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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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February 24, 2016

17 Primal Tips for Vegans and Vegetarians

By Mark Sisson
105 Comments

vegetarian finalWe all know vegetarians and vegans. And while we have our differences, they are our friends, our family, our partners, our spouses, even our children. We all have people in our lives who avoid meat and/or animal products in general for multiple reasons—health, ethics, the environment, squeamishness, animal welfare—but we care about them. We also subscribe, with varying degrees of rigidity, to an eating philosophy based on the nutritional importance of animal foods. How do we reconcile these competing loyalties? Should we give up on them? Are they a lost cause? Should we simply wait for them to come limping toward us with sallow skin and low muscle tone? I kid, of course. We should absolutely help where and when we can.

Yet telling them to “just eat meat” doesn’t work. If anything, it’s counterproductive. Instead, we can offer productive, legitimately helpful advice from a Primal perspective. Like:

1. Eat real food.

Don’t waste time with fake meat products and vegetarian junk food. Skip the Tofurky, the boca burgers, the canola-infused mock chicken nuggets, the facon, the mockeroni. Because if you’re willing to eat that dreck just because it vaguely resembles real meat, you should probably just listen to your body and eat the actual meat.

2. Don’t be a pastatarian; eat plants.

These are the vegetarians and vegans who subsist almost entirely on pastas, rice, boxed foods, pre-prepared foods, bread, crackers, and crispy grain-based foods.

They’re not eating the voluminous salads. They’re not whipping up homemade hummus and complex lentil stews with a million spices. They’re not eating anything close to a “traditional” vegetarian diet. Rather, they’re eating the easiest most refined junk food that technically qualifies as “plant-based.”

If you call yourself a vegan or a vegetarian, act like it. Eat actual plants. Plants are incredible, delicious, nutrient-dense, and varied. You claim to be about them. You should actually eat them.

3. Avoid refined seed oils.

Don’t eat soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, sunflower/safflower oil. These are all heavily refined, high in omega-6 fats, easily oxidized, and stripped of their nutrients.

Instead, eat extra virgin olive oil, red palm oil, coconut oil, high-oleic sunflower/safflower oil, grass-fed butter/ghee (if you do dairy), macadamia oil, and avocado oil.

4. Go grain-free.

You don’t need the grains, and being vegan or vegetarian doesn’t absolve you of the potentially harmful effects of consuming them. On the contrary, the increased reliance on grains for your calories and nutrients may even increase the harmful load of antinutrients you consume.

Okay, Sisson, what the hell am I supposed to eat if not grains? You’re right, except for potatoes, legumes, sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, blueberries, strawberries, pears, taro, cassava, tigernuts, and a thousand other foods, there’s no way to obtain carbohydrates, minerals, protein, fiber, and vitamins without eating grains. Scratch that suggestion.

5. If you do eat grains, eat sprouted grains.

Most vegetarians and vegans are going to eat grains. I accept that and submit that sprouted grains are the superior choice. Why?

Sprouting increases the nutrient content, including soluble fiber, folate, vitamins C and E, and various antioxidant compounds.

Sprouting reduces the antinutrient content, including gluten, phytic acid, various enzyme inhibitors, and tannins.

6. Eat fermented soy.

Many vegans and vegetarians turn to soy to replace the protein they’re not getting from animal products. This makes sense and, contrary to popular belief, studies indicate that soy protein is decent (though not as good as animal proteins like whey or egg) at maintaining physical performance. So I’m not going to tell you to stop eating soy.

But make sure some of it’s fermented. I’m talking about natto (which contains a huge amount of vitamin K2, another vital vitamin usually found in animal foods like eggs and liver), tempeh (which has reduced levels of mineral-binding phytic acid), stinky tofu (which contains beneficial bacteria known to ameliorate intestinal inflammation), and soy sauce (which has elevated levels of antioxidants and little to no residual soy proteins or gluten). In general, fermenting soy unlocks the isoflavones, making them and their purported health benefits actually bioavailable to humans.

7. Eat eggs and dairy.

As long as you’re willing to eat eggs and dairy, you’re good on most nutrients you’ve been missing. Pastured eggs have choline, omega-3s, DHA, protein, cholesterol, vitamin B12, and many other vital nutrients vegans and vegetarians typically lack. Contrary to popular belief, eggs do not increase cardiovascular risk (not even in vegetarians). Pastured dairy has saturated fat, omega-3s, CLA, calcium, protein, and probiotics (if fermented), and the full-fat stuff is consistently linked to good health.

For nutritional completion, a good mix is eating both DHA-enhanced eggs (typically attained by adding algae to the hens’ feed) and pastured eggs. Most health food stores will have both.

And vegans, I know you’re opposed to eating eggs and dairy. I get it. But do consider raising your own chickens or goats or getting eggs and fresh dairy from someone you know and trust to be a faithful and ethical steward. They really aren’t going to miss all those unfertilized eggs or that extra milk.

8. Consider oysters.

Oysters have no central nervous system. Like plants, they respond to environmental conditions and stimuli, but there is no central brain conducting operations and perceiving sensations. As such, I see no logical reason for ethical vegans and vegetarians to avoid eating oysters. They’re not being harmed, because there’s no consciousness present to perceive harm and take umbrage. Even longtime animal rights activist Peter Singer suspects oysters feel no pain and once actively endorsed their consumption.

Also, oysters are the greatest source of zinc on the planet. Zinc is tough to get from plant foods. They’re also rich in vitamin B12, also absent in plant foods.

9. Consider insects.

Don’t lie. You smash mosquitoes, spiders, and other assorted creepy crawlers that invade your pristine home and threaten your supply of sprouted rice cakes. Why not take the next step and eat the things?

While I’m unaware of mosquito-based foods, there are some damn tasty cricket bars out there on the market which provide ample protein, pre-formed vitamin A, iron, and vitamin B12.

10. Consider protein powder.

Whey is my favorite (obviously) and the most effective. So if you do dairy, throw some whey isolate in there for the most bioavailable protein available. If not, you’ve got other options, like egg white protein, rice protein, or hemp protein (which also gives you fermentable fiber and some omega-3s).

11. Take vitamin B12.

I’m serious, guys. Don’t believe the hype. No, your incredible vegan gut bacteria aren’t synthesizing enough vitamin B12 to keep you replete. No, your spirulina smoothies don’t really contain enough B12 to get you by; you’re actually consuming a pseudovitamin B12 that increases the need for real B12. You are at risk for deficiency and you do need to supplement with B12 or eat foods that contain it because it is that important for cognitive, cardiovascular, mental, autoimmune, sexual, and cancer health.

Don’t assume you’re replete in B12 unless you’ve taken the latest assays, which are more sensitive than normal serum B12 tests. According to normal serum tests, 52% of vegans and 7% of vegetarians are deficient. According to the newer, more sensitive tests, 92% of vegans and 77% of vegetarians have low levels of the active form of vitamin B12. Here’s a good one.

12. Take creatine.

Creatine is mostly found in skeletal muscle so if you want creatine from the diet, you have to eat things that have muscle, like meat and fish. Human muscle contains creatine as well, where it’s used to fuel muscle and help recovery during training by recycling ATP (the basic energy currency of the body). Creatine is also found in the brain, where it maintains cognitive function. Studies show that vegetarians who supplement with creatine enjoy improved cognition and physical performance. Vegan brains and muscles, which have even less (small amounts of creatine are present in eggs), should benefit even more from supplementation.

Creatine monohydrate is cheap, widely available, effective, and doesn’t come from actual animal flesh. There’s no reason for vegans and vegetarians not to take it.

13. Take carnosine.

Carnosine is a fusion of two amino acids (beta-alanine and histidine) and is found abundantly in meat. You don’t hear much about carnosine (except in certain Asian countries, where chicken extract is a popular carnosine supplement used as a mood enhancer that actually works), but it’s important and vegetarians/vegans should supplement it. Why? After all, carnosine isn’t essential; we can synthesize it.

It turns out that vegans and vegetarians tend to have lower levels of carnosine. Since the compound is linked to muscle endurance and acts as an antioxidant in the brain, it’s probably a good idea to top yourself off. Try this one.

14. Take taurine.

Taurine is similar to carnosine: it’s not essential (we make it, just probably not enough), it appears only in animal foods, and it plays a major yet under-appreciated role in preventing death and disease.

This is a good supplement to take.

15. Take algal oil.

DHA is perhaps the most important long chain omega-3 fatty acid. You can make a bit from ALA, which is found in plant foods and grass-fed meat, but it’s unclear how reliable the ALA-DHA conversion rate is in humans. Since vegans and vegetarians tend to be deficient in DHA, I suspect the conversion is rather poor. Good news is that you don’t have to slaughter and consume fish flesh to get DHA. You can get it from the same source marine animals get it: algae.

This is still a fairly new product and the human research is preliminary and scant, but algal oil improves blood lipids and increases blood levels of EPA (another long chain omega-3 found in fish oil). I suspect it’s a good substitute for fish fat. Try this one.

16. Consider pescetarianism.

Among all the plant-based groups, pescetarians appear to be the healthiest, beating vegans, vegetarians, and lacto-ovo-vegetarians when it comes to mortality risk.

My wife was a pescetarian for decades before adding meat to her diet, and she’s always been the fittest, healthiest person I know.

17. Consider peganism.

No, not Norse god worship. Peganism—veganism with a smattering of paleo. It involves mostly eating plants and treating animal products like meat, eggs, shellfish, and organ meats as essential condiments, supplemental foods that provide the nutrients you simply cannot get—but as a human still require—from plants. This is a growing dietary movement popularized by Dr. Mark Hyman. In my opinion, our good friend Denise Minger is the best example of a successful pegan dieter. Consult with her for a more detailed plan of attack.

You don’t have to adopt all these suggestions (except for taking vitamin B12). But doing even a couple will markedly improve your health and long term outcomes. More importantly, it will allow you to continue eating the way you’ve chosen without compromising your beliefs or values.

Thanks for reading, everyone! What other recommendations do you have for vegans and vegetarians?

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105 Comments on "17 Primal Tips for Vegans and Vegetarians"

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Groktimus Primal
7 months 1 day ago

Ugh huh.

annika
annika
6 months 30 days ago

“Among all the plant-based groups, pescetarians appear to be the healthiest, beating vegans, vegetarians, and lacto-ovo-vegetarians when it comes to mortality risk.”

No, among ALL groups. A plant and fish based diet, with lots of fish oil, has been associated with the greatest longevity… followed by A PLANT BASED DIET. Those who ate animals/animal products other than fish fared the LEAST well.
patronizing vegans and vegetarians with your “primal” tips, you should be in your kitchen working on how to make marinades for tempeh.

And regarding insects? I don’t squash them. Not everyone does.

Groktimus
6 months 30 days ago

Never argue with the veggie peeps. It is a waste of time and thought. They must walk into the light when they are ready and this can’t be changed.

Mrs Rathbone
Mrs Rathbone
6 months 30 days ago

First time I’ve ever seen a man told to shut up and get back in the kitchen!

plants with pesco
plants with pesco
6 months 24 days ago
You are right!! The study we’re talking about was in Loma Linda. In this group, people have homogenous healthy lifestyle risk factors including physical activity, no smoking, little or no drinking with heterogenous levels of meat eating. The meat eaters did the worst along with semi-vegetarians. First, second and third went to pescatarians, vegans and vegetarians. In this group nut eating is promoted which is good, but choosing certain nuts like cashews and almonds without balancing with flax, walnuts or algal omega-3 supplement could shoot your omega-6 ratio up. Also, at the time of this study, vegans may not have… Read more »
Sharon boyd
6 months 30 days ago

I am interested and curious .A blood group is semi vegie would they be the ones who do better on the vegie diet because of the chemical make up in their blood compared to the the other groups which are not

deanna
deanna
6 months 22 days ago
I have to apologize. When I came to this blog, I thought Mark was a Paleo that was not restricting carbs, because I had heard him sing the praises of fruits and vegetables so much. Then, I saw the vegan and vegetarian thread and thought- yes, whole foods inspired by primal diets and plant-based- I felt this was exactly what I might be looking for. However, I am a near vegan who eats a little bit of fish and eats a lot of whole food carbohydrates- 300-340 grams of carbohydrates daily with about 50 g fiber. Most of the carbs… Read more »
Tuba
Tuba
7 months 1 day ago
No matter how much a hippo diets she will never be a gazelle. Vegetarianism will never be an optimal diet. It is an affectation that leaves it practitioners jumping through poor hoops to get up to subnormal. Don’t misunderstand the issue: It’s not the vegetable part that is bad, stupid, or ridiculous. Vegetables are good. It is the no meat side that is juvenile. And there is nothing wrong with that if 1) the fools following that course accept sub-optimal health in exchange for putting philosophy ahead of nutrition and 2) they do not expect the rest of us to… Read more »
Bob Marles
Bob Marles
7 months 1 day ago

I’m a vegetarian that tries to follow a primal diet and it is definitely not ideal. Any vegetarian that tells you their diet is optimal is lying or ignorant. However, I follow a vegetarian diet because of ethical reasons and that is something science cannot denounce. Calling vegetarians “fools” is quite immature; as for health care, I’m probably in better health than you due to diet not being the only factor in determining health. As such, I can just as easily complain about paying for your health care.

ValerieH
ValerieH
7 months 1 day ago

On THIS site I don’t think you can say your health is better than someone else’s heath. You are probably healthier than the average American. In a Vegetarian vs Paleo contest you might not be the winner. I agree, diet isn’t the only factor. This blog discusses all the factors for thriving. It appears you might have missed some of those excellent articles here. This is not a one size fits all place and it is usually quite respectful of other people and the variety that makes us human.

Elijah
Elijah
6 months 29 days ago

You should check out the podcast Sam Harris put out with Uma Valeti about cultured meat and the ethical implications of lab grown meat. Might be a future option for you. Check it out, its called: “Meat without Misery”

plants with pesco
plants with pesco
6 months 22 days ago

I agree calling vegetarians fools is immature.

Hope you don’t mind me asking, but are you trying to do a low-carb vegetarian diet?

Deanna
Deanna
7 months 13 hours ago
Anyone who is plant- based, vegan or veg. The best advice comes from those doing it the longest and best. Check Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis or look up Dr Ellmsworth Wareham (102 yr. old vegan in American Blue zone who does not eat dairy but takes b12) find Dr Barnard’s Prevent and Reverse Diabetes and Dr Gregors daily dozen of what to eat in How Not to Die. These successful healthy vegans eat legumes, iodized salt, take B 12 and include sunshine or bit D and a variety of plants with zinc and calcium: collards, kale, flax, chia, steel… Read more »
Shary
Shary
7 months 11 hours ago

A vegan or vegetarian diet isn’t necessarily unhealthy. It seems to work quite well for many people worldwide. It didn’t work for me, but I see no valid reason to condemn or criticize those who prefer a diet free of animal products. It’s a personal choice and should be respected as such.

Dylan
Dylan
7 months 5 hours ago

It’s ridiculous for you to insult over 500,000,000 strangers based on their personal beliefs and habits and then refer to them as juvenile. Sensible people don’t need to do that to defend their choices.

I agree that the optimal diet would contain some meat. There are other considerations involved that are more important to me than eating the optimal diet. You have a different position and that is fine.

Jen
Jen
7 months 1 hour ago
It’s not so black and white. Every body is different and you have to go on a case by case basis. Cave men certainly were not eating muscle meat 3 times a day. They went through feast and famine; ate the animal, the entire thing when it was available and subsisted on whatever else they could find to keep them going until the next hunt. They also lived to be about 30 years old. Anyway, eating based on a philosophy whether it’s paleo or veganism still should honor the body’s signals for nutrition and what works for you may not… Read more »
Dave
Dave
7 months 1 hour ago

Mostly agree with you , especially the use of the whole animal. However, I do want to point our that the average of 30 years factoid must take into account all the folks that died very young from violence, disease, and simple inflections which basic antibiotics would take care of today. Early European explorers remarked at the health and vigor of the stone age native Americans, including their elderly.

plants with pesco
plants with pesco
6 months 23 days ago
I would like you to open your mind a little bit. Ellmsworth Wareham, vegan, and many of America’s Blue Zones (one of densest centenarian population in world) are vegan and vegetarian. For personal examples, please check out Elmsworth Wareham and Caldwell Esselstyn online. They have been vegan for 50+ and 30+ years and are thriving!! Let’s be honest, Great Apes, including humans, are much, much more similar to hippos than cats, canines and other meat-heavy eaters. Chimpanzees, bonoobs (our closest relatives) and humans have included animal foods (this includes insects and eggs) in their diet. However, the science shows that… Read more »
tulipwood
tulipwood
7 months 1 day ago

so if i can’t reliably acquire pastured meat would i be better off to adopt peganism instead of primal/paleo? i.e. get some of my protein from organic lentils etc.?

Maggie
Maggie
7 months 1 day ago

What’s with all the strikeout product links?

TF
TF
7 months 1 day ago

I’ve been wondering about crossed out links as well. I don’t remember older posts having those but noticed in the last year or so there started being a lot of striked out links…

JohnC
JohnC
7 months 1 day ago

I think you’ll have to keep wondering. I’ve asked here repeatedly and apparently there is no one from MDA who actually reads these comments.

Clay
Clay
7 months 1 day ago

The software does trackbacks automatically to test links. if they become dead, it strikes them out and deactivates the hyperlink so you don’t follow them. If the link becomes active again, the strike out disappears.

JohnC
JohnC
7 months 1 day ago

Hi Clay, it’s clearly not working. Every time a new article is published multiple links are almost always immediately struck through but you click and they work.

This is causing confusion for MDA readers and is clearly broken.

Erica
7 months 1 day ago

As a vegetarian for almost ten years I appreciate this post! I started off eating a lot of fake meats before quickly realizing how bad that was for me. Now I get plant based protein and supplement with whey protein.

Michelle
Michelle
7 months 1 day ago
Excellent overview. My semi-vegetarian days were driven primarily by economics with a smattering of a misguided sense of blamelessness. Many of these I did, including sprouted grains, only eating soy that was fermented, lots of real veggies. I still occasionally ate small amounts of grass fed red meat, eggs, and full-fat grass fed dairy, mostly on weekends, but my primary protein source was beans. I was very sick during the time, sicker than I ever was on SAD, Sicker in my labs and sicker in my symptoms. I realized that even “semi-vegetarian” was too imbalanced for my needs, Now that… Read more »
TF
TF
7 months 1 day ago
I’ve been so anxiously waiting for this post! Thank you, it’s great. I’m not vegan still, and I probably won’t be at this time in my life because I’m pregnant and breastfeeding, but this gives me good insight for the future if I decide to be vegan. I’m also glad to see you say that pescetarianism and peganism are really healthy things. I considered pegan because I have a low budget, so if I want to eat grass-fed meat it’s going to be a maybe weekly thing. And I considered pescetarianism because of my personal ethical issues with eating meat,… Read more »
AdD
AdD
7 months 1 day ago
This is a great article. I was veg for a long time. I experienced many health issues, all stemming from general kinds of inflammation. Mark’s Daily Apple, Empowered Sustenance, and many other blogs promoted animal products as being highly nutritive and backed up with not just science but experience after experience, testimonial after testimonial. Still, highly sensitive and spiritual being that I am, I could not resolve the decision to take in dead animals. On an energetic level it just didn’t make any sense to me. But eventually I noticed that my symptoms were getting worse, and that I was… Read more »
Cehb
Cehb
7 months 1 day ago

Great reply – thanks for this!

investigator
investigator
7 months 1 day ago

Excellent article, and fun to see discussion on whether oysters are conscious. Since consciousness has no definition, there’s no way to say that it requires a central nervous system. There’s no way to say that plants don’t have consciousness in some form. When deciding what to eat based on ethics or squeamishness, almost everyone draws the line somewhere, and the line is based on perceived self-similarity. Personally I draw the line at primates, mammalian brains and testicles, and as such I could never criticize anyone else’s personal preference.

Shauna
Shauna
7 months 1 day ago

Link to a vegan-friendly EPA+DHA supplement. It does have a bit of a flax seed oil taste and I don’t think that it seamlessly mixes into whatever you’re drinking, but it did seem to work for my purposes. It was easier to just use the dropper to put a few drops on my tongue and follow it up with something that tasted better. I used it, in conjunction with a variety of other supplements, to combat severe nutritional deficiencies I ended up with after 2 years of being pregnant/breastfeeding while on a strict diet.

http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Fuhrmans-DHA-EPA-Purity/dp/B00859ZA08/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1456337251&sr=8-1&keywords=EPA+%2B+DHA+Dr.+Fuhrman%27s

HealthSeeker
HealthSeeker
7 months 7 hours ago

During my vegan days, this was by far the best DHA/EPA supplement. I often tested my levels, and never came up deficient. http://amzn.to/1XPbkM4

Eugenia
6 months 30 days ago

with omega-3, its all about balance with omega-6, and these supplements have sunflower oil which is full of omega-6.

HealthSeeker
HealthSeeker
6 months 29 days ago

Eugenia, I appreciate your feedback. You’ll notice that they use High Oleic Sunflower oil, not the regular kind. The former is a variety that contains nearly 85% monounsaturated fat. That is actually more than what you get with olive oil! And at that over 3/4 of the fatty acids are from omega-3. The actual amount of omega-6 is about 20mg. You would get more omega-6 from eating a single Brazil Nut. I would not worry a bit about overloading on omega-6 fats taking this supplement.

Nicholle
Nicholle
7 months 1 day ago
I’ve been vegetarian for 25 years and have no desire to eat meat. I go for extended periods being vegan, and I occasionally eat fish (seriously, if someone offers you fresh-caught salmon, are you going to say no?). My biggest beefs (pun intended) are with the commercial meat industry, which is what started me on the veggie path. I grew up among farmers and hunters who butchered their own meat, so I know the process in intimate detail (we kids would catch one of the farm chickens, my mom would eviscerate it while giving us an anatomy lesson, and my… Read more »
julie greenhalgh
7 months 10 hours ago
I have only been vegetarian (no dairy) for a few months, i can only say i feel a lot better for it. Around a month in i realised someone had switched my brain back on! i was clear thinking my studying was easier i could understand and remember the material. I’m thinking this has more to do with giving up dairy than meat. I agree with you wholeheartedly about the commercial meat industry, i cannot afford to buy grass fed, organic meat and i no longer wish to pay into and support this horrendous industry. I can afford to buy… Read more »
Dr. Dana Leigh Lyons
7 months 1 day ago
Excellent post…and will be a wonderful one to share! I’m especially glad you brought attention to the importance of getting sufficient and the right kind of vitamin B12. (Personally, I think something seems off when someone has to rely on supplementation, rather than diet, to obtain something so vital to well-being and longevity, but better than nothing!) Also love your advice to ditch the fake meats, grains and processed foods–those are not healthy, regardless of whether you’re a vegetarian. During my 10 years as a vegetarian, the first half was spent subsisting on veggie burgers and sugary cereal. Then I… Read more »
Deanna
Deanna
7 months 13 hours ago

Dr Leigh,

Please consider using, Becoming vegan by Brenda Davis and Ms. Messina, as a reference for vegan and vegetarian patients. It will give them the best shot at making their choice work for them.

plants with pesco
plants with pesco
6 months 22 days ago
Dr Leigh-Lyons, You may also want to check out the vegans from Loma Linda, including Elmsworth Wareham, and find out what they are including in their diets to help your vegan/veg. patients meet their nutritional needs and live a long, healthy life like the Loma Linda Adventists. Dr. Wareham was a practicing thoracic surgeon up until his retirement at age 95- vegan since he was 50. I believe he is 101, nearly 102, and has interviewed with Dr. Gupta, CNN. At 102, he lives independently and still does all his pruning and yard work year round in CA, and reads… Read more »
dude
dude
7 months 1 day ago
I was on a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet for a year before switching to meat based, I wasn’t doing too bad, but I didn’t felt great either. I think with the consumption of more healthy fats allowed me to go longer without being hungry, so I have less thoughts of foods on my mind while working. While I still believe I need 7hrs sleep for better health, which I don’t get enough, I feel more refreshed in the morning now than before with the same hours of sleep. Also my cognitive performance is improved. I like to listen to audiobooks while… Read more »
Sandra
Sandra
7 months 1 day ago

I love the way you write: Common sense with a touch of “why-the-hell-don’t-people -have-more-common-sense” thrown in.

Janet
Janet
7 months 1 day ago

You had me at facon and mockeroni. I laughed so hard, I got a six pack!

HealthyHombre
HealthyHombre
7 months 1 day ago

I was a vegetarian for about 12 years. I ate a lot of eggs and consumed whey protein drinks. After reading MDA every day for a couple of years I came over to the dark side and started eating chicken, turkey and fish, and drinking bone broth. I blame you Sisson for derailing my dream of becoming a buddhist monk. I was even going to eventually read a book about Buddhism to learn what the heck kind of ism it is … and what kind of ism it isn’t.

Noconago
Noconago
7 months 1 day ago

I love it! About fell off the couch. Welcome to the dark side.

Deanna
Deanna
7 months 12 hours ago
This is funny. I am WFPB, but I do love my serving of sardines, herring or wild caught salmon each week, but know others who do well 100 percent vegan. As a plant-based, no dairy pescatarian, I don’t have a really cool specific name or group like primal, Paleo, vegan, pegan, vegetarian, low carb but the WFPB is what works for me and this diet does allow for some meat eating, like the Okinawan diet. Everyone needs to do what works for them. I do like Mark’s suggestion of algal Dha for non- fish eaters: vegan, veg or omnivore. In… Read more »
Jennifer L.
Jennifer L.
7 months 1 day ago
My naturopath recently did some blood typing food diet test for me. I am/was skeptical and can’t quite tell if the results are about me personally, or about humans, in general. Would I really tolerate a vegetarian diet better if I were a different blood type? I *really* want to be vegetarian still, but over the years, my O+ blood type has steered me in a very different way. I kind of dislike how accurate the test is to what I’ve found personally. Nonetheless, I haven’t fully jumped on board because paleo is challenge enough for me without tossing out… Read more »
Barb Crocker
7 months 11 hours ago

Don’t know if this helps with your decision-making process, but genetics has shown Type A to be the oldest blood type, not O. The Eat Right for Your Blood Type diet is thought to work for people, not because of blood type, but because it has decently healthy diet recommendations.

Here’s a link: http://genetics.thetech.org/ask/ask342.

Shary
Shary
7 months 11 hours ago

I thought the blood type diet had been debunked.

Laura
Laura
7 months 1 day ago

Fyi-The carnosine link takes you to carnitine

Jacquie
Jacquie
7 months 1 day ago

Is canned sardine and wild caught salmon good for me? But canned sardine and alaskan salmon is the most affordable for me I mean, anything canned, i am concerned…
any suggestion?
Thanks…

HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
7 months 23 hours ago

Yes, canned sardines and salmon are great! I eat them a lot.

Jonathan
Jonathan
7 months 13 hours ago

Yes, in fact Mark has written in other posts why canned fish is often BETTER quality than not. Farm raised fish does not can well, so eating canned fish is a great way to get wild caught naturally occurring fish. Cheaper and often healthier.

Jacquie
Jacquie
7 months 5 hours ago

Thank u

plants with pesco
plants with pesco
6 months 22 days ago
Yes. Canned sardines have much less mercury and other toxins because they are non-predatory (only eat plants), thus are low on the food chain, and do not accumulate toxins like the larger, predatory fish. Sardines also give vitamin D, calcium and B-12! Larger fish like salmon have the omega-3’s etc., but have more toxins, because they are higher on the food chain. Fish, unlike grass-fed or conventional mammal meats, do not accumulate pesticides and give a favorable omega3: 6 ratio. Even grass fed meat, has a 1:2 omega ratio and pesticide accumulation is in its fat. In fact, 40% of… Read more »
Elizabeth
7 months 1 day ago
Such a great post! I was vegetarian for over 30 years, mostly raw vegan towards the end. I felt good as a vegetarian, felt amazing as a raw vegan in the beginning, but about 6 months in my acne prone skin was at its worst ever, and my anxiety was through the roof. At this point in my life (49 years old) I feel best eating meat. I can honestly say that I physically feel the best I ever have. I think s big difference for me is the amount and variety of high quality fats that I get. But… Read more »
Jacquie
Jacquie
7 months 23 hours ago

Elizabeth, I know how u feel, being a yogi, all the past decade plus, there is a lot of inclination for me to be vegetarian, vegan, however, being of Vata dosha, and its cold, dry, windy wintry days on end…..despite all the beans, veges stew etc and avocados……I feel anxious all the time, and constant heart palpitations….even fish doesnt cut it, a chicken stew really helps me the most….even if its only twice a week….
the things we live and learn, im 51….
Thanks, HopelessDreamer, for the tips on canned fish…

Mrs Rathbone
Mrs Rathbone
7 months 17 hours ago

Jacquie, the modern trend towards the masculine-oriented Vaishnavite and Saivite forms of Hinduism that are influencing the west’s ideas of yogic philosophy & practice do all advocate vegetarianism – however, the far older female-oriented stream of Shakti (goddess) worship holds no such prohibition against eating meat.

I’ve included two links below, that you might find interesting to factor into your decision-making process:

http://scroll.in/article/755412/in-my-religion-meat-is-ma-kalis-prasad-a-shakto-hindu-objects-to-enforced-vegetarianism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_sacrifice_in_Hinduism

Jacquie
Jacquie
7 months 5 hours ago

Thank you

J
J
7 months 22 hours ago
This is incredibly interesting to me- mainly the bit about Peganism. I actually am not a vegetarian but don’t eat a lot of meat in general. I only buy grass fed / free range animals that have lived normal lives so meat can be expensive! I love eggs. I eat a lot of those but I’m a 98 lb woman in her 30s and when I was doing 100% paleo, I found eating that much meat was actually not good for my system in general. I mean, I would eat lots of veggies but found I would bind up eating… Read more »
Kit
Kit
7 months 19 hours ago

I read that it is much more efficient to take beta-alanine alone, as it is the limiting factor in carnosine.

Vegans and Vegetarians
Vegans and Vegetarians
7 months 18 hours ago

Been a lacto vegetarian for 47 years for ethical reasons. Been just about dairy free for the past 3 years. I want to avoid beans and grains as much as possible. Thus, I bend on milk products by taking whey to get my protein.

I appreciate the heads-ups on proper oils, vitamin supplements, nuts, proper veggies and exercise that Marks shares with us. Thanks.

Vegans and Vegetarians
Vegans and Vegetarians
7 months 18 hours ago

Been a lacto vegetarian for 47 years for ethical reasons. Been just about dairy free for the past 3 years. I want to avoid beans and grains as much as possible. Thus, I bend on milk products by taking whey to get my protein.

I appreciate the heads-ups on proper oils, vitamin supplements, nuts, proper veggies and exercise that Marks shares with us. Thanks.

Elisa
7 months 17 hours ago

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this — sharing it on Facebook and hoping my vegetarian friends will take these awesome tips into consideration. “Pastatarianism” is unfortunately alive and well.

Mrs Rathbone
Mrs Rathbone
7 months 17 hours ago
I’m a *former* vegetarian, I stopped for several reasons and am really happy with that, but I cringed back in the day at the “Carni-Bores” who harangue vegetarians – and I still do now. So in the spirit of that, here are some rebuttals to the common arguments *against* vegetarianism: 1. It can’t be healthy if you have to supplement. For a start, most people reading this probably take some form of supplement, or at least view some kind of seperated macronutrient such as gelatine, whey, butter, or coconut oil, as essential to their diet. I don’t know many paleo… Read more »
Rajashree
Rajashree
7 months 17 hours ago

Well said Elisa.

Shary
Shary
7 months 11 hours ago

+1.

Some meat-eaters like to think they’re superior to vegetarians/vegans. They aren’t. Truth be told, I wish I could feel and function optimally on a vegetarian diet, and I sort of envy those who can. I tried, but it just doesn’t work for me. Diet is a choice only up to a point. Ultimately you have to give your body what it requires if you want to remain in good health.

TF
TF
6 months 30 days ago

Agree completely. What bugs me most is when vegans say that omnivores are selfish and they eat meat only because it tastes good. The ones who claim that everyone could thrive on a vegan diet. Meat is delicious, but that’s not why I eat it. I eat it for the healthy fat and the bioavailable protein and nutrients. If it was all up to taste, I’d be perfectly fine eating a bunch of peanut butter sandwiches and vegan wheat patties lol

julie greenhalgh
7 months 10 hours ago

Excellent Mrs Rathbone!

The main problem i have found in talking to people about my decision to go veggie is their offended attitude, often aggressively defensive as if i’m a contagious disease!

this is my decision i don’t give two rats a****s what anybody else eats and i’m certainly not going to try to “turn” you vegetarian

And i don’t care that humans have been eating meat since we started standing up right, we also ate veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds all those things i eat

Julie
7 months 8 hours ago
As a pakeo dieter for several years, i can assure you that i get an equal amount of venom and sarcasm from vegans and vegetarians for my choice to eat meat. In fact, I’ve gone out of my way to make sure there was vegan dishes at potlucks. However, when I was talking with the vegan (obese) chef at our local vegetarian restaurant, my request/suggestion that therr be hard boiled egg available to put on one of their salads, it was met with disdain. Havent spent a dime there since, nor do i consider it my job to make vegan… Read more »
Ziva
Ziva
7 months 6 hours ago
I’ve met my share of veggies who seem to feel quite superior for not eating meat (or animal products in the case of vegans) as well. I’ve also met my share of those who claim their carnivorous pet does “just fine” on vegan dog food. I have a good vegetarian friend who lurks on MDA as she can’t quite yet wrap her mind around eating meat, but understands the benefits. The superior attitude goes in one ear and out the other anymore. I know I’m careful about sourcing my meat from the best suppliers I can. Recently I had a… Read more »
Julie Greenhalgh
7 months 5 hours ago

I have also met with disdain and and a superior attitude from vegans, even though I was only asking advice on becoming one! What ever you do do not get into saturated fat debates with them! I was promtly banned from their fb group. Totally agree with you on the pet thing. I enjoy being veggie but that’s me, my hubby is ketogenic and my son will literally eat anything
Meal times are fun!
We should all be eating what is right for ourselves, and makes us happy

TF
TF
6 months 30 days ago

AHHH, I know! I just hate it when I see that a vegan is feeding their dog strictly vegan food… It’s absolutely fine if they choose not to eat meat, but they shouldn’t be allowed to make that decision for an animal who literally needs it… Honestly I consider that a form of abuse. But, I feel the same about all the other people in this country who feed their dogs dry garbage food. My dad still gives his dogs leftover pizza crust as a “treat”… -sigh-

Dena
Dena
6 months 27 days ago

“I was told that simply killing the animals (and allowing species to go extinct) would be the humane solution.”

PeTA logic.

TF
TF
7 months 1 hour ago

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts, especially the third response.

plants with pesco
plants with pesco
6 months 23 days ago
Our instincts are to search out the most calorie-dense foods. However, today’s bacon and cheese were not a part of the diet we evolved upon. This is part of why, I believe, we have such a huge health crisis right now. Our instincts are now turning against us, or rather, the food supply. Because we have such an unnaturally, calorie dense and prolific food supply, our seeking out of fat, sugar and salt is creating our diabesity, hypertension and heart disease epidemic. I will tell, you from personal experience, taste buds and food preferences do change. After going 98% plant-based,… Read more »
plants with pesco
plants with pesco
6 months 22 days ago
Very, well said. Thank you for this. Many extremely intelligent people, very knowledgable in nutrition, choose a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle for reasons other than animal welfare. I agree the carni-bores are misguided in thinking people only choose vegan veg. or plant-based diets for animal welfare, and they are ruining their health because of it. Many choose it because it gives them improved health. Everyone is not the same; though meat may be important for you does not mean, it is critical for everyone. Surprisingly, legumes combined with cooked kale and collard greens, walnuts, chia & flax seeds and a… Read more »
Rajashree
Rajashree
7 months 17 hours ago
Mark, am your follower from Malaysia (do you even know where that is?? : ) ). Started following you when I was a “eat everything” Primal blueprint fan a couple of years ago. Then turned pescetarian, and then from the begining of this year embraced non dairy food choices. All your well researched, pithy and downright funny articles and guidance became less and less applicable and I started drifting away. So glad that you wrote this!! Thanks. Good to know that you realize that you have do vegan, vegetarian and others modified primal eating ppl following you. Thanks my friend.
Ziva
Ziva
7 months 6 hours ago
Agreed; sometimes reaching out and offering some tips and solutions is the best thing to be done. I enjoy the humor in the articles as well. Most people I know who follow a Primal way of eating and living modify it in some way to suit them. I eat a lot less meat than most I know, simply because I don’t want it or don’t need it as often. My go-to meal is a BAS, usually with several eggs. I eat more carbs than most. It’s a balancing act. Since Primal isn’t a “diet”, rather a way of life, it… Read more »
Ziva
Ziva
7 months 13 hours ago
I was never a vegetarian or vegan, but the best way I found to battle that underlying problem with ethics was to seek out a family farm that raises meat and eggs in the most humane way possible. Walking around a farm where the animals are on grass/pasture, roaming around, with the calves and baby animals running and having a grand time in the sunshine feels right. Something inside me just knows this is a good thing. The farmers in question work their asses off to ensure the meat, eggs, and dairy they produce is of the highest quality, and… Read more »
Jasmine
Jasmine
7 months 8 hours ago
Good article. I have been vegetarian my entire life and they key is sprouting and culturing your foods. The best expert in vegan and raw vegan diet is LOU CORONA. He gets it right and he has healed countless people. When he was 21, he had chronic asthma, constipation, acne,tumours and prayed to be healed or else die. He then found a mentor who travelled the world and met the healthiest and longest-living people on earth. He learned this wisdom and healed completely and at age 60 he honestly looks 25.. See his YouTube videos! And good news: he is… Read more »
Primal V
Primal V
7 months 8 hours ago
I have a good friend who is a park ranger and a vegetarian, HOWEVER he does eat meat occasionally when they have to cull the managed deer in the park, or if he has to put an animal down after injury (he did this with a couple of pheasants hit by cars on the estate). I have massive respect for his adherence to his ideas of right and wrong, as his problem is with commercial meat production. Most vegetarians and vegans aren’t in a position to eat culled deer, but could I suggest eating roadkill? If an animal has lived… Read more »
Frans
7 months 7 hours ago

Roadkill duck (flew in front of our car) is the best duck I ever ate.

barry
barry
7 months 7 hours ago
Do I need to ask the obvious question? What would a vegan be doing on MDA? Unless they show up to try and smear the primal blueprint which I would love to here a vegan try that they won’t find anything here to support their ways. Go off to a site doctor mcdougall is on if you’re vegan and listen to his mumbo jumbo. A high fat lower carb diet that’s devoid of any processed foods and vegetable oils is the healthiest in the world. I suppose a grain free pesectarian would be a distant number two considering they eat… Read more »
Julie Greenhalgh
7 months 5 hours ago

There are low carb high fat vegans out there, not many but some and why not be on MDA there is some good advice on here its not all about meat

barry
barry
6 months 30 days ago

I could get behind that. A vegan who eats a shit ton of avocados, coconuts, and olive oil is very likely to be more healthy then the grain loading ones.

Clay
Clay
7 months 4 hours ago

Some people just don’t care for the taste and texture of meat, or meat consistently gave them indigestion (me on both accounts). It has nothing to do with righteousness. How many people don’t eat tomatoes, brussles sprouts, asparagus, milk, or eggs because it doesn’t agree with them or it tastes terrible to them. Millions probably. Should tell them MDA is not for them as well? How about people who can’t sprint? Or big salads make their nose run? Should they pack their bags and get the hell out of MDA as well.

barry
barry
7 months 4 hours ago
Whoa, I wasn’t meaning any offense here, but there’s no denying that most vegans are vegans due to ethical reasons. I guess if your a non-meat eater who wishes to use primal principles then go for it. When I said that I was referring to the general vegan population who don’t eat meat because they choose to, not because of digestibility problems. I won’t pretend to know what your problem is but you should look into gut flora imbalances, it’s responsible for a lot of digest problems and is exceedingly common. Salads make my nose run (because of onion) but… Read more »
julie greenhalgh
6 months 30 days ago
No offence taken Barry, no probs. I love MDA, its how i got to eating well in a primal way, after a couple of years of eating this way i think i got meat overload! i found myself consistently giving the meat to hubby and just going with the veg. i also can’t afford the good stuff (grass fed) and don’t like supporting the commercial meat industry. I don’t know how long my veggie spell will last, but as Mark is always saying “listen to your body” i did and it was telling me no more meat. i’m trying to… Read more »
Shary
Shary
6 months 30 days ago

There’s nothing wrong with being a vegan for ethical reasons provided it also agrees with one’s body. Some people (myself included) simply feel better on a diet that includes animal protein.

barry
barry
6 months 30 days ago

Yeah I got to hand it to you Julie that does sound like a overall healthy vegan”ish” diet. The fact you include eggs (whether organic or not) in your diet would eliminate any problems traditional vegans would normally have. Adding the fish as you suggested would practically be a primal diet just without the meat, which wouldn’t’ really matter considering you’re getting ample amounts of animal protein (i.e eggs, fish).

TF
TF
6 months 30 days ago

Mark posted this article because he gets a lot of questions about combining a primal lifestyle with a vegan one. I personally sent him a question about it and he said he gets it a lot and was working on a post for it. So apparently lots of vegans or vegetarians do visit this site.

Ziva
Ziva
6 months 30 days ago
If it all boiled down to ethics, I would have a rough time eating meat that didn’t come from a farm that treated the food animals well. CAFO operations are the worst of the worst, and eating meat that comes from one does kind of make my stomach turn (the thought of it, not necessarily digestive related.) Knowing where my food comes from and seeing with my own eyes how the food lives before it’s “meat” is the best for me, personally, to fight the question of ethics and meat. Since my body doesn’t require meat at every meal (or… Read more »
barry
barry
6 months 30 days ago
I know exactly what you mean. I normally don’t touch CAFO meats either, unfortunately with the exception of hamburger meat my local stores don’t sell grassfed/pastured meats. I can travel a bit further down the road to whole foods and they have grassfed steak cuts for about 20 bucks a pop, that’s no good either I’m not paying that. I do however have a website that I can order bulk grassfed steaks from, I can normally get 20 steaks for about 375 which is a lot but I don’t have to buy any for months. I do go a few… Read more »
TF
TF
6 months 30 days ago
I agree about the CAFO meat most definitely. I don’t buy grass-fed meat but I buy meat from whole foods that have pretty strict welfare standards as far as I know. I haven’t bought meat from a regular grocery store in a very long time. But I have gotten bacon and sausage when going out to eat at IHOP with family. I mean, didn’t have much other choices not eating pancakes and waffles… I did feel pretty awful about it for the next few days though… I can’t stand the thought of how those animals were treated and I torture… Read more »
plants with pesco
plants with pesco
6 months 22 days ago
The original primal diet had vast differences in meat-eating and carbohydrate levels depending on location. So why can’t modern primal-inspired diets include variation? Primal diets near the equator were high in carbs and low in meat (more fruit and insects than mammals), and shoreline and island diets may had no mammal meats at all-only fish and crustaceans. On the other extreme- we know Inuits ate lots of MARINE mammal fat and stomach contents of animals, plants when they could get them, along with fish. A modern-day primal example: the Papau New Guineau highlanders have kept their native diet (really primal… Read more »
Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
6 months 30 days ago

It seems many of the vegan/vegetarians I have come across also sustain as low fat mantra. They avoid olive oil and avocado because of the fat but are happy to mow down a bag a kettle corn. Then I discovered that next to water, the human brain is mostly fat. Lets just leave it at that.

human friend
human friend
6 months 29 days ago

Trees actually do communicate with each other: about water source, insect attact etc. They apparently do it through chemicals they emit that other trees in the vicinity pick up and respond to. Our sense of consciousness is so limited.

Ana
Ana
6 months 29 days ago
this is a wonderful post but the pescetarianism RUINED it!!! common! can people really be THAT cold??? 1st) 7 billion people simply CANNOT collect from nature to suvive! that’s totally ruining our oceans! and farmed fish are just as bad in unhealthy fat and treatements as farmed animals, plus, fish farms polute the ocean like hell. 2nd) most fish are as smart, preceptive and conscious as your everyday cat or dog. Believe me, I’ve had a saltwater tank for 9 years now and tons of different fish caught at the beach down the street have lived there and all but… Read more »
Enaid
Enaid
6 months 29 days ago
Whether to pursue vegetarianism, veganism, (any ism)…these are all relatively new concepts in human history – concepts afforded by the luxurious ease of our modern lifestyles. Only a few hundred years ago, humans were still wild animals and ate whatever they could get their hands on. Go outside and observe wild animals. Go on safari in Kenya. There, I watched a baboon snatch away and eat (while still alive, baboons don’t even kill their pray first) a newly born Thompson’s gazelle. Everyone usually considers baboons to be vegetarians…but they are wild and life is hard, so they will eat whatever… Read more »
Cédric
Cédric
6 months 27 days ago
Here is a psychological fact. Human trends to find its community. Once an human choose his community (religion, diet, being a rock person or not, politics, and so on…), it becomes the best and eventually, he starts to participate to debates to explain why its community is the best and why the others are all wrong or stupid. => Debates never ends because they want to be right not for the arguments. But for psychological reasons (including certain perception of the world + a lack of self-estime that make them want to stay consistent). About vegans, it’s a way to… Read more »
Lyndsey
Lyndsey
6 months 27 days ago
As usual, I learn just as much from the comments as the article! Therefore, I’m gonna ask you guys for some advice. I’m a vegetarian who’s been living primally for a few years now. I don’t eat meat or fish, but I do eat eggs, dairy, and take cod liver oil supplements. I usually stick with the 80/20 ideal, and other than occasional cheat meals, my only exceptions to the primal rules are occassional white rice, sprouted quinona, or sprouted lentils. Eggs and cultured dairy were the bulk of my calories: eggs and or yogurt for breakfast each morning, cheese… Read more »
Clay
Clay
6 months 24 days ago
Maybe whey isolate shakes a couple times a day to replace the eggs and full dairy. I make mine with whey and coconut milk. Maybe double up on the fish oil. I have a question though. How do you know your body is producing way too much cortisol and not enough DHEA and you have adrenal gland issues. That’s a very specific diagnosis that seems like you’d need extensive tests to know for sure. How about add some more spices like chili peppers, ginger, cinnamon and tumeric and only eating warm food for breakfast. Maybe add some black beans and… Read more »
plants with pesco
plants with pesco
6 months 22 days ago
You need to talk to your doctor about adrenals. But, I believe, to be successful as a vegan, you need to eat properly cooked and rinsed/drained legumes and starches at every meal to keep you fuller, longer- they are more slowly digesting than fruits and veggies. Also, some healthy fats like walnuts, chia and flax meal can help meet your calorie needs also. Dairy with lots of estrogen and whey protein or other extremely high protein foods can really trigger m-tor and changes in endocrine systems. I wouldn’t hurt to try legumes hummus, black beans, white beans at every meal… Read more »
Jacquie
Jacquie
6 months 22 days ago

I feel for you….i am the same, and on top, lactose intolerant, and lamb, beef, eggs make me nauseous, even if its once a day small portion, twice a week with days in between, i could stomach, and nuts make my throat itch and very thirsty, dont eat gluten as cant digest, dont eat sugar as makes me super anxious….and adrenal depleted….
sigh…..
Any suggestions??

Kristian Pottle
Kristian Pottle
11 days 8 hours ago

This article is pretty offensive to Vegans.

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