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Let's learn all about the Pegan Diet and why it is gaining traction very quickly!
Question: What do you get if you combine paleo diet with vegan diet?
Answer: A truly trendy diet that is becoming the next big thing.
If you believe that cutting all animal products from the diet is tough, or that a keto diet is not right for you, then the pegan diet may just be your thing!
But it is important to understand that although this diet allows consuming eggs, fish, and meat, it still limits some food groups.
You will forego the dairy, legumes, and whole grains when following the Pegan life.
So, what exactly is the pegan diet anyway?
How is it different from vegan and paleo diets and how can a person follow it?
Let’s find out more about this remarkable diet which might very well become one of the healthiest ways to eat.
What is a Pegan Diet?
Well, as stated above, this diet can be explained as a style of eating that incorporates two popular diets, both paleo, and vegan.
Dr. Mark Hyman, New York Times best-selling author, is the creator of this term.
He created and used the term “pegan” for the very first time in his blog in 2014.
According to Dr. Hyman, the diet can be really helpful in promoting optimal health by balancing blood sugar in the body and reducing inflammation.
He calls it a “simple diet” as he believes eating lots of plant foods along with foods low in starch and sugar can be helpful in achieving the best health.
He advises that if you want to eat animal foods, make sure you consume sustainably raised poultry, fish, and meat.
With this diet, you have to avoid all dairy products, oils, wheat, and gluten.
You should limit gluten-free grains, beans, and legumes.
You can eat added sugar but it should just be as an occasional treat.
Although the pegan diet combines key principles from both paleo and vegan diets, it follows its own rubric.
Overall, experts have indicated that this diet is designed in such a way that it can be sustainable over the long term.
How Pegan Diet is Different from Vegan and Paleo Diets?
Paleo and vegan diets may seem like they’re different from each other – one advocates for eating fish and meat while the other encourages removing fish, meat, and dairy from the diet.
However, one must understand that both lifestyles encourage eating plants and whole foods.
Pegan diet is different from both paleo and vegan diets because it is a blend of two diets.
This diet puts emphasis on consuming only high quality clean animal products (organic and pasture-raised) along with an abundance of plant foods.
Hence, this pegan diet focuses more on eating organic food and eliminating all refined foods.
How to Start a Pegan Diet?
Although it emphasizes the importance of consuming vegetables, you can also consume sustainably raised animal products along with nuts and seeds.
Gluten-free grains and legumes can be used, but very sparingly.
Before you start your new plan, you must know about which foods to eat and which ones to avoid.
Foods You Can Eat on Pegan
Understand that the pegan diet focuses a lot on whole foods and this means that you can only consume foods that have undergone little to no processing.
Eat Lots and…Lots of Plants
This leads to a diet with the primary food group being fruits and vegetables.
So, make sure that 75% of your food intake is from plants and vegetables.
It's also important to note that you'll have to focus on consuming Low-Glycemic vegetables and fruits such as non-starchy vegetables and berries.
This is because low-glycemic fruits and vegetables help in minimizing the blood sugar response of the body.
However, you don't have to be deprived so the plan allows you to take in small amounts of sugary fruits and starchy vegetables.
Focus on Sourced Protein Intake
Pegan diet does emphasize consuming lots of plant foods (at least 75%) but it also encourages protein intake.
However, the meat intake must be lower than your typical paleo diet.
Dr. Hyman strongly discourages eating factory farmed eggs and meats.
Instead, the diet focuses on eating pasture-raised sources of beef, poultry, eggs, and pork.
It is highly recommended to focus on your fish intake as well because of the presence of healthy omega-3 fatty acids in it.
Consuming wild salmon, herring, anchovies, and sardines is best as these have low mercury content in them.
Eat Minimally Processed Fats
Your focus should be on eating healthy fats from good sources.
- Nuts: You can eat almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and other nuts. But make sure you do not eat peanuts.
- Seeds: You cannot eat processed seed oils, but you can eat a variety of seeds such as chia, flax, and pumpkin seeds.
- Coconut: You can only use unrefined coconut oil.
- Avocado and olives: You can use cold-pressed olive and avocado oil.
Limited Amount of Legumes and Whole Grains
The Pegan diet discourages consumption of most legumes and grains.
However, some legumes and gluten-free grains are permitted in limited quantities.
Your legume intake must be less than or equal to 75 grams per day and gluten-free gains intake cannot exceed 125 grams per day.
Some allowed grains and legumes which you may eat are:
- Legumes: Chickpeas, pinto beans, lentils, and black beans.
- Grains: Millet, oats, black rice, amaranth, and quinoa.
If you have poor blood sugar control then it is best to further limit these foods or even entirely eliminate them from your diet.
Foods You Should Not Eat on a Pegan Diet
You must’ve known by now that the pegan diet is way more flexible than either paleo or vegan.
Why? Because it lets you consume almost any food (even if some are only occasional).
However, there are still some foods and food groups that are not permitted in this diet.
Although some of the foods mentioned-below may be considered healthy or unhealthy (depending on whom you ask),
they are not allowed in a pegan diet due to their perceived impact on blood sugar or even inflammation in the body.
- Dairy: Milk, cheese, and yogurt are strongly discouraged. However, limited quantities of foods made from goat or sheep milk are allowed.
- Sugar: Whether it is refined or unrefined sugar, it is not recommended in the diet. However, you can use it very sparingly.
- Gluten and Gluten-free Grains: Gluten is out of the question but even grains that are gluten-free are not recommended in the diet. However, you can consume certain ones (listed above) occasionally.
- Legumes: As legumes are linked to increased blood sugar, they are not suggested. However, you can occasionally consume low-starch legumes.
- Refined Oils: Soybean, sunflower, canola, and corn oil must be avoided.
- Food Additives: You have to avoid preservatives, artificial coloring, flavorings or additives.
The Bottom Line
You can easily use the guidelines given above to start a pegan diet yourself.
Just make sure you take it slow and don’t rush it because an abrupt change in your lifestyle can be overwhelming end up backfiring.
After all, you are an individual with unique needs and that includes eating and lifestyle.
You may be better suited for strict paleo or even a keto diet, but we feel like this one here is at least worth learning about!
If you’re already vegan or paleo, embracing this diet won’t be too difficult for you.
One of the best things about this diet is its strong emphasis on healthy fruits and vegetables.
Another reason for you try a pegan diet is that it's rich in many nutrients.
Although it may be too restrictive for some people, there is no denying that this nutrient-rich lifestyle can promote optimal health.