People who follow the Paleo diet are typically meat lovers who embrace meals of grass-fed beef with bacon, but vegan expert and marathoner Ellen Jaffe says you can be a vegan while following a Paleo diet.
"My concept to combine the two was to eliminate the animal protein and replace it with healthy plant-based proteins," Jaffe told the Miami New Times. "Deleting the processed foods is something both ways of eating embrace."
Jaffe, author of Paleo Vegan: Plant-Based Primal Recipes, said the Paleo and vegan diets have more in common than most people realize. The Paleo diet emphasizes high-quality animal proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, and excludes gluten, sugar, dairy, legumes, starches, alcohol and processed foods.
The vegan diet excludes all animal products but allows grains. Both eating plans are largely plant-based, said Ellen.
'Cavemen Ate Much Less Meat Than We Think'
According to Jaffe. people who say a Paleo-vegan diet isn't possible have a skewed understanding of how much meat caveman actually consumed. "They didn't have a wild boar running through the yard three times a day, let alone the ability to catch it," she said.
Culinary genius Alan Roettinger, author of Extraordinary Vegan, co-authored "Paleo Vegan" with Jaffe. He said substituting hemp seeds, nuts, and protein-rich vegetables for animal protein makes a Paleo-vegan diet nutritious and delicious.
Roettinger said the main sources of protein on a Paleo-vegan diet are nuts, seeds, and protein-rich vegetables. Despite what people may think, the respected private chef said hemp seeds and chia seeds alone are a plentiful enough source to build and sustain tissues, even in athletes.
Paleo and Vegan Diets Are Both Largely Plant-Based
Chef Roettinger said creating recipes that are both Paleo and vegan for Paleo Vegan was surprisingly easy. "The fundamental principle of a Paleo diet is 99% identical to my own approach to a vegan diet, which is simply to adhere as much as possible to nature's standard for food: fresh, whole, raw, organic, local, and diverse," Alan told me.
"No processed foods (especially sugar and refined oils), no dairy products. Where we differ is minimal: a vegan diet excludes meat — which more than likely was not even close to a significant part of the Paleolithic human's diet — and includes beans and grains. So aside from the meat, we're really on the same page — and that's something to celebrate!"