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How Important Are Vegetables?

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  • How Important Are Vegetables?

    I am wondering what the thoughts are regarding the importance of vegetables in the PB diet. I know that they are the foundation of the PB carb pyramid, but I struggle to get them in each day (especially 6-11 servings). Below is my typical diet and I have certainly lost a lot of weight and am now in maintenance mode, but curious the thought on the lack of veggies.. I nearly always eat the same thing for breaksfast and lunch. My diet is always 50-60% fat, 20-30% protein, and less than 10% carbs. I generally consume 2100-2400 calories each day. I weigh 175 and am 6' 0" tall (30yr old male)

    3 eggs fried in coconut oil
    2-4 pieces of nitrate free bacon
    glass of whole milk

    greek yogurt parfait that includes:
    whey protein
    full fat greek yogurt
    coconut milk
    I also have 4oz of some sort of meat (chicken, beef, etc)

    4-8oz meat (chicken, beef, turkey, fish, etc)
    broccoli - 1 cup
    full fat cottage cheese
    maybe an occasional small iceburg or romaine side salad (no dressing)

    As you can see, I enjoy plenty of dairy (not loosing weight anymore and digests well), but seriously lack the veggies that most PBers are consuming. Should I be concerned about the veggies?.... or any other part of this diet on a consistent basis? Thanks in advance for your feedback!!

  • #2
    There's no dietary need for any vegetables.

    I would eat veggies before dairy though.
    The "Seven Deadly Sins"

    • Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . • Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . .• Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
    • Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . • Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . • Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
    • Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)


    • #3
      "In 159 retrojected Stone Age diets, human potassium intake averaged 400 ± 125 mEq/d, which exceeds current and recommended intakes by more than a factor of 4. " (see cite at end of paper)

      The Primal Blueprint is produce dominated.

      Here's what The Primal Blueprint says about produce:

      p40 TPB
      "The gathering of berries and other fruit, leafy greens, primitive roots, shoots and other vegetation, nuts and seeds provide the bulk of Grok's food supply."

      p.112 TPB
      "'it may take some acclimation to center your diet around vegetables....Dont follow the example of restaurants that serve skimpy vegetable portions seemingly just for decoration; serve yourself heaping portions that crowd everything else on your plate"

      "Plant foods..naturally promote a beneficial balance between acidity and alkalinity..inyour bloodstream. Almost all cells prefer a slightly alkaline environment to function properly, but many metabolic processes, including the normal production of cellular energy, result in the release of acidic waste products. The buildup of acidic waste is toxic to your body so it works very hard at all times to preserve a slightly alkaline environment, measured by the familiar pH levels."

      p110 TPB
      see food pyramid: the base is produce indicating that in terms of volume, this is a produce dominated
      diet. His food pyramid is a clear supportive visual to both his writing, and the evidence available
      regarding a primal diet (diet in our environment of evolutionary adaptation). Volume-wise, we're
      eating mostly produce, though in terms of a percentage of calories, we are getting more calories from
      protein and many more from saturated fat even when we don't add much, if any, free fat.

      In this blogpost regarding inflammation and gut health, Mark said:

      "I mentioned Dr. Art Ayer’s Cooling Inflammation blog last week, and I’m
      to do so again. First, Art suggests adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. His dietary
      recommendations are essentially identical to mine – high SFA, moderate animal
      protein, low O-6, O-3 supplementation, leafy greens, some fruit and nuts."

      compiled information
      ❑ 3,500 mg potassium (K) is the "Daily Value" (DV) intake per the FDA, NIH,
      ADA etc. Consdering that nutrient intakes from these organizations reflect
      standard intakes, not optimal, consider viewing potassium needs through a
      'primal' lens based on K intakes in traditional diets and what we know of diets
      in environment closer to those in which we adapted.

      ❑ Potassium intakes in the above 'primal' diets - likely ranges
      based on potassium to sodium ratio
      12mg K:1mg Na

      based on potassium to calorie ratio
      2-12mg K per calorie ingested

      ❑ 10-13 servings produce will often be required to supply potassium at
      optimal or nearly optimal levels. In an evolutionary environment, potassium
      would come from plants but also significantly from organ meats.

      ❑ if needed to bring K:Na ratios or K:Kcal ratios into balance, tomato products
      at each meal or by drinking homemade veggie peeling broths are easy, low
      calorie, high potassium supplements. adding 99mg from a potassium tab
      is essentially worthless when total potassium needs are 3,500-12,000 mg.

      Think of magnesium and potassium as the relaxors and calcium and sodium as
      the contractors. We need both - but it's all about ratio just like it is wrt Ω3 and Ω6.
      Volume 26, Issue 6, Pages 447-453 (November 2006)

      9 of 12

      The Evolution-Informed Optimal Dietary Potassium Intake of Human Beings Greatly Exceeds Current and Recommended Intakes

      Anthony Sebastian, Lynda A. Frassetto, Deborah E. Sellmeyer, R. Curtis Morris JrAn organism best fits the environment described by its genes, an environment that prevailed during the time period (millions of years) when evolution naturally selected the genes of its ancestors—those who survived to pass on their genes. When an organism’s current environment differs from its ancestral one, the environment’s mismatch with the organism’s genome may result in functional disadvantages for the organism. The genetically conditioned nutritional requirements of human beings established themselves over millions of years in which ancestral hominins, living as hunter-gatherers, ate a diet markedly different from that of agriculturally dependent contemporary human beings. In that context, we sought to quantify the ancestral-contemporary dietary difference with respect to the supply of one of the body’s major mineral nutrients: potassium. In 159 retrojected Stone Age diets, human potassium intake averaged 400 ± 125 mEq/d, which exceeds current and recommended intakes by more than a factor of 4. We accounted for the transition to the relatively potassium-poor modern diet by the fact that the modern diet has substantially replaced Stone Age amounts of potassium-rich plant foods (especially fruits, leafy greens, vegetable fruits, roots, and tubers), with energy-dense nutrient-poor foods (separated fats, oils, refined sugars, and refined grains), and with potassium-poor energy-rich plant foods (especially cereal grains) introduced by agriculture (circa 10,000 years ago). Given the fundamental physiologic importance of potassium, such a large magnitude of change in potassium intake invites the consideration in human beings of whether the quantitative values of potassium-influenced physiologic phenomena (eg, blood pressure, insulin and aldosterone secretion rates, and intracellular pH) currently viewed as normal, in fact disaccord with genetically conditioned norms. We discuss the potential implications of our findings in respect to human health and disease.

      Keywords: dietary potassium, human evolution, diet net acid load

      your body will maintain tight control of potassium *no matter what* until your potassium is so low that it is medical emergency Blood levels are one thing - sufficient potassium for optimal intracellular levels ad all bodily functions that require potassium is another thing entirely.
      "Normal serum potassium levels are between 3.5 to 5.0 mEq/L[1]; at least 95% of the body's potassium is found inside cells, with the remainder in the blood. This concentration gradient is maintained principally by the Na+/K+ pump."
      Last edited by cillakat; 05-23-2010, 05:17 AM.

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      • #4
        I think veggies are critical to good health.

        Even if you are taking supplements, the best way to get your vitamins is thru a natural source. Unless you are taking an isotonic blend, you are pissing out 80% of you vit pill anyways.

        Adding a cup of sautéed veg to your morning eggs is quite easy and doubles your current intake. Add a small salad to your lunch ( 1 cup greens and 1/2 c veg) and you are up to 6 servings of veg.


        • #5

          you need your vegetables.

          HANDS OFF MY BACON :: my primal journal


          • #6
            Seems these are all the same thread now. Someone asks if they need to eat vegetables and Cillakat posts boilerplate insisting yes, absolutely.

            A better answer would be: "That depends."


            • #7
              Originally posted by frogfarm View Post
              Seems these are all the same thread now. Someone asks if they need to eat vegetables and Cillakat posts boilerplate insisting yes, absolutely.

              A better answer would be: "That depends."
              I have seen people say no, but why? I am thinking about can you explain why someone might not need veggies?


              • #8
                Mixing your diet up with a wide variety of vegetables is probably the best thing for your body. Whenever I cook an egg I have to have some vegetables cooked with it --usually onion with garlic plus kale or squash or asparagus. Same with my grass-fed beef. I usually prepare a huge pan of ground beef seasoned with curry and coconut milk along with onions, carrots, squash, brocolli, celery, ... whatever's on sale or looks good. Moreover, there's nothing better than a steak cooked in an iron skillet along with a bunch of veggies drenched in butter. If you're not in the kitchen prepping veggies for your next meal your not enjoying eating.

                And frankly, once you embrace eating a lot of vegetables with your meats and fats you find you don't crave anything else. It is a truly sustainable diet. The key is to eat a few raw while you cut them and drench them in fat as you cook them.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by frogfarm View Post
                  Seems these are all the same thread now. Someone asks if they need to eat vegetables and Cillakat posts boilerplate insisting yes, absolutely.

                  A better answer would be: "That depends."
                  No kidding. So many people here are absolutists: No dairy, eat your veggies, you need them! No dairy or veggies, just eat meat! I think "it depends" is a way better response. It depends entirely on exactly where in the process an individual person is focusing. Some day I may eat a "perfect" PB diet, with a plate full of veggies at each meal and a nice piece of meat. Maybe not. While I'm struggling to lose a large amount of weight, I focus primarily on getting enough fat into my day, and veggies are a very small proportion of my intake, mostly just a garnish with maybe a cupful of low GI veggies at supper. There's no way to keep my carb count low enough if I eat veggies at will. I love vegetables, but I don't consider them to be necessary at all.

                  I think it might do some folks a world of good to read about the anthropologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson. He spent 10 years living with the Inuit in the Arctic in the early 1900s, and wrote extensively about their diet. This was during the timeframe when scientists were just discovering the existence of vitamins, so claiming that he could remain healthy on a diet of meat and fat was very controversial. He agreed to remain under medical observation for a year, livng on a diet of more than 80 percent animal fat and about 15 percent protein. He proved that aboriginal societies, with their millenia-old practice of valuing fat over protein with minimal carbs, was a fully sustainable way of eating. Just Google his name and you'll find a plethora of information. He lived to be a very healthy old man, as did other explorers of his time who ate the same way he did.

                  The belief that we need copious amounts of vegetables is some kind of carry over from conventional wisdom. I believe it's Mark's way of appealing to CW folks (I know he says that himself in one of his blog postings.) because telling people they can exist quite well on fat, protein, and minimal vegetables would seem too Atkins-like. Mark's goal is to get as many people as possible to question the low-fat, high carb diets that are killing people in droves. Why everyone thinks that full-fat dairy is so wrong is also beyond my understanding, too, but that's a different subject altogether.

                  What's up with everyone nitpicking about tiny little aspects of their food intake -- carrageenan in heavy cream? a speck of sugar in conventional BBQ sauce? 80% chocolate vs. 85% chocolate? -- and then readily admitting their cheats, like pizza, store bought ice cream, and grains. Just admit that everyone is different, some people put more value on adhering 100% to their version of the PB with no intention of cheating, while others aschew dairy, store-bought mayo, and wouldn't dream of eating anything other than grass fed meat, but then take a weekend and gorge themselves on fast food and cookies. The dogmatic and frequently hypocritical statements I'm reading on the forum lately are, frankly, a bit off-putting.


                  • #10
                    I eat avocado food salad or rainbow fruit salad with honey orange sauce every morning and never had any problems with my diet effort.
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                    • #11
                      I'd love to see evidence that veggies aren't part of PB. The food bill would be much less and meal prep, significantly easier.

                      Please share.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cillakat View Post
                        I'd love to see evidence that veggies aren't part of PB. The food bill would be much less and meal prep, significantly easier.

                        Please share.
                        Well, you certainly won't see that unless it comes from someone who's ignorant or lying, because it's an unequivocal fact that vegetables are part of Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by frogfarm View Post
                          Someone asks if they need to eat vegetables and Cillakat posts boilerplate insisting
                          I'd love to see evidence that plant food we're part of our diet in an environement of evolutionary adaptation but so far, I haven't found any that's convincing. As I mentioned, it would make my life easier

                          I value this board alot: the primal, the not so primal - most of it's very thoughtful and helpful. I love to hear what others are doing even when it's very different from what I'm doing. And when someone answers a question, that's what we're all hear for - sharing our experiences, our thoughts, opinions, theories and whatever supporting evidence we can find. Knowledge evolves. And I for one, am looking forward to more discussion from all sides.

                          Last edited by cillakat; 05-23-2010, 09:09 AM. Reason: spelling

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cillakat View Post
                            I'd love to see evidence that veggies aren't part of PB. The food bill would be much less and meal prep, significantly easier.

                            Please share.
                            Um, did you even read what I wrote? Of course veggies are part of PB. The reason why they are is up for speculation, and the necessity of eating copious amounts of them is certainly dubious.

                            I find it rather interesting that so many people think Paleo people had access to huge vegetable gardens, eating large portions of raw spinach and big juicy carrots. I think they ate handfuls of berries, a few roots, and maybe some leaves here and there, but when animal fat was accessible to them, I have no doubt what they preferred.

                            I also think that it's silly to attempt to reenact the Paleo era, and we've certainly come a long way since then, but gorging on plates of vegetables and thinking you're doing anything but enjoying yourself is not realistic. All the vitamins and minerals that are available in vegetables are available in meat, eggs, and full-fat dairy. The phytonutrient argument is slightly persuasive, but lacks data to back it up. Eating small portions of low-carb vegetables should supply any phytonutrients necessary, so there is no real reason to push copious amounts of vegetables on anyone. Don't even get me started on fruit.


                            • #15
                              I like your post Sharonll

                              While I have a lot of respect for Mark, I have also done a lot of reading outside of PB and, as you say, there is not much support for the theory that vegetables enhance health. I come to this forum because I like the appreciation of food that CW would have us avoid, but I also take a relaxed view to the food I eat. By all means eat veges if you like them, but don't force yourself to if you don't like them. I note in the chart posted earlier that fruit seems to form a significant part of PB. To my mind fruit is not a healthy food. Again by all means eat some if you want to, but don't do it for health reasons.

                              Adding veges into PB I'm sure does make it more acceptable to some people. The need for variety in the diet is CW and if you are eating grains, then yes you do need to add variety to make up for the loss of nutrients. If you are eating a good quantity of quality meat, then you don't need to worry about it. Sure add them if you like to eat a variety of food, but again, there's no need to.

                              Edited to add: LOL, I really must check to make sure I am at the end of the thread - I didn't see the follow on posts, so I like BOTH your posts Sharonll.
                              Last edited by jo; 05-23-2010, 09:23 AM.
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