Eating healthy can take many forms: Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, flexitarian, oh, the list goes on. With such a wide array of diets out there, it can be a real headache to sort through them all to figure out what works best for you and your body. But what if we told you that it doesn’t have to be so black and white, and you don’t have to choose just one? Cue drum roll…
Coined by Dr. Mark Hyman in 2014, the pegan diet combines the best of the Paleo diet and veganism into a way of eating that takes a more relaxed approach. Instead of combining the strictest elements of both (because really, our first thought was of an all-you-can-eat twig buffet), it loosens the restrictions on veganism and decreases the emphasis on animal protein normally associated with Paleo.
This means you can eat some meat (that should be grass-fed, organic, etc.), but Dr. Hyman recommends thinking of it as a side dish or condiment instead of the central focus of the meal. Same goes for gluten-free grains and all things sweet… consume them sparingly. Dairy is a no-no, but a little goat cheese or full-fat Greek yogurt on occasion is alright. See the pattern here?
The goal of peganism is to shift your focus to eating whole, unprocessed foods—mostly plants—while using Paleo and veganism as guidelines, not guardrails. At its core, the pegan diet isn’t all that complicated, but if you’re new to the idea, we’re here to help you get started with these seven pegan recipes.
1. Garlic Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Bacon
You’ve probably made some version of this dish before, but Brussels sprouts with bacon is a perfect example of how you can use meat as a condiment. It’s also a great way to increase flavor without the potentially negative effects associated with eating too much animal protein. I mean, really, you could sprinkle a little bacon on just about any vegetable-based meal, and it would still count as pegan (Just choose organic or sustainably raised). Seems almost too good to be true… but it’s not!
2. Sweet Potato Hash With Fried Egg
Breakfast can be tricky on a pegan diet because we tend to gravitate toward grain-centric options like cereal or toast. This sweet potato dish saves the day because it will give you the starchy satisfaction you crave, and the added egg is a savory bonus.
3. Red Curry Lentils
We can probably all agree that curry in any form is an amazing winter comfort food, and this recipe definitely meets expectations. With the anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting properties of ginger, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, it’s a good meal to make if you’re fighting a cold. Plus, you can make a big batch and enjoy it as leftovers for the rest of the week.
4. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup With Bone Broth
Yet another seasonal favorite, butternut squash soup is a classic dish you’ll definitely want to tuck away in your arsenal of healthy recipes. What might normally be considered fully vegan is turned pegan with the addition of bone broth. Use plant-based milk instead of low-fat to bring this recipe up to full pegan standards.
5. Greek Veggie Bowl
Getting into the groove of a new diet can be super confusing, but if there’s one thing you should focus on when trying to go pegan, it’s eating more vegetables. One of the easiest (and tastiest) ways to cook veggies is to roast them… just pop ’em in the oven, and you’re good to go. This recipe is a mouth-watering mixture of veggies paired with cauliflower rice. And it’s totally vegan (and pegan) approved.
6. Cauliflower Walnut Tacos
Taco lovers, rejoice! If you’ve ever struggled to find a vegan option that mimics the consistency of ground beef or turkey and that’s not tofu, you’ve come to the right place. This clever recipe uses a combination of mushrooms, walnuts, and cauliflower to create a flavored taco filling that could fool even the most die-hard carnivores.
7. Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
Salads are obviously a go-to in the world of healthy eating, and on the pegan diet, you have a bit more flexibility in terms of what ingredients to toss on there. Now don’t go dumping candied walnuts and craisins onto your pile of arugula (so tempting, we know), but go ahead and add things like nuts, beets, and a little goat cheese as a tasty garnish. Everything is better with a little goat cheese.