With so many fad diets circling the internet and book stores, it is SO HARD to know what to eat these days! Now, adding to the already long long list of food restrictions and judgements, comes a NEW plan - the Pegan Diet.
‘Pegan’ is a combination of the Paleo and Vegan diets.
It was labelled by Dr. Mark Hyman M.D., (one of America’s top functional medicine doctors). Ultimately, he concludes that the healthiest way to eat is a play on paleo and vegan: the PEGAN diet
- based on the idea that our bodies do best when fueled by foods that existed before agriculture
- no sugars (except maybe honey and those occurring naturally in fruit)
- no grains, no dairy, no legumes or beans
- only nonindustrial meat, fish
- whole non-starchy vegetables
- some starchy root vegetables and winter squashes
- fruit (but not too much)
- nuts, and seeds. And that’s about it
- ideally incorporates plenty of whole, plant-based foods
- people usually choose to eat this way for ethical, environmental or health reasons
- no dairy or eggs
- no meat or poultry
- no fish or seafood
- no bee products
- no animal based ingredients
- can eat grain, legumes and beans
- can eat sugar
The best versions of both diets are built on the same foundation: Eat real, whole food.
Vegan and paleo diets focus on foods that don’t raise our blood sugar, plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy protein and fats, and no crap.
Blending these two rather strict diets reduces restrictions while increasing the nutritional profile of both. Some might say, eating this way simply resonates as natural and healthful and EASY. No need to complicate things further...
Here’s what to eat if you chose to follow a Pegan Diet:
1. Stay away from sugar.
That means a diet low in sugar, flour, and refined carbohydrates. Think of sugar in all its various forms as an occasional treat.
2. Eat mostly plants.
Half your plate should be covered with veggies. The deeper the color, the better. The more variety, the healthier. Stick with mostly nonstarchy veggies. Winter squashes and sweet potatoes are fine in moderation (1⁄2 cup a day).
3. Easy on fruits.
Stick with berries, and watch the grapes, melons, and so on. Think of dried fruit as candy, and keep it to a minimum.
4. Stay away from pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and GMO foods.
Also, no chemicals, additives, preservatives, dyes, artificial sweeteners, or other junk ingredients. If you don’t have that ingredient in your kitchen for cooking, you shouldn’t eat it.
5. Eat foods containing healthy fats.
Omega-3 fatty acids and other good fats like those we find in nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocados. Eat saturated fat from fish, whole eggs, and grass-fed or sustainably raised meat, grass-fed butter or ghee, and organic virgin coconut oil or coconut butter.
6. Avoid or limit dairy.
As we learned in earlier chapters, dairy doesn’t work for most people, so I recommend avoiding it, except for the occasional yogurt, kefir, grass-fed butter, ghee, and even cheese if it doesn’t cause any problems for you. Try goat or sheep products instead of cow dairy.
8. Think of meat and animal products as condiments or, as I like to call them, "condi-meat"— not a main course.
Vegetables should take center stage, and meat should be the side dish. Servings should be 4 to 6 ounces, tops, per meal. I often make three or four vegetable side dishes.
9. Eat sustainably raised or harvested low-mercury fish.
If you are eating fish, you should choose low-mercury and low-toxin varieties such as sardines, herring, anchovies, and wild-caught salmon (all of which have high omega-3 and low mercury levels).
10. Avoid gluten.
Most gluten comes from Frankenwheat, so look for heirloom varieties of wheat like einkorn. Eat wheat only if you are not gluten-sensitive, and even then, only occasionally. Eat gluten-free whole grains sparingly.
12. Eat beans only once in a while.
Lentils are best. Stay away from big starchy beans. Beans can be a great source of fiber, protein, and minerals. But they cause digestive problems for some, and the lectins and phytates they contain may impair mineral absorption.
13. Get tested to personalize your approach. Work with your doctor especially if you are dealing with health issues.
This list is bare bones. Please do your research on-line and find out how this diet - and others - may fit what your health goals are.