The diet world has become politically divided, with Paleo dieters proclaiming that their plan is the healthiest, and vegans slamming them for their meat-loving ways. Now vegan marathoner Matt Frazier, author of "No Meat Athlete: Run on Plants and Discover Your Fittest, Fastest, Happiest Self" (click for details), is urging both parties to stop the slamming.
In a recent column for the Huffington Post, Matt wrote: "Most of the foods that I eat -- and those in a typical healthy vegan diet (as opposed to the junk-food variety) -- are Paleo." And although he eats beans and wheat (both off-limits for Paleo dieters), Matt says "The converse is true, too. Most (yes, most) of a Paleo dieter's foods are vegan. They're whole foods, including a ton of vegetables and nuts, a fair amount of fruits, and no dairy."
And therefore, Matt questions why Paleo and vegan proponents "focus on the differences in our diets, and fight like [angry] hornets as a result, the healthy versions of both Paleo and vegan diets look an awful lot alike."
Among the similarities highlighted by Matt:
- Vegetables are good, and organic vegetables are better.
- Nuts are good.
- Fruits are good (with some qualifications).
- Fast food is awful.
- It isn't natural or healthy for adult humans to drink milk meant for baby cows.
- Whole food is crucial; we should eat food as close to its natural state as possible.
- Processed food is evil, and there's something very wrong with the system that is foisting it upon us.
What's significant about the above principles followed by both plant-based dieters and Paleo dieters, says Matt, is that "those of us who avoid fast food, pass on milk, and choose whole foods are the weirdos, in a world of processed food and rapidly expanding waistlines."
However, the basis of the bickering between the two diet camps focuses on ethics. "Vegans hate that Paleos so proudly eat meat; Paleos hate that vegans try to tell them something that humans have done throughout our history is suddenly wrong."
Bottom line, urges Matt, forget the feud and focus on the fact that "if all meat-eaters ate meat raised the way the Paleo diet specifies it should be, our food system would be a heck of a lot more humane (and healthy) than it currently is."
What do you think? Are you on Team Paleo or on Team Vegan? Post your comments below.