There's a new trendy diet in town, folks – the pegan diet.
The word pegan has seen a 337 percent increase in searches on Pinterest since last year and has seen a steady climb in searches within the last six months.
It was born when Dr. Mark Hyman, New York Times best-selling author, coined the term – a mashup of paleo and vegan – in a blog post that detailed his own diet.
What is a pegan diet?
In short, a pegan diet incorporates pieces of the paleo and vegan diets.
A vegan diet is refraining from eating all animal products or byproducts – no meat, eggs, cheese, yogurt and sometimes gelatin. A paleo diet is a nutritional plan that mimics how people used to eat in the Paleolithic era 2.5 million years ago. So dieters eat unprocessed foods consisting mostly of vegetables, fruits, nuts, grass-fed meats and fish.
How does pegan differ from vegan and paleo diets?
Although vegan and paleo diets may seem like they're at odds – one advocates for removing dairy, meat and fish while the other encourages eating meat and fish – the root of both of those lifestyles is ultimately the same: eating whole foods and plants.
The purpose of the pegan diet is to get people to eat whole foods that are fresh and organic and increase their vegetable intake.
There's also an emphasis on the quality of foods you're eating – the pegan diet encourages participants to eat organic products.
What are you supposed to eat?
Basically most of your diet will be comprised of vegetables, good fats and nuts and seeds.
The physician explained that 75 percent of the diet should be fruits and vegetables while avoiding eating dairy and gluten.
But if you must eat dairy, the diet advises to reach for sheep- or goat-based dairy products. Maria Marlowe, a nutrition health coach and author who operates her own nutrition health coaching practice in New York City, said this is because goat and sheep's milk are easier to digest than cow's milk, but it's preferable to avoid all dairy.
Hyman said that meat is not necessarily harmful and has good health benefits. It just depends on how much you're eating and what kind you're eating. The doctor, who is also director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, suggests eating meat sparingly and eating only grass-fed and sustainably raised meat.
Basically, eat meat as a side dish, not the main course.
Those on a pegan diet should also eat healthy fats like those found in nuts, avocados, coconut oil and even saturated fat from organic meat products.
And like most diets – sugar should be avoided or eaten only as a treat.