Ask any health professional about what a healthy balanced diet looks like, and they’ll probably tell you that you need to be eating a combination of all the major food groups: whole grains, fruits and veggies, lean animal protein, and good fats. Of course, there’s some wiggle room in there depending on which type of nutritional theory you subscribe to (e.g., vegetarian vs. Paleo vs. ketogenic, etc.).
But if we told you that you could live without ever eating another carrot stick, zucchini noodle, or spinach leaf again, would you believe us?
The Inuit Paradox: A Case For Veggie-Free Living
The traditional Inuit/Eskimo culture had what researchers consider the prime (rib?) example of a meat-centric diet. For decades, their populations thrived on seal, walrus, fish, and caribou. Amazingly, anthropological studies have shown their rates of scurvy and other health conditions related to malnourishment were virtually nil.
That’s right: Most Eskimos had healthy bodies and long lives…without a single kale salad to their credit. Scientists tend to agree that the wild meat and organs regularly consumed by these people (often prepared raw) had sufficient vitamins and minerals to generally support human health.
But let’s be honest: most of us don’t live on a tundra and hunt our own food.
In our modern world, it can be difficult (both practically and financially) to find high quality meats and organ meats like the ones enjoyed by indigenous cultures for years. Many animal products available in stores these days are lower in quality and lacking in certain nutrients simply because of the way these animals are brought up, e.g., corn-fed and factory-raised for mass consumption. Ethical dilemma aside, these conventional animals pale in comparison to free-range, wild caught game.
Vegetables, of course, are also packed with vitamins and minerals, and also offer fiber which is necessary for gut health. They can easily supplement a meat lover’s diet with things like phosphate, selenium, magnesium, calcium, vitamins C, K, E, A, B, and so on. Plus, they are as low in calories as they are dense in nutrients, helping to fill you up without filling you out.
Plus, aside from offering you several health benefits, they really do taste good. They add a ton of variety of flavor, color, and texture to your plate and can keep you from getting bored easily.
And no, you’re not a kid anymore. There’s no such thing as clean plate club for grown-ups. This means you don’t have to wolf down the veggies you don’t like simply because they’re good for you. Find the 4 or 5 veggies you do love, learn how to prepare them (steamed, roasted, sautéed, etc.), and keep them in your gustatory rotation.
The Bottom Line: Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should
Can you live without veggies? Technically, yes. But we’re not too sure why you’d want to.
If you’re in the kind of experimental mood to give up an entire food group, you’re far better off giving up fruit or grains, as the nutritional value they offer can be handily met by veggies alone–plus veggies won’t overload your system with sugar.