If you were to ask me what I consider my diet these days, I’d say it’s essential pegan. But what the heck is a pegan diet? And what does that even look like? A year ago, I would have said the same thing. It’s kind of a made up term at best. I like to think of it as a ship name of your favorite tv couple. Except this one involves living a healthy lifestyle and involves more food.
WHAT IS A PEGAN DIET?
Ideally, a pegan diet takes the best parts of both vegan & paleo diets and puts them together. It’s not necessarily the trendiest of diets right now. Keto is still making heavy waves. But it creates a lifestyle diet that allows for a very livable medium between the two and is often the suggested diet of choice by Dr. Mark Hyman.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
There’s a bit of flexibility/grey areas with this diet. However, it’s best defined as heavily plant based with a focus on responsibly source animal products. In a pegan diet, plants are the main show with meat as a side. Protein from nuts & seeds is encouraged. And as always, healthy fats are a winning component.
Both vegan and paleo diets lack dairy. But the combo of the two also avoids gluten, opts for less beans and grains and limits sugar. The idea here is that you want to eat a low glycemic diet. So avoiding things that contain sugar, flour and refined carbs will help maintain better blood sugar levels.
HOW LIVABLE IS THE DIET?
Personally, I think it’s incredibly livable. You have a lot more flexibility between the two diets that you would if you were strictly vegan or strictly paleo. But like any “diet”, it’s really a lifestyle. If you want to have a slice of cake every now and again, the world won’t end. You just choose to eat a balanced diet and focus on getting your vegetables in regularly.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
It’s flexible. If you’ve felt incredibly restricted by diets before, there’s a lot more freedom with a pegan diet. But the understanding is you’re focusing on eating healthy. It also depends on how you approach it. You could lose weight, have more energy and avoid certain diseases. However, if you choose to eat loads of junk or tons of animal products, you’re probably not going to get the outcome you’re looking for.
WHERE DO I START?
If you’re looking to take step one today, I’d suggest starting with the sugar in your diet. Read labels. Food journal for a few days. Take a look at what you’re really eating and make swaps from there. If you still eat dairy, migrate over to non-dairy milk. Maybe your diet is heavy in grains, consider swapping in veggie alternatives like cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles. And if you’re already there, start looking at the quality of the animal products you’re eating. Butcherbox* is a great at home option that gives you access to better quality meats at a decent cost.
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE?
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
Don’t feel like you need to jump on the newest diet train. Fad diets will come and go. If you think a pegan diet is a happy medium for you, start taking small steps. And no matter where you’re at in your health journey, make sure you consult a medical professional if needed. I love eating pegan. It’s what works for me and has helped me to start a path towards intuitive eating. But remember to take the time to listen to your body. It’s pretty good at giving cues for what it needs. We just have to learn to hear them.
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