June 22, 2018
in Diet

Recently, there has been an increased curiosity or craze, so to speak, of getting our bodies just right, health-wise. More so, due to the rate at which diseases are springing up every day from poor nutrition and unhealthy lifestyles. Netflix’s health documentaries, among other DOCU films, have been fueling the fire to the already growing concern about health.

It is not unusual, to see different diets and food philosophies coming up every fortnight, in fact, it has become the norm.

And the latest one… The Pegan Diet!

So, what is this new diet everyone is all abuzz about? Pegan diet is a blend of two trendy diets, the Vegan diet, and the Paleo diet. This is where you get to consume vegan meals, basically, plant-based foods only, in combination with Paleo meals, which connotes the Paleolithic age. A diet big on vegetables, a little meat, and eggs with the avoidance of dairy, grains, and legumes and of course, processed foods.

According to Mark Hyman, M.D.,director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, a recently declared Pegan and creator of the Pegan diet, the idea is to combine the best elements of the vegan and paleo diets while reducing their restrictive strict dietary specifications. As a result, you get a healthier plan that is not only easier to follow but also moderate and gives a more sensible perspective.

What foods should you eat in the Pegan diet?

Let’s start with what both diets agree on. Whole fresh foods, sustainably grown.

According to Dr. Hyman, here is how you should apply the Pegan diet;

High intake of vegetables and fruits

The good doctor advice on taking plenty of vegetables and fruits. He adds, the richer the color, the better.

Your intake per meal should be at least 75% of your plate. If this number confuses you, your fruits and veggies should fill at least more than half of your plate. These will provide protection against most diseases. In addition, focus on the non-starchy vegetables, as they are less likely to spike your blood sugars.

Whenever possible, always go for organic, locally produced fruits and vegetables. Chances are you will also get better quality from seasonal foods.

Good quality fats

Here, you should focus on the sources for the good fat. Omega 3 fats are up there on the list, and these can be found in foods such as fatty fish, for instance, salmon, Olive, flaxseeds, avocado oils, and nuts.

Other healthy fats would be from sustainably raised animals and coconut oils but in small amounts. Most vegetable, seed and nut oils should be completely avoided as they are said to release toxic chemicals linked to various cancers and other diseases. Examples of such oils include sunflower, canola, corn and soybean oil.

Adequate protein

Protein is recommended for building muscle and for appetite control. Now, this is where the vegans and the paleo people end up at the opposite ends of the spectrum. While vegans go for proteins in the plants, the paleo people want their steak on a stick.

Here, the Pegan diet doesn’t pick a side, it acknowledges that protein in both diets is healthy for the body.

Proteins can be found in plants like seeds, legumes, nuts, and a bit in vegetables. You should aim at making these the bigger percentage in your plate first. Lentils are very nutritional and a great source of protein. This, however, should be consumed in small portions. Avoid other legumes such as peanuts and beans like pinto.

The other percentage of animal proteins should mainly come from sustainably raised, grass-fed meat. Poultry and eggs are also a good source as well as fish, as long as their mercury levels are low or none at all. In addition, this diet has a common ground in strictly restricting all animal-based dairy products such as cow’s milk, goat milk, yogurt, butter, and cheese. However, plant-based milk products, such as almond milk, coconut milk are allowed.

Remember, animal meat should be served as a condiment, so you want to keep it on a minimal and have the vegetable serving as the main dish.

Benefits of a Pegan Diet?

  • This diet emphasizes on a whole, fresh, plant-based foods, something that many doctors and researchers are in support of due to the wealth of nutrients it carries.
  • Eating clean is one of the main aspects of this diet. It eliminates food that’s been raised or grown using the GMO, antibiotics, pesticide, and hormones. This ultimately goes in line with supporting organic farmers and improving sustainability.
  • Pegan diet has found a way to strike a balance for a healthy diet. The heavy reliance on animal protein in the paleo diet translates to a lot of saturated fats which may pose as a health problem. On the other hand, vegan diets often are low in protein as well. Pegan diet remedies that.

What controversies surround the Pegan Diet?

Restricts most grains

This diet restricts consumption of gluten, as it is known to be the major cause of autoimmunity, inflammation and digestive problems. Grains are known to increase blood sugar and even worse when they are ground into flour.

However,  gluten-free grains such as quinoa, black rice, and amaranth are safe to eat but in small amounts, about 1/2 cup per meal.

Restrains beans

Beans are a great source of meatless protein, fiber as well as minerals. However, beans can cause a spike in blood sugar for those suffering from diabetes and others may experience digestive problems. This is why Pegan diet recommends taking them in moderation. A cup a day or less should be okay.

Advocates on eating more eggs

This is tricky. After all these years of eating only egg whites and having to throw away the york, now it’s good for us? Seriously? Well, turns out that we’ve been trashing all the good stuff.

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, eggs are a great source of vital nutrients and proteins.

To sum up

Pegan Diet comes at a time when health and nutrition is a major concern for many people globally. It may be labeled a craze by some, but others are swearing by it. The perfect blend and balancing of the two diets is an ingenious approach to bringing health to our plates.

One thing that is undeniable, however, is that food has the power to heal and has the power to destroy. The ultimate goal is to find what works best for each one of us and stick by it.

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