19

votes

Minger's Talk: Why can't we all get along? Similarities between Veggies and Paleos

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 09, 2011 at 4:34 AM

So Denise Minger's talk at the conference, on arguing with Veggies, was AWESOME. It left me thinking (and I needed a few days because I'm a bit slow!):


ETA link to Denise Minger's AHS slides: http://www.slideshare.net/ancestralhealth/ahs-slidesdenise-minger


It seems like we paleos often position ourselves as the anti-vegetarian diet. Or at least as the opposite, converse, inverse, reverse, something-verse. At least, that's how I always thought about it in my mind. They're the misguided souls who just don't "get it."

But Minger's talk made me think -- in my interpretation of her information (so this might be different than her intention) -- that, the similarities might outweigh the differences. Or if they don't "outweigh" them literally, there's at least a substantial overlap that that, taken together, makes us feel more like brothers fighting in the sandbox rather than sworn mortal enemies for the fight to the soul of restoring America's health.

More specifically, it seems like the Veggie crowd and us agree on the most important aspects of the way that (for most people) is healthiest: no sugar, no processed foods/chemicals, etc etc (see Minger's slides on the Veggie doctor's recommendations)...

...And that the differences between us and them FEEL SMALL IN COMPARISON TO OUR CORE SIMILARITIES. Veggie diets recommend, little bread; we say no bread; we say have a cow for dinner sometimes, they say never, etc. And many talks including (I think it was?) Taubes' focused on how bad sugar is -- so if we eliminate sugar (as the Veggies also do!), and processed foods, don't we get a huge chunk of the same benefits?

So, that said, my questions are:

  • If sugar and processed foods are among the most important roots of modern diseases of civilization, then aren't veggies, at a core level, on our side of the war, brothers-in-arms, right?
  • What are the key similarities between the two? Minger listed a bunch but having a clear list would be powerful.
  • Insofar as we can estimate, what % of the benefits of the paleo diet are shared by veggie diet? Is that even quantifiable in some way?
  • Could (non-vegan) vegetarianism be considered a SUBSET of paleo -- paleos who don't eat meat? Is it even possible to be a paleo who doesn't eat meat?
  • Should we have a Truth and Reconciliation Committee with the Veggies? (Semi-Joke! It would be a fun publicity stunt!)

PS: I was at the conference but too shy to meet y'all. I'm not sophisticated enough to be able to have smart insights on Paleo the way everyone else at the conference did so I kept to myself! So, hi!

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on August 22, 2011
at 05:11 PM

I guess I'd question how many vegetarians avoid sugar and processed foods. The ones I've known happily ate pasta, soda, pretty much all components of the SAD except meat.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on August 15, 2011
at 03:49 AM

Morgan, I think you're spot on with this.

Cc93847bfa820f0f2da654060b401fa5

(746)

on August 14, 2011
at 05:02 AM

Aravind, I'll go ahead and say it... You Kinda Rock!

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on August 10, 2011
at 02:33 AM

I agree completely. Certainly there will be some overlap, but the basic principles, reasoning, and perception of truth are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 09, 2011
at 08:24 PM

I should add that I think the whole argument is moot for anyone who avoids animal foods and products for ethical purposes. I think that has to respected. But if someone is veg out of some perceived health benefit (I'm looking at you, Oprah!), then I would strongly suggest they research a little more.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 09, 2011
at 08:21 PM

Everyone—vegan, vegetarian, or Paleo—has something to learn by eating real food. All of us have to unplug from the Industrialized Food Complex as much as possible. I just wish it weren't do damned expensive to do so.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18686)

on August 09, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Agreed. I come off as fanatical at times, but I'm more fanatical with myself (because of the risks involved in my own compliance with what I've found happens to me) than with other people's choices.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 09, 2011
at 04:57 PM

"For me, environment and health were the biggest issues, along with total hatred of factory farming both on environmental and animal life quality issues. Not to mention the human costs in huge factory slaughterhouses. Once I figured out that all of those could be better achieved with a paleo diet focused on sustainable food, bye bye to the banana people." ------ Yes, exactly same for me.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 09, 2011
at 04:46 PM

you outed yrself here, vindi. that's funny about k calling you out at AHS tho. http://nelsonhaha.com/

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 02:42 PM

As per my response, I believe we can reconcile our differences. I do not think I am representative of a fanatical vegan just like that of a fanatical meat eater. But screw the fanatics. They are hopefully exceptions. Let's focus on the masses in the middle.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 09, 2011
at 02:23 PM

@aravind of course, my patron and LIT sippin brother from another mother!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 02:19 PM

@LB - I assume you are referring to me as one of those favorite friends :-)

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 02:17 PM

@Kamal - My mother is a lacto (no ovo) vegetarian. I have converted her to ditching the oil in all of our homecooked food. Maybe I should have my mom and your mom talk - though if they are like most Indian mothers, it will just end up being a conversation about you and me instead of their diet!

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 09, 2011
at 02:14 PM

amen, kamal. a few of my favorite friends are vegetarians and the only recommendations i've made to them is about toxin avoidance. we are animals with a conscience and if you're conscience doesn't allow you to consume meat, then who the fuck am i to say otherwise. this fetish with being a carnivore that i see on some paleo sites is just plain weird and if that's what people think of when they think of paleo diet, then we will be rightfully relegated to the margins. that's my rant on the subject.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 02:12 PM

@Ambi - Thanks. Funny thing is that my wife was eating some grass fed lamb at dinner and for a split second I thought, "maybe just one bite". But then I knocked the devil off my shoulder :-)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18686)

on August 09, 2011
at 02:07 PM

I actually think you can probably get pretty far on eggs, Aravind, especially if you can tolerate a wide variety of vegetables. It's tough to balance these values, and I respect your solution here. I was actually brought up lacto-ovo-pesca, and empathize a lot with you.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on August 09, 2011
at 02:06 PM

I eat far fewer vegetables than most Paleo/Primal folks I know. Between FODMAPS and fructose malabsorption, I happily rely on meat, eggs, and dairy for all my nutrition. Veggies are condiments to me--not food.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 09, 2011
at 02:06 PM

I'm getting my mom to convert to vegetarian paleo from plain vegetarian. No huge issues thus far, but sometimes I wonder how hard it is to avoid omega-6 for a vegetarian paleo newbie. There are a lot of Indian alternatives to wheat, but oil is so prevalent. I'm not sure if she's comfortable with large amounts of ghee and cream to get enough calories.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 02:03 PM

@Melissa - I was not at talking about the people I met at AHS. I am talking about comments I see here on PH. And I am also not talking about EVERYONE here to be clear.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 09, 2011
at 01:58 PM

I think most people are AHS were more fascinated with you than wanting to ostracize you...because so many don't believe it's possible to be a paleo vegetarian.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 01:47 PM

@Morgan - thank you very much for asking this question. Very thoughtful of you. I actually was going to write a very similar question so thanks for saving me the hassle :-)

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on August 09, 2011
at 01:39 PM

I hadn't seen the original post. Thank you for reposting! I appreciate your candour.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 01:38 PM

@Melissa - I think getting the support of prominent bloggers like you would be a great way to help bridge the gap. To the extent I can help promote a positive message, I would love to collaborate with you on this since I clearly have some strong feelings about it and am not shy to express those feelings!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 01:36 PM

At the expense of being arrogant (shocker), the best way to win an argument against a vegetarian is to have me do the arguing.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on August 09, 2011
at 01:35 PM

Thanks Ted!! :)

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 01:34 PM

@grenadine - you must have attended the Kamal school of outing a friend :-) Do you know that he called me out at Denise's presentation in front of 100s of meat-eaters? Actually I'm glad he did. But paybacks are a bitch. Just sayin'

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 09, 2011
at 01:27 PM

Future Denise Minger post about Aravind? Amazing!

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 09, 2011
at 12:50 PM

+1 for emphasizing the common issue of Real Food and combining our forces on that issue. I suspect a lot of veg*ns would be surprised to see how well animals live on sustainable farms.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 09, 2011
at 12:39 PM

No kidding about the processed vegan crap! Back in the day when I was a vegan, this astounded me. There's even a website devoted to listing which piece of processed crap, especially candy and other sweet stuff, is vegan. One of my cousins was known as the cookie vegan in her teens because that was pretty much all she ate. Most are a lot saner than that.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 09, 2011
at 12:34 PM

Don't try to argue with a veg*n though, just drop in something about the local farmers market that you both go to, mention the great eco-ganic veg stand, then mention the grass-fed sustainable meat place. Talk about going to the farm and seeing how well the animals were treated. Or pick some other topic where you can find some points of agreement. Don't expect to convince anyone in one conversation. Just plant a seed.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 09, 2011
at 12:31 PM

Not necessarily. It really depends on the person, what their reasons are, and how they respond to challenges to preconceptions. I'm an ex raw food vegan - see below. I love my non-starchy green veg, but I love my meat and fish etc. too.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78447)

on August 09, 2011
at 12:10 PM

i saw the slide she used. how was the talk? can someone summerize the talk of denise? Denise seem to be very creativein her finding of thought and theories. thats beautiful.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78447)

on August 09, 2011
at 09:50 AM

wonderful answer. clear on a balanced view. i like this. talking on the side of veganism. cause i have realation to veganism a lot. and find it as part time as healthy for my bioregion where i life.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on August 09, 2011
at 06:09 AM

Very well said. That is how I see it as well. We are under the big umbrella of the "Real Food" movement. I think there are veggies who are more health oriented and those are the one with which I think we have a lot in common. Now that there are more plentiful options for more cruelty-free animal foods I think we'll see more crossover of veggies to paleo/primal as well.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 09, 2011
at 05:19 AM

oh yeah, well the PETA-style vegans are intractable, so forget about them. I bet they're the least healthy too, since their dietary choices are primarily exclusive, rather than real-food focused.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 09, 2011
at 05:16 AM

Except for the part where they think we are evil demonic scum, yeah there is like barely any difference!

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on August 09, 2011
at 05:05 AM

I gave up on ever discussing diet with a vegetarian again. I met a girl who was very intelligent (well, booksmart... not so strong in logic it would seem) and I found out she was a vegetarian. When I started to ask her questions... simple factual ones that she knew the answers to, she would dismiss them without answer because she knew where it was headed... a logical conclusion based on a premise to which she agrees. She was deliberately burying her head in the sand because she WANTS to believe something for other reasons (in this case, it was for animals rights...)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 09, 2011
at 05:03 AM

You might have noticed the very end of her talk, at which point some weird dude got up and asked the audience if there were any lacto-ovo vegetarians there. The audience was interested, especially as many of them were ex veg*ns.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 09, 2011
at 04:56 AM

well, there seem to be pretty many ex-veg*ns here (like me), and at least one enthusiastic poster who is currently ovo-lacto vegetarian, coughARAVINDcough, and also ppl who don't really eat tons of meat, like Melissa-H-G-L. I don't think finding common ground is much of a stretch; but it mostly depends on what attracted folks to this WOE whether or not they're inclined to be inclusive. E.g. Dogmatic ex-SADders won't even read this question.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 09, 2011
at 04:55 AM

What do you mean? This is a very smart insight.

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15 Answers

34
D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 01:24 PM

I am a Paleo eater. I am also a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I had my "coming out" here - http://paleohacks.com/questions/51442/compassionate-paleo/51508#51508

(***Kamal - this was the post I was talking about at AHS).

To spare you the hassle, I will copy/paste below because it encapsulates my views on this (rather than retyping). But the bottom line to me - Paleo is about toxin avoidance. It is not about being a meatasaur, low carber, re-enactor, etc. I am a very proud member of this community and a very strong supporter of the movement.

I'm going to make an uncharacteristically emotional comment here - IT REALLY BOTHERS ME THAT SO MANY PALEOS OSTRACIZE VEGETARIANS. If the defense is that Vegans do too, then hasn't your mommy told you two wrongs don't make a right??? I have thick skin and if someone messes with me, my advice is don't bring a knife to a gun fight. But others are not so self-confident. More importantly, this community is squandering a HUGE opportunity to gain the support of a crowd (like me) that is completely onboard with the virtues of avoiding neolithic toxins and actually would lend support to OUR movement.

Last comment - Denise Minger and I have traded notes after AHS. She is going to get some information on my views and maybe will post on it. If so, I hope it helps bridge the gulf separating the "us" from the "them".


From other post on Compassionate Paleo ---

At the expense of being ostracized myself, I am going to go for broke since I think I am likely to have a very different perspective as you will soon read. I might have to pull a Thomas Seay after this???

I was born into a strict Hindu family ??? meaning Lacto vegetarian (BTW ??? worlds apart from being a vegan). So for me, being a vegetarian was NOT a deliberate choice based on some ethical consideration or being won over by a celebrity preaching morality, but rather it was something I took as a given based on my ancestral heritage for literally 100s/1000s of years. This is no different than most people with respect to religion ??? with very few exceptions we are born into it and then rationalize/accept it. I am not at all religious and slave to the ritualistic bullshit (like many here, I prefer to think of myself as spiritual), but I have ???ancestral baggage??? for lack of a better term. 40+ years of habit, not necessarily conviction.

In 2010, I began a significant nutritional inquiry and started to devour everything I could read. My father, diabetic at 35, died of cancer at age 52. Now as a father myself for a few years, I felt compelled to do good not only by my daughter, but by myself, to ensure the well-being and longevity of our family. This led me to Paleo. I now am a proud and active member of this community. Other than the occassional inappropriate ???anatomical??? posts (which mysteriously seem to get deleted), I would like to think I am a thoughtful contributor here in recent months.

Ok, so time to come out of the closet???.I eat no meat or fish. I do, however, liberally eat whole eggs and full fat dairy. As far as eggs are concerned, I have eaten them since childhood. As absurd as it might sound, my mother when I was a few years old started feeding me eggs unbeknownst to my father because IN SPITE OF BEING A STRICT LACTO-VEGETARIAN HERSELF, she knew that eating eggs would be good for my health (aren???t mothers wonderful!). By the time my dad caught wind of it, I was already hooked and he never said a word (he knew it was good for me too). My death bed meal would unquestionably include eggs! But 42 years into life, I have never intentionally eaten meat or fish. I am not advocating this to be optimal at all based on my last year of nutritional inquiry. I am convinced that meat does the body good. But sometimes good enough is good enough.

My primary influence has been and continues to be Dr. Kurt Harris and his Archevore approach to Paleo. If are not already familiar with it, please see the following - http://www.archevore.com/get-started/ . One of the fundamental issues is how you define Paleo. Just use the search function above to see the countless debates regarding macronutrients, inclusion vs exclusion of dairy, inclusion vs exclusion of non-gluten grains (like white rice), etc etc. As per the Archevore approach, my definition of a Paleo diet has been primarily based on avoiding the ubiquitous Neolithic Agents of Disease

  • Avoidance of grains (excluding white rice as a ???safe starch???)
  • Avoidance of excess fructose
  • Avoidance of excess linoleic acid (Omega 6 from vegetable oils)
  • Avoidance of soy (limited inclusion of legumes that are prepared in a way that Stephan Guyenet and Weston Price would approve)

As a Lacto-Ovo Paleo, I am complaint with the above tenets. Then there are the Paleo lifestyle changes like adequate sleep, activity, lots of sex, etc. In doing so, my well-being and quantitative biometrics (weight, lipids, HbA1C, HS CRP, Deadlift 2x bodyweight, etc) are markedly improved. If you read the Archevore 12 steps, the vast majority of benefits are achieved via the early steps and is more about what you avoid than what you include. I talked to Dr Harris back in May 2011 (which was an amazing conversation). While he in no way suggested that avoiding meat was optimal (he definitely tried to persuade me to eat some good juicy lamb, or at least shellfish!!!), his primary focus continues to be the avoidance of NADs. I point blank told him I was willing to supplement fish oil if he thought I should and he was unequivocal in stating that his preferential approach was to reduce Omega 6 rather than the (hyper) supplementation of Omega 3. In your case, you can just eat some good ocean fish!

The bottom line to me is that as long as you are not vegan, and particularly since you are willing to eat eggs and fish, you can not only survive but actually thrive with the Lacto-Ovo-Pesca Paleo approach in comparison to being a SAD eater. And whatever you do, please don???t be vegan - ironic that a non-meat eater is making that statement : - ) I write this not because of some judgement of the ethical aspects of veganism or position of superiority, but simply because the nutritional deficiencies resulting from the avoidance of full fat dairy are enormous.

I???m not going to lie to you, IT IS VERY TOUGH TO FOLLOW THIS WAY OF EATING WITHOUT CONSTANT VIGILENCE, GIVEN THE SELF-IMPOSED HANDCUFFS. But the important things in life usually are tough. I am able to have my Paleolithic cake (avoiding NADs) and eat it too (honoring family tradition). Optimal? No. Better than the alternative. Hell Yes!!!

Also, perhaps a consideration for you is the impact to key relationships in your life. I am married to a woman of Indian descent and while she too was born into a Hindu family, she liberally eats fish and never passes up a good lamb chop (another myth in the Paleo community. There are more non vegetarian Hindus than vegetarian and rarely vegan). In spite of our dietary differences, this is not an issue between us. And as far as our daughter is concerned, I am not at all going to encumber her with my ancestral baggage so she will be relishing the lamb chops with mama and I will be happy (maybe even jealous?) as she does.

You are concerned about being ostracized by vegetarians. Excluding me, since I am clearly an outlier here in this community, I have witnessed enough compassion and thoughtfulness in this community to believe that you are going to be more than accepted by your new Paleo ???family???, so screw your judgmental vegetarian friends. Sure there are assholes here too, but show me a community, organization, culture, race, society doesn???t have them. ???Respectfully??? tell them to go fuck themselves if they get up in your grill.

Last comment which might surprise you???on behalf of my meat eating brothers and sisters here, I actually took exception to the title ???Compassionate Paleo???. This implies the others here are not compassionate because they choose to eat meat. I am bringing this to your attention because I am quite certain that you did not intend to offend anyone. But can you see how people that are choosing to eat meat might be? Something to think about.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 09, 2011
at 01:27 PM

Future Denise Minger post about Aravind? Amazing!

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on August 09, 2011
at 01:39 PM

I hadn't seen the original post. Thank you for reposting! I appreciate your candour.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 02:03 PM

@Melissa - I was not at talking about the people I met at AHS. I am talking about comments I see here on PH. And I am also not talking about EVERYONE here to be clear.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 09, 2011
at 02:14 PM

amen, kamal. a few of my favorite friends are vegetarians and the only recommendations i've made to them is about toxin avoidance. we are animals with a conscience and if you're conscience doesn't allow you to consume meat, then who the fuck am i to say otherwise. this fetish with being a carnivore that i see on some paleo sites is just plain weird and if that's what people think of when they think of paleo diet, then we will be rightfully relegated to the margins. that's my rant on the subject.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 09, 2011
at 01:58 PM

I think most people are AHS were more fascinated with you than wanting to ostracize you...because so many don't believe it's possible to be a paleo vegetarian.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 09, 2011
at 02:23 PM

@aravind of course, my patron and LIT sippin brother from another mother!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 02:19 PM

@LB - I assume you are referring to me as one of those favorite friends :-)

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 02:12 PM

@Ambi - Thanks. Funny thing is that my wife was eating some grass fed lamb at dinner and for a split second I thought, "maybe just one bite". But then I knocked the devil off my shoulder :-)

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 01:36 PM

At the expense of being arrogant (shocker), the best way to win an argument against a vegetarian is to have me do the arguing.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18686)

on August 09, 2011
at 02:07 PM

I actually think you can probably get pretty far on eggs, Aravind, especially if you can tolerate a wide variety of vegetables. It's tough to balance these values, and I respect your solution here. I was actually brought up lacto-ovo-pesca, and empathize a lot with you.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 09, 2011
at 02:06 PM

I'm getting my mom to convert to vegetarian paleo from plain vegetarian. No huge issues thus far, but sometimes I wonder how hard it is to avoid omega-6 for a vegetarian paleo newbie. There are a lot of Indian alternatives to wheat, but oil is so prevalent. I'm not sure if she's comfortable with large amounts of ghee and cream to get enough calories.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 02:17 PM

@Kamal - My mother is a lacto (no ovo) vegetarian. I have converted her to ditching the oil in all of our homecooked food. Maybe I should have my mom and your mom talk - though if they are like most Indian mothers, it will just end up being a conversation about you and me instead of their diet!

Cc93847bfa820f0f2da654060b401fa5

(746)

on August 14, 2011
at 05:02 AM

Aravind, I'll go ahead and say it... You Kinda Rock!

13
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18686)

on August 09, 2011
at 04:48 AM

As a carnivore, my eating has approximately zero overlap with a vegetarian's. Meat is beyond the essence of my diet, and I didn't become healthy until I fully embraced that. I know that not everyone needs to avoid vegetables to the degree I do, but my opinion is that it is a huge mistake to avoid meat, or even to relegate it as secondary to anything else.

It's certainly a good point that groups that are close in values can easily become polarized about minor differences. We do have the same goals as vegetarians, and even the same vehicle: diet, but our interpretations of the available data are fundamentally at odds, and to me it is irreconcilable.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on August 09, 2011
at 05:05 AM

I gave up on ever discussing diet with a vegetarian again. I met a girl who was very intelligent (well, booksmart... not so strong in logic it would seem) and I found out she was a vegetarian. When I started to ask her questions... simple factual ones that she knew the answers to, she would dismiss them without answer because she knew where it was headed... a logical conclusion based on a premise to which she agrees. She was deliberately burying her head in the sand because she WANTS to believe something for other reasons (in this case, it was for animals rights...)

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 02:42 PM

As per my response, I believe we can reconcile our differences. I do not think I am representative of a fanatical vegan just like that of a fanatical meat eater. But screw the fanatics. They are hopefully exceptions. Let's focus on the masses in the middle.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 09, 2011
at 12:34 PM

Don't try to argue with a veg*n though, just drop in something about the local farmers market that you both go to, mention the great eco-ganic veg stand, then mention the grass-fed sustainable meat place. Talk about going to the farm and seeing how well the animals were treated. Or pick some other topic where you can find some points of agreement. Don't expect to convince anyone in one conversation. Just plant a seed.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 09, 2011
at 12:31 PM

Not necessarily. It really depends on the person, what their reasons are, and how they respond to challenges to preconceptions. I'm an ex raw food vegan - see below. I love my non-starchy green veg, but I love my meat and fish etc. too.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on August 09, 2011
at 02:06 PM

I eat far fewer vegetables than most Paleo/Primal folks I know. Between FODMAPS and fructose malabsorption, I happily rely on meat, eggs, and dairy for all my nutrition. Veggies are condiments to me--not food.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18686)

on August 09, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Agreed. I come off as fanatical at times, but I'm more fanatical with myself (because of the risks involved in my own compliance with what I've found happens to me) than with other people's choices.

12
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 09, 2011
at 04:53 AM

Denise's talk was great! Who knew she was such a comedian? Ironically I ended up eating two vegan meals at AHS since I like to avoid factory farmed meat as much as I possibly can. They were technically paleo since they were from the raw vegan section at Whole Foods. I don't agree with everything Don says, but the core philosophy of balancing rich foods with "cleansing" foods jives with my own experience these days. I do think animal foods can be eaten to excess, so I don't think it's such a tragedy when I skip out on them. I can always eat meat later. I do think it's nearly impossible to be paleo vegan in the long term, but low-meat is definitely a possibility. A few servings of oysters or insects a month can provide a lot of nutrients missing on a vegan diet.

I would note that not all veggies are sugar-free! There is tons of processed vegan crap out there. But I'm happy to ally myself with veg*n real foodies to get more gluten-free, processed-soy free, sugar-free options out there. I notice gluten-free and soy-free has gotten big in the vegan community. I guess they noticed that those things suck ;)

Plus, I hear coconut oil is trendy with them now too :P

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 09, 2011
at 01:38 PM

@Melissa - I think getting the support of prominent bloggers like you would be a great way to help bridge the gap. To the extent I can help promote a positive message, I would love to collaborate with you on this since I clearly have some strong feelings about it and am not shy to express those feelings!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78447)

on August 09, 2011
at 09:50 AM

wonderful answer. clear on a balanced view. i like this. talking on the side of veganism. cause i have realation to veganism a lot. and find it as part time as healthy for my bioregion where i life.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 09, 2011
at 12:39 PM

No kidding about the processed vegan crap! Back in the day when I was a vegan, this astounded me. There's even a website devoted to listing which piece of processed crap, especially candy and other sweet stuff, is vegan. One of my cousins was known as the cookie vegan in her teens because that was pretty much all she ate. Most are a lot saner than that.

7
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 09, 2011
at 05:02 AM

Totally. I noticed, with a smirk of recognition, that a lot of things I was eating after going Primal were similar to what my sister ate on raw vegan. With huge exceptions of course.

I think, ultimately, the "movement" needs to ally itself with other branches under a common umbrella of Real Food. We all have the same enemies: poor health, Industrialized Food Complex, ineffective and damaging government subsidies, etc. Sure we have specific ideas about what constitutes the most optimal human diet, but if we don't band together, we are pathetically outnumbered and outgunned. Our similarities are more than our differences.

Do I think you can be vegetarian Paleo? Yes. Will it be optimal? No way. But that doesn't mean that we have to eat meat at every meal. I think Melissa's approach is sound.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on August 09, 2011
at 06:09 AM

Very well said. That is how I see it as well. We are under the big umbrella of the "Real Food" movement. I think there are veggies who are more health oriented and those are the one with which I think we have a lot in common. Now that there are more plentiful options for more cruelty-free animal foods I think we'll see more crossover of veggies to paleo/primal as well.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 09, 2011
at 08:24 PM

I should add that I think the whole argument is moot for anyone who avoids animal foods and products for ethical purposes. I think that has to respected. But if someone is veg out of some perceived health benefit (I'm looking at you, Oprah!), then I would strongly suggest they research a little more.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 09, 2011
at 12:50 PM

+1 for emphasizing the common issue of Real Food and combining our forces on that issue. I suspect a lot of veg*ns would be surprised to see how well animals live on sustainable farms.

6
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 09, 2011
at 11:56 AM

As one of the ex vegans (ex raw vegan!) I agree with her. Even though I eat LC to VLC, I rely heavily on greens and coconut - both heavily emphasized in raw vegan diets. After a while I added mollusks (no sentience), then fish. Then I just added meat to the mix and took out a lot of fruit.

For me, environment and health were the biggest issues, along with total hatred of factory farming both on environmental and animal life quality issues. Not to mention the human costs in huge factory slaughterhouses. Once I figured out that all of those could be better achieved with a paleo diet focused on sustainable food, bye bye to the banana people.

It depends on the persons reasons for being veg*n, but a lot of veg*ns are quite possibly tomorrows paleos. Be nice, we come around.


I forgot to mention that one thing that really opened my eyes was learning about permaculture, which is an extremely sustainable method of food production (on the verge of creating hunter-gatherer conditions) that really requires both animal and plant components. Also, because I was already a horticulturist working with other agriculturists, and attending sustainable ag conferences, I was exposed to what good food production looks like. It doesn't look like factory farming. Seeing one of those (factory farms) without the knowledge of real food would make almost anyone give up meat.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 09, 2011
at 04:57 PM

"For me, environment and health were the biggest issues, along with total hatred of factory farming both on environmental and animal life quality issues. Not to mention the human costs in huge factory slaughterhouses. Once I figured out that all of those could be better achieved with a paleo diet focused on sustainable food, bye bye to the banana people." ------ Yes, exactly same for me.

5
0b73cdbd0cb68aeeda14dafeebb2f828

on August 09, 2011
at 08:01 AM

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on August 09, 2011
at 01:35 PM

Thanks Ted!! :)

4
B525b3e4b1d6f1cdceec943cdec6eb7d

(1680)

on August 09, 2011
at 05:06 AM

I wasn't at the conference, and haven't heard Denise speak.

But I was a (bread-eating, sugar-using) vegetarian for many years, and it seems to me that the big thing vegetarians and paleo adherents have in common is that both groups reject the conventional wisdom on how one should eat.

Vegetarians look at the government-sponsored food pyramid thing and say "well, that's clearly crazy, so I'll do this other thing." Paleos are right with them in that reaction! We are, however, quite far apart when it comes to what that "other thing" - the better diet - is.

I think I would have switched from the vegetarian diet to the paleo diet years and years ago if only I'd had the right information put in front of me. I suspect that this is true of many vegetarians.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 09, 2011
at 08:21 PM

Everyone—vegan, vegetarian, or Paleo—has something to learn by eating real food. All of us have to unplug from the Industrialized Food Complex as much as possible. I just wish it weren't do damned expensive to do so.

2
776bb678d88f7194b0fa0e5146df14f0

on August 15, 2011
at 08:34 PM

I agree with the sentiment that has been stated by a few people on this thread, that vegetarians and even vegans (along with WAPFers on the other side of the spectrum) have a lot in common with Paleos under the umbrella of the Real Food movement. Compared to the rest of this country, vegans and paleos are probably the most extreme and crazy sounding... we have that in common.

One of the big changes that I'd like to see in this community and be a part of is a push to actually DO more to change our food system, and take up the banner of activism that has so long been the purview of vegetarians and vegans. We need to start raising chickens, growing more vegetables, working on farms, educating low income members of the inner city and so on. Not just talking, but DOING. We need to support with our dollars and our time the reality that we want. It feels soooo trite by this point to say this, but if we all try harder to be both Paleo and self sufficient in the smallest way, we'll start to make a change happen. Once we get concerns of animal welfare (happy animals on complex, varied use farms), environmental sustainability (ditto) resolved as well as much anecdotal health benefits from including sustainable and intensely healthful animal products in people's diets, we won't have to "fight" vegetarians or vegans. They'll just come around. Our propaganda will be a natural antidote to theirs.

But talking won't accomplish that. I just built a coop and am getting my chickens next week. Next spring I'm thinking of quitting my job to go WWOOFing at homesteads in America. We need our young people to rise up against the status quo of unhealthfulness and materialism. It's kind of scary, but so was giving up bread.

2
8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

on August 09, 2011
at 01:55 PM

As a former mostly vegan who switched to Paleo I can see, in sentiment for sure, the connections. For me, once I gave up the things that were making me feel sick (grains, legumes), it was such a small jump to Paleo and I couldn't see any other way of getting enough protein and being healthy (allergic to dairy, gave that up 35 years ago).

As other have said, I think the preponderance of former vegans here is a pretty clear indication that Minger is right.

1
02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on August 15, 2011
at 02:31 PM

I'm in almost complete agreement with Morgan and Aravind. I find it depressing and pretty ridiculous how some people get so jingoistic about their views about nutrition. I can understand, though I don't endorse, this kind of attitude among ethical vegans, since for them it's a matter of good and evil. But shouldn't we paleo types just be pragmatic and even-handed?

Yes, we all know some, even many vegans are extremely intolerant, but we should be able to rise above that. Plus, when somebody gets all worked up about vegans, it seems to me to signal that they are NOT confident in their views.

Having gone to a hippy liberal arts college, I have met plenty of vegetarians and vegans who are very open to conversation. I think there are lots of people who really care about living a compassionate and ethical life- and veganism is still by far the most visible option for most.

This is where talk of the "vegan menace" and making fun of vegans for being emaciated is just going to turn a lot of people off. We should be taking the high road- and I hasten to add that many of us are.

1
33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on August 09, 2011
at 09:10 PM

Actually, you will always find similarities between extremist groups, even though they may be at differing ends of the scale. I will not mention religion here, but just think it instead.

I was recently on a bushcraft course and there were two vegans there. They could not participate in some of the things we were doing - mostly those things that involved food. I found it hard to understand why they were on the course, and realised that they wouldn't actually live for very long if left out in the wild.

I was a vegan, I am now a meat eater and my diet could not be further removed from the way it was when I was vegan, (nor my health btw) but views remain passionate - although they have changed completely - they are no less ardent than they were before.

We are the extremists, out there with our wacky ideas of food, vegan and paleo alike, we are the borderliners, on the edge of society at large, but right slap bang in the middle of our own little community here. In that, we are no different from people who could not hurt, let alone eat, a grasshopper.

I just know that those kind of people would not survive in the wild if they were put out there and left to fend for themselves.

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on August 10, 2011
at 02:33 AM

I agree completely. Certainly there will be some overlap, but the basic principles, reasoning, and perception of truth are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

1
Medium avatar

on August 09, 2011
at 05:32 PM

If we could just get them to eat liver, they'd be fine. If liver could be unhinged from the stigma of meat, I think we have a real chance at optimizing the health of millions of vegetarians. Unfortunately, a lot of veg*ns complain about how nauseating delicious meat smells, so you can only imagine how tough a sell liver would be. Maybe we need to slip organs in their vegan chili?

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78447)

on July 23, 2012
at 03:13 AM

Someone should ask Melissa why she has so little to say about Minger (yup, even less than Kruse)...

0
7db8429e819bf5fe1dde2f8336674715

on August 22, 2011
at 05:08 PM

I was so thrilled to see this discussion! I am fairly new to Paleo, coming from the sustainability side of things. I was a bit dismayed by the anti-veg sentiment I was exposed to at the symposium. There is so much we Real Foodies could do together! Actually, this was the subject of my most recent blog post in which I identified several areas for political action that I think Paleos and Real Food veggies could get behind. I'd love to get some feedback from this group!

Here's a link: http://ethicaleats.blogspot.com/2011/08/get-real-chance-for-real-progress.html

0
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on August 09, 2011
at 05:31 AM

I encourage my veggie friends to eat eggs and whey and fish oil. And also to not be a pastatarian or consume too much sugar. They usually don't take my advice (Nor would I expect them to).

I know that I would not do well on a veggie diet with soy for protien...

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