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As I recall, growing up our meals primarily consisted of meat, potato (or some form of starch, i.e. rice, noodles, etc.) and a vegetable. I imagine many dinner tables are set that same way today. However, it’s quite evident these days that food philosophy is changing!

We have ME-gans, die-hard fundamental vegans, vegetarians, raw foodist, and the no boundaries omnivore – look out (that was the old me)! But what’s all this hype lately that I’ve been hearing about the Paleo diet?

ME-gans & Vegans frown upon animal products, believing they cause chronic disease and that a plant based diet, along with fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains (for ME-gans, only gluten free grains are acceptable) is best. In comparison, Paleos consume foods in which generations past would hunt, gather, and eat. Typically, a Paleo would be known to eat grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, roots, tubers ( Tubers? Really? I’ve never heard of these! I’ll have to do more reading…), veggies and to some extent, fruits – while avoiding grains, legumes, sugars, processed foods, dairy (for the most part), and most anything else that did not exist pre-agriculture days.

Advocates of such divergent food ideology defend them with passion and promote them with fervor. This depicts the scenario “Vegan Meets Paleo.”

In an interesting article from ‘Experience Life’ magazine, both sides sound off.

1st topic is what they eat:

Paleo: Robb Wolf

“A ‘typical’ day is tough to pin down for me. Some days, I have leftovers from dinner for breakfast. Other days, I might have some grilled salmon with fruit, or scrambled eggs with greens. For lunch, I’ll have poultry or fish with a salad and sweet potato, and dinner might be pork loin and veggies in marinara over spaghetti squash. This changes based on what is seasonal and what looks good in the grocery store, what’s free-range or organic, and so on. Between meals, I snack on nuts and seeds.”

Vegan: Kris Carr

“For breakfast, I have many options: organic vegetable juice or green smoothie, seed pancakes, tofu scramble, sprouted-grain bread (or gluten free bread) with almond butter or avocado, or millet porridge with peaches. For lunch and dinner I focus on vegetables: I might have a big salad or sautéed veggies with a tasty sauce accompanied by something like bean soup, a burrito, falafel, vegetarian shepherd’s pie, tempeh Rueben with sauerkraut, or a hearty root-vegetable stew.”

2nd topic is their arguments on the subject of  ‘Animal’

The Vegans say:

“All protein is not created equal – animal protein is highly acidic and not as healthy as plant protein. We get hung up on the misbelief that we must get a ‘complete protein’ from a single source. While mammal flesh is technically complete, containing all the essential amino acids, it’s also complete with a host of problems. The FedEx guy is a complete protein, but that doesn’t mean you should eat him. Eating a varied plant-based diet, on the other hand, provides plenty of protein in a safe and easy-to-digest form.” – Kris Carr

The Paleos say:

“A paleo diet is based on what humans and our ancestral progenitors ate. That would have been meat, especially the nutrient-dense organ meats and fat. It also would have included nuts, edible greens and some seasonal fruit. Wild meat is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and has a very different nutritional profile than factory-farmed, grain-fed meat, which is pro-inflammatory. Most Paleo people go to great lengths to get grass-fed ruminants, wild-caught fish or hunted meat rather than eat inhumanely raised factory-farmed meat.” – Lierre Keith

Further issues on grains, environment, disease & wellness, and mistakes that both sides can be guilty of making, are also on the table for discussion. Read up!

As for me, I landed on the ME-gan side of the fence! Keep in mind that soda, potato chips, tator tots and other ‘junk’ food like these can qualify as ME-gan and Vegan, but are not what we base our diet on. These will only lead to weight gain and perhaps other negative health related issues. If you’re going to consume such items, do it as a treat only once in a while. Focus on healthy protein, nuts, seeds, etc., as well as vegetables, fruits &  gluten free grains.

This is a diet mad world – don’t you agree? Everyone is searching for the right diet. How can they look and feel younger? How can they lose weight? Just remember, it’s not a diet…it’s a lifestyle change that is needed. A diet is a short-lived, very unfulfilling and rather depressing attempt to reach an unrealistic goal. A lifestyle change, on the other hand, will get you where you want to be and the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get there!

Do your own research and fill yourself with knowledge. Understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. Feel good about what you eat and know that you are in control – do what’s best for you!

ME-gan Love,