What is a Pegan diet you ask? Thank you Dr Mark Hyman for giving such an accurate, yet simple description of what I believe to be the best way to nourish your body. I refrain from using the word diet, and I generally don’t like to put a name to a style of eating. I feel that this just creates self-imposed rules and boundaries that people struggle to always meet. But Pegan I like!
So what is Pegan?
Pegan combines the best of a paleo style of eating with that of a vegan.
I love the ethics and heavily plant-based diet of a vegan, but I struggle to believe that vegans can get the full spectrum of nutrients that the body needs to thrive. Yes, I can hear all the vegans shouting that they can get their omega 3 and B12 from plant based foods, but I question the bio-availability of these nutrients from plant based foods. Is your body really absorbing what it needs?
On the other side, we often see paleo converts chowing down on meat 24/7. This is a big misconception about the Paleo diet, and it is certainly not how our ancestors ate. The paleo style of eating puts an emphasis on ethically raised animal meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and healthy oils. However, some paleo converts don’t quite eat enough vegetables, especially if they are watching their carbohydrates.
So a Pegan diet is one that is primarily plant-based, meaning lots of fresh seasonal vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy fats with moderate amounts of legumes and fruit and occasional gluten-free grains. Combine this with small amounts of pasture raised, grass-fed animal meat and a perfect diet is born.
So how much meat? I say a palm-sized portion of meat 1-2 times per day or a couple of eggs will supply your body with the protein that it needs. Of course, if you are very active or an athlete, you would need a more specific nutrition plan.
Your plate should contain around 2/3 vegetables with 1/3 animal protein, plus a drizzle of healthy oils. This way you are supplying your body with all the macro nutrients – carbohydrates, protein and fat, that it needs. Add in some fermented foods and to me, this is perfection!