8

votes

ex vegan convert to paleo, Curious to see how many paleo people also dabbled with veganism

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 11, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Was vegan for close to 7 years, and on my last year of veganism i suffered the worst health problems, acne, weight gain ( went from 119lbs to 213lbs), constantly felt lethargic and couldnt sleep more than 3 hours a night.

converted to paleo january 2011, lost 60lbs since then, almost effortlessly.

it was one of the hardest decision i had to make and im glad I made it :D

curious how common is the vegan to paleo transition?

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on April 19, 2012
at 11:03 PM

@Grassfedkid, Did you end up losing friends once you made the leap to Paleo?

992862b1b9e443f83aa4e46d14833418

(264)

on April 19, 2012
at 10:41 PM

This was exactly my progression -- ethical vegetarian starting in college (diet = all refined carbs) and my health started to deteriorate in numerous ways. Found macrobiotics which was getting popular in the city I had recently moved to. Stuck with that for a while but still didn't feel great. Moved out west and met Sally Fallon and that was a huge epiphany. Got very into WAPF but then fell off the wagon and started eating a cleaned up version of SAD. And here I am, several days post-Whole30 and happy as (meat) pie.

2ab6415f5f20b8fe1d34a94c7be85e6a

on August 25, 2011
at 07:52 AM

I dabbled in veganism

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 25, 2011
at 05:10 AM

**You were never a vegan ANDREA ELLIOT. You became unhealthy from all the meat, sweets, and drugs. Isn't that right. :) **

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2011
at 10:36 PM

I won't make you slim if you eat chocolate cake and french fries all the time. However you can veg out as much as you want and will never gain weight from it.

E7fc768abe673562268fefc529f62d89

(370)

on August 15, 2011
at 02:27 AM

Agreed. I felt fine, but I didn't link the yearly sickness until close to the end. Also, I've always been one of those people who NEEDS 8 hours of sleep in order to function. When I eat paleo, I don't need as much sleep, either. I love it.

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:57 PM

Thank you, folks! And congratulations on your success, Andrea.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:51 PM

I have a close friend who is vegetarian and has raised both of her daughters vegetarian as well. They used to spend summers at my house playing in the pool and were so thin and gaunt looking. The pediatrician told my friend that the girls were underweight and needed more protein and that still didn't clue her in to the fact that this was not a good diet. She just bought yogurt drinks for them to drink with every meal. Hopefully they figure it out before too much damage is done.

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:57 PM

@Andrea: I've actually had to slowly build up to eating more fat. I came of age during the Susan Powter "Stop the Insanity" low fat stupidity. My stomach roiled at too much fat. Luckily, I'm much better now!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:15 PM

i bought alicia silverstore's book last year, and it was based on macriobiotic, it was my last bid to gain my health back, and it made me feel even worse.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:14 PM

nemesis i was vegan from late 2003 until late 2010, prior i was vegetarainish, im 21, so most of my teenage years i was vegan.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:12 PM

one of my biggest regrets was sticking to veganism for so long, but i believed the lies that it was the perfect human diet, and the pressure i felt from the community i was in ( mostly vegans and animal rights activists) and if i gave up veganism id lose alot of good friends.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:11 PM

think is with being vegan, you have the illusion that youre feeling awesome until you leave it, then you realize that 'awesome' feeling wasnt awesome at all, if anything its mediocre compared to the feeling paleo gives.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:09 PM

ahhh, the little voice in my head still tells me fat is evil! ( even though im certain it isnt) so its still difficult for me to add alot of fat to my food!

Bd614f091f0625dea86bad5791471f2d

(775)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:00 PM

Love your last paragraph, especially "those whose paradigm has become a religion will be unable to find truth". So true!

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 11, 2011
at 03:18 PM

Andrea, how old were you when you were vegan?

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on August 11, 2011
at 02:43 PM

+1 great story!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 01:29 PM

i wouldve given up veganism way earlier, but i was scared of the backlash from other vegans, its almost like leaving a religion.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 01:20 PM

veganism worked fine for the first 4-5 years for me, the last 2 years my body had enough!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 01:19 PM

ha! and i find it ironic how vegans claim veganism is the cure for everything, i developed type 2 diabetes because of it, gained close to 100lbs, and my growth is stunted, im 5'2 and my height should be about 5'8 ( i come from a family of tall people).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 01:18 PM

my vegan diet consisted of mostly grains, veggies and occasionally proccessed mock meats, ate alot of hummus, avoided fats and processed foods, i exercised 2-5 times a week usually.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 12:12 PM

How was zour vegan diet? And what kind of excercise did zou do?

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on August 11, 2011
at 12:08 PM

Congratulations to your decission and your success.

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on August 11, 2011
at 11:53 AM

Welcome, and congrats on your success!

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26 Answers

7
485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

on August 11, 2011
at 02:30 PM

My wife and I became vegetarian back in 1992, then advanced to vegan and ultimately macrobiotic. There was no internet back then, so we were limited to books and the folks in that community. It was for ethical reasons at first, so I gained weight, because I ate nothing but french fries. Later with Macro we focused on health, and I lost a lot of weight and actually felt good. But when we heard that both the wife and daughter of Macro guru Michio Kushi had died of cancer, and discovered the same about the guy who owned the Macro restaurant we frequented, red flags started to go up.

Around 2000 we discovered Sally Fallon/Weston A. Price, which led to other info, which ultimately led to my first attempt at low carb in 2004. Fell off the wagon and started back in 2009 and still living paleo.

Our advantage is that while we become passionate about whatever we delve into, we are always questioning, always seeking the truth, and that continues. If truth is your ultimate goal, you'll find it. The way I see it, with all of the information available on the internet today, those whose paradigm (lifestyle, political, etc) has become a religion will be unable to find truth.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on August 11, 2011
at 02:43 PM

+1 great story!

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:57 PM

Thank you, folks! And congratulations on your success, Andrea.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:15 PM

i bought alicia silverstore's book last year, and it was based on macriobiotic, it was my last bid to gain my health back, and it made me feel even worse.

Bd614f091f0625dea86bad5791471f2d

(775)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:00 PM

Love your last paragraph, especially "those whose paradigm has become a religion will be unable to find truth". So true!

992862b1b9e443f83aa4e46d14833418

(264)

on April 19, 2012
at 10:41 PM

This was exactly my progression -- ethical vegetarian starting in college (diet = all refined carbs) and my health started to deteriorate in numerous ways. Found macrobiotics which was getting popular in the city I had recently moved to. Stuck with that for a while but still didn't feel great. Moved out west and met Sally Fallon and that was a huge epiphany. Got very into WAPF but then fell off the wagon and started eating a cleaned up version of SAD. And here I am, several days post-Whole30 and happy as (meat) pie.

6
2c8c421cf0e0c462654c7dc37f8b9711

(2729)

on August 11, 2011
at 01:38 PM

I was vegan for 3 years, mostly because I thought it would help me look good naked (Aka "animal rights!") So glad I finally found paleo. Still avoid CAFO meat cause it's disgusting, but don't mind murdering grass-fed ruminants. They're just so damn tasty.

4
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 11, 2011
at 12:05 PM

A lot of us. I was even a raw low fat vegan for a while. I got better.

See also these earlier conversations.

http://paleohacks.com/questions/5720/how-many-people-here-started-as-vegetarian-vegans http://paleohacks.com/questions/3643/what-led-you-down-the-paleo-path

3
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on August 11, 2011
at 02:15 PM

I too had a vegetarian "phase". I was vegetarian for 3 years, starting with being vegan for about 6 weeks. Trying to be vegan, I felt like I wanted to die every day. Constant bloating, digestive problems, aches and pains, no energy, etc. I was constantly craving foods and eating a lot of extra calories all the time.

I started adding in foods to see what would help, and in retrospect (knowing what I know now about nutrition), it was all protein and animal fats: eggs, cheese and seafood. I called myself "vegetarian" even though I ate these things.

This diet kind of worked for a while, though it was a hassle to find eggs and seafood for most meals. I learned (the hard way) that I need protein with almost every meal. If I skip protein, I get onto an energy / blood sugar roller coaster. I did this for a couple of years, thinking it was "normal", but in retrospect I was probably doing damage to my body.

Finally one day I was playing volleyball and a friend of mine was grilling london broil on a grill. I just couldn't take my eyes off of it. When he offered me some, I ate about a pound of it, and felt like someone had given me a shot of go-fast juice. I had great energy for the rest of the day, rode my bike home, slept great, and have been an omnivore ever since.

3
F161797a5883ae103383193b00a9ca9b

(130)

on August 11, 2011
at 01:23 PM

I was vegan for a decade.

Then I was vegetarian for three more years, until I read four hour body and did slow carb and lost 15 pounds.

After struggling with it morally, I gave paleo a shot and felt absurdly healthier and lost 10 more pounds.

After a decade of veganism, the 30 day Paleo challenge didn't sound that daunting.

3
C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

on August 11, 2011
at 01:00 PM

My husband and I were both macrobiotic, then mostly vegan for about 2 to 3 years in our mid-twenties. I gained about 20 pounds and was diagnosed hypothyroid? I don't think it's a coincidence.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 11, 2011
at 03:18 PM

Andrea, how old were you when you were vegan?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 01:19 PM

ha! and i find it ironic how vegans claim veganism is the cure for everything, i developed type 2 diabetes because of it, gained close to 100lbs, and my growth is stunted, im 5'2 and my height should be about 5'8 ( i come from a family of tall people).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:14 PM

nemesis i was vegan from late 2003 until late 2010, prior i was vegetarainish, im 21, so most of my teenage years i was vegan.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on August 11, 2011
at 05:51 PM

I have a close friend who is vegetarian and has raised both of her daughters vegetarian as well. They used to spend summers at my house playing in the pool and were so thin and gaunt looking. The pediatrician told my friend that the girls were underweight and needed more protein and that still didn't clue her in to the fact that this was not a good diet. She just bought yogurt drinks for them to drink with every meal. Hopefully they figure it out before too much damage is done.

2
8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

on August 11, 2011
at 02:59 PM

I was vegan for 33 years (since I was 15). I had no idea that my issues were due to veganism because I basically didn't know anything else. In one sense it was a big decision to go Paleo, but in another sense, there was something so natural about it. And it was certainly confirmed when the first meat I ate was a wonderful filet mignon from Marin County grass-fed beef. It melted in my mouth (and apparently in my gut, too, because I never had any issues).

It only saddens me to realize that I could have felt so much better so much earlier in my life.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:12 PM

one of my biggest regrets was sticking to veganism for so long, but i believed the lies that it was the perfect human diet, and the pressure i felt from the community i was in ( mostly vegans and animal rights activists) and if i gave up veganism id lose alot of good friends.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on April 19, 2012
at 11:03 PM

@Grassfedkid, Did you end up losing friends once you made the leap to Paleo?

2
215d3126214343a5760316f195a06b97

on August 11, 2011
at 01:27 PM

Wow.. I was only vegan for a year and that felt like an eternity lol. For me, giving up meat was easy... it was the animal rights stuff that was just too exhausting for me. I still believe in animal rights.. I don't eat CAFO meat and such (unless eating out, who knows where that stuff comes from lol).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 01:29 PM

i wouldve given up veganism way earlier, but i was scared of the backlash from other vegans, its almost like leaving a religion.

2
B539a8c692e40f6b85cd11d87ec908d4

on August 11, 2011
at 12:47 PM

I was a Vegetarian/Vegan dabbler for about 8 months or so two years ago... didn't take long for me to get the signals loud and clear from my body and my horrendous mood swings that those were NOT the diets for me... UGH.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 01:20 PM

veganism worked fine for the first 4-5 years for me, the last 2 years my body had enough!

2
74d0407ca99061cab2512ed83683b498

on August 11, 2011
at 12:11 PM

I was vegetarian from 14-20 and vegan for a year after that. Vegan made me so fat, I'm still recovering 17 years later. I thought if I could still get fat being vegan that I must just be biologically determined to be that way... hah.

2
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on August 11, 2011
at 12:07 PM

I was vegetarian a few months in my teenage years, and vegan for a whole month a few years ago. I was at the Ancestral Health Symposium last weekend, and during Denise Minger's presentation, she asked for a show of hands of former vegetarians; there were a LOT! Glad paleo is working so well for you! :)

1
16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

on August 11, 2011
at 04:43 PM

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian for 8 years, then strict vegan for 3 years.

I am pretty sure this thread exists already because I remember answering the same thing just the other day. :)

There are many of us who went from vegan/vegetarian to paleo. I'd venture to guess that the majority of paleo subscribers started out in that spectrum rather than just plain garden variety SAD.

1
E7fc768abe673562268fefc529f62d89

on August 11, 2011
at 03:40 PM

I was vegetarian for 4 years and dabbled in veganism. I DID lose weight as soon as I switched, but I think that's because I switched at the same time I went on a deployment. I'm 5' 5 1/2" and got down to 114, which was way too thin for me. I ended up evening out and staying between 120 and 125 for the rest of the time as long as I worked out (which back then was treadmill or elliptical for 45 minutes five days a week and then full-body weights on the machines 3 days a week - and these weren't heavy weights). I had 18% body fat and was in good shape and thin, but I got sick every year for the holidays. Never failed, if it was Christmas or Thanksgiving (or sometimes both), I had a stomach bug that had me on the toilet and hugging a trash can.

I quit my vegetarianism in Fall 2010 after a friend introduced me to crossfit and paleo. I'd love to say I jumped straight on the paleo bandwagon, but I didn't. I just started eating meat again (and all the crap that came with it... aka fast food) and got up to 140 by the end of my spring semester and couldn't put my wedding ring on because it was too small. I've started eating a paleo diet a few times and the farthest I got before was 11 days, which were an awesome 11 days. I'm on day 4 now and always love the drop in water weight in the first few days, but I'm hoping to go for the whole 30 this time and after that eat a mostly paleo diet with crossfit workouts.

I never felt like I was lacking when I was vegetarian, at least not until close to the end. I didn't really miss meat, but I think now that's because my parents cooked everything well done, so there wasn't much flavor in the meat I had growing up. After having my first medium-rare steak, I don't think I'll ever go back.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:11 PM

think is with being vegan, you have the illusion that youre feeling awesome until you leave it, then you realize that 'awesome' feeling wasnt awesome at all, if anything its mediocre compared to the feeling paleo gives.

E7fc768abe673562268fefc529f62d89

(370)

on August 15, 2011
at 02:27 AM

Agreed. I felt fine, but I didn't link the yearly sickness until close to the end. Also, I've always been one of those people who NEEDS 8 hours of sleep in order to function. When I eat paleo, I don't need as much sleep, either. I love it.

1
B525b3e4b1d6f1cdceec943cdec6eb7d

(1680)

on August 11, 2011
at 03:31 PM

I was a vegetarian for many years, and a vegan for a few.

When I became a vegetarian, I thought it would magically make me slim. Big disappointment there! When I became a vegan, I thought that would surely be the answer, and I would be perfectly healthy and perfectly slim. (Because cheese = fat = fatter me, right?) More disappointment!

Paleo has been a godsend for me.

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:57 PM

@Andrea: I've actually had to slowly build up to eating more fat. I came of age during the Susan Powter "Stop the Insanity" low fat stupidity. My stomach roiled at too much fat. Luckily, I'm much better now!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 11, 2011
at 04:09 PM

ahhh, the little voice in my head still tells me fat is evil! ( even though im certain it isnt) so its still difficult for me to add alot of fat to my food!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2011
at 10:36 PM

I won't make you slim if you eat chocolate cake and french fries all the time. However you can veg out as much as you want and will never gain weight from it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 25, 2011
at 05:10 AM

**You were never a vegan ANDREA ELLIOT. You became unhealthy from all the meat, sweets, and drugs. Isn't that right. :) **

1
A7ff7aa8d0f8d6cbdb45e514a5452620

(200)

on August 11, 2011
at 03:14 PM

I was eating mostly vegetarian (but never really identified as a pure vegetarian) for about a year, then started doing raw vegan, lasted about a week when I was incapable of sustaining the manual labor I was doing at the time. I added in raw eggs and noticed improvement immediately so I was like screw this, started searching around the net and voila.

1
559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 11, 2011
at 02:37 PM

i was a vegetarian for about 20 years; vegan on & off, but not for long stints... i could never stay away from cheese for very long.

I still avoid CAFO stuff.

1
600c123bacc43bf566c17b19253f5779

(170)

on August 11, 2011
at 02:32 PM

I was vegetarian and vegan too for a long time, and also did low fat raw vegan (fruitarian) diets in an effort to cleanse (of about 20 lbs haha) and be enlightened...all I was was moody and psychotic with a tummyache...

0
E687b5eb51456c9a0205aff406f44ca3

on December 09, 2013
at 07:29 AM

I was vegetarian for 8 years, vegan for 7. I learned about factory farming, and decided that there was no way I was going to support that kind of animal confinement and torture. And I bought into the idea that it was healthier and less environmentally destructive too (though I never thought consuming animal products was necessarily ethically wrong in itself). Felt fine for a few years, then started having increasingly horrible abdominal pain (I went to a gastroenterologist who could find nothing wrong). Also, I was always tired and engulfed in a smog of depression. I became super addicted to carbs and sugar. And I was starting to have fainting spells...

Thankfully around the same time I discovered the Weston A. Price foundation's Nourishing Traditions and another book called The Vegetarian Myth, by Lierre Keith, both of which helped to transform my understanding of carnivorous predation as actually being much more rooted in the natural world than vegetarianism. Though I had grown to view meat and other animal foods as repulsive, I gradually forced myself to begin consuming them. Now having access to grass-fed meat, as well as eggs from chickens in the backyard, I could nourish my body without an overwhelming sense of guilt. Eventually I discovered paleo. I have been following the "ancestral health" diet for a few years now, and all of my health problems have almost entirely disappeared (though my gut gets very upset when I consume gluten). I used to get sick with a cold at least twice a year, and I have noticed that I haven't gotten sick once since starting to eat paleo. I am actually capable of general happiness despite the immense anger and sadness I feel over the state of the world. I almost never consume sugar, or have cravings for it. Though there are many hacks left to be worked out, I will say that I definitely have no desire to go back to consuming grains or legumes in any kind of significant quantity anytime soon. It is amazing what the human body can do when it is being nourished and is not consistently overwhelmed by various poisons!

0
A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on December 06, 2013
at 10:46 PM

I've dabbled with vegetarianism and veganism in the past...never for an extended period of time, and though it was how I first found out I'm gluten intolerant and have a low tolerance to dairy, it always baffled me how a diet that is so carb-based could actually be good for blood sugar levels

0
3b28e26829e0e7e4da6a5380bfb894cb

on December 03, 2013
at 10:08 PM

I Was vegetarian for a year and vegan 3 months, my diet was so clean , no sugar,no flour anything but fruits, vegetables and whole cereals and i start gaining weight , i gained 16 pounds and i can't lose that weight. That's the reason i

Became paleo.

0
651b74dfbf378ac90ff3eb183f54944e

(351)

on June 14, 2013
at 06:10 AM

Yup. I think we all have a mindset that makes us want to be healthy, but our preconceived notions say veganism/vegetarianism is the way to do that. And now we know better!

0
Ded9bae6ca4d635106def71627852918

on June 14, 2013
at 04:11 AM

I was vegetarian for 2 years then switched over to veganism for 2 more years... gained soo much weight in the process! even during my organic-eggs-eating-vegetarian years :( I felt like i was never full, so i ate huge portions, and yet get hungry so easily after. I didn't realize it was a problem with the food i was, or wasn't eating, i just thought it was me emotional eating, so i kept going with the vegetarianism. I thought incorporating smoothies/ more veggies and fruits into my diet would help with the weight loss, but to no avail. Now i have decided to go back to meat eating, especially organic meat. I am happy to say that I have never felt so mentally-aware and energetic! Don't see much weight loss yet but hopefully that will come naturally in the near future! i just know i wont be going back to veganism anytime soon!

0
0eba2cda101e1ef460ca0291aeb2e975

on April 19, 2012
at 10:26 PM

I became vegetarian at age 10 due to ethics and a large vegetarian peer group (best friend, sister, cousins etc), at age 18 I literally woke up one morning with clear certainty in my mind that my diet was preventing me from being healthy. That day I started eating meat and I never looked back.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 25, 2011
at 02:01 AM

You were never vegan. All your meat eating, sweets, and other unhealthy choices like drugs is what made you what you are. Stop lying ANDREA ELLIOT. Get a life!

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2011
at 10:35 PM

You had health problems from the amount of meat, sweets, and drugs you claimed to have done. Not from being vegan - you never were vegan Andrea Elliot.

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 25, 2011
at 05:10 AM

*You were never a vegan ANDREA ELLIOT. You became unhealthy from all the meat, sweets, and drugs. Isn't that right. :) *

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