Can A Vegetarian or Vegan Be Paleo?

I’ve been getting a lot of messages lately from vegetarians and vegans wanting to know whether they can eat a Paleo diet while at the same time adhering to their animal food restrictions. As a former very sick vegetarian (no meat, no fish, but lots of dairy and some eggs) myself, it hurts my heart to think of all the good protein veg-heads are missing out on. But I soothe myself knowing that while vegetarians and vegans exist, there will always be enough cheap grass-fed beef for me :)

Here’s the short answer: Yeah, I guess you can be Paleo and vegetarian at the same time, depending on what you call “vegetarian”, but it’s not optimal. However, you can not be vegan and be Paleo.

Let’s start from the vegan end of the spectrum.
If you’re vegan, you probably eat a lot of soy, beans, grains, and hopefully veggies and fruits. Probably a bunch of nuts and seeds, too. People need protein, and all of those things except for the fruits and veggies provide a measurable amount of protein. For comparison’s sake, I’d like to point out that 3.5 ounces of sirloin steak fuels you with about 29g of protein while 3.5 ounces of garbanzo been hummus provides about 8g. Many experts (here, here, here) have said that for optimal health and fitness, people need between .7-1g of protein per pound of lean body mass per day. In that case, I’d personally need to eat more than 2 pounds of hummus every day to get that. Or 4 cups of almonds, or 23 slices of whole wheat bread, or a pound of tempeh (fermented soy).

So if you take out the soy, the grains, and the other beans to make your diet Paleo, you’re left with nuts and seeds as your main sources of protein, and I already said that I’d have to eat 4 cups of almonds a day to meet my requirements. By the way, that’s 2,184 calories – about 800 calories more than I usually eat. So could you be vegan and Paleo? Well, you’d probably gain weight if you were trying to eat a proper amount of protein, and you’d be eating WAY too many nuts, which wouldn’t end up being very Paleo anyway, so no.

Here’s a piece from Denise Minger, a former vegan and current Paleo eater, that describes what you can do as a vegan to make your diet better without consuming animal products.

As for vegetarians, we need to discuss what a vegetarian is. I’ve never understood why “vegetarians” can call themselves that and still eat fish or poultry sometimes. Last time I checked, salmon and chickens were not vegetables… Anyway, if you’re that kind of “vegetarian”, then you’re fine. You’ll want to try to eat more poultry, fish, and if you have no problem consuming eggs, eat more of those, too.

If you’re a vegetarian and the only source of animal food you eat is dairy, then switch your dairy to full fat dairy and try to get raw (unpasteurized/un-homogenized) milk products from a local farmer. Will you be Paleo if you do this? No, and I don’t necessarily encourage people to eat dairy. Here and here are articles on dairy’s standing in the Paleo world and how I think people should approach it. If you do eat dairy and follow all other Paleo principles, you will be “Primal” and you can find out more about that from Mark Sisson at Primal is basically Paleo, but with the addition of high-fat, high quality, preferably fermented dairy for those who can tolerate it. One cup of whole fat milk still only provides about 8 grams of protein, but it’s certainly better than nothing if you’re not eating soy, other beans, and grains as a protein source.

All in all, I’d say if you can squeeze an animal source of protein into your otherwise vegetarian diet, then do it. Buy your eggs and meats “pasture-raised” or “grass-fed” and your fish wild or responsibly farmed. I know all about feeling guilty for animals who are mistreated and malnourished for the sake of turning meat out quick and cheap. That’s why I just bought half a grass-fed cow from a local rancher (for $4 a pound). So don’t give up on meat just because you think it’s all factory farmed. If you try, you’ll find a good source of happy cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys. And don’t forget about the llamas, alpacas, buffalo, elk, and other animals being raised kindly throughout the world.

If you don’t want to eat animal products, then eat your beans and grains and copious nuts and seeds, in which case you won’t be Paleo. However, do it responsibly so you’re not infiltrated with anti-nutrients at every meal. And try to stay away from the gluten grains, as they’re clearly ruining so many people’s guts. Study all the info at the Weston A. Price Foundation about how to properly prepare all those things. Since the dawn of agriculture, fermenting, soaking, and other practices have really kept traditional cultures from being as sick as we are now.

Other than that, if you want to improve your vegetarian or vegan diet, do these things. Avoid vegetable oils like soybean, corn, cottonseed, canola, and other über processed oils high in omega 6’s. Don’t drink your calories in the form of sugary drinks or juice. Avoid refined sugar, including high fructose corn syrup, white cane sugar, and so many others. Don’t consume obviously fake foods like aspartame, other fake sugars, food colorings, or other ingredients you aren’t familiar with. Don’t rely on caffeine to keep you awake throughout the day. Eat organic foods, which have more nutrients and fewer toxins in them. Eat whole, unadulterated foods in general – not processed foods from a box or can with a million ingredients in them. Also, you’ll probably want to take a good multi-vitamin so you don’t become deficient in the things that are really only found in meat. If you do all of these things – heck, if EVERYONE did all of these things – we would be much better off.

I’d love to hear your thoughts as a vegetarian/vegan Paleo eater if you’re out there!



  1. I’m really sorry here but the short answer is not “Yeah, I guess” it’s an unambiguous: “No”.

    No you cannot be vegetarian and Paleo. It is simply not possible, meat is absolutely essential to the diet.

    If your eating legumes, soy, dairy (or even 4 cups of nuts) to get your protein then you are not eating paleo. Paleolitic people were not vegetarians, they would have thought the idea was ridiculous (were they wrong?)

    Don’t give people false hope here. Be honest with them. This entire post is trying to pander to people and is not doing them any good.

    1. Franklin – I agree with you. I changed the wording of this post to reflect how I actually feel, which is very much what you just said. I think I just didn’t read it over enough times before I published it, so thanks for pointing that out. I agree with you that a vegan can not be Paleo and I didn’t mean to convey anything different. I’ve told many vegans and hard core vegetarians that over the years. It’s just impossible and not healthy in my opinion. And depending on what kind of vegetarian you are, I do believe you can be Paleo, and I tried to make that clear. Thanks again.

  2. This is actually kind of a weird question, to me. Who cares what people call you?! Why would a vegetarian want to “be” paleo? We are all free to eat as we choose, regardless of what we are called.

    That being said, I think the suggestions for non-meat eaters are spot on and a good way to up the nutrients in their diets. But it can’t be ignored that they are missing out on an extremely rich source of nutrients.

    And grass-fed beef for $4 a pound?? sign me up!!

    1. Meesha – In response to your question, “Why would a vegetarian want to ‘be’ Paleo? I was just responding to the numerous messages I get from vegetarians wondering how and if they can be Paleo…

  3. I used to be a vegetarian, flexatarian, vegan…was a “flexatarian” & vegan variation (vegetarian + fish…not much dairy) for 6 years until I started getting really sick…to the point where I couldn’t digest food. After almost a year of testing things out & going to doctors, I finally found a doctor who helped me figure out what was going on. He put me on an elimination diet, stripping out various aspects of my diet to clean my system & then reintroducing them to see how my body reacted. The short of it is, I felt amazing after I eliminated wheat, dairy, soy, & corn from my diet (which was essentially 90% of my diet as a vegetarian/flexatarian/vegan). My doctor explained the science behind why I had this “leaky gut”, recommended some books (related to paleo), & I haven’t turned back. I feel 1000x better & am considerably more healthy. I follow a paleo diet, but still primarily eat chicken, eggs, & fish for protein sources. Primarily because I have local sources & know how to cook them. I’m still sure to experiment with other meats! Paleo doesn’t mean heavy meat consumption necessarily…’s entirely possible to eat a good variety of vegetarian cuisine, eat healthy, & eat primally.

  4. I’d love to go Paleo or Primal, but I hate fish! Do I have to have fish? I do love meat, pork and chicken. But fish? Forget it. The only seafood I’m OK with are scallops and lobster. I hate crab and shrimp. So, I guess that only leaves chicken as lean meat. Sorry if I’m asking a stupid question, but I’m new.

    1. Jenny – I don’t eat all that much fish, either. It’s not necessary, and plenty of hunter gatherers throughout time have had no access to seafood/fish either. Just make sure you’re getting your omega 3’s from someplace, like by eating the highest quality pasture-raised meats you can find to get the bast fatty acid profile possible.

  5. Neely – Nice post. I think we are in agreement here. (and eat the same stuff – I just bought a whole 800lb cow for $3.09 hanging weight – I have a big family!)


    1. Franklin – Nice! That is CHEAP :) Thanks again for speaking up about my erroneous post. I hope my edits made the post clearer.

  6. I am a pescetarian (fish/seafood and plant-based food), who falls off the wagon and eats high-quality, high-fat cheese sometimes. Since giving up land animal-based food, my joints have had less inflammation and pain. I believe I can still follow most of the Paleo eating plan and be healthy and happy.

  7. I ate primally as a vegetarian for about 3 months before going full paleo. I was able to get most of my protein needs from a combination of full fat greek yogurt, eggs (i ate eggs and dairy obviously :P), and the occasional piece of Tempeh (1x week or so). It wasn’t perfectly paleo / primal but it worked and i kept to the main tenets of the philosophy – cutting out grains, legumes (other than that piece of tempeh), and sticking to nuts seeds fruits veggies etc. I felt great doing that, almost as good as I do now that im pretty fully paleo. the real benefit ive seen now that i eat more sources of animal protein are that it is easier to eat socially, easier to get full on smaller quantities of food (feels more like eating and less like work), and gut issues have gotten a bit better after cutting out dairy and soy (i do have a lactose intolerance).

    Anyways, it can definitely work if you eat dairy and eggs. My 2c :)

  8. Good article. The proper term for self acclaimed vegetarians whom occasional eat fish or eggs is pescatarians. Thankfully we can feed all 3 categories to zombies first since they won’t have the energy to run. :)

  9. I am a vegan “paleo”, but there is so much to how I got here.

    I became initially attracted to paleo as a former fat-chick who had dropped a ton of weight on low to no carbs. After dropping this weight I managed to maintain the weight loss through a vegan diet- this was more due to the food options at my disposal where I was, (on a deployment at that time), than due to any vegan ideology.

    Once I returned home from deployment my vigor for food was reignited (restaurants and cooking and variety, oh my!), but have had an extreme inability to digest meat. Coupling my veganism with a desire to obtain an “optimum” diet, I stumbled on paleo with a heavy reliance on hemp protein supplementation and nuts and nut products.

    I have been able to follow it for a few months now with no significant issues, but I do use fish oil (vegan sacrilege!) and I follow a routine that includes hemp protein supplementation. I like to keep my methylionone low when I am looking to drop a few pounds, but otherwise I’d say it isn’t too rough to follow.

  10. Hi,
    I’m a Vegan “Semi-Paleo”, it works for me…I do Crossfit 4-5 times a week, bag class the other days and I have tons of energy! I eat Tempeh, because 1 serving is 25 grams of plant protein, and I drink Plant Fusion (a vegan protein shake) that has 21 grams of protein….
    I eat Almond butter, since peanut butter is a no no :) I guess the only downfall is my muscles take a little longer to shine then on a full meat diet :)
    But I manage on what I eat and I’m happy with my times in class :)

  11. I became vegan 20 years ago for ethical reasons but my fitness regime and lifestyle has found me increasingly drawn to the health benefits of the paleo diet. Though I firmly believe that paleo is the healthier of the two diets, it’s just not an option for me to turn my back on my moral beliefs and so I try my level best to make my diet as close to paleo as possible. No processed food whatsoever, no soy, no grains; starch and sugars from sweet potatoes and fruit only. Lots of coconut oil, raw vegetables, soaked nuts and some legumes. I supplement with a pea protein powder (ok, so that might be considered ‘processed’) on days when I don’t feel I get enough protein from natural foods. I workout 6 days a week and maintain a healthy balance of lean tissue and body fat and am often asked how I manage to look so muscular on a vegan diet. It is possible.

    I think there’s some kind of rivalry between the paleo and vegan brigades and I don’t think it benefits anybody. Sure, a diet that eats lots of meat runs contrary to my ethics but I’d rather live in a world where animals are grass-reared as opposed to intensively farmed. Moreover, in some ways the two diets can be similar – particularly from the perspective that they both eschew processed products (excepting those vegans who exist off ‘mock meat’ and similar hideous soy creations).

    If it was a choice based on nutrition alone, then I’d be 100% paleo without a doubt, but for myself and those like me with ethical beliefs involved, the inferior nutrition is just a sacrifice that we have to make.

  12. My journey away from the standard american diet started with Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s ‘Eat to Live’ book/diet–eat nutrient dense foods, mostly fruits and vegetables. It works really well, with the exception of B12, which Fuhrman admits you need to get via supplements when on his diet. I’d highly recommend Fuhrman to vegans interested in Paleo, because there seems to be quite a lot of overlap:
    Emphasis on raw, unprocessed foods
    De-emphasis on grains (Fuhrman would classify oats as nutrient dense)
    No dairy
    No processed oils (Fuhrman would classify all oils as calorie dense and therefore to be avoided)

    The difference between Fuhrman’s largely vegan diet and Paleo (as I understand it) would be around legumes, which are a really important source of protein for Fuhrman, meat (Fuhrman says eat meat like a condiment), and fat (which Fuhrman wants you to get from plant sources like avocado, nuts, seeds, olives, etc. and generally says we get too much of).

    Practically speaking, if you want B12 from food sources, you’ve got to eat meat, so I do. I thought the last two major paragraphs of the blog post were really well-stated. In general, if everyone avoided processed carbs and sugar, we’d all be a lot healthier.

  13. It’s cool that everyone has opinions but the cutesy side remarks about how insane it is to live a vegan life style are tacky, everyone. I know, you like meat. That’s great. As a vegan I try hard to keep my rudely phased opinions to myself, especially because of the stereotype people have of that annoying asshole vegan who’s constantly talking about their lifestyle. I try not to mention it and respect other people decisions for what they are. In fact, I make my fiancé steak with an egg on top most every week and some form of meat every day. My paleo friends and I relate through the restrictions of of diet and frankly, they talk more about the way they eat far more than any of the other few vegans I know. So ha ha, you got us with your snide remarks no vegan has ever heard before, I understand you are superior because you eat meat. But try not to condemn a lifestyle base on your apparent failure to fulfill basic dietary needs- look into vegan athletes. Some of the best UFC fighters and triathalete in the world are vegan. I don’t go around mocking or pretending to understand the paleo mindset, I’m actually trying to learn about it- what a concept! I respect you guys for the effort you put into staying healthy the way you feel good about it, so try to pass a little less judgement about others’ versions. Trust me, we’ve heard all the funny jokes before anyways so let’s just all get along :)

  14. Rachael – I’m just wondering if something I said in the post incited your comment. I don’t think I said anything offensive…

  15. I have been a vegetarian for 27 years and very healthy, I agree dairy is no good and I’m not much for soy but I do love quorn, it is high in protein from egg whites, not sure if anyone knows any good or bad about it, my boss is paleo and very happy and in shape, I think each diet is good for different people! Happy eating whatever you choose

  16. All of this has been extremely useful to me (except the anti-vegos, FOH). In fact, I’ve not found better info yet. I have now decided I will have to have an egg and tempeh based diet, with occasional sweet potato, and use full-fat Greek yoghurt (I’ve been using the light stuff) as my only dairy. I’m already up on which nuts, fruit and veges to eat, and am gradually pulling my low-GI bread out of the equation. Caffeine and cigarettes are my next problem. Can do, though, can do.

  17. Neely, I think Rachel was referring in part to: “I soothe myself knowing that while vegetarians and vegans exist, there will always be enough cheap grass-fed beef for me”—every vegetarian has heard a version of this statement 1000 times in his or her life. For those who read between lines or are keen on subtlety, such underhanded statements seem strangely like . . . a defense mechanism?

    About diets, as a whole: I’ve spent a fair bit of my life traveling in rural ethnic regions where health and strength is absolutely essential for the sheer amount of manual labor and walking a person must accomplish each day to survive (the diets of rural H’mong in Vietnam, Mayan highlanders in Guatemala, etc)—I have seen muscular, robust, happy people THRIVING from white rice, very little water, loads of msg and sugar, lard, tofu and mountain greens—for example. It changed the way I think of “diets”—in the West there is a notion that there is a right way to eat and only that way can a person be healthy—I’ve seen people freak out at not having the exact grams of such and such nutrient, etc. The H’mong people I met have never heard of protein, believe drinking a lot of water is bad for the health, and use more salt sometimes than I could stand. Yet they could carry loads of stones up a mountain for hours and hours without a sign of fatigue—

    The human body is capable of amazing diversity. “Health” changes as a notion from culture to culture, era to era—the thriving of bodies and minds has many avenues, to each his own.

  18. Rachael, thanks for the comment. My thoughts exactly… As a pescatarian, I have dealt with my share of rude comments, and I have never insulted or looked down on a meat eater for their diet choices.
    Neely, I think Rachael may also have been refering to Dave Bergschneider’s comment on feeding non-meat eaters to the zombies, as they cannot run. In regard to that, I am a marathon runner and have more than enough energy and speed to carry me through that distance. And Neely, I didn’t find anything in your article offensive, so no worries!

  19. What I eat is a sort of modified vegetarian/primal combination. My diet is mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans etc. I eat a small amounts of meat and fish, taking care to get very lean cuts of meat, and some dairy, especially yogurt and cheese. I also eat small amounts of gluten free or whole grain bakery bred. My main philosophy is to eat fresh, responsibly produced food and to eat many different things but nothing every day. I also will eat the occasional completely terrible, high carb, mass produced, all the bad things item, especially if it’s socially. I don’t like to be too strict about my diet, I think that level of attention to food is a little unhealthy. I just try to eat food that makes me feel good.

  20. Not only can you be paleo and vegetarian, I am. By incorporating eggs into your diet (specifically egg whites) you can get all of the protein you need. Now, don’t get me wrong – it’s a lot of work! On top of being paleo and vegetarian, I eat in zone portions and primarily raw food. It takes a lot of time to prep my food, but (for me) it’s worth it. Remember, paleo is a concept, not a hard and fast set of rules. There’s plenty of information on my website about what and how I eat. And the folks at my CrossFit gym would likely testify to the effectiveness of my diet. I know that I am at a physical disadvantage compared to my meat-eating friends, but I exert the effort to overcome it and have seen success in doing so.

  21. Thank you for your information but i can see you embrace the ideology that has pushed the meat eating public away from trying or understanding vegetarianism. When I became vegetarian I took the 30 day challenge. As I did so I entered forums with other people sharing plant based diets. However instead of the encouraging enviroment I expected I was berated for not being a vegan, being told I was supporting cow torture and killing potenial chicks. I feel there is benefit in a largely plant based lifestyle on the enviroment, health and income but I dont approve of the cult-like, superior attitude of many vegans. Anyone can claim to be vegetarian or vegan if they want and not everyone strictly flow that lifestyle but by being so negative to people who are not vegan has pushed people away from trying it. I, myself have stayed vegetarian and avoided the pressure to change because it works for me and my goals. However we should be encouraging people to continue their commitment and not guilting them to change.

  22. What works for me-no grains except baby corn-no legumes except g.beans, peas, baby lima, edamame-no dairy except butter-no oils-no fruit-no nuts or seeds-no meat-no potatoes. What i eat: vegetables, omega3 eggs and pasturized egg whites, instant coffee, splenda(sucralose) sweetener, supplements(low dose vitamins B’s,C,D,coQ10,zinc,digestive enzymes.

  23. I found this all very educational. I at one time was a normal American eating whatever I saw fit and enjoying my life. I saw some very horrible show that made me a Vegaterian for years.I am going to say about 15,some place in there I began to want to eat meat,no, I could not eat a bloody steak, or half raw lamb chop…but give me a chicken and I was fine. I got married my husband was a typical unaware American eater… I had children and I had to eat a more rounded diet. I started putting evey thing into my body! I gained weight and lost my health. I am now in my late fifties and pre diabetic. My son now in his 20’s not over weight is also pre diabetic. We have gone on an interesting diet, that we did not know had a name, Flexitarian. I have been learning so much about diets over the passed few months, I felt I could make something that would work for us. I have taken the many diets out there and made my own! we juice veggies, we make fruit smoothies with greek yougart, we eat no white foods (sugar, rice…) , we eat beans twice a week, avocado twice a month, meat of whatever floats my boat once or twice a week…. no processed anything! My main food is pure vegetables, a few nuts and a ton of filtered water. Corn worries me so i am cutting that way down almost out …I just do love the taste. My blood sugar is still all over the place but my son is doing great.

    The other day we did an experiment that gave us some real insight…. We ate a regular chinese food take out meal… my blood sugar shot up and so did his, instantly! I drank a glass of celery, and lettuce juice, my blood sugar went down in less than half an hour. He drank water and his went down not near as dramaticlly as mine…

    I just wanted to know is there a name for our diet?

  24. I have been vegetarian for 23 years and for most of that time, I ate a poor diet. In the last couple of years I have dropped dairy and now eat a vegan diet…..that is also paleo. Actually, it’s a hybrid of the 80/10/10 and paleo. I calculate my nutrient intake via and I eat as much as I feel like. I don’t eat a lot of nuts and seeds, I probably eat a little too much plain, mashed sweet potato. I recently had a physical and my blood work came back better than it has been in years. It can be done. I know because I’m doing it.

  25. With all due respect many faux “paleos” (and they are all faux, since there’s no such thing as hunter-gatherer in the post-modern West)really get on my nerves. They act like they’ve “discovered” something new (or old) when us raw foodists have been eating grainless (and non-cooked) for decades now already.

    And I can’t believe they buy into the outdated protein myth. Protein is found in almost everything we eat – whether vegan, vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Its a non issue.
    As a raw vegan I get more than enough protein from raw dark leafy greens, micro-greens, and sprouts.

    And most of the so called “paleos” I know are over-weight and without a beautiful, vibrant glow because they eat too much meat and not enough raw greens. The raw vegans on the other hand are all healthy, vibrant and youthful looking (check youtube, we’ve got thousands of vids).

    Here are 3 living food/raw food pyramids;
    and the one I follow which emphasizes wheatgrass and algae at the top;
    and another one for good measure;

  26. I just wanted to say that this is a very disappointing article. Not only have you clearly done little research on this matter but you have also brother to this post, a very pessimistic attitude. For anyone who actually wants some information on being a vegetarian or vegan paleo see here: (this is not my post, I just thought it was really helpful)
    I can tell you however, that it is definitely possible to be a vegetarian or vegan and be paleo. What this post fails to mention is that ALL green vegetable (the darker the better) have massive amounts of protein in them. Spinach is a well known protein source (thank you Popeye :P), broccoli is another one. Also for none vegans, eggs are a great option (you probably don’t want to eat masses of these though). I would recommend, for vegans that you consider introducing free range eggs in your diet (preferably from a farmers market as supermarket ‘free range’ isn’t always great :/). Anyway… I hope that helps anyone who wants to try this… since this post was… well… poor.

    1. Steff – Thank you for your unproductive assessment of my “poor” post. I’m sorry it didn’t meet your high standards. I actually thought I brought a lot of helpful information and links to the table for vegans and vegetarians, even though I don’t subscribe to the diet myself. Some of that info you even repeated because it was so good (the egg portion of your post). I disagree with you that vegetarians, or any humans for that matter, shouldn’t be eating “too many” eggs, as they’re highly nutritious and it turns out that cholesterol is a necessary component of life. Also, green leafy vegetables do not contain “massive amounts of protein”. In fact, that’s the only reason I bothered responding to your comment: I don’t want my readers to be misinformed. To illustrate this point, I’m going to compare dark green leafy veggies to chicken in terms of protein content.

      Here goes. 100 grams (or about 3.5 ounces) of chicken breast contains 31g of protein. You would have to eat 36 cups of spinach, 12 cups of broccoli, 11 cups of kale, or 27 cups of cabbage to match that of the chicken. You can look that up in the USDA Food Database. And even eggs aren’t that high, relative to meat. One egg is only about 6-7 grams of protein. Please do your research before posting audacious and misinformed comments on my blog.

  27. Hi –
    I have to admit I was really disappointed with this post. I’m not sure who your audience was – but it seems that rather than helping vegetarians/vegans get the most benefits from your, you’re content to sit smugly that they’ll never be able to belong to your “club”. It didn’t really any offer any assistance to people who might be seeking help from this page, but perhaps that’s Google’s fault for bringing me here. I’ve often found that zealotry on both sides is pretty overwhelming – and that vegans and paleo eaters could take a leaf out of each other’s books. For me, I think the truth lies in the middle, not becoming an extremist and labelling myself and spending the rest of my life defending my position.

  28. I have always gravitated towards healthier foods, i would eat ice cream and pig out, but never over do it. Recently, i have gone Vegan, it hasn’t been hard for me to do away with meat. when i would eat meat it was fish and chicken mainly. So for me Vegetarianism seemed practical. Once i really thought about just how much i would pig out at BWW or Sushi, i thought WOW.. Wish i knew this vegan lifestyle earlier in life! I believe they should teach more about FOOD in elementary. My brother Chris was vegan once and because of that i knew of rice patties and hummus. I love Thai food as well. I have enough knowledge to know whats good and whats not, its becoming more popular in today’s society thanks to great sites like pinterest (follow me ;p) and Facebook, more information is around! When i feed myself i make sure it counts! I just mix up everything i love and make great things! i love it!

  29. Hello there,
    I like the diet philosophy approach to nutrition. However, I am unable to succumb to eating animals. Eggs are fine. Anything that has two eyes and a mouth isn’t.
    My questions are as follows:
    Is it possible to follow a paleo -diet and be vegetarian at the same time?
    Do you promote the use of protien powders? (Seeing as our ancestors wouldn’t know what this was). What variety of allowed nutritional sources would be sufficient for the days specific protien intake?
    If being vegetarian and having low iron what would you recommend?

  30. So I’m a vegan and I find this post very educational. My friend who’s been a vegan for a lot of years got me into it. I feel good. I drink green smoothies in the morning and eat a lot of chia seeds which have a lot of complete protein. But I also eat a lot of salads, beans, seeds, nuts etc. But I am worried now I am not getting “enough” protein. Any suggestions for recipes or types of additional foods I could eat to increase proteins without eating meat or dairy?

  31. I am shocked that nobody has even mentioned eating blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) such as spirulina or chlorella, which contain 4 g protein per 25 calorie serving, as well as 67% of B-12 requirement (the only non animal source) Does OP have anything to say about about this not working for vegan and paleo? I could get my daily protein need in 1000 cals if I needed too.

  32. You don’t have to be Paleo if you are a vegetarian and eat properly. The main problem with most vegetarians is that they eat fake food. Stick to real food and more smaller meals and you gave no reason to go Paleo, this is a great diet but not for veggies

  33. I just wanted to point out that it is actually 0.7-1g of protein per kg of body weight, not pound. So you wouldn’t have to eat the quantities of the foods you listed to get the proper amount of protein. Interesting read though! I have lots of friends that are vegetarians and have been wondering about this topic. Thank you for your insight

  34. Doesn’t chlorella have more protein per gram than any animal product? I was advised that eating at least 9 grams of chlorella a day is adequate for protein needs.

    1. Anna – I’m not sure where you received that information, but 9 grams of chlorella is only about 4 grams of protein, so no, that’s not enough.

  35. LOL there are literally no humans on earth right now eating a true primal diet. It’s just a fad. A fad that that is going to end up with a lot of people with heart disease. A diet where the people only lived an average of 20-25 years? No thanks. I’ll stick with plants.

  36. Goodness gracious people. It seems that our diets have become as controversial as our religion. I am a vegetarian. I eat small amounts of dairy and I eat a ton of eggs (whites mostly) for protein. No meat, no fowl, no fish. Since becoming vegetarian I have lots more energy, I have not gotten sick from the cold or flu once, which I use to fall ill from at least 3 times a year and I have not had a single headache which I suffered from several times a month as a meat eater. Having said that, I have friends who have tried to be vegetarian and felt drained, sickly and just couldn’t stick with it. It wasn’t for them.

    We are all different, our bodies react to things differently and that includes food. Why do we continue to try to pick things apart and argue about this or that food philosophy and why your stupid for believing in it or not believing in it?

    I remember when I was first transitioning to being vegetarian how I was made fun of from those who ate meat, but also from Vegans who thought I wasn’t “healthy” or “vegetarian” enough for them. Don’t get me wrong not all meat eaters or vegans are this way I’m sure, but there are too many who are! One of my friends became Vegan recently and now she gets harassed by some raw foodies because they feel that being Vegan isn’t good enough either! There is always someone out there to tell you you’re doing it wrong because you’re not doing it their way.

    I think something we can all agree on is that in order to be a healthier version of yourself you should eat little or no processed foods, avoid refined sugar and try to eat as many veggies as you can! Exercise regularly and try to enjoy life rather than be stressed to the max all the time.

    We should all unite rather than tear each other down. Vegetarians, Vegans, Meat Eaters, Raw Foodies, Pescatarians and any others that I haven’t mentioned. Because we are all moving toward the same goal, to be happy and healthy! Rather than trying to disprove everyone else’s idea of good health, let’s support each other for trying to be healthier, regardless of which route we are taking to get there.

  37. I’m a vegetarian of about 15 years. I did it for a variety of reasons, some health, some ethical. I don’t care if other people eat meat. In fact, I cook meat for the others in my family. My daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease about 10 years ago. At that time there was not a lot of gluten free foods available. So we ate primarily non-processed foods. So yes, you can be a vegetarian and eat a paleo diet. It takes a little extra work and some meal planning. It’s worth it

  38. Hi Neely,
    Just to clear it up. It is grams of protein per kg not pounds just as “Meg” pointed out. Even your first source that you quote in your article (when you say, here, here, here) state it’s 0.8g/ kg of body weight – not pounds. Just clearing that up because it may change your own protein calculations per day. You can take your weight in pounds, divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in kg, then multiply it by anywhere from 0.8-1.5 (higher side being if you’re pregnant or very active) to get protein needed in grams.

  39. I dont know what I am but for a LONG TIME i never ate any meat. I didnt eat eggs and No dairy. I was a very high carb diet…very high! No soda though. I was up to 175pounds…when very recently my best friend … Who is extreeme paleo talked to me about how her diet is so great… And that got me thinking so i decided to try it…WOW! I dropped 40 pounds in 2 months. I didnt fully understand the diet so i literally started getting vertigo…when my doctor said are you eating any meat and I wasnt…he told me to go to “Chick-fil-a” a fast food restaraunt (my doctor told me it was the only fast food place that sells natrual grass fed chicken) and throw out the bread and eat the chicken…i did. And about 40 min. later the vertigo was gone. so now i eat a huge load of veggies, fruit, i have to be craving chicken to eat it, wich is about once a week…maybie twice? I have issues with eggs…ew! It has to be deviled eggs or egg salad style for me to eat eggs. I started going back to grains and eating rice and gluten free oatmeal..but now i find myself craving wheat products again. And i started gaining weight…so going back to the paleo way…so trying to read up on how to eat paleo cause i am completely lost. I am a very, very picky eater and I hate cooking so this has been very hard! but I love the way it makes me feel. Thanks for the awesome read! :)

  40. Hello! I just stumbled across this post, and wanted to add my own experience. I have been Vegan for 6 months or so and have been doing Crossfit 5 times a week (mostly) at a local affiliate for 7 months now. In addition to that, I sold my car a year ago, and commute via bicycle 11 miles each way to and from work. This past month, my gym was having a “Paleo Challenge” The winner(s) were to receive a free month membership and other prizes. So, for 28 days I ate Paleo and kept a full food diary. I even used an app to track nutrients. On average, I was eating between 4,000 and 6,000 calories per day and got between 50-80 grams of protein. It worked out to be about 4-5% of my calories from protein. For a very active (weight lifting more so than cardio) person this is low, although you really only need 2-2.5% to be healthy. I lost 16.6 lbs during the challenge, and .1% body fat. The head coach was surprised to see this ratio of weight loss / fat loss. Between the excess cardio and the lower protein content, I knew I wouldn’t gain much muscle. I was one of two winners of the challenge, however, and got a free month and $50 cash! I could not have any beans, grains, quinoa, rice, peanuts etc. during the challenge which are my usual go to sources for protein. For the most part I felt just fine during the challenge, and learned that a Vegan can in fact be Paleo and thrive. It would not be my ideal diet, but I do like the idea of the Paleo diet. The fact that it focuses on whole unprocessed foods that appear naturally pretty much caters to my instincts. I’m not saying I’m right or anyone is wrong, this has just been my experience thus far.

  41. I believe its our genetics that determine our dietary needs. Some of us can handle most food stuffs, while some can’t handle a toxic weed like wheat. The fact is, we have moved away from hunter-gatherer lifestyles and we have to eat according to what our bodies can handle.

    This has been an interesting and informative post from a vegetarian point of view.

  42. Just to compare, how much affordable is each diet:
    As a paleo, you have to pay ~43$ for 1kg of pure protein from beef (21 g of complete protein per 100 g –
    Or as vegan you have to pay ~8$ for 1kg of pure protein from natto (18 g of complete protein per 100 g –
    I count that you will buy grassfed beef, or organic soybeans to make your owb steaks/natto.

    So, I chose natto as my main protein source. Also, it’s free of parasites (unlike raw meat).

  43. I have been vegetarian since 1982, though in truth I’ve always eaten tuna and salmon. At the time I needed to be tough about calling myself vegetarian because it would be decades before my family stopped trying to make me eat red meat or poultry. I looked up the word pescetarian online and it seems to have originated some time in the 90’s, so be kind. There wasn’t always a word for vegetarians who also ate seafood.
    My heart goes out to vegans who have the best intentions. However, I believe there are no true vegan mammals in nature because any mammal that eats unwashed greens also eats insects from leaves and grasses and decaying matter from the dirt. Vegans eat washed food and may run into health problems after years of this type of sterile eating. We don’t eat insects in the USA, but we could and should. They are a good source of protein.

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