Is there such thing as a vegan/ vegetarian primal diet?
The topic of ‘what should we be eating’ is a topic that keeps rising its head throughout media and social media these days. People are losing faith in the orthodoxy of nutrition and trying all sorts of diets – vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto and carnivore, to name a few – there are a myriad of alternative diets out there these days. All of these camps have their reasons as to WHY these diets are beneficial to human health. Although disparate in nature, the one thing they all have in common is that they deviate from the Standard Western Diet (also SAD – Standard American/Australian Diet). I think we can all agree, if you get rid of processed grains and sugars you will lose weight and improve your health. There are mixed views on grains, fat and meat especially.
The topic I want to address is specifically around meat consumption (including fish) and its role in our evolution as a species. I believe meat is an essential part of the proper human diet, and always has been – and that is how we evolved past our great ape ancestors. And I’m not just saying that from someone who has always eaten meat – I used to be vegetarian for 11 years! Hell, I look back at the state of my health and what I was eating when I was vegetarian and I am appalled at what I used to consume. I always used to say, being vegetarian isn’t that hard because there are lots of meat substitutes available (they couldn’t be that bad for you, right?). Let’s just say, the more I learn about processed food and what I was missing out nutritionally, no wonder my hormones were stuffed up, I was overweight and always tired.
Anthropological records indicate that humans have consumed meat for our entire duration as a species, and this has in part, led to our intelligence and increased brain size. Meat contains complete protein and fat essential for metabolic processes and provide great energy for your body. As a bonus, meat is carbohydrate free, so those adhering to a low-carbohydrate way of eating can consume liberal amounts. I am not saying anyone *has* to consume meat to be healthy, but there is no good physiological reason not to.
Sure, you can ‘do keto/low-carb’ as a vegetarian, or even vegan, but you may be missing out on important minerals and vitamins (vit b12 & omega 3’s especially), and potentially relying on some lower nutrient value, higher carbohydrate processed meat substitutes. If you are eating too many processed foods, remember the philosophy of the keto/low-carb way of life is to eat as our ancestors did through the majority of our time on the planet – our genes demand it for the optimal human experience. Focus on whole, real foods, and eat according to your hunger and you will do okay!