Paradoxes are all around you, aren’t they? (Wink, wink.) But sometimes, when contradicting ideas team up, they can result in healthier ways to eat. The latest contradiction on the nutritional stage is the pegan diet. It’s where paleo and vegan meet.
And the pegan diet could be a great way to jumpstart health benefits. But is it possible for the pegan diet be lectin-free?
What’s on the Menu?
Goodness knows you have your fair share of weight loss and dietary plans to choose from. There’s vegan diets or vegetarian lifestyles. You can go for the ketogenic diet or paleo diet. Or you can mix and match your favorite fads — pescatarian, low-carb, raw… the list seems to be never-ending.
But in the end, there are positive aspects to many types of diets out there. And when you settle on a plan that works for you, you just need to make sure it can support low-lectin living as well.
One of the newest ways to combine dietary forces is the pegan diet. But what exactly does the word pegan mean?
Health Benefits and The Pegan Diet
It’s really very simple: Pegan is the combination of the Paleo diet and a vegan diet. When combined, the health benefits can be abundant.
Vegan Values — Vegans eat plant-based diets. They focus on whole foods, vitamins, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Vegans avoid farmed meat. This makes the world better for animals and cuts down industrial farming. The vegan diet likely reduces humans’ carbon footprint, too.1
What Does Paleo Mean? This strategy focuses on foods that were eaten about 10,000 years ago. Generally speaking, that means vegetables, fruits, fish, lean meats, nuts, and seeds. It’s also known as the Hunters and Gatherers Diet. A paleo diet mostly excludes farmed foods like dairy, grains, and beans.
Put Them Together and What Do You Get? The Pegan Diet!
Getting protein, iron, vitamin D, and DHA and EPA — important omega-3 fatty acids — can be hard for vegans. And vegan diet cuisine isn’t always healthy. It can still be full of processed sugars, lectin-filled grains, soy, and junk food.
Conversely, a paleo diet can be an excuse for paleo people to eat too much meat and too few plant-based foods. True hunters and gatherers foraged for plant-based protein. And they only feasted on animal products once in a great while.
The Pegan Diet is the best of both worlds. Whole foods are the foundations of The Plant Paradox, paleo, and vegan lifestyles. All three diets rely on keeping your blood sugar low. Vegetables, in-season fruits, and wild-caught or free-range proteins should lead to better health.
But Can A Pegan Diet Be Lectin-Free?
For weight loss or longevity, all three diets feature in-season fruits and vegetables. Paleo emphasizes meat, but restricts grains, legumes, dairy, and alcohol. Vegans meat, dairy and animal products like eggs, gelatin and honey. Sound familiar?
So, What Can You Eat on a Lectin-Free Pegan Diet?
Well, most of your meals will be made up of lectin-free Plant Paradox staples like the following:
|Brussels sprouts||Cauliflower||Bok choy|
|Kimchi||Nopales (cactus pads)||Celery|
|Hearts of palm||Cilantro||Okra|
|Sesame Seeds||72% chocolate||(and more…)|
The foods above should make up 75% percent of your meal. In fact, pasture-raised meat should be thought of as a side. But you can go to town on healthy fats like nuts, olive oil, coconut, and avocados.
Steer Clear of These Foods
Plant Paradoxers are typically fine with the following types of dairy:
- French/Italian butter
- Goat butter
- Goat cheese
- Butter (grass-fed French or Italian)
- Goat Brie
- Goat and sheep kefir
- Sheep cheese
But if you’re going low lectin pegan, it’s worth avoiding those, and focusing on alternative dairy products like almond, hazlenut, and coconut milk.
Processed grains are another big no-no.
Even gluten-free grains can raise your blood sugar. Avoid these foods at all costs:
- Potatoes chips
- Flours made from processed grains
Sugars, artificial sweeteners, and the following vegetable oils are to be avoided too:
The Pillars of a Lectin-free Pegan Lifestyle
Unlike the Standard American Diet, the lectin-free pegan menu must adhere to rules. But believe it or not, there’s so much you can still enjoy. Read on to discover how to get the most out of a pegan lifestyle — and how to stay lectin-free.
1. Get Food From the Ground
The key to a lectin-free version of the pegan lifestyle is, you guessed it, plant-based diets. Make sure at least 50% of your plate consists of the right veggies. Non-starchy vegetable options are your body’s best friends.
2. Feast on Omega-3s and Good Fats
Your body can produce most of the fats it needs from other fats (like olive oil). But when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, that’s not the case. These essential good fats are in your food — your body can’t make them. Food rich in omega-3s and good fats include:
- Wild-caught fish
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Walnut oil
- Leafy green vegetables
What’s so important about omega-3s? Well, they’re a major component of your body’s cell membranes and influence cell receptors. They help make hormones that regulate blood clotting, artery wall function, and inflammation.2
3. Forget Most Fruit
Paleo fans suggest low-sugar fruits like berries and avocados. Paleo folks have the right idea. Feel free to indulge in in-season berries. But as far as higher-glycemic fruit goes, enjoy in moderation. There’s a reason fruit is called “nature’s candy.” It’s an occasional treat, not an everyday staple.
4. Say Goodbye to Sugar
Believe it or not, the average American consumes upwards of 150 pounds of sugar every year! Nutritionists recommend Americans should derive no more than 10% of their calories from
sugar. That’s about 13 teaspoons of sugar a day. However, the current average is almost 43 teaspoons of sugar per day. Crazy, right?3
So, you’ll want to cut the amount of sugar way down. In fact, try to shoot for a diet that limits any food that might heighten your insulin levels. That means staying away from sugar, but also avoiding flour and refined carbs.
5. Ditch Dairy
For years, you heard milk would do your body good. This actually isn’t the case. Most livestock and dairy products are laced with antibiotics. Dairy products simply aren’t conducive to a long life and health span.
However, if dairy is a must, opt for products made from goat or sheep milk rather than cow. And avoid plain old milk as a beverage. Cow’s milk is loaded with insulin-like growth factors.
6. Push Animal Proteins to the Side
The pegan diet considers various meats and animal products to be side dishes. They shouldn’t be the centerpiece of your meal. Give vegetables the spotlight. And allow yourself a small portion of pasture-raised meat as a side. Don’t exceed 3 ounces of meat on your plate.
7. Eat Wild-Caught Fish
Now, when fixing up a plate of fish, try to focus on wild-caught, low-toxin choices like:
|Alaskan salmon||Canned tuna|
|Alaskan halibut||Hawaiian fish|
The fish options listed above are rich in omega-3s and low in mercury and toxins. Do not buy farmed fish. Make sure you’re choosing wild-caught fish whenever you crave something from the sea.
8. Ditch Gluten and Grains
Your gut houses a ton of beneficial bacteria (otherwise called your good gut bugs). These good gut bugs perform various necessary functions. And this ecosystem happens to be hugely influenced by your diet.4 Even if you’re not gluten sensitive, it’s a good idea to limit your gluten intake.
Recent studies show people sensitive to gluten may experience gastrointestinal symptoms.
And those symptoms are often reduced when gluten intake is restricted. Symptoms could include rash, bloating, flatulence, fatigue, headaches, irritability, and joint pain.5
Furthermore, gluten consumption can raise your blood sugar levels. So, why not try a few substitutes for gluten… like millet? Millet is marketed as a grain, but it’s a seed. Millet can help up your magnesium, which might help when it comes to managing your blood sugar levels.6
These flours are also great pegan, lectin-free substitutes for grain flours:
- Green Banana
- Sweet potato
- Tiger nut
9. Limit (and Pressure Cook) Legumes
Beans and legumes can be a great source of fiber and protein. Many vegans rely on beans, but they can cause some uncomfortable digestive issues. The lectins they contain may actually prevent the absorption of nutrients and minerals.
So you’ll want to limit your consumption of legumes. But, if you rely on legumes as a staple in your diet, use a pressure cooker. If you’re cooking with beans, a pressure cooker can be your best chance to destroy the plant’s lectins.
Using a pressure cooker doesn’t eliminate all lectins. Beans carry more lectins than any other food. So limit beans, peas, and lentils — even if you’re using a pressure cooker. Look out for legumes that hide as nuts (peanuts and cashews). They’re loaded with lectins. Eliminate them from your diet.
Pegan and Lectin-free — It’s Possible
The Pegan Diet is the best parts of the paleo and vegan lifestyles combined. The Plant Paradox and the Pegan Diet have a lot in common. Of course, both diets focus on healthy, whole foods.
Whether you’re focused on weight loss, or trying to keep your blood sugar low, a pegan, lectin-free diet may be for you.
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