The pegan diet is a relatively new thing that combines the paleo diet with veganism. The paleo diet is a plan that is based on foods that have been eaten during the Paleolithic era, also known as the caveman diet. It includes fishes, fruits, lean meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds – all of these foods that can be obtained while gathering and hunting. The pegan diet twist means that most of your food intake will be plant based while you also eat a much lower amount of animal based foods. Have any of you guys tried it? Let me know in the comments!
If you choose to follow the pegan diet, 75% of your diet should be filled with plant based foods and the 25% will be filled with lean meats. It is highly focused on unprocessed whole foods with sustainably sourced meat. While on the diet, you are suppose to avoid foods such as grains, dairy, refined sugar, potatoes and processed foods. Whereas you are encouraged to eat all vegetables, fruits (emphasis on low-glycemic fruits), eggs and sustainable meat/seafood.
Personally, this diet is a lot like many clean eating diets. It focuses on fresh produce and avoids sugar and processed foods. The emphasis is that the whole foods you are eating are nutrient dense and can help reduce body inflammation, balance your blood sugar and even help support your body health. If your goal is to lose weight then I believe that this diet plan would help you lose weight. In the end, it is mostly all about calories in and calories out. The foods that are available on this diet are all whole foods that will keep you full for longer with less calories. Think about it this way, this diet won’t allow you to eat any snacks such as Oreos. One Oreo is 52 calories and most people generally eat at least 5 or even 10. One sitting of 5 Oreos is already 260 calories, that is more calories than a chicken breast and is around the same amount of calories as 3 large eggs. When I eat Oreos, they are definitely a snack, something to munch on in between lunch and dinner. Oreos are refined carbs that lack fibre and basically your body digests it much more faster than if you were to eat an egg or chicken breasts. If you eat a lot of refined carbs products, you are much more likely to feel hungrier faster and see a higher spike in your blood sugar levels. This diet cuts all refined foods, this means that you will have to eat foods that will keep you full longer and are much more healthier for you. With that, in theory you should also eat less and therefore eat less calories than you burn, leading to weight loss.
One concern I have about this diet is that it puts a lot of emphasis on clean eating. It brings good intentions into your lifestyle, eating whole foods while cutting out processed food. But it also has a heavy emphasis on restrictions and this can impact your relationship with food. I think it is a slippery slope into something that can put pressure on your mental health. A diet like this is usually very hard or even impossible to maintain in the long run. Instead of completely cutting out the restricted foods, I believe that you should try to balance your diet with health foods and a moderation of restricted foods. This means that you shouldn’t cut out your favourite packet of cookies because you are on the pegan diet. Instead, you should take the diet and modify it into something you can sustain yourself on. This could be like allowing yourself to eat 1 box of cookies a week, having ice cream on Saturdays or even eating McDonalds for lunch on Sundays. For a diet to work, it needs to be manageable, and this might mean that you need the freedom with food and relaxing those strict rules from a diet.
For this diet to be successful, I believe you will need ample time to prepare your food. This means that you might need to meal prep food in advance and this might take a significant amount of time. For someone who is used to either eating out once in a while or like to consume quick meals, this might be a challenge. When you meal prep, you will need to determine what you plan on eating ahead of time, which can actually lead to more nutritious choices as you are planning ahead. A well thought out work plan will help save you a lot of time in the kitchen. Also be sure to stock up on containers! Stackable or same shaped containers will help save space in your fridge while also keeping your food fresh.
The variety of food that you will be required to buy might also be quite expensive. Studies have found that the cost of health food is generally 50% more expensive than unhealthy foods. Processed foods provide you a lot more calories at a much lower price. Growing fresh vegetables and fruits cost more to farmers than crops that are used in processed food. In addition, in the US, the government actually subsidies farmers to grow wheat, soy and corn (crops for processed foods), whereas leafy greens are much less supported by the government.
This diet takes two great aspects of a diet and merges it into one. It encourages people to eat whole foods while also promoting the consumption of lean meat. Although, it is quite restrictive, it does allow for you to eat foods that provide you with vital nutrients that you need for your body to function. I think it is worth giving the diet a try, however I don’t believe it is a sustainable diet. In this day and age, it is near impossible to avoid visual or social cues of the foods you’re not allowed to eat. You see like 10 commercials of junk foods just by watching TV for a few hours. Also, if you are trying to cut down on your grocery budget, the pegan diet might be hard for you.
I believe that you can take parts of the pegan diet and adapt it into your lifestyle. You do not have to go full pegan diet to improve your health. Just by eating more vegetables and fruits instead of processed foods can help lower your risk of heart diseases and obesity. Don’t forget, there are also many other factors that impact your health. Sleep, exercise and other lifestyle situations will also play a big role in your health. Therefore, the best diet is obviously something that is well balanced, sustainable and meets your requirements.