The P Word

Peganism is the new eating philosophy, combining the Paleo and vegan movements

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Combine Paleo and veganism and you get "Peganism"
Marry the two diets of Paleo and Veganism and you get "Peganism." (Photo courtesy of Alexandra Grablewski)

Updated Jul 4, 2017 @ 5:54 pm

At first glance, the tenets of the Paleo and vegan movements seem to be diametrically opposed. We’ve got the fervent bacon-celebrators in one camp and those who won’t touch animal flesh with a 10-foot pole in the other.

But marry the two diets and you get “Peganism”, a way of eating that makes a whole lot of sense (even if the name sounds ridiculous) and draws the best of both worlds from each group.

You can thank functional medicine practitioner Dr. Hyman for the new term. He himself follows the diet, cutting out gluten, dairy and processed foods while loading up on vegetables and fruits and focusing on high-quality fats, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish and protein. Unlike in a strict Paleo diet, gluten-free whole grains (think millet, oats and quinoa) and beans are recommended in the “eat sparingly” category.

Crucially, Hyman acknowledges that foods affect different people in different ways. Some people may be able to tolerate a bowl of quinoa or goat feta sprinkled on a salad, while others should steer clear.

We think a revaluation of healthy-seeming diets like Paleo or vegan is especially necessary when many people use diet labels as an excuse to binge on Paleo-ified or vegan-versions of junk food. (We’re thinking trigger foods like Paleo “Oreos” and deep-fried vegan donuts.)

If this way of eating interests you, check out The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom ($30), a step-by-step program that eliminates soy, sugar, grains, dairy and legumes for 30 days and then has you reintroduce them, one by one, to see how they affect you.

We think Dr. Hyman said it best when he said, “If you eat crap, you feel like crap.”