Home Dinner Diva: Can vegetarians and Paleoistas co-exist in one cave?

Dinner Diva: Can vegetarians and Paleoistas co-exist in one cave?


the-dinner-divaWhen you make the decision to go Paleo, it could get complicated, especially if you have a vegetarian in your cave to feed.

Speaking of caves–unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard of Paleo. Apparently eating the way humans have been eating for a bazillion years is now hot, LOL. (I think it’s interesting that what’s old or even ancient is now new!).

Going Paleo means you’re looking for food you can hunt or gather like our ancient forefathers did. Because of the fact that we are living in the 21st century, we need to shift slightly to reflect our culture, so we center our diets around locally grown fruits and vegetables, sustainable, wild seafood, grass-fed beef and pastured chicken (chances are good there is no wild game to hunt with your handmade spear). That’s the great stuff you get to eat. What you avoid is dairy, grains, sugar and anything packaged or processed.

When we eat Paleo (think Paleolithic Age), we eat foods that were around 10,000 years ago, before the advent of agriculture—this is why grains aren’t in the diet and the science behind the omission of grains is long and detailed (and in my new book, Part Time Paleo out in September!). But suffice it to say, not eating grains will not make you nutrient deficient. On the contrary!

Now that you know what constitutes “paleo”, don’t make the mistake of thinking, “Oh no, I can’t have pasta, sandwiches or rice!” The trick is looking at what you CAN have: red wine, butter and red meat for instance! And BACON. Yes. Bacon my friends!


Going Paleo with a vegetarian

This is going to be easier than you would think. When you go paleo, you eat a boatload of vegetables. In fact, I would go so far as to say that most Paleo eaters probably consume more vegetables than vegetarians. Why? Because we don’t eat grains, so we fill up on tons of veggies! We use lettuce in place of buns, spaghetti squash in place of noodles, and so on and so forth.

I can personally attest to the fact that I have doubled, if not tripled my vegetable intake since going Paleo. And I ate a ton of veggies before!

So that busts that myth that going Paleo means you eat as much beef and bacon as you possibly can every day. Not exactly!


Going Paleo as a vegetarian

Now, if you’re going Paleo and you’re vegetarian yourself, you’re going to have a bit of a hard time. Paleos don’t eat beans or soy which are two pretty major sources of protein for vegetarians. That being said, however, there are many other ways to get protein into you, without turning to animal sources.

Granted, it will be more difficult if you’re vegan:

  • Cottage cheese: 15 grams per 0.5 cup
  • Yogurt: 8–10 grams per cup (check your label)
  • Almonds: 9 grams per 0.25 cup
  • Pumpkin seeds: 8 grams per 0.25 cup
  • Flax seeds: 8 grams per 0.25 cup
  • Milk: 8 grams per cup
  • Eggs: 6 grams per egg

So going Paleo with a vegetarian in the family isn’t that much of a stretch. You go ahead and prepare your meals as you normally would, cooking yourself your animal protein (be it chicken, beef, pork or fish) and give your vegetarian a serving with whatever protein s/he eats whether that’s tofu, beans, or whatever. And if you’re a Paleo vegetarian, be sure you’re getting enough protein from non-animal sources.

More from dinner diva Leanne Ely at SavingDinner.com.



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