Should I Eat Vegan or Paleo?

Here is a short clip from Dr. Mark Hyman, holistic nutrition and functional medicine guru extraordinaire, offering an excellent summation on Paleo vs Vegan. It’s interesting to point out that these two diets have more in common than they have different. What it really comes down to is what is best for YOU. Your own individual mind/body constitution and taking into consideration whatever health issues you may have should inform how to best nourish your body. Variety of vegetables and fruits, no processed crap is a given, but beyond that, even in the realm of whole foods there are choices to make. Decide by listening to your body.

I know lots of paleo people; I know lots of vegan people. I myself tried both diets for an extended amount of time. We are constantly getting new information on various diets; inevitably some become convinced by all the reasons presented on why a particular diet is best. Then there are some who get dogmatic about it, logically adhering to their new way of eating and yet eschew their intuition – listening to reason but not listening to their bodies.

No matter how much the “vegan lifestyle” appeals to you, if you have an autoimmunity issue you should probably curb your grains intake and eliminate wheat altogether. That would make it very difficult to eat a varied vegan diet. In fact, there is much to be said about the benefits of animal sources of protein. Particularly bone broth (basically homemade beef or chicken stock, cooked low and slow) helps rebuild intestinal health that has been compromised by the autoimmune issues.

No matter how much the “paleo lifestyle” appeals to you, if your body has difficulty digesting meat or is sensitive to the saturated fat found in most kinds of meat, thereby causing inflammation, constipation, high cholesterol, or other problems then you should curb your consumption of animal proteins and probably eliminate red meat altogether. It is difficult to be paleo and not eat meat! Whole grains are anti-inflammatory and rich in fiber, which helps clear bad cholesterol from the blood and makes elimination easier and more regular.

I do best with a happy medium. Vegan wasn’t great for me because I had to eat too much grains and legumes to get protein. I am prone to blood sugar issues and it’s best for me to go easier on the carbohydrates. Also, I found I feel a little weak and hungrier when I’m not eating animal protein. I think my body can better assimilate the plentiful amino acids from meat than from varied plant sources. However, when I tried the paleo diet, it was too much meat. I ate lots of vegetables too, and seeds and nuts, but it bogged down my digestion. I felt heavy and bloated and that’s no fun! So, along with copious amounts of veggies, I eat a little bit of whole grains and beans, eggs, seafood, salmon is wonderful (hello anti-inflammatory omega-3s!), a little chicken, and very little red meat. The only thing from both diets that I stick with is no dairy. Commercial cow dairy products are fraught with problems! But that’s a whole other issue for another post. I will eat goat and sheep dairy products from time to time though; for one thing, I like them….mmmm goat cheese! Also, I found that they agree with me, after all, what does it really come down to? Listening to your body and eating what makes you feel good!

Listen to your body

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