Jonathan Bailor & Nell Stephenson: Plant-Based vs. Paleo vs. SANE – Which is Best?
Plant-Based vs. Paleo vs. SANE – Which is Best?
Jonathan Bailor: Alright, Nell. I had to take us out of the kitchen, sit at the table, because I want to talk about a serious topic with you.
Nell Stephenson: Okay.
Jonathan Bailor: We talked about meat.
Nell Stephenson: Yeah.
Jonathan Bailor: And so often, any time anyone hears about any lifestyle that involves eating meat, this plant versus animal debate seems to ensue, and it actually seems like what you or a Paleoista, what you are talking about, what I talk about with SANE lifestyle includes nutrient-dense, humanely raised meats, but it is actually also plant-based.
Nell Stephenson: It is totally plant-based, and I think a lot of people hear the Paleo diet and they think it is something that it is not. They think it is cavemen walking around, eating raw meat, nothing but raw meat.
Jonathan Bailor: Yeah.
Nell Stephenson: Or they think it is some kind of a permutation of the Atkins Diet, which is no-carb. It is not the case at all. The real Paleo diet is actually forty to fifty percent plant-based, so you are getting at every meal, about forty to fifty percent of that plate at every single meal should be vegetables.
Jonathan Bailor: Absolutely.
Nell Stephenson: Add some fruit now and then, but mostly vegetables.
Jonathan Bailor: Mostly vegetables, absolutely.
Nell Stephenson: And I think it is really important for people to understand it is not fruits and vegetables together, because when you say that, people say, “Fruit is easy. I can grab an apple, I don’t have to do any prep. I can grab an orange, and I don’t have to do anything. You know, cooking broccoli takes time.” Or, “I do not like vegetables.” Well, that is kind of something that we have to get away from. We have to get to the point where we are actually enjoying vegetables, which is not that hard to do. A lot of times, it is just because we have had the vegetables prepared in a bad way, and we have never tried preparing them. But to your point: the Paleo diet is not different from a plant-based diet. It is not all plants, but it is not all meat. It is really, really important for people to get that, and because it is mostly plant-based, it is net alkaline diet, which is also really important to know because a lot of the sicknesses that we are seeing today are actually based on the body being inflamed. So if we eat an alkaline diet versus an acidic diet, we let our body become more healthy and it is a lot more difficult for us to get sick if we are alkaline.
Jonathan Bailor: And the thing that makes me so excited about the Paleo lifestyle and the SANE lifestyle is its focus seems to be on that which really matters, which is eat the things which provide you the most of what you need and the least of what you do not. A silly example: a Snickers bar is plant-based. That does not mean it is good for you, right? And pink slime is meat, but it does not mean — it is not about plants versus animals, right? It is about nutrient density and hormonal health and satisfaction. You could eat a plant-based diet that will kill you, and you could eat an animal-based diet that will kill you. You cannot eat a high-quality diet?
Nell Stephenson: That will kill you. Exactly.
Jonathan Bailor: And that is the — why focus or even talk about anything other than just saying, “Eat the most of that which provides you the most of what you need and the least of what you do not.”
Nell Stephenson: Yeah, and you know, I read this really interesting article the other day, and I do not know if anybody is familiar with my story, but I was vegan for two years, about a decade ago.
Jonathan Bailor: Okay. And that is vegan, not vegetarian.
Nell Stephenson: Oh, vegan. And not only vegan, but I was an angry vegan, and I can say that because —
Jonathan Bailor: You were a militant vegan!
Nell Stephenson: I was, and I am talking about myself, so this is — I can do that because I am only talking about me, but I was at that young age where I just had graduated from college, so I had that entitlement, like I was great and everybody else was wrong and I was ready to argue about it. So for me, it was — obviously, it was not an overnight change, and I started with fish, and I jokingly called that the gateway protein. But the point is, you know, at that time, I thought I was vegan for ethical reasons. I was also trying to figure out what — I had some stomach problems growing up and I was always trying different ways of eating to figure out if I would start feeling better, because it went from mild to really bad, which I did sort out later, we can talk about that later. But the thing with the vegan diet is, because I was vegan for ethical reasons, that was my main impetus. And I just read this article the other day, and it was this guy who was a former vegan who is now a butcher. But his point was, if you are vegan for animal rights reasons, that is actually not the way to make change because all you are doing is you are taking yourself out of the situation; you are not actually supporting the people who are meat producers in a humane way.
Jonathan Bailor: Oh, interesting. Yeah, yeah.
Nell Stephenson: So that is actually a really important thing to notice, I do believe — and again, this is not to say that everybody who is a vegan has to change their ways, but if you are a vegan, maybe you are not feeling that great and you are wondering if — you are starting to think about eating some protein. It is food for thought. If that is your only reason, if you actually support the people who are raising animals in a humane way, then that actually does a better service for the humane treatment of animals than just aborting yourself from the whole picture, because then you are not supporting the guys who are trying to do the right thing.
Jonathan Bailor: And again, I think you hit the nail on the head there, Nell, where you said the goal — like, we talked about nutrition, and that is associated with quality. And the goal of a lot of people who eat a vegan lifestyle is to be humane to other living things. Let us not forget that plants are living things as well, and there are humane, responsible, sustainable ways to produce plants, and there are horribly destructive and soil-depleting ways to produce GMO corn, soy, wheat; so the question —
Nell Stephenson: All of which might be vegan.
Jonathan Bailor: Exactly, the question, again, is not plant versus animal. It is high quality versus low quality, sustainability versus not sustainable, so why not just focus on a high quality, sustainable lifestyle instead of these other arguments which seem to be missing the point?
Nell Stephenson: Yeah, exactly. And that is — the thing is, you know, people will, there is always that one person who wants to argue about things, and I am not interested in convincing anybody to eat a certain way any more than I want somebody to try to convince me that I should start eating at fast food restaurants. But what I can say is, however anybody is eating, if you cannot honestly get up every morning and say, “I am filled with energy, my weight is great, at work, I am so in it, and I am mentally so sharp. I never have blood sugar crashes, I never have headaches, I am rarely sick;” if that is something you cannot say, then you have to look at what you are eating, and how you are sleeping, and how you are exercising, and that all collectively feeds the same picture, because unless that is the case, you cannot say that your diet is perfect.
Jonathan Bailor: And we all want our efforts in our lives to yield good fruit, and if our goal is to have a healthy body and to support the planet — I mean, some of us (probably not people who are watching this video) are not willing to do that. They just want to go about their business. But for people who, if you say, “I want what I put in my mouth to be supporting the planet, not depleting the planet,” then we just want to give you the tools so that you are actually doing that, because if what you put in your mouth is this heavily processed, faux meat, vegan garbage that has been processed, and shipped all over the world, and is made with GMO soy; you are expending the effort, and you are depriving yourself of certain other options, and you are not furthering the cause that inspired you to do that in the first place. So I think we can all agree that wasting our energy is not a good thing to do.
Nell Stephenson: Exactly. And you are right, it does not make any sense, and I did the same thing when I was vegan. Thinking about what I ate was horrifying, because I definitely ate tofu, I ate the fake meats, which looking back, made no sense because I was vegan for ethical reasons, yet I thought I needed to eat things that looked and tasted and felt like meat. Why did I do that? It makes no sense.
Jonathan Bailor: And what I love about Paleoista or the SANE lifestyle is, I know some very, very healthy vegetarians who are super healthy, I love that, super high-quality, super sustainable, but I also have yet to find anyone of any lifestyle that eats more vegetables than I do.
Nell Stephenson: Me too.
Jonathan Bailor: And that is the key thing, if you want to say plant-based, animal-based, blah, blah, blah, unless you are doing that fifty percent of your plate or more are vegetables, not fruits and vegetables, but vegetables, and as we talked about earlier, that becomes a lot tastier when you allow yourself to add fat, right? Fat quickly makes vegetables quite delicious.
Nell Stephenson: Oh my God, yeah. I mean, one of my favorite things is, I like simple. I mean, I will do my gourmet preparation stuff too, but one of my favorite things is just either arugula or raw kale, and avocado and raw salmon. You just take a bite of that, and your eyes roll back in your head, it is so good.
Jonathan Bailor: Yeah, I love it. Well, vegetables as an efficient and healthy fat delivery mechanism, that is the way to go.
Nell Stephenson: Exactly. One last note on the vegetables: when people, again, they may have misconstrued what Paleo is and they think — they may try it with good intention, and then they think they are eating too much meat, and they are having problems with being regular. Well, then they say, “Well, how am I going to get my fiber if I am not eating my breads?” Well, it is actually a fact that, generally speaking, vegetables have seven to eleven times the amount of dietary fiber than fortified grain products do, so if you are new to Paleo and you are having some problems being regular, I bet you are not eating enough vegetables which, again, you should be eating vegetables at every single meal, including breakfast.
Jonathan Bailor: Every single meal, and the thing that I would have made clear to folks is, well, you mentioned digestive problems. Certainly, I can empathize with this and I am going to shared something which I have never actually shared publicly; it is kind of embarrassing. So for decades, I struggled with flatulence. A lot of people do, and what the common wisdom, even from the medical community, told me was, it the protein in my diet and it was the fiber in my diet. So I would try experiments where I would eat less protein, and I would try experiments where I would eat less vegetables, which is certainly not healthy. That never did the trick. I eliminated dairy —
Nell Stephenson: Ah, there you go. No-brainer.
Jonathan Bailor: And it just, it went away. And again, in the SANE way of eating, certainly low sugar and dairy can be a part of it, but for me, for me it did not fit. The key point I am trying to make here is, if you are experiencing flatulence problems, do not immediately throw out the protein, definitely do not throw out the vegetables. I would try to do without dairy first, and then maybe try other stuff —
Nell Stephenson: And beans! So many, like soy and peanuts in particular are two things that people have really, really high allergic reactions to very commonly, and that stuff is in everything.
Jonathan Bailor: Absolutely. Love it, Nell. Thank you.