Vegan Or Paleo – Which Should You Choose?

Vegan Or Paleo – Which Should You Choose?

What Has Paleo In Common With Veganism?

Veganism is not simply a healthier way of life, it’s an ethical philosophy that rejects the exploitation and death of animals to provide food, clothing and other products, which can be readily obtained from other sources.

Veganism is not interested in what humans might have eaten tens, or even hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Vegans are against modern agricultural methods that enslave literally billions of animals in cages, stalls, and dim, stinking sheds – conditions which would be considered outrageous by most people if dogs or cats were raised and killed in the same way (although in some countries, sadly they are).


Paleo Has The Following In Common With Veganism:

  • Consumption of fruits and vegetables are encouraged under the Paleo regime.
  • Healthy fats from nuts, seeds and avocados are supported by Paleo (along with fish and ‘grass-fed’ meat)
  • Avoidance of dairy products
  • Like whole-food veganism, Paleo advocates for natural, fresh, unprocessed foods, (and where animals are consumed, they are meant to be ‘wild’ or ‘free-range’)

A few people, notably Dr Mark Hyman, have even taken the Paleo principles and merged them with Veganism, creating a hybrid Paleo-Vegan or ‘Pegan’ diet!

Interestingly, apart from rejecting grains and grain products, Paleo is anti-coffee, anti-alcohol and anti-processed meats like sausage or bacon. So no more beer and pizza nights boys…and people call vegans party-poopers! They don’t even allow peanut butter and jam on wholewheat toast chased down with a black espresso – one of my favourite breakfasts!

Like veganism, Paleo is pretty strict in its own way, even (unlike veganism) cutting out whole food groups like grains and legumes.

The term ‘vegan’ was coined when Donald Watson and five others formed the British Vegan Society in 1944. So how did Paleo get started?

Where did Paleo come from?

Conan the VegetarianI loved watching ‘The Flintstones’ when I was a kid (showing my age, I know!). This cartoon, set in the stone-age, was a pioneer sitcom reflecting 1960’s suburban life in America, and poked fun at the vain, lazy, and self-absorbed Fred Flintstone; long before Homer Simpson existed.

But did I believe that ancient humans actually lived like that?

Of course not!

It’s a natural human tendency to idealise or romanticise the past, especially when it’s so far back in the mists of time.

The ‘Paleo’ diet is a really a food fantasy cleverly marketed as dietary ‘cure-all’ harking back to a mythical stone-age past. It’s been around for quite a while, too, in some form or another.

In his 1975 book ‘The Stone Age Diet: Based on in-depth Studies of Human Ecology and the Diet of Man’ Walter L. Voegtlin argued that that the ancestral human Paleolithic diet was that of a carnivore — chiefly (animal) fats and protein, with only small amounts of carbohydrates.

In 1988 S. Boyd Eaton, Marjorie Shostak and Melvin Konner published a book: The Paleolithic Prescription. From the end of the 1990s, some medical doctors and nutritionists promoted a return to a so-called Paleolithic (pre-agricultural) diet.

In 2002, Dr Lauren Cordain, who holds a doctorate in physical education, published his bestselling book “The Paleo Diet” that summarised research on the subject and provided practical advice on “the diet you were designed to eat”.

So, was Fred Flintstone and his buddies really hairy-chested hunters of woolly mammoths? While it’s true that Fred worked at the Slate Rock & Gravel Company in the town of Bedrock, the short answer is ‘no’.

Problems with Paleo

The Paleolithic period is the earliest period of human development, and lasted from 2.6 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago, across many continents, and during a wide range of climatic conditions (including a few ice ages). Apart from the huge variations in time, location and climate, there are several other anomalies with Paleo that were detailed in a Scientific American article:

  1. Put simply, true Paleo foods are not around anymore, and certainly not in your local supermarket. Almost every species commonly consumed today—whether a fruit, vegetable or animal—is vastly different from its Paleolithic predecessor. Animals and plants used for consumption have been genetically bred and modified to increase production and favour preferred features (such as bananas without seeds) to such an extent that it is now impossible to eat like a human from the Paleolithic period – short of taking a historical ride in a time machine!
  2. Contrary to Paleo proponents’ claims, Paleolithic humans did eat grains and legumes, and may have even cooked them. Recent research out of Italy shows that humans were eating grains well before modern agriculture. Marta Mariotti Lippi and her colleagues at the University of Florence found traces of oats on an ancient grinding tool in Southern Italy dating 32,000 years ago, about 20,000 years before farming was developed. Lippi says this isn’t the only instance of evidence pointing to ancient people eating starch. “In Central Italy they ate starch from cattail,” Lippi said. “In the Middle East, starch from wild wheat. In Russia and Moravia, they were eating starch, but we do not know which plants they processed.” And don’t forget, legumes and whole grains are excellent sources of fibre, protein, and other phyto-nutrients that form part of a healthy diet.
  3. Humans have evolved since 12,000 years ago, in contrast to Paleo lore, which teaches that our eating preferences are stuck in the stone-age. Genetic mutations, such as a tolerance for dairy in some populations, blue eyes, some people evolving extra copies of the amylase enzyme so they can more easily digest starches, have all occurred with the last 5,000 to 10,000 years. It is clear our bodies are easily capable of evolving fast enough in 12,000 years to accommodate new foods.
  4. Paleo diets can induce weight loss, but in an unhealthy way. Too much animal fat and animal protein can lead to a host of health problems. According to vegan dietitian Amanda Benham;

“Any diet [such as Paleo] that requires animals to be slaughtered, exploited or kept in captivity has something seriously wrong with it from an ethical viewpoint. Also I don’t recommend them on health grounds. They encourage unhealthy eating patterns such as high consumption of animal products (such as meat and eggs), which are loaded with saturated fats and cholesterol and devoid of fibre and other beneficial plant components. In the long run they unsustainable and any weight lost is readily regained.

“Another problem with diets high in animal products is that they have a much larger environmental footprint than plant-based diets. Producing food from animals requires a much greater use of resources such as land, water and fossil fuels than producing food from plants. It is also a waste of food itself to get our calories and protein from animal products, as many more times the amount of protein and calories from plants must be fed to animals than is actually produced. Also, raising cattle and other ruminants for meat and/or milk production is a major contributor to global warming via methane gas production.”

Our true Paleo history

In a Scientific American article Rob Dunn, science writer and biologist in the Department of Biology at North Carolina State University, argues that when taken too literally such diets are ridiculous.

One problem is deciding which group of ancestors to take our dietary advice from. Are the stone-age diet gurus Neanderthals, Homo Erectus or the Flintstone Family (Brontosaurus ribs anyone)?

If we look at our closest ape relatives, chimpanzees, the answer to our dietary past is clear – it was mostly vegetarian. Chimpanzees do sometimes kill and devour a smaller animal like a monkey. However the proportion of the diet of the average chimpanzee composed of meat is small, less than 3% by mass. As Rob Dunn notes:

“The majority of the food consumed by primates today–and every indication is for the last thirty million years–is vegetable, not animal. Plants are what our apey and even earlier ancestors ate; they were our paleo diet for most of the last thirty million years during which our bodies, and our guts in particular, were evolving.”

So, to return a healthy, halcyon ancient diet regime Rob Dunn has more advice:

“If you want to return to your ancestral diet, … you might reasonably eat what our ancestors spent the most time eating during the largest periods of the evolution of our guts, fruits, nuts, and vegetables—especially fungus-covered tropical leaves.”

Hmmm – perhaps we’ll leave the fungus-covered leaves out of our green salad for now…

Rather than dwell too much on what our ancient ancestors ate, the key question is, what is the healthiest option right now, today? Whether you eat meat or meat alternatives, it is clear from mainstream nutrition advice that most of our diet should consist of fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and complex carbohydrates (including whole grains).

Tom Perry

PCRM Power Plate
Dr Fuhrman’s Food Pyramid

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The Secret Of Eating Well To Lose Weight

The Secret Of Eating Well To Lose Weight

Lose Weight Without Starving & Supercharge Your Health

Can you really eat plenty of food, lose weight without counting calories, and achieve optimum health? The answer is an emphatic YES!

Let’s be clear: I don’t believe in ‘diets’. I don’t subscribe to diet pills, supplements, and ‘meal replacement’ shakes either. These are short-term solutions to a bigger health issue, and essentially designed to sell you products – for a profit.

I do believe in a holistic, healthy plant-based lifestyle, which includes supercharging your health with a kaleidoscope of unrefined plant foods; not starving yourself or counting calories, and maintaining a healthy weight.

This means you don’t have to waste your money on expensive diet products, diet food or programs, or sign up to an expensive gym membership you may hardly ever use. Instead, I recommend eating lots of healthy, low-energy dense food, drinking plenty of water, and exercising for about half an hour every day – which might be as simple as a gentle walk.

Follow the examples in these four articles and you too can experience the miracle of whole-food plant-based eating. People of all ages can benefit, and it’s never too late to start.

Join in a local plant-based diet group (or start your own), or go online to connect with like-minded people, or find a supportive health coach or dietitian to help you make the change.

Read about Karen Coker, who founded Plant IQ: Maine Advocates for Plant-Based Living.

Or Wendy Williams, who recently turned 52 and looks better than ever after losing 50-pounds on her vegan diet.

Or vegans and vegetarians in a recent study who tended to lose weight twice as fast as meat eaters.

Or Shania Twain, who looks fabulous at 51.

Once you make a commitment to eating healthy and giving up foods that age your body and promote disease, you’ll feel – and look – so good, you’ll never look back!

New Group In Cape Elizabeth, Maine Creates a Plant-Strong Community

vegetable dish

A former journalist, Karen Coker, and Health Coach Kirsten Scarcelli have formed Plant IQ: Maine Advocates for Plant-Based Living.

“The scientific evidence is that a whole-food, plant-based diet can not only prevent some of the major killer diseases we suffer from, it can also reverse them,” Coker said. “That’s particularly true of heart disease and Type II diabetes.”

“On this type of diet, people can experience a difference in as little as 10 days,” Scarcelli added.

Click here to find more about the inspiration for Plant IQ, and how they help their members to make the switch to healthy plant-based eating.

Wendy Williams Weight Loss on a Vegan Diet

Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams is an American media personality, actress, comedian, author, and a daytime talk show host. She hosts the nationally syndicated television talk show, The Wendy Williams Show.

“I don’t belive in fad diets and crash diets. I don’t believe in diet pills, I don’t want my heart to race out of my chest.” – Wendy Williams

So exactly how did former confessed-food-addict Wendy lose 50 pounds and come to feel ‘fantastic’? Click to read about Wendy’s amazing personal transformation.

Veggies Lose Weight at Double the Rate of Meat Eaters

healthy weight loss

A new study shows that what you leave off your plate can be as important as what you eat. People who avoid meat tend to lose twice as much weight as their carnivorous counterparts.

“The reason why vegetarians tend to be better dieters is the switch away from meat also leads to people embracing a healthier lifestyle.”

Click here and find out why veggies are so far ahead in the weight loss stakes than meat eaters by reading more in this article..

Fit and Fabulous at Fifty-One

Shania Twain

Country superstar Shania Twain defies her age by looking toned and beautiful into her fifties.

“Shania, who became vegetarian in 1993, has praised the anti-aging health and weight loss benefits of her plant-based diet, saying it gives her more energy and stamina.”

Read this article to learn more about Shania’s diet, fitness and beauty secrets.

Did you enjoy these articles? If you want more juicy news items like these delivered straight to you inbox, sign up for my newsletter today and you’ll receive your FREE copy of my e-book ‘The Ultimate Plant-Based Resource Guide’.

Tom Perry

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10 Life-Lessons at the Living The Plantpower Way Event with Rich Roll

10 Life-Lessons at the Living The Plantpower Way Event with Rich Roll

Finding Rich Roll

Rich Roll change your world

Rich Roll on stage

Last Friday night I took myself to the inner-Melbourne suburb of Malvern (where I spent the first 4 years of my life). I went to the Malvern Town Hall to see a genuine superstar of the plant-based vegan world.

Some say nice guys finish last. That definitely does not apply to Rich Roll.

For those of you who don’t know Rich Roll, he is many things: a husband; father; former corporate lawyer; one-time champion swimmer; recovered alcoholic; international-best-selling author of ‘Finding Ultra’; host of one of the most popular podcasts on fitness, diet and wellness; whole-food plant-based vegan; middle-aged ultra-athlete, and rated as one of the fittest men in the world. He is also a super-nice guy.

Rich Roll and his wife Julie delivered a performance and presentation that was equal parts inspirational, educational, entertaining and motivational. They were also joined by Melbourne-based plant-based doctor, researcher and host Dr Andrew Davies, and Andrew ‘Spud-Fit’ Taylor, renowned for surviving a whole year eating only potatoes.

You might know of Rich and Julie and their work, including their plant-based recipe book ‘The Plantpower Way’. Whether you do or not, there were many things I learned, or had powerfully re-affirmed during this event.

Life-Lessons Learned at the Living The Plantpower Way Event

  1. People can change. Rich Roll is a living embodiment of the idea that you really can turn your life around, reject negativity, and live your true purpose. Rich went from the depths of despair, spending 100 days in rehab from years of alcoholism, to climbing the peaks of performance as one the world’s premier ultra-athletes. It’s worth remembering that achieving real, lasting change can be difficult; even painful at times. It is only in the crucible of hardship, effort and struggle that true character is forged.
  2. You can heal your body. Rich told the story (detailed in ‘Finding Ultra’) of when he was 50 pounds overweight, unfit, and barely able to climb a flight of stairs. Rich was a junk-food addict at this point, well on his way to a heart-attack and early death. Rich then made the conscious choice to go on a journey to rediscover his young, fit self. He eventually became a whole-food plant-based vegan with more energy, fitness and vitality than he ever thought possible.
  3. You can change the world. The plant-based vegan lifestyle can prevent and even reverse disease, and has great healing power. It also has a much smaller carbon footprint than eating meat and animal products, and avoids the suffering and death of literally billions of farm animals. By changing the world within, you can truly help to change the world around you.
  4. Live an authentic life. You should live a life that’s meaningful for you, not what others think you should do. By all means, learn from and be inspired by others you look up to, but only you can be you. Follow your own path, find your true purpose, and be your authentic self. Don’t try to be anyone else; just be the best you can possibly be.
  5. Be the example you’d like others to follow. Rather than seek to preach and push people in the direction you want them to go in, be the beacon that others will be attracted to. Accept and love your partner, family and friends for who they are; even if you don’t always agree with some of their life choices. Be the shining example of health and positivity that radiates the power of the plant-based lifestyle. When people close to you are ready to change, they will look to your example for living a healthy, ethical, and authentic life.
  6. Keep striving for excellence. Rich talked about one of his podcast guests, David Goggins. David, the only member of the US Armed Forces to complete SEAL training, is known as the ‘toughest man on earth’. Rich quoted one of David’s sayings “when you think you’re done, you’re only at 40% of your total potential”. Rich drew on his own experiences of competing in gruelling ultra-man events and the aptly-named ‘Epic 5’, which consists of five Ironman-distance triathlons, each on a different Hawaiian island, all completed in less than a week. Rich’s example and the stories he explores on his podcast of other jaw-dropping feats of human achievement and endurance are reminders of the possibility and potential that often lies dormant, just waiting for us to unlock and unleash it.
  7. Focus on the process, not the prize. Commitment to the process of self-improvement, of striving for positive change, and seeing it through is what can transform your life. It’s not so much whether you reach your ultimate prize, or goal, it’s how much you are willing to invest yourself in making progress. Rich Roll didn’t set out to be an ultra-athlete when he started running. He also competed in international events that he didn’t win, but he doesn’t see that as any sort of failure. On the contrary, Rich considers the fact that he was able to compete at the highest level of ultra-endurance events, after years of sedentary, unhealthy living, all well after he turned 40, as a both a physical triumph and a spiritual awakening.
Andrew Taylor

Andrew ‘Spud-Fit’ Taylor

Another of the inspiring guest speakers, Andrew Taylor, spoke about his battle for years with the twin demons of depression and food addiction. Andrew said he tried every diet imaginable, and despite often losing some weight, he always put it back on. Andrew became so depressed he would sometimes cry for no reason. As Andrew ate in a vain attempt to feel better, he ballooned out to obesity.

Andrew’s ‘a-ha’ moment came when he realised his attachment to food, especially high-calorie low-nutrient density junk food, was a real addiction, like gambling, drug-dependency or alcoholism. Unlike these other addictions, however, Andrew understood that he could not simply go ‘cold turkey’ and give up food! So he immersed himself in researching alternatives.

After 6 weeks of solid research, looking into, for example, the Irish historical reliance on potatoes, and the Okinawan’s traditional staple of sweet potato, Andrew decided to eat only potatoes, in a radical attempt to break his food addiction. He initially planned for this to last for a month or so, but after starting his potato-eating odyssey on New Year’s Day 2016, Andrew kept eating only potatoes for the whole year.

Now Andrew is 55 kilograms (121 pounds) lighter, and fitter than ever. He has beaten his depression, and no longer takes medications. Andrew has published a book: The DIY Spud Fit Challenge: A how-to guide to tackling food addiction with the humble spud. He also has his own website, blog & podcast, coaching program and t-shirts.

Here are 3 things I learned from Andrew’s talk:

1.     ‘Moderation’ is an excuse for mediocrity. For people like Andrew Taylor, and I suspect most people, eating ‘everything in moderation’ simply doesn’t work. Moderation, although sounding reasonable on the surface, is more often an excuse for not committing to real, lasting change – an acceptance of mediocrity, at best, and abject failure at worst.

2.     Extreme results require extreme effort. Andrew said he was criticised by some for following an ‘extreme’ and ‘unbalanced’ potato diet. As Andrew puts it, being that obese was ‘extreme’, and feeling depressed all the time was ‘extreme’.  This required ‘extreme’ measures to get the results Andrew was so desperately seeking. Despite all the nutrition ‘experts’ prediction of disaster, the reality is Andrew has not ended up with nutrition deficiencies – on the contrary, he is healthier than ever.

3.     Don’t think, do! I love this quote from Andrew. I had to wonder if he wasn’t a student or fan of my team, the Hawthorn Football Club (Aussie Rules), whose legendary premiership coach John Kennedy’s speech included the immortal “DON’T THINK! DOOOOOOO!” to his losing Hawthorn team at half-time in the 1975 grand final (we were thrashed by North Melbourne that year, but came back to beat them the following year to claim the premiership in 1976). Andrew Taylor said that he was prone to ‘over-think things’, while noting that sometimes we have to just take some positive action and give it a go!

Tom Perry Rich Roll Julie Piatt

Me with Rich and Julie

I was really fired-up and motivated after attending this event. It reminded me that we all have unique gifts to share, and our mission should be to find the ultimate expression of our true selves, to add meaning and value to the world.

I’d like to thank the event organisers, the New Normal Project in conjunction with Conscious Club and SumoSalad; the speakers including Andrew Davies and Andrew Taylor for candidly sharing their struggles to find lasting health and wellness, and most of all Rich Roll and his wife Julie, who graciously stayed long after the 4-hour event was finished to speak to fans, take selfies and sign books (see picture of me with Rich & Julie). It was an honour and privilege to meet them in person, and soak up their wisdom and life-lessons.

If you haven’t read Rich’s memoir ‘Finding Ultra’, listened to his podcast, or bought a copy of his and Julie’s recipe book ‘The Plantpower Way’, I can highly recommend them all.

Be inspired, be motivated, and be the change you want to see in the world.

Tom Perry

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