Writing an article on healthy food during the holiday season and expecting readers to (pardon the pun) adjust their habits – is futile. This joyous time of year is perfect to shine light on the controversial debate between Vegan and Paleo diet.
Vegan diet, as I'm sure you may know is a diet consisting of plants (veggies, beans, wheat, etc.) only – no animal products, not even cream! And yes, I am well aware about the different variations of Vegetarians or Fruitarian (as the name implies- eats the majority of fruit, instead of veggies), Ovo and Lacto- vegetarians.
But, for this article, I am keeping it simple - either you're pregnant or you're not!
Meaning, you either dream of consuming a delicious porter house steak bathed gingerly in butter, sprinkled with sea salt and pepper or you prefer to munch on bean sprouts, chick peas and a side of pear and walnuts.
Now, before the vegetarians bite (pun) my head off, I realize their are social values in the mix and understand them quite well. (I was a vegan for 2 years in college – I blame my ethics professor!)
I also realize many amateur and professional athletes along with actors and intellectuals have also chosen the Vegan path.
Meat (It's what's for dinner – literally, for me tonight).
Paleo, involves the eating of veggies, meats and fruits. Paleo eating discourages nuts, beans and grains.
Lets take for example wheat - Vegan's and Paleo's have a slight common ground when it comes to wheat. Because wheat, along with the fact that celiac disease and gluten allergies are common – most people react badly to gluten (even if you do not feel any symptoms). Gluten is found in breads and just about anything processed.
Gluten is bad and both Vegan's and Paleo's can agree (well, most – not all).
Paleo's will eat a dinner with steak, broccoli and wine for example. Now, the Vegan will assert that meat has anti-biotics, growth hormones and are raised in unhealthy environments and is bad for your health.
While I assert that meat is vital for great health – Vegan's do have a point about the steroids (think Barry Bonds, but with cattle) anti-biotics and inhumane conditions of factory cattle slaughter houses.
That's why I recommend to get your beef from a local co-op that lets your hamburgers run free in the summer and then in your freezer for the fall. Local farm raised beef is best.
There are essentials that we must obtain from diet, essential because our bodies can not produce the necessary nutrients for life to develop and flourish. For example; B12 and protein, along with Omega-3.
Now, the Vegan will say you get all the necessary protein from legumes - well yes, but legumes or beans are not the best source of protein. They have protective coverings (that's why they need to be soaked over night) before you can cook. Many people have difficulties eating and digesting beans.
B12, the Vegan will say – I'll just take supplements! Good, that's the only way a Vegan obtains B12.
Omega-3 can be obtained from chia, flax seeds, walnuts and olive oil and your body is inefficient in converting those foods stuffs to Omega-3. It's easier to get the required amount of 1000mg of EPA Omega-3 from Alaskan Salmon or flounder.
Omega-3 is as essential to great health as air. Yes, air! Our diets are devoid of EPA/DHA and this fact leads to ill, chronic, bad health and lower immune responses.
Paleo, in my not so humble opinion is best suited for humans. Eating of veggies, fruits, meats with the avoidance of dairy, nuts, beans and wheat.
And, just for the record:
Q: What foods are most people allergic too?
A: Wheat, dairy, nuts and beans ( things that make you say hmmmmm).
If you are a Vegan – great, my goal was not to change you or lead you to the dark buttery side of life. Many Vegans do it right and are socially conscience (and I agree with many of their positions on factory farming and factory slaughter houses, anti-biotic and hormones, etc.).
I prefer to run in the Paleo crowd, with a healthy dose of fruits and veggies. The biological evidence is over whelming in favor of an omnivore diet (eat many different food stuffs) and the fact of our brain development with the consumption of Omega-3 is incontrovertible.
Happy eating and have a GREAT day!