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Paleo diet vs. Vegetarianism vs. Raw Food

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So, I am quite confused by some of my diet misconceptions and values and am strongly considering doing a 180 in terms of what I view as an "acne-friendly" diet. Or even an animal-friendly diet.

I have been an ovo-lacto vegetarian for 2 years, 90% vegan with the occasional non-vegan cookie or treat, and I didn't buy animal products when I went grocery shopping. My meals used to revolve around grains (lots of grains) and legumes (peanut butter, beans, soy) olive oil and flax seed oil. Yes, I know, some dangerous stuff for acne-people.

When I made the transition from from meat-eating I felt wonderful, physically much lighter, and my body felt like it was running more smoothly. I also loved the humane side of it (slaughterhouses are disgusting, and I didn't want my money funding the abuse of animals.) My skin didn't really change, however, because I had been eating all of these things before (though in lesser amounts) so I assumed that diet wasn't really affecting my skin.

But even if I didn't notice a difference in my skin, after six months or so I did notice a difference in my overall health. It wasn't terrible, and the blood work was quite good, but something felt wrong. Acne, gas, and occasionally depressed mood swings. I ate large salads, took vitamins and high-quality probiotics, educated myself on nutrition - but I was overeating, and I was craving sugar like crazy.

I very rarely craved meat, and when I did I would normally eat some sort of vegetarian-replacement meat thing, like veggie burgers. What is so funny is that, in retrospect, it's really silly for ovo-lacto vegetarians to imagine that their dairy and eggs somehow came from comfortable, happy animals. And seriously, what do you think happens to the cows and chickens after their done being used? Slaughter time! But veganism was difficult for me to fullydigest, in its heavy reliance on legumes and grains, and after a period my skin started getting worse.

I eventually came to the religion of Raw Food. Raw fruit, greens, a few nuts, and flax oil. More rules than you'd ever imagine. Yay.

Raw food. It's definitely good for you in the short term, an amazing detox, and it does help you cut out anything that your body is reacting to negatively. But it's hard to maintain. After two weeks my skin looked great but my cravings were driving me crazy. I felt like I was developing an eating disorder. And then these past few days at my parents' house I've binged on egg rolls, cereal, bread, soy milk, diet coke, and chocolate. The pimples are definitely coming back, and I keep kicking myself for my lack of self-control.

I have a problem. I just don't know what to believe anymore. Paleo diet makes sense, but I don't want to give my money to shitty industrial farming, where the animals are treated so badly. I woud rather hunt my own deer rather than rely on conventional meat, but in New York that’s just not an option. I'm torn between wanting to eat Paleo and not wanting to support factory farming/destroy the environment.

Should I start eating fish? Is that the answer? I might not ever again eat beef/pork, but I could do fish, low-mercury fish like sardines and salmon.... It's supposively the healthiest kind of “meat†anyway, and you can buy the sustainably-fished kind of you're careful.

Can you do a Paleo Diet with no other kinds of meat, just fish? What would that be comprised of; fish, fruit, salads, and steamed veggies? That does sound like a step up from my previous gluten and sugar-based vegetarian diet, while not being as restrictive as raw food. And it DOES seem like a practical path to clear skin and better health.

What is your opinion?

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You could do Paleo and only eat fish, but it sounds like a bad idea. If you don't like the way that animals are treated you should see if there are any farmer's markets anywhere near where you live. There will definitely be farmers there that treat their animals respectfully. You can even ask them right there any questions you have regarding their animals. The Paleo diet is really not do-able unless you go all into it. If you don't eat some meats that aren't from fish you will probably be lacking some nutrients. Or it will just be really hard to not get sick of fish. I suggest that you try and find an organic grocery store or a farmer's market, or both and try and get meat from there, it will make the Paleo diet do-able and also ease your feelings about animal treatment.

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paleo is just too damn expensive if you cut out nuts, seeds, eggs

getting organic just makes it even more expensive

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You could do Paleo and only eat fish, but it sounds like a bad idea. If you don't like the way that animals are treated you should see if there are any farmer's markets anywhere near where you live. There will definitely be farmers there that treat their animals respectfully. You can even ask them right there any questions you have regarding their animals. The Paleo diet is really not do-able unless you go all into it. If you don't eat some meats that aren't from fish you will probably be lacking some nutrients. Or it will just be really hard to not get sick of fish. I suggest that you try and find an organic grocery store or a farmer's market, or both and try and get meat from there, it will make the Paleo diet do-able and also ease your feelings about animal treatment.

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Well I too have gone through the confusion of the Vegetarian vs. Paleo diet, "Which is better?" turmoil. In the past two years or so I have went from strict no meat no animal products to a somewhat low carb paleo diet...

I love eating seafood so the paleo diet saved me I suppose but it can be way more costly then just fruits and veggies... Fish can be extremely expensive if you buy organic grown or it can be toxic if you buy the crappy stuff.

All together if you can afford good safe organic fish then you should go on a paleo diet.

Good Luck!? ^__^

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Well I too have gone through the confusion of the Vegetarian vs. Paleo diet, "Which is better?" turmoil. In the past two years or so I have went from strict no meat no animal products to a somewhat low carb paleo diet...

I love eating seafood so the paleo diet saved me I suppose but it can be way more costly then just fruits and veggies... Fish can be extremely expensive if you buy organic grown or it can be toxic if you buy the crappy stuff.

All together if you can afford good safe organic fish then you should go on a paleo diet.

Good Luck!? ^__^

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I'm not convinced at all by the whole paleo diet fad. When you look deep into it, theres a lot of inconsistencies. We don't have teeth like the majority of meat eaters, we don't have short travel digestive systems like meat eaters. Plus I believe our ancestors would have probably eaten the organs of an animal and the fat as well as eating the lean meat parts (even sucking the marrowbone jelly out of the bones - yum). And they probably ate a decent percent of it raw not all cooked (i believe cooked meats destroy almost all the enzymes - but raw meat has nasty things in it!).

Our closest genetic relatives, chimps also eat meat, but only as a small part of their diet, and they share a lot of similar characteristics as us. We also have an enzyme in our saliva for breaking down carbs. If anything it's the other way around, we've adapted to handle more meat intake than our ancestors (we probably eat a lot more as it's fairly easy to come by for a lot of people now). They also probably had different eating habits, i doubt they had set meal times, and probably gorged themselves silly when they killed an animal and then fasted for a lot of the day. I'm also pretty sure that all food in their time was less polluted and toxic than it is now, which means our bodys have to handle lots more potential problems than theirs did. Mind you, were less likely to get eaten by another animal these days...

Obviously if your intolerant to something, or you eat something your digestive system can't handle - then not eating it/them is bound to help, as is finding the cause of the intolerance, and if possible curing it (assuming it's not genetic or something more serious). It's not hard to test if a specific food causes you problems, just takes time. I've been lucky and not gone down the route of eliminating food groups - i feel a lot healthier and i'm almost acne free, just from improving my digestive system.

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Hm, I think a diet full of raw greens, and fruits are great. Then adding in some lentils, and beans are rich in fiber and some protein. Then adding some chicken and fish (grilled) is great as entree courses :). Just as long as you avoid the dairy and gluten products, you should do pretty well. So it's a combination of all three, and ensuring you are avoiding any foods you have adverse reactions to (intolerances/allergies).

It sounds easy, but it's so hard to pinpoint what is causing us issues.

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Hm, I think a diet full of raw greens, and fruits are great. Then adding in some lentils, and beans are rich in fiber and some protein. Then adding some chicken and fish (grilled) is great as entree courses :). Just as long as you avoid the dairy and gluten products, you should do pretty well. So it's a combination of all three, and ensuring you are avoiding any foods you have adverse reactions to (intolerances/allergies).

It sounds easy, but it's so hard to pinpoint what is causing us issues.

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Hm, I think a diet full of raw greens, and fruits are great. Then adding in some lentils, and beans are rich in fiber and some protein. Then adding some chicken and fish (grilled) is great as entree courses :). Just as long as you avoid the dairy and gluten products, you should do pretty well. So it's a combination of all three, and ensuring you are avoiding any foods you have adverse reactions to (intolerances/allergies).

It sounds easy, but it's so hard to pinpoint what is causing us issues.

Quit picking on dairy - or we'll send the cows round....

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I'm not convinced at all by the whole paleo diet fad.

............

Obviously if your intolerant to something, or you eat something your digestive system can't handle - then not eating it/them is bound to help, as is finding the cause of the intolerance, and if possible curing it (assuming it's not genetic or something more serious). It's not hard to test if a specific food causes you problems, just takes time. I've been lucky and not gone down the route of eliminating food groups - i feel a lot healthier and i'm almost acne free, just from improving my digestive system.

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I really appreciate your support. Isn't it funny that I gave you advice on gluten only to start eating it myself, a short while later? It makes me feel like I have 0 self-control. Just goes to show how things that aren't good for us can be so addictive. Just imagine not letting yourself eat gluten, dairy, legumes - OR meat, for ethical reasons. It puts you in a rather confusing situation, nutritionally...

I am going to give paleo a try, but it's going to be my own version. I am the last person on Earth to fall into the Atkins or Carnivorous carbs-are-evil fad. I am just going to eating mainly fruits, veggies, and lots of small, wild fish.

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I understand how you feel - I used to not know what or who to believe either! Have you ever looked into Dr. Joel Fuhrman? He really backs up all of his claims with credible, peer-reviewed scientific studies. Everything finally made sense after I read his stuff. He advocates a mostly vegan diet with lots and lots of veggies, especially green veggies. I'm thinking your diet before had too many grains and processed oils? I bet if you really start adding lots of greens to your diet, you will begin to see positive changes. Here is a quote from Dr. Fuhrman about greens for skin health:

"The number one priority is nutrient density in your skin. To increase the phytonutrients in your skin have two to four ounces of green cruciferous juice a day, mixed in some other juice such as carrot/strawberry.

Then have 6 ounces of raw greens, mixing kale, organic spinach and lettuce smoothie.

Also consume a daily bowl of a green-based soup with broccoli rabe, bok choy, collards and other dark greens cooked into the soup base. You can eat raw nuts, but not more than two ounces with any one meal. You can eat fresh fruit, but not more than 2-3 fruit equivalents with any one meal.

Try to sweat as much as possible and of course, eat when hungry and do not overeat.

If you do all this your hormonal peaks will diminish in 2 or 3 months and your skin will make great strides."

Cravings can be really hard if you don't have healthy, tasty alternatives around! It's really important to seek out healthy recipes that you really enjoy and to always have those on hand.

It's easy to get fruits and greens if you do green smoothies (link in my signature), and for veggies, you can make delicious veggie soups (puree 1 bag of frozen veggies with some carrot juice or broth, add that to a pot and then add another bag of frozen veggies along with some onions, diced tomatoes, beans, garlic, seasonings, etc); steam frozen veggies and add garlic, butter buds, seasoning, or a nut based sauce (half soy milk/half cashews, minced onions, lemon juice). Eating healthy can be very simple and tasty!

Instead of sugar, I'll do a fruit sorbet, and you can use a low sugar fruit like cherries - Blend one bag frozen cherries, 2 tbs cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup soy milk, 1 date. Everyone loves this!! :)

Anyway, I highly recommend looking into Dr. Fuhrman's nutritional advice! His blog is:www.diseaseproof.com, and his website is www.drfuhrman.com

His general daily guidelines are the following:

• 1 pound raw veggies (includes leafy greens)

• 1 pound cooked veggies (about 2 full cups of solid veggies)

• 4 or more servings of fruit

• ¼ - ½ avocado

• 1 ounce (in weight) nuts/seeds

• 1 cup beans

• 1 cup or less of starchy veggies (ungreen veggies like “cooked†carrots, corn, potatoes, etc) or whole grains.

• 1 tbs ground flax seeds

• 1 teaspoon DHA oil (like fish oil), multi-vitamin and Vitamin D (I use Dr. Fuhrman’s brands for these).

• Less than 12 oz. animal products per week

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Just because the paleo diet makes sense it doesn't mean it is/must be the universal answer.

Even watching a movie at the cinema makes sense but it doesn't mean I can't watch it at home too.

As far as the paleo diet is concerned I would forget about all the paleo-thing.

There's probably nothing more useless than speculating about the remote past.

I read new articles, rebuttal and studies everyday and it seems we will never able to really know what was in the past. Other than the technical problems in itself there are also the problems of being prejudiced in what we expect to find (hence leading researches and conclusion in certain pre-determined directions) and also of being too western-brainwashed to really understand the complex and circumstantial organicism of the past and even in our knowledge of history (all of it inherently flawed, especially what we read on K-12 books) we tend to look for fake "black/white" conclusions where there are any.

So let's keep in mind that we don't know an unprejudiced iota of what living in the paleolithic was like and all professional narrative sounds more like fantasy novels than anything else.

The best and only evidence for paleolithic diet are modern hunter-gatherer societies.

So you have the evidence of health in populations eating meat, fruits, veggies and nuts.

But you also have the evidence of health in populations eating grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, beans.

So it seems you can have health in both ways, after all it's a matter of getting all the nutrients you need and avoid toxic nutrients.

Given that both ways of eating are compatible with your health, what one if more suited to your vegetarian consciousness?

I suggest you to take a look at this highly prized diet:

THE RAVE DIET

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Great advice Danny. That Rave Diet sounds great!

Dr. Fuhrman often says it's not what you eat, it's what you're *not* eating. I think one thing we can all agree on is that vegetables, greens and fruit are extremely healthful for us, and are also great at combating acne. So instead of getting confused and not knowing what to eat, maybe just start with adding more veggies, especially green veggies, and some fruit to your diet. Leafy greens are especially helpful - You can easily get them in blended salads or green smoothies (there's a link for green smoothies in my signature). :)

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I noticed there's also an acne testimonial in the Rave Diet

"My acne (a twenty year problem) went away once I started following the diet!" - Donna Leone

Just thought you wanted to know

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It sounds like you are having cravings because you are missing some nutrients.

I just found out that I was running on 0 minerals and trace minerals. Find a good brand of trace minerals at the store in liquid form...and some good minerals. It was in the Washington Post that 80% of Americans are deficient in minerals.

Food allergies will also cause nutrient deficiencies. You should see if you are sensitive to certain foods.

Panda --- exactly what nutrients do you think you are missing from a non-meat diet? Do you think you are not getting enough amino acids? Or a certain vitamin?

If you are a vegetarian and relying on legumes for protein (which you are undoubtably doing), make sure you are getting sesame seeds and spinach to "round off" your amino acid needs. Pulses, sesame seeds and spinach have ALL the amino acids in them in the most bountiful amounts.

If you still want to be totally sure that you are getting every amino acid and nutrient in meat, .... then eggs are your BEST option. They are the most superior protein out there (even beef and chicken lack 1 amino acid to make complete protein, believe it or not....).

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I understand how you feel - I used to not know what or who to believe either! Have you ever looked into Dr. Joel Fuhrman? He really backs up all of his claims with credible, peer-reviewed scientific studies. Everything finally made sense after I read his stuff. He advocates a mostly vegan diet with lots and lots of veggies, especially green veggies. I'm thinking your diet before had too many grains and processed oils? I bet if you really start adding lots of greens to your diet, you will begin to see positive changes. Here is a quote from Dr. Fuhrman about greens for skin health:

....................• Less than 12 oz. animal products per week

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It sounds like you are having cravings because you are missing some nutrients.

I just found out that I was running on 0 minerals and trace minerals. Find a good brand of trace minerals at the store in liquid form...and some good minerals. It was in the Washington Post that 80% of Americans are deficient in minerals.

Food allergies will also cause nutrient deficiencies. You should see if you are sensitive to certain foods.

Panda --- exactly what nutrients do you think you are missing from a non-meat diet? Do you think you are not getting enough amino acids? Or a certain vitamin?

If you are a vegetarian and relying on legumes for protein (which you are undoubtably doing), make sure you are getting sesame seeds and spinach to "round off" your amino acid needs. Pulses, sesame seeds and spinach have ALL the amino acids in them in the most bountiful amounts.

If you still want to be totally sure that you are getting every amino acid and nutrient in meat, .... then eggs are your BEST option. They are the most superior protein out there (even beef and chicken lack 1 amino acid to make complete protein, believe it or not....).

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I can understand that you are sensitive to legumes.

Before I tried meat, I would definitely try eggs.

Dotty1 is right --- there is no superior source of protein in the world than eggs. They have all the essential amino acids and omega oils.

Meat is missing 1-2 amino acids anyway. Eggs have all amino acids.

If I were in a crunch, I'd go for the eggs ;).

After going to http://www.meat.org ..... I'm not sure if I could eat cow any more than I could eat my own mother's arm, LOL.

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I only know what works for me. Vegetarianism is beautiful, and I will never give up my ideals on how animals should be treated, sustainable agriculture, etc. But I know that even when I was most careful about eating the healthiest foods, it was not working for me. Even after one da of eating a little more animal protein (sardines in the morning, Tilapia at night) I feel so much better! Like, I'm not hungry anymore and I don't feel the need to keep snacking long after I'm full. And the whole grains/dairy thing making me breakout. The signs are pointing to this kind of diet. But you should never adhere to someone else's lifestyle because they claim it works for you. You have to trust yourself. You have to listen to the signs your body is giving you.

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Another way to limit grains is too consume starches as yams, yukka, potatoes, corn, jerusalem-artichoke, cassava. Many gatherer tribes have starches/tubers as their staple and they claim they don't feel healthy or vitalized enough without them.

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What it comes down to is what I have wanted to admit all along: my body just has a serious problem digesting legumes. Even growing up I remember I avoided beans because they made me uncomfortable after eating them. When I went vegetarian I was suddenly eating them in much larger quantities every day (including soy at breakfast) and I guess I just hoped I would adjust to them. Guess I haven't. And whenever I start eating grains I start craving even more, so I end up overeating, and it gets to be in an addictive cycle of high/low blood sugar....

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Another way to limit grains is too consume starches as yams, yukka, potatoes, corn, jerusalem-artichoke, cassava. Many gatherer tribes have starches/tubers as their staple and they claim they don't feel healthy or vitalized enough without them.

Beans are good too right? I sure hope so, eating beans, especially refried kills any type of carb craving I have and they are soooo good.

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