Everyone today understands that eating healthy is essential for being healthy, so it’s no wonder that there are so many discussions that aim to determine what the ultimate diet is. The Paleo diet, in particular, has been getting more popular recently as it’s traditionally considered to be extremely healthy. However, its basic makeup includes meat so it must be unsuitable for vegetarians, right? Wrong! Today we will prove this by presenting you with a vegetarian Paleo shopping list that will allow you to enjoy the health benefits of this meal plan without giving up on your meat-free lifestyle.
How Is Vegetarian Paleo Shopping List Different from Traditional Paleo?
You should start with researching what the Paleo diet really is and how exactly it came to be. This meal plan is also known as the ‘caveman’ diet, and it’s supposed to include the food that our ancestors ate during the most ancient times. Therefore, Paleo in its purest form contains nothing but fish, eggs, meat, vegetables, and fruit. It completely excludes any processed foods and sugar. Partially, it also excludes legumes, grains, and dairy products.
As a vegetarian, you won’t be able to eat meat at all, and your intake of fish and eggs would be debatable. So, do you have to give up the Paleo or your meat-free habits?
As the benefits of being a vegetarian, especially after 50, are well-known and proven through studies, it’s obvious that you don’t have to change your lifestyle to embrace the healthier Paleo diet. On the contrary, you can improve on its basic plan by adapting it to your meat-free meal plan.
Must Have Products of a Vegetarian Paleo Shopping List
These foods are perfectly acceptable under the guides of both vegetarian and Paleo diets and they will provide you with healthy fats and proteins. Of course, you cannot survive on those products only, so you also need to include lots of fruits and veggies into your meals. These you can eat anyway you like, although remember that ANY processed foods are a no go for the Paleo.
What NOT to Include in Your Vegetarian Paleo Shopping List
One of the greatest things about the Paleo diet is that it doesn’t restrict how much you can eat, so you can eat to your heart’s (or stomach’s) content. However, this meal plan is highly restricting regarding WHAT you can and cannot eat, and once you look deeper into the ‘restricted’ foods, you’ll see that this diet is all about the glycemic load.
The main idea behind the Paleo is that you should cut own the products that contribute to the increase of inflammation. The worst ‘offenders’ in this are processed foods, sugar, and any product with a high glycemic index.
Considering this, you must understand that to make a vegetarian diet Paleo-friendly you must cut out all grains that contain gluten. This shouldn’t be difficult as there are many healthy gluten-free foods that not only vegetarians but even vegans can eat.
The other consideration is legumes as many Paleo proponents consider them to be too heavy on the stomach to include in this meal plan. In a way, they are right as beans and peas really can cause a variety of digestive issues if not consumed wisely. However, if you cook them well and serve legumes in small amounts along with cooked vegetables, they can become a part of your vegetarian Paleo shopping list.
With the Paleo, it always boils down to tracking your personal health. Eat different products in moderation to see whether any of them cause some form of digestive discomfort. Doing these experiments for a few months will allow you to develop a personalized vegetarian Paleo meal plan.
You should also strive to ‘detox’ your diet as much as possible. Some ways for vegetarians to do this are:
- Exclude peanut, soy, and canola oils as they are artificial products of industrial farming (unless you are 100% sure they come from a small organic farm). You can replace them with Paleo-friendly olive and coconut oils. These options are rich in healthy fats and don’t cause such an adverse reaction from the body. You can also use avocado, macadamia nut, and red palm oils.
- Eat grass-fed butter as it’s not only a good source of healthy fats but also gives you a boost of vitamin K2.
- Load up on eggs as your main source of protein. This would become a necessity as excluding gluten grains and legumes makes obtaining proteins very difficult for vegetarians. You can get some from various dairy products, but eggs are the best choice from the Paleo point of view. You should eat at least one egg a day.
Please note that if you are leaning towards a vegan diet (meaning no eggs or dairy by default) or simply cannot obtain your daily protein dose from these products alone, you will need to look into some note very Paleo-friendly replacements. As there are no strict guidelines to this diet, it isn’t a major problem, but you should be careful and cook these foods well. The best protein sources for vegetarians in this case are:
In order to cook them well enough to fit into a Paleo meal plan you must soak them well in acidic water (plain water + splash of vinegar). Sprouting is also a great way to make them healthier.
Bear these things in mind when creating your vegetarian Paleo shopping list and plan your meals ahead to ensure they are as healthy as possible.