Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Paleo? Vegan? Both?


A question I've been by those around me a lot lately; "are you still vegan? What do you eat? What's your diet like? Why?"
And believe me, I've been asking myself the exact same question for a while now (perhaps that's why people keep asking? Because my answer keeps changing?). For about two or three months, I've been toggling with my ratios of foods, trying to find some kind of healthy, delicious, financially savvy and convenient lifestyle for food and drink. I feel like I've been trying just about everything.

First, I re-introduced egg/fish/chicken into my diet. Why? Because at college, I don't have access to a full kitchen, nor the funds to continually buy and store fresh produce as I ideally would like to, and the 'vegan' options available to me (I live in my sorority house, where meals are made en-mass) were simply not what I wanted -- they were either tasteless, or delicious, but not good for me (think lots of sweet potato fries basked in oil...)

After that, I went down more of a Paleo pathway, trying to use my reintroduced fish/chicken/egg elements to keep me fuller for linger, replacing the calorically-dense carbohydrates that, I felt, had contributed to a little extra unwanted weight upon my body. 

Additionally, I tried (again) to completely remove sugar from my diet, however, traveling back to Sydney and reuniting with friends often seemed to mean sugary-cocktails, champagne, treats and 'special occasions'... every single day...

Consequently, the past two-ish weeks since, I've been trying to re-find that place. Searching for some much-needed weight loss, I re-adopted the paleo pathway, admittedly appealed by the age-old "cutting carbs will help you lose weight!" That said, I also felt that a paleo diet wasn't quite what I wanted -- I actually really had enjoyed my time eating a plant-based diet, and had it not been for my circumstances, I probably would not have stopped at all. 

And that is when, thankfully, whilst looking for some paleo snack recipes, I stumbled across my middle ground: Pegan. (No, I swear I'm not making it up...). You guessed it: paleo + vegan = pegan

Granted, this combination seems at odds with one another; although when you look at the diets as they exist, both fundamentally promote eating whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods in their natural form, regardless of whether this is in a hunter/gatherer sense or a plant-based one.

You see, if we base our decisions solely off research, things get complicated, especially when we are talking about weight loss. Why? Because both Vegan and Paleo diets, if you research them, have promised and delivered weight loss in their own dimensions. So how on earth are we supposed to decide what the ‘best’ pathway is?

Now, I again concede that the combination of two, differently but equally specific diets (I suppose? They're less difficult than you'd imagine, though) may make you flee at the doubling of difficulty, but honestly, from what I've read, it's a lot less 'intense' than you may be thinking.

For example,whilst absolutely no animal product exists within a vegan, plant-based diet, lean meats and egg, from what I’ve found, is optional on a Pegan one. This really comes down to individual preference, lifestyle and your own macro-dependent satiety. The consensus, however, is that if you do choose to incorporate chicken, fish and egg into your Pegan diet, these animal products should be treated as garnishes, not meals in themselves. I personally am planning to transition with fish, chicken and egg upon occasion, however I will be making a conscious effort to essentially halve my animal product presence on the plate, and double my veggies in compensation.

One thing that the two diets agree upon, however, and that is not lost within this blend; No dairy. This isn’t coincidence — yes, some people can tolerate dairy because they have adapted to, and it tastes absolutely fantastic, the negative impacts that dairy will have on the human body simply isn't worth it. You can read more about the downsides of dairy here and here as a start.

Of course, in wake of eating predominantly whole, unrefined, unprocessed, organic foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners are an absolute no-go. Honestly, though, sugar shouldn't really be a regular part of any diet, if we are being 'ideal'.

I won't ramble on any further, especially since I myself am so new to this middle-road diet (I'll keep you updated!), but for a more in-depth, doctor-approved, super-interesting introduction into the Paleo-Vegan (Pegan) diet, I recommend starting here — Dr. Mark Hyman’s blog post on his personal experiences with peganism. 
As always,
Love,
Annabel

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