Many fitness and health experts have pointed to the Paleo diet (Caveman diet) as the perfect source of a long, healthy life. So, as a vegetarian, you may be wondering if you can incorporate a Paleo-based diet to your nutritional and personal beliefs.
To see if this is possible, let’s take a look at a couple of relative definitions.
According to PaleoDiet.com, the Paleo principle to nutrition constitutes:
“The optimum diet for the human animal based on the nutritional requirements established during its evolutionary path to its present form (the modern homo sapiens). The biologically appropriate diet.”
A vegetarian is described as someone who:
“… lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or by-products of slaughter.”
That definition comes from The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom.
What Foods Are Eaten on the Paleo Diet?
Here is where it gets tricky for the vegetarian. Paleo practitioners are allowed to eat the following items only:
- Nuts and seeds
- Grass-fed meats
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Some oils, such as avocado, coconut, flaxseed and olive oil
- Fish and seafood
Vegetarians would never consider eating any type of meat, fish or seafood. So if you want to benefit from the Paleo diet as a vegetarian, simply remove those foods. There are a lot of areas where vegetarians and Paleo dieters agree. For instance nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits and some oils are agreed to as being “okay” foods for both vegetarians and followers of the Paleo diet.
However, the caveman diet outlaws cereal grains, dairy, legumes (including peanuts), potatoes, processed foods, salt and refined sugar. These foods were not available to our Paleo ancestors, thus they are not allowed in this particular diet plan.
Lacto-vegetarians approve of dairy products, but not the consumption of eggs. Ovo-vegetarians agree with Paleo practitioners where eating eggs is concerned. The most common type of vegetarian (lacto-ovo-vegetarian) eats both eggs and dairy products. The vegan eats no dairy products, or any other type of animal-based food.
Wherever you fall on the vegetarian scale, it is possible to incorporate a Paleo diet practice. Eating like our Paleo ancestors means eating as human beings have done for 99% of our existence. Just remember, whatever your nutritional outlook, you don’t necessarily need to fit into a particular dietary box. Exercise, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy foods, and you will be healthy.