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Hate red meat - can I still try paleo?

by (45) Updated August 25, 2011 at 12:11 AM Created August 24, 2011 at 8:57 AM

Hi guys,

I've been doing a lot of reading about paleo and am seriously considering trying this. The main thing holding me back is meat - I've been eating no meat except for fish for months and prior to that haven't eaten any sort of red meat since I was about 14, so 9 years.

My main reason for cutting out things like poultry has been ethical issues, but I think I've found a butcher in my state who sells only free range, organic meat. However, my main reason for cutting out red meat specifically all those years ago is that I've just always hated the taste. I remember sometimes it made me throw up. I enjoy pork, but could never stand anything like beef, deer, rabbit, etc.

Unfortunately the other thing I have trouble eating is seafood other than fish...mussels, scallops, etc, and I read somewhere here that these are actually the best things to supplement with if not eating red meat. I don't know if it's the texture or the taste or the sight of little bodies on a plate, but every time I try to eat one of those things I physically gag and can't keep it down. I'm open to trying seafood like this again, but while I like the idea of eating those things and want to enjoy them, I've just never been able to do it.

Do I HAVE to eat red meat and/or things like scallops to go paleo or is there any way to structure my diet in a way that doesn't require red meat?

I'm not sure if things like my age and other stats are relevant in this, but just in case they are: I'm 23, 5'4 and the last time I weighed myself a few months ago it was somewhere around 45-47kg. The only exercise I do is running, but I'm soon to start cycling and would like to try CrossFit in a while as well. I'm happy with my current weight but don't mind gaining just as long as it's muscle.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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4 Replies

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11555 · August 24, 2011 at 10:18 AM

You don't need to eat red meat to go paleo. While pork and chicken are little high on Omega6, you'll balance that out with fatty fish intake. When I first went paleo, I ate almost all fish for my protein. Fish is still @ 2/3 of my protein. Don't worry about B12, you'll get plenty from those. There is even a vegetarian paleo - Aravind - who is normally hanging around here, but he is off on a PaleoHack break.

At your age, and since you stopped eating some foods in your teens, you may want to try some of the disliked foods again. Sometimes peoples tastes change during that period. Teens can be really sensitive to flavors and textures. My daughter when from hating an incredible range of food to eating all kinds of odd vegetables, spices and seafood once she hit her 20s. No big deal if you don't want to or turn out to still hate those foods.

If you are concerned about micro-nutrient intake, start out putting your food into Cron-o-meter or FitDay to see what is off or not. http://cronometer.com/ http://www.fitday.com/ You can then search either here where people have looked for paleo sources of nutrients before, or you can look at http://nutritiondata.self.com/tools/nutrient-search and sort out what suits you.

If you like eggs, eat plenty of them too. Organs of animals other than ruminants are also full of lovely micronutrients. Chicken livers etc. But, while beneficial, they aren't necessary. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Paleolithic people lived all over from tropical Africa to Northern Europe to New Guinea etc. They necessarily ate a very wide variety of foods. Paleo is about avoiding modern harmful foods rather than eating a specific set of foods.

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5848 · August 24, 2011 at 9:19 AM

Hi SF. Of course you can do paleo without eating red meat. The concepts are based on the quality of the food and eating as close to natural as you can. If you dont like red meat dont eat it, just follow the other main "rules". As long as you cut out grains, veg oil, soy, added sugar etc (i'm sure people will add to the list), and eat real, whole foods such as meat/fish, vegies, fruit you are doing it paleo style. Eat chicken, pork and fish and cook with fat.

I'm sure someone else will answer, but i'm not sure how you would go with vit b12.

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19504 · August 24, 2011 at 1:01 PM

You will be fine and it will be so worth it. Fish is great for you. You will be avoiding oils and grains. Great choice.

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10878 · August 25, 2011 at 12:11 AM

I find one of the best ways to get my minerals is eating bone in sardines, wild salmon and various shelfish especially oysters, mussels, and scallops. Vitamin A is easy with fish liver. You can buy canned cod liver from eastern european/ Russian markets. Sea weed is great too with a fish head broth.

There's no need for red meat if you really really hate it. Though, learning to like it will make your life a lot easier going paleo. You're already cutting out a big "food" group by avoiding grains so having plenty of variety will make it seem less repetitive. Also, when visiting family or friends or going out to a restaurant, it makes life much easier if you can order the steak since chicken and pork dishes are often slathered in un-paleo foods.

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