The new diet on the block is vegan, with a bit of paleo thrown in
Featured in Vogue India, 19 March 2020 by Sonal Ved
Image: Rohan Hande
A portmanteau of paleo and vegan, this curious two-in-one diet ensures that you don’t miss the grains like paleo, and proteins like most vegans. While the former encourages an intake of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, nuts (and excludes legumes, refined oils and refined salt), the latter focuses on non-animal-based foods. “Pegan simply combines the best of both worlds. Here, you are 75 per cent vegan and 25 per cent paleo,” says holistic lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho.
Dread the math? Sumitra Daswani, nutritionist and founder of wellness consultancy Born From The Earth, simplifies it: “Think about it this way—a little over half of your plate should be made up of non-starchy vegetables. Add to that a little white or grass-fed meat, eggs and other animal products like yoghurt and dairy—but these should just be a side dish.” Cook it all with good fats and top it with nuts, seeds, gluten-free whole grains, lentils and good oils and you have yourself a pegan meal.
Rules of peganism
Three must-follow rules to be a true-blue pegan:
Do it long term: “The only way to see results is to practise this diet for at least four weeks and keep at it,” says Ankita Chawla, founder of health-focused brand Eat-A-Whey.
Avoid toxins at all costs: While Coutinho warns against sugar and other processed food, Daswani adds that “inorganic, sprayed, preservative-laden and GMO foods should be avoided completely.”
One size won’t fit it all: “It’s very important to check with your healthcare practitioner to understand if this is the right diet for you and how you should couple it with additional supplements,” adds Chawla.
Keeping up with peganism
If you are a clean eater, chances are you already have a steady supply of these healthies. Sumitra Daswani shows you how to stock your pegan pantry:
Start off with vegetable shopping. Make sure 60 per cent of your refrigerator is full of colourful veggies such as purple and red cabbages, carrots, red and yellow peppers, cucumbers, yellow zucchini as well as herbs of all kinds and leafy greens.
Pegans are allowed to eat fruits, and that is where they get the natural sugars. But make sure you pick primarily low-glycemic fruits such as apples, kiwi, watermelon and berries (avoid bananas).
Good fats are your friends. Buy good quality ripe avocados for salads, organic coconut oil and cold-pressed sesame oil to drizzle. Small amounts of grass-fed cow ghee is also allowed, so invest in a pure, artisanal brand.
Breakfast enthusiasts could add steel-cut oatmeal for porridge and amaranth flour for pancakes. For lunch and dinner, rely on red rice or millets.
Add Greek yoghurt to your refrigerator or bottles of artisanal kefir to pop open for a midday snack. But make sure you have them only occasionally.
Dairy is not okay, unless it’s fresh cheese or a macrobiotic drink. Lactose-free coconut yoghurt and vegan cheese are good alternatives.
If you absolutely must have milk, let it be sheep or goat milk, which is easier to digest than cow’s milk.
Vogue shows you how to turn your pegan ideas into brunch-friendly recipes:
Pegans can swap yoghurt with coconut yoghurt
Yoghurt and grain-free granola bowl
By Ankita Chawla
Ingredients: 1 cup coconut yoghurt, 1 cup almonds, 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans, 1/4 cup agave, 2tbsp coconut oil, 2tbsp cocoa powder, 1tsp vanilla extract, 2 cups raw peanuts
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except coconut yoghurt and raw peanuts.
Bake at 140°C for 15 minutes, toss in between and bake again for 15 minutes. Stir and bake for 10 minutes further and allow it to cool.
In a high-speed blender, pulse peanuts until creamy.
To assemble the bowl, transfer coconut yoghurt in a bowl, top it with homemade granola and peanut butter.
Vogue tip: Top your breakfast bowls with sprinkles like moringa, organic turmeric powder, chia seeds and toasted coconut flakes.
Turn vegetables like zucchini, beetroot and squash into grain-free zoodles
Tofu zoodle soup with lemongrass broth
By Raveena Taurani of Yogisattva
Ingredients: 6 cups vegetable stock, 3 stalks fresh lemongrass (chopped), 1.5 cups full-fat coconut milk, 1.5 cups cilantro leaves (chopped), 1.5tbsp virgin coconut oil, 1.5 medium onion (chopped), 1.5 green chilli pepper (seeded and minced), 2.25 cups broccoli florets (chopped), 1.5 blocks extra-firm tofu (cubed), 1.5tsp gluten-free tamari/soya sauce, 3tbsp lime juice, 1 cup zucchini noodles (spiralised), salt as per taste
In a large pot, bring the vegetable stock and lemongrass to a boil. Remove from heat and allow lemongrass to steep for 10 minutes. Strain the steeped broth. Discard the lemongrass.
Transfer broth to a blender. Add coconut milk, cilantro, salt and pepper. Blend the mixture on high until smooth.
In a pan, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion, chilli, ginger. Stir and sauté until the onions are translucent.
Add broccoli florets and stir. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Add tofu and stir. Pour coconut lemongrass broth and tamari and cook until the two are mixed well.
Bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until broccoli is tender (about 4 minutes). Stir in the lime juice.
Serve the soup with zoodles.
Vogue tip: Meat lovers can add shredded meat or chicken to this soup or use chicken stock to make the broth.
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