Here’s What Happens When a Vegetarian Turns Paleo



Interesting read over on Refinery 29 today. Former vegetarian Leeann Duggan opens up, confessional style, about how she gave up a 17-year veggie streak for a meat-heavy Paleo diet. Talk about a total 180, right?

“After years of eating in a way that I believed to be both morally right and healthy, I had a revelation—that I didn’t feel healthy,” she writes. “And, I sort of couldn’t remember a time when I had.” With time and a lot of self reflection, she came to realize that her meat-free diet probably had something to do with it.

Listen to this:

Despite the fact that my diet lacked red meat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and all those other enemies of health we’ve been trained to avoid since the Nixon era, despite the fact that I exercised and meditated and did acupuncture and took supplements and generally tried to maintain as chirpy and cheery an outlook as is possible for a natural born cynic, I felt the exact, diametric opposite of healthy. I felt, in a word, like crap. And, I started to suspect that my “healthy” low-fat diet of starchy carbs might have something to do with all of that. I finally admitted to myself that I needed a major change—like, quick, before my latest crash diet veered into ABC Afterschool Special territory.

This summer, she says, she decided to jump aboard the Paleo train, a dietary switch that was particularly challenging for a vegetarian, considering Paleo’s extra emphasis on, well, meat. But she did it, and she’s living to tell the tale.

Read how it turned out for her here.

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  • Hip Flexor Help

    it’s possible to be a healthy vegetarian, but it’s very difficult. With Paleo on the other hand, it’s hard not to be, simply because this is how people ate for millions of years. If you haven’t read about paleo yet you really should, here’s a guide that might help:

    • rayfay

      No, if you aren’t an idiot, it’s not hard. Be Paleo if you want, but let’s not make bogus claims.

      • Jen

        Let’s NOT just call people who find healthy vegetarianism hard “idiots” and write them off so easily.

        Yes, if you know how to cook and you correctly identify the right advice on what to do, then that makes it easier. (Just like that makes paleo easier than it could be.)

        And yet there are definitely well-informed people who have difficulty
        maintaining health on a vegetarian diet. An easy web search will find quite a few. I’d say calling them all idiots is a bogus claim.

        If you think they only really had trouble due to not having the particular type of perfect information that would have made the key difference, despite their best efforts to inform themselves… then that means it’s indeed challenging, doesn’t it?

        • rayfay

          Fine, but she said, “her low-fat diet of starchy carbs.” There’s her problem. This is someone uninformed

        • veggiedude

          Vegetarianism is so simple, you don’t even have to know how to cook! Raw food veggies unite!! You can make an exciting salad with a little imagination and a trip to the grocery store. Okay, watch a few Youtube videos if you have to.

        • HeartBurstTimetoSmile

          the 1st commentator is just making the rounds promoting his diet website. Offers no good advice.