Paleo Diet For Vegetarians | What To Eat On The… | The Paleo Diet®
noun_Search_345985 Created with Sketch.

Try The Paleo Diet®!

Learn more. Get recipes & meal plans. See the science.

Transitioning From Vegetarian to Paleo

By Maelán Fontes
December 2, 2009
Transitioning From Vegetarian to Paleo image

I'm a beginner with the Paleo Diet. I want to try it out but I'm a vegetarian (I eat tofu, seitan, tempeh, fish, eggs, and cheese as replacements for meat). I understand I have to leave out the beans, but is it ok to use the rest of the replacements ? Thank you for an answer.

Maelán Fontes' Response:

The Paleo Diet is based on foods similar to what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate during the paleolithic era 2.6 million year to 10,000 years ago. That translates into 99.6 % of our evolution history. Our genome is perfectly adapted to eat foods similar to what we found during that period of time. This means eating grass produced or free ranging meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The agricultural revolution (10,000 years ago) lead to a dramatic change in human nutrition. Cereal grains, legumes, dairy, vegetable oils, salt, alcohol, and refined sugars comprise 72% of the nutrition in the modern western society. These foods contain harmful substances associated to many "diseases of civilization", such as diabetes, celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases, obesity, hypertension, certain cancers, acne, polycistic ovary syndrome, myopia, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, etc.

Tofu and tempeh are sources of soy bean agglutinin (SBA). SBA has harmful properties because they break cell membranes. This can induce increased intestinal permeability, which is associated to certain autoimmune diseases and low-grade inflammation. SBA has also been shown to stimulate the immune system, something we don't want in an inflammatory disease.

Seitan contains the worst part of wheat namely gluten. Gluten is a prolamine peptide associated to many diseases typical of western civilization, such as celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, ataxia, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

So, if you want to eat a paleolithic diet without eating meat you should ensure a good protein intake using egg powder protein shakes along with some supplements:

  • Vitamin B12 1 mg per day
  • Taurine 1 gram per day
  • Carnosine 800 mg per day
  • Carnitine 400 mg per day

I hope this helps.

Maelán Fontes MS Ph.D. candidate in Medical Sciences at Lund University, Sweden

Even More Articles For You

The Paleo Diet® Premise
Quite simply, The Paleo Diet® is the only diet to which the human species is genetically adapted. In other words, when you eat a Paleo Diet, you are eating the optimal foods for your body, literally programmed into your DNA.
By The Paleo Diet® Team
Full Range of Motion Exercise: Part 1
Full range of motion exercises, like a deep squats, help maintain normal joint function by increasing and preserving joint mobility and flexibility.
By Stephanie Vuolo
Get Grains Off the Brain
Gluten, and gluten-like compounds, have been seen as less-than-desirable for almost 20 years2,3,4 and for numerous reasons including GI issues, neurological dysfunction and even autoimmune disease.
By Casey Thaler
Paleo Leadership
 
Trevor Connor
Trevor Connor

Dr. Loren Cordain’s final graduate student, Trevor Connor, M.S., brings more than a decade of nutrition and physiology expertise to spearhead the new Paleo Diet team.

Mark J Smith
Dr. Mark Smith

One of the original members of the Paleo movement, Mark J. Smith, Ph.D., has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the benefits of Paleo nutrition.

Nell Stephenson
Nell Stephenson

Ironman athlete, mom, author, and nutrition blogger Nell Stephenson has been an influential member of the Paleo movement for over a decade.

Loren Cordain
Dr. Loren Cordain

As a professor at Colorado State University, Dr. Loren Cordain developed The Paleo Diet® through decades of research and collaboration with fellow scientists around the world.