At the expense of being ostracized myself, I am going to go for broke since I think I am likely to have a very different perspective as you will soon read. I might have to pull a Thomas Seay after this…
I was born into a strict Hindu family – meaning Lacto vegetarian (BTW – worlds apart from being a vegan). So for me, being a vegetarian was NOT a deliberate choice based on some ethical consideration or being won over by a celebrity preaching morality, but rather it was something I took as a given based on my ancestral heritage for literally 100s/1000s of years. This is no different than most people with respect to religion – with very few exceptions we are born into it and then rationalize/accept it. I am not at all religious and slave to the ritualistic bullshit (like many here, I prefer to think of myself as spiritual), but I have “ancestral baggage” for lack of a better term. 40+ years of habit, not necessarily conviction.
In 2010, I began a significant nutritional inquiry and started to devour everything I could read. My father, diabetic at 35, died of cancer at age 52. Now as a father myself for a few years, I felt compelled to do good not only by my daughter, but by myself, to ensure the well-being and longevity of our family. This led me to Paleo. I now am a proud and active member of this community. Other than the occassional inappropriate “anatomical” posts (which mysteriously seem to get deleted), I would like to think I am a thoughtful contributor here in recent months.
Ok, so time to come out of the closet….I eat no meat or fish. I do, however, liberally eat whole eggs and full fat dairy. As far as eggs are concerned, I have eaten them since childhood. As absurd as it might sound, my mother when I was a few years old started feeding me eggs unbeknownst to my father because IN SPITE OF BEING A STRICT LACTO-VEGETARIAN HERSELF, she knew that eating eggs would be good for my health (aren’t mothers wonderful!). By the time my dad caught wind of it, I was already hooked and he never said a word (he knew it was good for me too). My death bed meal would unquestionably include eggs! But 42 years into life, I have never intentionally eaten meat or fish. I am not advocating this to be optimal at all based on my last year of nutritional inquiry. I am convinced that meat does the body good. But sometimes good enough is good enough.
My primary influence has been and continues to be Dr. Kurt Harris and his Archevore approach to Paleo. If are not already familiar with it, please see the following - http://www.archevore.com/get-started/ . One of the fundamental issues is how you define Paleo. Just use the search function above to see the countless debates regarding macronutrients, inclusion vs exclusion of dairy, inclusion vs exclusion of non-gluten grains (like white rice), etc etc. As per the Archevore approach, my definition of a Paleo diet has been primarily based on avoiding the ubiquitous Neolithic Agents of Disease
- Avoidance of grains (excluding white rice as a “safe starch”)
- Avoidance of excess fructose
- Avoidance of excess linoleic acid (Omega 6 from vegetable oils)
- Avoidance of soy (limited inclusion of legumes that are prepared in a way that Stephan Guyenet and Weston Price would approve)
As a Lacto-Ovo Paleo, I am complaint with the above tenets. Then there are the Paleo lifestyle changes like adequate sleep, activity, lots of sex, etc. In doing so, my well-being and quantitative biometrics (weight, lipids, HbA1C, HS CRP, Deadlift 2x bodyweight, etc) are markedly improved. If you read the Archevore 12 steps, the vast majority of benefits are achieved via the early steps and is more about what you avoid than what you include. I talked to Dr Harris back in May 2011 (which was an amazing conversation). While he in no way suggested that avoiding meat was optimal (he definitely tried to persuade me to eat some good juicy lamb, or at least shellfish!!!), his primary focus continues to be the avoidance of NADs. I point blank told him I was willing to supplement fish oil if he thought I should and he was unequivocal in stating that his preferential approach was to reduce Omega 6 rather than the (hyper) supplementation of Omega 3. In your case, you can just eat some good ocean fish!
The bottom line to me is that as long as you are not vegan, and particularly since you are willing to eat eggs and fish, you can not only survive but actually thrive with the Lacto-Ovo-Pesca Paleo approach in comparison to being a SAD eater. And whatever you do, please don’t be vegan - ironic that a non-meat eater is making that statement : - ) I write this not because of some judgement of the ethical aspects of veganism or position of superiority, but simply because the nutritional deficiencies resulting from the avoidance of full fat dairy are enormous.
I’m not going to lie to you, IT IS VERY TOUGH TO FOLLOW THIS WAY OF EATING WITHOUT CONSTANT VIGILENCE, GIVEN THE SELF-IMPOSED HANDCUFFS. But the important things in life usually are tough. I am able to have my Paleolithic cake (avoiding NADs) and eat it too (honoring family tradition). Optimal? No. Better than the alternative. Hell Yes!!!
Also, perhaps a consideration for you is the impact to key relationships in your life. I am married to a woman of Indian descent and while she too was born into a Hindu family, she liberally eats fish and never passes up a good lamb chop (another myth in the Paleo community. There are more non vegetarian Hindus than vegetarian and rarely vegan). In spite of our dietary differences, this is not an issue between us. And as far as our daughter is concerned, I am not at all going to encumber her with my ancestral baggage so she will be relishing the lamb chops with mama and I will be happy (maybe even jealous?) as she does.
You are concerned about being ostracized by vegetarians. Excluding me, since I am clearly an outlier here in this community, I have witnessed enough compassion and thoughtfulness in this community to believe that you are going to be more than accepted by your new Paleo “family”, so screw your judgmental vegetarian friends. Sure there are assholes here too, but show me a community, organization, culture, race, society doesn’t have them. “Respectfully” tell them to go fuck themselves if they get up in your grill.
Last comment which might surprise you…on behalf of my meat eating brothers and sisters here, I actually took exception to the title “Compassionate Paleo”. This implies the others here are not compassionate because they choose to eat meat. I am bringing this to your attention because I am quite certain that you did not intend to offend anyone. But can you see how people that are choosing to eat meat might be? Something to think about.
That’s my 2 cents. Ok, let the shredding begin. Seacrest, out….