The pegan diet is a diet that was created by an American physician called Mark Hyman. It combines the principles of the paleo diet with veganism. The idea is for the individual to maintain a mostly vegan diet while also complementing your vegan diet with lean and sustainable meats. Think of it as like a plant based focused paleo diet in which 75% of your diet would be made up of fruits and vegetables. The remaining 25% of your diet would be filled with meat, eggs or fish.
The paleo diet that is featured in the pegan diet is an eating plan that was based on the eating patterns of prehistoric humans. It includes foods that is obtained in the past by gathering and hunting. It typically includes foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish and lean meats. Because it is based on foods eaten during the Paleolithic era, it does not include foods that became common due to the emergence of farming. This means that grains and most dairy products are excluded from the diet.
Although both paleo and vegan diet seems to be a little contradicting, the main idea of the pegan diet is for the focus on whole foods, eating more vegetables and cutting back on the processed foods. You aim to eat nutrient rich foods that are sustainably produced. For vegetables and fruits, you should aim for those that are low in starch and has a low glycemic index.
This plant based focus diet is relatively high in fibre and can boost your overall health. The fact that you are increasing your diet with vegetables and fruits while cutting out processed foods will help you lose weight. You are eating foods that contain more fibre while being less in calories, making it more nutrient dense.
More fruits and vegetables also mean that you are eating foods that are higher in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These foods are able to help protect you from type 2 diabetes and obesity. The fact that you are cutting out all the unhealthy high calorie food and replacing it with vegetables and lean meat will help a lot.
This diet requires you to eat very clean. You are actually restricting a lot by cutting out even just processed foods. A typical daily calorie intake is 2,000 calories for a woman and 2,500 calories for men. To lose weight, you just need to eat less than you burn and when you burn 3,500 calories, you lose 1 pound.
A lot of processed and unhealthy foods are very high in calories. For example, 1 Mars bar is 230 calories whereas a chicken breast is around 140 calories depending on the size. The chicken breast is lower in calories and yet it is much more likely to be able to keep you fuller for longer.
A 2010 study found that Americans fill up 57.9% of their energy intake with ultra-processed foods. This includes foods such as fizzy drinks, snacks, nuggets, frozen meals and foods that are high in preservatives. Many of these types of food are often full of added sugar and fat and this highly contributes to your weight gain. If followed correctly, the pegan diet will eliminate all these processed foods and lead you to weight loss.
This diet is also low in grains and carbs, therefore it is able to help with lowering your glycemic index. It will be helpful for those who are having issues with their blood sugar levels. By lowering your blood sugar levels, you are able to decrease your risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attacks.
Even when you are cutting out food to lose weight you should always do exercise. Although for weight loss, what you eat has a larger impact than exercise, you should still do exercise. Combining exercise with a diet is a more effective way of losing weight. Exercise can help you keep and grow your muscle mass while also providing mental benefits! If you have limited time, you can try some resistant training to help maintain your muscles or consider high intensity interval training to burn more calories in less time.
Building muscles can help burn more calories and even increase your metabolism. For each pound of muscle, you actually burn 3 times more than fat! It is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.
Although the pegan diet might help you cut out all the bad high calories food it also severely restricts many other foods that are good for you. Limiting a lot of foods might be overwhelming. I can assure you, even I will be having difficulties in following the pegan diet. There is just so many foods you cannot eat and it is a diet that I do not think is sustainable. I can 100% say I would not be able to eat this way for the rest of my life.
Even if this diet is actually more flexible than the original paleo diet and being a full vegan it is still relatively high in restrictions for me. The idea of this diet is great, but I do not think it is a very practical diet. To follow the pegan diet, you might have to devote a significant amount of time to shop, meal plan and meal prep. In addition, some people might find it hard to access the variety of food that is allowed in the diet. It might be hard for some people to reduce their consumption of processed food because they might not have enough time, resources or equipment to store and prep all these unprocessed food.
There has been an increasing amount of emphasis of the trend of eating clean. The pegan diet is one example of it. It is a great and legitimate way for you to eat a nutritious and wholesome diet based on vegetables, fruits and lean meats. If followed properly, I am pretty sure you will be able to lose weight on this diet. My only concern is that this diet might be too restrictive and not something you can sustain on the long term. When this happens, there is a chance that you might bounce back and have a yoyo effect on your weight.
There is huge benefits in this diet and I believe you can take the idea of the diet and fit and mold it into something that is attainable for you. Like many people, I believe that there is no one right way to eat and while we can all benefit from reducing our caloric intake, it is important we don’t cut out the good stuff too. A balanced diet is the way to go, if you want to eat a chocolate bar, then go for it! Just make sure you are snacking on 1 and not 10. Eat everything in moderation and count your calories to see whether you are going over your limit.
Let me know if you have tried the pegan diet! Did you like it? Find it too restrictive like I did?