5

votes

Possibility of paleo/primal without many vegetables.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 27, 2010 at 9:36 PM

OK...so here's the situation...my parents went away on a weeks vacation--oh wait...not that situation. So I've been trying to eat mostly paleo but I just really don't like many vegetables. There are maybe 5 or 6 that I actually like and 3 or 4 more that I can swallow but don't really enjoy. Most of the vegetables I like fit into the salad category...lettuces, tomatos, cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, olives. My question is whether it is possible or healthy to eat paleo/primal with such limited vegetable intake. I am sure in time I can find ways to eat other vegetables, but we are talking 34 yrs worth of dislike...it takes sometime to undo.

7278560e76901ded4081022b54c6e165

on September 06, 2012
at 04:45 AM

Wait, think about how much food we waste! Stop wasting all that food and we'd probably have enough for everyone! Boil bones, use everything you can from the animal. Eat organs, etc.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:19 PM

Well Bill Clinton is a vegan. Just sayin'

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:18 PM

I too am skeptical of the RDA, and suspect that the RDA numbers were arrived at to justify the food pyramid rather than any particular health or nutrition goal. That said, modern food is generally lower in nutrients than most traditional foods, and the Paleo diet is very limited by modern standards, so I think one has to be careful to be sure they have their nutritional bases covered.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:17 PM

Some people are sensitive to different vegetables such as cruciferous (cabbage, brussels sprouts), nightshades, etc. However if you're sensitive to one type doesn't mean you should avoid them all. I really enjoy vegetables and the enormous variety and different types of preparation really improve my cuisine.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:13 PM

Having said all that, I upvoted you for the "yucky" observation, and the prescription to learn how to prepare veggies. As someone who makes a *killer* brussels sprouts dish, I agree with you there. ;D

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:12 PM

Having said all that, I upvoted you for the "yucky" observation. I agree with you there. ;D

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:11 PM

And as far as conforming to the RDAs is concerned, I'm quite openly skeptical about the usefulness of eating by the numbers. I'm sure I'm technically "deficient" in a number of nutrients, yet my health and my labs have only improved on zero carb. I may yet pay a price, but so far, it's hard for me to believe that I'm getting sicker by reducing my plant intake, while only appearing to get healthier over the course of several years (I was VLC for two years prior to being ZC, so pretty low-plant overall for four years).

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:09 PM

This is one of those questions that I think will only be settled by time, and a large enough data set of non-vegetable eaters to be meaningful. I don't eat veggies, not because I don't like them (I love and miss brussels sprouts, for instance), but because eating them seems to produce joint pain, weight gain, and cravings. But N=1, or even N=10, isn't worth much. Plus it's only been two years in my case.

Eeefb4a4b2ac14b006f087cf77ba9f23

(106)

on February 15, 2011
at 12:47 AM

Vegetables smothered in butter or soaked in bacon grease. Stuff like that.

F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on February 15, 2011
at 12:06 AM

How do you mean Redshift?

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on January 12, 2011
at 11:24 PM

Malthus was right. Sadly if we were all to eat the way we are supposed to a good portion of us would starve. Overpopulation has far overshot the paleo diet's ability to feed the whole human race.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on January 12, 2011
at 04:44 PM

There is no way for the world to produce enough meat for everyone to eat like you do, if everyone tried to the price of meat would become unaffordable. If you want to be sure of a good affordable supply of meat in the future you should really be encouraging everyone else to become vegetarian :)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 29, 2010
at 03:59 PM

I see no reason to eat anything you don't like. Life is too short. Everything I eat is delicious and paleo. If paleo required eating stuff I don't like, I wouldn't do it. Did cavemen eat stuff they didn't like? I doubt it.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on November 28, 2010
at 09:03 AM

First sentence made me say "Marry me".

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15 Answers

best answer

3
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 28, 2010
at 04:56 AM

Personally, I think most veggies taste like dirt. SOme are OK if smothered in butter, but I'd really rather just eat meat and some fruit and that is what I mostly do eat. PLus I allow cheese which I sometimes have a taste for. When I do salads, I use one of the various paleo recipes for dressing or sometimes I just use my favorite ranch dressing plus a bunch of parmesan cheese. So it's not TOTALLY paleo, but most of it is.

What I did was go to fitday. com and typed in all my food and checked my intake of all vitamins and minerals. As long as you get all those then it really doesn't matter if it comes from meat, fruit, or veggie. Mostly, for veggies, I just eat spinach (tastes best to me as a raw fresh green salad leaf covered with dressing instead of a slimey cooked product), tomatoes (maybe that is still a fruit), and sometimes I buy mixed greens instead of just spinach greens. I also like onions. Recently, I discovered I kinda like brussel sprouts when mixed with tons of meat. Other than that, I don't each much other veggie except for the occasional bite or two if someone else prepares it. I can't think of any major nutrient that comes in veggies but does not come in other types of foods. The recommend veggies for nutrients, but veggies are not the only source of nutrients. YOu just need to get the nutrients somehow but it need not be from veggies particularly.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on November 28, 2010
at 09:03 AM

First sentence made me say "Marry me".

8
61852721b5ff3613f56f043fe890a679

(1172)

on November 27, 2010
at 11:07 PM

of course it is possible and healthy.

it'll be easier for you than for many of us, i'd wager, provided you either have a high tolerance for repetition in your protein sources and/or know how to prepare a large variety of protein dishes.

to read about the typical diet of (a super-credible) someone who eats very little vegetable matter, see Dr. Harris' "what I eat" page:

http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2009/11/13/what-i-eat.html

5
9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

on November 28, 2010
at 03:07 AM

I only very rarely eat vegetables right now and I'm feeling better without them at the moment. Red meat and organs are packed full of highly bio-available nutrients and fat is an excellent source of energy.

With that said, you might want to make sure you get enough magnesium, iodine and vitamin C. Most people are deficient in magnesium and iodine anyway, no matter the amount of vegetables they eat. Halibut, chinook salmon, pumpkin seeds and almonds are good sources of non-vegetable magnesium, seaweed is a good source of iodine. A lot of people choose to supplement those micro-nutrients, along with vitamin D and vitamin K2.

4
691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on November 29, 2010
at 02:22 PM

So tempted to answer this with "right on!" and leave it at that. I eat a few veggies here and there but I live by the reversal of Michael Pollan's food rules.

He said: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

I say: Eat food. Enough so your body can thrive. Mostly meat.

'Eat food' meant real food not processed food. I get that one. 'Not too much' is kinda aimed at this cultural idea that restricting calories is the secret to life. It is not the secret to life. But in a society that cannot figure out how to make individuals healthy and the right size, starving them appears to be the only option. And 'Mostly plants' goes along with that holier than thou idea that the vegetarian diet is superior nutritionally and spiritually. I beg to differ and think we should not cede the high ground to that side any longer. It was a bummer after Pollan's chapter on hunting that he'd revert to a promoter of vegetarian leaning diets.

Pollan's pre-Omnivore's Dilemma article has some great stuff in it but it sadly pushes plant based diets over meat based, here is a link for interest and argument: http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/unhappy-meals/

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on January 12, 2011
at 04:44 PM

There is no way for the world to produce enough meat for everyone to eat like you do, if everyone tried to the price of meat would become unaffordable. If you want to be sure of a good affordable supply of meat in the future you should really be encouraging everyone else to become vegetarian :)

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on January 12, 2011
at 11:24 PM

Malthus was right. Sadly if we were all to eat the way we are supposed to a good portion of us would starve. Overpopulation has far overshot the paleo diet's ability to feed the whole human race.

7278560e76901ded4081022b54c6e165

on September 06, 2012
at 04:45 AM

Wait, think about how much food we waste! Stop wasting all that food and we'd probably have enough for everyone! Boil bones, use everything you can from the animal. Eat organs, etc.

4
6a9d8fd0d47d8379a8a0280c72122d77

on November 29, 2010
at 01:11 AM

It seems to me that most contemporary hunter gatherers make use of a wide range of edible plants, vegetables, roots & tubers when available. We also know the Inuit, whilst much healthier than your average SAD eater, do suffer some health consequences from their restrictive diet.

I also believe there is nothing magical in plants that cannot be obtained from animal products, but I don't think your average Paleo eater will be going through this wide range of offal nose-to-tail eating required for optimal vitamin & mineral intake.

For this reason I would recommend a full or partial dose of a good quality multivitamin (the good quality ones come in 3 to 6 pills per day) to supplement your diet.

3
Medium avatar

on February 15, 2011
at 12:23 AM

Spinach is pretty much the only green vegetable I eat (in large amounts daily), but luckily it's also one of the most nutrient-dense ( http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2627/2 ). If you stick to vegetables that are similarly dense in nutrients, then it should be fine. Many here aren't shy about espousing their carnivorous leanings, but I simply don't accept that humans thrive to a greater extent without vegetables. Human carnivory seems as misguided and extreme as human herbivory. I ate a vegan diet for 8 years and all throughout my blood tests were perfect and I very clearly did not die. Does this mean that humans are designed to only eat plants? Hardly.

3
Bbd50c115fa066bea3ac23a4e82447ff

(558)

on November 27, 2010
at 11:22 PM

Try sauteeing quartered brussel sprouts in bacon fat and adding chopped bacon. Or saute kale in bacon fat. If you eat any dairy, you could also sautee in butter and add cream at the end. There's a great recipe in Mark Sisson's cookbook. I find a lot of people who don't normally like veggies like them when they're paired with bacon.

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on September 01, 2011
at 08:00 PM

In my opinion, it isn't healthy to avoid vegetables.

A while back I typed everything I entered into FitDay and was somewhat surprised to learn that I was in the 30-45% RDA range on about a half dozen nutrients -- magnesium, manganese, calcium, vitamin E, and a couple of others. And I eat LOTS of vegetables, including a big serving of green vegetables almost every night, and a mixed salad most days.

A fruit and vegetable free Paleo diet is lacking in a lot of nutrients, primarily minerals. You can make up for this somewhat by eating a LOT of bone broths, organs, connective tissue, etc. but you aren't going to get it with steaks and hamburgers.

I avoid grains too, but one thing that grains have is a lot of minerals, so if you're going to avoid that, you need to make it up somewhere else.

In terms of the Paleo "back story", it's very likely that our ancestors ate plenty of fruits and vegetables, and they weren't sauteed in butter with a squeeze of lemon juice either, they were likely raw. If you want to eat like a caveman, then you should eat some vegetables.

I gather from the responses that a lot of people just think that vegetables are yucky. It takes time to learn how to prepare vegetables the best way, and with plenty of butter and/or olive oil they are delicious. Just give it a chance.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:12 PM

Having said all that, I upvoted you for the "yucky" observation. I agree with you there. ;D

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:18 PM

I too am skeptical of the RDA, and suspect that the RDA numbers were arrived at to justify the food pyramid rather than any particular health or nutrition goal. That said, modern food is generally lower in nutrients than most traditional foods, and the Paleo diet is very limited by modern standards, so I think one has to be careful to be sure they have their nutritional bases covered.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:17 PM

Some people are sensitive to different vegetables such as cruciferous (cabbage, brussels sprouts), nightshades, etc. However if you're sensitive to one type doesn't mean you should avoid them all. I really enjoy vegetables and the enormous variety and different types of preparation really improve my cuisine.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:13 PM

Having said all that, I upvoted you for the "yucky" observation, and the prescription to learn how to prepare veggies. As someone who makes a *killer* brussels sprouts dish, I agree with you there. ;D

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:09 PM

This is one of those questions that I think will only be settled by time, and a large enough data set of non-vegetable eaters to be meaningful. I don't eat veggies, not because I don't like them (I love and miss brussels sprouts, for instance), but because eating them seems to produce joint pain, weight gain, and cravings. But N=1, or even N=10, isn't worth much. Plus it's only been two years in my case.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:11 PM

And as far as conforming to the RDAs is concerned, I'm quite openly skeptical about the usefulness of eating by the numbers. I'm sure I'm technically "deficient" in a number of nutrients, yet my health and my labs have only improved on zero carb. I may yet pay a price, but so far, it's hard for me to believe that I'm getting sicker by reducing my plant intake, while only appearing to get healthier over the course of several years (I was VLC for two years prior to being ZC, so pretty low-plant overall for four years).

2
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on November 28, 2010
at 03:57 PM

I actually didn't feel my best until I stopped eating non-meat foods. I would definitely recommend seeing how you feel without them, and not worrying about it.

2
B2157bdf4a217ac943c41125d1a67845

(258)

on November 28, 2010
at 11:40 AM

Vilhjalmur Stefanssn lived with the Inuit of Northern Canada and ate nothing but caribou, seal, and fish for five years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilhjalmur_Stefansson

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:19 PM

Well Bill Clinton is a vegan. Just sayin'

1
6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on September 01, 2011
at 07:50 PM

I eat very few veggies because it's just so darn convenient to whip up a delicious filling steak in 4 minutes.

1
Eeefb4a4b2ac14b006f087cf77ba9f23

on February 14, 2011
at 09:53 PM

I only use vegetables as a fat delivery system.

Eeefb4a4b2ac14b006f087cf77ba9f23

(106)

on February 15, 2011
at 12:47 AM

Vegetables smothered in butter or soaked in bacon grease. Stuff like that.

F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on February 15, 2011
at 12:06 AM

How do you mean Redshift?

1
5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on November 29, 2010
at 12:45 AM

YES to all the above. As Dr Harris is fond of saying, "there is nothing magical about vegetables". Eat them if you enjoy then but given the above why anyone would eat something they dislike or can tolerate is beyond me. I occasionally get the taste for brussel sprouts or leaks and will add them but only occasionally. Last night I fried up some delicious steak and kidney and improved it with the inclusion of some mushrooms. Let your tastes lead you.

0
F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

on February 15, 2011
at 12:56 AM

Well, I think it depends on the individual, and probably has a lot to do with what your genetic make-up is, or what your more recent ancestors were eating and what they adapted to. I personally have a strong instinctual attraction towards fruits and veggies, and when I cut them out of my diet (which I've tried) I end up feeling a real loss of vitality and end up getting sick more often, being in bad moods all the time, etc. But if you're not having that same instinct, if your instincts are telling you that those veggies are kind of worthless, and your personal experience is backing that feeling up, then I'd assume that for you in particular they're not necessary for health.

If I were you I'd do an experiment and make myself eat more veggies for a week, then cut them out for a week, and just pay close attention to how I feel each time. I think you'll be able to tell which feels better to you pretty quickly.

0
Fac1af832cc3c6a20059c41411fd0f6b

(1548)

on February 14, 2011
at 08:46 PM

I use vegetables to flavor food.

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