Vegan vs. Paleo. I have issues here.

by 40 · December 04, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Hey everyone! I'm a 19 year old female in Washington state, with a long history of diets (see, I was a skinny girl who thought she was fat) nothing ever worked, and it put my digestive system through hell.

I was a vegetarian for 3 years, Vegan for 7 months, and then I was High carb low fat like mcdougall, and 30bananas a day. Tried going raw.. I failed. I was real young through all of this.. Like 16.

I wouldn't eat enough, I'd work out like a maniac, then I'd get exhausted... Eat too much, sleep to much and move too little. it always played/plays out like that.

After recently only on fruit and high carb cooked foods, I got some of these interesting health concerns. Went to my naturopath, she took me off all carbs, startche's and sugars like fruit and juice. I learned about Paleo but it scared me cause I thought eating meat would make me fat. I had no other choice really. I don't believe in eating dairy.

My health concerns all went away on Paleo, I did gain a significant amount of weight though! Which I hate. I've never lost weight on any diet really. I was 145 at 5'7 as a vegan. Paleo bumped that up to 160. The only reason I even became a vegetarian 3 years ago, was because so many promoted it as a way to lose weight! I was 120! I didn't need to lose anything.

I am a vegan again... With my friend who wanted me to do it with her. Who DID lose weight as a vegetarian. And it's only been 3 weeks, all my health concerns are back! ):

Tell me why, Once I am a vegan for a certain amount of time, I am a bottomless pit. I can eat, and eat, and eat! Never feel too full. Yet, way to many calories.

When I was Paleo, I got to a point where I could eat eggs and bacon for breakfast then be set until like 3:00!

I read somewhere that this woman became a vegetarian as a young child, and at age 26 something happened, and she completely changed her diet to Paleo... She grew like 4 inches taller and filled out so much because she was finally getting the nutrition she needed.

Could this be a reason why I gained to much? I'm technically over weight now. My body holds on to everything like I'm going through a famine. I cry at random points because I'm so tired of buying bigger clothes -.- I am at a loss. There is fat everywhere! Not to mention cellulite in more areas. Please help! I drink water, I'm usually always on my feet doing something, and I love working out (when I actually have energy). While most of mahhh friends change one little thing and lose tons of weight.

Thanks for anything. Hope you all have a wonderful night! Or day, depending on who is reading.

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8 Replies

2923 · December 02, 2012 at 07:28 AM

Weight loss is more likely to come after you foster overall good health, which in turn is arguably underpinned by you making overall lifestyle changes/changes to way you think. A big part of this will probably relate to breaking out of the 'diet mentality' which is a symptom of other issues in your life/your thought processes.

Your friends may well 'change one little thing' and have results. Sounds to me though that they are just as much in the stressful and ultimtealy metabolically deranging cycle of yo-yo dieting as you are, and overall wellbeing arguably doesn't involve one being ensconced in that cycle. If you want to be well in the long term, stop being so reactionary, take a few steps back from youself and have a look.

As for the questions you posed, I'm no expert but when you're vegan you're probably eating lots of grains and carbohydrates in general, most of the time in high proportions to other macronutrients. In some people with predispositions et cetera this can engender or exacarbate problems with blood sugar regulation. You may also have been malnourished. You might have gained on 'paleo' while eating 'better' due to hormones becoming realigned and your body recovering. For some, (such as Matt Stone at '180 degree health') (a somewhat maligned figure on Paleohacks, but someone I think has some helpful things to say for this), this is a 'normal' occurrence for 'recovering' orthorexics. You may also have been simply eating more - fatty meats and such foods have more caloric density than fruits, and while you may have been eating less in volume, total energy intrake ay have been higher than when you ate in other ways. Like a poster above mentoiend you may have been more overall while being high carb and the higher protein/fat that paleo often entails...

In the above context I'd like to iterate the axion that 'paleo' eating is not low-carb by definition- if eliminating starches and sugars is a stressor for you then don't do it (ie, also, if following the advice of your naturopath isn't working for you either have faith in the process and keep going, or, more helpfully, seek other 'knowledge', try things. You need to not be reactionary and think things worth doing can be done in very little time (as it is commonly said...). This site might be one way, I hope you find some things that help you.

I've read recommendations regrading the 'beck diet solution'- havn't experiecned it myself, you might like to check it out. As noted in the comment by VB below though, it may be better suited for people nwho would likely benefit from smaller tweaks to their thought processes being fostered; I'm not saying it couldn't help you, but can only defer to the view of someone with insights in the matter. Above all, you need to start helping yourself and stop the cycles of thoughts and actions that are preventing you feeling better.

By the way - you mentioned drinking water - if you're not thirsty it probably won't help you (and is further symptomatic of a dieting mentality where people drink water to trick themselves into being 'full'. amongst other things). This goes to the core of what I'm trying to say - stress less about diet and cultivate overall wellness. After you do that, I'm sure things can get better for you. Go easy on yourself.

15380 · December 02, 2012 at 06:07 AM

If I were you, I would check out some information from Denise Minger (I hope I spelled her name right) and check out another author's book "The Vegetarian Myth".

Both are former vegetarians.

I have nothing against vegetarians... no, that's not true. I don't understand how people can be so eager to ruin their health. Vegetarianism is a form of self-destruction.

I am not saying it to be mean, I am just saying this because I feel helpless - it is like watching a person committing a slow suicide.

If you do not want to eat meat - fine. Just eat some free-range pastured eggs and wild caught fish. For your health!!! The reason why you gained weight on Paleo 1. could be your body was getting the nutrients you so badly needed 2. could be you went too high carb. Not sure!




2030 · December 02, 2012 at 06:48 PM

I wouldn't worry so much of weight issues rather than the lack of important nutrients on a vegan diet namely carnitine, creatine, choline, phosphatidylserine, Co Q10, but the biggest downfall to a vegan diet is a lack of zinc. There are not many good bio available sources of zinc in the plant kingdom and when zinc levels get low copper tends to accumulate especially in the brain. Having a highly conductive mineral in the brain when it's not supposed to be there in that amount is generally not good.

I realize you weren't asking if a vegan diet was healthy and you have your own reasons for doing it but......don't do it!

As far as the weight is concerned I think you answered your own question. After putting your body through a perceived famine and all of a sudden re feed yourself it's gonna hold on to as much as it can. I would say to JERF it, eat thee square meals get lots of rest and stick with it for the long haul. You're young you'll bounce back like a champ.

I apologize if this sounds overbearing it's just I've been down that road and I hate to see someone else make the same mistakes I did.

2909 · December 02, 2012 at 04:03 PM

MOST Anorexics started out as vegetarians. I've always noticed this because I'm young and know a lot of young vegetarians/anorexics, but even Dr. Campbell-McBride commented on this in her book and in a lecture she was giving. For some reason, when you take high-quality protein and healthy fats out of the diet, anorexia is very likely to happen.

I believe Anorexia Nervosa is caused by not eating enough fat+cholesterol, which depresses the brain. I believe you can cure most eating disorders, without ever touching meat.

Please don't become a vegetarian. It's the worst health decision I ever made.

Vegetarianism, and I didn't even eat soy regularly, ruined my health.

1981 · December 04, 2012 at 04:50 AM

The same thing happened to me! I was bulimic for 12 years, and vegan for 2. Switching to paleo was terrifying, because I forced myself not to count calories or weigh myself. I gained weight at first, I held on to everything, my body was being fully nourished for the first time in years. I was so afraid i was going to get really fat. It did even out eventually, and the weight did come back off. Don't be too scared, focus on maximizing how good you feel, work on your relationship with your body.

1191 · December 02, 2012 at 05:34 PM

Denise Minger has a lot of personal experience with vegan vs paleo-type diets and has some good tips on how to make a vegan-type diet healthier.


363 · December 02, 2012 at 05:58 AM

I highly recommend u look into the warrior diet by Ori Hofmekler this helped me greatly !!! Intermittent Fasting is the way is bein implemented everywhere deez days its solvin tons of issues for people look it up try it and let me kno how it goes email me @


2401 · December 04, 2012 at 10:56 AM

First, great you've put effort into this, your health! This is a touchy subject because you've had self image issues, which gets out if control as you know.

That said, meat and veggies only, VLC, no carbs, as you've seen, is well able to put weight (fat) on a person. That's because it's nutritious!! So, the old rule that too many calories (basic oversimplification) for activity level adds weight applies no matter what you eat at some point.

There are ways to eat nutritious paleo to give your sick body what it needs, and get lean. First, forget the scale. Weight is a shitty measure of fitness. Get a tape measure and measure you're naval as hip circumferences if you must self monitor. Muscle weights more than fat, and will HELP you burn more fat.

Leangains.com is a great resource and method to get lean. Rippedbody.jp is too. So is Keifer's Carb Backloading.

Leangains has you keep up animal protein (beef and ruminants best) all days. You eat lean and low fat, with higher carbs from paleo sources like sweet potatoes etc on training days, low or no carbs higher fat and fattier cuts of meat on rest days, veggies all a days. Calories are higher training, lower rest.

Anyway, eat fatty meats, but not too fatty. Adding fat like oil, butter, etc isnt necessary. Eat sweet potatoes occasionally, at night (yes you read that right). You lean out if you lift weights. If you're not, get a tad less fat.

Good luck.

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