Switching From Paleo to Vegan

I grew up healthy on SAD foods. Then at 20 I inherited a neuromuscular disorder that caused 20 bowel movements/day. I spent the next 5 years ill and got a colostomy 3 months ago that solved the problem. While sick I switched to the paleo diet and had excellent health, but no change in the condition.

I typically eat two meals/day of quality meat with a large side of vegetables and low GI fruits. I snack on fruit, nuts, and seeds. In one week on paleo I lost 5 lbs of fat, gained 5 lbs of muscle, and my energy level doubled. Since then my weight has been stable and my energy & cognitive functions have never been better. I can go 2 days without food and remain alert and focused. The downside is that I tend to get constipated and have frequent/acidic urine from being in ketosis.

On both SAD & paleo I’ve had mostly excellent health- rarely sick, no allergies and no meds. However, I’ve always had trouble sleeping. While the paleo results are impressive, I wonder if I can get better results on vegan. I’d like to try it for 6 months, but have two concerns.

  1. Do you have any issues with cognitive function? I’m the lead engineer of a small company and really need top mental performance. The high protein & 1:1 omega-3/6 fat consumption in paleo has been incredible for cognition. But I can’t think well on a low protein/fat breakfast. Do you guys eat a lot of nuts and seeds for the fat/protein? Do you find that you simply need less?

  2. Paleo foods are calorie-dense so you don’t need large amounts. I love the idea of being able to enjoy plates of food everyday, but am concerned about the colostomy. Plant foods tend to bulk stools, and in conjunction with higher quantities of food, I’m worried about having to change the ostomy bag every 3 hrs. I usually change it 2x/day, and insurance only provides 3 bags/day. I apologize if this is TMI, but its a real concern.

All comments welcome. Thanks a lot for your time.

You shouldn’t have any problems with getting enough protein as long as you do a bit of research on it. You would be surprised where you can find protein. Some examples of foods with a good amount of protein is oatmeal, soy (Soy milk, tofu, soy beans etc), quinoa, beans, legumes, hummus (Made from chickpeas), lentils, chickpeas, nuts, hemp, broccoli, brown rice, rye bread etc.

You will also find protein in almost all the leafy greens and other veggies that you eat. I also like to have protein filled breakfasts so I’ll give you some examples of what I eat

  1. Green smoothies. You could put a couple leaves of Kale, Romaine, Collards, and some fruit to sweeten it up. You can look online for hundreds of recipes but personally I just add, blend and taste
  2. Organic whole oats with some fruit, usually boiled with soy milk or water
  3. Granola with soy/almond based yogurt
  4. Quinoa (on its on or with a soy based yogurt)
  5. Bagel/Rye with Jam/Peanut butter/almond butter
  6. A vegan plant based protein bar if you’re in a hurry

When buying soy milk or any other non-dairy milk, always read the ingredients and make sure to avoid the ingredient Carrageenan , it is extremely unhealthy. The brand of soy milk I buy is Natur .

I hope this helps!

Thanks for responding Sun Week. I’ll avoid Carrageenan & include legumes/leafy greens in a higher protein breakfast. The shake is a good idea- fast and convenient. Good way to jump into the morning’s work.

I’d rather not eat grains because of the phytates, gluten, and lectins. I’d prefer a Fuhrman diet to a McDougall, focusing on produce, nuts, and seeds. But I could make granola with nuts, seeds, and berries. Or have a banana-almond butter sandwich instead of using bread.

Yeah I am not a bread eater myself but it is always an option. There is actually this really good mimic-bread thing that is raw and vegan. It’s just compressed dehydrated seeds and veggies.

Also if you wanted to making your own almond milk, it’s very simple and healthy (and safest so you avoid any unnecessary additions to your food)
So all you do is measure 1 cup of almonds, and soak them in water overnight in your fridge (or up to 2 days, depending on how you enjoy it, the longer you soak the almonds the creamier the milk will be). You then strain and rinse the almonds, and put them in a blender with 5 cups of water for about 2 minutes. (You can use 2-3 cups instead, it will give a 2% milk thickness)

You then just simply strain the almonds with a nut bag or a cheese cloth (If you don’t have one you can buy it for 5-10$, and you will always have it.) You should squeeze the bag to get any remaining milk out. And that’s it! It wont stay good that long in the fridge, only about 2 or 3 days. It is an excellent source of protein though and is very good. I prefer doing this then buying it because it is in it’s purest form

With the remaining pulp you could always eat it or something for an extra dose of fiber and protein, or you can throw it out ( I personally don’t like wasting so i try to figure out something to do with it)

Also to answer your main questions (which i never did, oops)

  1. I would definitely say it increases your cognitive function because of how many nutrients your getting from all the fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. I sustain really high marks in all of my courses (Which include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Kinesiology, Calculus and a few more) which geting a lot of fresh air also helps. When the weather is nice enough I will always walk to uni rather then take the bus. I have found being vegan I am also very high energy (as long as I eat enough and don’t fall behind on protein)

  2. I don’t have much advice on this, but personally I only have to go maybe 2 times a day, sometimes 3 times if I had a lot of fiber.

As for your sleep, I will usually have chamomile tea if I have trouble sleeping

Paleos also make “breads” with nuts, seeds, fruits, and spices.

Making almond milk is a good idea. I make my own almond butter. All you have to do is blend almonds in a food processor with an s-shaped blade for 20-30 minutes. Then store in a glass jar and refrigerate. Its cheaper and better tasting than the commercial brands. And like the milk you know there’s no impurities in it.

Vegan diet has great micronutrient levels. I’m just not sure how well I’ll adapt to lower protein/fat intake. Glad to hear you’re doing well in your courses. I’m a few years older than you, but except for Kinesiology I took all of those in college too. What are you majoring in?

The almond-pulp from the milk might be really good as part of a veggie salad dressing, mixed with blended avocados and berries. Klapper has a good presentation on Youtube recommending that vegans avoid using oils in salad. That makes a lot of sense if you’re on a high-carb diet. The combination of high fats/carbs can be lethal.

yeah for salad dressings I usually just put some berries and nuts on my salad, or sometimes I will blend them. Blending the almond pulp with it is actually a really good idea, i’ll definitely try it :slight_smile: & I’ve also never made almond butter, or ever had it before! I will try making it soon! How long will it stay good for?

I’m majoring in Kinesiology! I sort of now want to go into Dietetics and Nutrition as well but I don’t want to do an additional 4-5 years of Uni :frowning: I really want to do some travelling

Mine stays fresh for a couple of weeks. Just be sure to use dry almonds when you make it and don’t add any liquids like vanilla extract, which will greatly reduce shelf life.

Best of luck with your Kinesiology studies. You can always incorporate some nutrition advice when you work with your clients. People fight about vegan vs paleo, but they’re both a lot better than SAD!

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