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Helen Bennett Harvey promises that no animals were harmed in the making of this blog. Vegging Out is a recipe for a new way of life. Or at least a new way of eating. Pull up a chair. Contact me at:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Do you want fries with that mastodon?

Not on the Paleo diet you don't

Do you think there were ever any Paleolithic men who actually dragged their mates hither and yon by their hair?
I doubt it.
I think those scrappy Paleolithic ladies had plenty of sharpened mastodon tusks to prevent that from occurring.
But I have nothing with which to protect myself from the onslaught of diet advice I currently receive.
It, of course, began when I decided to launch a trial period of being a vegan.
Somehow being a vegetarian for years never elicited more than an occasional odd look or a comment from co-workers who had guilty looks on their faces because they know I am right when I talk (hardly ever) about the cruelty of factory farming animals.
But being a vegan, even in this trial period, punted me right over into a demographic profile that some people (ill informed as they might be) find quite odd.
When the dear baker on our staff rolled out an amazing birthday cake for me on Monday - think lathered in thick chocolate frosting - I smiled gratefully and said a sincere “thank you,” but I did not have any. It wasn’t easy. Several people suggested I suspend the vegan trial long enough to have a piece of cake.
I couldn’t do it. A vow is a vow and a month is month, even if it is the month I was born. Plus, Lauren (ever thoughtful) brought me in a little vegan cake and my husband brought home a big vegan cake. That bigger vegan cake was remarkably dense, by the way.
But beyond people not understanding what being a vegan means, I also am getting bits and pieces of dietary advice from lots of well-meaning directions.
One of the suggestions - and he really means it - is coming from my son, He thinks I should try the so-called “Paleo Diet” for a month or two.
For those not-in-the know yet, the Paleo Diet is basically: meat, fish, veggies, fruits, roots, and nuts; and does not allow grains, potatoes, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, or processed oils.
He knows I would not eat meat or fish, so that would leave me with only the others on the list.
This is a diet, according to some Internet sites, that is kind of in vogue, and it based on claims that humans have not really evolved in a dietary sense past the Stone Age. Or thereabouts, give or take a few hundred thousand years.
I don’t know if that is really what people - or pre-people - ate back in the day, and I am not sure if getting rid of all grains is the most healthful choice. The fad these days is to cry foul over grains and to condemn gluten as a dietary devil.
I am not so sure my brain gets all foggy every time I have a piece of toast, but I am willing to cut down on processed grains and add a lot more nuts to my diet. I already have upped the fruit and veggie quotient even from what is was before I started this vegan trial.
But am I ready to be Wilma Flintstone?
I don’t think so.
Neither Wilma nor Betty really had a lot of choices about what they put on their dinner slab. We, however, are lucky enough to be able to put a lot of thought into what we eat.


Blogger Mary Lawrence said...

You and your son might be onto something with the Paleo Diet for Vegans. Think of what we were eating before the discovery of fire: essentially a raw vegan diet of fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds. Fortunately these days we also have Cuisinarts and Vita-Mixes which help make a seemingly limited diet incredibly diverse, and even decadent! You'd be surprised how rich and satisfying Raw Chocolate Pudding made with avocados, cacao, and dates can be.

To dispel the myth that raw vegan food is bland and boring, I'd recommend a visit to some of the best raw restaurants in NYC: Quintessence, Pure Food & Wine, and Bonobo's. The creativity in these kitchens is limitless, and the meal will be well worth the train ride.

March 13, 2010 11:56 AM 
Blogger Helen Bennett Harvey said...

Great advice, as usual Mary! Thank you!

March 13, 2010 6:22 PM 

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