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Pegan Diet: What Is It and Why You Should Try It

by Seraphina Therapeutics
Highlights

We’re a culture that continually develops new methods of dieting based on new science and health trends. The onset of certain diseases and age-related illnesses often prompts us to search for better ways to use food to improve our health. Many of us seek out new diets to circumvent chronic conditions from happening in the first place. 

Our goal when approaching dieting should be to find something we can adhere to long term.  The reason why “fad diets” often don’t work in the long run is because they simply are not sustainable. 

If we can find a diet that is sustainable, we have a better chance of having success with it and actually being able to maintain it for longer than just a few weeks.

A diet that is only sustainable for a few weeks is great for losing a few pounds quickly, but those pounds are likely to return if the dieter doesn’t make necessary lifestyle changes (like eating better and exercising).  This can lead a person to yo-yo dieting (going on and off a particular calorie restrictive diet repeatedly) and is likely to end in frustration.

If you’ve considered trying a dietary lifestyle change, you may have considered going paleo or vegan.  It’s pretty hard to assume you could do both, but if you’re willing to be a little lax on the rules, it’s definitely possible, and it’s called the “pegan diet.”

What is the Paleo Diet?

Also referred to as the “caveman” diet, the paleolithic diet is modeled after what our ancestors would have likely eaten during the paleolithic era.  This diet consists of most anything that could be hunted and/or gathered, much like our ancestors would have eaten. 

The foods you will most likely eat on a paleo diet are:

  • Any fruits
  • Most vegetables (except for legumes and potatoes)
  • Seeds and nuts (except for peanuts)
  • Lean meats, especially organic, grass-fed game
  • Fish, especially ones rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Healthy oils such as olive, avocado, or walnut oil

A paleo diet is also sometimes referred to as “clean” eating, because the goal is to eat foods that are as close to their original form as possible. In other words, processed foods are avoided at all costs, and eating foods as close as possible to their original state is preferred.  As such, on a paleo diet, you’d avoid eating:

  • Highly processed foods; including cereals and bars 
  • Processed dairy products
  • Refined sugar
  • Salt

The paleo diet was developed in the 1970’s, but reached a higher level of popularity in the early 2000’s. 

What is the Vegan Diet?

The vegan diet is the strictest of all vegetarian diets.  On a vegan diet, you will eat no animal products or byproducts.  This means you will eat no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, or honey. 

While there are definitely health benefits achievable by eliminating animal products from your diet, many vegans fall into the trap of eating a diet of highly processed meat alternatives, faux cheeses, and refined sugar products. 

When compared with the paleo diet, it seems these two diets would be very incompatible.  A major staple of the paleo diet is lean meat and avoidance of processed foods, and vegan diets often rely on processed products for protein and fat. 

Is it possible to be both paleo and vegan?  The answer is, “sort of.”  You’ll have to be willing to be a little flexible with both diets’ standards. 

How to Eat a Pegan Diet

The pegan diet was developed by Dr. Mark Hyman, an internist with a passion for using food as medicine.  He developed this diet as a means of healing the body, supporting vital organs and systems, and increasing overall life expectancy by supporting the body with healthy, clean eating. 

Overall, the pegan diet is less restrictive than both the paleo and vegan diets.  The pegan diet:

  • Encourages the consumption of small amounts of meat and fish that would normally be disallowed on a vegan diet. In fact, if you were choosing a vegan diet based on your desire to avoid anything that exploited animals, this diet wouldn't be conducive to your beliefs. 
  • Allows consumption of small amounts of legumes and some processed foods, oils, and refined sugars, which are disallowed on a paleo diet.

The pegan diet is designed to be more sustainable than following a strictly vegan or paleo diet may be for some people.  Because of the flexibility, it is suggested that a person may be able to sustain this diet long term, making it effective in improving overall health and wellness. 

Pegan diet devotees eat mostly plants and plant-based foods.  In fact, plant-based foods will comprise 75% of your total dietary intake. 

As with the paleo diet, overly starchy root vegetables are avoided, and low-glycemic fruits (such as berries) are emphasized over others.  The caveat to this rule is that higher-glycemic fruits and vegetables may be eaten provided the individual’s blood sugar is already well maintained at a healthy level. 

While only 25% of your diet will come from non-plant sources on the pegan diet, it is still encouraged to choose your protein sources wisely, and to obtain the majority of your protein from plant sources. 

Additionally, much like the paleo diet, you’ll want to get any meat-protein sources from organic, grass fed sources, and occasional servings of fish. 

Finally, dairy is also excluded from the pegan diet, as it is with both vegan and paleo diets. 

Why Try the Pegan Diet?

The pegan diet offers flexibility for people who would prefer to clean up their diet, consider their food sources and improve their overall health and wellness. 

Eating a pegan diet can help:

  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is a great way to improve your overall health and wellness and ensure you’re getting the proper vitamins and nutrients your body needs.
  • Eliminate processed foods. By eating a pegan diet, you’ll naturally eat less processed foods and consume less processed sugar.
  • Maintain healthy weight. By eating less carbohydrates, a plant-rich diet can help support healthy weight maintenance. 

The pegan diet is beneficial in acclimating your diet to better fit your overall health and wellness goals.  Using nutritious food as a way to stave off disease is an excellent way to approach your health. 

The problem with a pegan diet, and with vegan and paleo diets in general, is the paucity of a particular fatty acid, called C15:0 (or pentadecanoic acid), that a growing body of science supports can be beneficial for your health and primarily found in certain dairy products, as well as some types of fish and plants.* 

What is C15:0?

C15:0 (also called pentadecanoic acid) is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid that mounting scientific evidence supports is an essential fatty acid for your body. The direct benefits of C15:0 were initially discovered while veterinarians worked to improve the health of dolphins; one population had ample C15:0 in their diets, and the other population did not.  The population of dolphins that had more C15:0 in their diet had less age-related illness, and when dietary C15:0 was increased in dolphins with low C15:0 levels, these animals had improved health.

This led scientists to explore if C15:0 could prove as beneficial in both humans and dolphins, and the answer was yes.*  C15:0 supports your body at the cellular level, helping aging cells to stay strong, sturdy, and properly functioning, so that in turn you (and dolphins) can stay strong and function properly.*  C15:0 allows you to take control of the aging process and age on your own terms.*

Fatty15 is the first and only supplement available to give you the daily dose of natural pure, powder C15:0 your body needs, without anything else -- no artificial colors, flavors, or other ingredients.  Fatty15 contains only pure FA15™, the pure powder  and vegan-friendly form of C15:0. 

Fatty15 also meets the dietary standards of the pegan, vegan, and paleo diets, which means you can take it with confidence that it won’t interfere with your dietary restrictions.  So if you’re looking to make your way toward a diet that cuts out the opportunity for this healthy fat to give your cellular health the support it needs, consider making fatty15 and C15:0 a regular part of your day to day wellness routine.*

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482457

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pegan-diet#foods-to-eat

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/the-paleo-diet-back-to-the-stone-age

 

 

 

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