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May 03, 2019

Here's what you should know about the pegan diet

Where paleo meets vegan

Healthy Eating Diets
pegan diet Dan Gold/Unsplash

The pegan diet pulls from the paleo and vegan diets.

There never seems be a lack of “trending” diets and eating plans floating around the wellness world. While some of these historical fad diets have proven to be downright scary — like the milk diet — others, like the pegan diet are more realistic and nutritional methods of healthy eating.

So, the pegan diet — which, by the way, is not a misspelling of vegan — is a combination of two popular eating plans, paleo and vegan, and is surprisingly less restrictive than each diet on its own, according to Healthline. Rather, it combines the best of both by focusing on fruits and vegetables, a moderate intake of meat, some fish, nuts and seeds, and some legumes, and a VERY limited intake of processed oils, sugars and grains. 

As a little refresher for those who aren’t up-to-date with either the vegan or paleo ways of eating, here’s what you should know: Veganism is a diet bereft of all animal byproducts — this means no eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, poultry, seafood, honey and certain food additives; Paleo involves eating foods common during the Paleolithic era, including lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds only. 

RELATED READ: Eating an unhealthy diet might be more deadly than smoking, study finds

According to Healthline, Dr. Mark Hyman, the founder of peganism, believes this specific diet, full of nutrient-rich and whole foods, will serve to reduce inflammation, balance blood sugar and promote great overall health.

The great majority of a pegan diet will consist of plants, USA Today reports — 75 percent of the diet should be fruits and vegetables, and dairy and gluten should be avoided. If dairy is a non-negotiable for you, then the diet holds that dairy coming from goat or sheep sources is ideal, USA Today explains.

Delish reports that vegetables consumed on a pegan diet should have a glycemic index between 55 and 69. This includes: bamboo shoots, greens, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, eggplant, leeks and mushrooms. For fruit, that glycemic window would include: apples, cherries, dark berries, citrus, pears, mangoes and pineapple. 

While Hyman believes that this is a very healthy way of eating — and it very well could be for some people — there’s an elephant in the room: it’s rather restrictive. For people without specific food allergies and intolerances or inflammation, such a strict diet may be unnecessary, Healthline explains.

That said, if you’re interested in eating more whole and nutrient-rich foods, and peganism sounds enticing to you, check out this sample pegan menu for some inspiration to get you started on your new eating plan! 

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