Another Vegan “Success Story”

Which sort of success would you rather have, one like those in my results folder, or one like this email, below?

I don’t know if you have the time to answer my email, but I hope so. I just stumbled across your wonderful website and have read a couple of comments from vegetarians concerning the Paleo-type diet.

My problem is that I’m a 56 year old woman who needs to lose 100 pounds. I’m so sick and tired of feeling this way. I became a vegan only one year ago, in an attempt to find the "right" and healthy diet. Except that I keep cheating with chocolate and donuts. I have lived a SAD diet for over 55 years, so it’s hard to stop.

I downloaded a few paleo books onto my Kindle and I’m seriously interested in it. I have no interest in meat or cheese or dairy, for many reasons, but I DO love sardines and don’t object to eggs either. Can I do this paleo diet with lots of salads, smoothies, and fruits while supplementing with sardines and occasionally an egg? Also, what about hemp protein? I have Sun Warrior raw RICE powder which would obviously be a no-no. But the hemp should be ok, right?

I would so appreciate some words of encouragement as I’m the only one in my family learning all this and it’s a scary thing to thrust yourself into first the vegan world and now the paleo world. Help!!!!!!

In a subsequent email this reader told me that she is 30 pounds heavier since going vegan.

Well right off the bat I have to take note that a vegan, or even vegetarian diet is probably a tough thing to get right — particularly the former. As Dan Linehan, a vegan reader and commenter has noted: Mountain Dew and Doritos are "vegan." So are chocolates and donuts. I don’t know how many comments we’ve seen around here from people who dropped the attempt at a vegan or vegetarian diet after gaining substantial weight. Such results are very hard to come by on paleo.

The thing about paleo is that it’s not just about what to avoid (neolithic food agents like grains, sugar, processed foods and industrial lubricants masquerading as "heart healthy oils) but even more, what to eat: plenty of meat, fish, fowl, vegetables, some fruit & nuts.

And while yes, there’s talk of "vegan or vegetarian Paleo" I’m not so sure that would be accurate since, by definition, paleo includes meat — we simply had to have eaten super-dense nutrition to evolve the large brains we have, in combination with small guts. On the other hand, no point in getting bogged down in semantics. Suffice to say that both vegan and vegetarian diets can be whole, natural, real food diets. I just don’t think they are anywhere near optimally nutritious while at the same time, carrying substantial risk of peril when not done properly.

So as to the specific questions above, what say you, readers? Here’s what I’d say: if you’re going to do smoothies, then use plenty of coconut milk for the fat. Sardines are certainly a good choice by between those and the eggs, try to get as close as you can to a gram of protein per day per pound of lean mass, i.e., what you would weigh without the 100 pounds of fat you need to lose.

I know nothing about hemp but I’m pretty sure that protein from fish and eggs is going to be far superior. Moreover, you might look into other types of small fish, shellfish, mussels, oysters and such.

Other advice from readers?

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Jules on October 28, 2010 at 10:42

    I’ve been a reader for a few months, first-time commenter. I felt compelled to come out of the shadows to announce that hemp protein tastes GOD AWFUL! I bought a couple canisters of Nutiva Hemp Protein Powder; I buy their coconut oil all the time, so I felt pretty safe (AND the label boldly declared it to be “delicious”). Big mistake! I’m not sure about how it stacks up nutritionally against other protein powders though; I think I’ve seen it mentioned on MDA, and Mark didn’t seem opposed to the stuff, if I remember correctly.

    • Huck Finn on October 28, 2010 at 14:37

      I like the taste of hemp protein for what its worth.

      • Jason on October 28, 2010 at 15:42

        Well, I know this might be anathema to the Paleos over here, but I don’t see anything nutritionally wrong with you eating Legumes – So long as they are soaked for a couple of days (till sprout) and then cooked thoroughly. But, it is crucially important for you to attempt to completely cut out refined sugar, cake, cookies, refined carbs… If you need to sweeten a drink you might try Stevia. If you cut out the sugars and carbs and get all the protein from meats, fish, turkey, chicken…and some thoroughly soaked and cooked legumes (which will also give you fiber), then I don’t see how you could not lose weight over the next year.

      • Jason on October 28, 2010 at 15:45

        Oh yeah, and make sure to eat all the parts of the meats, including marrow, liver, fat…

      • Aaron Curl on October 29, 2010 at 03:52

        There are many foods that people don’t see as being nutritionally wrong. Look at the nutrition label of pasta. What matters with a food is how it makes YOU feel. I personaly don’t like the way I feel after eating legumes. I originally quit eating them because they are “anti paleo” but when it’s all said and done they dont work with my body. As far as fiber……vegetable fiber is king.

  2. Russ Taylor on October 28, 2010 at 10:45

    I would think she should try giving meat another go. Maybe just start with one serving every few days and see how it goes. Maybe the way that your body reacts to all the vitamins and minerals in the meat will slowly change your view on it. My wife had no interest in eating red meat when we started Paleo but after a few small servings over the course of a month she realized that she actually liked it and has no qualms about it now.

  3. Jorge on October 28, 2010 at 10:48

    I like LOADS of seasonal veggies (winter squash time!) and meat or fish when I feel like making a kill! Usually a turkey meatball in my spaghetti or a salmon steak or even a petite fillet. Meat happens about every three days. I have to be careful with protein ’cause I’ve got chronic kidney disease from several acute hits on them due to dehydration (Marathoner’s Syndrome) so my sit is a bit unusual.

  4. Amanda on October 28, 2010 at 11:01

    I agree – she ought to give meat another try or at least eat other fish besides sardines. Sardines & eggs as protein sources would get boring quickly, IMHO. I used to eat hemp protein powder when I was an aspiring vegan, & I guess it would be ok but it doesn’t replace meat.

    Also, I’d like to comment on the the cheating with chocolate & donuts. I had wicked sugar cravings as a vegan. Once I started basing my diet on animal products, the sugar cravings went away. And, the extra weight I’ve been carrying around started to come off. So that’s something to think about.

    • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 11:08

      Hi, I am the “she” in the above email! I do have horrendous cravings for sweets. That is my main problem. About the sardines and eggs……….i am the type of person who can eat the same thing all the time, if i like it. (Jennifer Aniston has eaten the exact same regimen/salad for decades, i read somewhere). I am like that. I don’t need a lot of variety. My dilemma (besides my weight) is that i don’t want to eat meat for ethical reasons (i feel pretty strongly about this) but am open (begrudgingly) to eating sardines, and i love eggs. I picked sardines also because they are comparatively non-toxic compared to other seafood and low on the food chain. My main question for all you experts here is this: can i do this, with lots of fruits and veggies and smoothies, with eggs and sardines and some protein powders alone? It seems like the answer is “yes”! I just need direction, after almost losing my mind reading all the blogs and experts, doctors and books out there. One final note, reading how everyone feels so much better with meat……….i follow a raw vegan website where they are constantly “fasting”, and i mean fasting for months!! And you should read the complaints, diarrhea, headaches, back pain, body pain, weakness, i mean this goes on for weeks and months and these people never feel better. Something is definitely missing there.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 11:15


        On the ethical issue, I highly recommend reading The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith on that score (you can search this blog for several reviews of the book I have done). She has a whole long chapter on the ethical issue. She was a vegan for 20 years.

        She eats meat, now.

      • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 11:25

        will look into this book right now, thanks.

      • Russ Taylor on October 28, 2010 at 11:34

        I was just going to recommend the same book. I wasn’t a Vegetarian when I read it, but still found it amazingly eye-opening. She has also done several interviews on podcasts which you can get for free on itunes. I know Jimmy Moore interviewed her on Livin’ Lo-Carb, Nora Gedgaudas interviewed her, and Sean Croxton on Underground Wellness did as well. She’s got a great story and tons of information!

      • Amanda on October 28, 2010 at 12:26

        Hi, Gabriele! I also recommend Lierre Keith’s book. It’s a great read.

      • Huck Finn on October 28, 2010 at 14:40


        At least consider becoming a “flexitarian,” not that I like any of these cutesy names. Eat fish twice a week and a big ol’ steak on another day.

        I’m betting that you’ll see an immediate difference.

        Substitute the huge amounts of grains you’re taking in for the meat on 3-4 days per week. You’ll see.

      • amanda beth on October 28, 2010 at 16:37

        Also, I’m sure many paleo ex-vegans would be glad to stay in touch with you over e-mail for questions that might feel out of place in such a public forum and ongoing support–we’re a pretty passionate bunch as far as I can tell (all this new found energy and happiness and all…) I know I would be willing.

      • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 17:55

        Amanda, and anyone else, i would love to communicate by email, it would help me a lot. Mine is, please drop me a line.

      • John on October 28, 2010 at 20:42

        Gabriele, if you truly love sardines and like eating the same thing day after day, you are blessed, for no food is better for you than sardines. They are as low as you can get on the food chain (and thus low in mercury, etc.) without eating plankton, and are jammed full of omega 3’s.

        As for your sweets cravings, they will resolve if you ingest more fat. I highly recommend for more info, but simply drinking a couple of tablespoons a day of coconut oil (or, if money is no object, MCT oil…but coconut oil is a dirt-cheap substitute) will cause your carb cravings to disappear.

        Our sugar “Jones” are really a sign of a lack of fat in our diet. And, yes, eating sugar will cause our bodies to create a TON of triglycerides — fat — in our bloodstream, but that is NOT the road to health!

        If you authentically love sardines, and love eating the same thing, do not be swayed by the idea that you need ‘variety’ — that idea is a confection of capitalism, an attempt to sell you shit you don’t need.

        The truth is, we evolved to find and flourish in niches where we found foods that sustained us — and that was ALL we ate, ever! Don’t be buffaloed into thinking you need to eat crap that people want to sell you!

        Good luck

      • Stu on October 29, 2010 at 07:05

        I second the sardines. Eat them everyday. However, be careful how they’re packed. Many are packed in oil and that oil is probably high in Omega 6 and will undo much of the benefits of the omega 3 in the sardines. Get the ones packed in water. I like the ones in hot sauce. Also, don’t be afraid to eat more than the occasional egg. Get fresh free range if possible. Look for the bright orange yolk.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 29, 2010 at 08:02

        Yes, Gabriele, birds, including chickens are not vegetarians, so the “all vegetarian diet” you see on packaging is bogus.

        Birds eat bugs, insects, worms so when free range this shows up as far higher nutrition in the yolk. The white is essentially only protein. The yolk has just about every essential nutrient a human needs.

      • bob r on October 29, 2010 at 08:24

        The yolk does have the greater amount of *most* nutrients compared to the white but the whites do have the major portion of a few.

        See Lessons From A Neighbor’s Refrigerator for a chart showing nutrient content of the white and the yolk.

        Bottom line: eat the whole egg. And plenty of them.

      • John on October 29, 2010 at 09:21

        Little-known fact: the yellow color in 99% of store-bought eggs comes from tumeric. The tumeric is not there for the hen’s nutrition; it’s only there since it will concentrate in the yolks and give them the yellow-orange color consumers expect from non-Frankenfoods.

        The feed must be adulterated with tumeric because the hens that lay most store-bought eggs never get the beta carotene which would cause the yolks to turn the normal color. Without the tumeric, the eggs would look bizarre — the yolks would be light gray, with no color at all.

      • Dan Linehan on October 29, 2010 at 16:58

        That is the grossest thing I’ve heard all week!

      • amanda beth on October 28, 2010 at 16:31

        I’d like to second/third/fourth this recommendation. I am another former vegan who transitioned to paleo for health reasons and know how hard it can be (not only are you trying to reconfigure your taste buds but also your ethics) and this book was a huge help to me. I can’t overestimate it and am endlessly appreciative for the push–I feel a million times more alive.

        In the meantime, I suggest you read over the ex-vegan interviews at Let Them Eat Meat ) and then poke around the rest of the site at your leisure–I loved having access to the stories of so many people who abandoned veganism for a number of different reasons and felt much less alone when I did so as well.

      • Eric W. on October 29, 2010 at 00:30

        Hi Gabriele.

        I was in a similar situation as you, transitioning from a vegan diet to a diet that includes some meat, while still having ethical qualms. My solution has been to eat a lot of brainless shellfish like mussels, oysters, scallops, etc. You can surely eat those, if you can eat sardines. I also eat tempeh a few times a week.

        As an aside, it’s interesting to me to read all the wildly differing reactions people have to changes in diet, when my experience has been that nothing makes much difference. I moved from a fairly average diet (for an Australian) to completely vegan over night. I was vegan for the next four years. My weight did not change, my energy did not change, my GI ‘habits’ did not change. Recently I’ve cut out grains and pretty much all processed foods, added the meats mentioned above, replaced vegetable oils with coconut oil, replaced soy milk with coconut milk.
        And how do I feel? Exactly the same 🙂

      • John on October 29, 2010 at 09:25

        my experience has been that nothing makes much difference.

        Try making those changes when you’re fifty; you will have a different experience.

        I would love to have a twenty-something pancreas again. Unfortunately, I’ve got to go with the one I’ve got.

      • Alex on October 29, 2010 at 02:55

        “I don’t want to eat meat for ethical reasons.”

        I take it, as a vegan, you do not wear leather or suede or use any product that contains animal derived by-products? If so, I have to ask do you drive/own a car? If you do, you are already breaking the vegan ethical code. Both car tyres and the asphalt road surface you drive on contain by-products from cattle. In the case of car tyres, they contain stearic acid derived from beef fat.

        This is the real incongruity within the whole vegan philosophy. There is no way you can totally avoid coming into contact with products that derive their ingredients from animals. Even the plants you eat have been harvested at the expense of animal life – either directly through being chopped up by the harvesting machinery or indirectly via loss of habitat through having huge acreages ploughed up for planting.

      • Gabriele on October 29, 2010 at 07:22

        Alex, while i totally see your point here, that doesn’t mean one can’t strive to be as “pure” (not really the right word) as possible if one wants to be a vegan. I’m very impure, actually, i am just drawn to the vegan diet, after all my reading. And even though car parts might have animal ingredients, and even though eating plants might disrupt or kill some animals, slaughtering them to eat them is a little more disruptive, don’t you think? On a massive scale! I don’t want to argue veganism anyway, obviously i’m making a step away from it, or i wouldn’t be here! My heart is with John Robbins, but i understand even he eats fish. :))

      • Alex on October 29, 2010 at 10:34

        “And even though car parts might have animal ingredients, and even though eating plants might disrupt or kill some animals, slaughtering them to eat them is a little more disruptive, don’t you think?”

        No – but I have been there, done that and got the t-shirt! All life is predicated on death; both animal and plant life – it is the circle of life! The only thing I would agree on is that livestock should be raised and slaughtered humanely but that is as much for the fact that it means the resultant produce is healthier for me than it is ‘kinder’ to them!

      • Alex on October 29, 2010 at 10:41

        Sorry, the last line should have read:
        The only thing I would agree on is that livestock should be raised and slaughtered humanely but that is as much for the fact that it means the resultant produce is healthier for me AS it is ‘kinder’ to them!

        Luckily you seem to have come to a realisation early into you foray into veganism that it holds many pitfalls (not least for health) – I had to have a dire warning from a medical professional before I woke up to the fact that I was slowly killing myself on a raw, whole-foods vegan diet!

      • Gabriele on October 29, 2010 at 14:40

        Well the worst pitfall is the holier than thou attitude i have seen, especially among vegan raw foodists. Oh my god!!! Just start a thread about their use of honey and they are the most militant, hypocritical, aggressive people i have ever seen. So that is a big turn off.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 29, 2010 at 15:14

        I have a few posts over the last few weeks about a certain cult of raw fruit eaters, the 30 bananas a day crowd. You might want to check the blog archives over the last few weeks.

      • R Dunn on October 29, 2010 at 19:15

        And you might want to skip over anything I wrote.

      • Sydney on November 2, 2010 at 18:52


        I am very much like you in terms of being able to eat the same thing all the time (15 years of bagels and pasta), though I think that was more true when I was eating grains (probably some addictive component). On a more or less paleo diet, I have trouble finding something that sticks – I’d like to find something, as I’m lazy and a bad cook, so trying to come up with something new all the time is burdensome. On top of that, I don’t care for meat – I’m eating this way for health, but the enjoyment isn’t there fore me, unfortunately. Most of the low-carb/paleo oriented cook books and recipes assume you all kinds of meat, so it’s hard to find things. I’ve found blackened salmon swimming in garlic and butter to be as close as I’ve come to something I could eat regularly. Also, a big salad, a la Mark Sisson, with hard boiled eggs and homemade dressing (avoiding those bad vegetable oils) works for me as a staple. And of course, there’s bacon, which I do like.

        I will agree that my sweet cravings are much diminished since going low carb.

        If you’re trying to lose weight, keep the fruit to a minimum, stick to berries, and avoid liquid food (smoothies) as much as possible as they are high glycemic and will spike insulin, which is what you’re trying to avoid. If you read *Primal Body, Primal Mind*, Gedgaudes says 50g protein/per day (60z of fish and a couple eggs) is perfectly adequate – provides enough protein while minimizing insulin. Anyway, that’s how I’m managing. Wish I liked more varieties of fish (-:

      • kim on November 7, 2010 at 06:58

        I was coerced in to become a vegan by my daughters in Sept. ’09. Mind you, it was NOT because I wished to save lives of animals, it was strictly for health reasons on my part. I was faithful to it until January ’10 at which point I began to add an occasional egg, or cheese to it. One of my goals was to loose weight which they assured me I surely would as a vegan, but to no avail. I still hoovered at my 172lbs on my 5’4″ frame.

        Whereas I did not loose weight, I did learn that I could “avoid” meat and many processed foods, but more importantly, I choose the “organic” alternatives. I feel like that is where my health benefit was impacted. I began the paleo diet Oct. 2nd of this year, and I have lost 11 pounds fairly effortlessly. I do try to do some form of exertion (ie a hard bike ride) 2 to 3 times a week, but that is it. I feel great and my digestion is working much better. No need for wetwipes in the restroom with the paleo. No large bouts of gas. It is working for me. I hope you can find a happy ground in your dietary search. I do believe that free range is very humane and that foods eaten from free range v.s. confinement is worlds apart and very ethical. IMO.

  5. Sylvie O. on October 28, 2010 at 11:03

    I have just two words for her: Lierre Keith.

  6. Monica on October 28, 2010 at 11:05


    It’s not necessary to eat red meat, cheese or dairy to be paleo. What I’m curious about is your desire to “supplement” with fish or eggs. Why should these be supplemental, rather than a daily staple in your diet? What’s the logic behind this? (I’m sure you already have, but I’m curious.) Is the motivation to limit these foods to do least harm to animals? Or because you’re still skeptical of their healthiness? Or because you’re just plain grossed out by the thought of eating a lot of animal flesh? You could go Kitavan and do 60-70% of your calories from carbs and the rest from fish and coconut, but you might not see significant weight loss if you have weight to lose. For that, you may need to up the protein and fat for awhile.

    I think Richard has some awesome suggestions and you’re already on the right track. A diet composed of sardines, eggs, other fish, shellfish and lots of “paleo” carbs like sweet potatoes or even white potatoes, and lots of green veggies or coconut, would supply you with adequate proteins and fats. The proportion of these foods probably just depends on your goals, but I’m with Richard: get the protein and fats up higher. The occasional egg or sardine will keep you from going insane, but it isn’t going to cut it for your overall optimal health and well being.

    I wager that a diet of these foods might actually be more nutritious in terms of micronutrients and minerals (vital for good mitochondrial function) than the diet of the average paleodieter eating a lot of red meat but eschewing the organ meats and bone broths. No one eats cow brains now due to regulatory hurdles, but they were probably an essential source of DHA for paleolithic people. (Sorry if that grosses you out…) Heck, they were an important part of the American diet less than 100 years ago, and we no longer eat them or most of the other organ meats that are packed with vitamins and minerals. So your next best bet is fish.

    Best wishes in your pescatarian adventures! I know of a few women who are paleo pescatarians and they look wonderful and are very athletic.

  7. Monica on October 28, 2010 at 11:08

    Also…. DITCH any non food sources of protein. You would not eat marijuana plants to get your protein and no one knows what the effects would be doing that over the long term. Ditch that idea fast.

    I recommend using Fitday to tally up your protein grams each day just to see where you’re at for awhile. Richard’s recommendations on grams of protein per lean mass are good. If you increase fats and proteins you will be amazed at your lack of hunger. Getting adequate magnesium (Natural Calm) will decrease the chocolate cravings, too.

    • Soposie on October 29, 2010 at 21:45

      I have to second the “get adequate magnesium” suggestion. I totally hear you about the chocolate cravings. I could care less about any other form of candy, but had horrible (HORRIBLE) chocolate cravings for decades on a mostly-vegetarian-heart-healthy-whole-grains-low-fat SAD. About two years ago, I went ‘primal’ and the chocolate cravings definitely got a bit better, but were still a big problem for me. About three or four months ago, the idea to supplement magnesium finally ‘clicked’ with me intellectually. I had tried it before for only a month, but now understand that apparently it takes several weeks to months for supplementation to be accumulate and be effective. I took Epsom salt baths every day for two weeks; I used magnesium oil every day for a couple weeks; I take a Natural Calm private-brand equivalent daily. (I only supplement magnesium, vitamin D and some fish oil). I have to say it’s made a HUGE difference in my cravings. A second factor in controlling the chocolate cravings is to eat enough protein (for me, that’s 1 gram or more per kilogram of body weight) and fat – every day. If I get lazy and not eat enough for a couple days, the chocolate cravings come back full force.

  8. Jim Arkus on October 28, 2010 at 11:09

    My girlfriend’s sister went vegan for a few months recently and was very proudly living on Captain Crunch and vegan hotdogs. Had to stop when she went from 105 lbs. to 96 lbs. But I’m the asshole for all that caveman stuff I do. Right.

    I noticed a few of the comments instantly went to red meat when talking about reintroducing animal protein. No reason she couldn’t start with chicken. Chicken, eggs, maybe a little fish. What else do you need?

  9. Lute Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 11:14

    I say forget the hangups and eat meat. You’ll learn to love it, because it’s natural to the human nutritional need. Think about it, do you want to continue to destroy your life because of hangups you have about meat. Absurd, totally. Then eat plenty of raw and cooked vegetables and then some fruit and nuts. Also eat plenty of eggs, not just one every now and then. Regular exercise (the right way) and plenty of sleep. Then you will achieve your goal.

    • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 12:25

      I just have to reply here, i don’t have any “hangups” about meat. I’ve eaten meat for over 50 years. My parents were European and we ate it all, liver, kidneys, hearts, raw hamburger (back in the day), and some stuff i have purged from my brain. I have lately come to believe (maybe incorrectly, i’ll give you that) that humans were not meant to eat meat. Either way, whatever we all believe or can prove, i don’t like killing or letting someone else kill an animal to eat. Not a hang up, but a moral belief. Something i have to wrestle with myself.

      • Sue on October 30, 2010 at 20:05

        Gabrielle you ate meat for over 50 years – just start eating it again. Go for the pasture-raised kind.

  10. Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 11:14

    Monica, thank you for your comments. I don’t remember using the word supplement, but if i did, i didn’t mean it that way. I want to eat sardines and eggs whenever i want, even every day. I am still sensitized about eating a formerly living thing, can’t help it, but i’m sure i’ll get over that. I do want to do the least damage i can, for now. Also, it’s tough for a fat person to read that increasing fat and protein will help in losing weight! Can’t help this either, will have to try it out and see if it works. Wow, i just read your comments about Natural Calm, which i have sitting on my desk. Did not know that it decreases chocolate cravings, that’s great to know. Thank you all for your great comments. Keep them coming, i’m soaking them up like a sponge.

    • anand srivastava on October 28, 2010 at 11:33

      I think the best policy is to start simple.
      Since you have a lot of weight to lose, you need to go low carb.
      To go low carb you have to rely on vegetables and sardines/eggs a lot. It can be difficult in the beginning.
      You will have to rely on coconut oil/cream a lot.
      Basically whenever you feel a craving for sweets keep coconut cream handy, and get used to it.
      Don’t bother about hemp seeds. Whey protein is the best protein supplement you can get. If you are going to eat lots of sardines you don’t need O3 or Vitamin D3 supplements, actually any supplements. It is low in fat too, so you will get enough protein as well, and would not require protein supplements.
      Sardines are that good. But you do need to eat a lot to provide the required protein.
      Check out nutrition data. Check out calculators on Those will help you determine how much to eat. Initially its a good idea to get a basic feel of how much protein/fat/carbs are in what you eat regularly.

      • Sydney on November 2, 2010 at 21:31

        Per Robb Wolf, who knows his stuff, Whey Protein is NOT the best protein, particularly for someone trying to lose weight. In addition to being highly processed and thus more insulin spiking, dairy (from which whey is derived) is intrinsically growth promoting (which makes sense when you think about it). Great for people trying to bulk up, but not for people trying to lean out and/or concerned about cancer. Say no to whey. If you must use protein powders, I’m thinking the best thing to do is to use a mix to get a range of aminos. Pea powder is supposed to be pretty good. None of them have the nice qualities of whey for shakes and snacks, but again, if you want to lose weight, focus on whole foods.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 2, 2010 at 21:45

        Sydney, it’s casein that promotes cancer growth (in rats, anyway). Whey does the opposite. It’s protective.

        But agreed. Not suitable as a dietary staple.

      • gallier2 on November 2, 2010 at 23:50

        Haven’t you read Chris Masterjohn deconstruction of this Campbell meme that casein promotes cancer? Any (plant & animal alike) complete protein promotes cancer grow in the conditions Campbell’s experiments were laid out (i.e. aflatoxin is cancer inducing and the cancer can only really grow if sufficient nutrition is available in the form of good proteins).
        Read Chris’ entry again
        imho the last nail in Campbells coffin and definitely more relevant than Denise’s entries.

    • Monica on October 28, 2010 at 11:43

      I’m so glad! I went paleo 2.5 years ago and I feel so great now. I wasn’t really vegetarian before, but I didn’t each much fish (too expensive), and about the only meat I ate was chicken, and I was afraid of eating fat. I was constantly hungry and my weight kept increasing over the decade. I ate a lot of bread, sugar, rice and beans as a grad student, because I thought it was generally nutritious and it was all I could afford. I never got really large, but I did feel miserable. I was extremely cranky and anxious, and thrived on conflict. My main benefits have been mental (but I didn’t have that much weight to lose in the first place).

      One thing I feel fairly strongly about is that you should not do protein powder. There is a young vegan girl in my CrossFit gym who looks great, is very strong and fit, and uses various plant protein powders, but really, no one knows what the long term effects of these are. She is only 20 or so. I’m also very down on egg or dairy based protein powders. The hormonal and biochemical effects just aren’t well known. My overriding principle now is that real food is where it’s at. I supplement magnesium and that’s it. Even there, I try to eat more dark green leafy veggies. For omega 3s and minerals I’m trying to rely more on seafood. I’m open to the idea that some people are so deficient that they require artificial supplementation, but my main principle is real food. Our ancestors didn’t need supplements, and we shouldn’t either… (unless we’ve eaten crap for 35 years, 50 in your case. 🙂 )

      If you were to eat 5 small cans of sardines per day, you’d be getting adequate protein, probably, even without eating any eggs. Sardines are a nutritional powerhouse. Hard to see what you would be deficient in eating that way. Lots of minerals, including iron, calcium, and omega 3. My one warning on canned fish is that a lot of them are canned in nasty oils. I would recommend avoiding any oil-canned fish, even olive oil, as it is often cut with other nasty oils. If you get them canned in water or tomato sauce, that would be better. There’s not a whole lot of vitamin A in sardines. Eat your sweet potatoes and hopefully you’re a good converter of beta carotene to vitamin A with adequate fats in your diet. Better yet, get some good quality cod liver oil (Carlson’s or Green Pasture’s brands) and supplement with 1 tsp. daily.

      You’re going to feel great, you’re going to lose weight, and I’m sure you’re going to get lots of great advice here. Your learning will increase exponentially about all this stuff. Please keep us updated in this thread as the weeks and months pass, OK? 🙂

      • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 12:22

        I most definitely will. There isn’t a lot of talk about fruits here (that i’ve seen in my short time)…..aren’t fruits a big part of this also? forgive my ignorance here. I’m a big cantalope eater, lots of Vitamin A there. Thanks for all your input, Monica, i will keep boring you with my updates, you can be sure!!!

      • Jonathan on October 28, 2010 at 12:56

        Fruits would have been eaten but from the Paleo perspective, only when in season and preferably when fully ripe (or cooked) as it would be more processable and more gentle on the gut. Not paleo but if you want to look at the nutritional side of things, check out the work over at Weston A. Price Foundation and their info on VitA (you need more than beta-carotene)

      • Jonathan on October 28, 2010 at 12:57

        by “not paleo” I mean that is not their focus. A lot of their info lines up with paleo perfectly.

      • Paul C on October 28, 2010 at 13:11

        I was going to comment on the lack of fruit comments. Others can say this better than I — fruit is fine, if you limit it so that it doesn’t affect your blood sugar and insulin too much. Cantalope is on the high end for glycemic index and glycemic load if I remember right. In other words, “big cantalope eater” is going to be working against the optimal state of your hormones for weight loss.

      • Jonathan on October 28, 2010 at 13:24

        if you got 100lbs to lose, you’re probably not very insulin sensitive right now. You will mostly likely need to drop sub 50g carbs/day to lose and fruits can rack up the carbs quick. If your goal is weight loss, stick with the low glycemic fruits like berries till you drop the weight.
        But if you don’t mind taking it slow and fruit is what helps you stick to paleo type eating then go for it.

      • NoGluten on October 29, 2010 at 17:06

        Fruit may not be fine for the OP. The only way to know is to use a blood glucose meter. See for details.
        Also, there are a few vegans on the Bernstein plan (low carb, higher fat, adequate protein) so you may want to check out the Bernstein forum at or check out his book, the diabetes diet. Non-diabetic low carbers are welcome. Plenty of people there eat a “standard” meal with little variety because they know it works for the blood sugar.

      • Sydney on November 2, 2010 at 21:36

        To expand on what Jonathan and others said, fruit might technically be paleo, but it is not great for weight loss (look for “Sugar, the Bitter Truth” on YouTube – mostly about fructose). Moreover, in Paleo times, fruit was much less sweet than it is today. And again, if you think about it, fruit was eaten when it was ripe, mostly at the end of the summer, probably facilitating some weight gain going into the leaner winter months. So I’m guessing it’s very purpose for us physiologically was to add some body fat.

    • Jim Arkus on October 28, 2010 at 11:44

      For what it’s worth, whenever I end up with a sugar craving it means I’m not getting enough protein. Took me a long time to figure that one out. So if not meat, I’d start eating more eggs and get that protein intake up. That and some more fat and you won’t have chocolate cravings anymore.

      • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 12:23

        Really, the chocolate cravings are killing me. It’s getting worse and worse. What about the argument that too much protein is bad for the kidneys? Throwing that one out there for all of you…..

      • Jonathan on October 28, 2010 at 13:03

        High blood sugar is way worse on your kidneys.

        Cravings are a sign your body needs something. Chocolate has fat and magnesium. Probably need both. Just take it slow adding too much coconut oil, etc. to your diet. I can drink butter and coconut oil with no side effects but others (especially not used to it) will have an oil slick in the toilet later. Give your gut a chance to heal and your body a chance to adapt.

      • Bushrat on October 28, 2010 at 16:49

        The problem with the oil slick is also due to a lack of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Too much anti-biotic use kills them.

      • Bushrat on October 28, 2010 at 16:48

        If you have damaged kidneys than protein is bad for them. But, when you get to that point, anything you eat will do damage to your kidneys.

        Protein is the building blocks for your body. You need to eat enough protein or your body will start to fall apart.

      • Walter on October 28, 2010 at 20:08

        Per Mike Eades, MD protein consumption does not damage healthy kidneys, in fact increased protein consumption will improve normal kidney function.

      • NoGluten on October 30, 2010 at 11:24

        Bernstein’s own kidney problems resolved with long term bloos glucose control. He’s documented kidney problem reversals in several of his patients eating his plan – 30 g CHO per day, adequate protein and high fat.

    • Michele on October 28, 2010 at 19:38


      I just wanted to encourage you in increasing fat and protein. I started out with over 90 pounds to lose, and I’ve lost 50 of them so far. The 1st 10 were before I tried paleo and it took me 9 months to get them off. I lost the next 40 in 6 months on paleo. Your cravings will reduce a lot after a couple months. Just wanted to share from another fat person who was also worried about increasing fat.

      • Gabriele on October 29, 2010 at 07:24

        thanks Michele, that is encouraging.

    • Sue on October 30, 2010 at 20:06

      Increase the protein, lower the carbs and keep fat moderate – not too high as you have a lot of body fat.

      • Jeanmarie on February 26, 2011 at 21:42

        Wrong, eating fat, especially animal fat and other naturally saturated fats like coconut oil, is very important for good health, including weight optimization. Other people here have mentioned the mantra “low carb, moderate protein, high fat” and that’s a great way to lose weight. Natural animal fats are excellent sources of vitamins A and D and cholesterol and a mixture of fatty acids (it’s not all saturated fat) that all have their role in a healthy diet.

  11. Paul on October 28, 2010 at 11:27

    I can understand the moral hesitation to eat meat, i have been there myself. I think its important to understand that as humans, we must consume other life in order to live. I just tell myself that its not for nothing i take the lives of other animals, its with a purpose. And that purpose is to nourish my body and mind. Not to make a triple stacker cheeseburger that tastes nice. I found that I felt better about consuming meat if it was with the right intent and done with the right state of mind; slowly, carefully, appreciatively, and considering what was lost with my gain. If your willing to make the change, while it may be tough at first, it may be helpful to get closer to your food source. Get your food locally, know where its coming from, come to terms with the fact that an animal was killed rather than looking at a pile of meat at a grocery store.

    I would say in your situation along with the diet, definitely introduce some exercise, i don’t know what your current activity levels are like. Just getting outside and going for a walk every day can do wonders, especially barefoot.

    and just remember your not alone, we’re all working on this together.

    • Justin @paleonotes on October 28, 2010 at 13:43

      “I think its important to understand that as humans, we must consume other life in order to live.”

      Agreed, and it’s important to realize that this is true for vegans as well, most of whom conveniently ignore the fact the plants are just as alive as animals.

      • Sue on October 30, 2010 at 20:10

        Agreed. I think its also convenient to say I’ll eat sardines but not red meat. Just eat for health I say.

  12. Travis on October 28, 2010 at 11:39

    @Gabriele: You can slowly work your way up to eating steak, chicken, pork, and so forth. Keep eating sardines, but try other fish such as salmon, trout, etc. Work your way up the food chain. Perhaps try poultry after fish.

    It sounds like you’re on the classic sugar train: eat sugar, crash, crave more sugar. Keep it up with eating eggs, but also try as hard as you can to cut out ALL processed sugars and grains from your diet to get off the nasty sugar train. That means no sodas, no candy bars, etc. Get your carbs from vegetables and fruits. In the fruit category, berries are among the best. It’ll take several weeks to get off the sugar train and you may be irritable and possibly more tired than usual during that time. When you want candy, eat an apple or a handful or berries. Nuts (not peanuts) in smal amounts are also great snacks. (Almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)

    If you follow a paleo diet, those pounds will come off, but believe me it will be a struggle at first. If you haven’t already, get a copies of The Primal Blueprint (Sisson), The Paleo Diet (Cordain), Protein Power (Drs. Eades), and The Paleo Solution (Robb Wolf). Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes is also great. These are the books I have personal experience with.

    Good luck to you!

    • The Dude on October 28, 2010 at 11:45

      I’ve read the number one food that has enticed vegetarians to reconsider meat, is bacon. And why not? It’s awesome!

      I know Dr. Eades counsels people on eating “Paleo-ish” while maintaining their desires to avoid animal suffering, so although it’s not optimal, it’s possible. Search around for that, he mentioned it in “Protein Power.”

      Yes… eating fat and protein will help you lose weight. Right now your body craves carbohydrates for energy (hence the light headed, grouchy hunger pangs). When you lower the carbs and increase the fat, your body will start using fat for energy – both dietary AND stored fat. So when you’re “low” on food your body will just go for the stored fat. That’s my understanding of why an intermittent fast is great for weight loss.

      Up the coconut milk in those smoothies (the full fat stuff). Eat avocados… give uncured bacon a try with those eggs! If you can stomach a sardine (which seems gnarly – it’s a whole fish right? Face included?) why not add some scallops, tuna or salmon?

      • Travis on October 28, 2010 at 11:59

        @The Dude: Yes, how could I have failed to mention bacon! 🙂

    • Richard Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 11:57

      and hey, if the sardines work for you, don’t sweat it for now. You didn’t put on the 100 pounds overhight and it’s best not to try to get it off overnight. My 60 pounds took nearly 3 years to come off. Lose fat slowly.

      About sardines, I saw a TV or YouTube of chef Alton Brown after he dropped 50 pounds low carb. When asked how he did it, he said that every time he craved cake or cookies he had sardines instead.

      So there you go.

      • Travis on October 28, 2010 at 12:04

        Very true Richard, it’s best for the pounds to come off slowly. The quick way never works and I know that from previous experience.

      • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 12:38

        wow, really? I can name this diet the Sardine diet then!!

      • anand srivastava on October 29, 2010 at 10:11

        I haven’t ever seen an episode of Good Eats but the transcripts at the GoodEatsFanPage are great. I learnt making pizza from him, which I won’t ever be eating now :-(. But we recently made the Meatza thanks to you.

    • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 12:27

      Travis, i have actually downloaded all those books to my Kindle. Am working my way thru, just really discovered Paleo a few days ago. Thanks for all the great advice.

      • Travis on October 29, 2010 at 08:44

        You’re welcome. The people here are great and I’ve learned much and found many paths to information through FTA. I learn something new almost every day about primal eating and living, and take my time analyzing it all to see how it works for me.

  13. The Dude on October 28, 2010 at 11:42

    Woody Harrelson wouldn’t eat a real Twinkie in the movie “Zombieland” because it wasn’t vegan, so they made him a vegan version. I saw the recipe, and it was just sugar and vegetable fat. Sounds like a much healthier alternative, but it was Vegan!

  14. Monica on October 28, 2010 at 11:58


    The awesome comments are flowing in…. Paul’s comment above is great. One idea is to find a local source for your eggs, if you haven’t already. They will likely be more nutritious than grocery store eggs.

    You may or may not have heard of the grass-fed/ pastured animal farm model where animals are treated humanely. Perhaps that might change your thoughts and feelings about animal-based agriculture, seeing some of these farms in action? Something to think about. Some good sources for finding these types of farms include:

    Again, best wishes! You’re on an amazing journey that is going to lead to so many benefits.

    • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 12:41

      Yes, i’m kind of excited, just reading these supportive comments. I’m afraid my eggs will have to come from Whole Foods for now. The bacon, meat, chicken……..that’s not going to happen, i don’t think. I’m a little upset even at eating the sardines, but i’m going to be a big girl and do it. I want to do the least damage, this is just the way i think and i am not projecting my feelings about killing animals on anyone else. I ate meat for 50 years, so i couldn’t do that. I do have a giant container of coconut oil in my kitchen. Maybe i can add that to my smoothies too. NObody is using the stuff right now…

  15. MAS on October 28, 2010 at 12:09

    Although I am 90% paleo now, at one time I was a vegetarian. Last month I did a post on how I would do a vegetarian diet better. Although it isn’t exactly what you asked, you may find some helpful ideas there.

    If I Were Still a Vegetarian

    • Richard Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 12:20

      That is an awesome post, MAS. I’m going to add the link as an addendum to the post. Never know who might Google in here.

      And really, we’re looking for success, not religious conformity. So, do what works for you.

    • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 12:43

      thank you, i bookmarked this site, VERY helpful. What is the story with sprouted lentils and such? Bad??? I love sprouts…

      • MAS on October 28, 2010 at 14:56

        Sprouting lentils is a good thing. Kidney and soy beans are the ones you don’t want to sprout.

    • anand srivastava on October 29, 2010 at 11:11

      Being an Indian, I do know what it takes to be a vegetarian. We do have a lot of traditions that make sense in the light of known science.
      1) Non-dairy vegetarian is not healthy, unless you add a number of supplements. Ofcourse then its not a natural diet. In India Raw Milk, Yogurt, and Ghee are 3 of the 5 divine things, the other two being honey and Basil. No religious ceremony is complete without these. They are your only source of B12 and K2. It also helps with Zinc. Dairy also provides a lot of short chain fatty acids that help your gut handle the onslaught of lectins from the grain/legume diet.
      2) You cannot get enough protein from legumes as they are incomplete. You need to combine them with grains. The safest way to get protein seems to be the ancient way of eating grain/legumes, ie soak grind ferment and then cook into Dosa/Idly/Appam/Uttapam.
      3) Eat your vegetables. They are your only source of nutrition.
      4) I believe ghee will be better for vegetarians than coconut oil.

  16. Luc on October 28, 2010 at 12:13

    Protein powders and smoothies are just not very helpful for me at all with regards to weight loss.
    I have the impression such powders and shakes deprive the body of a major feedback leading to the feeling of satiety and satisfaction – actually chewing on something which provides some resistance.
    It may sound stupid, but my advice would be to always incorporate something chewy into your diet.

  17. pecanmike on October 28, 2010 at 12:23

    Regarding the food chain. I would think that the bovine (cow/buffalo) is basically on the same level as sardine in the food chain, just in a different part of the planet. The bovine in nature is eaten by carnivores and omnivores (wolves, coyotes, bears, pigs and yes humans) as are sardines eaten by carnivores and omnivores in the sea.

    • Monica on October 28, 2010 at 12:37

      Exactly. Salmon are almost at the top of their food chain. I certainly wouldn’t want to eat the animals that eat salmon (wolves, bears, humans). 🙂

    • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 12:44

      i mean low on the seafood food chain so that they are not so full of toxins. It is claimed that they are relatively toxin-free and clean.

  18. Monica on October 28, 2010 at 12:36

    When I read admonishments for vegans to start eating poultry, I kinda go “Huh?” What’s the point, unless it’s to get used to the idea of eating a land mammal? We evolved our big brains on seafood.

    I think people should just eat some beef from humanely farmed animals if they can get over the hump of eating land mammals. Cows have a little more personality than a chicken, but really… not a whole lot. I don’t want to start a flame war… I’m just saying… what’s the point? Chicken is pretty high in omega 6, hella expensive (on the order of grass-fed beef cost) when it’s pastured, and just not all that nutritious in comparison to fish, micronutrient and vitamin-wise… unless you’re going to eat the organ meats, too — which is practically a dead non-certainty for a transitioning vegan, if I can be so presumptuous.

    • Monica on October 28, 2010 at 13:17

      Gabriele, I wrote this before you wrote about eating meat for 50 years, with organ meats. LOL. See… it’s always wrong to presume what peoples’ motives are.

      There’s some good myth busting the Vegetarian Myth book. A little misanthropic for my tastes, but she makes a good point that there are animals being killed to produce any food, even vegetables. Just different animals, and more of them. My husband and I eat maybe 2 big animals per year and a few dozen poultry. Pastures protect more biodiversity and conserve soil much better than fields where lots of soil remains bare to the elements for at least half the year. There are enormous dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake because of the amount of erosion coming from US farms. Think of all the sea life that had to die so people can eat cheap, processed plant foods with corn and soy… including soyburgers.

      I don’t worry about toxins in grassfed beef and I don’t worry about them too much in seafood, either. Some things are unavoidable in this life. The benefits from eating foods with lots of vitamins and minerals far outweigh the very minimal risk of heavy metals and organochlorines and organophosphates that accumulate in animals, IMO. Get your vitamin D. It protects against heavy metal toxicity.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 14:59

      Monica, I think out big brain small gut evolution began with the scavenging of carnivore kills, leaving the bone marrow and brain. Rocks did the trick. Sure, out primate ancestors may have also collected seafood from tide pools, but they probably had to get the brain size first before they developed the intelligence to actually catch fish.

      • Monica on October 28, 2010 at 16:08

        No question that the seafood came later on and land based mammals came first. Yeah, marine food probably wasn’t common until relatively recently. But that’s the whole point. Because both Neanderthals and modern humans (which both ate fish, but us more than Neanderthals) were (are?) probably a lot smarter than the most recent ancestor of both. And evidence of seafood eating starts pretty far back… right around the time when anthropologists think humans had big leaps in language abilities. Right around 40k years ago is also when good art, as far as we know, shows up in the archaeological record. There is probably a big difference between the intelligence of relatively modern humans (say, 40k years onward) and older humans.

      • Monica on October 28, 2010 at 16:36

        Richard, I guess what I am saying is that, yeah, H. erectus was a lot smarter than its predecessors and ate a bunch of meat. But not a whole lot changed from 2 mya to around 200,000 years ago. I believe the earliest fossils of modern humans are found in lakeshore environments.

        The brains of land herbivores would have provided some DHA, but the brains of those mammals are super small. I think it’s very plausible that the higher amounts of EFAs in seafoods (broadly speaking, to also include freshwater forms) allowed modern humans to break the brain size barrier, if you will. That happened relatively recently, within the last 200k years or so. So, meat started to make us smart, but seafood really let it take off. And given that eating brains of land mammals are currently off the table due to the USDA, I’m a huge proponent of the need for people to eat seafood as part of a modern paleo diet. Incidentally, the people in the very best condition in Price’s book are seafood eaters.

        If eating land based mammals and their brains made us smart (in the modern sense), then I would think we should have gotten a lot smarter a lot sooner. I could be wrong. But those are my thoughts at the present point…

      • Richard Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 17:47

        That all sounds very plausible to me, Monica. Land scavenging then hunting got us intelligent enough to discover the fun, joy, and relatively less risky fishing.

        My late grandfather would approve, who built a house by the Trukkee river, hand painted signs for every casino in Reno in the 50s, 60s and 70s, and fly fished in that river nearly every afternoon, with his own flies. He yaught me to tie flies when I was something like 10 years old.

        Caught a 20 lb rainbow in Pyramid lake with one of my own flies, when I was 12. Man, I have so much to blog about if I just stop and think.

      • Monica on October 28, 2010 at 17:54

        Nice. I, too, come from a family of fishermen. MOstly Adirondack lakes and the St. Lawrence region. A lot of deep lake fishing. Never fly fished though and never caught a trout. Got to learn one of these days. I’d say now that I live in CO, it’s about high time, eh? 🙂

        Cordain’s recent paper came out on macronutrient composition of hunter gatherer diets. Some revision there… I haven’t seen the paper but have read on Matt Metzgar’s site that in east Africa they were eating a surprising amount of omega 3. 6 grams daily, mostly from fish, he says. (Some other interesting stuff there on fish oil… which I stopped a few months ago due to concern over it not being a real food. And kinda glad I did after reading some of the comments on Matt’s post on it…) Lots to learn, but I suspect that more research will support these ideas.

        OH, BTW Richard, have you ever seen Alone in the Wilderness? ONe of my favorite “documentaries” about Dick Proenneke who left civilization and his job at age 50 to live in Alaska. I think you’d like it very much. Not paleo but close to it in lifestyle and diet (lots of fish, homegrown veggies, and wild hunted game), apart from the large quantities of sugar he appeared to eat that got flown in. Some days I daydream about doing something like that for a year… if I thought I could be successful at it.

      • Melissa on October 28, 2010 at 17:54

        Orangutans have been observed fishing. It doesn’t take that much in the way of brains.

  19. zach on October 28, 2010 at 12:50

    What, oh what, is wrong with high quality butter? I could almost be vegetarian as long as the large amounts of potatoes and vegetables I’d be eating were swimming in butter.

  20. Jeromie on October 28, 2010 at 13:02

    You could always follow the advice found here:

    200 calories as protein is only 50g or so. Easily accomplished with sardines and eggs. I would get my starch from potatoes well before I considered rice (advice from link), but it seems pretty reasonable for the values you currently hold toward animal consumption.

    Basically, get most of your calories from fat.. and love every drop of it.

    • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 14:21

      Thank you, i bookmarked this one as well. So much great information.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 14:25

        Isn’t it great, Gabriele?

        Almost like your own personal diet book being written right before your very eyes, personalized just for you.

        When I saw your email I just knew it had to be put up for the community of smart and more importantly, EXPERIENCED readers.

        They never disappoint me in these matters.

        Well, they never disappoint me in any respect.

      • Huck Finn on October 28, 2010 at 15:49

        Except the time that one guy wanted to fight you in real life?

      • Richard Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 17:06

        Nah, we’ll be cool. He was just blowing off steam.

      • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 18:01

        my god, you weren’t kidding about getting all these responses. It has helped me enormously. It’s so hard to think you have all the answers and then the whole world turns upside down and you have to learn all over again. Thanks, again, for posting my email.

  21. Sue on October 28, 2010 at 13:05


    Good luck to you. Remember to calculate your energy needs based on your goal weight, not on your present weight. I understand your reluctance to eat animals that have been factory farmed, but sustainably raised grass-fed animals are not unhappy at being eaten. They gotta die sometime, might as well fit into the circle of life in a good way, right? And if we weren’t going to eat them, they may not ever get their chance at life in the first place. Read Lierre Kieth, and you will think twice about how not eating animals means nothing’s got to die to feed you.
    As far as the fruit question goes – with 100 lb to lose, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to skip fruit, at least for the most part. Once you get to your goal weight, having a piece of fruit now and then (or berries – even better) will be a fine choice. But even then, you don’t want to overdo it. Fruit is mostly sugar.
    Don’t worry about eating too much protein. Trade in protein and carb grams for fat, and you will win, as long as your overall energy intake (calories) is in line with your goal weight. Get over your fear of fat. Fear of fat has done a number on us!
    Lastly, start spending some quality time in your head visualizing yourself at your goal weight. Really.

    • NoGluten on October 30, 2010 at 11:29

      If you need to lose a lot of weight, set intermediate goals and use each one to set the calorie level.

  22. Lute Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 13:56

    Wow, another excellent stream of comments. Makes for good reading for me. Spent about 4 hours reading construction specs earlier today for a project I am working on. Ordered $161.00 worth (including shipping) of grass fed pastured beef from my local source. Then with cane in hand, took a walk over to the shopping center, about a block away to go to Hannah’s Bakery for a sandwich, yeah a cheat, but I sure did enjoy it. No guilt. This is only the 2nd time here this year. Before paleo, I practically lived here for lunches.

  23. Lute Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 14:03

    In case anyone is interested in CA, my source of Grass Fed Beef is,
    Open Space Meats, located in the Central Valley, about 30 miles from Modesto. They deliver to CA, NV and OR I believe.

  24. Craig on October 28, 2010 at 14:34

    Surely any step in the direction of Paleo eating is better than Vegetarian and certainly better than SAD. Put your personal issues aside and try eating 100 % Paleo for 30 days. You say you want change, so make the change. Don’t half ass it….whole ass it. Completely changing your life and everything you thought about food is just a meal away. You just have to trust that it works. Good luck with your adventure.

  25. Huck Finn on October 28, 2010 at 14:44

    I wrote this in way above, but I believe it’s possibly important for you and something you might consider. I wrote:


    At least consider becoming a “flexitarian,” not that I like any of these cutesy names. Eat fish twice a week and a big ol’ steak on another day.

    I’m betting that you’ll see an immediate difference.

    Substitute the huge amounts of grains you’re taking in for the meat on 3-4 days per week. You’ll see.”

    Good God. “FLEXITARIAN” Don’t get hung up on being anything, any “-ian” or anything else. Just consider trying what I suggested, if you will. I”m going to go vomit now for using the word “flexitarian” so many times.

    • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 14:49

      that is so funny. don’t vomit!! I don’t mind labels. I need structure. A label makes me feel like i have structure. Isn’t that just so pathetic? But true. And to Craig, i don’t want to go 100%, that was the whole point of my dilemma, i don’t want to eat steak and chicken (i spent 50 years eating that, not being weird, just don’t feel comfortable eating it any more). I wanted to know whether i would have any success just using sardines and eggs as my “meat”. Apparently from most of the comments here that is possible. I have learned so much. But i still want to be kind of a partial vegetarian, if you know what i mean. That’s my problem.

      • Huck Finn on October 28, 2010 at 15:47

        “Isn’t that just so pathetic?”

        No, it’s not pathetic. You might consider being kinder to yourself. Just saying.

        By the way, I totally understand the ethical concerns. I don’t know if you have any more precise feelings on that topic other than you don’t like the dead animal part, but I hear you.

        At the same time, you’re going to be better able to help more living beings if you’re good to yourself and you’re feeling and performing your best. (Again, I don’t know if that touches on your ethics, but I’m thinking it might.) If you’re making yourself sick and lethargic, you are not going to be any good to anyone. I’m not trying to insert any arguments against your beliefs. I’m just hoping you will take the time to maybe consider that you’re worth enjoying great health and vitality.

        And I’m afraid that there’s no escaping what these guys here will tell you: It’s kinda sorta in our genes. Yes, I know that many have lived on a vegetarian diet, but we’re talking about you and how you can feel and perform your best.

        For what it’s worth, I’ve gone down a path of trying to live in a manner that best benefits all beings. I ain’t worth a crap to myself or others if I’m sick and tired.

        Sorry to ramble.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 17:04

        Huck, that’s one great comment.

        It’s almost like there’s a virtue in selfishness, or something like that. 🙂

      • Victoria on October 28, 2010 at 18:42

        You Ayn Rand you…

      • Richard Nikoley on October 28, 2010 at 21:02

        No, not THAT woman. 🙂

      • Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 18:03

        You’re certainly not rambling and your post was very thoughtful, thank you very much.

  26. Helen on October 28, 2010 at 15:03

    All the comments have been so great that I don’t have anything to add except a big good luck to you, Gabrielle. I have had wonderful results on a low-carb/paleo diet, and I’m rooting for you as you begin yours.

  27. Ben Wheeler on October 28, 2010 at 15:57


    Theres lots of good info here to run off of, but one thing that needs to be pointed out is….liquid food will likely be a major inhibiting factor when trying to lose alot of weigh. When losing weigh, hormones matter (insulin, leptin, cortisol, NPY, CCK etc. ) as do calories.

    I think this post will help you out:

    It is about a 54 year old female who lost 50 pounds using Dr. Kurt Harris’ 12 steps (look under “get started” at top of his site). You will notice not only did she have to control insulin through dietary measures, but also track calories daily! This gets back to hormones again, and menopause tends to throw those out of wack! My advice, follow the 12 steps on PaNu, especially the “How to lose weight post” and track your progress (weight, body measurements, good ol’ fashion mirror). If your making good progress then stick to it…if not then you may have to use something like Fitday to track calories.

    The meat issue-This may be make or break with the diet. You need quality DENSE PROTEIN in your diet…not liquid/powdered protein. ‎”Beans and rice, nuts and seeds, are what I call “Third World proteins.” They will keep you alive, they will not allow you to thrive. Your protein needs to have the following criteria: 1. It needs a face. 2. It needs a soul. 3. You need to kill it, and bring its essence into your being. 4. Really.” Robb Wolf from the Paleo Solutions. It may sound harsh, especially if you have moral issues with meat, but these are words spoken by a guy who’s at the very top of this field IMO. I recommend, like many others, reading “The Vegetarian Myth”. Excellent book.

    Fruit- If you’re significantly overweight, and want to lose it…I wouldn’t touch fruit with a ten foot pole. This is mainly to do with fructose consumption, which not getting to sciencey here, you’ve been eating far too much of on the SAD. If you want to lose weight you have to give it up. NOW. This is only further driving your cravings for sugayr foods that will push you off the wagon.

    Some keys for success IMO:

    1. Lots of meat & veggies (yes sardines and eggs are good, but you’ll want to incorperate more sources in your diet)
    2. Focus on good fats such as: pasture butter, coconut oil, palm oil
    3. Fish oil- lots of it until you’re lean. Search Robb Wolf Fish oil calculator on google.
    4. Sleep….ALOT

    I wish you good luck!

  28. Victor on October 28, 2010 at 15:59


    A journey of 10,000 steps begins with the first. Change can be daunting but it sounds like you are willing to embrace it. Losing 100 lbs is daunting and the road to healthy & sustainable weight loss is littered with the remnants of good intentions. Going mostly Paleo, I achieved and sustained weight loss and look better now at 44 than I did 10 or more years ago with improved health markers all the way around.

    Do this for yourself. Free yourself from some of your self-imposed limitations and you might discover health and joy that surprises you. I have found that eating animals respectfully connects me to the universe with a greater sense of wonder.

    Best wishes on your journey. Keep us updated as time goes by.

  29. Dan Linehan on October 29, 2010 at 07:57

    Ahh, that sounds like something I’d say. I’m actually ex-vegan now too though.

    The paleo blogosphere gradually won me over. I started out by adding cod liver oil to my diet for DHA, Omega 3, and Vitamin D. (Here’s a great video about the importance of Vitamin D in stopping chronic disease:

    Next came some eggs for convenience, as I was trying to cut back on grains and needed more calories. Not long after realizing how nice it was to be able to eat eggs again, I gradually shifted back to eating meats.

    When I first went vegan more than three years ago, I gained twenty pounds within my first couple months on the diet. At the time I thought this was a good thing; I had always considered myself to be a bit underweight at 6’2, 160, even though I was fairly athletic.

    In hindsight, (and there is photographic evidence for this) those twenty pounds I gained were just twenty pounds of skinny fat. No additional muscle mass at all. Being 6’2, 180 isn’t really that impressive when you have 20% body fat.

    When I went back to paleo over the past few months, I lost those same twenty pounds of skinny fat almost right away, without really trying at all. Then I worked out a bit and gained around ten pounds of muscle back. Much better look and feel overall.

    While it is possible to do a low grain vegan diet, it does take a lot of specialized knowledge and work, and more effort than I was willing to put in.

    Although I thought I was eating a lot of whole foods as a vegan, a lot of my meals would end up looking like this:

    Bow Tie pasta stroganoff with tofu lemon sour cream.
    Baked wheat gluten marinated in soy sauce for the beef strips.
    Garlic bread on the side.
    Sweet iced tea.

    Tasty, sure. But almost every part of that meal is either pasta or some form of bread. Or sugar.

    When I started reading more paleo blogs, I tried to cut the pastas and breads out of my diet too but things just got too restrictive for me at that point.

    I’ve had good experiences so far on paleo compared to vegan. Especially considering my experience with an improved body composition. If dietary changes had that much of an effect on a naturally skinny guy like me, I can see then being much more substantial for folks with slower metabolisms or insulin resistance.

    • John on October 29, 2010 at 16:33

      Great comment.

  30. Gabriele on October 28, 2010 at 18:06

    Unbelievable, all these wonderful comments. I am so thankful. If there are any of you who would like to correspond by email, i would love that. I need all the support i can get. It would also help me be accountable to someone who understands what i’m doing. If anyone is interested, my email is

  31. D on October 28, 2010 at 19:03

    Comment on vegan and weight gain.. Jessica Simpson went (and maybe is still on) a “vegan cleansing diet”, which meant when she was in Italy, all she ate was pasta with tomato.

    She seems to be at her heaviest weight ever.

    • Austin on October 29, 2010 at 02:29

      on that subject, I’ve always thought she probably overdieted for her role as daisy duke and suffered rebound weight gain as a result. severe caloric restriction for an extended period of time can definitely come back to bite you.

  32. Paul on October 29, 2010 at 00:40

    If you have chocolate cravings, why not try moving towards darker chocolate?

    If you can learn to like 85% dark chocolate I don’t see any reason why you can’t eat it. It is much easier to eat a small amount of dark chocolate than the sugary stuff.

    Also, there are many health benefits associated with chocolate including Jeanne Calment who made it to 122 eating 1kg of chocolate a week. (

    • Emily Deans, M.D. on October 30, 2010 at 15:52

      I eat a bit of dark chocolate almost every day. Lost 30 pounds doing so!

      • Paul on October 31, 2010 at 01:52

        I’m not sure why (low sugar) chocolate is considered to be a cheat or on the restricted list of people’s diets. I think that you could probably eat as much of it as you want.

        Another thing is that it is often easier to find good chocolate as opposed to good meat.

        I actually tried eating 100g of 85% chocolate a day for a while. Eventually I just got tired of it. I still eat it, but there does seem to be an upper limit on the amount you will eat if you don’t restrict at all. I never seem to get tired of potatoes and butter though.

  33. Austin on October 29, 2010 at 01:07

    Wow. After all the replies above, I feel that I have nothing useful to add, except to wish Gabriele good luck and all the best!

  34. Tommy on October 29, 2010 at 08:45


    I don’t really have advice that I can offer that would be as good as the knowledgeable folk here but there is something I would like to address. You mentioned the slaughtering of animals for food. If you search you may be able to find kinder gentler sources. The farm where I buy my pastured/grass fed beef/eggs/ chicken is a small place run by an environmentally conscious couple. The wife is actually a veterinarian. They let kids come in a visit/pet the animals etc. The animals are killed as humanely as possible. It isn’t a slaughterhouse. This may not be of any help and it isn’t meant to steer you in any direction. It is only a little note to let you know that you may be able to find something out there that works for you with the right research.

  35. jallen on October 29, 2010 at 08:46

    Doritos have cheese. no?

    Paleo Diet=good diet for health and well being without food cravings!

    Have lost 25 pounds since going Paleo and have loved this irreverent website-:)
    Richard-I’d rather read you than Art Devany any day of the week and twice on Sunday–keep up the good work–

    • Dan Linehan on October 29, 2010 at 08:47

      Cool Ranch Doritos are vegan.

      • Nathaniel on October 29, 2010 at 08:49

        Also, Oreos are vegan.

        When my wife was vegan a few years ago, her diet was mostly beans, tortillas, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and Oreos.

      • D on October 29, 2010 at 15:56

        Oreo’s are not vegan, as confirmed by Nabisco. Little do people know.. they use sugar refined through bone char.

        Sounds strange but Peta says most sugar is not vegan

        “Bone charBone char, made from the bones of cows, is at times used to whitenwhiten sugar. Some sugar companiessugar companies use it in filters to decolorize their sugar. Other types of filters involve granular carbon or an ion exchange system rather than bone char. ”

        There are animals involved in most everything. It is a nice thought to be vegan, but really, most impossible

      • D on October 29, 2010 at 16:00

        sorry, I copy / pasted and didnt proof read. I dont know why it reads so strange. Here is the link to what I copied

    • Dan Linehan on October 29, 2010 at 08:50

      Er, was it the sweet chili ones? Anyway, one of the flavors that is touted as being vegan. You’re right that the normal ones have cheese.

    • Tommy on October 29, 2010 at 09:19

      I don’t mean to side track but…
      You say “Paleo.” Paleo dieting recommends lean meat and less saturated fat. “Primal” is higher fat which is what I believe Richard also follows more or less. When you refer to health and relate it to Paleo are you using an umbrella term or do you mean following Cordains method?

      • Richard Nikoley on October 29, 2010 at 11:53

        Paleo refers to foods from the paleolithic era. A Paleo diet can have any amount of fat, protein or carb and be perfectly paleo.

        Cordain is full of shit on the lean meat and saturated fat issue.

        Utterly full of shit.

      • Jeromie on October 29, 2010 at 21:31


  36. 100% vegan on October 29, 2010 at 10:01

    Stay 100% veg! And eat bread! (Just eat one meal every three days…)

    • R Dunn on October 29, 2010 at 12:13

      It could be true, but Walker either has a freakish metabolism or is a big cheater.

      Gabriele, don’t do this. You’re just about on the right track.

    • Travis on October 29, 2010 at 12:33

      100% stupid.

    • Paul C on October 29, 2010 at 14:00

      I like the contrast between hundreds of reasoned primal posts and one insane Hershel Walker post.

    • D on October 29, 2010 at 15:57

      He must be using steroids.

      • 100% vegan on October 29, 2010 at 18:29

        Gabriele, I hope that the advice you receive here serves you well. I was under the impression that FTA was just that. Freeing your inner animal, wherever that leads you. I would think the likes of Herschel Walker would be embraced at this site. Here is a man who developed his own fasting workouts, his own set of body weight exercises (while ignoring his NFL trainers), survived a highly sucessfull career in football while pursuing his other athletic interests in sprinting, ballet, and bobsledding, and he is currently beating men half his age in MMA fights. I guess from the above, it does not look like that counts for much if he eats bread and salads but no meat. Is it just Walker, or is any sucessfull independent thinking vegetarian athlete guilty of “freakish metabolism or cheating, being 100% stupid, insane or on steroids”?

      • Joseph on October 29, 2010 at 19:46

        The rehabilitation of a seriously malnourished (or “mis-nourished”: I do not mean that she does not eat enough calories, only that her body metabolizes them poorly) woman is not the same thing as the maintenance of a former world-class athlete (who is also male). Period.

        Telling someone with a broken leg to rehabilitate it by practicing lay-ups every day like Michael Jordan does (or used to do) is 100% stupid.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 29, 2010 at 23:44

        When you say FTA, Thats me. I have no comment about Walker. Believe what you like about that. But I have no comment.

      • VW on October 30, 2010 at 05:20

        I don’t believe the story on Walker, plain and simple. He’s too off-center to be relied on to be accurate about just about anything.

        “he is currently beating men half his age in MMA fights”

        He beat ONE guy who was specifically chosen as the opponent due to the fact that he sucked.

        If you want to look at a real MMA fighter who is and has been a vegan for a few years, see Mac Danzig.

        Another UFC fighter, Jake Shields, is a vegetarian.

      • D on October 30, 2010 at 09:12

        I have no problem believing he fasts. I think he is just downplaying how much he eats when he does.
        It says here, he eats chicken.

        “He eats one meal a day, at night,” Luke Rockhold, one of Walker’s main training partners, told Yahoo! Sports. “He has salad, soup, maybe chicken soup, and bread, and he’s not afraid to put butter on it. He eats no meat and no fish.”

        I have known several people who say they are vegetarian but then say they eat fish and poultry and only meant they abstained from “meat”.

        Another fact about Hershel that he is very open about is that he has multiple personality disorder. I bet one of those other personalities likes to chow down on steak.

        Another little fact, he owns a poultry farm.

      • Tommy on October 30, 2010 at 06:35

        And Forrest Griffen is Paleo. Just thought I’d throw that in…lol

      • Tommy on October 30, 2010 at 06:41

        I know old people who have smoked all their lives and are healthy at a ripe old age. That to me isn’t proof that smoking is good for you. We can’t take the example of one and apply it to the many. We need to take the example of the many (repeated results) and apply it to the one. We can’t explain why something works for some people and not for others. I know small and thin people who are freakishly strong too or great fighters, who go without sleep or who have done things seemingly impossible. It happens, who knows why.

      • Travis on October 30, 2010 at 16:05

        I said 100% stupid because I don’t buy his story.

  37. Mallory on October 29, 2010 at 14:18

    wow, you have been given some amazing advice and i sincerely wish you so much success…. the first step is acceptance. lay out for yourself what you find healthy to be, what you accept will come from plaeo-primal nutrition and only then can it be made possible 🙂

  38. Gabriele on October 29, 2010 at 16:20

    I am overwhelmed by all the great advice and comments. So let me throw something else out at you (and i don’t think there is a solution for this one)……my hubby, who became a vegan overnight just a year ago, for ethical reasons and health reasons, is watching me learn all this new information. He believes me about the grains being bad for you, but his dilemma is he will not eat any meat, or eggs, or dairy. If he gives up all grains, what’s left?? And he’s a big guy, lifts weights, etc, but will not budge on this. ANd he has always hated seafood. I at least have the sardines, eggs, coconut oil, sprouts to do this with. But if he takes away the grains, he’s literally left sucking on AIR!! :((( (or just fruit, not enough).

    • Dan Linehan on October 29, 2010 at 17:36

      That was precisely the dilemma I ran into. His experience mirrors my earlier comment perfectly. The vegan diet is difficult enough, but limiting grains adds on a whole new dimension.

      You’re essentially left with fruits, berries, nuts and veggies. He’ll probably have to compromise on the paleo side somewhat and add in oatmeal and brown rice as well.

      For a time, I took inspiration from the recipes on “gluten free vegan” sites, like this one:

      There is also a gluten free vegan cookbook he might find useful here:

      I drank a lot of coconut milk + berry smoothies for breakfast. Marinaded tempeh + assorted steamed veggies for lunch. If you have thai restaurants in your area, red or green coconut curries with brown rice for dinner. Coconut milk, cocoa powder and peanut putter for dessert.

      Fruit should really only be a snack. Please don’t let him try to get the majority of his calories from fruit. Even many staunch raw food folks recognize high fruit diets as a serious health concern:

      Since it can be hard to get enough calories from just vegetables juicing is your friend. A quart or so of vegetable juice is about 700 calories.

      You can make pretty great crackers by grinding up flax in a coffee grinder, add a bit of carrot juice (or other veggie juice) until tacky, roll it flat onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and dehydrate it (you can you use oven on low if you don’t have a dehydrator.) He’ll probably want to eat guacamole and coconut milk almost every day.

      Even following all that, Omega-3, EPA and DHA are an issue. That’s why I initially began supplementing with cod liver oil when I was trying to follow a more paleo style vegan diet. You can get vegan versions of each vitamin separately, but it’s not nearly as convenient as a couple teaspoons of CLO.

      As I said before, a low grain vegan diet can be done, it’s just extremely limiting and takes a lot of effort and discipline. It was more effort than I was willing to sustain in long term; I was spending far too much time on food preparation and eating out was rarely possible, except at raw food restaurants and those places creep me out a bit anyway.

    • Dan Linehan on October 29, 2010 at 17:40

      Also legumes, knew I was forgetting something. These are questionably paleo but if he handles them without any issues they might be alright.

      There are lots of bean cookbooks around if he needs one. “Easy Beans” is a decent one I had.

      • Gabriele on October 29, 2010 at 17:59

        Thank you Dan for all of this. I will relay it and visit those websites. It is indeed a dilemma, but i think can be done. He has pretty much become the typical junk food vegan. This is going to be tough. I think i’m going to focus on myself first (selfish). 🙂 I have to see some results or he won’t believe me anyway.

      • Jeromie on October 29, 2010 at 21:40

        The Vegetarian Myth is great read and will probably change your perspective on the “ethical” and “health” issues related to vegetarianism, but it’s also nice to hear advice from people that isn’t “just stop doing it and start doing the way I do it.” Good advice, Dan.

      • Sue on October 30, 2010 at 20:22

        I don’t see why you have to go through all that. Dan eventually started eating meat.

      • Dan Linehan on October 31, 2010 at 02:07

        I think Gabriele eats meat, her husband is a junk food vegan.

      • Sue on October 31, 2010 at 03:58

        I find it so weird. He doesn’t eat meat because of some misguided ethical belief and so ruins his own health by eating junk. Its difficult for me to understand this. If they were healthy eating vegan then different story.

      • Gabriele on October 31, 2010 at 08:03

        Sue, when you talk about people’s ethics, the word “misguided” maybe is not very polite. Even though i’m exploring this, i strongly maintain my ethics about eating animals. I don’t feel it’s misguided in the least, i think it’s morally right and compassionate. My husband is new to vegan thinking and veered off in the wrong direction and ended up in the Uncle Eddie cookie aisle. By not eating any meat he was compensating and ended up eating almost as badly as with SAD. He will NOT eat meat and he’s not changing his mind on this. I am more open to fish and eggs and have already bought them and started eating them.

        You have to remember, for everything anyone says, there is the opposing information. And vice versa. It’s very hard for anyone to decide who is right. I’m trying to find the best of both worlds without compromising my beliefs. I would feel like a total worm giving up what i believe in my heart. And my head is telling me some of the vegan dogma is wrong, but i have to sort out which part is wrong and which part is humane and moral and right (for me). Thanks!

      • Paul C on November 1, 2010 at 14:20


        I am glad you say so much on this subject. You seem very level-headed and open-minded, and I know you will end up in a better position, whatever that position is.

        You are a study consisting of one data point. I hope your study shows positive long-lasting results.

        My study shows that on primal nutrition, 100% of 40-year-old Paul C.s show remarkable body composition improvement, smooth skin, and the complete end of horrible internal digestive issues.

      • Gabriele on November 2, 2010 at 08:17

        Thanks for the compliments!! Day 2 going strong!! Don’t feel weak, dizzy, weird at all. :))

      • VW on October 31, 2010 at 10:42

        If you accept that this is the natural way of living and eating, it’s neither selfish nor unselfish. It’s the way things are, the natural order, beyond concepts such as “selfish” or “unselfish.”

        In your posts, you seem to attach negative things to yourself quite a bit. There’s no need to do that, in my opinion. I keep trying to tell you to try to be kind to yourself but I’m not sure you agree that I’m barking up the right tree. Maybe I’m not.

      • Gabriele on October 31, 2010 at 11:24

        VW, i have seen your comments about being kinder to myself. This is not something that’s going to happen overnight. When i am this overweight and this unsuccessful and changing that, i don’t exactly have a lot of self-esteem. That’s a given, and that is how i feel. I don’t want to over-analyze this but it is a weight issue with me and it affects my whole life. I’ll try to be more positive: I CAN do this!! I will feel better!! I will exercise! I am doing the right thing! I will try not to second-guess myself. :))

      • Helen on October 31, 2010 at 12:38

        To my mind, the vegan message itself is guilt-inducing and demoralizing, because it basically says that ideology can trump biology…as if people who “fail” at a vegan diet are morally reprehensible and/or weak-willed. In vegan ideology, it seems that the biological need to eat animal protein is the equivilent of original sin. In an attempt to “do the right thing” people go on vegan diets. Then, when their bodies rebel, they feel like a failure for not being able to live up to their ideal, so they end up caught on the horns of a dilema. For everyone out there, I would like to recommend a book called “The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power” by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad. Since the vegan message is primarily religiopolitical, and not scientific, such a book is extremely relevant to this topic.

      • Sue on October 31, 2010 at 15:26

        So true Helen. Book sounds interesting.

    • Paul on October 29, 2010 at 22:37

      What about potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams etc.

      Potatoes are a complete source of protein.

      There are a number of examples of tribes that ate 90% of their diets from these foods.

      • Gabriele on October 30, 2010 at 11:58

        we love potatoes, that’s a good option..

    • NoGluten on October 30, 2010 at 11:33

      So he’ll supplement the b-12, K, D and choline? What else am I missing?

      • Emily Deans, M.D. on October 30, 2010 at 16:04

        chromium, zinc tends to be extremely low in a vegan diet, need to be chowing on seaweed for iodine…, magnesium is also low without supplementation

  39. 10/30/10 – Helenesque on October 29, 2010 at 17:59

    […] Another Vegan Success Story – Free The Animal […]

  40. Christ on October 30, 2010 at 07:25

    If things hemp and flax were proper foods,our ancestors would have surely eaten them instead of using them for fiber and animal fodder.
    Rice protein?for real?gimme a break!

    Herschel Walker has admitted to having multiple personality disorder and some of the things he has said regarding diet and exercise are ludicrous.Maybe one of his persona’s is a vegan and doesn’t know when the others are eating meat.

  41. jallen on October 30, 2010 at 08:54

    Cool Ranch Tortillas Ingredients:

    Whole Corn, Vegetable Oil (Contains One or More of the Following: Corn, Soybean and/or Sunflower Oil), Corn Maltodextrin, Salt, Tomato Powder, Corn Starch, Lactose, Whey, Nonfat Milk, Corn Syrup Solids, Onion Powder, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Monosodium Glutamate, Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Dextrose, Malic Acid, Buttermilk, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Acetate, Artificial Color (Including Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 5), Sodium Caseinate, Spice, Citric Acid, Disodium Inosinate, and Disodium Guanylate.

    Contains milk ingredients.

    I don’t see how these are vegan with “milk ingredients”? Please do your homework–thanks.

    • Dan Linehan on October 30, 2010 at 17:59

      Hey, PETA are the ones bragging about Doritos being vegan and even photoblog members downing bags of them.

      I may have mixed up what flavor but only because I don’t buy into eating that sort of crap.

      • Nathaniel on October 30, 2010 at 18:56


        Save the animals and mother nature by chowing down on Doritos, Mountain Dew, and Oreos. Hooray for Veganism, the best lifestyle ever!

    • Richard Nikoley on October 30, 2010 at 11:51


      Do you not get the point of “Mountain Dew and Doritos are vegan,” and that it’s not meant to be a technically rigerous claim? Rather tongue in cheek?

      I can’t even believe anyone would actually take the time to look it up, at it was never the point. The point is that you can eat total crap and be vegan, whereas, that’s not really possible on paleo.

      • Gabriele on October 30, 2010 at 12:01

        It didn’t take long when we became vegans to find Uncle Eddie’s cookies. That’s the point. Right?? The junk food vegan diet. :(((

  42. VW on October 30, 2010 at 09:32

    Best wishes, Gabriele.

    Don’t be afraid to try and don’t be afraid to have setbacks.

    I’m certainly in the middle of tweaking (thanks to this site, among others). I’ve only recently learned that Grape Nuts actually make me feel quite shitty while oats don’t. Who knew and what’s up with that?

    I’m no one to be giving any real advice, but maybe try and cut back on certain grains. This has been said above, but it bears repeating (imo).

    By the way, you can jump around on this site and come across some good stuff. I found one article about some guy who lost something like 90 pounds in 7 months. That’s pretty darn cool, though it’s his journey and shouldn’t be some sort of expectation of anyone else (again, imo).

  43. julianne on October 30, 2010 at 19:04

    A few things that I think are critical to success (both from my own experience with weight loss and clients):
    Control your hunger and carb / sugar by having protein and fat at each meal. It is easy to get carbs, but even good carbs eaten by themselves perpetuate the high blood sugar / high insulin – leading to low blood sugar and then cravings. Protein and fat controls hormones that control appetite and cravings.
    Eg breakfast: 3 eggs, lots of non starch veggies, fat (olive, macadamia, cashew and avocado, as these are lowest in Omega 6, and coconut oil and cream, are best non meat sources)
    Lunch: 4- 6 oz sardines, lots of salady / vegetable food, more good fat.
    Dinner, occasional tempeh, (fermented soy products are best) or eggs or sardine dish plus veggies, fat.
    Snacks: also add protein. (Don’t skimp on protein – for me it makes all the difference)
    Maybe you could add a few more seafood choices if that is not an issue for you, e.g shellfish etc?
    I.e. always base you meals around protein and fat, and fill up on veggies.
    Minimal fruit if you want to lose weight. Berries and kiwi are fantastic. 1-3 serves a day.
    Avoid liquid meals, they digest too quickly.

    Stick to paleo food choices – they make a massive difference in health and fat loss, ie no grains, or legumes, minimal or no dairy. (My mum had great success health wise on paleo even though she still eats soy)

    Boost your omega 3 levels to minimize inflammation, I found taking supplements at high dose for a while really helped. I got really deplete as a vegetarian, and even eating fish again was not enough to get my inflammation down.

    Check your Vitamin D levels – critical for insulin sensitivity to have it in the high range. Supplement if not.

    Take a really good quality multivite, mineral and antioxidant for a while, I find this makes a big difference to cravings – just covers your bases so you are not looking for extra food to fill the space of a missing nutrient. As Emily and others have mentioned it is likely you are low in several nutrients.

    Get good sleep, dark room 8 hours night, makes a massive difference to curbing cravings and aiding weight loss.

    • Travis on October 31, 2010 at 10:46

      Great advice. I would also add that short naps during the day, when one has the chance, are important. My days of cramming too much in and going without sleep are over. A good 7 to 8 hour sleep at night is great medicine.

    • Gabriele on October 31, 2010 at 11:26

      And i am always short on sleep too. Will try very hard this week to correct that. Really no excuse.

  44. Gabriele on October 31, 2010 at 08:07

    Thank you again for all this great advice. I’m soaking it up like a sponge while reading my kindle books on this subject. I am excited about this. I was originally going to start on my birthday (after a “transition” period, but i’m starting tomorrow, November 1st!! I am so excited!!

  45. Gabriele on October 31, 2010 at 15:41

    Gallbladder question, as in, i don’t have one. What information is there about digesting high fats when you don’t have a gallbladder any more? What will help this? Enzyme supplements?

    • Jason on October 31, 2010 at 22:45

      Please excuse the length of this respone, but there’s a quite a bit of pertinent info regarding your Gallbladder question. First, for people without a Gallbladder, the liver will continue to produce Bile, but the digestive system will not recieve as much as it used to; for this reason you will not be able to digest fats as well. Enzymes can solve this problem – However, it is not that simple, for a number of reasons. To start with, don’t try to solve your problem with supplements that advertise to help your condition, when in reality they work by inhibiting the absorption of fats. Do not get suckered in to this kind of supplement. What you need is a a good anzyme supplement, since without a Gallbladder your digestive system will not get enough Bile to digest and process fats properly. A quick aside; Since your liver is no longer getting help from the Gallbladder regarding sending Bile to your digestive, you should therefore make sure your Liver is functioning optimally; and so you should look into taking – Milk Thistle (Sylimarin extract 80%). This will protect your liver (as well as kidneys). I take ‘Nature’s Answer’ brand Milk Thistle simply for preventative use ( I take 4 twice per day – The bottle suggests 1 3x/day, but this is a very safe supplement so unless there is an allergy, the only problem with taking too much would be loose stool). Now, onto the fats. What you need is an enzyme called ‘Lipase’. However, the problem here is that just getting any enzyme blend will not help. This is because most enzymes come in blends of different enzymes which all include Proteases (This will usually appear under the name Papain). The problem here is that Proteolytic Enzymes can destroy Lipases. Thus, if you got an enzyme blend you would actually not get much benefit since the Proteases interaction with the Lipases would make it a wash. Therefore, you need an enzyme supplement that contains only Lipase. An example of such a supplement is ‘Lipase Formula’ which can be found for 9 bucks at Wholeearthhealth. com. I am not necessarily suggesting this product per say, as I don’t take lipase and thus I have no firsthand knowledge of the supplement; I’m just giving you an example of a Lipase-only supplement.

      • Jason on October 31, 2010 at 23:06

        I should mention, that in theory (although this has never been observed with supplemental levels of Lipase) it is possible, with very high levels of Lipase supplement in combination with high blood fat levels, to cause an increase in the blood of Free Form Fatty Acids, which can lead to over acidity of the body. First of all, This is just a theory and there is no empirical or experimental evidence to back it up. Second of all, If you cut out the Carbs and sweets (except Stevia) and Sodas (very acidic – even if they don’t have sugar, except for seltzer which is not as acidic and thus not as bad), then you will be cutting out the things that make the body more acidic; thus, since your diet (without these things) will be far more alkalinizing, you should therefore have no problem with acidity; even in theory. However, if you wish to be extra careful ( Not a bad idea when dealing with ones’ health), then you can check your acidity levels before you change your diet and before you begin taking the Lipase (only Lipase) enzyme supplement. Then you can check your acidity levels again 3 months later and six months later and a year later. My belief is that your body will actually be more Alkaline (good) rather than more acidic over time, because it is the stuff you’re going to be cutting out, that is actually most acidic causing. However, (Sorry, this is the last ‘however’; I promise) if you do seem to be getting more acidic instead of less acidic, then what you could do is purchase a ‘Water Alkalinizer’ and drink water of ph 8.5 – 9.0; this will Alkalinize your body. Lastly, you also might want to look into taking digestive bacteria (lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bulgaris) to help with digestion of dairy products (like clarified butter-Ghee) and with digestion overall. Hope this helps; all the best.

      • Gabriele on November 1, 2010 at 05:03

        PHew, thank you so much for your answer. I will look into all of the above.

  46. Helen on October 31, 2010 at 18:40

    Bile is made in the liver, not the gall bladder, so you are still making bile even though you don’t have a gall bladder*.

    *The gall bladder simply stores bile during periods of fasting.

    • Sydney on November 2, 2010 at 21:53

      And injects it (vs dribbling it) during digestion, no?

  47. Jerry on November 2, 2010 at 11:35

    Also consider that eating meat doesnt mean you are irreverant to the animal that was killed. You can strive to do organic and grass fed and humanely raised and slaughtered animals. Or maybe try wild game. You dont have to hunt just find people you know who do. Most of them are always trying to clean out their freezers to make room for fresh game and would probably be happy to pass some of it your way.

    Since this diet is Paleo, take an example of the People weve encounted over the last few hundred years who were truly paleo. they killed to eat, but never wasted any of it, they never took more than they needed, and strived to live in harmony with other creatures in nature. this idea was considered sacred to them, so yes you can eat meat and still practice reverance toward that animal if you strive to do so

    • Jerry on November 2, 2010 at 11:40

      also, sorry about my poor use of grammer and punctuation on my last post, im typing this on my phone and im trying to rush through it haha

  48. Gabriele on November 6, 2010 at 06:22

    Update: After only one week on my new Paleo plan, i have lost 12 pounds!! 12!!!! (bragging). I am so happy. I feel so fabulous too. I don’t even know if anyone is still following this thread but i just wanted to check back in. I have read and reread the whole thread, bought the books, read 2 of them and tried to learn everything. I have added eggs and seafood back. The smallest amount of food leaves me satisfied. And i feel strong!! Wow!! Even my husband, who resisted and resisted, is eating eggs and will now venture in tuna-land. (the only fish he can stomach). That is a big step. Thanks to all of you for your lengthy, thoughtful comments and helpfulness. Now even my grown daughter is intrigued and educating herself about gluten.

    • Dan Linehan on November 6, 2010 at 07:53

      Awesome! That’s great news Gabriele. Just ask if you have any questions along the way..

    • Helen on November 6, 2010 at 11:00

      That’s wonderful, Gabriele…I’m truly happy for you 🙂 One of the beautiful things about paleo, which you are beginning to experience, is that without the blood sugar swings that all those carbs create, you will begin to be able to tell when you are really hungry and really need food, rather than being in the grip of whacked-out blood sugar. Your body WANTS to be healthy…and if you give it what it needs to do its job, it will be.

      p.s. Maybe this sounds silly, but to me, the body is a pure creation of God. It knows nothing of ideology or sin…it is a pure Innocent, and suffers when we treat it badly, even if we don’t mean it any harm.

      • VW on November 9, 2010 at 03:09

        Way to go!

    • Travis on November 8, 2010 at 19:43

      Congratulations to you and keep it up!

  49. Lute Nikoley on November 6, 2010 at 08:45

    That’s wonderful news, Gabriele. Keep up the good work, and enjoy life.

  50. Gabriele on November 6, 2010 at 09:17

    This is a great bunch of people. I have learned so much since i started. Read a few books, tons of articles and learned through emails. Everyone is very open and sharing. It’s so easy once you get the basic concept. I am just thrilled to be feeling so good again. I feel kind of reborn (silly). I have tried to do some of that intermittent fasting, where i at least go without food for as long as i can, to once again truly experience hunger. And that is a huge help also.

  51. Gabriele on November 9, 2010 at 05:08

    Am down to 15 pounds lost, still feeling fabulous. I’m almost never hungry. I feel “lighter”. I’m working out and walking. I wait until i’m really hungry before i eat. The only negative thing is i just had a flu shot. 🙁 I work in a hospital and they are mandatory. Get the flu shot or lose your job. blech

  52. Gabriele on November 11, 2010 at 08:22

    Carb flu – What is it?? It’s been 10 days and i thought i didn’t experience this, but thinking about it now, i think i have! Every few days i feel hot and cold, mind foggy, hot flashes, just feeling very weird and weak. Have done nothing different with my food. Since i am losing a lot of weight, is this some kind of “detox” (god i hate the overuse of that word)? Are these carbs sitting in my fat cells and being released into the blood stream? Today, compared to yesterday, suddenly i feel on top of the world, mentally sharp, clear, no hot flashes, nothing. Are things being dumped into my system on their way out?

    • Jeanmarie on February 26, 2011 at 21:55

      Supposedly various things we eat that the body doesn’t know what to do with (new-fangled molecules not found in nature, for instance) are store in body fat. Since you’re metabolizing more of your fat than usual, the contents of your fat cells are coming out too. I don’t take a lot of nutritional supplements anymore, but I would advocate cod liver oil, especially Blue Ice fermented cod liver oil from Green Pastures (supermarket brands have had the Vit. D content reduced!) and/or oil-based Vit. D capsules. The website has lots of useful information about Vitamins A and D. Both are important for a strong immune system.

  53. Jeanmarie on February 26, 2011 at 21:47

    Gabrielle, Brava to you for having the courage to make a change!

    If you haven’t been eating meat for awhile and have eating low fat and possibly low salt, be sure to start eating a good brand of sea salt (I like Celtic sea salt) and you might find taking betaine hydrochloride capsules helpful in digesting meat. As you eat it more your body will produce more stomach acid to digest it. Also check out lacto-fermented foods like raw sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha to add beneficial microorganisms to help with digestion. As I said above, low carb, moderate protein, high fat is probably the way to go. Don’t be afraid of natural animal fats.

    A friend said recently if her kids start talking about going vegetarian she just fries up some bacon and that ends that. Lard from pastured pork is an excellent source of Vitamin D.

    Ditto the previous comments about chickens and eggs. If chicken breast meat bores you, try chicken thighs. They’re excellent dredged in coconut flour and fried in lard, ghee or other good fats.

    I raise chickens, and I can tell you they are definitely not vegetarians. They are flexible omnivores — even cannibalistic at times. If given half a chance to scratch on the ground, they eat lots of bugs and will readily eat meat and cheese if it’s in small enough bites. I give mine a bit of cat or dog food occasionally for a protein boost, and they’re absolutely wild for yogurt and cottage cheese. These foods, plus their grain-based pellets and fresh green grass, keep them healthy. The grass makes the yolks incredibly deep orange and delicious. Try to find a local source of pastured eggs, it’s a whole other world from supermarket eggs (for the chickens, too). Try and click on “Find a local chapter” for advice from your local chapter leader on where to obtain pastured eggs. (It’s almost impossible at a store, but farmers markets are a good place to look.) and also have resources for finding farmers markets and CSAs, some of which offer eggs.

    • Jeanmarie on February 26, 2011 at 21:51

      OH, I just saw your comment about not having a gallbladder, which I have no experience with, so I bow to Jason’s advice on taking lipase supplements.

      Congratulations on your progress.

  54. Gabriele on February 27, 2011 at 06:41

    Thank you Jeanmarie, for all your advice.

    I have lost 27 pounds since i began on January 1. I started at first with adding wild salmon and sardines and eggs to my diet. It all tasted so good to me. I haven’t given up my smoothies, and i’m aware that it’s a load of carbs, drinking all that fruit, but i also add a raw protein powder to them, and they are delicious. Just last week i very bravely eat meat again!! Some grass fed cut of meat, don’t even know what it is, and i fry the thing up in coconut oil and it is just heavenly.

    What’s surprising is how little i have to eat in a day. I think most overweight people have no clue how little food it takes to survive. I only eat when i’m hungry, that is my biggest help. I love the explanation of things coming out of my fat cells, as i lose weight. I am sure that is happening. All that junk has to go somewhere, and it makes sense that when this happens, you don’t feel so great.

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