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WHAT THE HECK SHOULD I EAT? THE ANSWER IS PEGAN 1024 1024 Delphine Remy | Holistic Nutrition & Eating Psychology Coach

The Pegan diet can be broken down into one simple rule : If god made it eat it, if man made it leave it. — Dr Mark Hyman

The Pegan diet was ironically coined by Dr. Mark Hyman, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, back in 2015 when describing his food philosophy. The Pegan Diet illustrates a new approach to eating that combines the principles of the Paleo Diet and Vegan Diet. The Pegan Diet is a mashup of quite sensible eating habits that are listed below.

Rule # 1 : Eat foods with low glycemic load which means low in sugar, flour, starch and refined carbohydrates. Sweets are occasional treats!

Rule # 2 : Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. They provide a high phytonutrient content that fight most diseases. Your plate should contain 75% of low-glycemic fruits and veggies and to make it fun and exciting, try to cook 2 to 3 different veggies per meal. The more color, the better! Try to focus on organic, local and fresh as much as you can.

Rule # 3 : Eat sustainably sourced and grass-fed animal proteins. They have higher content of vitamin A, D and omega-3s and you are not eating all the antibiotics, hormones and other dangerous substances. Grass-fed animal products help to raise good cholesterol and testosterone, lower blood sugar, increase muscle mass and reduce appetite. Make sure to eat meat as a side dish (remember the 75% rule…), it is better for you and for the planet.  

Rule # 4 : Eat lots of healthy fats, mostly omega-3s (found in fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, egg yolks, …). Other healthy fats are nuts, coconut, avocados, and of course grass-fed beef which also contains omega-3s.  

Rule # 5 : Avoid chemicals, additives, preservatives, dyes, MSG, GMOs and other “franken chemicals” as much as possible. No need to dive deeper into this, it is common sense!

Rule # 6 : Make sure you eat enough protein, this is super important for appetite control and to avoid losing muscle mass.

Remember hearing that eggs are terrible for cholesterol? My patients still mention it “You are suggesting to eat more than 2 eggs a week but my mother told me eggs are so bad for cholesterol”. I am so glad research proved the opposite because it is such a great protein source with many health benefits. Make sure egg yolks are raw as much as you can because heat destroys some of the nutrients.

Fish is also an excellent source of protein (and omega-3). To avoid mercury, opt for wild caught fish, sardines, mackerel, herring and anchovies.

What about dairy?
The Pegan diet says no to dairy. It is important to know that about 75% of adults around the world are experiencing dairy sensitives due to lactose intolerance.

I do believe though in the benefits of raw dairy for the following reasons:

  1. Raw dairy contains “good bacteria” that are beneficial to our gut.
  2. Raw milk contains lactose which is the enzyme required to digest the milk sugar. lactose. Milk pasteurization damages this important enzyme. This is good news because most people who are lactose intolerant to pasteurized milk can thrive on raw milk. 
  3. Raw milk contains important amounts of omega-3s while being low in inflammatory omega-6s.
  4. Raw milk contains phosphatase which is an enzyme that aids in the absorption of calcium in the bones, and lipase, which helps to absorb fats.

If you are pregnant or lactose/casein intolerant, it is very important to check with your health practitioner to see if it is safe for you to consume raw dairy products.

What about gluten?
The diet suggests limiting grains all together. Gluten-free and non-gluten free. Let’s analyze why. For millions of people gluten leads to inflammation, digestive disorders, autoimmunity and weight-related issues. Yes, but we have been eating gluten for hundreds of years? True, but the gluten from today is not the same as our grandparents’ gluten. So my advice would be to limit gluten as much as possible and try to replace it with gluten-free grains that are so much better and actually tastier! Gluten-free grains are quinoa, whole rice, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, … It is worth exploring all those delicious grains. Stick to small amounts, about ½ cup per meal.

Pretty simple right? I have personally subscribed to the Pegan “diet” before it was ever coined as such — because it makes sense! As Hippocrates stated “Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.” but one should also recognize the opposite as true. The food we eat can also be poisonous — poisonous to our mind and body.

The fundamental principles of the Pegan diet are research-based and align with real and true health recommendations. This is a not a weight loss diet or trend, the Pegan diet is a guideline for learning to eat and love a whole foods diet that has the power to heal the body from the inside out.


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