Vegan to Paleo

A good friend of mine asked about my change in diet and I wrote this reply and thought I’d post it here and keep track of my progress as I go.


Being some flavor of pescetarian/vegetarian/vegan/pescetarian for almost a decade now, I really thought I had the ideal diet figured out.  Over the last year or 2 I’ve started to question that.
Probably the first thing that’s had me wondering is recovery from exercise. Over the last couple years my legs just always feel tired. Not terrible, but never fully fresh. That hasn’t stopped me from doing a 200 mile bike ride or running some fast half marathons but I’ve been wondering for a while if it’s just because I’m getting older or if something else is going on.
I’ve also read some about the “vegan brain fog” that some former vegans write about. I have a terrible memory and have always attributed it to genetics since my mom has a bad memory. But maybe it’s diet related…
Probably the next thing has tipped me over the edge was the couple months I went gluten free. I kind of did it also as a test since I thought all the gluten free people were just trying to be weird.  I felt a lot better not eating any gluten. Never did meals make me feel terrible afterwards and I just felt better in general.
What I realized during this couple months was just how much of my diet was composed from wheat. It’s in all the fake meat products and tons of other snack products, clif bars, etc. It was pretty hard being vegetarian and gluten free.
I also read Wheat Belly prior to this couple months which was pretty interesting. It talked a lot about how the modern wheat we eat has been so drastically modified from what our great grand parents ate a hundred years ago. One acre of wheat produces 10 times as much yield as an acre did 100 years ago.  It’s been great in terms of feeding the billions of people on earth, I’m just starting to think it’s causing a lot of health problems.
Next, I’m not sure if it’s because there are a bunch of Paleo type people at SG or if it’s just really gaining popularity in Boulder over the last couple years, but being exposed to it all the time has made me wonder. For a long time, I thought it was a silly fad. I do think a lot of people focus way too much on meat and not enough on fruits and veggies which is also kind of why I thought it was dumb.
I started reading more about it and all the success stories people have had with [reversing disease](, [improving performance](, and losing weight. I’ve also realized that eating fat and cholesterol doesn’t make you fat with high cholesterol if you’re eating good fats (proper omega-3 to omega-6 ratio). [This]( is a really interesting study of a ketogenic diet (mostly fat based, no carb) was used to make obese people lose weight and lower their cholesterol.
Probably the final reason I was vegetarian in the first place was for environmental reasons. Thinking more about what you said when eating that local bison at the brewery I was wondering if the environmental impacts of my fake meat products that are probably made from soy/wheat grown in Iowa with pesticides, then shipped to some processing plant in New York, then shipped back to Colorado is really less than a bison or cow raised naturally on a farm less than 100 miles from Boulder.
I also watched [this Ted Talk]( which was pretty interesting in terms of using livestock to reverse climate change.
So anyway, I don’t know if this Paleo experiment will stick or not. I had a blood test done yesterday to check my before numbers and will do another one in a month or two. If either my numbers get worse, or my soreness in my legs and bad memory don’t get better I’ll either switch back or try something different.  Once I get the initial results back I’ll post them here.