All You Need to Know About the Pegan Diet

You may have heard of the Pegan Diet from Dr. Oz’s television program. It might have made you wonder what is Dr Oz Pegan Diet? While it’s just now catching airwaves, it’s not something that was just developed. Recently, it’s become trendy. 

However, this trendy dieting plan was created by Dr. Mark Hyman in 2014. The idea of eating both meat and plant-based sounds next to impossible. However, that’s exactly what this diet advocates. You still can have your meat, but most of your plate should contain veggies and fruits. 

Lately, plant-based diets that contain less meat have become the newest way to eat. Studies show that these diets are more beneficial to health, health conditions, and overall well-being. How does the Pegan Diet fit into that? First, let’s take a deeper look into the creation of the Pegan Diet.

What is the Pegan Diet?

What is the Pegan Diet?

The Pegan Diet was created by Mark Hyman, MD. The diet takes its name from both paleo and veganism. It combines the Paleolithic diet and veganism with its name because it takes the main concepts from each and creates a new healthy way to eat. 

Dr. Hyman says he got the inspiration for the diet when he sat at a conference next to a paleo eater on one side and a vegan on the other. 

Paleo requires you only to consume foods that existed 2.6 million years ago. You can eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and meat. However, you must avoid dairy, grains, sugar, legumes, salt, oil, alcohol, and coffee. Veganism requires you to refrain from all animal products and byproducts. You can’t consume meat, fish, eggs, cheese, yogurt, or honey. You can eat fruits, vegetables, fruit, and plant-based foods. 

The combination of the two diets makes it sound almost like a contradiction. One diet tells you to not eat meat and the other does. The Pegan diet somehow makes it work. It focuses on both diet’s main principles: consume real, whole foods. 

The only major difference between the diets is their protein source. Both believe in low consumption of starches, sugar, processed foods, hormones, and antibiotics. They both avoid dairy too. 

Followers of the Pegan Diet should have at least 75% of each meal with plant-based foods and 25% of lean, non-processed meats. Dr. Hyman believes that this way of eating will reduce the risk of chronic diseases, inflammation, and promote overall well-being. 

The diet does focus on what most do. You want to try and avoid as much processed food as possible and include more vegetables.

Where to Start?

Hyman believes the Pegan diet is a lifestyle change, not just a diet. Before you begin the diet, he recommends a 21-day elimination diet first. This helps identify which foods you’re sensitive to and helps you prepare for the Pegan diet. 

Once you’ve done that, you can either jump right in or gradually make changes. For many people, small changes help them stick with the lifestyle changes and become a habit instead of a forced diet. The diet wants you to succeed and stick with it. Dr. Hyman realizes not everyone can make the switch right away due to various factors.

21 Principles of Peganism

Unlike many diets, the Pegan diet doesn’t have a strict eating schedule. There are no rules on what to eat at any time of day. It does offer you general guidelines that are based on basic principles. 

  1. Use Food as Your Farmacy – Your entire body is affected by what you eat. Dr. Hyman recommends you think to yourself the next time you go to eat. If you’re not happy with the ingredients becoming apart of you, seek out better options.
  2. Eat the Rainbow – Think of food as a color wheel. Each color has different benefits, and you should eat one food from each color wheel per day. For example, blue and red berries for your breakfast smoothie, leafy greens for lunch, purple and orange carrots with yellow peppers for dinner. 

Blue

  • Prunes
  • Blueberries, blackberries, huckleberries, boysenberries 
  • Eggplant
  • Purple carrots, cauliflower, kale, grapes, bell peppers, potatoes
  • Raisins
  • Plums
  • Figs

Promotes healthy mood balance, cognitive support, and antioxidants.

Red

Red

  • Apples, watermelon, cherries, raspberries
  • Red pears, red plums, strawberries
  • Pink grapefruit, pomegranate, blood oranges, cranberries 
  • Radishes, red beets
  • Red bell peppers, red cabbage, red onion

Promotes a healthy immune system, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidants.

Green

Green

  • Avocado
  • Green beans
  • Okra
  • Rosemary and other green herbs
  • Snow peas
  • Watercress
  • Darky leafy greens
  • Bell peppers
  • Bok choy
  • Green apples, limes, and pears
  • Brussel sprouts

Promotes circulation, blood vessel support, and antioxidants.

Orange

Orange

  • Apricots, cantaloupe 
  • Oranges, nectarines, mandarins
  • Mangoes, papaya, peaches
  • Pumpkin
  • Turmeric
  • Yams, sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Orange bell peppers, kumquat
  • Persimmons 

Promotes endocrine modulation, fertility, and antioxidants.

Yellow

Yellow

  • Asian pears
  • Lemons
  • Pineapple
  • Banana
  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Yellow onions
  • Yellow bell peppers

Promotes gut health and digestion.

  1. Follow the 75 Percent Rule – Vegetables should take up 75% volume of your plate. The recommended serving for veggies is around five to nine servings per day at ½ cup. Dr. Hyman says you should consume six to eight cups of veggies or up to 18 servings. Pre-diabetics should avoid starchy veggies or limit them to ½ cup three times per week.
  2. Eat the Right Beans, Whole Grains, Nuts, and Seeds – Unsweetened and processed nuts are the best. Avoid starchy beans like kidney beans, lima beans, and baked beans. Try mung, black-eyed peas, peas, lupini, or lentils. Don’t consume processed or refined grains. Only eat whole kernel grains and no more than one cup.
  3. Eat Your Meat as Medicine – Research has shown that grass-fed meat combined with whole foods provides you with the best sources of minerals, fats, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and vitamins. Unlike the Standard American Diet, meat isn’t the priority. Avoid cooking your meat at high temperatures. Don’t fry, grill, smoke, or char the meat. Roast, bake, or poach instead.
  4. Be Picky About Poultry, Eggs, and Fish – Eat organic or pasture-raised meats and eggs where possible. Eats should be eaten at least three times per week, but you can eat them more often if you like. Eat low-mercury fish three times per week. Stay away from high toxic fish.
  5. Have Fats with Every Meal – Despite what you’ve been told, fat is good for you. Make sure you eat the right kind. Fat doesn’t make you fat unless you eat sugars, starch, or trans-fat. Healthy fats like avocados, olives, nuts, oils, and seeds are healthy. You should consume up to five servings per day. Other diets restrict or eliminate all fats regardless if they’re healthy or not.
  6. Avoid Dairy (Mostly) – You might think you need your cheese, or you’ll die but I promise you won’t. Dairy isn’t an essential food group. It harms most people. You might think that low-fat or reduced-fat dairy is healthy and okay. It’s not. It can contain additives and sugar which causes weight gain. If you absolutely can’t live without dairy, choose grass-fed goat or sheep milk. Those with sensitivities should avoid it altogether.
  7. Eat Like a Regenetarian – Shop organic and local whenever you can. Look for labels that say ROC on them. This label involves animal welfare, soil health, and social fairness. You can start your own compost, eat leftovers, and buy cheaper but not perfect produce. Limit plastic use and try to reuse where possible.
  8. Treat Sugar Like a Recreational Drug – Sugar isn’t a necessary food group. You don’t have to completely restrict sweets or sweeteners forever, but you want to limit them. Honey in your tea now and then or a piece of chocolate after dinner won’t hurt you. However, you don’t want to consume it frequently. This makes it harder to stop once you start too. Whatever you do, avoid high-fructose corn syrup at all costs, including for your kids.
  9. Don’t Rely on Coffee and Alcohol – While you may feel you need coffee or a cup of tea to start your day, water should be the priority. When working out, you can add electrolytes to your water. If you must have caffeine, limit it to green tea and not daily. Avoid any sugary drinks like soda. Skip the alcohol as much as possible. Beer isn’t recommended at all since it contains gluten and is high in carbohydrates.
  10. Leverage Personalized Nutrition for Optimal Health – Try an elimination diet for 21 days and document what symptoms appear as you reintroduce these foods. If one causes an issue, you can speak with a doctor on avoidance or moderation. Ensure your doctor runs tests for your insulin levels, NMR lipid test, and deficiency tests. 

You may want to try genetic testing to see what diet fits your ancestral history. If you’ve tried everything and your symptoms don’t improve, it’s time to see a functional medicine doctor. Sometimes, there are some issues that a diet simply can’t fix. 

  1. Cleanse, Detox, and Reset Wisely – Follow the “Eat This” approved foods for at least ten days. Remove the “Don’t Eat that” foods. Don’t eat your last meal too late and follow the 12–14-hour window. You want to give yourself at least those hours between your last dinner and next breakfast. Set a sleep schedule and adhere to it. Turn off your electronics at least 45 minutes before you fall asleep. Many find yoga practice, meditation, or a hot bath helps them relax and sleep easier.
  2. Assess the Risks and Benefits of a Vegan Diet – Vegan diets have a reputation for deficiencies in certain vitamins. Dr. Hyman believes this is because they are sticking true to a healthy vegan diet. He recounts seeing patients and when they discuss what they eat in a day, it’s all unhealthy and processed junk food. He talks about how his paleo patients often ate more vegetables and fruits than his vegan ones. 

As a result, he recommends you consume at least 75% of your plate with whole foods and a limit on starchy vegetables. Eat whole kernel grains instead of processed versions. Consume healthy fats to keep your insulin levels stable and avoid hunger. Don’t avoid vegan protein-enriched foods like tempeh, tofu, lentils, and black beans. Add a protein shake to your diet if you don’t feel like eating. It can provide you with essential minerals, protein, and vitamins ensuring no deficiencies. If needed, take a supplement.  

  1. Eat for Gut Health – Eliminate all sugars, starchy foods, gluten, wheat, and processed foods from your diet. Eat probiotic-rich foods for optimal gut health. Pre-biotic foods like onions and leafy greens help too.
  2. Eat for Longevity – Test your insulin levels to ensure you’re not diabetic. If you are, don’t laze about. Exercise and start the diet today. Focus more on foods that fight and protect from disease like dark leafy greens. When you exercise, don’t just focus on cardio. Lift weights and build muscle too. Ladies, you don’t have to worry about weights. You’ll never get as bulky as the guy unless you use illegal and dangerous means. Some people do well with fasts. Always speak with a doctor first to fast correctly.
  3. Eat to Boost Moods – Never skip meals. This can interfere with blood sugar levels and cause depression, anxiety, and forgetfulness. Focus on healthy fats, berries, fiber, and tea if you can handle caffeine. Get a checkup from your doctor. Have them check for any vitamin deficiencies or health issues. If you need extra support, try multivitamins.
  4. Make Healthy Eating Affordable – You often hear how expensive it is to eat healthily. However, it doesn’t have to be. Processed foods will cost you more over time because of the health issues you’ll develop. 

Tracking your spending habits can help too. You might eat out often or overbuy. In general, most people tend to eat the same five meals weekly. To avoid boredom and find savings, try at least five new recipes a week. Shop at discount stores, local farms, or use online shopping guides to save more money.

  1. Feed Your Kids What You Eat – Your kids should eat what you do. Other countries don’t serve “kid-friendly” foods and instead feed them smaller portions of what the adults eat. This helps them build better habits with food. 

Babies at six months can start on mashed fruits and veggies. You can even make your own baby food and avoid chemicals that commercial baby food has.

Studies have shown that a poor diet affects our mood, behavior, and our academic performance. Whole foods have been shown to reduce violence, improve behavior, and have higher grades. Don’t feel like you need to do this alone. Your pediatrician can help you set up a nutritional plan and recommend age-appropriate vitamins. 

As your children age, you can slowly transition them into the Pegan diet and create a healthy dialog about nutrition. 

  1. Make Healthy Habits Stick – Think about “why” you want to obtain health. Focus less on “how” and “what “. Each morning before you eat, think about your “why”. Dr. Hyman recommends writing it out and posting it in your kitchen. Journal your goals and schedule time to reach them. 

Create a support system for yourself. You can look to friends and family or even an online support group. Support systems help tremendously for staying on track and encouraging you to reach your goals. 

Ease into the Pegan diet. Sometimes, change is difficult and we’re more likely to fail if we feel a goal is unattainable or too hard. For example, you don’t have to fully transition into giving up dairy and gluten overnight. Start at a realistic goal for yourself and progress once you reach it. Create healthy habits for exercise too. You don’t need to run a mile on day one, but a ten-minute walk is a good starting point. 

Dr. Hyman recommends studying habit changes and behavioral science to help you better understand what you’re going through. 

  1. Start the Pegan Diet Today – You don’t have to wait until your next shopping trip to begin the diet. You likely have some ingredients on hand. Start by eating colorful plant-based foods throughout the day. Eat a palm-sized amount of protein with each meal and a serving of healthy fats. 

Avoid any foods where you can’t pronounce the label, dairy, gluten, and sugar. Here’s a guideline of what you can and can’t eat.

What to Eat

What to Eat

  • Unlimited amounts of non-starchy vegetables
  • At least ½ cup to one piece of low glycemic fruits per day
  • Four to six ounces of animal protein twice per day
  • One or two handfuls of nuts daily
  • Goat and sheep dairy is fine in moderation
  • Drink green juices, purified water, mineral water, herbal tea, and seltzer
  • Organic oils and fats are okay to use for cooking (chicken, duck, ghee, avocado oil, and virgin coconut oil)

What to Avoid or Limit

What to Avoid or Limit

  • Coffee/caffeine, especially if sensitive 
  • Sugars and sweeteners should be limited and not consumed daily
  • No dressings, only oils (almond, flax, olive, sesame seed, walnut, macadamia, or tahini)
  • Limit alcohol to one glass of your choice no more than three times per week
  • No conventual dairy products 
  • Limit your intake of starchy vegetables to ½ cup per day

Sample Pegan Diet Plan

The Pegan diet Mark Hyman doesn’t have a set eating plan as most diets offer. It does offer guidelines for people to follow, so they can get the idea of healthy eating. We came up with a few samples you can try out!

Breakfast

Breakfast

Veggie Omelet

What you need: two pasteurized eggs, spinach, mushrooms, half a cup of red onions, half of the orange bell pepper, and a handful of fresh blueberries

Chop the onion, mushrooms, spinach, and bell pepper. Scramble the eggs in a bowl and season with herbs to taste. Use coconut oil in the pan and cook the veggies down until tender. Remove from heat and pan. Place the eggs in the pan with the veggies to one side. When the egg begins to form at the bottom, fold in half and flip over for about two minutes. Serve. The berries on the side you get to enjoy alone!

Lunch 

Lunch

Tuna Salad Collard Green Wraps with Roasted Veggies

What you’ll need: one can of tuna, one tablespoon of olives or black beans, two tablespoons of diced red bell pepper, half cup of chopped white or yellow onions, two tablespoons of chopped basil, one tablespoon of avocado oil mayo, and one collard wrap

Trim the stems of the collard wrap to make it easier to roll. In a bowl, add the tuna, veggies, mayo, and basil. Toss until combined. Lay your wrap out and place some of the fillings at the bottom of the roll. Fold and roll like a burrito and cut in half. Serve! Alternatively, you can rip the leaves and make a true salad. 

For the roasted veggies, take your favorite ones and stir-fry them gently in ghee or extra-virgin olive oil for a few minutes.

Dinner

Dinner

Turkey and Veggie Burger with Rainbow Carrot Fries and a Side Salad

What you’ll need: half a cup of diced white onions and red bell pepper, one tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, two-thirds cup of grated carrot, one and a quarter pounds of lean ground humanely raised turkey breast, half a teaspoon of herbs (rosemary, thyme, and coriander)

Heat the oil and add onion. Cook until tender and add the red pepper. Cook a few more minutes and add the carrots. Cook until the carrots are tender. Remove from heat. In a bowl, mix the meat and veggies. Shape into several patties and chill for at least one hour. Then, heat a pan with ghee or oil. cook the patties you’ll have for dinner for four minutes on each side. Serve! 

For the salad, mix whatever veggies you want in a bowl with a handful of mixed nuts. Use extra-virgin olive oil plain or mixed with herbs as your dressing. 

For the “fries”, you’ll need one of each color carrot and two sweet potatoes, one regular and one purple. Take avocado oil and put it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Pre-heat the oven to 425-degrees. Chop the veggies into “fry” shapes and place them on the tray. Bake for about 20 minutes and serve.

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Requires you to consume mostly fruits and vegetables that contain minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that prevent disease and reduce inflammation. 
  • Whole foods diets with little processed foods improve diet qualities.
  • Emphasizes the consumption of healthy fats that have positive effects on the heart. 

Cons

  • Can get unsafe quickly without proper guidance.
  • No reason for many of the restrictions unless you have a medical condition or sensitivities.
  • Some diet recommendations aren’t accessible to everyone like fresh local produce or organic meats.
  • The restriction on cooking oils and processed foods could lead to social isolation at restaurants or gatherings.

Side Effects

Side Effects

In general, the Pegan Diet is pretty healthy. However, you do have to cut out necessary nutrients that research has found healthy. For example, you can’t have whole grains, dairy, or legumes. Research suggests these foods are beneficial for overall health. If you do cut them out, you won’t become ill or deficient provided you eat healthily with the rest of the diet. 

The diet isn’t as restrictive as others, but you still need to follow the principles of the diet. This can become difficult for those who aren’t used to a program like this. It may cause discomfort in the early stages like mood swings until the person becomes used to the new way of eating. Luckily, you can transition slowly. 

There are no set rules or timeframe for the transition diet. Many followers find it easier to cut back on sugar and incorporate more veggies and fruit into the diet first. Then, they start to make the change to organic fruits and veggies, and grass-fed meats. Finally, many start to give up dairy last. 

Dieters in the Pegan Diet haven’t reported many side effects. The only major problems come from not eating dairy or going out to restaurants. Dieters don’t get sick from the lack of dairy, rather they feel restricted. This can irritate people, especially if their favorite food is dairy-related. If they don’t receive proper nutrition from other sources, the lack of dairy and salt could cause health issues. Realistically, dieters still can go to a restaurant and find dozens of options available to them.

Can You Lose Weight on the Pegan Diet?

Can You Lose Weight on the Pegan Diet?

Yes and no. You can lose weight with most diets if you stick with them. The hardest part most people find with the Pegan diet is the restriction of many of their favorite foods. However, those that start the changes gradually and tweak it to fit their lifestyle report weight loss and an improvement of well-being. Keep in mind that you must eat fewer calories than you output to lose weight. You can still eat healthily and gain weight if you overeat. 

Many people believe it’s impossible to eat healthily and save money. It doesn’t have to be expensive. One of the principles talks about eating healthy without breaking the bank. To do this, will require budgeting. Consider what you currently spend on food, alcohol, and eating out. You might not realize how much you spend on pure junk or restaurants. You can make the first step by choosing to make your meals instead of restaurants. Another way to save money is through local buying or online. 

If you can’t truly afford to buy organic meats and produce, you might have to settle for the less expensive, regular foods. It’s not the end of the world but it is healthiest if you can afford to buy organic. You might find yourself surprised by how cheap some organic items are when compared to standard items.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

The diet was created in 2014 by Dr. Mark Hyman but was made famous through The Dr. Oz Show. Unlike most diets you’ll encounter, you’ll notice the Pegan diet requires more of a lifestyle change. It follows the main concepts of two popular diets veganism and paleo. 

It promotes healthy eating with a restriction on most foods found in the Standard American Diet with an emphasis on plant-based eating. However, you can slowly transition to the diet and make even make tweaks if you can’t fully follow it. As time progresses, you should immerse yourself in the 21 Principles. 

Many diets are restrictive in ways where you don’t receive adequate nutrition. The Pegan Diet does eliminate dairy and requires you to switch to organic for fruits, meats, eggs, and vegetables. The key is to rid toxins and restore your health. Non-organic foods have been treated with chemicals, antibiotics, insecticides, and pesticides. These chemicals have been shown to cause detrimental health issues. 

The Pegan Diet often gets complaints that it’s too restrictive and expensive. The Principles do offer suggestions and tips on ways to combat this to make the diet and transition easier. Unlike most conventional diets, the Pegan Diet doesn’t have any reports or issues when dieters stick to the plan. They do report feeling better and healthier overall. 

If you’re not sure if the Pegan Diet is right for you, seek a doctor’s advice. You may not have any sensitivities or issues the Pegan Diet can solve for you.

 

Start working on your weight loss goals


How would you like it if you

✓ Could be less dissatisfied with your body?
✓ Spend less time on your body and be able to do what you really care about?
✓ Learn to deal with that voice in your head?
✓ Stop letting your body image determine your day and emotions?
✓ Really change your relationship with food?
✓ Learn to appreciate your body, which will make you take better care of it?