Here at Hip & Healthy we are all for everything in moderation; we don’t believe in diets that are too restrictive, as these are totally unsustainable and will often result in unwanted health problems. So, we are exited by the sound of the Paegan diet, a surprisingly sustainable, balanced and healthy way of eating. Doctor Mark Hyman is the pioneer behind this revolutionary diet, thought to help treat, prevent and even reverse chronic disease. It represents a modified version of both the paleo and the vegan diet, taking aspects from both… so we get the best of both worlds!
What can you eat exactly?
This diet is pretty balanced with regards to macronutrients. It focuses primarily around fruits and veggies, so a whopping 75% of your diet will be packed full of fibrous and nutrient dense foods. For those protein fiends out there, fear not, you are allowed to fill up your plates with 25% lean protein, such as chicken, fish, lentils or beans (we urge you to purchase organic meat and fish where possible as these have no nasty additives and far higher levels of antioxidants). Try experimenting with some veggie based dishes, such as a mouthwatering coconut squash and lentil curry. You can then add some lean protein – just make sure to keep it a small-ish serving!
This diet also encourages the consumption of high quality fats to get your skin and hair glowing. Think olive and coconut oils, nuts, avos, seeds – these keep you fuller for longer and boost your metabolism to keep you burning fat throughout the day. How about making your own scrummy nut butter? Just blend some roasted nuts, such as cashews or almonds for ten minutes (tip. We love to add a little honey and coconut oil for a really creamy and indulgent taste!)
What must you avoid?
As you can probably predict, sugar isn’t recommended on this eating plan. Sugar is a nasty and addictive substance that is quickly converted to fat, especially on our tummies. It can, however, be used sparingly on the paegan diet, perhaps in a date protein ball or a little honey on your morning porridge… after all, a little of what you enjoy does you no harm.
Dairy is a complete no-go. This might seem like a difficult task, but we promise that the range of organic nut and coconut milks and yoghurts on the market are surprisingly tasty and a perfect replacement to cows milk. Dairy is directly linked to inflammation in the body, causing all sorts of unwanted skin problems and digestive issues. Non-organic dairy products are also chock-full of antibiotics – yuck! The loss of calcium in your diet from avoiding dairy can easily be found in many other natural sources, including sesame seeds, almonds and even spinach and broccoli.
Gluten is to be completely and utterly avoided because of its indigestive and inflammatory properties. Whilst some versions tend to completely avoid them, we think it’s important to make sure to incorporate some healthy whole grains such as quinoa, gluten-free oats or brown rice into your diet to keep your energy levels up. Lentils are also a great source of meatless protein and a nutritional powerhouse.
Pros and cons of the Paegan diet…
This diet is a sure-fire way to help you feel and look great both inside and out, whilst ensuring a sustainable and healthy approach to food. The emphasis on plant-based foods reaps numerous benefits and provides your body with cancer-fighting antioxidants. A little protein with your meals will keep your blood sugar levels stable, so you are fuller for longer and you should hopefully notice a decrease in sugar cravings!
In terms of cons, there aren’t many really! However as we mentioned above, we do think it’s important to incorporate a few healthy wholegrains into your diet to keep your energy levels up and your food intake varied! All in all – the Paegan lifestyle is a great one to follow if you’re in need of a reboot or simply looking for a new way to nourish! Happy munching!
Words by Flora Crichton