You must be wondering what a Paleo diet even is. Currently, the Paleo diet is a new rave with fitness freaks and general health enthusiasts. The diet on the whole encourages the incorporation of eggs, fish, meat, herbs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and spices. It eradicates the use of diary products like cheese, butter, cream and whole grains and in more severe cases some fruits as well.
However there are many controversies and criticisms surrounding this Paleo diet. Red flags are raised by doctors, nutritionists and dieticians alike for the elimination of important food products like grains, fruits and diary. There is also a lack of scientific evidence and research on this diet and it is currently unknown if this diet is beneficial or not.
In addition to the above criticisms the diet promotes the extensive use of fatty oils and substances like oils and coconut and butter and the abundance of animals fats like duck fats, lard etc which is of high saturated fat which can be harmful in the long run.
What is a vegan diet?
Vegan diet has gained popularity and it is the diet where in animal products are totally eliminated from consumption. Only plant-based food is consumed and even animal by products like butter, cheese, milk, cream etc are not consumed. Vegan diet is stricter than vegetarian diet as vegetarian diet allows the consumption of diary products and some times even eggs.
With more light being thrown on the positive aspects of vegan diets many are now converting from meat eating diets to vegan diets. This is due to the onset of health factors, animal rights, environmental equilibrium, religious reasons and sustainability. People are thus making changes in their lifestyles and converting to more plant based diets.
But it must be noted that when adopting a vegan diet, since meats and diary products aren’t consumed care and caution must be taken to consume healthy food, which have high nutrients and vitamins and minerals. Vegan diet can become unbalanced diet and can also lead to nutrient deficiencies like amenia. Hence proper planning is required else health can get hindered.
- Soy products
- Vegetables and Fruits
- Pulses and legumes such as lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas and other beans.
- Cereals, Grains and Breads
- Seeds and nuts
How does a vegan diet fit into a Paleo lifestyle?
It doesn’t. Vegan food is vastly different from Paleo diet and hence it is not compatible to blend both. Since Paleo promotes the consumption of eggs, fish, poultry meat and animals fat, which are not used in a vegan diet, the two diets cannot be blended.
Paleo lifestyle also discourages several foods that vegans eat such as soy products, whole grain cereals, fruits and legumes for consumption. Since both the diets are poles apart following a Paleo diet while being a vegan would render one completely nutrient deficient. This will further lead to health hazards in the long term.
Vegan is better
A vegan diet has been proven by many studies to prevent chronic disease, like heart disease, cancers, type 2 diabetes and promotes good health and wellbeing.
Loma Linda University conducted a study that showed that the life expiry of vegans is much more than non-vegetarians, which imply vegans on average live longer than meat eaters, do.
Vegans have a lean build and are generally less fatter than meat eaters this is because of the high nutrient rich food that they consume which gives them good metabolism, good health and excellent immunity.
Can those following a vegan diet meet their nutritional requirements?
Most definitely. Vegan diet is often very healthy because of the incorporation of fresh fruits and vegetables that are more nutrient and vitamin rich as opposed to meat. But care must be taken to ensure that the vegan diet is properly planned for this reason it is better to visit or consult a dietician who would help you in knowing the nutrient requirements of your body. The diet you currently follow will get checked and assessed and he/she would fill the areas where you lack in nutrients and provide alternates and substitutes for areas that vegan food allows. For instance instead of regular milk, the dietician would recommend soymilk and this is will reduce the risk of becoming nutrient deficient.
Vegan diets are usually rich in nutrients such as zinc, calcium, protein, vitamin D omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins B12.
Nutrition experts such as dieticians and nutritionists and several doctors discourage the Paleo diet and consider it to be ineffective and extremely health hazardous.
Paleo diet is also very different from vegan diet and hence for vegans, it would place additional stress on the avoidance of several foods. These are often necessary for vegans for them to maintain a healthy life style. These include legumes, soy products, grains, fruit, and some plant based oils.
It is quite redundant and unfair to compare the two diets because of their inherent differences. Vegan is a form of lifestyle and not just a dietary restriction. It also is a philosophy and a form of life way to follow. They harness the protection and eco friendly practices which lead to general well being of mind and body.
Although vegan lifestyles reduce the amount of food consumed it is linked to long-term benefits. It helps in general upkeep, maintenance and increases metabolism and gives room for a higher immunity.