Pegan diet is an amalgamation of two very special diets- paleo and vegan diet. Read on to know about the thought process behind it and why Dr. Mark Hyman created it.
The pegan diet was created to encourage people to eat nutrient dense whole foods, which will help to reduce inflammation, balance the blood glucose level, and support good health. Pegan diet has a unique set of guidelines, where most emphasis is placed on the consumption of fruits and vegetables along with a small amount of nuts, seeds, legumes, meat, and certain fish. Processed sugar, grain, and oil are discouraged but acceptable in very small amounts.
FOODS ALLOWED IN PEGAN DIET. Apart from low glycemic fruits and vegetables comprising almost 75% of the total dietary intake in this diet, intake of adequate amounts of animal proteins such as grass-fed beef, pork, whole eggs, poultry, and fish with low mercury content is encouraged. Oils from nuts (except peanuts), seeds (except processed seed oil), cold-pressed avocado or olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, omega-3 oils from low mercury algae or fish are allowed in this diet. No more than ½ a cup or 125g per meal of grains such as black rice, amaranth, quinoa, teff, millet, and oats is permitted. Legume intake has to be restricted to 1 cup or 75g per day, which may include chickpeas, lentils, black beans, and pinto beans. One may consume grains and legumes only if the person does not have diabetes and has good blood sugar control.
FOODS RESTRICTED IN PEGAN DIET. This diet restricts consumption of dairy based foods such as cow’s milk, yogurt, cheese but grass-fed butter or sheep and goat milk are allowed in limited quantity sometimes. Instead of gluten-rich grains, small amounts of gluten-free whole grains are permitted occasionally. Most legumes are discouraged but only low-starch legumes are permitted sometimes. Sugars and refined or processed oils are to be avoided. Any other kind of food additive such as artificial color, preservatives, flavoring etc. are also avoided in this diet.
Health benefits of the pegan diet include.
Highly nutritious and fibrous fruits and vegetables benefit our health by preventing oxidative stress and inflammation. The pegan diet emphasizes the intake of other healthy food products such as unsaturated oils, nuts, seeds, fish etc., which can positively impact our heart health. There are studies to support the role of whole foods in improving the overall quality of our life.
This diet also has some downsides.
It restricts the intake of otherwise considered healthy foods such as whole grains, legumes, and dairy. People may not find it easy to access organic, grass-fed, and pasture-raised foods, particularly when eating out.