Mm…. you may be thinking, could this be a typo? Sorry to disappoint, but there IS a diet known as The Pegan diet.
As the saying goes, “The first wealth is health” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Eating the right type of food that nourishes your body is your first step towards building wealth as consuming unhealthy food usually leads to unhealthy consequences.
High medical costs incurred down the road are painful both physically and financially.
It makes sense then that we need to feed ourselves well, but how do we start?
A simple search on Google reveals multiple types of diets – keto, paleo, vegan and raw food diet, just to name a few. So why the Pegan Diet?
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What is the Pegan Diet? Why makes it special?
The Pegan Diet is a marriage of 2 highly popular diets: the Paleo and Vegan diets.
Distilling the best concepts from both diets, Dr Mark Hyman came up with the Pegan Diet in 2014.
Dr Hyman and Dr Gundry were both guest speakers at Tony Robbins ‘Unleash the Power Within’.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’d know Dr Gundry (Tony Robbins’ doctor) found the one culprit lurking in most of our foods-causing us tons of health problems, including that pesky weight gain.
What’s so great about the Pegan Diet?
The Pegan diet helps us to reduce tiredness, prevent disease and lower inflammation.
The main focus is on eating real foods that are unprocessed, which most of us should know by now is really not good for our health.
Besides, the ingredients in this diet are easily available, things that you usually use every day, so you don’t have to buy anything out-of-the-ordinary.
Is the Pegan Diet healthy?
By choosing foods that are organically grown or raised locally on a sustainable scale, ‘pegans’ adopt a healthy lifestyle is that both kind to themselves and the environment around them.
This is a win-win for everyone.
The Pegan diet offers many health benefits by reducing our exposure to many modern-day diseases like diabetes, weight gain, tiredness and heart problems.
What can you eat on the Pegan Diet?
If you’re serious about being a ‘pegan’, you are allowed to eat foods that come from plants and fruits as well as products that are of animal origin.
However, the Pegan diet’s main focus is on greens.
In fact, three-quarters of what you eat should come from fruits and vegetables that are not starchy.
Healthy foods like eggs, olive oil, avocado, nuts (not peanuts as they’re not real nuts but legumes), seeds, fish.
Pegans consume gluten-free grains like rice, oats and millet which are full of fiber as well. The maximum intake should be half a cup a meal to help maintain blood glucose levels.
So what are good sources of protein that are cost-effective as well?
Lentils, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, black beans. Not more than 1 cup per day, though.
Animal-based protein like beef, pork, poultry and eggs should be grass-fed and raised on pastures.
The portion of animal products per meal is a palm-sized serving of steak, chicken, pork and fish.
A personal note here: I usually buy free range eggs. However free range eggs in the hot summer weather are not known to be as fresh from experience, so the compromise is to buy eggs laid in roomy barns.
Have a sweet tooth? You really need to cut down on your sugar intake like white sugar and glucose syrup.
The Pegan diet recommends very little sugar intake, but you can still consume small amounts including honey and coconut sugar.
I use coconut sugar in my baking and my muffins have the ‘Goldilocks’ seal of approval – sweet enough but not overly sweet.
For example, if a baking recipe calls for a cup of white sugar, I use about 30% of coconut sugar instead.
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What can you not eat on a Pegan Diet?
The Pegan diet advises us to avoid gluten-based foods and products like wheat, rye, barley, farro, durum and malt.
For more examples, have a look at this list.
The other types of foods to be avoided include the following:
Refined sugar, especially white sugar
Refined oils. Examples include canola oil, soyabean oil and corn oil
How does a ‘pegan’ shop? Is the Pegan diet expensive?
Remember the point made above about 75% of the Pegan diet coming from fruits and veges? These are much cheaper than dairy and meat-based products.
When you know how to shop smart, there are ways to eat healthy while keeping your budget in check.
#1 Know where you can find cheap locally produced vegetables and fruits.
For example, shop at your local farmer’s markets. You can visit them near closing time to snag great discounts.
#2 Check out co-ops or even community gardens.
You can make donations or chip in an hour or so per week to benefit from a harvest.
#3 Make do with frozen fruits and vegetables.
When not in season, frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious.
#4 Aim to reduce the amount.
Coconut sugar may be more costly than white sugar. However, I’ve found that even one-third cup of coconut sugar is sweet enough when the recipe calls for one cup.
You may want to adjust this amount gradually to get more used to the taste.
#5 Use the combination strategy.
The Pegan diet recommends types of oils that may be too costly to be used on their own.
One strategy is to combine the oils. For example, if a baking recipe calls for half cup of oil, I combine a quarter cup of avocado oil with another quarter cup of rice bran oil.
This reduces my buying frequency of avocado oil and helps save more money in the long run.
If you’ve decided to embrace this diet, congrats. You’re going to be much healthier and slimmer!
For others who are sitting on the fence, let me encourage you to adopt some aspects of this diet.
It doesn’t matter if you feel you can’t follow this diet completely.
Even trying out a part of this diet a few times a month will help you live a much healthier life. For example, if you can’t live without processed foods like chips, try swapping a few almonds occasionally.
Doing this still helps you on your path towards a healthier lifestyle.
Keep a journal of successes and note down the times when you’ve eaten healthy foods.
Read it every week and you’ll be encouraged and motivated to carry on a healthy diet that is good for you and our environment.
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