Vegan. Vegetarian. Pescetarian. Fruitarian. Paleo. High fat, low carb – or maybe low fat, high carb. Why are there so many diet choices, and why are they so confusing? Mark Hyman, M.D., director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and New York Times bestselling author, has been a vegetarian and has also followed the paleo diet. Finally, after years of trying different options, he decided to take the middle road between vegan and paleo and became a pegan. In his latest book, “Food: What the Heck Should I Eat,” Dr. Hyman cuts through the clutter and makes it easy to find a healthy food plan that can work for you.
Vegan, Paleo, Pegan – What’s It All About?
First, let’s take a quick look at the definitions of vegan, paleo and pegan diets.
- A vegan is a strict vegetarian who eats no food that comes from animals, such as meat, eggs, fish or dairy.
- Proponents of the popular paleo diet believe it is healthiest to only eat food that was around 10,000 years ago in the Paleolithic era, before agriculture was developed. In other words, you only eat non-processed meat and fish, non-starchy vegetables, some root vegetables, and nuts and seeds. Moreover, there are no refined sugars, grains, dairy, etc. in a paleo diet.
- Pegan is Dr. Hyman’s creation and brings together the best qualities of vegan and paleo diets and adds the anti-inflammatory and detoxification principles of functional medicine, which identifies and addresses the root cause of disease.
Pegan: The Best of Both Worlds
We think pegan is a way of thinking about food and not really a diet at all! To help you go pegan and start eating healthier, we condensed Dr. Hyman’s eating philosophy into these easy-to-remember tips.
- Eats lots of veggies!
- Skip sugar – and if you do use it, think of it as a spice or flavor. After all, you wouldn’t pour a cup of cinnamon on your desert! And don’t eat too much fruit, which can have high quantities of sugar.
- Avoid foods treated with pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and GMO foods. Eat as little dairy as possible and think of meat and fish in “small bites,” rather than the main course.
- Try not to eat too much gluten and get tested to see if you should avoid it completely.
- Eat healthy fats with omega-3 fatty acids, along with healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocados.
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