Why the paleo diet lacks compassion and screws the planet

Bananas for low carbon high energy food

Bananas for low carbon high energy food

This blog isn’t going to make everyone love me but that isn’t the point. This blog is about what I strongly believe and I am not in the business of telling people what they want to hear just to make them feel good about themselves.

I have been feeling really bugged by the Paleo diet. I know, no surprise a vegan hates the worlds cruellest diet.

The Paleo diet is commonly known as the caveman diet and encourages a high fat diet, high protein diet primarily comprised of meat and vegetables, no sugar and low in carbohydrates.

So, why are people obsessed with a diet which saturates your body in fat? Fucks the planet, actively encourages slaughter and consumption of a vast quantity of animals? This diet is currently pushed by a few overweight non athletic people making a fortune telling people what they want to hear. It has been adopted by the Crossfit community and pushed as the way to get optimum athletic results. Crossfit is hugely popular but it has been linked to causing dangerous muscle damage conditions such as rhabdomyolysis.

The large guy on the right looks like the right person to be given nutrition advice.

The large guy on the right looks like the right person to be given nutrition advice.

The paleo diet will tell you that you know those millions of animals slaughtered every day well that is because god wanted that. This is a quote off a Crossfit gym near my flat in London which pushes the diet. Honestly WTF: ” This is not a lifestyle for a vegetarian. Paleo works on the idea that “if God didn’t want us to eat animals, he wouldn’t have made them out of meat.”

Shit! Obviously that evolution theory thing skipped the people at this crossfit gym. I suppose if god didn’t want us to eat fruit he wouldn’t have made them out of fruit. Yeah, right that makes sense. Really, really? Is that best justification for a diet which encourages increased slaughter of animals and damages the planet.

We live in a world which is being ravaged by climate change, in the past 2 weeks, The Phillipines, Italy and Somalia have been hit by cyclones. We have record levels of carbon in the atmosphere 400 parts per million. Just last month the worlds leading climate scientists (IPCC) have published a report saying we are heading for 4 degrees increase in pre industrial world temperatures by the end of the century. I was at a conference last week about the Chagos archipelago (the worlds biggest no take marine conservation area) and every scientist who stood up to talk about the reef talked about the threats posed by climate change to our oceans and marine ecosystem.

We live in a world where we need to drastically reassess the way we treat animals and are in urgent need of cutting our global carbon emissions. Livestock farming and the meat industry currently accounts for roughly 1/5 of global carbon emissions.

Let me be clear. Eating meat doesn’t make you a bad person, we all have to make our own choices and some of the most wonderful people I have ever met eat meat. I still love them. But it does significantly increase your carbon footprint as an individual, carbon emissions from livestock farming a major contributor to climate change.

Dr John McDougall talks about how a high starch vegan diet heals his patients health:

Personally I want to eat a diet that enables me to have a low carbon footprint, not harm animals and be a good steward of the planet.

I also want to thrive athletically, I just need to look at people like Scott Jurek, Tim Van Orden, Rich Roll, Durian Rider, Brendan Brazier, Peter Siddle, Mac Danzig, for vegan athletic inspiration.

UFC fighter and Raw Vegan Mac Danzig

UFC fighter and Raw Vegan Mac Danzig

I feel a large part of running is about how we feel inside. Scott Jurek didn’t win the The Great Western States 100 mile race 7-times feeling guilty. A vegan diet enabled him to perform and recover better than ever before, I am sure knowing his diet meant he was treading lightly on the earth enabled him to run fast and become one of the greatest ultra marathon runners ever.

As a planet we’re facing a global heart disease and obesity crisis, 23% of people in the UK are now obese. Just turn on your TV what do you see? Meat everywhere, dripping with fat and cheap junk food. We have thrived off fruit since humans evolved that is what we’re meant to eat not our companions on earth animals. We didn’t all start getting fat in the west when we started eating fruit this only happened when we became rich nations and had access to junk food and cheap meat.

We all have to make our own choices but in my eyes a high carb, low fat vegan diet rich in fruit and veggies is the one which will help you stay healthy and happy and protect the planet for future generations. We have the power to make positive choices like going vegan. Just because something has always been a certain way it doesn’t mean it needs to stay like that the world changes. I just hope the fitness world wakes up and dismisses this dangerous, cruel paleo diet soon.

Check out Durian Rider exposing some paleo myths below:

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What a vegan athlete eats

Fresh organic vegetables
I have been writing this blog for about 6 weeks now and I just wanted to say thanks for everyone who taken the time to read my blog, especially those who have gotten in touch with me. I have found connecting with other runners really inspirational and it has helped inspire me to train harder. The online running community is proving a fantastic place full of positive people living interesting lives.

So last week I asked a friend of mine what he thought of the blog and he said he liked it but I haven’t talked about food much. Which I realise I haven’t really. So I thought I would make this blog about what I am eating currently. I will give a quick rundown on a typical running day.

Breakfast

I am on fruit only breakfasts 6 out of 7 days a week with the occasional Sunday treat of pancakes or a cooked breakfast. I am generally eating my breakfast fruit in smoothie form to save time and to make it easier to consume a large quantity of fruit in one go. I like to base my smoothies around bananas, I have always been a big fan of them and they provide a great source of carbohydrates and good sugars to  power my running.

Below are a couple of favourite smoothies to make (I just use a electric hand blender)

Banana and spinach

  • 2 bananas
  • 200 ml of water
  • A handful of spinach

Banana and chocolate

  • 2 bananas
  • 200 ml or organic soya milk or your favourite milk of choice
  • A teaspoon of cocoa powder

Pineapple and apple

  • One whole pineapple
  • 2 apples
  • 100 ml of water

Pineapple and apple

Lunchtime

About a year ago I stopped buying packaged bread from supermarkets, I had become interested in the real bread movement and I am lucky enough to live in an area where artisan bakeries are easy to come by. Packaged bread which we woof down in the UK contains up to 17 chemicals most which I have no idea what they are. This grossed me out. So now when I eat bread it normally is of the sourdough variety, I often get bread from my local bakery and recently a fellow runner Lauren has started baking sourdough bread and selling it to her friends.

However I have shifted away from my sandwich a day lunches, I occasional will have a real bread sandwich but most of the time I opt for a salad or leftovers from the night before. If I do make a salad I will usually use a grain like bulgar wheat, quinoa or brown rice. I have to say a huge bowl of salad with lots of weird and wonderful tomatoes from my local farmers market is the perfect treat.

Dinner 

Now this is really a varied affair, since embarking on my journey to a meat free life I have become really interested in cooking. I draw influences from a whole range of different cultures when I create my food. Living in London means you’re constantly exposed to new and exciting food and I am lucky enough to have many friends who are great cooks and inspire me to create new and exciting dishes consistently.

Tempura

To give you a snapshot these are my dinners over the past 7 days:

Monday

Bulgar wheat pilaf with peppers

Tuesday

Leftover pilaf, cucumber chunks in hummus, roasted squash, peppers and salad

Wednesday

Polish food, gherkins, vegan homemade potato gnocchi, mushrooms and onions

Thursday

Gobi aloo cauliflower, potato tomato curry

Friday

Green runner bean balti curry

Saturday

Mix of Japanese food including sushi, glass noodles with sweet potato, spring rolls, miso

Sunday

Tempured courgettes, courgette flowers, carrot salad with ginger and garlic, red cabbage salad, quinoa with peppers

So this is a snapshot of what I eat, I am lucky to live in an area with a great farmers market and a wide range of organic stores where I am able to get affordable fresh produce daily. I know that this isn’t as easy for everyone especially those living in the suburbs in the UK. If you’re one of those people you should check out the possibility of getting a vegetable box delivered from your local farm.

Finally I would love to hear what other vegan/vegetarian runners eat whilst training? Please drop me a tweet or even better comment on this blog.

Thanks for reading,

Damien