Vegan? Paleo? How About Pegan! Chef/Nutritionist Sarah Arel Weighs In.

Posted by Erin Silva Winston on

At Cooked we believe in eating lots and lots of vegetables and fruits (with most of that 75% being vegetables).  What you do with the other 25% of your diet is your business-- it might be legumes, it might be whole grains, it might be meat based proteins or vegetarian proteins. That being said, we don't tend to pay a lot of attention to diet fads.  However we recently learned about a new diet, the Pegan diet which encourages a blend between the Paleo and Vegan diets-- you heard right!  We wanted to know how one would blend a meat heavy diet with one that allows for no meat products what so ever, and here is what we found out: 

GIST: What Can and Can't You Eat?

Mark Hyman MD, bestselling author and Cleveland based doctor has come up with the Pegan diet-- no, it's no related to religion or witchery, it's related to two diets that seem to conflict in almost every way: Paleo and Vegan.  

Hyman explained on NBC News that his diets encourages people to eat "foods low in sugar and starch. Eat lots of plant foods. If you're going to eat animal foods, eat sustainably grown or harvested foods. Have foods that have lots of good fat, like nuts and seeds, olive oil, avocados.” Your remaining food for the day can include animal-based protein, like sustainably raised meat, poultry, and fish.

What's off the list? Wheat, gluten, and all dairy, and limit legumes, beans, and gluten-free grains. Added sugars? Only as an "occasional treat."

What our Nutritionist, Sarah Arel, Says: 

We love some of the backbones of this diet-- have you heard of it and what do you think of it?
I definitely had never heard of this before-- its pretty interesting though, and seems to be a much more balanced and sustainable way of eating than strict paleo or vegan diets. Because it is more moderate, people may find more success with following it for months/years than strict paleo or vegan diets- both of which require much more planning, and can inhibit social meals and eating out. 
Overall the diet seems to be founded on strong principals- the focus is put on consuming a large portion of your daily calories from an array of vegetables. This alone would improve the diet of almost all Americans and provides a really nutritious basis to build daily meal planning around. The types of proteins and fats recommended are healthy and nutrient dense, and will provide satiety and sustain energy longer without the “crash”.
Any cautions or words of caution?
The biggest fault I find with this diet is that there does not seem to be any research that demonstrates a benefit to cutting out whole grains and legumes from ones diet. Legumes have been linked to longevity in multiple studies, and whole grains are a great source of nutrients and fiber and have been shown to improve cardiovascular health.

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