I didn’t know I’m on a PEGAN DIET. Till Mark Hyman told me.
A PEGAN DIET?! Sounds good to me! New fancy word that I can add to define myself, right?
Paleo? Vegan? Keto?
I’ve realized that all of these diets have “flaws”.
Not so much the theories themselves, but the practicality, the extremes, the dogma and rules, that make no sense whatsoever, rules, that nobody can keep a track of .
Vegan, “People who stop eating meat and animal products cure all the diseases, they lose weight, have more energy, live longer AND save the planet!”
— There are junk food vegans. ANY vegan diet requires supplements. There are NONE vegans who lived to be 100. AND I’m yet to see ANY actual evidence, that veganism saved anything, except for someone’s over-hyped ego.
Paleo, “We need to eat like our ancestors did 10 000 years ago! That’s when we were the healthiest and most advanced, and didn’t have degenerative diseases and all!”
— Paleo lifestyle is not JUST about the food. We will NEVER be able to live like cavemen did and eat like cavemen did — environment and foods are not the same, our nutritional requirements changed, our lifestyle changed dramatically. We might have the same genes, but because of our environment and food supply, and other lifestyle factors, they, our genes, are expressed in so many different ways! So unless you want all of us to get back to caves, please, dear Paleo enthusiast, don’t tell us to get back to a cavemen diet — no such thing. Even though I do agree, there is a species-specific diet, and just like other animals, humans uniquely thrive on a particular diet, that, unfortunately, does not include lots of processed crap.
Keto, “Keto will make you into a fat-burning brain-genius superhuman! You will NEVER get hungry. You’ll have six pack no matter what you eat and how much of it, as long as you are in a “magical” land called ketosis, and don’t come a meter closer to ANY carbs!”
— Our body will burn for energy whatever it gets — carbs, fats, proteins, whatever! Of course some of the nutrients, better say foods, are more effective and efficient, and will, with time, turn us into a more efficient fat or carb burner, but even then, unless, all factors in, if you eat too damn much, fat or no fat — you will not burn your own fat! So quit pouring liters of creamers, coconut oils, MCTs and butter in your coffees, eating nut butters by the jar. Once you adapt to fat-burning, as a fuel source, you will get better at burning your own fat (when there is a shortage of fuel), and you will feel MUCH less hunger (cause you carry lots of fat on your body that you can burn for fuel), and no sugar-crash shakiness and “I got to eat right nor or I pass out” kind of cravings and energy crashes — but hunger is a mechanism, that never will cease to exist till you are alive. And weight loss, especially lower body fat percentage numbers, is still a journey, a challenge, otherwise everyone would have a six pack on keto — THAT I’m yet to see with most keto people.
Carbs and Keto?
— You got to eat your veggies. That’s just that simple. ALL centenarians and people with vibrant health eat tons of them. There are too many essential nutrients they provide to skip them — fiber, essential vitamins, anti-oxidants and polyphenols, and god-knows-what-else we are to discover. It’s just a millennial practice — without supplements, people die with no good quality plant foods! Isn’t THAT a good reason to eat your god-damn salads daily?
Here is the thing guys.
No diet can identify, explain fully, put together a solution, that works for everyone across the board ALL the time. Human beings, biological systems are too complex and always-changing.
But we’ve learned quite a lot over the years, and did tons of experiments with our food supply and food-growing/food-producing practices — we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, and the rules down below, from the new book by Mark Hyman, “Food: What the heck should I eat?”, summarizes what we’ve learned and successfully practiced quite well.
There is a place of “targeted”, goal-oriented, precise nutrition programs, like strict keto, or vegan, or paleo, or muscle-building, or athletic performance nutrition — I’m doing my own version of a PEGAN DIET, customized diet to prepare my body for a Sports Model Competition.
Each food group helps us to fix something, to improve something, to heal, to build. There are neutral foods and entertainment foods. There are also essential food groups and nutrients that human beings can not survive without long-term.
There is a place for all of that!
- Don’t follow ANY diet.
- Eat as a human being — know what you need for optimum health and life performance.
- Know what YOU need to eat.
- Be flexible, adapt, adjust as YOU change, as your life changes.
Here is a great place to get started, rules from Mark Hyman’s “Food: What the heck should I eat now?”:
Let’s look at the thirteen pillars of the Pegan Diet:
Stay away from sugar.
That means a diet low in anything that causes a spike in our insulin production — sugar, flour, and refined carbohydrates. Think of sugar in all its various forms as an occasional treat, that is, something we eat occasionally and sparingly. I tell people to think of it as a recreational drug. You use it for fun occasionally, but it is not a dietary staple.
Eat mostly plants.
As we learned earlier, more than half your plate should be covered with veggies. The deeper the color, the better. The more variety, the healthier. Stick with mostly nonstarchy veggies. Winter squashes and sweet potatoes are fine in moderation (½ cup a day). Not a ton of potatoes! French fries don’t count even though they are the number one vegetable in America.
Easy on fruits.
This is where there could be a little bit of confusion. Some Paleo champions recommend eating mostly low-sugar fruits like berries, while some vegan advocates recommend all fruit equally. I find that most of my patients feel better when they stick to low-glycemic fruits and enjoy the others as a treat. Stick with berries, kiwis, and watermelon, and watch the grapes, melons, and so on. Think of dried fruit as candy and keep it to a minimum.
Stay away from pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and GMO foods. Also, no chemicals, additives, preservatives, dyes, artificial sweeteners, or other junk ingredients. If you don’t have that ingredient in your kitchen for cooking, you shouldn’t eat it. Polysorbate 60, red dye 40, and sodium stearoyl lactylate (also known as Twinkie ingredients), anyone?
Eat foods containing healthy fats.
I’m talking about omega-3 fatty acids and other good fats like those we find in nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocados. And yes, we can even eat saturated fat from fish, whole eggs, and grass-fed or sustainably raised meat, grass-fed butter or ghee, and organic virgin coconut oil or coconut butter.
Stay away from most vegetable oils.
Nut, and seed oils, such as canola, sunflower, corn, grapeseed, and especially soybean oil, which now accounts for about 10 percent of our calories. Small amounts of expeller or cold-pressed nut and seed oils like sesame, macadamia, and walnut oils are fine to use as condiments or for flavoring. Avocado oil is great for higher-temperature cooking.
Avoid or limit dairy.
As we learned in earlier chapters, dairy doesn’t work for most people, so I recommend avoiding it, except for the occasional yogurt, kefir, grass-fed butter, ghee, and even cheese if it doesn’t cause any problems for you. Try goat or sheep products instead of cow dairy. And always go organic and grass-fed.
Think of meat and animal products as condiments.
Or, as I like to call them, “condi-meat” — not a main course. Vegetables should take center stage, and meat should be the side dish. Servings should be 4 to 6 ounces, tops, per meal. I often make three or four vegetable side dishes.
Eat sustainably raised or harvested low-mercury fish.
If you are eating fish, you should choose low-mercury and low-toxin varieties such as sardines, herring, anchovies, and wild-caught salmon (all of which have high omega-3 and low mercury levels). And they should be sustainably harvested or farmed. Check out www.cleanfish.com and www.foodthebook.com to learn more about your fish options.
Most gluten comes from Frankenwheat, so look for heirloom varieties of wheat like einkorn. Eat wheat only if you are not gluten-sensitive, and even then, only occasionally. Dr. Alessio Fasano of Harvard, the world’s top gluten expert, has done research showing that gluten damages the gut — even in nongluten-sensitive people who show no symptoms.
Eat gluten-free whole grains sparingly.
They still raise blood sugar and can trigger autoimmunity. All grains can increase your blood sugar. Stick with small portions (½ cup per meal) of low-glycemic grains like black rice, quinoa, teff, buckwheat, or amaranth. For type 2 diabetics and those with autoimmune disease or digestive disorders, a grain-and bean-free diet may be key to treating and even reversing your illness. Stick to the 10-Day Detox Diet or even a ketogenic diet for diabetes.
Eat beans only once in a while.
Lentils are best. Stay away from big starchy beans. Beans can be a great source of fiber, protein, and minerals. But they cause digestive problems for some, and the lectins and phytates they contain may impair mineral absorption. If you are diabetic, a high-bean diet can trigger spikes in your blood sugar. Again, moderate amounts (up to ½ cup a day) are okay.
Get tested to personalize your approach.
What works for one person may not work for another. This is called bio-individuality and it is why I recommend that everyone eventually work with a functionally trained nutritionist to personalize their diet even further with the right tests. If you’re interested in getting tested and coached by one of my nutritionists, visit www.foodthebook.com/diet for more information.
Want to see what I’m eating these days to get ready to win Sports Model Competition April 28th in New Jersey (IPL)?
And till next time — live as A Better Self Daily!