By Dr. Amy Shah
Well technically, the way strict Paleo and strict vegan is defined, you probably can’t do both… but I say you can eat more like our ancestors and be plant-based at the same time.
The strict version of the Paleo diet boils down to cutting out dairy, grains and legumes, theorizing that our ancestors during the Paleolithic era basically survived on things that could be hunted and gathered only. The Paleo diet, although fraught with controversy, has improved health for people all over the modern world.
The problem is, the strict modern definition includes a moderate (to very large) amounts of meat, eggs, etc. in the daily diet — so it’s almost impossible to do a plant-based version of this even if you wanted to try it. But what I started wondering is: Why can’t you do an ancestral, plant-based diet?
Isn’t there is an argument out there that our ancestors (at least some) ate mostly plants?
Also, isn’t there evidence that our ancestors did eat legumes?
In my practice, I recommend a plant-based, ancestral lifestyle for lowering inflammation. My secret for making it work? I include legumes (that are properly prepared). This is usually shunned in the Paleo world.
In my area of expertise — allergies and inflammation — we agree that some foods, i.e. processed/artificial foods, wheat, dairy, soy, peanuts — all seem to be problematic to our health.
However, I emphasize increase in plant foods and do allow legumes. Lentils, beans, legumes — if prepared properly — can be tolerated by most. And this is the secret to doing a successful ancestral, plant-based plan. Following, a plant-based ancestral lifestyle means eating whole plant-based foods such as vegetables, properly prepared lentils, beans, nuts and fruit.
It also means not eating all the processed junk (just because it’s vegan does not make it healthy!), i.e. cutting out soda, added sugars. In addition, it means minimizing your consumption of soy, dairy, wheat, eggs. It may sound daunting at first, but really it makes your diet choices so much easier.
Imagine this: Before you used to go to the local spot at lunch and stare at all the options and wonder which one was the healthiest option.
Now: You go to the same lunch spot but head directly to the fresh foods section — usually the soup or salad bar. You fill your plate with leafy greens, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and use olive oil and vinegar dressing. See, It’s actually EASIER to eat this way.
The specific diet measures I recommend are here. My recommendations also come with lifestyle measures (like reconnect with nature, do sprint exercises, get sunlight) to reduce inflammation. In my opinion, the ancestral lifestyle supporters get so many things right — so why do we have to pick either/or?
Just simplify, get back to the basics and eat more plants. See? It’s easy. To prove that it can be done and it’s pretty simple — here is a sample day eating this way:
Green smoothie (can make with spinach, kale, chia seeds, hemp seeds, almond milk, vanilla extract, berries, cacao seeds)
Tea with cinnamon
Large Salad with overnight soaked (and perhaps sprouted) black beans
Roasted chick peas
Zucchini “pasta” with fresh marinara, garlic and herbs
Another salad with added nuts
Coconut “ice cream” (just full fat coconut milk with ice, and frozen berries) with shaved dark chocolate
Read more here:: Huffintonpost