The basic tenet of the Paleolithic diet is to imitate the nutrition plan supposedly followed by cavemen, which consisted meat, fish, wild vegetables, and fruit. Since pre-agricultural days mean hunting and gathering, meat, eggs and fish are assumed to have been the primary parts of a person’s diet. Where does this leave the vegetarians?
The Paleo-Vegetarian Myth
There are assumptions that vegetarians cannot follow a Paleo diet mainly because their vegetables, legumes and fruits are not enough to nourish the body’s needs for proteins and macronutrients. Because of this, vegetarians are discouraged they may also have to remove grains, lentils and cereals from their diet.
However, one will find that nutritional deficiencies is a myth and a challenge that can be overcome for vegetarians who want to take on the Paleo challenge. For one, Paleo advocates like Clean Paleo say not all meals need meat for protein—there are alternatives. There is also a study debunking the idea that early human’s meat consumption outweighed other plant-base food groups.
Caveman Diet is Not Largely Meat
Cavemen survived on protein rich food without getting the bulk of the source from meat. A study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology suggests that the early humans did not rely heavily on meat for their protein needs, opposing the earlier archaeologists’ interpretation that points to animal-based protein consumption.
University of Cambridge researcher and author Tamsin O’Connell suggested that animal proteins would be less important overall and this is true for interpretations of Neolithic farmers. These farmers who would be 12,000 years old today would not have consumed higher than 40 to 50 percent of meat as part of a mixed existence strategy.
So is there a way for vegetarians to survive the modified Paleo diet? Yes. Experts who tried this, such as athlete bloggers like the No Meat Athlete, have a lot to say to prove the possibility of integrating the two diets. Indeed, Paleo plus vegetarian makes a good combination, and it is only a matter of finding the right balance to make this work out.