Pegan Diet 101: What to Eat and What to Avoid
The pegan diet is an eclectic diet that includes the healthiest elements of the paleo diet and veganism. As the world becomes more and more health-conscious, people are ready to try all kinds of different diets.
Healthy, clean eating is no less considered an art form, and paleo and vegan diets have become the traditional favorites.
There is no better way to eat healthily. You should take into account your individual fitness goals, nutritional needs and health concerns before focusing on a diet.
What works for one may not work for another. Each one is unique with varied nutritional needs. This peculiarity is called bio-individuality and is the reason why everyone should call on a qualified nutritionist to customize their diet according to their needs.
Dr. Mark Hyman is the founder of a new age diet that has gained a lot of traction lately – the pegan diet. This diet incorporates elements of the paleo diet and veganism, creating a healthy hybrid diet that guarantees healthy eating and improved body function.
The pegan diet provides the right balance of essential nutrients, healthy fats, and other vital compounds that keep your body at peak health.
What is the Pegan diet?
The pegan diet nomenclature reveals its roots and can be attributed to two parental diets: paleo and veganism.
The paleo diet mainly includes foods that date from the Paleolithic, about 2.6 million years ago, before the advent of agriculture. Those who follow this diet are allowed to eat vegetables, nuts, fruits, fish and meat, while swearing dairy products, grains, oils, salt, caffeine, alcohol and legumes .
A vegan diet, on the other hand, emphasizes plant-based eating. It includes vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits and other herbal foods. Because vegans cannot consume any form of animal products, including dairy and poultry, the choices for eating out are quite limited.
The paleo diet can offer a little more flexibility as to what you can and cannot eat. However, since food choices are not clearly delimited, it can be quite confusing to determine what counts as paleo and what does not.
The pegan diet is a more practical alternative to these standard approaches, which is more moderate and healthier than the two plans individually. The cornerstone of this diet is to limit the intake of empty carbohydrates or foods with a high glycemic index, which often causes your blood sugar to rise and make appetite control more and more difficult.
No wonder there are so many takers for the pegan diet as it helps ensure complete nutrition as well as healthy weight management.
How does Pegan differ from vegan and paleo diets?
A superficial understanding of the vegan and paleo diets will make you believe that two are antithetical. The first recommends eliminating dairy products, meat and fish from your diet, while the second encourages the consumption of meat and fish.
Despite these obvious differences, these two dietary interventions share essentially the same premise of encouraging the consumption of whole foods and plants.
Dr. Hyman designed the pegan diet with a similar goal in mind. This unique diet offers the consumption of whole fresh and organic foods to increase your vegetable intake. In addition, the pegan diet emphasizes high quality organic products to promote clean eating.
What to eat
Here is what makes the list of a pegan diet:
Consume fruits and vegetables
A standard meal should consist mainly of fruits and vegetables with a serving of meat. An herbal main dish should make up two-thirds to three-quarters of your plate, while the meat should be served as a side dish.
The pegan diet recommends eating a variety of fresh, minimally processed products that include fruits and vegetables of all shapes and sizes.
It is best to focus on non-starchy vegetables, adding starchy foods and fruit to fill in the gaps.
Eat foods containing healthy fats
The pegan diet places great importance on foods fortified with healthy fats, such as the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. It also emphasizes the use of healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados.
Unlike veganism, this diet also leaves room for animal products that contain saturated fats, such as butter or ghee that come from grass-fed or sustainably raised cattle.
This diet also allows the use of organic virgin coconut oil or coconut butter, both rich in saturated fat.
Keep the glycemic load low
The paleo diet does not allow the consumption of whole or refined grains. However, this stipulation can rob you of many of the long-term health benefits associated with whole grains.
The pegan diet, however, is not so strict in this regard. Although most grains are banned by the pegan school of thought, this makes a concession for whole gluten-free grains which are rich in complex carbohydrates and do not significantly affect your blood sugar.
People on a pegan diet can consume about half a cup of quinoa, oats and black or wild rice a day, which is about the size of a bulb.
Use meat as a condiment
There is much to be said for the health benefits of non-industrial sources of meat. This type of meat contains a plethora of beneficial vitamins and minerals, in addition to a high dose of protein. However, one cannot ignore the fact that most meats contain saturated fat.
According to the nutritional philosophy behind the pegan diet, vegetables and fruits should be placed in the center of the scene, while meat should be treated as a side dish. Your meat portions should not exceed 4 to 6 ounces per meal.
In addition, it may be useful to use the meat as a condiment rather than as a separate dish. When adding meat to your dishes, make sure it remains a quarter or less of the total recipe.
The pegan diet does not recommend the use of conventional farm-raised meats or eggs. Instead, it focuses on sustainably raised and grass-fed sources of meat and prioritizes lean poultry or harvested fish with low mercury content.
What not to eat
Gluten is on the table
Cereals and gluten-containing products are strictly prohibited for anyone who follows the pegan diet. So if you want to do it well, you have to give up whole wheat bread, cereals and pasta.
Instead, you can supplement your meals with gluten-free cereals such as brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal, but make sure your daily intake is limited to half a cup, tops.
Avoid dairy products
Dairy products are excluded from the paleo and vegan diets. Health experts do not recognize dairy products as a substantial health food and suggest that you can do without them.
Many people mistakenly turn to dairy products to meet their calcium needs. However, there are many non-dairy calcium-rich foods such as kale, broccoli, sardines and salmon.
Keeping in mind that dairy products are not well tolerated by many, getting your calcium from other sources may be your best option. In addition, consuming large volumes of whole fat dairy products can contribute to the development of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
In order to reap the benefits of dairy products while avoiding the pitfalls, the pegan diet calls for limiting your overall milk consumption.
If you’re a fan of dairy, you can enjoy your occasional yogurt, kefir, grass-fed butter, ghee and even cheese. It can also help stick to goat or sheep products, which are lower in lactose than high-lactose cow dairy.
Stay away from GM foods and foods exposed to pesticides, antibiotics and hormones
The pegan diet emphasizes the need for a clean diet, which involves eating quality organic food, free of chemicals, additives, preservatives, colors, artificial sweeteners or others unwanted ingredients.
Eat legumes sparingly
People on the pegan diet do not give up on legumes completely, but they should limit their intake to small portions. Lentils are generally preferred over beans because the former are easier to digest.
In addition, larger starch beans have been shown to increase blood sugar levels in diabetics or prediabetics. However, one cannot ignore the fact that beans are a good source of fiber, protein and minerals.
All things considered, the intake of legumes and beans should be kept at 1 cup or less per day, as stipulated by the pegan diet.
Treat yourself to sugar only once in a while
Minimize your sugar intake if you want to maximize the health benefits of the pegan diet. You can occasionally eat something that contains sugar, but don’t make it a habit.
Eliminate modern processed food substances and fats
The pegan diet does not allow the consumption of processed carbohydrates because they are high on the glycemic index and consuming them can lead to excessive production of insulin.
Likewise, the diet prohibits the use of vegetable oils and refined seeds such as canola and sunflower oils, which are considered pro-inflammatory and can account for a large portion of your regular calorie intake.
Instead, the body recommends using small amounts of expeller oils or nuts and cold pressed seeds such as macadamia, sesame and nut oils as condiments or flavorings. For cooking at a higher temperature, avocado oil is a good choice.
Benefits of the Pegan Diet
1. Helps you avoid health risks
The pegan diet discourages the consumption of lactose-containing dairy products, which some people find it hard to give up. However, if you look at the big picture, you will see how this particular dietary restriction works in the interest of your overall health.
People who consume a lot of dairy products are at higher risk for prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and type 1 diabetes, which should convince you to reduce your intake of dairy products and ease the transition to the pegan diet.
2. Encourages healthy eating
Most of the fad diets that have come and gone over the years are formulated with a shortsighted vision of what nutrition really is. They are mainly concerned with managing your caloric intake or macronutrient ratios (carbohydrates vs fats vs proteins) without paying attention to the quality of food.
The pegan diet is not a determined approach; it gives as much weight to a clean diet as it does to a healthy diet, making it a cut above the rest. It grows to the consumption of organic and quality food, free from harmful pesticides, antibiotics and other dangerous chemicals. As a result, you end up with nutritionally “denser” meals.
3. helps you lose weight
Since fruits and vegetables are the mainstays of a pegan diet, it is more than equipped to provide you with various vitamins, minerals and other health-promoting nutrients. In addition, fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, which makes them extremely effective for weight loss, weight management and control of oxidative stress.
Fiber allows you to feel full longer, without increasing your calorie intake. As a result, your overall appetite is controlled and you can easily avoid unnecessary snacks between meals.
4. Good for your heart
Unsaturated fats are an essential component of a healthy, wholesome diet, which plays a vital role in improving the health of your heart. The pegan diet allows the consumption of healthy unsaturated fats. This helps manage your cholesterol and blood pressure, thereby promoting overall cardiovascular function.
Popular Pegan Diet Recipes
Pegan hummus plant wrap
- 2 large flour or brown rice tortillas or whole wheat wraps
- 4 romaine lettuce leaves with ribs
- 1/4 red pepper cut into thin strips
- 6 tablespoons oil-free hummus
- 4 tablespoons cucumber, cut into strips of julienne
- Tomato (optional)
- Basil leaves (optional)
- Lawyer (optional)
- Alfalfa or broccoli sprouts (optional)
- Spinach leaves (optional)
- Fresh microgreens (optional)
There is not just one way to cook tortillas, so you can use the mode that works best for you. You can cook the tortillas on each side in a pan over medium heat for 30 seconds.
Alternatively, you can carbonize them directly on the gas flame for a few seconds using pliers. Tortillas can even be reheated in the microwave. Simply cover them with a damp paper towel and put them in the microwave for 10 seconds to make them more flexible.
- Apply a layer of about 3 tablespoons of hummus on each tortilla.
- Add half the vegetables of your choice, including optional ingredients, to each tortilla, with the lettuce arriving last.
- Roll the tortilla in a package and cut it in half or eat it whole.
Grilled chicken breasts with shiitake mushroom vinaigrette
- 5 large shiitake mushrooms without the stems
- 6 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon old-fashioned mustard
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 bone-in, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces each)
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped flat parsley, plus torn leaves for garnish
- Heat the grill to a high temperature.
- Brush 4 tablespoons of canola oil on each side of the mushroom caps and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the mushrooms on the grill with the cap down for 4 to 5 minutes, until it turns golden brown and slightly charred.
- Turn the mushrooms over and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes, until they are just cooked.
- Remove them from the grill and coarsely chop them.
- For the dressing, whisk together the shallots, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and parsley in a medium bowl and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
- Empty the mushrooms into the mixture. Stir them so they are well coated.
- Let this shiitake mushroom dressing sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Coat both sides of the chicken breast with the remaining canola oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place it on the grill with the skin down for 4 to 5 minutes until it turns golden brown.
- Turn it over and simmer over medium heat.
- Cover the grill and cook the chicken for about 7 minutes more, until it is almost cooked.
- Remove chicken from grill and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
- Add the shiitake dressing as a dressing on the chicken breast and garnish with parsley leaves.
The Disadvantage of Eating Pegan
While there is much more leeway in the pegan diet compared to the vegan or paleo diet, some of the proposed dietary restrictions are still subject to debate as they limit or eliminate certain very healthy foods, such as legumes, whole grains and dairy products.
- The pegan philosophy discredits the health potential of whole grains, legumes and dairy products on the grounds that foods containing gluten or lactose are harmful. The counter argument is that all of these foods are a rich source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and a wide range of other nutrients. So there is no point in depriving yourself of their healthy benefits, unless you have a medical reason to avoid gluten or lactose.
- Milk is one of the main sources of bone-building minerals for women. By excluding milk, yogurt and kefir from food choices, the pegan diet can significantly reduce their calcium intake and set the stage for joint problems, including osteoporosis. By completely avoiding dairy products, you will also eliminate an important source of protein and probiotics.
- We cannot simply eliminate the consumption of whole wheat foods and also limit whole foods such as quinoa, brown rice, oats or beans, as they provide components for important functions and are d ‘excellent sources of various nutrients. Whole foods provide fiber which helps control blood sugar, regulate the intestinal flora and regulate digestion. They also keep you full for longer, providing volume and contributing to weight loss.
- The pegan diet is not a sustainable eating plan for athletes and others with higher energy, carbohydrate and protein needs. As an athlete, you cannot expect to meet all of your protein needs from plant sources. This is also exacerbated by capping the consumption of whole grains and beans.
- Hyman M. Why everyone should consider going “Pegan”. mindbodygreen. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17500/why-everyone-should-consider-going-pegan.html. Posted October 6, 2017.
- Hyman M. This bizarre diet is actually the healthiest, according to one of the best functional documents in the country. mindbodygreen. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-is-the-pegan-diet. Posted on February 28, 2018.
- M.D. MH. Food: what should I eat? Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Food-What-Heck-Should-Eat/dp/0316338869. Posted on February 27, 2018.
- Challa HJ. Paleolithic regime. StatPearls [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482457/. Posted January 19, 2019.
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