Ever wanted to try the paleo diet but found it to be too restrictive? Then, this new diet on the market might be perfect for you, the Pegan diet. Not to be confused with pagans, the Pegan diet is a mixture between the paleo diet and the vegan diet, and we’re going to dive into what it is and how you can get started!
The Pegan Diet
The diet was created by Dr. Mark Hyman a few years ago and has been growing in popularity. Having been shown on Dr. Oz and a book release, it’s no wonder people are warming up to this new lifestyle.
This diet isn’t vegan, though. Instead, the idea is 75% of your food source should come from fruit and veggies, and then 25% comes from grass-fed, pasture-raised meat.
This diet is gluten-free, processed-free, diary-free, legume-free (mostly), and low carb, with the few exceptions of small amounts of starchy veggies and certain types of beans, which is where we see the most of the paleo diet.
Is it realistic?
Were not going to lie; this diet might be hard to sustain as with all restrictive diets. However, some say it’s less restive than the vegan or paleo diets, but we think you get a few trade-offs.
You can have processed foods, all the beans you want, and gluten with the vegan diet; however, you give up dairy and meat. With the pegan diet, you can include meat back into your diet and have small amounts of beans and starchy veggies, but you give up gluten and dairy as a trade-off.
In a nutshell, it’s as realistic as the paleo, vegan, keto, raw foods, and other diets out today. Just note, as with all the diets mentioned above, it can get expensive and hard to follow long term, but plenty of people have success on these diets, so you can too!
Is it healthy?
The short answer is yes! When it comes to healthy eating, a diet filled with a variety of fresh fruits and veggies will always give you great health benefits.
The pegan diet suggests you eat fruit lower in sugar like berries and citrus, which helps lower blood sugar levels and gives you a diet rich in antioxidants. This diet also claims to limit inflammation due to the lack of gluten, dairy, and legumes which are linked to inflammation in the body.
Eating a diet filled with healthy fats, like certain nuts and seeds, also helps keep you fuller and gives you the necessary fats that even counteract cholesterol in the body.
Not to mention the apparent weight loss and overall feeling of health, having a diet filled with so many nutrients.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? So let’s look at a few points on how you can get started.
Getting Started on the Pegan Diet
You want to start slow to get lasting results. Some studies have shown people who jump into a diet are more likely to fall off and are often yo-yo dieters. Therefore, it’s best to take a more transitional approach when trying a new diet, especially one that requires you to learn new ways of cooking your favorite meals!
Eliminate the junk
One of the main concepts of this diet is no processed foods. Mainly because people back in the Paleolithic era wouldn’t have had access; therefore, you don’t eat any processed foods.
I find that with any new lifestyle change, this is the easiest place to start. Not because giving up junk food is easy, but it’s easier to find healthy alternatives and replacements in this day. So, Spend a few weeks eliminating junk food from your diet and adjusting to eating a healthier lifestyle.
Increase the Fruits
That’s right after you decrease something, it’s always great to increase something else. For example, increase the number of healthy low-glycemic fruits you eat in a day to help you get the energy you need. Our bodies thrive on sugar as our primary energy source; choose better options because all sugar isn’t the same. Plus, these fruits make great healthy snack replacements.
Get rid of the dairy
This is a tough one; who doesn’t love cheese? But this diet is dairy-free, and the wonderful thing is there are many dairy-free options on the market that can replace your favorite dairy product. You can even go about making some of them yourself!
Increase the veggies and adjust your protein
The last stop in the process will be eliminating gluten, which to us is the hardest! When you change the ratio of your Marcos (Protein, Fat, and Gluten), you must adjust the others to make up for it.
Since this diet is gluten-free, you want to increase your healthy fats a little and adjust your protein to make sure it’s 25% of your diet.
Then go crazy on the veggies. Remember, they are to make up 75% of your new diet. So start experimenting with different low-starch veggies in your grocery store and see what new recipes you come up with.
Get Rid Of the Gluten
Finally, it’s time to go gluten-free. By this time, you will have created so many healthy foods and shifted off your diet that this should be a little easier. It’s one of the main reasons we put it last. Gluten is in everything, and it can be hard to remove if you haven’t first adjusted your diet with great new recipes to try.
Although there’s still a lot to learn about this new diet, it can be an excellent choice for those looking for a new option that isn’t paleo or vegan. You can look forward to lowering those blood sugar levels, ridding yourself of inflammation, increasing your energy, and more.
The only natural way to know if this new Pegan diet is right for you is to give it a try, and let us know what you think!
Grab a copy of Dr. Hyman’s book: The Pegan Diet: 21 Practical Principles for Reclaiming Your Health in a Nutritionally Confusing World
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Natalie is a freelance content and creative writer whose passionate about self-awareness and others coming into their own sense of self, whatever that may be.