Paleo…and Vegan? “Pegan”!

What a fantastic article I just read by Dr. Mark Hyman, about being what he refers to as a ‘Pegan’. I’ll admit, when I first began reading and prior to seeing who the piece was written by, I feared for what inaccurate information I might come across. I am glad I my fear was in vain! The article did a fabulous job of compare and contrast the two eating approaches, but best of all, my favorite part was the sentence in which he writes: “I vote for being a Pegan or Paleo-Vegan, which is what I have chosen for myself and recommend for most of my patients. Keep in mind that most of us need to personalize the approach depending on our health conditions, preferences and needs. What is a Pegan?  Well since I just made it up, I guess it’s up to me to define.” Precisely!  He’s not adding fish to a vegan diet and calling it vegan nonetheless.   Nor is he adding fermented soy or sprouted ancient grains to Paleo and claiming that’s still Paleo. He made up a word and he owns it. And he explains why which, by the way, was rather refreshing to see another person agreeing with what I try to teach as well: that both paleo and vegan, when done properly, share a lot in common:  both are plant based, both focus on abundant fresh, local veggies in season, good fat sources such as coconut oil, olive oil and avocado. The obvious differentiating factor is the protein source. Again, to reiterate, ‘when done properly’, as both approaches can be done haphazardly to the harm of the person doing it.   I knew a student when I was in college who was also vegan; he ate nothing but bagels, pasta and processed refined carbs of the like.   No vegetables.  No protein.  But technically, he claimed he was vegan because he was, in fact, not eating any animal products. Similarly, one could create an entire eating plan from the abundance of faux Paleo recipes online today and not get any veggies or omega 3s and pose Paleo as they were not, in fact, eating grains or beans or dairy, except if it was grass fed, of course (ok then). Dr. Hyman clearly outlines what defines a healthy diet, what we should all be avoiding and then outlines his personal approach, which is not actually Paleo nor vegan. Again, it’s his approach and he calls is Pegan. Now if only we could call do that!  Either teach what the truest form of any eating approach really is, or call it something else! Click here to read the full piece.