Why I Went Pegan (Paleo + Vegan) – and Maybe You Should Too! {Recipe}

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I was a chubby kid. My parents, though well intentioned, did not put nutrition at the forefront of our childhood meals and we ate an awful lot of t.v. dinners and food court meals. By the time I started university I was carrying an extra 20 lbs and was not happy with my general health. A year or two later I decided to try Weight Watchers and take up running. It was the perfect combo for me and I found a healthy weight for my frame and was fitter than I had probably ever been in my life.

Fast forward to now. I’m a mom of two and I am tried. I try to get to my hot yoga classes at least 3-4 times and week and that means most of them are later in the evening and my dinner schedule is messed up. I default to easy. Cereal is easy. Toast is easy. You get the idea. I realized that I was basically consuming processed sugar at a rate that was almost staggering considering my general outlook on healthy living and eating. I knew I needed a change.

I try to follow a mostly vegan diet (I make exceptions when we eat out and for the occasional dessert) and even that wasn’t cutting it. After some very extensive and careful research I decided the Pegan diet was exactly what I needed. What is the Pegan diet? It is a Paleo-Vegan diet that excludes dairy, grains and sugar. I don’t eat meat, but have included some beans and quinoa as a substitution even though they are generally frowned upon in a Paleo diet. So what are the benefits of this diet? Dr Mark Hyman breaks it down quite nicely:

  1. Very low glycemic load – low in sugar, flour and refined carbohydrates of all kinds.
  2. High in vegetables and fruits. The deeper the colors, the more variety, the better. This provides a high phytonutrient content protective against most diseases. (Although the Paleo camp recommends lower glycemic fruit such as berries.)
  3. Low in pesticides, antibiotics and hormones and probably no or low GMO foods.
  4. No chemicals, additives, preservatives, dyes, MSG, artificial sweeteners and other “Franken Chemicals” that you would never have in your pantry.
  5. Higher in good quality fats – omega 3 fats for all. And most camps advise good quality fats from olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados. Although some, such as Drs. Esselstyn and Ornish still advise very low fat diets for heart disease reversal.
  6. Adequate protein for appetite control and muscle synthesis, especially in the elderly.
  7. Ideally organic, local and fresh foods should be the majority of your diet.
  8. If animal products are consumed they should be sustainably raised or grass fed.
  9. If you are eating fish you should choose low mercury and low toxin containing fish such as sardines, herring and anchovies or other small fish and avoid tuna, swordfish and Chilean sea bass because of the high mercury load.

So far I have lost 5 lbs and I feel great. It has been two weeks and I have yet to feel hungry and I have not eaten a single processed food. I have been cooking and baking far more than I had been which has been a huge benefit for the kids as well and my big kid has been begging for more of the brownies I made. If I can get a 7 year old boy to beg for a Paleo and vegan brownie, I feel like something is going right. Since they were such a hit, I have included the recipe below.

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Vegan Paleo Brownies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup melted coconut oil (unrefined if possible)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2-4 oz unsweetened dark chocolate (I used a Camino Baking Bar)
3/4 cup maple syrup (or honey if you don't mind them not being vegan)
2 flax eggs, (or actual eggs if you aren't vegan)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Instructions

1)Preheat oven to 350° and line a 12 pocket muffin tin with parchment paper style liners.
2)In a medium saucepan, combine coconut oil, cocoa powder, and unsweetened chocolate. Heat oven medium heat, whisking until mixture is smooth and no lumps remain.
3)Take off the heat and stir in the maple syrup or honey. The mixture should start to slightly thicken.
4)Add in the flax eggs and vanilla and mix well.
5)Add in the coconut flour, and salt. Stir until no dry pockets remain.
6)Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
7)Let cool in the pan and transfer to the freezer. They will firm up and this step is critical to their texture and consistency. If you want to eat them warm they will be more like lava cakes and who doesn't like those but for a brownie the freezer is needed. They will stay soft even fresh out of the freezer, have no fear!

What else am I eating? I have been making amazing quinoa salads, muffins and breads using almond and coconut flour as well as treats like avocado pudding. I have also been eating a ton of fruit and veggies and I am also having one or two servings of beans on most days.

quinoa edamame salad

I have committed to eating this way for 8 weeks. I will reassess at that point but I have a suspicion that I will try to eat this way 80% of the time and allow myself some leeway so that we can enjoy restaurant meals without having to ask for a ton of substitutions or changes since chefs tend to absolutely hate that! I feel like this is a diet (and I use that term loosely) that I can stick to without feeling deprived or struggle with.

What type of special food plan or diet do you follow? Why do you think it works best for you?

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Jen Shragge is a yoga instructor and all around eco-diva. She now lives back in her hometown of Toronto after ten years in the Vancouver area. Jen’s days are filled by her seven year old son and husband plus her toddler who was crazy enough to make her arrival on Christmas Day. In her spare time, (do moms really have spare time!?) Jen is a stylist for Peekaboo Beans, a play-focused quality children's clothing line.
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24 responses to “Why I Went Pegan (Paleo + Vegan) – and Maybe You Should Too! {Recipe}”

  1. Rosie — May 25, 2016 @ 12:42 pm (#
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    I try to eat healthy on a limited budget – that does mean beans and grains, but I love them, and wouldn’t give them up for anything. I love making breads and rice dishes and anything dairy luv. I like veggies, too, but don’t eat much meat or fish.

    Reply

  2. Elizabeth Matthiesen — May 25, 2016 @ 6:15 pm (#
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    I don’t eat a special diet. I love most meats but don’t eat them often, love fish, love my baked beans and eggs too. I eat bread, crumpets, crackers, cheese, drink coffee (very weak Nescafe), butter, fruit, salads – a bit of everything I suppose.

    Reply

  3. Laurie P — May 28, 2016 @ 8:16 am (#
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    an interesting read……definitely gave me something to think about 🙂

    Reply

  4. Stephanie LaPlante — May 28, 2016 @ 10:34 am (#
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    Wow this sounds so delicious. I definitely want to try it.

    Reply

  5. Soozle — May 31, 2016 @ 6:56 am (#
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    Honestly I didn’t think paleo was ‘possible’ being vegan.. I guess you can adapt meals to include things like quinoa if you aren’t too strict .. I will need to look a little further into this 🙂

    Reply

  6. AD — June 5, 2016 @ 4:43 am (#
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    I did the same thing for 6-8 weeks starting in January due to food sensitivities. And I dropped 15 pounds in the first 3 weeks. It was crazy. I felt better too! Thank you for the recipe, I will have to try it.

    Reply

  7. kathy downey — July 9, 2016 @ 11:13 am (#
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    Thanks for the info,I definitely want to try it.

    Reply

  8. Debbie White Beattie — July 15, 2016 @ 3:30 pm (#
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    I have a friend that is vegan and I don’t know how she does it. But Pegan doesn’t appeal to me at all. First let me say I could do vegetarian easily but I need eggs and cheese in my life, not to mention chocolate and desserts. For me, you only live once and I want to enjoy life not have to struggle and suffer more than I already do.

    Reply

  9. Alayne Langford — July 23, 2016 @ 11:38 pm (#
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    I had to go gluten free over 8 years ago and I am allergic to pork and broccoli, along with being lactose intolerant. I believe I have developed further food allergies or intolerances and need testing. It is never easy, especially with a load of kids and a hubby with an iron stomach! I do love your recipes above!!

    Reply

    • Alayne Langford — July 23rd, 2016 @ 11:41 pm

      I may as well go all the way to vegan paleo at this point!

      Reply

  10. Janet M — July 31, 2016 @ 9:15 am (#
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    I try to incorporate various lifestyle diets into my daily living. These recipes look delicious.

    Reply

  11. Debbie S. — July 31, 2016 @ 11:11 pm (#
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    Sounds like something I should try. I would find it very hard as I love my sugar, but I think that is where most of my weight that i wish I didn’t have is coming from. I will be following your recipes and look forward to seeing more great recipes like this!

    Reply

  12. Catherine Brown — August 6, 2016 @ 10:07 am (#
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    I would love to try these, but I can’t have oils, so this diet makes food very limited.

    Reply

  13. Jerry Marquardt — August 7, 2016 @ 10:31 pm (#
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    I can’t wait to make your special recipe, the Pegan (Paleo + Vegan) looks so delicious. I will be making this over the coming weekend.

    Reply

  14. Elva Roberts — August 15, 2016 @ 8:56 pm (#
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    Two of my granddaughters have gone vegan and they seem healthy enough. I would probably go vegan if I lived alone. My husband would not want to miss his favorite dishes. Since we are seniors, I try to cook the dishes he likes. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Did I mention chocolate? I LOVE chocolate.

    Reply

  15. Dandi D — September 24, 2016 @ 11:45 am (#
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    Brownies are my favorite treat, so I will have to give these a try!

    Reply

  16. Wanda Tracey — October 13, 2016 @ 9:39 pm (#
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    I haven’t gone totally vegan because I love to many meat dishes but I do enjoy many recipes.

    Reply

  17. Rosanne Robinson — October 17, 2016 @ 10:48 am (#
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    I’m always looking for new recipes to try and this one looks great, thanks for sharing it!

    Reply

  18. Alison Braidwood — November 13, 2016 @ 1:50 pm (#
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    Good recipe and tips. I’m doing low carb, high fat (keto). Nice to see some veggie paleo options.

    Reply

  19. loriag — December 4, 2016 @ 6:24 am (#
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    I admire your choice and self control. It takes allot of determination to achieve what you have.

    Reply

  20. Elva Roberts — April 4, 2017 @ 5:24 pm (#
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    You make a very good case for you Pegan diet. I am trying to follow a food plan that uses more fruits, vegetables and grains. I am trying to have at least one day with no meat but have some other protein source. I am also walking more and doing yoga again. I hope this regime will help me lose a few pounds and firm up my body.

    Reply

  21. loriag — September 14, 2017 @ 4:57 am (#
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    We do not use a special food diet. I like to think we eat healthy and try to watch our portions and use common sense when it comes to unhealthy choices.

    Reply

  22. Bryan Vice — September 16, 2017 @ 9:11 am (#
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    My friend Terri told me to try Vegan diet one time. I really didnt think it looked good but it was actually delicious. I need to commit to at least eating it a couple weeks

    Reply

  23. Mike Gismondi — November 14, 2017 @ 10:04 pm (#
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    This is interesting. I dont think I could give up dairy, but I would like to cut out meat.

    Reply

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