Vegan Paleo Diet

Vegan Paleo Diet

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Vegan and Paleo diets both highlight the importance of vegetables and fruits.

Chris Clinton/Lifesize/Getty Images

A diet that encourages a high proportion of your calories come from meat and fish, such as the Paleo diet, doesn't appear to be the best choice for vegans. While Paleo followers to eat plenty of plant-based foods too, the bulk of the plan is based around meat and fish. As a vegan, there are ways you can gravitate toward a Paleo-style diet to aid weight loss, sports performance and general health.

Radical Restriction

Both Paleo and vegan eating can seem to limit lots of foods. Paleo bans anything man-made, meaning no processed foods, grains, alcohol, artificially sweetened products of any kind and no dairy. Vegans have some overlap with this, but they do not eat animal products whatsoever, so meat, fish, eggs, dairy and even products made using animals, such as honey, are out of bounds.

Problems with Protein

Typically, Paleo diets are higher in protein, due to the emphasis on animal products. Ideally your diet should contain between 0.5 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day, notes Dena Harris of the Paleo Vegetarians website. Without eating meat and fish, you'll have to rely heavily on vegetables and nuts for your protein. Many vegans look to soy-based products for protein, but these are not Paleo, according to nutritionist Mark Sisson of Mark's Daily Apple. He adds, however, that fermented soy products, such as miso and tempeh are OK in moderation, provided you're not attempting to stick to a completely strict Paleo plan.

Vegan-Friendly Substitutes

For vegans, reading through Paleo-approved recipes can be a frustrating process, as there will likely be at least a few ingredients you can't use. It's not too difficult to find substitutes though. Kelsey Jean of the PaleoVeganista website recommends switching in flaxseed meal or silken tofu for eggs in savory recipes, or using natural unsweetened apple sauce and bananas in sweet baking recipes. You can use olive or coconut oil in place of butter.

Blending Both for a Sample Plan

The good news with both diets is that you can eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Appearing on a panel for "Experience Life" magazine, Paleo expert Robb Wolf and vegan wellness coach Kris Carr advise eating vegetables throughout the day, and snacking on nuts and seeds. Start with a tofu scramble for breakfast coupled with a mixed fruit salad served with a handful of macadamia, cashew or Brazil nuts. At lunch, stir fry cabbage, zucchini, bell peppers and onion in coconut oil and eat this alongside a green salad with homemade guacamole and another serving of nuts. For your evening meal, cook some tempeh, miso or another fermented soy product and serve it with broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and sprouts cooked in olive oil. For dessert, have a baked sweet potato with cinnamon and almond butter.