Can’t Vegans and Paleos Just Get Along?

Nope. And for good reason.

In a post he titled Why Vegans and Paleos Should Stop Hating Each Other, Matt Frazier says, principally:

I’m not suggesting we throw away the labels. vegan means a lot to me, for ethical reasons and for health-related ones too. I’m sure Paleos feel the same about their tribe. I’m just saying let’s work together, instead of against each other, for the good of everyone who simply wants to learn to be healthy, and doesn’t care how.

Apparently his dad has gone paleo and that has helped him. Good for him. And also good for Matt where, if you check the comments he took quite a lot of heat over this, much of which goes straight to my “nope,” above. In fairness, he probably got more support than not, but it’s just kinda touchy-feely and doesn’t really take count of the irreconcilable cat & dog nature of the thing.

I dropped a comment (emphasis added).

The essential problem is that you vegans have absolutely nothing to offer us. To the extent you eat whole foods, well, we already have that. I see veganism as a force, often a lobbying force, to restrict or even eliminate our choices to eat nutritionally dense animal sourced foods and I simply cannot and will never tolerate any sort of alliance.

It is war, plain and simple. A war I wholehearted embrace and advocate.

As far as individuals go, hey, everybody gets to go to hell in their own go-cart. So yea, I have vegan friends.

The problem is that it’s an apples & oranges deal. When have you ever heard a paleo accuse a vegan of being “unethical” in their dietary choices? When has even the dumbest paleo on earth proposed laws or other sorts of restriction that would limit what vegans eat in the slightest? In fact, to the extent that Paleos do propose silly laws and various political activism (labeling, outlawing GMO, etc.), these are all vegan issues as well and will presumably “benefit” them the same way (Note: I don’t agitate politically. I just vote with dollars.).

Have we ever had death or harm wishes issued to Paleos who’ve gone off the reservation? Perhaps you’ve heard about Alex Jamieson’s defection from veganism: I’m not vegan anymore.

Cravings from my body would SHOUT for meat, and my brain and logic would violently shove it away.

This went on for months.

I would secretly visit restaurants or stores and buy “contraband” animal foods, scurry home, and savor the food in solitude. […]

And I realized that by keeping my truth a secret, I was adding to the hostile food-culture that so many feel trapped by.

The food culture that makes being overweight a crime and a weakness.

The food culture that makes eating what your body needs a moral dilemma.

This culture that has produced the most unhealthy, food-and-weight obsessed and ashamed generations the world has ever seen.

And it’s killing us in so many ways. [emphasis added]

Check out a goodly number of the more than 1,000 comments, if you dare.

Here’s a 2-minute video interview with Alex by The Globe And Mail, where you learn of people wishing her dead, “friends” being most concerned for how her turn from veganism would look; so on—you know the drill. In the end she says she learned that everyone is an individual and every individual is their own best health advocate.

In the end it’s an an ideology of taboo, moral condemnation and forceful restriction where legislatively possible vs. and omnivore’s framework or foundation based on human evolution and migration across the planet. While we know that humans evolved on plants and animals, we don’t know what mix of same is optimal for any individual. They must decide for themselves.

And vegans have absolutely nothing to offer us.

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Update: Just dropped another comment in response to Eliot:

“If I was convinced that eating meat would improve my health…”

Two ideas, for your consideration.

1) Two raw oysters per week and a vegan will have zero B12 issues (good zink, too) and oysters have no CNS so don’t “suffer.” Oysters are basically an “animal-like plants;” same for mussels, clams, and other such.

2) On the more daring side, back when I did the live internet and call-in-debate with 30BAD Harley Johnstone, hosted by the very cool & kind Steve Prussack @ Raw vegan Radio, at a point in the debate I challenged vegans to take 4 OUNCES of beef liver and see how much raw fruit would be required to roughly equal the micronutrients (vits and mins). Here was the result:

Hint: about 5 pounds of mixed fruit = 4 oz of beef liver; if you toss out vitamin C or both, it gets much worse. Ounce for ounce, liver has over 2-THOUSAND% more nutrition than fruit. Later on, in editing v2.0 of my book, I reworked stuff and included other comparisons, like to grains & things:

Anecdotally, both my wife & I grew up eating liver (and for me, often fresh venison because we were hunters and fishermen) and both love it. She makes me cook up about a pound every Sunday. Her typical breakfast is 1-2 OZ strips of cold leftover liver wrapped in a heated corn tortilla, and she swears she feel SO AWESOME!

Update again: I was in the mod queue after not having been since my first comment. Perhaps Matt was a bit wary given this post. Understandable, which is why I made no mention. But, he published it. Stand up guy. Respect.

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. Mike on May 16, 2013 at 03:31

    Why can’t we be friends, why can’t we be friends haha

  2. […] The Animal / Posted on: May 15, 2013 Free The Animal – Nope. And for good reason. In a post he titled Why Vegans and Paleos Should Stop […]

  3. Jscott on May 15, 2013 at 21:58

    Yep (you can get along), and for good reason

    Whole foods before division

    If you wanna do the war metaphor

    Take on refined foods and Monsanto as a group. Then, go about your tribes.

  4. Per Wikholm on May 15, 2013 at 23:02

    You are on spot Richard!
    If people don´t want to eat meat thats OK with me but the problem is that the vegan elite again and agian is coming up with proposals of different governmental interventions to restrict other people from eating meat. Here in Sweden the Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet is really big. It is basically a paleo diet with som dairy trown in. The head of the Swedish Meat Free Monday movement has publicly askt for a governmental campaign to “stop the LCHF epidemic” as well as a tax on meat.

    As long as the leaders in the vegan community keep on behaving like this You are absolutely right about that “der totaler Krieg” is the only alternative against them but lets behave good to individual vegans/vegetarians that are not that fundamentalistic. Heck, I even helpt my wife to write a (lacto-ovo) vegetarian LCHF cookbook.

  5. John on May 15, 2013 at 23:31

    Fantastic post, Richard.

    Btw, Carole Simpson is kicking butt lately:

  6. LeonRover on May 16, 2013 at 02:09

    The Vegan and the Paleo should be Friends – Yeah.

  7. Nigel Kinbrum on May 16, 2013 at 03:01

    When vegans stop using the strawman argument “Eating animals” = “Cruelty to animals”, then they might just get along with everyone else.

    Animals are treated cruelly in industry because it maximises profit.
    Animals are treated cruelly by people because they are arseholes.

  8. FrankG on May 16, 2013 at 03:35

    I agree Richard and my concerns echo yours that there is a pervasive move to drive policy towards not eating meat, based on the fallacy that it is “better for the planet”.

    I am also troubled by the ethical concerns of vegan parents depriving developing children of essential nutrients. Heck even Dr Neal Barnard grew up on his Grandfather’s stock farm, not “converting” until his 20’s — where do you think he got his tall good looks and high cheek bones..? All the more prominent since he now looks like a warmed-over corpse.

    Dr Barnard also serves as a case in point with his deceptively named “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” a thinly-veiled vegan front that is trying to drive government policy.

    On a lighter but still pertinent note, Mitchell and Webb…

  9. uey111 on May 16, 2013 at 04:43

    If anyone wants to see how ‘tolerant’ vegans are (in this case in relation to Alex Jamieson), then read this:

    There was also a guy whose blog I would sometimes look at, thinking that he was quite intelligent and not using the typical vegan straw man arguments, but then I see him talking about human meat cravings as a comparison to what Alex posted. Honestly speaking, it’s pretty sad that even those that seem to, at least mostly, base what they say on science to behave like that.

  10. FrankG on May 16, 2013 at 05:04

    Basic facts they seem to miss are:

    1) All life on this planet is related — including animals and plants — we all share the same genome

    2) For one life to continue it relies on others for its survival — there is a finite amount of “stuff” so we are all made of recycled materials… even as I sit here typing this there are microbes re-cycling my body and other microbes in my gut that I am using for energy (either directly digesting them or relying on the by-products of their digestion)– In other words you cannot live (even as a strict vegan*tarian) without taking life from another in some form… we are all interdependent in some way.

    3) Judging the worthiness of life based on having a cute face and big eyes is at best a false premise and at worst racist (or perhaps both specious and specist are more appropriate terms) — without earthworms we would not be here

    4) Eating meat, eggs and dairy, wearing leather etc… does not have to come at the cost of disrespect or ill treatment of our fellow animals

  11. Dr. Curmudgon Gee on May 16, 2013 at 05:07

    when i go out w veg*n friends, they eat, just fast w/ coffee + HVW. (i bring my own HVW).

  12. zack on May 16, 2013 at 05:46

    Usually my first appeal to the animal rights arguments they make I try to tell them that by fighting all consumers of animals, they are fighting people who eat meat AND fight for better quality of life for the animals they eat. I am usually argued with as though we can’t have it both ways and that is the most frustrating thing about these people.

    But after I read the article below, I realized that they won’t win. They keep cycling out of vegan/vegetarianism.

  13. Dr. Curmudgon Gee on May 16, 2013 at 06:40

    sorry, i meant HWC.

  14. Greg on May 16, 2013 at 07:22

    @Jscott “Whole foods before division
    If you wanna do the war metaphor
    Take on refined foods and Monsanto as a group. Then, go about your tribes.”

    You totally missed Richard’s point. He votes with his dollars. I vote with my dollars. We do not want the government to restrict what we put in our bodies. The war is between those who want dietary freedom and those who wish to restrict, regulate, and tax our food choices. Since vegans tend toward that goal and they have powerful allies in positions of authority, they have nothing to offer us. To label Monsanto as the enemy is really shortsighted, as the Government Agriculture policy in the US is very complicated and rife with influence from special interests. I favor far less interference from the Government in Agricultural policy and food markets.

  15. Jscott on May 16, 2013 at 09:16

    That I did not comment on the obvious means I missed a point? No. I get all that.

  16. Eddie Mitchell on May 16, 2013 at 10:47

    “I favor far less interference from the Government in Agricultural policy and food markets.”

    I favour far less Government interference in just about every part of our lives. Government interference is wrecking the US and UK. Free enterprise and capitalism built our nations and Government is now a bigger threat than genuine competition.

  17. marie on May 16, 2013 at 10:54

    Richard, I don’t think I understand your reaction. Here’s what I’m thinking and it’s along Jscott’s comment above. Please let me know where’s the disconnect?
    In so far as there’s a common enemy to both groups, why not work against it together with those of the vegans that want to work together? Vegans may ‘tend’ towards trying to legislate/force compliance with some of their beliefs, but clearly not all do that. You say they have nothing to offer, but by working together with those that are willing, everyone reaches a wider audience/has a louder voice. That would be what such collaboration can offer, so as to educate and disseminate information about the common enemies of processed foods and poisons that are pushed by corporate lobbies+government policies.
    I would also think that’s a way to communicate with the more reasonable within the vegan communities, where the communication and better understanding would help limit the effect of their fanatics.

  18. Stephan R on May 17, 2013 at 01:50

    It’s really funny looking at the Google Trends Graph:

    There seems to be a growing spike in “Paleo” searches at the beginning of each year for 2011,2012 & 2013. I guess, this corresponds pretty neatly to the fact that people are trying to clean up their diets and looking at alternatives to change the crap they eat.

    This recurring “spike-after-new-year’s-eve” reminds me strongly of newbie fitness folks looking to implement their fitness resolutions – only to see them fail in the month of March. 😉

  19. Preston on May 16, 2013 at 11:57

    Paleo focus is on food.

    Vegan focus is on morality.

    Not going to work together.

  20. Richard Nikoley on May 16, 2013 at 12:08

    “In so far as there’s a common enemy to both groups, why not work against it together with those of the vegans that want to work together?”

    Because the idea that “the enemy of my enemy is a friend” has been killing us since FDR and beyond, that’s why.

    I fucking loath people who won’t simply stand up and say: here’s the line and I don’t give a shit about anything else.

    I just outlined the linie.

    Fuck vegans. They have nothing we don’t already have anyway, and they’re the ones suing for peace. let them shrivel, die (metaphorically) and serve as a lesson to the next group of 5-yr-old-girl-boy feelings that come along in dismissal of all reality.

    I will never show them a gram of mercy (yea, I’ve gone metric)

    Furthermore, you will never see me either complain about or salute anything rational they manage to beat themselves out of a wet paper sac and do. Fine, just do it. I don’t give a shit. Neither do I care about a sociopath who sends his mom flowers on Mother’s Day.

  21. The paleovegan on May 16, 2013 at 12:17

    Being Vegan or paleo is like supporting a sportsteam, you get the same kind of us vs. them attitude. I guess it’s in the human mind to want to be part of a group or tribe.

  22. Ulfric Douglas on May 16, 2013 at 12:39

    Only just on-topic ;
    Whenever I throw caution to the wind and eat a bit of liver in the morning I always have tons of vigour for the day.
    I just have a feeling (from nowhere) that too much liver in the week would be a bad thing.

    Vegans want me to die (which I consider an EVIL attitude) : do we have to even accept them as even a little bit right in their foodish thinking?

  23. CCM on May 16, 2013 at 12:47

    Why eating meat from grassfed animals will reverse climate change.

  24. marie on May 16, 2013 at 13:07

    you “loath” and refer to all “they” with broad strokes, despite having individual friends.
    A vegan, or anyone, who wants to Enforce their view on others gets my scorn, that’s the only line I can even see to define.
    Then again, I forgot, “it’s a ranty kinda week”. 🙁

  25. Per Wikholm on May 16, 2013 at 13:09

    Congrat’s for the sensible decicion to go metric Richard! 🙂

  26. Richard Nikoley on May 16, 2013 at 13:40

    @paleovegan. Your schtick. Noted. Good luck with that. I won’t help, neither will any paleos. Have at the vegans.

    @CCM. I blogged that.

    I thing it was on my FB page but appears there’s like vegan articles out there now essentially saying DON’T LOOK. It won’t work in every single place in all conditions and irrespective of execution.

    This is another reason I have zero use for them. Unbridled dishonesty.


    What’s so fucking difficult about drawing a distinction between a movement in which individuals participate to differing degree and select individuals who may not?

    Perhaps I should have added that I don’t have fucking morons who want to force their values on everyone else as friends. I figured it would kinda be implicit for anyone who knows me.

    @Per. Having lived in Asia and then Europe for 8 years total and travelling to many countries, I just don’t get it. It takes such small effort. Hell, living in Japan, then France (prior to the Euro), it’s like mere weeks and you’re not converting currencies in your head anymore—and I was still being paid in dollars.

    Really, it just goes to demonstrate the absolute conservative entrenchment of America in every area outside tech and industry. Witness that we’re still on agrarian daylight savings time changes twice per year like a bunch of fucking dopes who can even figure out the very most simplest things.

  27. tt on May 16, 2013 at 13:50

    Do we have to have another war Richard? The last one here ended so badly. If war means voting with dollars, then there’s nothing wrong with that of course.

  28. Paul C on May 16, 2013 at 13:53

    Farmers hated daylight savings time, as it reduced the amount of time to get produce to market. It was always about retail and golf. That probably increases the fucking dopism of it though, so your point is still good.

  29. marie on May 16, 2013 at 14:17

    Richard, it’s not ‘fucking difficult’, it’s my point exactly.
    Here’s the problem: if the reasonable individual vegans (like those who are friends, of course!) are the exceptions to a rabidly zealous group, then there is nothing wrong with working with ‘them’ (the reasonable ones) .
    At the same time, if vegans as a group are Not rabid zealots (anymore, say, than paleos are rabid reenactors), then again there’s no reason not to work with ‘them’. Cooperation would actually undermine the influence of the rabid (and oh so loud) ones in that group.
    No matter how I cut it….it’s boring. 🙂

  30. Richard Nikoley on May 16, 2013 at 14:31


    It’s an all volunteer army so no, YOU don’t.

    @Paul C

    You learn something new every day.


    “if the reasonable individual vegans (like those who are friends, of course!) are the exceptions to a rabidly zealous group, then there is nothing wrong with working with ‘them’ (the reasonable ones)”

    Ok, I’ll call off the troops marshaled to stop you from doing that. You are welcome to kock yourself out.

  31. marie on May 16, 2013 at 15:33

    yeah, obviously neither of us is trying to stop or force anything, living true to own beliefs and maybe trying to convince another is the point.
    Aww, what the Hell, in arguing there’s always the chance that someone else might convince me….or that I might be hilariously disarmed by a misspelled “knock-out” – positively Freudian, mon cher! 😀 😀

  32. Kayumochi on May 16, 2013 at 17:28

    Neither Vegans nor Paleos seem to be aware of what happened to the Macrobiotic movement. Both the Vegan movement and the Paleo movement seem to be following the same trajectory as that failed food movement …

  33. Edster on May 16, 2013 at 19:50

    Nice one Richard. Keep fighting the good fight!
    “Scratch a liar, find a thief”, every time a veg*an knowingly distorts, obfuscates, withholds or inverts the truth they are stealing our health, quality of life and longevity. They believe that their values should be our values and the ends justify the means — history clearly shows us how that never works out for the best!

  34. Amy on May 17, 2013 at 10:25

    Just curious if you’ve seen this yet, but internet hero “Kai the Hitchhiker” is wanted for murder in NJ:

    Hey, I was all on-board with the idea of see-something, do-something (aside from call minutes-away authorities) when a crime is being committed, but perhaps we were too forgiving and willing to champion a homeless, hatchet-wielding drifter? Maybe he doesn’t deserve suspicion, but something inside me might say “don’t let this guy into your house, don’t know why, just don’t.” Sometimes protective instinct is biased; doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong.

    Hey, maybe he did act in self-defense again this time. Not sure what to think, except that we have a society that is far larger than our brains are capable of perceiving as safe/viable, and anything strange or novel ought to be approached with a level of scepticism (which seems as much a human trait as the need to bond, eat, and sleep) until we can evaluate the trustworthiness of a newcomer or new idea. For right or wrong, this is our path and our manner.

  35. Sean on May 17, 2013 at 00:46

    I think veganism lends itself to partisanship more than paleoism since it is based on the ethical idea that meat is murder and ‘animal secretions’ such as milk are rape, whereas paleo is, or ought to be, an evolutionary based paradigm of health that is simply focused on what we are evolved to eat.

    If a vegan wants to be unpartisan (or at least dial it back to a reasonable level), is willing to accept the fact that I have a blog with a bovine at the top saying ‘eat me’, then I’m more than willing to live and let live. It’s true we have a lot of common ground in eating real food. Since vegans are the one who feel they occupy the moral high ground, they are the ones that need to extend the olive branch.

    These things tend to devolve into TEAM mentality just like politics, and ‘everything is politics’ to quote Thomas Mann. As a libertarian I ought to have a lot in common with the left: against the various wars on nouns like drugs, terror, etc, not to mention actual countries like Syria. In reality it’s all TEAM all the time and even Mother Jones will cheerlead the WoD when their TEAM is in charge. People in general tend to devolve into TEAM mentality, probably because we spent most of our evolutionary history living in tribes. But the reality doesn’t give a shit about what team you are on or root for, hence the need for, and success of things like the scientific method.

    So I’m willing to avoid TEAM bullshit and play nice with any vegans, like Monsieur Frazier, who are willing to do so likewise. Hell, some of my best friends believe in God 😉

  36. […] got my start on today’s post when I read this post over at FTA regarding vegans vs. paleos getting along.  God help me, even though I was warned, I clicked this […]

  37. Kevin on May 17, 2013 at 08:25

    Richard have you seen this article about the 7-minute work out from the New York Times? Sorry if you already commented on it.

  38. Kayumochi on May 17, 2013 at 08:26

    Humans fall for the temptation to become moralistic. It isn’t exclusive to food movements but it is sad to watch.

  39. Amy on May 17, 2013 at 10:26

    Sometimes protective instinct is biased; doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong.

    doesn’t mean is IS wrong…

  40. Kayumochi on May 17, 2013 at 10:35

    As for Kai, ever seen the movie “My Own Private Idaho?” That is the world of hustling in which he lived and moved until the NJ police arrested him.

  41. Amy on May 17, 2013 at 10:54

    Agreed, Kayumochi, but if you are familiar with the commentary made about his heroic and charitable act of killing a man before that man committed further harm or murder, you would think The Hitchhiker was Saint Kai by now.

    He did move in circles a la My Own Private Idaho but our society, in general, champions people who hustle, literally and figuratively, for a living. Kai was a hero sight unseen for his loose, rambling, interview and his own descriptions of his seemingly heroic actions. Jimmy Kimmel interviewed him. Kai came to NJ to visit “fans” who didn’t know him, only wanted to brush with his internet greatness. I was all in for him, too, as a guy who did what seemed to be right at the time. And maybe he did. And maybe he was just a hatchet-wielding psychopathic drifter capable of talking people into believing him innocent just because he seemed so folksy and everyday and free-dahm luvin’ and all.

    I champion individual freedom, in general. I think I was too hasty to champion Kai, and it is a cautionary tale. Don’t judge in haste, either for guilt or innocence. Keep your wits about you, and be very prudent as to whom you let into your inner circle. Even family members; I know for certain that just because a man or woman is related to your doesn’t mean they won’t take advantage of you or exploit or molest you in some way or another.

    I am curious, though, why we often extend trust to strangers while we refrain from giving it to friends or relatives we’d ostensibly trust.

  42. Kayumochi on May 17, 2013 at 11:08

    You think too much Amy: turns out Kai was just a gay hustler who was in the right place at the right time to gain a little fame. Why analyze it?

  43. Amy on May 17, 2013 at 11:46

    Well fuck it then I’ll just turn my brain off. Our own esteemed blog host championed Kai’s First Responder efforts. I thought I’d offer some fodder for new thought.

  44. Richard Nikoley on May 17, 2013 at 19:42

    Re Kai

    What he did before I highlighted because even if he’d beaten, dismembered and eaten this other guy, what he did was heroic in the context and nothing can change that. The act remains the same.

    BTW, he didn’t kill hat guy. It was assumed for a while, not true.

    As to this latest, can’t imagine he’d go home with a 73-yo stranger in NJ unless it was to serivece the guy’s willey–unless there were other explicit reasons we don’t know. OTOH, perhaps there’s some code…BJ, that’s it. All around risky and fraught with the likelihood of something going wrong. So he wakes up and finds he was drugged and his asshole is sore?

    For me? Push. Nobody’s business. Not heroic, not anything but head shaker.

  45. Richard Nikoley on May 17, 2013 at 20:36


    I would not call that a workout, but conditioning. Fine as that goes, for tone & such.

    There is simply no substitute for lifting, pushing, pulling or pressing a shit load of weight for a few reps. (For safety best not to do anything you can’t do at least 3 reps).

  46. pzo on May 18, 2013 at 07:34

    Religion. No logic or facts need apply.

  47. ChocoTaco369 on May 21, 2013 at 10:08

    How exactly do vegans advocate whole foods? Check the vegan section of a store. What do you see?

    Soy milk
    Soy cheese
    Fake meats made out of extruded wheat gluten
    “Vegan burgers” with 100 different ingredients in them

    Vegan foods are the most highly processed foods in the grocery store, and what are the most prized vegan recipes on the internet? Ones that use grain and legume-based byproducts to approximate meats and dairy products. Vegan burgers, vegan chicken legs, vegan cheesecake, vegan ice cream…the crap is everywhere.

    I’ve compared what I eat to what the typical vegan eats. Let’s just say, me as an ethical monster that eats a solid 2 pounds of meat and 2 dozen eggs a week, eats more vegetables than the vegetarians and vegans I know.

  48. Shannon @ DirtNKids on February 25, 2014 at 07:53

    Loved it. Great article…thought-provoking and refreshing at the same time. I don’t have a problem with paleo, per se, just WHERE it is that my friends, anyway, get their meat. Self-hunted is a far cry better than hiring someone to go get it for you; even the most humane meat industry does not put animal or environmental welfare anywhere near the top of their priorites.

    As hungry, ravaging, and manipulating homo sapiens, there is so much room for improvement. Paleos, gluten-frees, and vegans united would go a long way toward that end. Thanks.

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