Pegan Dieting: When Paleo Meets Vegan

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It can seem like there is always a new diet to try, and finding one that actually works can be frustrating. Restrictions on what foods you can eat, along with the ever-present health concerns, have made it almost impossible for many people to successfully lose weight. Now there is a new diet making headlines, and it combines the best aspects of two completely different eating plans.

What is the Pegan Diet?

First developed by Dr. Mark Hyman, the director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, the Pegan diet has managed to combine the high protein foods associated with the Paleo diet with the healthy fruits, nuts and vegetables normally eaten by Vegans. While these two radically different eating plans may seem impossible to combine, Dr. Hyman believes that it is the best diet for your health.

One of the main problems associated with the Paleo diet is the high amount of meat that is consumed with each meal, and some versions of the eating plan can dramatically exceed the daily recommended amount of protein. While some advocates of the high protein Paleo diet point out that this can cause you to feel full faster and longer which can aid in weight loss, it can also increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer.

A strictly vegan diet can lower your risk of developing certain cancers, along with type 2 diabetes and other degenerative illnesses since you are eating foods that contain lower amounts of protein. This can also cause a vitamin and mineral deficiency in some people if the Vegan diet is not carefully planned. While both of these diets do have certain healthy advantages, the restrictions on what you can eat can make it difficult to follow.

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Foods a Pegan Can Eat

If you choose to follow the Pegan diet, there are some restrictions on what you can eat, but it is not as limiting as other plans. Some of the foods allowed on the Pegan diet include:

  1. Seasonal fruits and vegetables
  2. Healthy fats found in seeds, nuts, avocados, and virgin olive oil
  3. Meat (beef and pork) should only be occasionally enjoyed, as a side dish
  4. Poultry, legumes, eggs and fish are okay to eat in small quantities
  5. Sugary snacks can still be occasionally enjoyed
  6. Gluten free whole grain foods are recommended, in smaller amounts

The Pegan diet still discourages people from eating dairy foods, which most nutritionists caution against. This can result in a vitamin and mineral deficiency that can be detrimental to your health. When you eliminate dairy and wheat from your diet it can be difficult to get the recommended daily amount of calcium, zinc, iron, B complex vitamins, magnesium, protein, and essential carbohydrates that you need to stay active and healthy. While there are supplements that can help ensure that you meet your daily nutritional goals, most health care experts do not recommend relying on these products.

Is the Pegan Diet Healthy?

The Pegan diet does combine the best aspects of the Paleo and Vegan eating plans, and most nutritionists agree that it can help some people maintain a healthy weight if it is followed properly. The most important factor to remember if you are on the Pegan diet is to carefully plan out your daily meals to ensure that you are getting the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals from the foods that you eat.

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While there are some noticeable differences in all three of these popular diets, each one emphasizes the importance of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Whole plant foods contain many of the nutrients necessary for good overall health, and can also help you lose unwanted weight.

Being able to still enjoy an occasional sweet and sugary treat can also make the Pegan diet easier for some people to stick with. The option to enjoy a small steak once a week is a bonus for non-vegetarians. Being able to eat a wider variety of foods and still maintain a healthy weight is only one of the advantages of this innovative new diet.

Have you tried the Pegan diet, or another hybrid diet combining the best of multiple worlds? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Evlin Symon is an experienced health writer who has been at this for more than 5 years. She is an expert in health, fitness, weight loss, and beauty/skin care treatment. When she is not writing she can be usually found hitting the gym. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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