The vegan movement has been growing rapidly. Whether it be due to environmental, animal welfare, or other issues, more and more people are gravitating toward a plant-based way of eating. This includes paleo dieters who, like me, have been inundated with messages saying that meat consumption is absolutely necessary to be healthy, that fruit contains too much sugar, and that grains and legumes will cause chronic inflammation and severe digestive issues.
Paleo messages seem to conflict strongly with veganism and plant-based diets, which eschew animal products and often consist of grains, legumes, starches, and large amounts of fruit. With these factors in mind, is it possible to be entirely plant-based while still following paleo principles? I think it is absolutely possible, especially with all of the amazing, nutritious food that exists in the world.
Despite often being thought of as completely opposite ways of eating, plant-based and paleo diets have a great deal in common. Both promote consumption of whole foods and large amounts of vegetables and recommend removing all processed foods. Both also encapsulate a variety of different ways to eating. There are people who follow a high-carb low-fat vegan, fruitarian, and many other types of vegan diets. Similarly, paleo dieters fall into a seemingly endless variety of paleo-type diets, including ketogenic, high-carb, high protein, and autoimmune protocol.
On top of that, some vegan diets, such as fruitarian, are technically paleo-compliant, as they don’t include non-paleo foods such as grains and legumes. And most real, whole foods fit into both a vegan and a paleo lifestyle. These include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and tubers.
Having transitioned from a paleo to a plant-based diet, I thought I would share some of my favorite foods that fit into both a vegan and a paleo template.
Broccoli with Coconut Butter drizzled on top
Sweet Potato “Toast” with nut butter or avocado
Fruit of all kinds
Salad with veggies, avocado, olives, and sunflower seeds
Loaded Sweet Potato (omit beans for strict paleo)
Spaghetti Squash or Zoodles with Spaghetti Sauce
Baked Sweet Potato with Coconut Butter
Veggies of all kinds
Dairy-free ice cream
There are endless options for vegan paleo meals – these are just a few of my favorites. The paleo veganista has some fun recipes – some of which include beans, which are arguably not paleo but do fit within other ancestral templates such as Weston A. Price.
There is no shortage of delicious recipes that fit both a paleo and vegan lifestyle. If it’s important to you to avoid non-paleo foods such as grains and legumes, and if you don’t want to consume animal products, there are plenty of food options to keep you healthy, happy, and satisfied. These food choices are also a great option for feeding groups of people with diverse food preferences or when moving from a paleo to vegan lifestyle.
I found it really helpful from a psychological perspective to stick to paleo principles when moving to a plant-based diet. If you are thinking about doing the same, you might find it similarly helpful to stick to paleo-friendly vegan foods before introducing legumes or grains, or to stick to a vegan paleo diet indefinitely.
Any questions, thoughts, or ideas? Please share them in the comments!