Veggies: eat to your heart's content or can you overdo it?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 06, 2012 at 4:37 AM

I know the Paleo community tends to be "meat meat meat" minded. Which is awesome-- I love meat as much as the next person. And butter. But anyway, my question is about vegetables. I tend to like a lot of volume when I eat--I'm kind of an admitted bottomless pit. Can I eat as many vegetables (non-starchy) as I wish? Even though they contain carbs, which given the quantity, can add up? Will this result in any weight gain/negative side-affects?

For example, I was thinking I would have a medium-sized pork chop, half an avocado, and a ton of mashed cauliflower and sauteed zucchini for breakfast tomorrow (probably 1-1/2 cups cauliflower, 2 cups zucchini). Would this be alright?

I'm still a Paleo newbie, so I apologize if this question reflects that. I'm still getting the hang of things.



on August 06, 2012
at 05:23 AM

@fromthericefields: If you're looking to maintain your weight, 100-150 is a good area to be in. See MDA: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-primal-carbohydrate-continuum/ for more on the optimal carb range. But you should definitely not skimp on your fat and protein to eat the veggies! For example, use a little less lettuce in your salad to free up some room and add a hardboiled egg, or more avocado/sardine. A lot of people (myself included) don't always add fat to their veggies, but if that's what it takes for you to get your fat in then you may want to try it.


on August 06, 2012
at 04:57 AM

Yeah I have the same question here as well! Today I had chicken breast with mushroom & onion fried in lots of chicken fat with butternut squash on the side. I love meat and veggies but after reading that fat is important in the Paleo diet I'm not sure where to fit it all in. Do I reduce my amount of veggies? I eat 100-150g carbs a day is this too much? I have a hard time keeping my fat percentage at least no less than 50% due to all the veggies I eat leaving no room for much fat to be added to my meals. Lunch is usually a tomato/cucumber/lettuce/avocado/sardines/olive oil with some olives

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4 Answers



on August 06, 2012
at 05:18 AM

Welcome to PaleoHacks! Don't feel bad about being a n00b! We all were at one time and this is how we learn - both asking questions and answering them!

I don't think you can over-do it on the non-starchy veggies unless you fill up on them to the point that you can't get your fat and protein in, so long as you ensure you're eating a decent variety and not overdoing it on the harsher raw ones (kale, broccoli, other brassicas do tend to be easier to digest cooked, for example). If you don't have an upset tummy or gas after eating them, they aren't going to be doing any hidden damage.

As far as the carbs, I honestly wouldn't worry about that either. 1.5 cups of boiled cauliflower has about 9 carbs, about a third of which is fiber (once you mash it it might be a little higher, as more would fit in a cup, but it's a good starting estimate). A lot of people here, myself included, who do not have diabetes-related issues don't even count carbs from those sources: http://paleohacks.com/questions/140697/count-the-carbs-from-non-starchy-vegetables/140741#140741 (though if you still want to that is up to you, of course!)



on August 06, 2012
at 03:23 PM

Paleo isn't a low carb diet by definition, it just ends up being a lot lower for most people by virtue of excluding grains and legumes.

So whether you "can" eat a lot of vegetables depends on whether you are aiming for a low carb diet or not, which is an independent decision from the Paleo one.



on August 06, 2012
at 05:13 AM

You can certainly overdo it with veggies, especially raw ones, which can irritate the digestive system with all that fiber and dehydration.

Cooked veggies I imagine digest more easily, but the more you eat, the more work a limited amount of digestive juices have to do. You'll probably get more out of a quarter pound of cooked kale than a half a pound.

I doubt the carbs would add up to anything significant (a cup of zucchini is 7g of carbs on nutritiondata.com), but i would keep the sweeter veggies to a minimum more than the others.



on August 06, 2012
at 01:45 PM

Don't worry about the carbs in green veggies too much. If you really care about carbs, be careful of those in carmelized onions or other carmelized veggies, roots and other starchy veggies.

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