancestral (Paleo) way of eating. Within a few weeks of adopting a Paleo diet, my ulcerative colitis was gone, as were my other health concerns. I’ve been eating this way for 15 years now and have experienced better health than at any previous point in my life. Although the Paleo diet advocates the consumption of animal products, it is a thoughtful way of eating congruent with both ethics and sustainability, and I make this a large part of the education I provide.”

VEGAN: Kris Carr

“I was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. After I thoroughly researched many diets and consulted top functional-medicine doctors, I determined the vegan diet was the best plan to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system and increase longevity. In the beginning of my diagnosis I was very symptomatic. Since changing my diet (reducing stress and exercising more), the quality of my life has improved dramatically. I feel healthier, have more energy and better blood work, I don’t get colds, and I no longer struggle with my weight. Cancer aside, my body was breaking down. At 30 years old, I had lots of health issues that I had learned to live with: terrible allergies, chronic bronchitis, infections, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol and a host of other problems. All that changed when I changed what I put on my plate.”

Rookie Mistakes

PALEO PITFALLS

Not eating enough veggies. “A lot of protein is not necessarily better,” says Nora Gedgaudas, who notes that she eats more vegetables than most vegetarians. “Eating sufficient ‘complete’ source protein is very important.” Also, she adds, if you are coming from a vegetarian or vegan background, “the biggest mistakes you can make are changing too much too soon and diving into consuming lots of meat before your body has readapted to the idea.”

Not being selective about the meat you are eating. Clean healthy fats from grass-fed or wild animals — not industrial, factory-farmed animals — are one of the foundations of the Paleo diet. Industrially farmed meats are considered toxic.

Presuming low-fat is better for you. “Assuming that the leanest possible meat and low fat are the ‘healthy’ way to go can result in fatigue and energy compromise along with aggravated carbohydrate cravings,” says Gedgaudas, who derives the majority of her daily calories from animal and other whole-food-sourced fats.

VEGAN GAFFES

Relying on meat-analog products. Many people transition to a vegan diet by loading up on nonmeat products that mimic the taste and texture of beef, chicken and pork. But you’d be better off avoiding these highly processed, soy-laden foods and sticking to plant-based whole foods instead.

Making a sudden switch. “I made the mistake of jumping in too quickly,” says Brendan Brazier. “Start with one meat-free, veggie-heavy meal or even one snack a day, like a smoothie. As you slowly start to incorporate more whole foods, your palate will change and the cravings will go away.”

Eating too much processed food in general. “Eat real food. Eat plants. Remember: The core of the words ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ is vegetables! You’ve gotta eat them to benefit from this way of eating,” says Carr.

For more on the Paleo-vegan debate:

 

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247 Comment to Paleo Vs. Vegan

  • Joshua Matthews says:

    You say: “Vegans believe animal products cause chronic disease and that a diet high in veggies, fruits and grains is best. Paleos like veggies, too, but think that grass-fed and wild meats are important for health, and they believe grains, starches and sugars are the real health-killers. Who’s right? Read on — then decide for yourself.”

    No. Vegans DO NOT believe that. Veganism is a lifestyle that avoids the exploitation of animals as far as possible. I has nothing to do with beliefs or health. A vegan MAY believe what you say but it’s not part of the definition. I’m not vegan for those reasons at all. I’ve been vegan for 36 years without once knowingly cheating. I’m healthy and I enjoy my food. I don’t eat or wear etc. anything from an animal for much the same reason that most people wouldn’t eat a human or wear the skin – Because the idea is repulsive to me.

  • Jay says:

    My take on it is Just don’t eat processed food and sugar (which includes bread and other spike blood sugar inducing food which causes diabetes and insulin induced body fat) thats the easiest way to view this. Just eat fruits veggies and (seafood or meat once a month or on a special occasion). Just like u do with processed cake on your bday. I’m not vegan vegetarian or paleo. Do you really want to eat processed tofu manufactured and processed to look like a square, have you looked at what a real soybean is suppose to look like. if it doesn’t look like that in nature don’t eat it. Don’t you rather eat turkey once a year with your family on thanksgiving or eat a little of what is offered at parties like a pastry on rare occasions or are you going to awkwardly excuse yourself and explain your vegan. i personally eat as much fruits and veggies as i can this is natures vitamin not the powder pill u pop to get vitamin c just eat a real orange. i juice veggies once a day, fruit smoothies at night instead of processed ice cream and i also eat one veggie loaded salad everyday. I shop at my local farmers market for fruits and veggies i stick to all natural diet with seafood and meat on occasion. What turns Americans off is that it can sometimes take up too much time to eat like this and we are just too busy to prepare meals, exercise and sleep so we rather catch up on the latest shows thats the real reason people are diseased and obssesed. People want convenient food you can pop in a microwave or you can get thru a drive thru thats the stuff that really kills you, its mostly all processed. Americans have chemically engineered food for quicker results and for an abundance of useless foods like fruit loops for profits stop giving your kid that just stop being lazy and get up early and make them a nice fruit smoothie. Yes and technically even organic and grass fed meat can still have disease because they don’t use antibiotics for the sick animals so there is a loop hole there you can still be eating meat from a sick cow but they were not fed antibiotics and they ate grass and therefore considered organic. My grandpa live till he was 94 and eat ate lots of fruits veggies meats breads but it was all HOMEMADE everything from scratch even if he was cooking for 4 hours there were no meals that can in packages he used real onions and garlic not the powder you find in stores. Now my father in law and almost everyone on that side of the family ate fried cheese in veg oil and meat for breakfast lunch and dinner and all snacks are dairy with maybe a handful a week of fruits and veggies and they are all dying of heart disease. Its your choose but i say eat more of natures real medicine and vitamins. I would say i too follow struck vegan for a year and it did not work for me too restrictive and not enough fat which makes you feel weak once i incorporated coconut oil olive oil avocado and flax seed oil I feel 100% better is not in the meat its in the fats your brain needs because your brain is made is mostly fat so you need it to function correctly. i now eat salmon, tuna with parsley and cilantro to detox the mercury out once a month and meat on occasion best way to go in my opinion.

  • My take in this is from a more practical viewpoint than moral or philosophical. I think both of these regimens if done correctly will produce long healthy lives. The difference is energy levels. A meat diet allows for higher energy outputs(interestingly not from the protein but the greater amount of saturated fat).You’ll notice the vegan lifestyle is typically accompanied with Zen,yoga,meditation,etc.. This goes hand and hand with a low energy lifestyle and will lead to a long,fruitful,and content lifestyle.It also has it’s advantages in our modern day hustle and bustle lifestyle to be that calm in the storm. That “storm” though may just be the paleo gal or guy next to you! This diet allows for higher energy outputs and greater strength gains and when(as typically is the case)accompanied with a low carb diet is also healthy. That same high cholesterol helped man evolve over the centuries and is only bad when oxidized with excessive carbs or rancid vegetable oils. There are people like 7th day Adventist to how us what a vegan lifestyle can do but as far as I’m aware of we have no modern day paleo life spans to compare with, although you do hear from and see a lot of 60 and 70 year old men and women with energy levels of people half their ages. We just don’t have any large groups of modern day paleo. So choose your lifestyle but in my opinion you can have either lifestyle when you’re paleo and are more limited when vegan.

    • Robert Gabado says:

      Says who? First off, correlation doesn’t equal causation. Your argument about veganism being “slower” could just as much go the other way – lions sleep 20 hours a day and they eat plenty of organic meat. I work full-time in construction and I eat a vegan diet. Second, there are many vegan sources of saturated fat, including coconut, chocolate, palm oil, and *gasp* fully hydrogenated oils. Third, a high-energy lifestyle requires extra calories and nutrients. When you factor in the cost of food, the vegan diet (not raw or organic) provides this easily.

      If you have any sources that support your argument, I’d love to see them.

  • Lauren says:

    I rarely comment on these boards, but wanted to add my two cents.

    I’m a 60 year old wife, mother and grandmother. I was diagnosed hypo-thyroid over 10 years ago, and am on Erfa (like Armour) meds. All my life I’ve researched and tried various health diets, since my weight was a challenge for me due to my thyroid issues. I was vegan/vegetarian most of my life, due to the influence of my grandparents, who lived to be 94 and 93; unfortunately, they died as a result of doctor intervention. They could have easily lived to be 100.

    I’ve done extensive research on the various types of diet, but I believe that it’s an individual choice, because everyone’s body is different, with different demands/requirements. My husband cannot survive for long on a strict vegan diet, he requires meat protein, due to his work being very physical. My weight came down to a slim size 3 on a vegan diet, but my energy suffered, my skin and hair were not healthy, and I looked anemic. So I started on a Paleo diet, with only grassfed, free range meat and chicken, which was really the only thing I changed regarding the type of food I consumed, since I’ve always been big on organic fruits and vegetables. My extended family always request that I bring my yummy green salad to our celebration dinners.

    I learned that my migraines, IBS and constipation issues were related to gluten, and I’ve been gluten free for nearly 2 years. My migraines have stopped, and I’ve only had two migraines in two years, I think due to stress now. My weight literally is not an issue for me anymore. I’ve also added more Omega 3 fats using organic flax seed oil and coconut oil.

    Now we follow a food plan of organic grassfed meat and chicken about 3 times a week, which provides us with protein and healthy fats that our bodies can easily assimilate, along with organic vegetables, beans, brown rice, and salads. We enjoy Indian spicy dishes, homemade wok cooked Chinese food, Mexican dishes, lots of variety.

    We make fresh fruit smoothies every morning, with coconut oil, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, which we also take to work for later in the morning. We also have an apple cider vinegar drink twice a day, as well as Flaxseed oil/organic cottage cheese dish originated by Johanna Budwig. For me, that is the most sustainable food combination I can consume; provides the protein and fats I need to get through the day, and maintain my energy levels.

    I also enjoy homemade muesli with oats, nuts, seeds, some dried fruit (not too much, as we closely watch our sugar intake) mixed with organic yogurt, or coconut milk.

    We also enjoy a cup of organic coffee with organic grass fed half and half in the morning. I am very careful about consuming processed foods, GMO foods, HFCS, absolutely no soy, and only a small amount of dairy, which includes grassfed Kerrygold unsalted butter for our vegetables. By the way, the salt we consume is ONLY Himalayan salt because it has the minerals we need and much healthier. And I also use food grade H202 (hydrogen peroxide) in our morning juice.

    We have a small garden, but do a lot of shopping at our local farmer’s market, and get the grass fed meats/chicken at Trader Joe’s. For the two of us, our food bill may be high for some people, but then maybe not, since we don’t buy any junk food, sodas, chips, etc. I prefer to spend the money there rather than at the doctor’s office/hospital. I consider it an investment in our health, and do not depend on my health to come from Rx or the dr.

    I consider myself very fortunate to still be healthy (despite my thyroid issue, which I consider to be a result of growing up on flouridated, chlorinated, chemicalized city tap water in the ’60s, 70s, and 80s, plus processed food), still working full time, and looking forward to a long life. I never thought I’d live this long, since my mother died of a debilating paralyzing disease, and my father died of leukemia. My husband’s sister has been dealing with cancer for 14 years. So my focus has been an anti-cancer diet.

    Combine all of the above with daily fresh air, sunshine, exercise, meditation and Quigong, Prana Healing techniques, and occasional fasting… I will never stop researching and learning, but am very grateful for what I have learned, and am happy to share with anyone who wants to learn as well.

  • Alyssa says:

    Raw vegan is the only way people.

  • Adrienne Coulter says:

    I’ve always thought the vegan diet was the best diet. I read about gluten so I cut out all wheat products. My bloating stopped and I’ve lost weight dramatically in 2 weeks. I also stopped all meet for ethical reasons. I was told about the paleo diet and have been researching since.

    I looked at statistics from WHO. I looked at death rates from different countries from heart desease and cancer. Kiribati has the lowest cancer and heart disease in the world. Their diet is mainly sea animals, yams. They don’t have much land to grow veggies etc. However they have the highest incidence in the world of Parkinson’s disease.

    My father smoked 60 cigarettes per day and drank at least 6 glasses of white wine per day everyday and at 65 had diabetes. His brother at the same time who has never smoked or drank also got diabetes at the same time.

    Diet is important but needs to be looked at on an individual basis.

    Personally I think sugar and wheat are killers.

    Look at countries with the highest cancer and heart problems and there staple diet could last, wheat and dairy.

    I don’t have the answers for every human but I think a balance is needed.

  • Joe Cooper says:

    After being a farmer (grain, livestock, dairy) I have completely given up all animal products in my system. I have also never felt better and I finally have my weight under control. I have found that with others the underlying issue is whether they like meat or not. Meat lovers (as I used to be) have a hard time giving up meat because of their love for it. And some vegetarian and vegans have gone back to it. I have found that virtually every time, they loved meat and wanted it. Let’s just let the facts stand for themselves: Study after study shows that vegetarians and vegans (provided they do it right and have no other bad habits such as smoking) are the healthiest and live longer. If that is our goal, how can we argue against that? Would we not want to endorse it rather than debunk it?

    Let me also point out that the original diet was not the caveman diet. It was a diet as found in the garden of Eden and that was complete plant life. It was not until after the flood that we were given permission to eat meat, but then only certain classifications. And of those classification, we were asked to not eat the blood or FAT. What was left was tough shoe leather, or what we call jerky today. Remember they also had no refrigeration. When we were given permission to eat meat after the flood, we were warned “but of your blood I will require it.” True enough, our lifespans dramatically decreased. Whether you believe the Bible or not is your business, but everyone understands this book was written long before any other book. I realize that many people want to leave God out of it, but in so doing we turn to humans for his or her “expert” analysis. That just leaves one little problem. There is a vast population on this earth, and each person has an opinion.

    For those who advocate consumption of animals for the “healthy fats”, you must understand that those animals got their “healthy fats” from plant life. If we eat it we are only getting those “healthy fats” second hand. It’s like we are eating used food. Furthermore, to eat lean meats because there is less fat is basically saying the fats in animals is unhealthy to begin with so it is necessary to limit the fats. That is like saying it’s safe to play Russian Roulette with only one bullet in the chamber, and while we are at it we can carve the bullet down to 1/16th its size. Or that we can play hand grenades with only one piece of shrapnel in the grenade. Well, I’m still not playing Russian Roulette or hand grenades just because we have a safer version of it now.

    If we are really wanting to go back and do things the way the caveman did things, why stop at his or her diet? We should also increase our physical activity akin to the caveman’s activities. Furthermore, if man is so intelligent that we look to nature to figure things out (flying, building, swimming, etc), why not look to nature to figure out how to eat? Among the meat eating animals, they have sharp, pointed teeth and claws for the ripping and tearing of flesh, and that flesh is eaten raw, not cooked. Our teeth and nails are the vegetarian style animals. Our intestines are 7 times longer than our bodies when stretched out. Meat eating animals have intestines only 3 times longer which is necessary for the quick expulsion of the meat so that it dose not linger in the system, and they have more acidic digestive fluids for the quickest digestion of the raw meat. Furthermore, humans (we are so smart right?) are the only species to drink milk past infancy and from other sources right? Wrong! The domestic cat and dog drink milk from other sources as well. But guess who is feeding them? Now you can go out into the wild and you will not see a member of the wild dog family or cat family (coyote, lion, etc) drink from each other. It’s only when humans, with all our supposed intelligence goes against the laws of nature that this is accomplished.

    The bottom line, however, is that no one can really be convinced of which diet to adhere to. I’m sure that all the meat-lovers who read this piece will have their defense mechanisms kick in and come up with reasons to avoid these arguments just as I did for 20 years. It comes down to a personal choice. If I choose not to allow my body to become a burial ground for dead, rotting animals, that is my choice and my business.

    • Yolande says:

      Ignoring all philosophical arguments about animal cruelty and what we were “evolved” to eat and so on … (and I have an opinion, but I’m not going to blurt it out here or attack anyone who disagree with me)… lets look at the diets from a straightforward “what-do-they-eat” view point:

      Paleos: eat vegetables, fruit, nuts and meat and eggs (no highly processed/high-glycemic/high fat junk food, no dairy, no grains and legumes). They generally seem to feel great and loose weight.

      Vegans: eat vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains and legumes (no highly processed/high-glycemic/high fat junk food, no dairy, no meat, no eggs). They generally seem to feel great and loose weight.

      The two diets have more in common than not. Seems that neither grains nor meat and eggs are responsible for causing ill health and obesity as proponents of both diets claim better health and weight eating either grains or meat and eggs. The real culprits seem to be “highly processed/high-glycemic/high fat junk food” and dairy. Seems to me that everyone will likely benefit from cutting out these two food groups.

      What would one call a diet consisting of fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, legumes, meat and eggs, but no dairy and dairy products?

      • rikki says:

        Finally someone makes intellectual sense without arguing for either side but simply
        By stating the facts and making keen observations

        • kitsy says:

          “The real culprits seem to be “highly processed/high-glycemic/high fat junk food” and dairy. Seems to me that everyone will likely benefit from cutting out these two food groups.”

          I totally agree. I’ve tried both diets (for a short while), but missed their so-called forbidden foods. I think that as long as we can keep veggies and fruits as the main players, a little from both animal products and grains/legumes can be very healthy. Definitely stay away from dairy foods and the processed slop with the fifty or more ingredients.

  • Melanie says:

    I was vegan for four years, I recently tried paleo, I was skeptical at first but I am all about experimenting, especially since I have had bad bloating my whole life. It was a little better when I went vegan and I though I was cured. Well, I wasn’t and after the whole ” Vegan is awesome, I feel so much better I never get sick” thing was over after about 4 years I realized, “No, I cold feel better” I came is across paleo and tried it. Almost instantly I no longer looked pregnant after I ate! My family enjoyed the food more and I actually spent LESS on groceries. I didnt eat a lot of fake processed foods when I was vegan either. It is hard to eat meat sometimes because while I was vegan I leared how bad it was and I actually think about what I am eating, but its the circle of life. Factory farming IS NOT. But we are at the top of the food chain, we just have the feelings to process is more. It’s life. It sucks what people have turned it into but when I have hundreds of peoplne curing their diseases with paleo, it makes sense. It cures more than vegan ism. And I havent heard one problem like i have with being vegan. I agree that animals are treated terribly. You dont have to buy factory farmed meat. Vegans feel better because they started eating more veggies. Paleos started feeling better because they ate more veggies. pattern here? Our ancestors didnt eat this or that, well they didnt eat fake soy sausage either and your bodies not meant to digest that either so isnt it the same as saying our bodies cant properly digest meat?? Unless you’re eating berries and twigs nothing you eat will be okay with anyone. And even then, that would probably be a problem too.

  • Dolly says:

    I have been Very intrigued by this subject. Must say, I google imaged each of the pro vegan and pro paleo people. Whoa!! Pro vegan look way better to me from a purely vain standpoint. They look leaner, their skin has a brighter complexion, they have clearer eyes…. Just saying!

  • Steve L says:

    This whole setup is complete shite. The moderators are anything but neutral in this. They still harp on the old bugaboos of the dangers of veganism while being obviously pro-paleo in the form that they believe that eating meat is not only desirable but necessary. Even in stating the benefits of veganism, they completely do a backhanded pro-paleo statement. The only benefit to veganism is that you are eating more vegetables? How about the TONS of fat and cholesterol and inflammatory proteins your are ingesting with meat? How about the fact that getting rid of THAT can be beneficial? Biased claptrap from the moderators.

    Oh, and I guess you have to be rich to eat paleo. Grass fed and wild meat is about twice as expensive as the factory farmed meat. And I guess our ancestors were incredibly successful hunters based on what Robb Wolf eats:

    “Other days, I might have some grilled salmon with fruit, or scrambled eggs with greens. For lunch, I’ll have poultry or fish with a salad and sweet potato, and dinner might be pork loin and veggies in marinara over spaghetti squash. This changes based on what is seasonal and what looks good in the grocery store, what’s free-range or organic, and so on.”

    Only an idiot would think that this is anywhere close to what our hunter gatherers would have been able to catch on a daily basis.

    Paleo is basically Atkins in a dress and with lipstick on.

    • Nick says:

      the adkins/Paleo comment is complete ignorant BS., paleo is NOT low carb. thats just the beginning of the differences. educate yourself and stop the stupidity. as well as the VEGANS look better compliment, sure the authors may not completely practice what they preach but look at all the Paleo eating CrossFitters and Vegan CrossFitters, Paleo athletes look way better and more muscular. humans are NOT herbivores by biology, you all need to get educated. there is a DIETARY requirement for Cholesterol to make neurotransmitters such as Seretonin in order to feel happy. you can’t get cholesterol from plants, its only made in animals, not to mention the healthiest fat for humans is WILD fed saturated fats, nearly ALL hormones are manufactured from this fat and almost every cell makes it in small quantities to survive without food. it comes down to WHAT is BIOLOGICALLY appropriate, just as a loin is an OBLIGATE CARNIVORE, we are natural Omnivores and should live more like Gatherer-Hunters, not meat EVERYDAY (would have been too unpredictable) but maybe every other day. there are so many uneducated comments on here that prove 99% of you people only have Opinions, not science based facts. get real research on the human animal.

      • Rachel says:

        Watch this, you seem educated (no sarcasim) and I’d like to know your opinions.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UROxRLbVils

      • Will Wong says:

        Nick’s single paragraph summed up the topic more than the entire article. #GrainBrain #moreveggies #lessmeat #nowheat

          • Kye says:

            …and I almost forgot. At 40 something, my cholesterol is now a balmy 180 compared with 280 when I was in my twenties and a militant vegetarian. You do the math.

          • Kye says:

            I agree with Nick and have some real life experience to back it up.
            After being a vegetarian for years and still having a total cholesterol of 250-280 in my twenties, I rode the rollercoaster of vegan/raw/ovo-lacto/atkins etc. ad nauseum trying to get fit, healthy and to get those numbers down because of a family history of heart disease. Like one of the paleo advocates mentioned above, I ruined my health eating a vegetarian soy rich diet and developed Hashimoto’s Thyroidits after giving birth to my first child. I am now convinced that years of soy milk, tofu and processed soy meat substitutes destroyed my thyroid.
            My mother gave up gluten after a lifetime of inflammatory illnesses and magically her migraines stopped, the psoriasis cleared up and now when she consumes gluten there is an immediate and dramatic reaction.
            So at her suggestion, I gave up gluten, dairy, corn and other typical allergy inducing foods and started eating vegetables and meats (liver, pork, chicken, fish, beef, eggs) and little to no sugar of any kind aside from the occasional berry or low sugar fruit like melon and citrus. No sugar added nut butters and seeds and nuts are also in there. Sweet potatoes are a staple, and the occasional yukon gold or pile of brown rice hasn’t made my head explode, but I don’t eat those things unless it’s impossible to avoid… when I have no other option.
            I have never felt better or been more fit. I lost an insane amount of weight in just a couple of months with no increase in my exercise routine. I think it’s all about balance and not getting too militant about what you eat. Processed foods are the killer, however. No question there. I juice low glycemic fruits and vegetables some days, avoiding meat altogether, and drink smoothies using high quality non-whey protein powder. I don’t eat meat like one would on an Atkins type diet. He died of a heart attack, right? You can’t live on bacon and eggs, but you can live on a balanced Paleo diet and live well. I used to eat tofu shirataki noodles as well but I have given up soy altogether with the exception of tempeh on rare occasion. Spaghetti squash is a natural food… processed noodles made from soy are not!!
            Footnote: What I notice is that many recipes that are vegan are also paleo and vice versa. For example: When you gotta have something sweet, make a stevia sweetened almond or pecan or walnut crust using a blender or food processor (lots of recipes like this can be found online) and fill it with a concoction of blueberries, cinnamon, stevia and lemon juice. A healthy diet without deprivation is key.

  • Many people think that Paleo dieters and Vegan dieters are polar opposites. This is not true. If you think about it when hunter gathers failed to succeed in a hunt they were in essence vegans.

    In the modern world both diets have their place and I can see both sides arguments.

  • Jess says:

    I follow a paleo diet, yet only eat (grass fed)meat about 3-5 times a week, but now after reading all this debate I am so bloody confused as to what’s right! I’m just going to continue with my gut instinct of what feels right and stay paleo! I guess everyone’s body reacts differently to certain foods so if vegan feels both morally and physically right keep at it! same goes with paleo.

  • Jesse says:

    Can’t we all agree:

    1) Eat stuff that your ancestors would have eaten.

    2) Eat low glicemic index foods.

    3) Eat anti-inflamitory foods.

    4) Animals should be treated better.

    We’re mostly all in agreement.

    Ultimately, I think the paleo is more rational because it’s evolutionarily based. The vegans work from an emotional point of view (ie, meat is the devil)

    But still, we’re all at least thinking about it.

    • Sabby Lou says:

      1.) Your ancestors ate close to 104 grams of dietary fiber, and burned up to 3800 calories a day.
      2.) Get rid of added sugar, period.
      3.) Eat anti-inflammatory foods, which include animal protein, which is difficult to digest, and often fed foods that are also highly inflammatory. Whatever that animal was fed, you are eating too.
      4.) Animals deserve to live, too. Torture bad, suffering bad, murder bad. And intentionally breeding them (250 billion annually), just so we can slaughter them, is horrible. When you buy meat, ANY KIND OF ANIMAL FLESH, you are supporting violence against animals, period.

      Vegans are coming from a compassionate perspective. Compassion is something we all felt as children, until society and our parents limited that compassion to only certain animals.

      Vegans don’t always become vegan because of emotions about the violence against animals.
      Many became vegan due to health issues, or environmental responsibility.

      So if you are confused about the health aspects, that is one thing. But if you are confused about what is morally or ethically responsible in terms of wasting valuable natural resources on raising animals on a planet that cannot sustain itself any longer, then I think as long as your behavior is in alignment with those beliefs, then you can sleep well at night.

      And if you can’t watch Earthlings through to the end, then you probably shouldn’t be contributing to its content. http://earthlings.com

      • dan says:

        Congrats on completely missing the spirit of the article for pushing your agenda.

        • Zen says:

          Thanks for not reading that the person’s comment was in response to another person’s and was a relevant comment — not pushing an agenda.

          • Nick says:

            its always the Vegans trying to push their agenda, they all think they are doing sooo much for the environment so they feel high and mighty, except guess who does MORE for animal conservation than ANY vegan ? HUNTERS !!! yes, thats right, every animal conservation organization was started and run by hunters, because they actually know the animals intimately, they have seen and felt their spirit and majesty, something vegans only read about. try reading Steve Renellas book “Meat Eater”. also the “Politically Incorrect Guide to Hunting” , you Vegans may learn something if you try reading ANY other book besides your “Vegan Bible” AKA the China Study. as far as sustainable meat, 80% of Humans live on like 20% of the land, there is SOOOOOO much wild plains and grasslands to feed HEARDS of Buffalo, which we might still have if our forefathers weren’t stupid and killed them almost to extinction. there is no reason EVERY human can’t eat and sustain a healthy Paleo Nutrition program, instead of Vegans always using Animal Rights and feelings or “environmental” reasons, PALEO people push BIOLOGICALLY APPROPRIATE diets. whats healthy for the human animal is Paleo in various ratios of Macros for different people, nuff said.

  • David says:

    Traditional diets have varied in style across the world. Obesity and ‘diseases of affluence’ only started to accelerate as intensively-farmed, processed food degraded our food. Anyone can improve their health by simply eating a real, wholefoods diet, whether that includes meat or not.

    However, when I was vegan for a while in the 90s the importance of supplementation was stressed – veganism was an animal rights issue and it was tacitly acknowledged that it was an avant garde diet. No traditional societies anywhere were ever vegan. Now of course huge claims are made for veganism that never were 20 years ago, at least not in the mainstream.

    While brief veganism can feel detoxifying (if it isn’t filled with processed soya junk) the lack of some key nutrients, after a while it feel me listless and weak. I struggle a little with anxiety and veganism seemed to amplify this dramatically. My stamina and concentration levels also dropped. A few vegan friends that are careful with supplementation appear to thrive but, I have to admit, too many vegans I’ve met meet the too-thin, pasty, half-asleep stereotype.

    After being vegetarian for almost 20 years, in my mid-thirties and feeling tired, weak and constantly stressed (the lack of sleep caused by two small children had compounded existing issues) I decided to try meat-eating again. I was already largely wholefoods-based gluten-free and this had brought benefits, so I was curious about experimenting more with my diet to see to what it extent I could feel even better.

    Within a few days of eating organic meats with a gluten-free largely ‘paleo’ diet I was obviously feeling much improved. I had more stamina than I’d felt in years. Also, my stress and anxiety levels were coming under control – work pressure, a nagging partner, a claustrophobic traffic jam all seemed less teeth grindingly awful.

    After a few weeks I managed to reduce my modest coffee intake. I knew ditching coffee would be good for my stress but I couldn’t get moving without it. The Paleo diet meant I had something else to give me drive. I’m now just a social coffee drinker.

    Paleo is a diet that works for me, and one I have and will sustain long-term. The increased energy and the stress-reduction has been remarkable.

    • Mark P says:

      David, I agree with you. These diseases of affluence have not appeared until recently. Grains are a huge part of this, I believe, as well as heavy-usage of PUFA-oils.

      There are the obvious flaws of the vegan (cutting out key nutrients, proteins, and fats), but I also believe the typical “paleo diet” is flawed as well. By typical, I mean low-carb, limited fruit, just meat-and-veggies approach many people take with paleo.

      A lot of people seem to feel sluggish and crappy after a while, just like you did, after cutting out carbs.

      I’ve mused over this before, and discussed a guy who did both vegan and paleo, and now does something that is seemingly both but neither. (This is the post http://www.brainbodybelly.com/2013/06/19/paleo-vs-vegan/)

      I think a higher-carbohydrate, modified-paleo could potentially be the most optimal diet. This is speculation and opinion, though.

  • Cyndy says:

    Why not survey what the oldest people on earth have been eating all their years? Some are Japanese who eat lots of vegetables, seaweed, fish, rice, and soy (both fresh and fermented). Then there are the ones in the Caucasus who eat a lot of yogurt. A French woman who died a few years ago was the longest-lived….wonder if she ate a lot of cheese (I don’t know). It seems to me that humans can eat many different kinds of foods and live long.

  • Seth says:

    In no point in human history has there ever been a completely vegan society. Our bodies can deal with grain, but only in desparate circumstances like a famine. Makes sense why our ancestors held grain in high regard, but, 10,000-15,000 years is hardly enough time for our bodies to evolve enough to support a vegan based lifestyle. Our brains and bodies are still operationally the same as our paleolithic ancestors. Its funny, humans almost need a manuel to operate their bodies properly. This is what happens when thought and reason overwhelm instinct, as eating should be simple. I dont see cows with this problem until they encounter humans that want to fatten them up with grain.

    • Adam says:

      Why lump problematic grains such as wheat, rye, and barley in with rice, oats, and some other less common grains?
      Isn’t meat consumption for desperate times, considering that human anatomy is more similar to herbivores than carnivores?
      “Our bodies can deal with grain, but only in desparate circumstances like a famine.”

      • Ben says:

        “Isn’t meat consumption for desperate times”… I don’t even know where to begin. Does soy/tofu have all the vitamins and minerals like vitamin b12 pottasium vitamin k2 preformed vitamin a vitamin e phosphorus and a host of others… Didn’t think so. Did you know, that red meat is higher in every single micronutrient than an apple except for vitamin c, and organ meat(which is highly encouraged on paleo) is ten to one hundred times more nutrient dense than red meat on top of that. And about meat raising cholesterol, plaque in the arteries isn’t even caused by cholesterol itself, it’s caused by inflammation of the arteries, which is caused by chronicly high insulin(and with the astronomical amount of carbohydrates vegans eat, I wouldn’t think chronicly high insulin is that hard to achieve). And where are your omega 3s coming from, and don’t say flax or chia or hemp, because that’s alpha linoliec acid, not DHA or EPA which are the fatty acids that actually have the benefits. I could go on all day about all the things wrong with a vegan diet, but this comment is already pretty long so ill just stop now

        • Blargh says:

          Oh, look at this. . . more LDL denialisms supplemented by absolute ignorance about the role of inflammation in heart disease.

          http://www.lecturepad.org/days

          “Let’s get rid of the nonsense seen all over the internet that atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease, not a cholesterol disease. That is baloney-with the reality being that it is both. One cannot have atherosclerosis without sterols, predominantly cholesterol being in the artery wall: No cholesterol in arteries – no atherosclerosis. Plenty of folks have no systemic vascular inflammation and have atherosclerotic plaque. However clinicians have no test that measures cholesterol within the plaque – it is measured in the plasma. It is assumed, that if total or LDL-C or non-HDL-C levels are elevated the odds are good that some of that cholesterol will find its way into the arteries, and for sure there, are many studies correlating those measurements with CHD risk. Yet, we have lots of patients with very low TC and LDL-C who get horrific atherosclerosis. We now recognize that the cholesterol usually gains arterial entry as a passenger inside of an apoB-containing lipoprotein (the vast majority of which are LDLs) and the primary factor driving LDL entry into the artery is particle number (LDL-P), not particle cholesterol content (LDL-C). Because the core lipid content of each and every LDL differs (how many cholesterol molecules it traffics) it takes different numbers of LDLs to traffic a given number of cholesterol molecules: the more depleted an LDL is of cholesterol, the more particles (LDL-P) it will take to carry a given cholesterol mass (LDL-C). The usual causes of cholesterol depleted particles are that the particles are small or they are TG-rich and thus have less room to carry cholesterol molecules. Who has small LDLs or TG-rich LDL’s? – insulin resistant patients! After particle number endothelial integrity is certainly related to atherogenic particle entry: inflamed endothelia
          have inter-cellular gaps and express receptors that facilitate
          apoB-particle entry. So the worse scenario is to have both high apoB and an inflamed dysfunctional endothelium. Is it better to have no inflammation in the endothelium – of course! But make no mistake the driving force of atherogenesis is entry of apoB particles and that force is driven primarily by particle number not arterial wall inflammation: please see Ira Tabas, Kevin Jon Williams, Jan Borén. Subendothelial Lipoprotein Retention as the Initiating Process in Atherosclerosis
          Update and Therapeutic Implications Circulation. 2007;116:1832-44.

        • Ann says:

          b12 is actually a vitamin that is created by bacteria. before humans ate meat we probably got plenty of it in the river and lake water we drank. now we add tons of chemicals to our water to steralize it, does the paleo diet advocate making changes to what type of water you consume?

      • James says:

        Look at the digestive system of a lion, then compare it to that of a human. Then do the same comparison with a cow. Then say humans are similar to herbivores. It’s a simple comparison that should highlight the outrageous nature of this widespread fallacy. Unless, of course, lions are primarily vegetarian.

        • Zen says:

          Technically speaking our systems are on par with frugavores…which are obviously a form of herbavore.

        • rachelra says:

          *Ahem* Lion’s sleep for 20 hrs a day. Cows sleep for 3.9 hrs a day. Compare that to a Human at 8 hrs a day, and we are closer to cows. Maybe if you don’t want to be lethargic, you should cut back on meat, and if you don’t want scrawny skinny cow legs and want big muscles, ease back off the grains. There is no other species we can call on and say “they are perfect! Let’s eat what they eat!”

          • Owen says:

            Wouldn’t it make more sense to compare our digestive system to that of chimps, our evolutionary cousins? Their digestive systems are quite similar to ours.

            What do chimps eat? They are classified as omnivorous. They eat lots of fruits, seeds, nuts, leaves, and flowers. They also a small amount (2%) of *bugs* and meat (including other chimps).

            If we were to take this as an evolutionary authority on what our ancestors eat, the lessons would be:

            +1 paleo: grains are right out
            +1 (sorta) vegans: 98% plants
            +1 both of y’all: dairy is right out

            One more note about the comparison of our system with that of animals — no other animal cooks food. So paleos that are scrambling eggs and grilling steaks, I don’t find your argument particularly compelling unless you eat your meats raw.

            I find it refreshing that nobody on this forum is advocating dairy foods. If western society made the one single change to give up dairy foods, we’d all be so much healthier overnight.

          • Rob says:

            lion / cows vs humans doesnt seem like a good comparison. If you look at Gorillas, they are herbivores. Even the evidence that Paleo cavemen really ate so much meat is in doubt. Anthropologists point out that the ancient evidence of non-meat eating is less obvious than that of hunting tools. So is Paleo really a Paleo diet even is unclear. At least vegans can point to the China Study

          • GS says:

            I’m sorry, but you’re comparing humans to cows or lions based on how much they sleep? Cows are ruminants with 4-part stomachs and can regurgitate unprocessed parts of their food to re-eat over and over. Lions eat their prey, it goes through one stomach, then the unused parts of their meal (of which there is very little after passing through their system) are eliminated. Now, which of these animals is “closer” to how humans process food?
            Say what you will about veganism vs paleo lifestyles, but don’t make ridiculously non-human comparisons as a justification for your eating choice.

  • Kart says:

    What folks are all forgetting when supporting the Paleo diet is that zillions of years ago, man might have eaten meat. Ok, that was not because it was a delicacy, it was because that was the ONLY choice. Famines, natural disasters left them with no choice but to eat that steak left behind of hunt an animal or two.

    In the 21st century, there’s hardly any scarcity of food (except for undeveloped countries). So if you have bounty of plant based food available, why do you still want to live in the caveman age? Stop the bloodshed and eat plant based foods. With the latest research, you also know what vitamins and minerals you need. You have Daiya cheese for your vegan pizzas and organic soy and tofu for your meaty meals. So can you give me 1 reason why animals should be slaughtered in this modern age?

    Even if you do want to eat any plant based food in moderation, (the soy controversy blah blah), you can do it in this age. Without breaking a sweat. Buy organic and rotate food groups. Slaughtering animals for your own selfish motive, despite having an option is inexcusable.

    • SolInvictus says:

      Same for me as the earlier response. I’ve never seen such drastic improvement in my general digestion than while eating even semi-paleo. At first I didn’t notice at all because you don’t really look for it like you focus on weight loss and waist-line, but a couple of weeks in when someone rips an eye tearing fart and you realize that you can’t remember the last time you had gas, it’s kind of eye opening. I get almost zero gas, indigestion, stomach upset, etc while eating even the fattiest and greasiest of foods. Between that, the transformation in my body, general energy level, better sleep, and not getting so much as a cold since eating this way, it tells me that my body Loves the fuel its getting.
      And someone else said it elsewhere in these responses, but the animal cruelty angle just doesn’t hold. How many critters do you think get pulverized and pesticided to death to harvest your veggies. Things are going to die in the process of feeding us, it’s just life. Might as well be a cow. ;)

      • Potatomaster says:

        I’m not a true vegan, but factory farming in the USA is insane, cruel, and completely unnecessary. Gestation crates where pigs are confined without movement.. cattle raised to sizes where their legs break under their weight.. chickens in overpopulated coops. These things aren’t just wrong, they also generate less healthy meat.

        I eat hunted game. I eat meat that was raised on a true farm where animals graze (usually can only be bought from the farmers market).

        I’m not against killing animals to eat. I grew up in the country though and I know how animals are supposed to live. I know that animals suffer as well, and I know that we should minimize that suffering when we kill them. This is not a belief held by the factory farms here in the US, because holding this belief makes meat more expensive.

    • Susan says:

      I can give you two: weight control and the end of my digestive problems. Good for you that you’re loving your diet. My diet could be considered paleo because it’s grain-free and my meat is grass-fed, but I bet if we compared plates (and your ‘Daiya’ cheese), my 10-12 veggie servings per day would blow you away. Using the compassionate angle doesn’t work because we’re not eating factory-raised, forced-fed with GMO corn (not their natural diet) cows. So you can keep your gut-irritating soy products and I’ll happily (and healthily) munch on my grass-fed meats and seafood.

      • Ann says:

        I’m glad you’re able to afford this diet, but what do you propose to those of us who can’t afford grass-fed meat? …a vegan diet.

        • Zen says:

          Although I am a vegetarian, I have in the past fed my family of three a paleo-type diet, 100% organic as well, on $200 per month. That budget is considerably less than even the poverty line in America. If I can do it, there’s no excuse. Buy in rounds. One month buy your side item staples…veggies (which can also be frozen at home or bought frozen), fruits, eggs, and whatever else. Then the next month focus on meat. If you do this it’s easy to stockpile grass fed meat and spend a minute amount of money. It’s all about priorities and logic.

      • oral says:

        Enjoy your heart disease in a few years susan. Plant strong here. Both my vegan grandparents lived to be late 90s and on their own. My meat eating grandparents both died in their -40s. Cant argue with facts.

        • james says:

          Oral, but it was politicians that linked meat consumption with heart disease, not scientists. The culprit was most likely an artificial food that they cooked with. There is a wealth of published scientific articles on this. You owe yourself to read it.

        • Kyle says:

          I’m researching not on any diet. But using the instances of 4 people you know is miopic and a horrible example. Sample Size matters. I can think of 4 people off the top of my head who smoked, drank, and ate whatever they wanted and lived to be 90.

        • Ben says:

          Correlation does not equal causation. There are other confounding variables which could have been more prevalent.

          • oral says:

            Ok, my vegan grandparents who lived in their 90′s was only one example, along with my meat-eating paternal grandparents who lived until 40 was only one example. My uncle (son of the 90′s grandparents) ate a paleo/primal diet and had heart surgery at 48 – he has now switched to plant based and is doing great. My dads brother, a heavy meat eater, died at 45. My best friends uncle, who actually DID eat a “paleo” diet (he was a very active bicyclist, and he did lose weight on a paleo diet) died at 46 this last year from a heart attack, after about 3-4 years paleo. My own health, and my husbands health, has improved in crazy leaps and bounds over the last few years since we went vegan. Lower blood pressure, perfect blood counts, increased energy, lost belly fat, improved digestion (I was having really bad problems there), improve eyesight (my husband has had his prescription reduced 2x since vegan), BOTH OF OUR LOWER BACK PAIN IS GONE -this one I can’t emphasize enough. Both of us have had severe lower back issues since our late teens, and about a year after switching to a vegan diet, NO MORE BACK PAIN. I can’t celebrate that enough.. as it was a nightmare to deal with. My father’s gout is gone. I could go on and on and you can say all these things with all these people are just a coincidence, but they’re not. A plant-based diet does a body good, PERIOD. And just do a google search. The vegans are living long lives, are remarkable athletes, etc. That said, I think that if you can find non-gmo, non-farmed fish that doesn’t have mercury or toxins, that would be about the only meat I would say is safe to eat.

      • Adam says:

        What soy?
        “So you can keep your gut-irritating soy products”

    • Seth says:

      God put plants and animals on this planet for us to eat. I dont kill for the thrill of killing, I kill to eat, there is a difference. What bloodshed do you speak of? Something has to die in order for you to live, even plants. This is the way the natural world works.

      • John says:

        Seth, have you spoken to God directly and verified this fact? Because too me it seems that too many “God-speaking” people use that excuse all too conveniently to excuse their personal choices. I do recall that a verse in the Bible in Genesis that says “and may the plants be your meat”…..so perhaps we shouldn’t be dragging God into this one ;)

  • Al Dente says:

    Compare koala bears to humans. Koala bears live on a diet exclusively of eucalyptus leaves. Eucalyptus leaves are poisonous but Koala bears have evolved immunity to it so they have almost no competition. Because their diet is so specific Koala bears can only live where eucalyptus trees grow. Humans, on the other hand, can live on almost anything. There are humans that live on little else but tubers and berries while there are other humans who live on little else but raw seal meat and whale blubber. Because our diet is so flexible we can live off the land on every continent except Antarctica. Both camps in the paleo vs vegan debate cherry pick the science that supports their position and ignores anything that goes against. The biggest fallacy I see in the paleo camp is the idea that humans evolved eating a lot of meat. Before livestock meat was an infrequent part of the human diet. For most of man’s evolutionary history we ate mostly plants but meat was an important albeit occasional source of dense nutrition. The biggest fallacy I see in the vegan camp is the idea that consuming any animal product is unnatural and unhealthy. There are no traditional vegan cultures; veganism is an entirely new phenomenon. What is the most natural and healthiest diet for mankind? We are omnivores but physiologically we are much closer to herbivores than carnivores. True carnivores like dogs can eat raw putrid carrion that would probably kill people. The most natural and healthiest diet is probably a vegetable and fruit rich near-vegetarian diet with only occasional feasts of eggs, meat, fish, or fowl. Wheat and dairy seems specific to where our ancestors came from. Groups with a long history of consuming these foods have adapted to them while those who haven’t didn’t. Most Caucasians have a gene mutation that allows them to digest lactose their entire life while most Asians loose the ability to digest lactose as toddlers.

    • Kaydee says:

      Well said, I struggle with conversations with family that thinks vegan is the way to go and then I’m more in the Paleo camp, but giving up grains all the way doesn’t work for me so… if I need to label it, I’m just an omnivore!

    • Seth says:

      Before agriculture, grain was sparse. We have a long time before we hit Koala bear status with digesting high amounts of grain, if any. As a paleo my diet is primarily plant based with a little meat on the side to the contrary of most speculation.

    • Arlis says:

      Well said!

  • Kate says:

    Very interesting article and comments. Of course, I need to add my 2 cents worth also! I think both lifestyles are on the right track when it comes to eating naturally and getting the processed food out of our diets. The thing that puzzles me is the argument that after “only” 10000 years, we haven’t adapted to eating farmed grains and legumes. It seems to me that the research points to our modern diets, high in processed foods (including tons of sugar in everything) as the problem. Also, the “obesity epidemic” is a very recent phenomenon. It would seem that for 9,900 or so years, humans managed to eat both animal products AND plant foods, including whole grains and legumes, without becoming obese and developing many other debilitating diseases. Processed foods and increased sugar seem like far bigger problems than either grains or meat.

  • Alisha says:

    I wish I could see the vegan rebut to the fact that 55+ diseases only occured in humans after grain was introduced into the diet. For thousands of years, hunter/gatherers did not consume grain (as has been proven by many studies) and it just so happens that during the agricultural revolution, diseases become rampant.

  • Aaron says:

    The Moderators got it right.

  • Maeghan says:

    This article is the biggest bunch of malarki ever. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much finger-pointing in my life, even as a vegan I was put off. The truth of the matter is that eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly is what will get you through the day. This paleo approach is bull, if you really want to go old-fashioned, don’t eat eggs or dairy, load up on fruits, nuts, and vegetables, and eat meat on occasion. The vegan argument was whiny, and really did not reflect why I am a vegan, which is for my cardiovascular health and longevity. People in this day and age eat way too much protein, saturated fats, and refined sugar, and not enough fiber, essential vitamins and plant-based foods. These writers need to grow up.

    • Neil says:

      Meagan, a few things to think about..

      Saturated fat and dietary cholesterol are not related to cardiovascular health. That’s 1970′s talk.

      Protein is the building block of life. ‘Grass-fed meat’ is also the most nutrient dense food available.

      Fingers should be pointed where deserved. Sugar and grains for sure. Not doing so is what lets terrible products get put on our shelves without anyone knowing. and worse, lets them be marketed as ‘healthy’

      • Danielle says:

        Neil, a few things to think about..

        Saturated fat and dietary cholesterol are related to cardiovascular health.

        Protein is the building block of life. Hm… where exactly did those gigantic cows get all that protein? They consumed it from their vegan diet. In other words, all paleo dieters are eating protein that came from plants.

        A crappy vegan diet is just like any other crappy diet. If a man consumes isolated soy proteins and other meat analogues for years, he should not be surprised that he has compromised his health. He has done it to himself and should cease whining.

        • Linda says:

          Cows have a very different digestive system than we do, with several stomachs that act as fermentation vessels for breaking down all the grass and crude feedstocks they eat. Humans cannot eat like cows, as we do not have a rumen to do this for us, as a cow does. Vegans always point to ruminants or apes to rationalize their diets, conveniently discounting all the insects, insect feces, and small animals that get chomped down with the grass and leaves! If you really want to eat like an ape, you should also be eating termites, feces, and the occasional ape neighbor. This information is well-documented. But, continually misrepresented in the vegan community. Eat what you want. But, the facts are the facts.

          • ProHealth says:

            It is also proven that everyone dies.

          • oral says:

            As a vegan, I believe my diet IS optimal. I eat LOTS of good fats, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, etc. In my family, it’s proven you die if you eat much meat at all.

    • Neil says:

      Thankfully we’ve come to understand the harm grains (mainly gluten) do to our bodies. 10000 years in the grand scale of mankind is just a sliver, so it’s important to remember that foods should not be seen as good or bad, but measured rather on their density of nutrients AND lack of anti-nutrients. Since our bodies (especially the brain) have depended on animal products since the beginning, we would need much longer than a mere 10000 years to fully allow for adaptation to a diet lacking in animal products. As for how we can ever deal with gluten or why we’d want to promote unsustainable agricultural is beyond me.

      What’s interesting about Vegan arguments on animal suffering is how many more living creatures are killed via agriculture than from grazing animals on pasture. Google LEAST HARM PRINCIPLE for more info.

      • Owen says:

        “What’s interesting about Vegan arguments on animal suffering is how many more living creatures are killed via agriculture than from grazing animals on pasture. Google LEAST HARM PRINCIPLE for more info.”

        I googled least harm principle and what I found did not seem to address the issue that most of the agricultural land in the west is used to produce food for animals.

        Seems to me the vegan ethic is not just about one’s own impact, but often also a bit of a protest against the horrific death camps we call modern farms.

        Why don’t the vegans and paleos examine the intersection of our two camps; let’s team up and get rid of factory farms and mass-produced grain damage, and replace them with small organic farms. Once we get there we can start fighting over whether to keep or eliminate low-volume low-impact animal pasturing.

  • Chris Wark says:

    I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer when I was 26. I had surgery, but refused chemotherapy and used nutrition and natural therapies to heal myself.
    I was raw vegan for 90 days.
    This is a powerful cleansing and healing diet in the short term to be sure, but many people cannot thrive on it long term. I was grossly underweight.
    I was 6’2″ 135 lbs!

    My naturopath/nutritionist added some clean meats back into my diet along with a high percentage (70-80%) of raw food.

    That was back in 2004. And needless to say, it worked!

    There is no perfect diet, we all have different needs. It’s important not to buy into dogma and keep an open mind as you experiment with finding your ideal diet.

    I think the most important principle that we can all agree on is a eating a clean diet that is free from processed artificial food and that includes lots of organic produce, and humanely raised animal products if you eat them.

    More info about what I did at http://www.chrisbeatcancer.com if anyone is interested.

    :)

    • Micayla says:

      Wow, thank you for sharing that and congratulations on returning to health! I do believe that a good balance of meats and veggies are essential for everyone. We may have our different needs, but we are more like cats than cows for sure. I definitely have a lot of respect for your holistic approach to health and seeking a naturopath. :D

      I also started out my health journey going Vegan. I looked like a zombie, emaciated, pale, dark circles under my eyes, absolutely zero energy. I didn’t cheat and I ate plenty of protein from beans and nuts and cut out the gluten. The studies prove it though. We must eat according to our body types. I quit and went Paleo and have reversed the damage to my joints and gotten rid of acne and migraines.

      If any Vegans want to accuse me of hating, don’t. I respect that you’ve found your niche and love how you live. Just try to respect that I’ve found mine and I love how I live. All of us love our Earth and treat our bodies like temples. I have all the respect for anyone who actually cares and we should work together to rid the world of the GMO/Big Ag/Animal Abuse monsters.

      • Owen says:

        “All of us love our Earth and treat our bodies like temples.” – that may be true of the people commenting on this page, but I the average Westerner could use a lot more of this attitude.

  • Patricia Miller says:

    Wow. I don’t know what exactly is best for me. I was Atkins for a long period of time and was definitely at my leanest and felt great. Seems as though every Paleo I meet is lean, cut and healthy. However, after viewing one too many videos on the horrific butchering of scared/unhealthy animals, I tried a more vegetarian approach. I’m bloated, gaining weight and not feeling too good. I cannot bear to watch animals getting slaughtered, but how can I possibly eat a Paleo diet without spending hundreds of dollars on “grass-fed” beef? I seriously do not know what to do. I am in limbo. And, I hate it. I think factory farms are hell. How else can we sustain food for the population, though? I love reading the comments and hearing from both sides. I’m just stuck. Maybe I should just stick with veggies, fruit and high quality meats, all in moderation….I definitely know I should stay away from grains…..Wish me luck. I think I need to read some of the books mentioned. Thanks to all who posted.

    • Owen says:

      Patricia, you need a lot more bananas. Read up on 80-10-10. Transitioning takes some real doing, but there is a sustainable option that treats your body *and* the animals right.

    • SolInvictus says:

      Only in a society like ours can we have thoughts like this…
      Yes, a tortured existence for our food animals isn’t good, for them or us.
      But to make yourself sick by neglecting food you need out of anxiety for the suffering of animals…sorry, that’s just self-defeating and dumb.
      I will never understand the pedestal PETA types put animals on. They are food not children. I don’t advocate abusing them, but at the end of the day, they’re lower on the food chain, tough. Lions don’t fret about the suffering of gazelles, frogs and flies, whatever.
      You need a little more Don Draper in your system and less guilt. Eat and be happy.

      • KB says:

        Animals are NOT food. They are living beings. When a cow gives birth and it’s calf is taken away to be used as veal, the cow will call for that calf for days. It actually goes into mourning. They are mammals, the same as you and I, with actual feelings. Just because they cannot speak or reason in the same way as we do, does not mean they are “things.” People can and do can eat whatever they wish to. That is why we have such high rates of diet-related illnesses in this country. Nothing anyone can say or do will change that.

    • Jack says:

      If you have any farmers markets in your area you can get great quality grass fed meats that are not that expensive. Buy in larger orders and freeze to get the price down.

      I had a lot of success with Atkins as well but I just couldnt seem to get any leaner. After reading The Paleo Solution, I immediately transitioned to whole unprocessed foods and grass fed meat. Since I have gone from 25% bodyfat down to 16% and feel amazing.

      Also check out Marksdailyapple.com. Amazing stuff. Good luck.

  • kristin says:

    I feel like the vegans’ arguments are not addressing what they paleo diet actually is. They base their arguments on factory farming, and the paleo people are explcitly saying they do NOT support CAFOs! For example: “[Paleo] can be an unhealthy way to eat, though, if you’re using commercially raised meats, or if the ratio of plant produce to animal products is not high enough.” — Joel Fuhrman Paleo does NOT eat “commercially raised meats,” and paleo plates are more loaded with veggies and fruits than most vegan plates I see! I think paleo comes out on top. I’d love to see a raw vegan / paleo throwdown, though, because they both avoid all grains and they are more similar except for the animal issue. Whether you are paleo or vegan I think we ALL need to recogznie how monocrops are destroying the environment, whether the crops are of soy, grains or livestock.

  • Healthy happy vegan here!! Eat no fake meats, no fake cheeses hardly any soy.. it can be done since we are all meant to be herbivorous! Stop over-analyzing everything; not to mention all the ugly opinions going on in these comments!!! I am not lacking in any nutrients.. I eat mostly veggies for all my nutrients… fruits, beans,nuts and LIVE grains. The only supplement if you want to call it that is nutritional yeast that I sprinkle in all my food for Vit B12. I also sprinkle hemp, flax, and chia seeds in all my meals for nutrients,3 of the most healthy and healing foods out there!!! How many people do that?? Our bodies are meant to make all the nutrients for itself.. yes with the help of our foods, but Where do you think animals (the strong healthy creatures that they are get all their nutrients??? Now ponder for a moment.. meditate their and then do some darn research! They get it first hand from PLANTS!!! why do we say eat ‘grass-fed’ meats.. nutrients come from the land!!! Why must we think we have to eat our nutrients second hand!

    Vegan works! NO one is forcing it down anyone’s throat, but I simply don’t need second hand nutrients nor second hand info. I will research for myself and eat what I find ethical on ALL Grounds!

    Great article by the way. I like the concepts of the Paleo diet pertaining to not eating processed garbage, and less BAD grains! Again live grains are healthy! Yes & Amen!!

  • benjy says:

    finally some moderation between the two factions
    i think indeed as Mark said in the article
    “If everybody is fighting with each other about what kind of foods we should be eating, we are missing the bigger picture of how industrialized foods are destroying the earth”
    We should help each-other and not fight .
    share vegetable recipes .
    For eating meat morning, midday , evening is indeed disastrous .
    I’d love to have decent vegetable recipes to lower my meat intake .
    Greetings from Belgium
    Benjy

  • maureen says:

    I wonder if these Paleo and Vegan idiots realize that they will die and rot the same way everyone else will? Apparently they think they’re special snowflakes immune to any health issues – newsflash: eat whatever crap your silly little diets permit, I promise you will drop dead the same as a normal person who eats whatever they want.

    • Tim says:

      It’s clear that Maureen is a bot that works for Monsanto.

    • Siavash says:

      Wise men are considered idiots for idiots…

      Who cares what happens to you after death?! All these are for having a HEALTHIER life (if it makes sense for you) while you are alive.

    • Adam says:

      I find it hard how we are shoving this “propaganda” down your throat as you chose to read this blog, secondly why is it so bad for us to live the life we want? Just because I don’t want to be overweight burdened with metabolic syndrome (look it up) and spend my retirement years stuck in a hospital. I personally see the results of unhealthy habits everyday. By the way it is very rude of you to call people idiots especially since a lot of individuals who follow these diets are the healthcare professionals that will end up trying to save your life at 54 years old.

  • maureen says:

    Both these Paleo and Vegan enthusiasts are mentally ill and have eating disorders that prevent them from living a healthy life. It’s hilarious how they both claim to have abundant research proving that their argument is true when in reality both are idiots. Newsflash: there is nothing wrong with eating meat, or vegetables, or fruit, or bread. Out of 7 billion people on the planet, most eat all of these things and somehow survive day to day without life threatening diseases. If you choose to have an eating disorder that’s fine but stop trying to stick your mentally unbalanced opinions down others throats and pretend it’s science.

    • Owen says:

      “most eat all of these things and somehow survive day to day without life threatening diseases”

      An estimated 35% of US adults have prediabetes (http://ndep.nih.gov/diabetes-facts/).
      31% have high blood pressure (http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm), while 11% have full-blown, diagnosed heart disease (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/heart.htm).

      It’s well documented that these are life threatening diseases.

      While your “most” claim could theoretically be true if it were the same people with all the diseases, it’s probably not (i.e. I would conjecture that over 50% of the population has some early stage of one of these lifestyle-related diseases — though I wasn’t able to find a study).

      Regardless of that particular nitpick, the situation is grave enough that we must encourage each other to learn more about nutrition and it’s impacts on our health, and to change our habits for the better.

    • Mathew says:

      Mentally Ill???

      I guess that makes me retarded for being smart with what I eat.

    • Alexander says:

      How can eating a diet closer to the natural human one be considered a disorder? The disorder is eating packaged, refined unnatural ones. I am a vegan but think both paleo and vegan diets are tremendously better than the SAD (standard american/western diet).
      How can she defend that most people eat modern diets healthily when dietary disease is rapidly increasing and the biggest killers in the world are rarely in nature ie. heart disease.
      Lastly, the vegan and paleo diets are all about eating foods as they are found in nature, how can that be unnatural or worse than what Maureen eats? It’s funny that she considers her finding, reading and commenting on someone else’s site ‘forcing opinions down her throat’.

    • Paul says:

      If one wants to pretend that there are no health or environmental consequences that come from eating, fine. But the truth is that what you eat day in and day out affects your health and the environment. Thank god people are actually recognizing the connection. For to long we have popped into grocery stores and satisfied our every desire without considering the consequences. Those consequences are far reaching and include health and its sky rocketing costs, energy and its sky rocketing cost and the overall environmental health of the planet.

  • Kelly says:

    This article was interesting to me for many reasons. Recently I have been reading about the benefits of a plant-based diet. I am learning about the Ph balance of food, nutrient density, nutritional stress and about how animal protein effects our kidney and liver. So being the guinea pig that I am I gave it a shot.

    Removing chicken and whey protein from my diet was not as hard as I imagined. I now consume a mostly raw food diet supplemented by legumes, pseudograins (amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa) and nuts/seeds. I have not yet embarked on plant protein powder but I will buy some soon enough. I am curious to see how my body responds to hemp and pea proteins as they are the most alkaline of plant-proteins.

    Oh yeah, I realize that a lot of times a plant-based diet is far from healthy so I guess what I am doing is a “high nutrient density raw food” type of vegan diet which is vastly different from a lot of “vegans” who use way more grains, cooked foods and fats.

    I really keep the fats low- mostly raw nuts/seeds and a bit of walnut oil for my dressings or stir fry dishes but not much oil based fat as it is stripped of its other nutrients once in oil form. I also don’t use any vegan cheeses, vegan ice creams or vegan type butters which to me are pricey nonsensical “non foods”. Very little nutrient density in any of them. I use instead ample nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor and to get my B12 vitamins.

    Removing animal protein from my diet I thought would leave me unsatisfied and low on energy. The exact opposite has happened. By removing the 63 grams of animal protein per day and upping my beans and nuts in my raw salad at lunch/dinner and adding some nuts and oats to my cut fruit for breakfast has increased my mid-day energy. Even my workouts have changed. I am forty and have been an athlete my entire life. I had recently grown accustomed to a longer “warm-up” and I had attributed this to my growing older. Recently I noticed that my need for a warm up before my early morning cross-fit sessions is all but eliminated. I am ready to hit it hard the minute I start in the mornings- so strange. And this is not due to eating prior working out. My morning routine pre-workout is unchanged from eating animal protein to embarking on this plant-based diet.

    I thought by consuming a higher carbohydrate (albeit complex carbs but carbs nonetheless) I thought I’d get a bit of belly fat from the increased insulin in my system, etc. But the opposite has occurred. What little flab I had in my mid-section (I am female and lean) is gone. I even lost a bit in my chest and I don’t have much to lose there anyway).

    What I have come to think- I think I am consuming less calories now. I know its not calories in calories out but I find the nutritional density of the fruits, veg, nuts, beans is so high that the epistat in my brain is turned off faster than when I was eating animal protein. It’s also that the increased raw veggie content in my diet is filling me up via the increased fiber. I don’t know. But all I know is that my sugar cravings and my swings in energy are removed. I dunno- its just been a real trip going full vegan vs. you know, my usual cut up roasted chicken on my salad and whey protein shakes post-workout.

    I think, based on my current experimenting, that I will continue on this plant-based path. I think the less stress on my body due to not ingesting animal protein is making the major difference and I am totally surprised.

    • Renee Foster says:

      I use pea protein and love it much more than whey. I am neither vegan nor paleo but choose instead to stop eating the processed junk that are just chemicals disguised to look like food.

    • Arlis says:

      Thank you so much for sharing. Your diet sounds exactly like how I am learning to eat, and it is confirming to hear your positive results.

  • neelesh maharaj says:

    Go vegan. Stop the murder of billions of animals. Stop the animal holocaust. See the real world. Medical science is wrong about everything nowadays. These people are the same people that help and fund the slaughter houses. Science is clear that when we eat foods that have negative energy of innocent beings we face the disastrous consequences. Peace out

    • Scott says:

      Go Omnivore, because that’s what we are in order to be most healthy. Stop the billions of dollars spent on unhealthy vegan foods. Stop the dental problems due to veganism. See the real world. Medical Science needs to understand the underlying relation with most disease. It’s generally diet related, in relation with balance, moderation, production method, processing ability.
      Medical Science are the same mindset that causes vegan propaganda to endear peoples psychology. Life is clear that if we practice ‘in tune’ prudent moderation and balance, we will be our healthiest.

      • Jerry Gallagher says:

        I have not read about an increase in dental health issues due to a vegan diet. In fact most material I have read leans towards vegans having better dental health.

        http://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-diets-oral-health/

      • Alexander says:

        ‘Unhealthy vegan foods’: What?-Fruit and vegetables? Yeah, so taxing: As opposed to the heinous amounts of water and 80% of the worlds grain (that could feed the entire world) that has to go to livestock to produce a tiny percentage of meat in return, plus billions of dollars spent on pharmaceuticals (more than we spend on humans) that keep those animals alive long enough to be slaughtered. Plus the greenhouse gasses from livestock that contribute to more than the entire worlds transportation system per year?
        Come on Scott, now I’m pro-paleo for those that choose to meat because it’s better, but when you start calling down veganism, that’s a mistake.

        • Alexander says:

          PS Scott, over 80% of the worlds soya production does not go to vegan products, it is used a high protein feed for cattle and the like.

      • Joy says:

        Eating meat is what makes us most healthy?? Then why is America the most obese country in the world? Why are Americans at most risk for cancers?? Stop trying to justify the abuse these poor animals go through just to satisfy your cravings.

        • james says:

          America is the most obese country in the world and has the highest risk of cancer because we consume the most grains, processed foods, and artificial foods. C’mon Joy, just a little research. The internet is your friend.

          • Owen says:

            James: America also basically consumes the most animal-based foods, so it’s hard to say based on those facts alone.

            What is not hard to say is that it’s possible to be a healthy vegan. Regardless of whether or not it’s the optimal diet, it’s still possible to do pretty darn well if you take a diligent approach (whole foods, exercise, sunshine, limit grains, etc.).

            Once you accept the fact that it’s possible to be a healthy vegan — again, even though it might not be the only way to eat healthy — you might re-evaluate Joy’s statement about abusing animals. Because then it really is a choice, whether to eat them or not. At least, that’s the conclusion I reached when I let myself look deeply into the issue.

  • Austin V says:

    This debate somewhat lifts my spirits, but it had neither the depth of discussion nor the determination by its attendees to either fully resolve the issues at hand or agree that at this point no %100 conclusion can be successfully made, after which they would attempt to devote some time and effort in performing studies and experiments that could bring forth solid, conclusive evidence.

    I felt like there wasn’t a strong enough goal for the debate. It was more of show and tell assertions with some argumentation. I would have liked it better if the reason for the “debate” was to come close to a conclusion about which diet is REQUIRED for optimal health which would suggest that the person exercises at least occasionally. This has nothing to do with practicality, feasibility on global scale, current production practices, or byproducts of manufacturing the food. These are separate issues although I will agree they are very important. Also, I would think requiring the least amount of supplemention would weigh on any decision. This would necessitate a comparison of what each camp views as the most healthy version of their diet rather than allowing the conversation to be dominated by taking shots at the unhealthy foods the oversimplified forms of the opposition’s diet would seem to allow.

    They all agree about eating natural, whole foods. That’s great, so do I! I still would have liked them to have given a unanimous scientific explanation for why they all think that; then, stop talking about. That should have then required them to explain that the diets they are suggesting are based on eating whole foods regardless on the type of food.

    Two other topics I would have liked the experts to have nailed down in the debate are 1)Are grains bad causing inflammation, etc? They should have delve into more detail about what grains do, if all forms are equally bad, specifically how they might differ, what is the basis for these opinions, and if a final conclusion would affect the optimal version of either diet.
    2)Is meat, fish, or any other animal products or byproduct–not already excluded by both diets on the basis of scientific evidence–a health hindrance or not optimal in some way? Vegans state that meat has its own health concerns, but don’t explain in detail what it is exactly. Any valid health concern with meat needs to be on the basis that regardless of quantity within diet, it causes a specific set of ill effects over a specific amount of time(it goes without saying that if something at all in meat is bad for you, more is worse). I strongly think that if this was the focus of the debate and it was conducted with mutual respect, indulgence, and humbled clarity this could have been a more productive and informative use of the experts’ collective time as well as the individual readers or society for that matter.

    I wish everyone the best of luck on your health endeavors and I thank the experts for there effort and altruism.

    • Jack says:

      I agree with you there. There was virtually no clarity given. I have been reading alot about paleo and if you read Robb Wolfs “The Paleo Solution”, there is tons of scientific evidence relating to grains and their effect on inflamation.

      I have to find a good vegan book though. I have watched a few documentaries but they seem to be so full of propoganda that it is hard to take them seriously. I am open to the ideas but it seems far fetched so far. As long as you are diligent about your source for meat, how can it be bad. Vegans mostly stick to the idea that we all eat factory farmed meat when I personally would never touch it.

  • Robert Marston says:

    The problem with paleo is this ….

    How do you find a healthy meat? Meat is acidic and, therefore, inflammatory. Meat concentrates environmental toxins like mercury and dioxin. And all industrial meats, making up most of the meats available at stores and restaurants are loaded up with drugs and hormones.

    Sure, a vegan who eats mostly processed food and non probiotic carbs is going to have more risk of health problems. But the whole food vegan is gaining the health benefits of all those fresh veggies while avoiding the inflammatory and often toxin-laden meat and cheese.

    • Jack says:

      That is just it, you go to a local farm/farmers market and find a farmer that grass feeds his meat. Ask the right question. “Has this animal ever been fed anything other than grass/hay?”

      Meat is only acidic if it is being fed grains. A grass fed animal is rich in omega 3 and very lean.

  • Laura says:

    I would like to know how any vegans eat a balanced diet without needles or supplements… and REALLY hard work. You HAVE to eat all kinds of grains, so what if you are allergic to them? You eat pills enriched with them?
    How is that healthier? How is it healthy to have a diet that doesn’t allow you to naturally obtain the vitamins your body needs?

    There are eight different B vitamins and our body needs them all. There are no plants that contain these vitamins.

    The vitamin A found in orange and green vegetables is beta carotene which the body must first convert to the usable form of Vitamin A. That conversion requires bile salts, which are produced by your liver when you consume fat.

    You can get some of the components of protein (the amino acids) from legumes, seeds and grain but many people find grains and legumes (which contain digestive inhibitors) quite hard to digest.

    Lactose intolerance, yes. Gluten intolerance yes. Nuts allergies, for sure. Soy allergies, yes. But meat allergies…? some people may find that it doesn’t suite them, but I have never heard of a true meat “allergy”.
    How does 50% (+) of the population (those with allergies) eat a vegan diet without supplements?

    I didn’t realize my diet had a name until I googled it. I care about animals and I eat non processed foods. I would like to one day farm my own chickens and grow my own vegetables. Being paleo means denying yourself man-made crap. It doesn’t mean you’re a step from being vegan or a less altruistic dieter.

    Whatever your intentions are for being so adamant about your vegan diet doesn’t matter, a paleo diet is a superior way to get your required intake of vitamins and minerals! You can’t argue that.

    • Owen says:

      Hey Laura! Raw vegan here, I haven’t eaten any grains in 2 years and I’m doing well. I realize my case is pretty far out of the ordinary, but I figured it’s worth pointing out that if you really want to, you *can* go vegan without grains. I won’t give away the secret but I’ll give you a hint: it starts with “b” and I mentioned it in another comment here..

    • Micayla says:

      Wow, your comment is certainly rich with information. Thanks for shedding greater light on the importance of meat/fat. I too am Paleo, but just learning about it. I have yet to delve deeply into the all-important why. Vegans are always calling it inflammatory, but grass-fed is not. Plus, all grains and processed soy products are worse than even processed meats. It’s nice to see some stimulating, intelligent response not made in anger or from opinion. :) I wish the moderators would have actually known something about both diets, tbh. It’s clear they just read a basic pamphlet about Paleo, if anything.

      I’m a CPT and have seen a great variety of clients. I can instantly spot a Vegan, which isn’t a good thing.

    • Alexander says:

      That’s quite a statement Laura! How can you say a paleo diet is outright a superior way to get vitamins and minerals? The main difference is the meat, which contains less vitamins and minerals gram for gram that fruits and vegetables. As for nutrition, you have been duped by common myth: All B vitamins are found in grains, fruits and vegetables. B12 is actually a bacteria in soil and if we have a healthy gut we even produce it. Yes we convert vitamin A, like all herbivores, not carnivores because they are desinged to eat meat and get V.A directly; in the same way they can convert to vitamin C, we need dietary sources of V.C. hence the importance of plants. All minerals come from plants and are absorbed second hand through flesh. Carnivores need to eat herbivores to get minerals from the plants! It’s just common myth, for example most iron in your diet comes from plant sources, but people assume you need meat for it. Plants are a more efficient, easily digested and jam-packed source of vitamins and minerals than any other on this Earth. So I’m sorry but you are wrong Laura. Eat what you like, I don’t call down your diet, but you mistakenly call down veganism.

      • Alexander says:

        PS Laura, I could ask you without milk which you never drink in nature, where do you get your calcium? (Milk actually causes osteoporosis through metabolic acidosis as it is designed for another species). I’ll tell you where: Leafy greens, fruits and vegetables! Veganism has everything you need so don’t even try to say otherwise.

        • Micayla says:

          FYI Alexander, we eat vegetables too. We don’t eat dairy (except once in a blue moon). Kale and spinach, dude. We know a thing or 2 about vegetables, we’re not stupid so don’t insult us that way.

        • Arlis says:

          Alexander, thank you for your very knowledgeable replies!

  • Marky B says:

    I’d just like to clear up one point here that seems to be under constant misapprehension. If you choose to eat a diet without animal products for health reasons only you are NOT a ‘vegan’, you merely follow a vegan diet. A vegan is someone who eschews animal products on the basis of morals/ethics and adopts a complete lifestyle in accordance with such beliefs.

    For those characters who talk about shifting from vegan to paleo, I would think it highly unlikely that they ever adopted the former on moral grounds as most real vegans are extremely staunch in their beliefs and don’t cast them aside when a trendier or seemingly more nutritious diet comes along.

    • Jerry Gallagher says:

      Marky B,
      I think you are confusing the term “vegan” with “ethical vegan”. Any one who follows a vegan diet is a vegan.

    • kristin says:

      Oh man… I love comments like this. This is exactly what “The Vegetarian Myth” is all about. Oh yeah, I refused to read that book when I was vegan, and I even cheered when Keith got that pepper-laced pie thrown in her face by SF anarchists.

      Yeah, I guess I was not really vegan when I:

      1) got a vegan tattoo
      2) wrote and published a book about factory farming and had Carol J. Adams praise it
      3) protested animal cruelty for years
      4) worked for VegNews magazine
      5) wrote articles on food and politics for independent media outlets, including multiple strictly vegan magazines
      6) adopted turkeys from farm sanctuary every year and sent the photos to all of my meat-eating family
      7) ate processed crap full of chemicals instead of whole foods because often times the processed option was the vegan option
      8) alienated everyone around me by screaming at them about how wrong they were
      9) had a vegan food blog
      10) quit high-paying good jobs when they violated my vegan ethics

      YEAH, I wasn’t really vegan. I was just on a diet.

    • Laura says:

      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/vegan
      It doesn’t say WHY.. just that they do not exploit animals.
      So by your ‘definition,’ paleo’s are vegan.
      Your statement is laughable.

      The fact that you are concerned with such details, shows that you are doing things for the wrong reasons.

      YOU are a vegan because it is trendy.
      That is apparent in your self-righteous comment.
      People who would shift their eating habits are more likely doing it for their health. What makes you think that paleo is a new trend that people follow as opposed to a more healthy choice, with the same respect for animals in mind?

      People like you need to get over yourselves.

  • ChrisM says:

    The best food is what is in its natural state(free of hormones, steroids, poisons, etc) whether it is animal or plant. Food in modern diets contain GMO foods, processed, and chemical laden items. Unfortunately, since we have all as human beings have decided to congregate in specific geographic regions, technology has responded to feed us(much to our determent). Most people cannot live in rural areas, hunt, fish, and grow their own natural wholesome foods. I grew up this way and am working my way back to this simplistic lifestyle.
    We are most certainly omnivores…much like a bear…but always remember
    Two of the most tell-tale characteristics of predators is the teeth shape and eye placement. Predators have sharp front canine teeth to allow for the gripping and killing of prey. The eyes are also on the front to allow for binocular vision. An easy way to remember this is from the children’s rhyme “eyes on of the side, love to hide. Eyes on the front, love to hunt.”

  • Tiffany says:

    As everyone knows, diet is an extremely personal decision and oftentimes sparks a lot of either good discussion or non-productive dialogue. I have observed both in the above comments. We wrap a lot of emotion around the way we eat and what we eat, which is not a bad thing entirely. Even though I’m a “vegan,” in which I eat mostly unprocessed and “real” plant-based whole foods, it’s pretty clear that meat, when chosen well (i.e. organic, grass-fed, wild game, etc.) can be beneficial for others. I think the most important message is that the best medicine (as Hippocrates said it best) is derived through the power of real food – “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine thy food.” When we create a extreme dogma or fixate on an ideology that “our way” is better than “another way,” we lose balance in our lives and create unneeded and unproductive animosity. And we all know our country thrives on extremism. I think each of us are so unique in our dietary needs due to our unique biochemical makeup (i.e. blood type for one) that some might be more successful on plants, some more on meat. I personally think Dr. D’Adamo, who has spent his entire career (in addition to his father’s) researching blood types and their history, has merit in his hypothesis that each of our diets should be based on our biochemical uniqueness. After all, we are a nation of numerous races and genetic diversity. This school of thought is where I see science and the world of nutrition going…back the the lineages of each of our unique genealogy and history and harmonizing that with current knowledge in nutrition, biochemistry, and immunology, etc….blending historical traditions with modern medicine. If we’re truly going to impact the health of this nation, we need to join forces and realize there is no “one diet fits all.” =)

    • Devyn says:

      Beautifully put. I used to be vegan, now I’m following a somewhat paleo diet (more veggies and fruit than meat). It’s all about the real food. Both paleo and vegan have similar ideologies…let’s stop fighting among each other and start focusing our anger on processed foods and factory farms.

  • Jeri says:

    Our teeth and digestive tracts compare more favorably to herbivores than carnivores. While I have no doubt that our ancestors ate meat, I suspect it was not a large component of their diet, certainly not before we learned to control fire. As beans/legumes and grains also need cooking, for us, it would seem to me we began eating larger amounts of both meats and grains around the same time?? I need to do some research, I guess…..

  • jen says:

    This whole debate is entirely ridiculous, when both diets are healthy because they de-emphasize processed foods. I think they both have merit and I know people on both sides who are very healthy and energetic.

    However, I have to take issue with the “expert” quote “The taste is so satisfying compared with the low-fat, hormonally disruptive soy glop laced with rancid industrial oils that I ate for 20 years.” Well, duh, if you were eating nothing but processed soy crap for 20 years, then no wonder you were sick. I wish that Paleo people didn’t have to tear down another person’s preference just to make themselves feel better.

    • Jackie says:

      Oh please, that works both ways. If I read one more misconception about how paleo people eat nothing but meat, I’m going to scream. I also eat 10 servings of veggies daily, probably more than most vegans. But my favorite nasty comment always centers around how my diet is murder. Seriously? Speaking of some tearing down others to make themselves feel better… I’m compared to OJ Simpson and Charles Manson on daily basis and you’re crying over some message board comments? Give me a break.

  • Neels says:

    Interesting but unfortunate debate. I fully agree with Brian. Both diets are against our biggest global health threat: Processed, toxic food.
    So lets rather work together to combat that evil monster and even go further to save our race and our habitat.

    Why don’t we merge the 2 lifestyle types and keep the best part of each.

    Paleo/Vegan lifestyles rolled into one super-healthy and ethically/ecologically responsible diet with the aim to promote the health of the human population and our planet. We do that by reducing to the lowest possible level the consumption of the non-Paleo food in our diet (healthy humans) and further limit our intake of animal meat to lowest possible levels (healthy earth).

    Hey we can call it the Paleogan diet.
    Or the Veleo diet…

  • Dan DeLeuw says:

    Wheat Belly by William Davis is an excellent resource in this discussion. The wheat we eat is not the same as the wheat our parents and grandparents ate. The obesity epidemic accelerated around 1980 when the government recommended a low fat diet high in healthy whole grains.

  • Robert says:

    What is missing in this energized debate are two elements. One is how food is prepared, whether it is consumed raw, deep fried or fried in pan with or without oils, boiled, steamed, baked, grilled, pickled, or marinated, etc.can make a difference healthwise. The second is no two people’s metabolism, lifestyles, health history, uses of pharmaceuticals or neutraceuticals, genetics, cultural and spiritual influences,living and working environments, access to specific foods, current state of physical and mental health and wellbeing, age, gender, and so many other variables that concretely determining one diet superior to another seems an exercise in futility.

  • Phil says:

    I’ve recently become vegan. Although I keep hearing Paleo nonsense from a douche friend of mine. As such I was inclined to check out both sides. I think a good pro vegan documentary is Forks Over Knives. Which goes on to state that vegetable and legume based proteins are better than meat ones. That being said I still think there is credulity to the Paleo diet. Like everyone says we’re all pretty much promoting the same thing…clean, raw food.

    Obviously my vegan diet contains much less processed foods. I try to eliminate it but sometimes it seems impossible to avoid something processed every day. But I feel like getting there 90-95% is still way better than before. I drink more water. But I still feel things like 100% are perfectly fine for you. If you guzzle them by the gallon? No. But if it’s natural then what’s the harm? It’s fruit and water basically. If there’s no sugar added etc then you’re good to go just be moderate.

    And moderation is something you could probably apply to both of these diets. A Paleo based high protein diet can be bad if you consume too much meat and the same for Vegans and not getting enough protein or getting it through synthetic means. I must admit it does concern me to eat too many soy based meat analogs. But we avoid them in general. We usually get a little fake chicken, beef (Yves does make a natural soy option in the sense it isn’t contrived or manipulated, just a soy based “meat” product) , and tofu (actually natural since this is from beans) here and there. But it in no way makes up a majority of our diet. We mostly stick to vegetables, grains, and legumes. Outside of that there is quite a bit of nuts and seeds as well. I did think it was a good point to strive for low gluten ancient grains like quinoa and buckwheat. We love almost all grains but I would be than happy to trade in some brown rice for quinoa here and there.

    The differences I’ve seen so far have been somewhat minimal. I don’t really feel much change in energy or anything. Although I was already eating a reduced calorie diet that focused on clean eating. But it wasn’t as strict as veganism. I do note that I have to avoid dairy now. If I have dairy it really affects me. For the one time I lapsed and had some meat I felt no difference except for the fact that I felt I’d cheated, lol. In time depending on our results we may go somewhere in the middle with eating high vegetable and legume diets with a mixture of healthy and natural grains. Perhaps some grass fed meats, but I think we will avoid dairy for the rest of our lives. My wife’s severe allergies nearly disappeared after going off dairy and everytime any amount creeps back in her allergies will flare up. We do take multivitamin supplements and a vitamin b complex to help offset any deficiencies in our diet but we try to get everything we can naturally.

    I will weigh in on the fact that I think the Paleo idea that eating grains or legumes is unnatural as completely asinine. People and civilizations evolve all the time. Just because we weren’t fully aware of grains and legumes early on doesn’t mean they aren’t a good nutritional source. Chances are some ancient people depending on their location ate the occasional grain or legume. But initially they just weren’t eaten because people didn’t know they could. So basically Paleo enthusiasts use ancient ignorance as a foundation for fact. Which is a complete failure. Once again it all comes back to balance. If you’re avoiding high gluten and synthetic meats as a vegan and as a Paleo you’re eating a highly plant based diet with clean meats in there either one is probably fine.

    • Cyndi says:

      Phil, I have noticed terrible problems with dairy so I avoid it too. I was having terrible chronic back problems over a course of 8 years. Some days were so bad that I could barely get out of bed and often times I was in tears. I hurt all over especially my back. I couldn’t even bend down to empty the dishwasher. Once I stopped eating dairy, in three days I noticed a huge change. My back stopped hurting me. It’s been a year since I’ve been off dairy, but I have experimented with it, and every time I have dairy, my lower back pain comes right back, and I suffer for about two or three days. Cheese is the worst because of all the concentrated casein in it. If I have pizza, the next day is awful. So for me, dairy is best avoided.

  • Richard says:

    Controversy just loves dichotomy. Discerning folks are still turned off by the fundamentalist, evangelical approach. No I don’t want to join your cult. I did at least appreciate the moderators attempt at a more reasoned analysis. But “Paleo vs. Vegan” doesn’t get to the real issues any more than Republicans vs. Democrats do. This really does have the makings of a really bad reality show. Personally, I am still waiting for someone to explain how the baby got thrown out with the bath water in the first place when it comes to non-industrialized, toxic-minimized farm produced food. Why don’t you ever hear these zealots arguing about heirloom, sprouted, fermented, raw and probiotic foods for example? At least the moderators mentioned traditional and ancient grains. I mean, did I miss a “Paleo Diet” update from Cordain and Wolf based on the latest science? I just wish someone, anyone would show me the scientific facts that Paleo will work today without needing science to apply it and that it will be truly sustainable for everyone. But Paleo folks seem too busy talking out both sides of their mouth embracing society and its’ production when its convenient and attacking it when it when they think it makes them look like more of a man (and woman). And don’t give me any of that “Modern Paleo” stupidity. Oh that’s right, the “Paleo” folks have the baby. Oxymorons!

  • sam says:

    Interesting points. I have been researching this the last couple years. Not sure what to believe. The people I know that developed type 2 diabetes are the biggest meat eaters I know. I have tried both sides and honestly feel best when I consume mostly plants with a a small amount of animal protein(dairy, eggs or meat). Actual studies show the longest living are the vegetarians(not vegan) and fish eaters. So as usual the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

    • Cyndi says:

      I’ll have to agree with you Sam. I feel better consuming mostly plants and some animal products. Unfortunately with me, I have a terrible time with dairy. I’m not lactose intolerant, but I’ve noticed that every time I eat it especially cheese, my joints hurt (especially my lower back). I may have a problem with the casein in it, and I know cheese is a concentrated form of casein. I think you’re right about the truth lies in the middle.

  • BP says:

    Ive seen countless vegans turn paleo after health issues stemming from vegan diet. Any paleo turned vegans exist?

    • Puma says:

      Yes. I am one of them.

      Veganism is a pretty extreme diet. Weston Price found no vegan cultures. Even the more ascetic plant-based diets such as ayurveda use animal foods.

      I think it is possible to be a paleo-vegetarian if a person ate eggs and cheese (found liberally in the stomachs of young hoofstock).

      As another commenter pointed out, veganism is an ethic more than a diet, and as such has aims that are beyond (perhaps detrimental to) nutrition.

    • Roger says:

      Echoing my exact thoughts.

    • jen says:

      I can’t help but wonder if those vegans were eating a highly processed diet with tons of fake soy meat. That would make anybody sick.

      • Julie says:

        I was vegan for about two years after being vegetarian for three. I drank soy milk, ate soy nuts, loved soy ice cream, and often incorporated soy crumbles into my dinner. (Of course, I did not eat all of this every day. This is just to illustrate what my overall diet/shopping cart looked like.) Because soy mimics estrogen, my boobs got huge (32A bra size to 32C) and I started to pack on the pounds. My mood swings were just terrible. My poor husband–luckily, he’s forgiven me for my volatility back then. I realized I had to stop when I added 30 pounds in one year. When I went back to a more balanced vegetarian diet and incorporated free range eggs, I lost weight and my moods subsided. I’m now a paleo-veg, and yes, it is possible. As many have mentioned above, paleos and vegans have the same ideology and probably share more similarities than they think. They both share the idea that humans need to get back to nature.

        Just another tidbit to throw in for my vegan brothers and sisters arguing that beef causes deforestation…One of the primary growers of soy beans is Brazil. Soy farms there destroy roughly the same amount of rainforest as beef. I know because I’m a geographer and frequently read satellite imagery.

        • Jerry Gallagher says:

          Julie,
          I am interested in why you went soy heavy in your vegan diet. Soy definitely plays a part in my diet, but no more than legumes or whole grains.

        • Arlis says:

          To quote Alexander above, “over 80% of the worlds soya production does not go to vegan products, it is used a high protein feed for cattle and the like.”

          • Olivier Pilon says:

            does that mean that unless you can afford
            grassfed/organic meats, that you shouldnt
            at much meat at all as youll be eating
            meeat that was soy-fed (and of course hormones)
            and so if i cant afford the grassfed meats
            i should try to eat as little meat as possible?

            can you eat paleo on a super tight budget?
            if not, what is the best alternative?

        • Paul_C says:

          Men need to avoid soy as well. It can do to us what it did to you.

          • Owen says:

            I’m not a huge fan of soy or anything, but if this was really a major issue wouldn’t, like, every man in Asia have huge man-boobs?

        • Paul says:

          Would like to see here a comparison of the amount of water required to raise livestock next to amount needed for soybeans. There is more to this than just square footage. Also, how many are fed on an acre of soybeans compared to those that can be fed from the cattle produced on an acre. Also, you can grow a crop every year. Your cattle aren’t ready in one year are they?

          • Julie says:

            Paul,
            Hey! I’m on your side. Yes, I agree that cattle ranching’s use of water is atrocious (depends on where you are really, or if you’re talking about feedlots or open grazing). Yes, I agree that you can feed more people with vegetable product than with beef. However, I do not agree with the benefits of soy. I do not agree that it is an “environmentally sustainable” product (i.e. Brazil). I think women need to be very cautious about consuming soy. I was responding to the previous poster’s question on how vegetarians (moi) and vegans (I’m guessing you) are affected physically by soy products. Jeez. You’re only adding to the angry vegan stereotype, honey. Maybe consuming too many soybean, mood-swing-inducing products? Mwah!

    • Cyndi says:

      I would love to know that too.

      • Laura says:

        You can get some of the components of protein (the amino acids) from legumes, seeds and grain, but meat and fish contain all the essential amino acids. The amino acids in meat/fish are also in a form that is very easy for most people to digest. Many people find grains and legumes (which contain digestive inhibitors) quite hard to digest. Note too how little meat you actually need to get protein – 4 oz of beef provides 30 grams protein; salmon 25 grams; tofu 8 grams.

        How DO vegans get enough amino acids without eating their body weight soy?

        • Owen says:

          Laura,

          Try adding up 2000 calories of fruits, veggies, and nuts in one of the many dietary trackers on the internet (e.g. cronometer.com or self.nutritiondata.com). I tracked my raw vegan diet closely for over a month, and while I did notice some nutrients being low (vitamins B12 and D were 0 obviously, calcium was on the low side and I think vitamin E?), protein was decidedly not one of them.

          I’m athletic and I regularly consume 3000 calories. I never worry about protein. That said, I’m not a bodybuilder (I run / yoga / dance) so YMMV.

        • Arlis says:

          Greens are very high in protein.

        • 18 year vegan says:

          Sorry, but that was amazingly ignorant. Maybe you were exaggerating, but , it’s a common misconception. We only need 40 grams of protein(amino acids) a day. I get 30g from my fruit-based diet. When I ate grain and beans, I got 80g.

          • Jerry G says:

            The protein myth is strongly pushed by our western society. When you tell someone they only need .25g of protein per pound of body weight unless they are on dialysis they will get feisty.

  • Mike says:

    Paleo is nothing but trendy, hokey-hipster BS that isn’t based on ANY science. Just imaginative speculation of a brief and turbulent period of human history where our life expectancy was TWENTY FIVE YEARS OLD. “Ohhhh you guys are SUCH WARRIOR HUNTERS!! You simply must consume “COMPLETE” protein in the form of raw calves liver and hyped-up organo-concious farm meats.” You obviously don’t have a clue about what the human body really needs. It’s a diet based on armchair anthropology, ego,some shallow thinking, and a whole lot of science ignoring.

    You don’t need animal protein, FACT. I’m a 200lb athletic male with low body fat and I’ve been thriving for over 5 years. Not only do you not need it, but there are numerous huge, recent, reputable studies that show how it is directly and substantially liked to all cause mortality. The same goes for animal based fat. It’s all garbage with absolutely no advantages to consuming it, only drawbacks. The only exception being eating it to prevent starving.

    All scientific evidence points towards a whole foods, plant-based diet being the most optimal for human health. If you aren’t aware of this fact, then I suggest you do some actual honest objective research and stop kidding yourselves. Go on pubmed, watch vids on nutritionfacts.org and try to contradict them. Or just keep parroting lame fake nutrition advice you overheard 7 years ago, and watching undergroundwellness.com. You all would rather cover your ears and pretend you cant hear anything just so you can keep eating your stupid cheeseburgers? It’s your funeral, literally.

    • Micayla says:

      Dude, pop a Mydol.

    • Frank says:

      Gather-Hunter existence was not a ‘brief turbulent’ period. On the contrary domesticated /agriculture based existence has been far more brief and turbulent. Only 10,000 years, opposed to 1.8 million years. Look at the damage we’ve caused the planet and each other in this mere blimp.

    • Andy says:

      Coprolites (preserved human feces) are an exceptional source of information about our prehistoric ancestors. They provide ideal references about human diet because they are the nondigestible remains of eaten foods. They contain such dietary evidence as the scales, bones, feathers, and hair traces from small animals and coarse fibers, seeds, and leaves of consumed plants. For these reasons, scientists are using coprolites to reconstruct the nutritional merits and overall health of ancient cultures.

      Kristin Sobolik, an anthropologist at the University of Maine, specializes in examining the coprolites of foraging groups who lived in the arid regions of the American Southwest during the last 10,000 years. She has found that about 75 percent of the calories eaten by ancient foragers were in the form of carbohydrates derived from nutritious, high-fiber plants. The richly varied food of these ancient foragers included the roasted basal portions of thick, pulpy leaves of sotol and agave; cactus pads and flowers; sunflower seeds, ground mesquite, and cactus seeds; acorns, walnuts, and pecans; and persimmons, grapes, blackberries, and wild onions. These ancient foragers balanced their high-carbohydrate diet with an intake of about 10–20 percent protein, obtained mostly from mice, pack rats, fish, freshwater clams, lizards, caterpillars, grasshoppers, birds and their eggs, and, when lucky, rabbits and deer.

      In most cases, foraging cultures ate the “perfect” human diet. We know this because of the findings reported by anthropologists who have spent a career examining human coprolites. Karl Reinhard, of the University of Nebraska, is a coprolite expert who specializes in the study of intestinal parasites. He notes how debilitating and potentially fatal intestinal parasites can be, especially when they infect a person who is already weakened by anemia, famine, or prolonged malnutrition. His examination of hundreds of coprolites from sites in the American Southwest indicates that preagricultural hunting and gathering populations were very healthy and almost totally free of internal parasitic infections. Once those groups turned to farming, however, they became anemic and heavily infected. High population densities, poor sanitation, and the compactness of living spaces in farming villages, such as pueblos, helped increase both the rate of infection and the variety of infecting parasites, which include pinworms, tapeworms, and thorny-headed worms.

      • kimmie0 says:

        Go insects! These findings are much closer to what I imagined a true paleolithic diet to be… and adding the never-ending search for food to the list of activities… a very active creature was the human living under these circumstances… The true Paleolithic Sources of protein: mice, pack rats, fish, freshwater clams, lizards, caterpillars, grasshoppers, birds and their eggs, and, when lucky, rabbits and deer. I can see the books flying off the shelf!

        • garry says:

          I think both sides are a little daffy.. My Mom is 91 and still going very strong, a little soreness in her knees but still drives and very healthy. She is French and eats more of a Mediterranean Diet. She eats meats and fish, cheese and lots of salads .. I say eat what you like in moderation and get some exercise everyday and live a happy life without leaving off foods that you enjoy…

  • Stephanie says:

    Interesting article. This is something that I’ve been debating by myself for last 2 years or so as well. For people criticizing Dr. McDougall about the grains, please watch his presentation (on youtube) or his book the Starch Solution. I was so convinced (and btw, I listen to podcasts like Balanced Bites and etc.)
    And also, many people criticize about being “long term vegan” or wtvr; I’d like to see some “long term paleo” and the effects of high fat diet as well. Just to be clear, I’m not criticizing anyone. I am just very interested in health & wellness and the effects of a certain diet.

    • Arlis says:

      I was on the Zone, which is somewhat similar to paleo, for I think over a year. I lost quite a bit of weight, and looked and felt very good. However, during that time, I got pregnant, and gave birth. Stubborn as I was, I insisted on sticking to the Zone diet throughout my pregnancy. However, after giving birth, I was extremely exhausted. This was my second birth, and I noticed a distinct difference in how washed out I felt. I gave birth at home, in the morning, downstairs, and by evening, I was still unable to even climb the stairs to our bedroom (so we all slept on the family room floor that night!). I really felt like my body had been needing more whole grains/complex carbohydrates. ….So I proceeded to add lots of starch to my diet, and about 4 years later stepped on a scale, and I was about 20 pounds above my highest pregnancy weight! I am still trying to find a balance. I am eating a high raw, 95% vegan diet, of all whole foods, no preservatives or additives, and have dropped 30 lbs in the past 2 years. I feel like all raw doesn’t give me enough complex carbs, but too many starches makes me tired. I am now working on eliminating all gluten from my family’s diet, as I am learning that that is a major culprit in feeling sluggish and depressed.

      Hope this helps!

      • Owen says:

        Arlis, since you seem to be searching for the right carb solution, you might consider a big blender full of bananas for your carb needs. They’re not exactly the starchy complex carbs you might be used to, but you may also find they don’t make you tired like the starches do. (Caveat: the bananas need to be ripe, which means brown spots on the skin; eating unripe bananas is not advisable — but what most people think is ripe is not really ripe.)

        For more info you can read 80-10-10 by Doug Graham. Or just try adding a single big banana meal to your day. I never feel undercarbed if I’ve got my bananas, and I also never feel tired from eating. In fact, if anything I have the opposite problem — too much energy, can’t sleep :) .

  • Adam says:

    Grain intolerances or agitations would be expected in a small number of population and its increase is due to lack of probiotics and other healthy bacteria which are the source for b12 and other nutrients. Saying the science proves meat diet is normal is error as humans are designed for plant diet. All nutritional and medicinal resources can be acquired from plants which does not get researched or promoted as it is not profitable and destructive…

    • Alisha says:

      I don’t think either side disagrees with the fact that humans thrive on a heavy plant-filled diet. The debate seems to come down more to whether meat should be included, and grain/legumes excluded (paleo) or meat and animal products excluded while grains/legumes included (vegan). I have found the research that shows thousands of years of evidence that hunter/gatherers ate meat, and not grain, and were disease and cavity free (the short life span was not because of disease) to be the reason I went paleo and am in the best health of my life. I find it odd saying that grain is natural in the diet, although many humans can not digest it, or have terrible reactions to it, and blaming that fact on something other than the grain. We shouldn’t have to eat something extra (like probiotics) just to allow us to digest something else that we are eating.

  • John Christian says:

    For the comments about us evolving and learning to use tools. Yes,we learned how to make fire to cook meat, and tools to prepare grain, but how many, many years ago? What about our brains evolving since then? Has this not allowed us to “think” our way to a cleaner diet? One that does not include suffering? Or should I just hunt your ass down and fry me some burgers because you seem to graze far better than than the farm animals you eat!

    • evan says:

      Just because spinach doesn’t have a face doesn’t mean it was any less alive when you ripped it out of the ground than the calf you kill for veal. You have to kill to live. More precisely, you have to consume something that is/was alive to get energy from it. Many farm raised animals are treated poorly and that should be changed. But for those farms that treat animals humanely, there shouldn’t be any moral issue. If you defend life, defend all of it. Not just the side you sympathize with. Remember that the next time you swat a fly away from you salad.

      • Paul says:

        This is a funny argument. Spinach does not have a nervous system. Animals do and that does make all the difference. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to roast your pet dog or cat on the grill. Why?

        • Jack says:

          If it came down to either me or my dog, that dog would be steak. We are not herbivors, we are omnivors. We have canine teeth and a taste for flesh therefore we eat it.

          We evolved over 2 million years to eat whatever we could to survive. We still are programmed to do that. This is why we have so many weight problems. We are drawn to rich foods that will pack on fat for storage during times of famine. We have only been farming for 10,000 years. This is not enough time to evolve our digestive system to handle the way we eat today. Not compared to the 2 million that got us here.

          • Kart says:

            So is it only you and the chicken left in the world now? If yes, you are welcome to have meat. Since we all know there is no scarcity of plant based foods, that means we don’t need any bloodshed to get the energy we need.

            We do not have acidic salivas like carnivores. So meat can only get digested in our stomachs (partially) using the stomach acids we produce; and has a long way to go before excretion. That is why all you pork eating folks have to deal with detoxification and colon cleansing while we vegans can laugh at the sight of you going thru it.

          • Kat says:

            @Jack and some others commenting on this article: I’d like to know exactly how it is that we have so much concrete evidence related to what was going on in the world over 2 million years ago. No current technology in existence today is effective enough to give us such so-called “proof”. I’d like to add that because there are still tribal populations in existence to this day, there is definitely a good possibility that civilization existed alongside more primitive peoples thousands of years ago, just like now, only in smaller numbers – after all, we have no idea how the pyramids came into existence, and there are many mysteries from our past that we only speculate on based on scientific theories.
            We have canine teeth (pathetic ones in comparison to most omnivores, but canines nonetheless) and front-facing eyes, which indicate that we are likely designed to be omnivorous. However, I believe that there are many factors to take into account when considering which diet is optimal for who. Perhaps we’re just very adaptable and can thrive on many different types of diets. I personally believe that setting out specific dietary plans for everyone to follow is dangerous. From my own experience, a diet that is high in whole foods with minimal processing is best. I consume small to moderate portions of meat, large portions of vegetables/fruits, and cultured dairy foods such as kefir. I don’t shy away from grains, but I try to soak/ferment/sprout most that I eat. The same goes for nuts and seeds. I have removed modern wheat, refined sugars, cow’s milk (unless cultured or butter), refined fats, food additives and soy from my diet, but I’m not paranoid either. I think it may be a good idea to consume occasional culprit foods (unless severely allergic) to prevent food intolerances, sort of like homeopathic medicine but in the form of food. Maybe ths makes little or no sense to some of you, but it has worked for me, and my health has improved drastically since making these dietary changes.
            I guess my point is that there’s really no diet or lifestyle in existence that is effective for everyone. We should learn to trust our bodies rather than jumping on the latest dietary bandwagons.

  • Muse says:

    Ugh just stop! As several people have said the ultimate goal of both sides is for people to eat whole foods. All this tit for tat is what turns people who are completely unhealthy off from both groups. If one chooses to be vegetarian/vegan or paleo is a personal choice as long as they have the knowledge or are striving not to eat a diet of processed foods. Why does anyone have to choose sides?

    • Micayla says:

      I don’t go through cleanses, I just eat a ton of veggies with a balance of meat. And the foods that break down before reaching our stomach are much too high on the glycemic index. Ever heard of “melts in your mouth”?

    • Doug Spoonwood says:

      “As several people have said the ultimate goal of both sides is for people to eat whole foods. ” Not true. Ethical vegans do exist. Also, not all vegans with health concerns oppose all processed foods… including meat analogs.

      • Jerry G says:

        Yes, I have met some really weird “ethical vegans” who ate some really bad stuff like vegan girl scout cookies and poptarts. You have people on all sides who need to pay more attention to what they put into their bodies.

  • peppino says:

    nothing beats the Warrior Diet!

  • Theresa Auletta says:

    I’ve been strictly vegetarian and partly vegan for three months now and have done a lot of research on the benefits, health and otherwise. I have recently started researching the paleo diet(s). I have come up with one question that I am very curious about. When comparing health-wise only, which is worse for you, grain-fed factory farmed meat or whole grains and legumes such as quinoa and lentils? I say this because many people I’ve spoken to that are trying to follow the paleo diet do not stay strict to buying local, grass fed, wild caught meats for various reasons (too expensive, too hard to find). If one cannot obtain these types of meats (which from the research i’ve done is crucial) is it better or worse to substitute with high protein grains and legumes?

    • Micayla says:

      We’re okay with quinoa, almonds and wild rice. :) I believe the grain-fed animals are worse because they also have hormones and other chemicals, not to mention what they’re treated with in the processing phase. I also take huge exception to how they are treated. I’ve found an alternative for the budget, free places with frozen stuff. It’s past time, but I don’t mind when it comes to the source. If I can’t, I save a little out to buy Biotrust, it’s high quality and they have discounts. Much better than processed meats. Protein is not the highest priority for our lifestyle, it’s a plate full of greens at every meal.

    • Alisha says:

      There’s really not a big difference between eating grain, and grain-fed meat. Both have a lot of negatives when it comes to your health. That being said, if I HAD to choose, I would probably choose grain-fed meat.

      • Kart says:

        And when that grain fed meat wont push thru your intestines and you need a colon cleanse, let us vegans know, we’ll send you some fiber.

        • Jackie says:

          Speaking of ignorance, you honestly think that the paleo diet doesn’t have fiber? You should get off the board and do some research. Most of us consume 10+ servings of non-starchy veggies per day. Tell me again I’m not getting enough fiber to digest grassfed meats. So funny.

    • Jack says:

      I think the grains may be better than the factory fed meat to be honest. This coming from a pretty hard core paleo follower. The animals are sick and you are eating those toxins in their body.

      On the other hand, if you are not tolerant to grains you are probably better off eating the factory meat. I know if I ate more grains I would be huge. If I eat any more than 100 grams of carbs per day I gain weight faster than you could imagine.

    • Annnoyed says:

      Very true.

  • Dean says:

    I’m disappointed that the 80-10-10 version of the vegan diet was not represented here at all. I’ve been a Paleo fan for quite a while now, but after researching the principles of 80-10-10, I have become very disjointed in my thinking. Forget the whole Durianrider thing and you have a diet that I personally can’t find fault in, once you understand the inner workings of it, it is hard to deny the very strong argument about what we as humans are naturally drawn to eat, before processing, seasoning, butchering, dyeing, packaging and so on. Put a live chicken, pig, cow, pile of untouched grain like wheat, pile of untouched beans still hard as nature provides, and a pile of ripe peaches in front of a hungry person with no tools and what is that person naturally drawn to eat? It seems pretty obvious to me and since science is still so young and compartmentalized I find it very difficult to argue with that logic. Anyways that’s just my two cents. Just like to mention that I believe everyone in both fields are, for the most part genuine in their desire to help people and I hope for human healths sake that the correct answer is in the near future. Dean

    • Owen says:

      I’ve been doing my best to represent 80-10-10 in the comments, at least.

      It’s pretty out there for most people, even vegans and paleos. I’ve been a health and food-conscious person for years, low-carb then vegetarian then vegan for years (I missed the paleo phase cuz I was already vegan when it came around and I like the fuzzy guys). Even with that kind of interest and openness to nutrition it still took me a while to open up to the simplicity of 80-10-10.

      You’re right, it’s a bit of a paradigm shift in thinking, but in a few years, I predict an 80-10-10-like approach will be represented in events like this.

    • Rob says:

      But that’s what makes us homo sapiens…tools. We developed tools. We developed the ability to use fire to cook meats and other foods to be more edible. Eat a lot of veggies, some fruits, some nuts/seeds, and some animal flesh. I have yet to meet anyone that actually eats that way that has any health issues at all. The paleo problem is compliance or frankenfoods. Because you restrict so much, its harder to stay on it. When that becomes an issue, people start trying to find paleo substitutes. Neither are a good thing. Veganism has this built in. Yes you can have refined sugar…yes you can have pizza (with fake cheese)…the substitutions for meat are endless and generally fit into veganism. The only thing different between a good paleo diet and a good vegan diet is meat.

  • Chantelle says:

    I’m an 18-year-old vegetarian, and I’ve wanted to go vegan for awhile. However, my parents and my doctor continually nix that idea, because they worry that I won’t get enough calcium. How do vegans make sure that they’re getting enough of the nutrients in their diet that we usually get from dairy?

    • SolInvictus says:

      This is what I always find the most curious thing. How is that not a neon sign to people that it’s not the most healthy for them?
      If a diet/fuel system is deficient from the get go, it’s not what you were meant to run your machine on…
      I see vegans as having an admirable ethic in not wanting to harm, but it’s kind of like pining for utopia. Once you pull your head out of the clouds it’s easier to see what is idealism and what actually works.

    • Buddy says:

      I am not a health professional and my understanding from my looking into the matter is what is biological available to the body. Just passing something through the digestive system does not automatically make it available to the body. We vegans get calcium and other nutrients/minerals from the same source as the cows, namely from the plant that uptakes those minerals from the earth. The cow may concentrate minerals for their baby food (milk) but does not manufacture it. Thus the importance of organic vegetables grown on rich soils rather than depleted soils. An often overlooked aspect is hanging on to the minerals you have. Diary and meat is acidic and the body will lose minerals such as calcium in trying to buffer the effects of acid forming foods. Osteoporosis appears to more an issue with acid forming food than any lack of calcium in the diet.

      • Micayla says:

        Actually, we are the only animal in existance that doesn’t produce calcium or Vitamin C. They both must be ingested in large quantities. Calcium is recommended at 800+ mcg per day. You can find high quality, readily-available calcium in kale and spinach or also in capsules (not pills, you won’t digest them). But, you need to kill the soy. Soy is like estrogen and will hurt your skeletal system later on if you don’t build up early. We women have to build super strong bones as kids and teens if we don’t want to break down as older women, so be careful. :) Also, if you eat roots or take an iron supplement, it has to be in a different sitting than the calcium because the calcium will make the iron unavailable and cause you to become anemic. Good luck, deary!

    • Steve says:

      Just as others have suggested eat your greens. The easiest way to do this is make a tasty green smoothie everyday. There are plenty of recipes online. Many doctors still believe that dairy products are the only way to get calcium when in reality it weakens your bones. Don’t let milk commercials brainwash you into thinking otherwise as they want to make money. It is not natural for humans to consume milk from another species and no species drinks milk past infancy. I have been vegan for 2 years and raw vegan for 1 year and am in the best health of my life. Many doctors are now being educated on the benefits plant based diets. A Green smoothie a day will do wonders!

      • Micayla says:

        This is true. Cheese and milk are horrible for the bones and are highly inflammatory. Green smoothies are delicious, once you get used to them. ;)

      • Kat says:

        Don’t assume that because some people insist that we aren’t designed to consume dairy that it’s the truth. You could say the same thing about so many foods. In nature, you don’t see animals eating olive or coconut oil, marinated meats, cooked or cultured foods, and so on, but these foods are regularly consumed by humans, and have been considered to be healthy for a long time. I do believe that it’s all about quality. Many people complain that dairy is horrible, because they are used to eating pasteurized/homogenized milk rather than raw or cultured/fermented dairy. When the goodness of milk is stripped or altered by excess processing, it’s rendered useless in the body. Granted, some people have dairy allergies, usually in the form of lactose intolerance, but often times these same people can handle yogurt/kefir, etc. with no issues at all. Some people will claim that no food that requires such preparation (ie fermenting, culturing, soaking, etc.) should be eaten, but that sounds very much like “devolution” to me…we have the brains we do for a reason, and there’s no need to think like so-called “cavemen”, who would’ve had very little insight on such matters. If a food is beneficial to us, we should embrace ways of making that food more bioavailable rather than slagging it because our ancestors didn’t have the knowledge to properly utilize it. It seems like everywhere you go, someone is telling you what you should and shouldn’t eat. The controversy is staggering. I think people are missing the point, which is to trust your body, and consume foods that are wholesome. If dairy is an issue for you, you can easily omit it, and derive your calcium sources from sea vegetables, nuts, seeds and green vegetables. But nobody should assume that they know what is and isn’t good for everyone on the planet (aside from the obvious poisons like cola and nitrates).

    • Anjula Razdan says:

      Hi Chantelle,

      You can consult with an integrative nutritionist to get the full list, but rest assured there are many vegan sources of calcium, including broccoli, dark leafy greens, blackstrap molasses, tempeh, tahini, almonds and many types of beans.

      –Anjula Razdan, Senior Editor, Health and Nutrition

      • Doug Spoonwood says:

        Dark leafy greens include collard greens, mustard greens, kale, bok choy, and turnip greens. Okra can make for another calcium source, dried figs, as well as soymilk fortified with calcium. Spinach and swiss chard, though good foods, have too many oxalates in them with inhibit absorption of calcium.

  • Jenn says:

    I have a problem with ANY diet that almost exclusively removes a whole food ground -

    Vegans have their issues and need to take supplements to maintain overall help (B complex)

    Paelo has it’s own issues as well. Since we don’t actually have to hunt and gather personally to survive, and we have access to healthy food whenever we want it – most can eat 3 squares a day etc, I don’t think diet is the best choice either. The human body has evolved since the days of cave men – even now though out the world people/cultures may have different organ sizes – for example the Inuit people have different sized organs because of their diet.

    I tell all my clients the key to a good healthy diet is whole foods – whether meats, vegetables, grains – WHATEVER your culture/religion/health permits – the more the food is unprocessed the better :)

  • Jay says:

    Great information from both sides. Avoiding processed food seems to work best for both side. Its tough for most people to give up pizza, meat, and chocolate – LOL. I like the idea of trying to find out what works best for the person, since we have different lifestyles backgrounds etc… Based on my 20 years experience in the health and fitness field; you will have to drink a lot of water on the a Paleo diet or you may get really bad breath. On a Vegan diet their can be vitamin and mineral deficits unless you get tested etc… With limited time in the day and a family I give credit to anyone who takes the time to give their family healthy food that didn’t come frozen, in a box or fast food.

    • Micayla says:

      I don’t think either side actually gives up chocolate… we just eat it differently. Carob and dark, minimally-processed cacao are totally legal for Paleos. :) I’d imagine it’s the same for Vegans, since it is full of antioxidants and healthy fat. Chocoholics need not suffer. Hahaha! Oh, Paleos drink tons of green tea and eat a lot of veggies too, so no worries on the breath either. Lmao!

  • Annnoyed says:

    Who here truly believes wild-caught, grass-fed meat is sustainable for everyone in America, let alone the world. Get real. I think the paleo fans should have to hunt mammoth & wild boar then. And they should really spend all day hunting-gathering too. Most people are not body builders and will develop heart disease on this type of diet.

    • matt says:

      Read up on what causes heart disease. It isn’t meat or fat. It’s insulin. Both are doing the same thing in reality….reducing elevated levels of insulin. While I think both diets have merit, Paleo is something that is more inclusive to what humans did eat. You have incisors for a reason and it wasn’t just meant to shear carrot sticks.

    • Jessica says:

      There is no evidence to suggest you would develop heart disease on a Paeleo diet. Animal fat doesn’t cause heart disease. You being fat is the cause of heart disease. Eating meat in the right amounts has a positive effect on the heart, not negative.

      • Annnoyed says:

        No evidence!? Ever hear of “Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease”, or how about “The China Study”?

        • me says:

          The China Study has been debunked. You might try offering up a valid source for this argument.

          Inflammation is a strong culprit in heart disease, which is not caused by eating natural saturated fats or animal proteins.

          • Mike says:

            The china study has never been validly debunked…ever. It is an extremely valid piece of peer reviewed science. You must still think the world is flat. Animal protein and animal fat are both horrible for you, and there are literally buckets of studies other than “the china study” that clearly show that causation. You just haven’t done a lick of honest, objective research. Like most people. You’re talking out of your behind so you can rationalize clinging to your bacon and just doing what everyone else does and not rock the boat.

          • Annnoyed says:

            Any piece if research can be “debunked” if people search hard enough, including the rediculous pre-agriculture nonsense…was there anyone actually present who can “prove” what early humans ate? It certainly wasn’t domesticated cattle & genetically modified hogs or chickens.

  • Ben says:

    I think that the human body is an efficient enough machine, that if it NEEDS something it will express that in one way or another. I have tried both low carb(not true paleo, but in retrospect it was pretty close) and a mostly vegan diet. The most blatantly obvious difference in my experiences are the cravings. While doing the low carb thing every waking moment was spent with a tearing desire for carbs, and with a doughnut shop on every corner in the Dallas area, I felt like I was the brunt of some sick joke. While on a vegan diet, the cravings are…..nonexistent. I’m not saying that I don’t smell barbecue and think “Self, that smells really good”, but once the aroma is gone so too is my slight desire for a ribeye. The way I look at it is if my body actually needed me to consume meat to survive it would let that fact be known.

    I will attest to the cosmetic effectiveness of a low carb diet though it will shred you up, and it will do it in a very short period of time.

    People on both sides of this debate have one thing in common, they are all trying to better themselves through improvements in their diet; so to that I would like to commend anyone on either side. When it comes down to my opinion on which diet is more effective by way of feeling great and being truly healthy Vegan gets my vote.

    Who’s going to be the first to pounce on my opinion???

    • Jack says:

      The cravings are not a good indicator that something is good for you. If you have some crack you will probably crave for some more crack. Is that your body telling you that it is good for you?

    • Brian says:

      Paleo isn’t necessarily low carb. I eat a pretty typical Paleo diet, and get a number of carbs through sweet potatoes, fruits, nuts, and other vegetation. Paleo places a significantly higher importance on food quality than the typical low carb diet as well. Try adding some non grain and dairy carbs with the low carb diet you tried, and I bet the carb cravings would go away.

  • I share about my experience transitioning to a paleo diet from years of veganism here:

    http://www.my-healthy-eating-secrets.com/paleo-diet.html

  • Marcus says:

    The whole vegan vs paleo thing is getting pretty frustrating. The terms vegan and paleo mean different things to different people and there are unhealthy & healthy ways to eat within each approach.

    Ultimately, it feels like the high grain people are out of touch and diets like the Thrive diet represent a more refined version of the Vegan diet that considers proteins, removing grains and is actually pretty Paleo.

    I have experience in the MS community where the vegan and paleo diets are two competing areas and this competition helps no one.

    The low fat, high grain vegan approach seems just dated with all the work being done and surely a higher (good) fat, non processed, high vegetable and moderate amount of plant protein is better but still, if you are strict vegan, where are you getting your omega 3′s, B vitamins etc from?

    To me, I try to eat lots of vegetables, like tons, and some fruit, but it also seems that to get B Vitamins, to get Omega’s we need to eat fish and meat. You don’t need to eat tons of meat to be Paleo and we have many fish and meat free meals but for me, any perfect diet is one that is sustainable without supplements (even though we take them) and the vegan diet falls down there.

    It is more important to find the science and the common ground and look at what is sustainable for the world as a whole and find the ultimate diet that not only takes our health into account, but the ethics that all so often way to heavy on the vegan side of the argument (it seems often to be vegan ethics vs paleo science).

    What, as a non scientist, I don’t understand, is how some people / groups claim there is too much anti grain science to ignore, and other groups just seem to ignore it.

    Another note: Brendon Brazier is anti grain vegan, whilst McDougal is pro grain vegan so I don’t even see how these two wildly different diets can be grouped together in such a discussion.

    I would really class us as Paleo Whole Food Eaters. We eat wild caught fish and grass fed meats but focus on vegetables, salads, raw foods, smoothies etc and we eat a whole bunch of the high nutrient vegan type foods from the Brendan Brazier Thrive diet book.

    The truth is somewhere in the middle but it would certainly, from a health perspective, seem to lie closer to the clean ‘paleo’ diets as advocated by Robb Wolf and Co. and the paleo’ish vegan diets advocated by Brendan Brazier. The grain heavy diets advocated by Dean Ornish and McDougal to me, seem way out of date.

  • josh almanza says:

    Kris Carr is mixing up a therapeutic diet (vegan diet used for her cancer) with a long term healthy diet (omnivorous diet, what you eat to thrive all through your life). Of course all food should be of the best quality: local, pasture raised, organic, fresh, cooked with low heat, etc.

    “With ill health, the optimal diet often changes. Sick people often have to tweak their diet, and the nature of the change varies with the nature of the pathology.” – Paul Jaminet PhD

    “There is no one diet that is perfect for everyone, but that is mainly because not everyone is healthy.” – Paul Jaminet PhD

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/perfect-health-diet/201201/is-there-perfect-diet

  • Malin says:

    For anyone not yet vegan or paleo I really hope your take home message is this -> a diet made of Real Food is best for your health.

    As for the environmental stuff it’s true that much deforestation was done to produce food for animals, we’ve been doing that since before we domesticated animals, but that doesn’t mean that agriculture isn’t blamefree and it doesn’t mean that eating meat here and now causes further deforestation. I don’t contribute to the destruction of rainforests or prairies because I buy local meat (I live in the UK) that has grazed on land that is very difficult to grow crops on. I have in the past been vegetarian and always felt guilty at the distances my food had to travel. Eating a paleo based diet I could get nearly all my food from probably a 100 mile radius of my home, eating vegan would require eating food from all over the world.

    Other people, in other parts of the world, will have different access to different foods. I strongly believe that the evidence points to eating real foods as being best for our health and better for the planet.

    (NB I do not count wheat as a Real Food)

  • Kyle Knapp says:

    Nice article- it is always nice to see this “debate” covered from both sides. Although I follow a Paleo template it would be nice if the paleos and vegans could all agree that we all promote real food and then just let everyone fill out their diet the way they see fit. There’s plenty of plants and animals to go around…

  • Dj says:

    quiet interesting …. I say “Eat What You Want and Die Like a Man”

  • fred hahn says:

    This article unfortunately misses the point. It’s not about vegans vs. Paleo, it’s about what human beings have evolved to eat in order to maximize health. And that is NOT a vegan diet – not even close. If fact, if all a vegan ate WAS plants (no processed foods, no supplements) – only plant matter that could be gathered in the plains/forest, they’d all die within a year or less. So how healthy is the diet really? Please people.

    The only people who benefit from a vegan diet in our society are those who are eating almost all their food in the form of processed, manufactured, additive-ridden foods. It’s not the vegan diet per se that is so healthful. If I stop smoking and start chewing gum and after a time my chronic bronchitis goes away, it wasn’t the gum that cured me.

    Vegans believe that their diet is superior ignoring what science has to say on the matter. There is not a shred of physical evidence that a vegan diet is the most healthful and scores of research that indicate that a diet high in fat, adequate in complete proteins (animal based) and low in carbohydrate is superior for overall health. And you don’t need any vegetation at all if one eats the entire animal – organs, etc.

    The experts who state that the vegan diet is the most healthful diet for humans are being horribly irresponsible and should be hung up by their Buster Browns. Experts doctors like John McDougall, Michael Greger, Joel Fuhrman, Caldwell Esselstyn, Dean Ornish and others of their ilk, grossly misrepresent the benefits of a vegan diet compared to a paleo diet and continue to misinform millions of people.

    For shame doctors, for shame. Enough is enough. Ditch your personal agendas and start telling people the truth. I challenge all vegan doctors to produce a single study which indicates that a vegan diet is superior to a Paleo, high fat, low carb diet.

    • Owen says:

      ” it’s about what human beings have evolved to eat in order to maximize health”

      Did we evolve eating scrambled eggs? The thing I don’t get about paleo is that, at least some of them seem to have no trouble eating things we obviously didn’t evolve eating, even while saying we should eat only those things we evolved eating.

      The true paleo eats a lot of fruit, leaves, nuts, seeds, and smaller amounts of raw bugs and raw meat. Maybe the occasional raw human brain.

      The only other point I’ll disagree with you on is the bit about hanging the docs. They’re out there doing their best to help people. I personally find some of the heart-disease results (Dr. Ess’s stuff) incredible. If it’s bogus that his diet can literally save lives of heart disease patients, please link me the papers that debunk it.

    • Paul says:

      Remember that many of these doctors if not all used this diet to help their patients recover from diseases. Can’t see how that’s bad.

    • PeggyC says:

      Hear Hear. Well said, Fred Hahn.

    • LS says:

      “There is not a shred of physical evidence that a vegan diet is the most healthful and scores of research that indicate that a diet high in fat, adequate in complete proteins (animal based) and low in carbohydrate is superior for overall health.

      For shame doctors, for shame. Enough is enough. Ditch your personal agendas and start telling people the truth. I challenge all vegan doctors to produce a single study which indicates that a vegan diet is superior to a Paleo, high fat, low carb diet.”

      Low carb plant based diet beats animal based one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iojFtL4jMao&feature=BFa&list=PL53AA35449C7DD652&lf=plpp_video#t=4m59s

      • fred hahn says:

        LS – nothing in that video supports a vegan diet as healthful nor does it refute what I said above. Find and show me a controlled study that shows a vegan diet is superior to a high fat, paleo diet on blood markers for inflammation, diabetes, obesity, etc.

        • fred hahn says:

          And if you are indeed Dr. Greger, remember that I have challenged and defeated you before on this issue on your own discussion board (which you kicked me off of because you could not defend your vegan agenda).

          • Kat says:

            And likewise, I’d like to see an honest, long term study that proves that the “paleo” diet is good for people in the long run. I can see the benefits of it for the short term (it closely resembles the anti-candida diet) and it’s likely that the benefits that world experience initially are due to yeast kill-off. However, I find it difficult to believe that such a diet can be good when practiced over several years or decades. Often times, food intolerances are due to candida overgrowth, which disrupts the entire system. I think that this a common reason why some people develop intolerances to grains and dairy, and that the blame shouldn’t be placed on these foods themselves. Candidiasis is caused by a number of factors, including stress, overconsumption of processed foods, antibiotics, and environmental factors. In this way, the paleo diet is great, as it discourages processed, medicated foods. Of course, vegetarianism should promote the same principles, and we can’t assume that all vegans/vegetarians are careless enough to eat the soy-based prepackaged junk in the trendy health food aisles of big-chain supermarkets. unfortunately, there are plenty of idiots in both the vegan and paleo communities who do this and make the rest of them look bad.

  • Brian says:

    I find the debate between paleo and vegan incredibly frustrating. They are the two diets that are most responsible for advocating the consumption of unprocessed foods, but they are at each others throats about their differences. If half the world went paleo, and half the world went vegan, the whole world would be much healthier than we are today.

    • Justin says:

      If half the world went paleo we would need another few planets to feed it (all that grass fed beef y’know).

      • SolInvictus says:

        That’s an argument against overpopulation, not the healthier choice in food. If not controlled, it won’t matter. There won’t be enough water and soy beans to feed the masses. So again, not a valid argument.

    • Laura says:

      I agree with you. I think we should be working together. I would love to see this panel of people debate a panel from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and some mainstream “health gurus” like Dr. Oz, JIllian Michaels, etc. People more interested in plugging “healthy” products then whole foods.

  • Kim says:

    I just had to laugh at “Dr.” McDougall’s comment that “grains are the most important nutritional component of humans….” Really? What did they eat before 10,000 years ago? How could anyone consume a plant based diet during the Ice Age? The fact that there are no indigenous vegan cultures should tell you it’s frankly a manmade invention bordering on a religion. And those Egyptians that supposedly “thrived” on wheat had diabetes, cancer & heart disease. I would also like to know how “fruit is the most ideal food for human beings”? How much fruit can you grow and eat in cold climates and winter months?

    • Paul says:

      This Egyptian misinformation is frequently cited. The mummies that have been available for study were royalty and consequently had diets high in meat and fat. The poor folks didn’t eat that way and they didn’t die of those diseases.

    • Doug Spoonwood says:

      People did eat grains before 10,000 years ago. The Wikipedia entry on the Paleolithic Diet indicates this: “Evidence suggests the diet of Stone Age humans did include, in some form, the refined starches and grains that are excluded from the Paleolithic diet. There is evidence that Paleolithic societies were processing cereals for food use at least as early as 23,000[92][93] or 30,000 years ago,[94] and possibly as early as 105,000[95] or 200,000 years ago.[96]“

    • Brendan says:

      couldn’t have said it better myself, I laughed out loud at that!

  • The take home message is to eat REAL food
    As soon as you cut out refined, processd fake food from your diet you wI’ll be on your way towards optimal health.
    Xxoo

    • Jeanne Gillett says:

      I agree the main message is to eat real food! People would benefit from eliminating all processed foods. Eat the fruits and veggies that are currently in season and if you choose to eat meat then it should be grass fed or wild-caught. I also think there are different body types and some do better with a more paleo diet and some more vegetarian. You have to find what works for you. I personally lean mostly to vegetarian diet but I also know when I need more protein and will eat sustainable fish.

      • fred hahn says:

        You need protein and complete proteins everyday to enjoy optimal health. If you eat too little, your body eats its own tissues for what it is lacking in the diet.

  • Mary Beth says:

    I wish you guys would have asked Natalia Rose for her opinion. She is probably the most educated person when it comes to nutrition. While the diet she recommends is mostly vegan, she says that high quality animal products (such as raw organic goat cheese and fish) are some of the items that have kept her health journey on track for so long. And while fruit is the most ideal food for human beings, for many women who have an over-yeasted system, fruit can actually stall their weight-loss and keep them from experiencing vitality until their body is much cleaner.

    • fred hahn says:

      “And while fruit is the most ideal food for human beings..”

      Say what Mary Beth? Where in the world are you getting this from?

      • R says:

        For both diets I see a common traits that I know to be best for optimal health and performance.
        First and most important wich makes these diets work in the first place is greens!
        If a vegan or vegararian diet or even paleo is sub optimal, it’s ussally the green laking. Forget the fruit, it’s not half as important as you r greens.
        Fat, the good kind, still a big nono in Veganland, is the most important reason these diets fail! Fat is absolutly important! Add the fat, and experience the difference, if that is not enough, add a little bit of meat, fish or eggs to your diet, and your likly to thrive!
        Paleo is 80% greens, nuts and seeds a a little bit of meat/ fish.
        Both sides should also learn to eat with moderation, this is the most healthiest thing you can do shortterm.

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