The 'Pegan' Diet? Really? How about we just stop the labels?
In our forever long attempt to search for the "perfect" diet - the one that will cure our illnesses, load us with energy, make us slim and trim, without a great deal of effort, we've examined, poked, prodded, tested, and tried all kinds of craziness. This is the latest - but its nothing you didn't already know.
Names and labels are just other ways to feel inadequate
There's a name for all kinds of eating patterns. But why? Why do we have to label the way we eat?
Here's a thought that would be nice:
Me: "Hi, My name is Larina, and I eat what works for my body. Its a great diet. I feel wonderful."
Other person: "Oh awesome - you look great! I also eat what works for my body. It looks different to yours, but that's ok, because I feel great too."
No judgement. No labels. No fear mongering. No jealousy. No self-hatred or pity. It's difficult to imagine as these things are human nature and we usually want what the other persons having (hello plate envy at restaurants).
But think of it this way, (and this is getting a little bit off topic, but...), if you looked at a bowl of fruit and all the fruit was the same shape, size, colour, shininess, taste, smell - you'd get over it pretty quickly. Look at a bowl of fruit that was all different shapes, sizes, colours, smells, etc and you're looking at something way more interesting, way more appealing, and you'll likely get way more people interested - why? Because each fruit is unique, it has its own set of amazing qualities and thats exactly what humans are too. Place us all in a big bowl and we'd be boring as all buggery if we all looked identical. Quit wanting what 'she's having' because what you've got is something down right amazing just as you are! Don't try and be a perfect pear if you're a wonderful apple. Be the best damn apple you can possibly be!!
Ok enough ranting over fruit metaphors. Let's talk about this Pegan diet.
You've heard of paleo - meat, fats, veggies, some fruit and nuts. That's pretty much it.
You've heard of vegan - grains, veggies, nuts, fruit, legumes. That's pretty much it.
This guy - Dr Mark Hyman is labelling a cross-breed diet of the two combined as "Pegan".
So what do we get when 'the best bits' of a vegan diet is crossed with 'the best bits' of a paleo diet?
It's essentially what a good paleo diet should be anyway.
From Mark himself:
- Very low glycemic load – low in sugar, flour and refined carbohydrates of all kinds.
- High in vegetables and fruits. The deeper the colors, the more variety, the better. This provides a high phytonutrient content protective against most diseases. (Although the paleo camp recommends lower glycemic fruit such as berries.)
- Low in pesticides, antibiotics and hormones and probably no or low GMO foods.
- No chemicals, additives, preservatives, dyes, MSG, artificial sweeteners and other “Franken Chemicals” that you would never have in your pantry.
- Higher in good quality fats – omega 3 fats for all. And most camps advise good quality fats from olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados. Although some, such as Drs. Esselstyn and Ornish still advise very low fat diets for heart disease reversal.
- Adequate protein for appetite control and muscle synthesis, especially in the elderly.
- Ideally organic, local and fresh foods should be the majority of your diet.
- If animal products are consumed they should be sustainably raised or grass fed.
- If you are eating fish you should choose low mercury and low toxin containing fish such as sardines, herring and anchovies or other small fish and avoid tuna, swordfish and Chilean sea bass because of the high mercury load. More on that here.
Without getting into the pros and cons of this new label - because really, I really don't want people becoming "Pegan" - thats just a ridiculous name for an otherwise regular, wholefood, healthy diet. And will surely lead to a new book deal and lots of dollars in Hyman's pocket simply because of it's new diet 'label'. Let's just enjoy that a diet based on wholefoods, with or without meat if you're vegan, with or without dairy, and with or without grains and legumes - based heavily on a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats - is going to set you up in pretty good health. Add the extras to it as you will, according to what works well for your body. Cutting right back on refined sugar, processed foods, sugary drinks, artificial sweeteners and foods highly laced with additives and preservatives. No label. No gimmicks. Just pure clean natural foods that make you feel fabulous!