It seems like every time you swing your hot designer handbag, there's a new diet exploding in the media. This time I've heard it all- The Pegan Diet. What the H.E double hockey sticks is the Pegan Diet, you ask? It's a combination of a vegan diet mixed with a paleo diet.
Vegan and Paleo diets are very different and have a different focus behind them. Paleo peeps don't eat grains or beans, which is a staple for the vegan community. Vegans don't eat animal products for ethical and health reasons-Paleo peeps devour meat, poultry and fish. Both vegan and paleo followers stay away from dairy and eat lots of veggies, but the Pegan Diet is said to take elements from both diets and avoids the drawbacks each of them contain.
Now I have to say, I respect Dr.Mark Hyman (creator of the Pegan Diet), but to me, this sounds like a fancy shmancy way of saying "eat whole foods". There are restrictions and guidelines however, so The Pegan Diet it is still in fact, a diet. Dr. Mark Hyman's rules for the diet are as follows:
- Eat mostly plants: 75% of your diet should be plant-based focusing on low glycemic fruits and veggies to limit blood sugar spikes.
- Eat healthy fats: consume fats from coconut, avocado, olive oil, nuts and some animal products. Stay away from high omega-6 containing oils like canola, soy, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, corn, etc.
- Eat lots of nuts and seeds: these will help you get protein and healthy fats.
- Avoid dairy and gluten
- Eat gluten-free containing grains sparingly: Consume less than 1/2 c of low-glycemic gluten-free grains per meal and no more. This could include wild rice or quinoa.
- Eat beans sparingly: Dr. Hyman suggests eating lentils instead of starch heavy beans.
- Eat meat like it's a condiment, not the main event: Consume small portions of animal protein, less than your typical 4-6oz.
Again, this looks like a predominantly plant-based diet, which I just so happen to follow myself and write about in my book Food Rehab for Food Junkies. Darn, I should have coined the term "Pegan Diet" (insert sarcastic tone)! Nevertheless, I think it's your typical diet that restricts where restrictions may not be necessary.
Restricting all beans or grains or even animal protein is a recipe for disaster. Protein and complex carbohydrates keep us full and satiated, we need both these macronutrients to keep our muscles thriving, our metabolism high and our brain happy. Take away carbs and you won't be able to think clearly. Take away protein and you'll be hungry and probably end up bingeing. This diet looks like another form of the Ketogenic diet with the inclusion of some higher carb foods (but not much because he's pretty adamant on you eating them sparingly).
Why can't we just get off the diet train once and for all? Why do we need fad after fad claiming to be the "holy grail"? Why can't we just eat in a way that's sympathetic to our bodies, to the environment and focus on tuning into what our body needs instead of forcing other people's opinions on ourselves? Don't be sucked into yet another fad way of eating. Listen to your body and how it feels after you eat something and make up your own best diet for you.
I don't eat dairy, I don't eat a lot of animal products. I eat about 4 oz of animal protein a day and the rest of my protein comes from beans/legumes, grains, nuts and seeds and vegan protein powder (I use hemp protein and fermented protein powders). Most of my diet comes from vegetables, but I don't know how I would stay full if I only ate 1/4 c of brown rice with my salad. Fats help keep you full and I love healthy fats and eat them, but I also have a body that doesn't digest large amounts of fat well, that's why I felt awful when I did ketosis. I feel my best when I eat a predominantly plant-based diet with the exception of eating small amounts of high quality chicken and using eggs when I bake (I can't eat eggs as they are for whatever reason). My body requires something different from your body-how I eat might not be the best for you and that's ok.
I think the Pegan Diet has some good elements to it (as do most diets), but is another fail, just like every other diet out there. The word diet should be used as a noun, not a verb. Eat whole foods and ditch the diet mentality. If you feel better eating more meat, then eat meat. If you feel better eating more beans and grains like the vegans do, do that. Be your own boss-, after all, no one knows your body or what you need better than you.
What do you think about The Pegan Diet? Are you more Paleo or Vegan? I'd love to know how you eat and why. Thanks everyone, have a great day!
All my love,