Which sort of success would you rather have, one like those in my results folder, or one like this email, below?
I don't know if you have the time to answer my email, but I hope so. I just stumbled across your wonderful website and have read a couple of comments from vegetarians concerning the Paleo-type diet.
My problem is that I'm a 56 year old woman who needs to lose 100 pounds. I'm so sick and tired of feeling this way. I became a vegan only one year ago, in an attempt to find the "right" and healthy diet. Except that I keep cheating with chocolate and donuts. I have lived a SAD diet for over 55 years, so it's hard to stop.
I downloaded a few Paleo books onto my Kindle and I'm seriously interested in it. I have no interest in meat or cheese or dairy, for many reasons, but I DO love sardines and don't object to eggs either. Can I do this Paleo diet with lots of salads, smoothies, and fruits while supplementing with sardines and occasionally an egg? Also, what about hemp protein? I have Sun Warrior raw RICE powder which would obviously be a no-no. But the hemp should be ok, right?
I would so appreciate some words of encouragement as I'm the only one in my family learning all this and it's a scary thing to thrust yourself into first the vegan world and now the Paleo world. Help!!!!!!
In a subsequent email this reader told me that she is 30 pounds heavier since going vegan.
Well right off the bat I have to take note that a vegan, or even vegetarian diet is probably a tough thing to get right -- particularly the former. As Dan Linehan, a vegan reader and commenter has noted: Mountain Dew and Doritos are "vegan." So are chocolates and donuts. I don't know how many comments we've seen around here from people who dropped the attempt at a vegan or vegetarian diet after gaining substantial weight. Such results are very hard to come by on Paleo.
The thing about Paleo is that it's not just about what to avoid (neolithic food agents like grains, sugar, processed foods and industrial lubricants masquerading as "heart healthy oils) but even more, what to eat: plenty of meat, fish, fowl, vegetables, some fruit & nuts.
And while yes, there's talk of "vegan or vegetarian Paleo" I'm not so sure that would be accurate since, by definition, Paleo includes meat -- we simply had to have eaten super-dense nutrition to evolve the large brains we have, in combination with small guts. On the other hand, no point in getting bogged down in semantics. Suffice to say that both vegan and vegetarian diets can be whole, natural, real food diets. I just don't think they are anywhere near optimally nutritious while at the same time, carrying substantial risk of peril when not done properly.
So as to the specific questions above, what say you, readers? Here's what I'd say: if you're going to do smoothies, then use plenty of coconut milk for the fat. Sardines are certainly a good choice by between those and the eggs, try to get as close as you can to a gram of protein per day per pound of lean mass, i.e., what you would weigh without the 100 pounds of fat you need to lose.
I know nothing about hemp but I'm pretty sure that protein from fish and eggs is going to be far superior. Moreover, you might look into other types of small fish, shellfish, mussels, oysters and such.
Other advice from readers?