paleo diet for vegetarians

Vegetarians and the Paleo Diet

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Following a Paleo lifestyle has proven to benefit the human body. Many refer to it as the optimum diet for the modern world and it only seems to be gaining steam. When we think of the Paleo diet, however, we often envision the cavemen of the paleolithic era from which this diet gets its name. Their diets also consisted largely of animal meat and seafood that these hunter-gatherers were able to find nearby. This raises the question: “can vegetarians follow a paleo diet”? The short answer to this is yes!

A paleo diet for vegetarians basically just means the same thing as the Paleo diet, but without the meat. With all of the fruits, vegetables and eggs comprising a well rounded paleo diet this should pose no problem. Vegetarians should be very conscious of their nutritional intake and whether it is enough. Can a Paleo diet without any meat provide all the nutrients and protein necessary to create and maintain a healthy body?

Eating plenty of eggs will be essential for any vegetarian Paleo diet. Eggs are rich in the proteins your body needs and many Paleo experts assert that you should consume them at least 6 times a week to get the healthy energetic start to your day.

Legumes, which includes beans, are not allowed in a Paleo diet meal plan due to the significant preparation required before they become edible. Our paleolithic ancestors would not likely have gathered legumes in large enough quantities to spend the amount of time and energy necessary to prepare them for eating. Legumes also contain some of the same properties, which make grains hard on digestion and can cause “leaky gut” and various inflammatory ailments. Legumes such as soy beans can imbalance your body’s hormones, which are essential to good health and your ability to burn fat efficiently.

Eggs by themselves will not be enough, of course, and since the Paleo diet eliminates legumes and beans how will your body get all the protein that it needs?! Relax. Not only are many vegetables tremendous sources of vitamins and nutrients, but there are some which provide much higher amounts of protein than you might expect. Peas, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, artichoke, watercress, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, kale and garlic are just some of the vegetables you can find with higher than average protein content.

Eat fruits and nuts too! These are your healthy dessert. Nuts also contain extra protein and fruits are preferable to drinking juices due to the nutritious fibers they contain. Note that peanuts are technically a legume and thus are not allowed on the Paleo diet. Be sure to eat fruits and nuts in moderation as nuts are still higher in fats and fruits contain more sugar than vegetables.

Just be sure you eat a wide variety of vegetables to get well rounded nutrition and for protein be sure to eat plenty of eggs and fish along with plenty of higher protein vegetables. You truly can be a vegetarian and succeed with the Paleo diet. Give it a go!

Here are a few more resources for vegetarians on the paleo diet:

http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegetarian-paleo-diet/

http://www.paleovegetarians.com/

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