Every couple of years, a new diet fad comes along, and everyone on the planet seems to be eating the same things for months.
Remember avo on toast?
Don’t get me wrong, avo on toast is one of my fave breakfast options, but it was also eaten by every other person at my neighborhood breakfast nook for months and months on end.
This year, we have the Pegan diet.
What is Pegan, I hear you murmuring to yourself. Sounds a lot like pagan.
(Un)fortunately, the Pegan diet has nothing to do with meals we assume would be served at a feast in Valhalla.
Imagine veganism and the Paleo diet going on a hot date one night, and producing cute little offspring. That’s Peganism for you.
Let’s explore what this lovechild is up to, and whether or not you need to be bothered with jumping on this dietary train.
What is Veganism?
Vegans don’t eat any foods that come from animals.
This includes meat, of course, eggs, milk, and cheese. They don’t eat fish either.
Veganism also has a powerful ethical element to it, as it focuses on saving animals and making the world a different place. Of course, not all vegans are obsessed with changing the world, but the way they eat has certainly made them a force to be reckoned with, and 2019 has even been proclaimed the Year of the Vegan.
What is Paleo?
The Paleo diet would have us eating like our prehistoric hunter-gatherer ancestors: cutting out all the ‘bad’ stuff modern times have brought upon us. The list of Paleo foods is a bit restrictive for today’s standards, but not unmanageable.
This means no sugars, no processed foods – nothing that has been manufactured in a factory, in short.
People who follow the Paleo diet do eat meat and fish, however, but avoid milk and its products, since those are made in a factory. Eggs are welcome, as are all types of fruits and veggies.
The Pegan Principle
The term Pegan was coined by Dr. Mark Hyman, who claims the diet reduces inflammation and balances blood sugar levels.
While it’s a marriage of veganism and the Paleo diet, it’s less restrictive than each of these two diets on its own, and aims to combine the best of both.
The focus is on fruits and veg, but you also get a moderate helping of meats, a bit of fish, nuts and seeds, some legumes, and a significantly limited amount of processed sugars, grains, and oils.
In essence, you get to eat what is actually good for you and cut down on your intake of the bad stuff, which is also limited in the vegan diet.
75% of the Pegan diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, and all dairy and gluten should be avoided. If you are absolutely set on dairy, then you should go for goat and sheep, rather than cow.
What makes this diet a popular choice is that it allows you to get some meat and fish into your system, the lack of which is what puts most people off veganism in the first place. Of course, you should go for grass-fed and sustainably raised cuts and eat meat as a side, not as a main.
There are also nuts and seeds to enjoy, while your sugar intake should be limited as much as possible.
The Millennial Factor
The question we now ask ourselves is why Millennials are attracted to this way of eating.
First of all, as this generation is looking to eat more home-cooked meals and live their best lives, the attraction is clear to see. This generation has, more than any other, started viewing food as fuel and a source of energy, and has recognized the harmfulness of the way we used to eat.
We now know just how detrimental a diet based on sugar and fats can be, and Millennials aim to live long and prosper. Hence our quest for an alternative way of feeding ourselves.
Then again, there’s the social factor. Millennials live a significant portion of their lives online and are susceptible to lifestyle advertising. If something is promoted as good for them, they’re likely to take the bait.
And as both vegans and Paleo aficionados are loud and proud (please forgive the pun) online, they easily attract Millennial attention.
The Pegan diet seems to be the perfect combination between veganism, which is – let’s just admit right away – not for everyone, and can be very limiting for the average Joe and Jane.
On the other hand, the Paleo diet is also limiting and can force you to give up a lot of what you love.
With the Pegan diet, you can avoid both of these limitations, and eat most of what you want. No sugars, of course, but then again, you can always cheat a bit. True, that would not be the Pegan way – but who’s to say what you eat?
On the Pegan, you will be walking the ideal line between the Paleo and vegan camps. True, you might suffer a hit from either, but that shouldn’t be a deterring factor.
The final verdict
Before you switch to any of the diets we’ve discussed, take a good long look at your lifestyle and what you want to achieve with your diet.
Are you a bodybuilder who needs their meat? You might want to stay away from veganism. On the other hand, there are vegan bodybuilders as well.
Are you a soccer mom looking to teach your kids about a healthier life? Peganism might just be the right choice. So might Paleo.
The main difference between the two is the list of veggies you can and can’t eat, and the amount of them you eat on a daily basis. Depending on what you want (more meat or veg, and which veg), you can make an educated choice, and get started on the road to the best version of yourself.
Caitlin is a bookworm and recreational dancer, in love with the written word in all its forms. Her fields of expertise could be summed up in health, nutrition, and well-being related topics. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and sharing her knowledge through blogging. She is happily addicted to grilled tofu.