Indian vegetarian version of Paleo diet
“The Paleo diet for vegetarians.” At first glance, it seems like a contradiction in terms.
The paleo diet is everywhere these days. Four hour workweek author Tim Ferriss does it. Former pro ironman triathlete mark season promotes a variant of it in his book, The Primal Blueprint, and on his blog.
But the Paleo diet is by no means veggies-friendly. Its heavy on the protein and fat, and as we will see, most of the common vegetarian sources of protein are off limits.
Does that mean you cannot be a Paleo-vegetarian? I don’t think so. Welcome to my next diet experiment.
After the introduction we should know why PALEO when there is many other diet plans also available.
Our bodies have adapted over the course of millions of years to form that is highly suited for survival in its environment. Therefore, by looking at how humans ate and lived for most of our evolution, we can determine what the type of diet we are “meant” to eat.
Unfortunately for vegetarians, a lot of what we are meant to eat, in the evolutionary sense, is probably meat: relatively speaking, agriculture is a recent development. For a much longer period that we have been growing our own food, we hunted it and we gathered it. That basic principle is what the paleo diet is based on.
PALEO DIET BASICS
Here the basic tenets of a standard Paleo diet for endurance athletes
roughly, 35% fat, 40% carbohydrate, 25% protein.
Wild and free-range meats, vegetables, fruit , nuts, nut-like seeds, some tubers, such as sweet potatoes.
All grains, including wheat, rice, barley, oats, rye, and corn; grain- like seeds, including quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat; all legumes, including beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, and soy; starchy tubers such as potatoes; dairy, alcohol, most sugars except in fruit
Your paleo options as a vegetarian:
It appears impossible to strictly follow the paleo diet as a vegetarian. And to be honest, it probably is. Since we don’t eat meat, and the diet is based on eating meat- it should account for up to 55% of ones calories, according to the Paleo Diet for athletes’- anything we do as vegetarian is going to be a bastardization.
But then again, are not all modern paleo diets pretty poor substitus for the real things? The fruits, vegetables and tubers we find in modern grocery stores, even farmers markets, probably do not resemble the fibrous ones Paleolithic humans were eating.
And while a dedicated paleo dieter might be able to eat truly wild meats a high percentage of the time, its likely that the vast majority of modern paleos either can not access or can’t afford such authenticity, and ,must resort to the factory-farmed meat they find at the grocery store.
Any modern Paleo diet is merely an approximately to the real thing. So as vegetarians, we can approximate too. Here is how I suggest going about it.
Allow hemp seed and grain-like seeds:
The argument against grain-like seeds like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat is that they behave more like grains than like nuts. While seeds like sunflower seeds contains mostly fat and protein with just a small amount of carbs, these grain-like seeds contain mostly carbohydrate.
but carbohydrate is not the problem . grain like seeds have other negative properties of grains: quinoa, for example, “ includes chemical defense systems that irritate the gut” according to an excerpt from robb wolf’s the Paleo solution.
But you can have this seeds in your diet. It is used in cooking like rice, or even made into pasta so you will gain some variety in your meals over those based on strict paleo fare.
Allow soaked or sprouted beans and legumes:
To me, this seems like the easiest option, and perhaps the best, ‘ easiest in that it would not represent a major change from the way many of us already eat, minus the grains. Best in that allowing beans and legumes would provide us with about a dozen obvious sources of protein.
We can reduce the amount of these antinutrients by soaking and sprouting legumes. According to Tim Ferriss. Who claims to eat a lot of lentils on his version of paleo diet,” soaking for 24 hours at room temperature has been shown to remove 66% of the trypsin inhibitor activity in mung bean, 93% in lentil, 59% in chickpea, and 100% in broad bean. Soaked beans should of course be well-cooked in order to make them non-toxic.
Sprouting goes a step farther in reducing the amounts of enzyme inhibitors, in addition to converting some of the starches into sugars. And protein into amino acids. Though some sprouts can be eaten raw, cooking them will eliminate more of the antinutrients.
But… do you see the problem?
If you don’t see why the paleo diet is tough for vegetarians, either you are skimming this post while you eat a quinoa salad with tofu and black beans, or your version of a vegetarian/vegan diet is severely lacking in protein.
First, note that grains are out. Tough, since they are a big part of most vegetarians diets, especially runners, but that’s not the worst part.
The hardest thing about this is that every major vegan protein source is off limits in a strict paleo diet. Anything soy, every kind of bean except string beans, and quinoa are all paleo no-no’s.
To me, the evidence that we are built to hunt and eat meat is pretty convincing.
Does that mean we should eat meat at every meal? No. but does it mean we should eat meat sometimes?
If your only goal is health, I had said you had do well to eat an occasional piece of fish, or even wild land animals. It would certainly make getting an optimal paleo balance of nutrients easier.
But let’s not forget that by the same argument, males are” built” to impregnate as many women as possible. That’s what would maximize the chances of having ones genes propagate, and probably still would today.
But most of us don’t do that anymore, because as a species we are beyond that. And that is how I feel about eating animals. Even if it is what we are built to do because eating them helped us survive and thrive in the past, it is something most of us are now capable of making a choice not to do, thanks to our advancement as a civilization.