Monday, May 2, 2011

The Paleo Diet Goes Vegan

When one thinks of the Paleo Diet they very rarely think of it relating to a Vegetarian or Vegan. It's not a diet that I agree with one 100% but everyone at work has decided to do a 30 Day Paleo Challenge; I thought it would be great to be a team player and get on board the challenge as well.

The Paleo diet is based on what a caveman would have eaten (as a hunter and gatherer) over 10,000 years ago before agriculture came into existence. The idea is to eat a equal amounts of fat, protein and small amounts of carbs (most from fruits and veggies) . The point of the diet is to keep blood sugar levels from spiking, and the benefits include increased athletic performance, reduction in diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, as well as a decrease in body fat and excess weight.

Here is what is NOT allowed on the diet:
 * Grains - such as rice, pastas, breads, etc
 * Beans and Legumes - such as black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, etc
 * Dairy - milk, cheese, yogurts, etc
 * Potatoes - except for sweet potatoes
 * Soy - no tofu or edamame
 * Sugar and Salt
 * Alchohol - except for Tequila (as it comes from the Agave plant)

Here is what you ARE allowed to have on the diet:
 * Meat - chicken, fish, beef, etc
 * Eggs
 * Fruits - any and all fruits
 * Veggies - all veggies, especially leafy greens like kale etc that will help to give you calcium, etc
 * Nuts - such as walnuts and almonds (except peanuts and cashews)
 * Berries - strawberries, raspberries, snozeberries (just seeing if you are still paying attention)

I have to be honest that when I first heard of this challenge and the Paleo diet I thought "What a crock of...". Firstly, in order to eat like a caveman, you should really be hunting your own meats (or at least raising and killing it yourself) and growing and harvesting your own fruits and veggies. Maybe start your own little farm? This just seems like another fad diet to me really. But after learning more about the challenge, the diet, and doing some research I thought "What the hell, I'll be a teamplayer and give this a try"

Also, after hearing about it from someone ( a guest speaker at our staff meeting where we kicked off the challenge) who is on the diet, I made some correlations between Brendan Brazier's Thrive Diet, which I have been following for some time now (being mostly raw and vegan) and some of his recipes I think will fit into the Paleo diet. Obviously, looking at that the list of YES and NO foods, it seems like it might be impossible for a Vegan to do, especially a Vegan runner who needs to meet certain nutritional requirements for performance and recovery while training for something like a marathon!

So how am I going to make the Paleo diet work for my Vegan lifestyle?

Here's how:
 *Mostly raw fruits and veggies
 *Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and almond butters
 * Cheat by occasionally having quinoa with stirfrys (sweet potato being a great addition to a stirfry). This will be my only cheat
 * Add hemp protein powder to practically everything, or use my Vega Whole Food Optimizer

So a sample day would look like this:
 * Breakfast - smoothie of banana, blueberries, almond butter, almond milk and Vega Whole Food Optimizer
 * Snack - raw fruits and veggies
 * Lunch - salads with tons of greens, veggies, nuts, berries, etc and a dressing based on Hemp Oil
 * Dinner - a stirfry with tons of veggies, nuts etc

I also thought back to a lot of my favorite raw and vegan recipes and can adapt them to fit the Paleo Diet, such as my Blueberry Energy Bars and my Sunflower Seed Pate! AND, I can still have my morning coffee with almond milk and agave nectar as I have always done in the past!

So I will continue to blog during this 30 Day Challenge about how I'm doing as a Vegan-Paleo, Runner, Yogi. Oh boy!

1 comment:

  1. Wow...I don't know much about this diet, but I don't do well with such crazy restrictions...I guess being vegan/vegetarian you're probably more used to dealing with restrictions and changes like this.

    Good luck, I'll be curious to see how it works for you!