Another day, another buzzy food philosophy. Today’s diet du jour? The Pegan diet. It’s a combination of veganism and the Paleo diet and is pronounced like “vegan” with a “p.” (Or “pagan” with a Wisconsin accent.) So what is it? Is it good for you? Let’s find out.
What is it? The Pegan diet was created in 2015 by Dr. Mark Hyman, the medical director at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and a New York Times best-selling author. Here’s how he described the diet to CBS News: “It’s really simple. Eat foods low in sugar and starch. Eat lots of plant foods. If you're going to eat animal foods, eat sustainably grown or harvested foods. Have foods that have lots of good fat, like nuts and seeds, olive oil, avocados.” You’re also allowed one cheat day, along with two desserts and two alcoholic drinks per week. (Score.)
OK, so what can’t you eat? Carb lovers, beware. The Pegan diet urges its adherents to avoid gluten and eat gluten-free grains sparingly. Dairy is also a no-no for Pegans, though vegan, plant-based alternatives to dairy (like almond milk or cashew cheese) are just fine.
Sounds doable. Is it healthy? It is indeed. The Pegan diet is pretty similar to the Mediterranean diet, which is consistently on nutritionists’ lists of the healthiest eating plans around. All in all, the diet’s emphasis on eating lots of fruits and veggies and only high-quality meats is promising. It also draws from the Paleo principle of staying away from processed and packaged food, which is never a bad thing.