Hi, I’m Kelsey

Hi, I’m Kelsey.  Thanks for your interest in Vegan Paleo.

A long-term vegan (12 years and counting), I am “this way” because I don’t want to eat animals. That said, I’ve always had an interest in the “dietary vegan” or “vegan for health reasons” aspect. For quite some time it was all fun and games (pure curiosity) until I discovered I’m gluten intolerant. After said discovery I adopted a raw food diet, omitting all cooked foods (including steamed vegetables, my all-time favorite dish). The result of my raw food adventure is as follows: I indulged in one too many avocados, adding 20+ pounds to my previously lean frame. Meanwhile I was almost always cold, trying to survive Oregon winters whilst refusing to eat anything heated above 115° F. Finally, it occurred to me that people living in the Pacific Northwest are not meant to thrive on avocados from Mexico or bananas from Ecuador and Honduras. And now 4 years later, with a degree in anthropology and 13 months of life in Latin America to speak of, my views have changed to some extent. Despite my total commitment to veganism, I’ve recently delved into the theories and ideas behind the paleo diet. Further, I’ve wondered why so many people are of the opinion that vegans can’t be paleo, or that paleo and vegan are mutually exclusive. As a dedicated student of anthropology I’m interested in the ways in which our human ancestors survived nutritionally, and how their diets changed as they developed certain skills and ideas. So…long story short, this curiosity led me to the paleo diet.

According to many, a vegan cannot eat according to paleo principles. I beg to differ. A raw vegan diet, for example (which I strayed from 3 years ago) is entirely paleo minus the animal flesh. While vegans (especially raw vegans) do tend to eat mejool dates and other sweets not considered optimal by paleo standards, I think it’s safe to say that times have changed since the original homo sapiens walked the earth–thus, we should view things in perspective (according to present-day, culturally-relevant contexts). Granted, some raw vegans eat soaked/sprouted grains that paleo dieters typically avoid–yet many raw-foodists eliminate grain entirely. This is to be expected. Just like any diet, there are deviations from the mean. Yet many paleo advocates argue against a vegan diet–on the premise that vegans cannot be paleo because our hunter-gatherer ancestors supposedly thrived on meat.

This is where things get a little complicated.

See, the first humans hunted and gathered throughout their lifespan–if they didn’t work for it, they wouldn’t eat. As a result, they would die. For this reason, hunter gatherers were not concerned with being kind to animals or wearing ethically-produced fibers. In other words, they ate animal carcasses and wore animal skins (when they succeeded in obtaining such luxuries). For the most part, our human ancestors foraged for food (often berries and wild greens and sometimes fish or small warm-blooded creatures, but rarely large mammals). What’s ironic about the paleo diet is the implication that beef, pork, and organ meat consumption (on a regular basis, whenever is convenient) emulates the eating patterns of prehistoric humans. In this day and age, eating like a caveman (in the true sense of the word) is not possible. Despite claims made by promotors of the paleo diet, the modern societies we live in prevent us from living as early humans did.

Let’s talk about the Industrial Revolution, shall we?

The paleo diet was built upon ideas about certain cultural events. Namely, the Industrial Revolution. A central point argued by paleo dieters is that all grains should be avoided because prior to modern machinery, grain wasn’t available and thus could not be a reliable source of nutrients. Thus, humans needed to utilize other resources (that which they had access to, as hunter-gatherers). The question is: what did they have access to, and how did they go about obtaining it? Please state your answer (leave a comment below)! I’d love to hear ideas, opinions and stories.

To verify my identity as a real person and/or to see photos of my travels/anthropological research/teaching experiences/permaculture farm volunteerism in Latin America, please add Kelsey Jean on facebook and “Like” my page if you are interested in this new frontier of vegan/sustainable eating.

Follow me on Instagram @Vivaluminosa, where I sometimes post about food and other things related to paleoveganism.


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40 thoughts on “Hi, I’m Kelsey

  1. Dear Kelsey,

    Finally a palateo able paleo.
    I would like to find out what your opinion is on the safe starch arguement ie Jaminet vs
    I am a long term raw vegan who is experimenting at the moment with combining Doug Graham’s 811 with David Wolfe’s superfoods and DrMcDougall’s starches. What percentage of fat/carbs do you see as ideal for yourself? I must say that I find your site interesting and informative as well as innovative and ingenious.
    Thank You for reading the above.
    Kind regards,

    • Dear Kelsey,

      Finally a palateo able paleo.
      I would like to find out what your opinion is on the safe starch arguement ie Jaminet vs Rosedale
      I am a long term raw vegan who is experimenting at the moment with combining Doug Graham’s 811 with David Wolfe’s superfoods and DrMcDougall’s starches. What percentage of fat/carbs do you see as ideal for yourself? I must say that I find your site interesting and informative as well as innovative and ingenious.
      Thank You for reading the above.
      Kind regards,

      • Hi Marton,
        I hadn’t heard of the Jaminet vs Roedale argument until you brought it to my attention. I will look into it and respond once I develop an understanding of the issue.
        Thank you for your thoughtful comment,

  2. If Hunter-gatherers rarely hunted large mammals, how were so many driven to extinction? Even to this day, humans will hunt whales.

    • From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammoth- “A definitive explanation for their extinction has yet to be agreed upon. The warming trend (Holocene) that occurred 12,000 years ago, accompanied by a glacial retreat and rising sea levels, has been suggested as a contributing factor. Forests replaced open woodlands and grasslands across the continent. The available habitat may have been reduced for some megafaunal species, such as the mammoth. However, such climate changes were nothing new; numerous very similar warming episodes had occurred previously within the ice age of the last several million years without producing comparable megafaunal extinctions, so climate alone is unlikely to have played a decisive role.The spread of advanced human hunters through northern Eurasia and the Americas around the time of the extinctions was a new development, and thus might have contributed significantly.”

  3. Hi Kelsey, thanks for this site. I’m going to try some of these recipes because I’m in the most ridiculous situation — in my house we have 1 lactose intolerant person, 1 vegetarian, and 1 paleo-wannabe. Cooking dinner has become a nightmare. Anyway I have hopes some of your recipes will work out for us.

    In the meantime I’ve been thinking about the paleo diet as a concept and a practice, and even though it’s me that is the paleo-wannabe, I have some mixed feelings about the theory. (see http://bottleworld.net/?p=618). It’s not so much about the meat — which FBOW I love to eat — just about the concept that prehistoric people ate, say, avocados in Maine. So obviously there is an element of ecological fantasy to what we call paleo. On the other hand, I do like how paleo tastes.

    So there must be a middle ground somewhere. Any more dinner-oriented recipe ideas you have would be appreciated. Cheers!

    • Hi Bottleman, thanks for your inquiries! I think about the paleo diet (in conceptual as well as practical terms) daily, in order to better comprehend the ways in which I can improve my recipes (to make them more paleo). It is difficult to cook for yourself in addition to others who may or may not share your dietary preferences…I’m the first to know; I grapple with it every day. My advice to you is to continue experimenting with recipes (from my blog, of course…and also to seek out recipes that can be easily tweaked or altered to fit the needs of all for whom you cook for). In reply to your suggestion (re: more posts about entrees on my blog) it’s funny, I had a similar thought recently: “Why am I focusing on silly things like cookies and avoiding more important things like coming up with new paleo vegan entrees…?” So as a last word…more vegan paleo entrees are in the making.

  4. Thank goodness I found your blog! I NEED to be vegan but I also due to health problems have found the need to take out grains, soy and most carbohydrates. And trying raw vegan put on weight and puffiness and just did not feel right. I can’t wait to peruse your blog!

    • Hi Christa! I’m glad you found my blog and are interested in veganism. I have been attempting to eliminate soy and grains from my diet also, and have been working to develop recipes that emulate this transition. I too have experienced weight gain and puffiness while on a 100% raw food diet, which led me to a diet that is lower in sugar but partly cooked. Now I try to keep grains and soy to a minimum, but the less sugar I eat the more protein I need. In other words, my eating pattern is constantly evolving.

  5. Hi Kelsey, just wanted to say how happy I am to have found your blog. I’m currently a pescetarian after trying to go vegetarian (not vegan) last year but I kept getting sick and I gave up after 4 months. Even though my nutritionist friend told me I was eating enough plant protein and eggs etc, it turned out my low stomach acid needed higher doses of protein to get enough digested and into my body. Well, that’s sorted out now and I’m happy only eating fish once or twice a week but as my husband and I don’t eat processed foods, I can’t wait to browse your paleo-veg recipes for inspiration and info on plant proteins.

    Cheers, Nataliya.

    • Hi Nataliya,
      Thanks so much for writing. I’ve also been told serveral times by doctors to eat eggs or dairy, or meat protein in order to stay healthy. I considered their advice but did not give into it, because I first wanted to try whatever alternatives were available (to avoid consuming animal products). I went to a few different Naturopathic doctors and was advised to try evening primrose oil as a nutritional supplement, which is a lot like fish oil but is plant-based so it is vegan. I would recommend trying it. Here is a link to the article about it on MedlinePlus, which is sponsored by the US government: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/1006.html.

    • Add some bitters to your food to increase the digestive juices. You don’t need more protein to get more into your system. You need to improve your digestion try some bitter herbs like dandelion or gentian, look up in your herbal store :)

      • Hi, thank you for the tip :) I do take bitters already, and have for many years. Your comment could have influenced my most recent post, so thanks for that! I will reference you in it. Cheers.

  6. Hey there! I’m a vegetarian who eats paleo most of the time, but I am interested in veganism – any books you can recommend that were helpful to you? I want to be fully educated and knowledgable before I make the jump. Thanks so much!

    • I started to eat vegetarian at age 7, thanks to a number of books my mom had in her library. The most noteworthy was the Moosewood Cookbook, which isn’t entirely vegan but is completely vegetarian. I adapted the recipes when I became vegan at 15 and further adapted them upon transitioning to a paleovegan diet at 15. I recommend that book, as well as the a book I found later: The Millenium Cookbook.

  7. Hi Kelsey,
    My Crossfit box is about to do a 30 day Paleo challenge and while I already have issues with Paleo ( caveman wouldnt grind almonds to make flour theyd eat them ;) ) I didnt want to feel excluded because I’m vegan.
    I,m pleased I found your website but now I’m a bit confused as i thought soy , beans and legumes are off the paleo diet. Also if I only eat veggies seeds, nuts and berries am I going to get enough protien?
    I think I may be a bit of an experiment myself as we’re doing bench mark workouts to establish a baseline then will retest after a month on strict paleo so I’ll just have to see how I go. I cant wait to try your spiced pumpkin pancakes !

    • Hey!
      Having the same issue – I am working out quite hard, everyone goes paleo in my gym and whenever veganism comes up as a topic everyone puts up ‘oh-the-poor-vegan-people-faces’. (at least there is empathy!)
      How is your challenge going? What do you take along or buy as a quick snack during your day? How do you get enough proteins?

  8. Hi Kelsey,

    Thank you for sharing your insights. Could you please provide a list of what you consider the best cookbooks (aside from your great recipes here) for those of us looking for a vegan-paleo diet that is sensitive to food allergies like soy, gluten, and grains? I’m finding the search difficult – largely bc of what you point out is the concept that the two are mutually exclusive, I’m sure.

    Thanks in advance =)


  9. Hi I found this very interesting! So does that mean I would t eat grains such as quinoa on a paleo diet. Also if your vegan how do you get protein without soy and how much fruit should you consume a day?

  10. Hi I found this very interesting! So does that mean I would t eat grains such as quinoa on a paleo diet. Also if your vegan how do you get protein without soy and how much fruit should you consume a day cause you’d need carbs

  11. As others have mentioned above, I’m thrilled to have discovered your blog! I’m a 2 year vegan that has recently lost a lot of weight during a 5 month thru-hike. I’m home now and trying to stay active and healthy and I like the idea of eating a bit more paleo. Your blog hits the “sweet spot” for me!
    Keep it up and know that you are inspiring and educating lots of folks!

  12. I am making the transition towards Pescetarianism (no dairy), as I believe in the health [and secondly the ethical] benefits. I also believe in the benefits of a paleo diet in its view of grains and dairy. The big problem I have is beans: as an aspiring vegan, lentils, quinoa, chickpeas (hummos) make up at least one of my meals a day, yet they are not allowed in the paleo diet… what is your view on them? and how to maintain a good level of protein without them in a vegan diet.

  13. Hi Kelsey I have recently started following the paleo diet and am very interested to read how you ensure enough fat and soy free protien in the vegan paleo alternative? Many thanks Andre.

    • Hi Andre,
      Great to hear you’ve started following a Paleo diet! I eat tofu or edamame (soybeans in shell) about 1-2 times per week, because it’s sort of a guilty pleasure. I’d rather include those in a recipe and absorb the protein than eat “guilty pleasure” foods i.e. bread or sweets. Although I try to make my diet 100% paleo, I substitute things like soy protein for things others might find irresistible (and through doing that I’m aware that the soy products have protein and therefore are worth eating). Regarding protein in general: I probably don’t get as much of it as those who eat meat or animal products might. However, I don’t think the levels of protein we need as suggested by the government reflect those that we actually need.

  14. This looks really cool! I’ve subscribed in RSS! I’ve been vegan for almost a year, and a (gradual) vegetarian for 6 months before that. Being ‘clean’ for about a year now it’s been wonderful and by focusing on the gut and digestive health I’m also confident I won’t develop B12 issues or other such things like gluten or ‘anti-nutrient’ issues since it turns out, pointed out by mark sisson, 2014 studies blew all that original paleo phytates hysteria out of the water!

    I’m transitioning to raw-only too, making sprouts my main ‘essential macronutrient’ source in my diet (and greens, fermented vegetables and seaweed as my other main ‘half’ of what I eat), AND, I want to try going ketogenic for a while TOO, which will restrict things even further I guess. All organic, and stuff grown by myself or wildcrafted, when possible!

    I’m not necessarily anti-HC for life, I just need to try ketosis for a while, for a very important reason.

    So far it appears hemp seeds are by far the saviour for LCHF vegan diets, out there – when it comes to seeds. For sprouts though, unhulled hemp seeds are something still quite outlawed (they don’t want you being able to plant cannabis, which itself is equally anti-humanitarian and a story for another day, grr), but I’ll see what I can do (import or something) and I’ll just peruse all the ketogenic food lists and scramble together a diet using whatever else I can, anyway!

    Thanks for making this blog, do you exercise much? I think when you said you balooned up while on raw vegan, (and I assume that was moderate to high carb?), either (or both) of two things would have fixed that issue: 1. digestive health (making sure nothing else is interfering with the gut, like conventional medications, possibly high pesticide non-organic food, or just eating more meditatively and slowly, or any number of things that are classic digestion issues like that!), and 2. exercise. Look at the HCRV people – they’re athletes – carb in, carb out! Diet and exercise have interactive roles with each other and I think diet can be hugely different picture depending on what else you do in your general health life / lifestyle! Being in nature (and not covered up a great deal while in it, barefoot if possible) is also a huge part of things too – things like the sun all affect digestive health and thus how the body absorbs/processes/tolerates grains, in the end! Depending totally on how one eats and how one approaches the same foods, raw / whole grains could be a disaster, or a macronutrient miracle!

    Anyway, following the blog, and look forward to reading your info and thoughts in the future :). I am ALSO intensely interested in anthropology too! So much so, that recently I said to myself that in another life it would totally be my profession :).


    • Hi Adam,
      Thank you for your comment. I too have explored the Ketogenic diet. Prior to creating the Paleoveganista blog I sought out literature regarding high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diets and correlations regarding veganism and early human primates. I have personally experienced ketogenesis, while backpacking in Guatemala and (unintentionally) not eating during a 48-hour period, and that experience helped me to gain first-hand insight about the “Ketogenic diet”. I do not consider a Paleovegan diet “Ketogenic” because it does not encourage starvation; rather, it embodies a lower carb plant-based way of eating that includes unrefined, unprocessed fats i.e. avocados and young coconut meat. Your interest in anthropology, medication, and the ketogenic diet interest me.

    • “anti-nutrient’ issues since it turns out, pointed out by mark sisson, 2014 studies blew all that original paleo phytates hysteria out of the water!”

      @adam care to cite this? I cant find anything on his website or otherwise that he shifted his views that this is hysteria and not science.

      Either way, wheat and soy dont agree with me. But Im curious about legumes? About the last way to get lots of protein on a plant based diet.

  15. Hi, Kelsey

    I would like to share a story with you.

    Before a deer hunt, Native Americans on the East coast would do ceremony (a sweat lodge), with deer hyde on the lodge and make prayers. They took on the smell of the deer, and the deer would almost come to them during the hunt. The hunter would make a prayer to the fallen deer and it is said that the deer’s spirit would go into the spirit world and tell all its relatives that it had a “good life and a good death” and they would return. After colonization, my ancestors could no longer do rituals because the demand for the hyde by the colonists was unreasonable. Guns replaced arrows, factories w/ animals on conveyor belts replaced sweat lodge and a “good death”. I don’t consider Native Americans as Cavemen. I think men today are more uncivilized with the way they poison our water, and this competitive drive that destroys our natural resources. How is that civilized?

    On a drive near Rhinebeck, NY I came across more than one fallen deer in an hour (hit by Cars!). I got out to make prayers, and offer tobacco to one large deer, and I believe the deer spoke to me, and said “Thank You”.

    I hope the way the larger society treats cows, pigs, and chickens will change on a larger scale. At one time, we co-existed (well, for Natives w/ the turkey and the buffalo) etc…

    Many good blessings,


    P.S. Listen to your body.

  16. hi!
    I am Brazilian .
    I found Your Blog and I was happy .
    I am vegetarian . Have only been eating fruit. I love fruit. But this practice was possible in a time of my life.
    I was extremely concerned about PAleoVegan . I think everything is possible . We change and adapt . Today’s foods are not the same as last .
    You use paleo recipes and removes animal ingredients ?

  17. I’m so happy to have found your blog. I was looking for a recipe and that’s how I found you. I went vegan at the start of January (hadn’t even heard of Veganuary so I’m not jumping on any bandwagons! lol) and I feel so much better even in a month. I ditched flour too which is how I ended up on your blog. I’m still using up some things which don’t fit the vegan diet but even with them I feel less bloated and less not well. I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog in due course :-D

  18. Hey,
    I love your story and mine is very similar to yours – I am a paleo-ish vegetarian (can’t skip grandma’s home-raised chicken eggs).

    Yet I have to point out that you mixed up 2 wastly different historical periods: The Industrial revolution (2-3 hundred years ago) and the Agricultural revolution (12-10 THOUSAND years ago). But maybe I just didn’t understand your point well enough.

    Keep the great work on!

  19. Thank so much for your site Kelsey,I thought I might be a little crazy for combining these two ways of living,glad our family is not alone!

  20. Hello Kelsey,

    I really find your site a practical source of great vegetable centered recipes. I think the key to success in a vegan, vegetarian or paleo lifestyle is really exploring the vast world of vegetable matter and cooking them in hearty ways. Nothing can sabotage these healthy lifestyles more than simply relying on day after day of salad eating. Don’t get me wrong, salad has a place.

    I consider myself a 70% Vegan/30% Paleo hybrid. I limit meat to twice a week (mostly fish), and eggs to about three times a week. No dairy, no legumes (except the occasional hummus!), and absolutely no grains. I have lost tons of belly fat, sleep well ,and am in a much better mood. I really do see a great deal of overlap between the vegan and paleo world, both can be incredibly healthy, if done right. Plus, vegan guys can look just as buffed as meat eaters, check out Frank Medrano on Youtube, he is a beast!


  21. Hi Chelsey, I found your site when looking for recipes. I’m not vegan or vegetarian or pescatarian but I have found some of your recipes can be adapted to my diet. Because of a leaky gut, my sources of protein are extremely limited and I must remain a meat eater. Dr. W Colin Campbell in his book “The China Study” found that 65g of animal protein per day is all that is required by a man doing manual labour and as little as 35g for a sedentary woman. Any excess is able to be utilized by any cancer that you may have. Vegetable protein can be eaten in any quantity and still not feed any cancers which you would only have if your body is toxic as noted by Dr. Joseph Pizzorno. Dr Pizzorno recently did a talk on the Natural Health Summit where he stated categorically that ALL chronic disease is caused by toxins in the body regardless of whether it is an environmental toxin (breathing, absorbing through the skin, ingesting) or toxins caused by your body (where your body is not eliminating the by-products of your metabolism). The body cannot lose weight if there are toxins in the fat you’re trying to lose if the liver and kidneys can’t cope with them. The body will not release them instead keep storing them until such time as they can be eliminated. So the point of this dialogue is that the best way to lose weight is to eat organic and feed your microbiome. Your microbiome will look after you if you look after your microbiome. Sadly, due to antibiotics and other environmental toxins my microbiome was destroyed and hence I got a Leaky Gut amongst other things. Now I can’t eat soy, gluten or any grains, nuts, dairy, brewers yeast, bakers yeast, sugar cane, eggs, sesame seeds, quinoa, avocadoes, bananas, peaches, vanilla, nutmeg, pepper, dried beans of any type, shellfish, so on and so forth. The list goes on and on and on. The best thing I found on your site was a way of replacing eggs with flaxseed. WOW, what a lifesaver. Thank you so much for that one little piece of information. Many are the times when I would have given a days rations to have a flaxseed egg to put into a recipe. I look forward to finding a few more gems like that one. So please, keep inventing and discovering new ways of doing things, there is a need by many people not just paleovegans etc.

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