Ready to start Paleo but not really sure what you’re getting into? For starters, check out the Paleo beginner’s guide to clear up any questions you have before starting the caveman lifestyle. If you have or follow certain diet restrictions, you might be wondering if Paleo is vegan and/or gluten-free. Let’s get that answered for you.
Simple answer: The Paleo diet is naturally gluten-free, but not vegan.
Explanation: The Paleo diet incorporates a variety of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats, and most proponents eliminate dairy like the vegan diet does. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The main challenge with trying to keep a vegan Paleo diet is the amount of animal protein you’ll be eating. The Paleo diet revolves around proteins like beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, seafood, and eggs, all of which are not compatible with a vegan lifestyle. It also eliminates all pulses like chickpeas, soy, lentils, and beans, as well as grains like quinoa, wheat, barley, and rice—y’know, main staples of a vegan diet. Because of this, it would be very difficult for vegans to meet their protein needs while on the Paleo diet.
On the other hand, the Paleo diet is inherently gluten-free since it eliminates all grains and products derived from grains, which, in turn, cuts out gluten. It is, however, much more restrictive than a gluten-free diet since gluten-free grains like rice and quinoa are also eliminated.