There can’t be anyone interested in their health who has not either followed a detox plan or heard of it but you may not have heard of a Pegan Diet.
The term has been only recently been coined by Dr Mark Hyman as a healthy way of eating that combines the best of the Paleo Diet and a Vegan Diet.
People who eat a vegan diet might be very offended by being included in this term as they are totally against eating animal products whereas followers of the Paleo diet are all for eating a lot of grass-fed meat although they both shun dairy products.
Before I answer the question about whether the Pegan Diet can make a good detox plan let’s first take a look at what a Pegan Diet actually is.
The Pegan Diet is healthy way of eating based on a lot of plant food such as fruit and vegetables in unlimited amounts, small amounts of gluten-free grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and small amounts of grass-fed meat.
A Paleo Diet on the other hand excludes all grains and legumes, including beans of all kinds such as soy, black, kidney, pinto, because they contain lectins and phytic acid.
Phytic acid binds to nutrients in the food, preventing you from absorbing them and lectins can damage the intestinal wall, contributing to leaky gut and all the related health problems that can result from it.
Is A Pegan Diet A Good Detox Plan?
I believe it is and here’s why:
1. Processed and Junk food
The Pegan Diet excludes all processed and junk food just like any good detox diet does. This helps to lower the toxic load your body has to deal with by avoiding toxic additives and preservatives often found in processed foods.
Gluten grains are excluded like any good detox plan. Gluten contains a protein called gliadin which according to many health authorities is a substance that we cannot fully digest and should all avoid.
Dr Fasano, a prominant researcher into gluten intolerance, says “Gliadin is a strange protein that our enzymes can’t break down from the amino acids (glutamine and proline) into elements small enough for us to digest. It all depends upon how well our intestinal walls close after we ingest it and how our immune system reacts to it.”
If the cells of the intestinal wall do not close up the gut can become “leaky” allowing toxins, undigested food particles, antibodies and microorganisms to escape from your intestines and travel to your liver overloading it.
The liver is the main organ of detoxification so the aim of a detox diet is to reduce the load on the liver so it can do its job of converting toxins into safer forms that can be eliminated from your body.
3. Dairy products
Dairy products are excluded just like a detox diet.
According to genetic researchers human adults were not designed to digest milk. Dr Hyams says “While some can tolerate it, for most it contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer and may increase (not decrease) the risk of osteoporosis”.
It is a fact that you may not have considered before but humans don’t nutritionally need the milk of another species.
Until dairy animals were domesticated about 10,000 years ago milk, butter, cheese and yogurt were never eaten by our ancestors.
4. Fruits and Vegetables
The Pegan Diet focuses primarily on fruits and vegetables just like the majority of detox plans. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are needed for the detox system to function efficiently.
The critics who say that we don’t need any help to detox because our bodies do a good job on their own conveniently forget that the diet that most people eat is sadly lacking in the nutrients that their liver’s detox system needs for optimum function.
It’s also known that some people have genetically impaired detoxification pathways which can be boosted with the right nutrients. This has been shown to be true by researchers and is not just some theory.
It’s a proven fact that we all harbour numerous toxins because our livers can’t keep up with detoxing the sheer amount we absorb from the air we breath, the food we eat and the products we apply to our bodies.
5. Healthy natural fats
The Pegan diet recommends eating healthy natural fats while avoiding processed fats just like a detox diet does. It focuses on omega-3 fats, fresh nuts, seeds, coconut oil and avocados while shunning processed vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, corn, and soybean oil.
Where it differs from most detox diets is that it includes fat from from grass fed animals. Grass fed animals contain a better ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids than intensively reared animals as well as twice the amount of the anti-cancer conjugated linoleic acid.
The membranes (walls) surrounding all our cells should be made up of fatty acids in a precise ratio for them to function efficiently. The membranes are responsible for allowing the toxic matter to flow out of your cells and nutrients in.
They can’t do this if the ratio of fats is upset which can happen on the Standard Western Diet which contains trans fats and too many Omega 6 fats to omega 3. Omega 3 fatty acids are needed
6. Grass-fed meat
Grass-fed meat is included in the Pegan diet in small amounts which differs from most detox diets.
The majority of detox diet plans exclude meat as the experts say it takes a lot of energy to digest it so when it’s avoided the body can use that energy for detox instead.
On the other hand other health experts say that our livers need amino acids for the Phase 2 detox pathways and as the best sources of amino acids come from animal protein it makes sense to include it.
It’s worth noting here that the Pegan diet differs from the Paleo diet in as much as the Pegan diet plate consists of about 75% plant food and 25% animal protein and healthy fats where as the Paleo diet usually consists of much more meat and fat than that.
A Paleo diet has become a popular way to lose weight and fat because it is prevents the hunger that is normally felt on conventional calorie controlled diets. As toxins are stored in the fat layers of the body as weight is lost the toxins are released so a Paleo diet can be considered as a detox diet.
Some people find that they don’t feel that good eating the amount of meat and fat that is usually recommended and have to adjust the amounts.
There is no diet that is right for everyone and most people need to personalize the ratio of carbs, proteins and fats depending on their health conditions and metabolic type.
If you’ve tried the Paleo diet and found that you didn’t feel as good a you were supposed to on it then you might do better on the Pegan diet.
My new book 9 Simple Steps To Slenderness is a detox diet that incorporates the basic principles of the Pegan diet. You can choose the detox plan with animal protein, plants and grains or you can choose the plan that excludes animal protein. In my experience with clients both plans are effective.
So now my question for you is have you ever heard of the Pegan diet? What do you think of it? Would you try it? Let me know in the comments.