9

votes

What turned you from vegan to paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 12, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Initially, I was surprised by how many former vegans there are in the paleo community. Eventually, I realized the two groups likely have a lot of overlap:

  • Looking for ways to be healthier
  • Willing to go against the grain (no pun intended)
  • Willing to put in research/effort into health

What I am curious about though is what ultimately caused the switch from vegan to paleo. I was never vegan myself and it seems like such a radical shift. Reading Lierre Keith's book, it seems there are 3 buckets of reasons:

  • Deteriorating health
  • Realization that vegan may not be as environmentally sustainable as once thought
  • Acceptance that veganism does not necessarily take moral high ground over eating meat

Which was it for you? Or something else? Was there a specific "ah ha" moment or was the shift more gradual? There are similar threads:

But I think this is different as I'm trying to get at what specifically triggered the switch. My parents and brother all go vegan on and off and are incredibly critical of my diet. I've for the most part stopped discussing it with them (first rule of paleo), but I still wonder if and when and how they might come around.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 05, 2012
at 10:36 AM

No it's not : *"have the tendency to"*

54f75fb54778cfa947990bec1175307a

(665)

on September 05, 2012
at 02:10 AM

"My professor recently told me people have the tendency to generalize everything" - that's such a generalization.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 19, 2012
at 06:44 PM

Yes, great book. That's Lierre Keith's book that referenced above.

Dbd1e8fad5d4b47409d84bd6610020d5

(368)

on May 13, 2012
at 06:14 AM

It's hard, but it's fulfilling. You never get to sleep in. Haha! I fully recommend wetting your toes a bit first as opposed to jumping in the deep end! I'm a very small scale farmer as I work two part time jobs and go to school full time. I do love the relationship I have with my food, though!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 13, 2012
at 05:20 AM

Is it hard to be a farmer? Do you enjoy it?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 13, 2012
at 05:18 AM

Is it hard to be a farmer? Do you enjoy it? Who butchers the meat? Just wanted to know... :)

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on May 12, 2012
at 11:45 PM

I've wondered if there was a connection with Jobs' cancer and the amount of time he spent around computers....

80890193d74240cab6dda920665bfb6c

(1528)

on May 12, 2012
at 05:45 PM

My 2 friends followed the same path - one changed after she actually fainted in an intersection while crossing the street during rush hour in New York! She was nearly hit by a taxi. Her hair had been falling out in patches for months; she was living on 1000 calories a day in order to attack her 30-lb weight gain. The other suffered such severe anemia she was nearly hospitalized.

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21 Answers

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6
16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

on May 12, 2012
at 01:56 PM

I was gaining weight, having horrific hair loss and looked and felt pretty awful - all this in my early 20's when I should have been feeling/looking my best. Little did I know I was severely vitamin deficient at the time.

I made the switch from vegan to Atkins to low carb paleo (nearly the same thing but without any artificial sweeteners) when I realized that my health was more important to me than being humane. Paleo dealt with my factory farming concerns (the main reason I stopped eating meat/animal products in the first place) and I haven't looked back since.

80890193d74240cab6dda920665bfb6c

(1528)

on May 12, 2012
at 05:45 PM

My 2 friends followed the same path - one changed after she actually fainted in an intersection while crossing the street during rush hour in New York! She was nearly hit by a taxi. Her hair had been falling out in patches for months; she was living on 1000 calories a day in order to attack her 30-lb weight gain. The other suffered such severe anemia she was nearly hospitalized.

6
Dbd1e8fad5d4b47409d84bd6610020d5

(368)

on May 12, 2012
at 05:37 PM

I was vegan for over 7 years due to health reasons (the mad cow scare terrified me), and then I learnt of how our food was being raised so I stayed vegan for a very long time. I did well on that diet, but I didn't like how many processed foods I was eating. I did feel cleaner, though. I definitely started getting into the organic craze at that time. It's never really left me, but I am now able to source foods that aren't labelled organic due to financial reasons, which are perfectly healthy otherwise.

After five years, I started looking at the American Livestock Breed Conservancy (http://albc-usa.org/) and found that I wanted to help preserve these dying heritage breeds. I spoke with my family and my friends about how I wanted to have a farm after I graduated and raise my own food. I'd been gardening for years, but raising livestock would be entirely new. I also wanted to support local agriculture, but I wasn't ready to take that step for a while.

I started raising my own meat and eggs a year ago, and started being paleo about two and a half months ago, I think? I still eat beans, though. They don't seem to cause such an issue with me. I haven't lost weight, but I look leaner. I love having small-scale livestock around. It makes me feel useful and it's something I can manage whilst attending university full time. My husband and brother take turns slaughtering, and I butcher the carcass of the rabbits and chickens. I am terrified of prolonging their deaths unnecessarily. Although, I am with the animal throughout the entire process. I guess that's my story in a nut shell. I have a lot of Brazilian friends here who do both paleo and crossfit, and I started talking with them about it after I tried out a diet similar to paleo. It definitely took me a while to start eating meat again. It was so weird at first and felt sticky.

Dbd1e8fad5d4b47409d84bd6610020d5

(368)

on May 13, 2012
at 06:14 AM

It's hard, but it's fulfilling. You never get to sleep in. Haha! I fully recommend wetting your toes a bit first as opposed to jumping in the deep end! I'm a very small scale farmer as I work two part time jobs and go to school full time. I do love the relationship I have with my food, though!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 13, 2012
at 05:18 AM

Is it hard to be a farmer? Do you enjoy it? Who butchers the meat? Just wanted to know... :)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 13, 2012
at 05:20 AM

Is it hard to be a farmer? Do you enjoy it?

5
5cd8441bd01fc10816085bfc092477c4

(925)

on May 12, 2012
at 04:07 PM

I was vegetarian for 13 years and in that time dabbled with veganism and being a raw foodie. I started eating meat when we started raising our own animals (when I am in the US, I only eat my animals). Checking out the paleo style of eating because my husband has had intestinal problems for years. That said, I still eat yogurt and a bit of cheese becuase I raise dairy goats (also sheep and chickens). Rice on occasion. No wheat (not for 3 weeks now). lots of fruits and veggies. All this has not been a big departure for me from my normal mode of eating. I do not eat processed food and havent in many many years.

3
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on May 12, 2012
at 09:57 PM

Constant stomach problems were really the main motivation. I became willing to try just about anything to get rid of them. I tried different types of veganism, like raw veganism, but they just made a lot of problems worse.

3
5af4a091360823d02c3ea2ffe4a71593

(85)

on May 12, 2012
at 07:33 PM

I was raised vegetarian, 27years, two months ago i was heading towards eating vegan, but also had the intention stop eating bread. I lost too much weight and came across paleo, i liked the idea, i was eating like it but without meat and fish, so I decided to start eating meat and stop all grains and most of dairy (i eat 10%fat greek yoghurt and goatcheese). I feel great!

3
B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on May 12, 2012
at 12:33 PM

My blood test that revealed I was low in fat-soluble vitamins, B12 and a whole lot of other problems. It's not a radical shift at all, unless you did veganism because you don't wanna hurt animals (I couldn't care less about animals when I had big time hives all over me). It's just an other interpretation of eat whole foods...

I think it is important to respect every possible diet out there. I understand vegans aren't very friendly towards paleo followers, but I also notice quite some mockery on this forum when peatarianism is mentioned. My professor recently told me people have the tendency to generalize everything, including their own experiences, and unfortunately he's right.

54f75fb54778cfa947990bec1175307a

(665)

on September 05, 2012
at 02:10 AM

"My professor recently told me people have the tendency to generalize everything" - that's such a generalization.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 05, 2012
at 10:36 AM

No it's not : *"have the tendency to"*

3
6bb76ea1e5e4434cd6d3558c01be5f58

(50)

on May 12, 2012
at 12:00 PM

I went Paleo because I'd learned I had food intolerances (the big 5) and was suffering from extreme weight loss.

2
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 22, 2012
at 07:19 PM

Bacon???????????

2
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 13, 2012
at 05:34 AM

This is not an answer (sorry) but rather a question. In my culture people do not really know what "vegetarian" is. People who are "vegetarians" are considered kind of mental or crazy. I have never been a vegetarian, and I would never even think about becoming one. I have always been totally against vegetarianism.

I have known a lot of Americans who were vegetarians. The thing that really bugged me is how proudly they would say, "I am a vegetarian (or vegan)". As if they are better or know something others don't know. I would respond, "You know, it is not really healthy, your body needs animal protein, especially B12 that you cannot get from any other food sources" they would look at me as if I am some kind of a nutcase. The thing is, I was saying this in a nice way and we were on friendly terms.They would never answer back, but I could see that they were not buying into that.

So what is it about vegetarianism that is so different, that makes it almost like a cult?

Oh, and I posted it somewhere else, but I think this is a good place to - have you ever watched/ read "The Vegetarian Myth"? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNON5iNf07o

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 19, 2012
at 06:44 PM

Yes, great book. That's Lierre Keith's book that referenced above.

2
F456257fd6f10eb22436ef8cf33bcfde

on May 12, 2012
at 11:03 PM

I go into a lot of detail on my personal journey from vegan to paleo, and the many realizations I had along the way, on my website, where I conducted a 30 day trial of paleo a year ago, after many years of cycling back and forth between vegan and vegetarian and raw foods:

http://www.my-healthy-eating-secrets.com/paleo-diet.html

If you're only going to skim, be sure to check out Days 1, 6, 10 and 29 - these are my personal favorites...

2
8c64b9c54f591531071e93792156ca15

(187)

on May 12, 2012
at 04:33 PM

I wasn't recovering fast enough from workouts as a vegetarian (usually strict, not lacto-ovo - i don't use the vegan label since I wasn't doing it for ethical reasons). I ran 5 marathons as a vegetarian and never had issues - didn't have weight problems either, obviously. But the day I started crossfitting, I realized something was missing. I could not recover from my workouts.. it would be a week and I'd still be limping around, cringing in agony. My husband and I were also a little soft around the middle despite the chronic cardio.

Realizing the potential we had with crossfit, we knew that diet was a huge part of the puzzle. We broached the idea of experimenting with paleo/primal and finally made the jump one fateful night at a AYCE korean BBQ restaurant. We've been primal/paleo since November 2010 and haven't looked back. I've become a stronger runner (I've won 2 5Ks since) and my marathon times have improved -- who knew sweet potatoes and almonds would be just as effective has clif shots and gu's

2
B04787f664abf9bebc28f71bf7825a3c

on May 12, 2012
at 04:15 PM

I had been contemplating GOING vegan, but hadn't actually adopted such a lifestyle, when I found out about Paleo/Primal...And it made much more sense. Glad I never tried going vegan or vegetarian in the first place!

2
37c83b0e565455eccdab474a7572552a

on May 12, 2012
at 03:33 PM

I was very lethargic after four years of total vegan, and seemed to have persistant belly fat (about 20 pounds) - despite eating pratically the ideal (prescribed) vegan diet (and calories below my supposed needs). I didn't have the energy or desire to exercise, and wasn't active in pursuing my life goals. I felt very passive all around.

I am testing out meat and paleo, but far from 100%. My body seems to be recompositioning itself with little effort, and I am happy to exercise.

Matt

p.s. Also - Steve Jobs getting cancer worried me. He ate vegan - which is supposedly a "cancer fighting" diet - most of his life.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on May 12, 2012
at 11:45 PM

I've wondered if there was a connection with Jobs' cancer and the amount of time he spent around computers....

2
973c21f7bc31c09d12675c1ba45df153

(145)

on May 12, 2012
at 12:06 PM

I was vegan for a few months mainly for ethical reasons before learning of the importance of eating meat. I have no qualms about free range meat now though, the benefits of killing these animals out way the negatives. A healthy human can do much more to help the world than an unhealthy one can. Besides that fact I'd still be willing to kill animals to live a healthy life.

1
1036c928357e83da838d5cd8dc80849d

on December 22, 2012
at 06:45 PM

I experienced horrific symptoms, in just a few weeks, of experimentation with a pure vegan diet: weight gain, especially around my hips and stomach, lethargy, inability to run the 3 - 5 miles I normally do several times a week, depression, lack of motivation, etc. The worst thing of all was severe stomach and intestinal pain that simply would not go away, no matter what I did.

Before trying Vegan I was using the Zone diet combined with Intermittent Fasting (IF). That was working quite well for me, but I couldn't shake the persistent acne or the last five pounds that was hanging on. I tried Vegan just to try to address those things.

I think the effectiveness of the Zone diet is compromised by their use of dairy products. Within days of coming off vegan and onto paleo, my energy and attitude have skyrocketed, my skin is amazingly clear, and I don't feel like I am carrying a 20lb weight between my rib cage and my hips. I'm sold.

Vegan might work for some folks, but most definitely not me, and my body told me so!!

1
43e9d0f324c2fc8b5f283786a1e3bf4f

(419)

on September 05, 2012
at 12:53 AM

I tried vegetarianism dozens of times, and always lost weight (bad for me) and became weaker. I only tried veganism once, it made me so unbelievably weak. Even though I did tons of research and in theory got everything I needed! My body needs meat. Like you say, it's all about health and trying to get healthier.

1
872e070c104d70d10d2bd79602c3940b

on September 04, 2012
at 11:19 PM

I was vegetarian after I turned 20. Something snapped and meat started to gross me out. I had a lot of food anxiety around that time, and being out of my moms house where food was always prepared for me didn't help.

I ate vegetarian and off and on vegan for a few years. Toward the end of it I got really tired, had worse than average acne, started gaining weight, suffered awful depression and anxiety and ppl would comment on my skin and hair not looking good. I finally went to the dr. and found out I had anemia, despite taking iron everyday. He basically said to start eating animal protein again or to continue and get sicker.

I started with salmon and felt better almost immediately. It was a hard transition because i was so turned off by eating a dead critter, but i knew it was making me better. I flopped around for a while until i got pregnant, then I binged on whatever.

So, my kid is 6 now. Me eating a regular American diet has not allowed me to lose the baby weight. I was tempted to go back to vegan since most of my friends have gone that route to lose their baby weight (or juicing but after one day I thought i might faint), but after researching I found paleo. It has everything i want from a nutritional and health stand point. Plus so far the results have been great.

1
A87123772dfaec07079b8fac17b20372

on September 04, 2012
at 04:43 PM

I thought being vegetarian was the healthiest choice. After 14 years go vegetarianism with low energy, hair loss, IBS, leaky gut, dermatitis and many other problems I found out about the Paleo diet and switched immediately. After 4 months, most of my symptoms have gone. But still recovering. I know anyway vegan people (having a moderate life, not so busy) who are ok but it didn't work for me.

Michael.

1
D4d83e7981ca572aaaa19fc620bb54f1

(467)

on September 04, 2012
at 04:20 PM

It was deteriorating health... anemia, depression, weight gain, hair loss, serious skin problems, etc... Paleo fixed practically everything.

0
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on December 23, 2012
at 02:01 AM

my digestive disease came out of remission when i started fruitarianism. i had been doing well on veganism for 4 years prior to that, but the fruitarianism is what did me in. i think veganism in itself is a great diet/lifestyle for anyone who can stay healthy on it. paleo hasn't fixed my digestive disease like i had thought, but it's not as bad as it was when i was following 80/10/10.

0
90bcfafd2ef73fea5398c483c593349e

on December 23, 2012
at 12:36 AM

One word: Acne.

After 2 1/2 years on a vegan/near-vegan diet, my acne came back with a vengeance. I had very, very large cysts that were painful and stuck around for months. It completely mystified me at the time, but I see now that I had developed a leaky gut due to my over-reliance on grains.

I was also suffering from chronic digestive difficulties, flatulence, weight gain, and very low energy levels. Brain fog and a tendency toward mild depression were also an issue, though I didn't notice any of them at the time. My body had begun to shut down. Since going paleo all of these problems have resolved themselves. In fact, I feel better than I ever did pre-paleo.

As for dealing with your family, OP, I think you're taking the right tack. Just quietly go about your paleo business and never, ever give them grief over their diet. The only way they'll ever "convert" is if they lead themselves down the paleo path. I was cracking jokes about paleo people up until a week or so before I made the jump myself. Stick with it and you just might peel off one or two of your family members.

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