What to Eat in a Day: Paleo-Vegan Combo Diet for Weight Loss

Reap the benefits of both the paleo and vegan food plans with the pegan diet from Dr. Mark Hyman.

What to Eat in a Day: Paleo-Vegan Combo Diet for Weight Loss

After a year of inactivity in quarantine, with stress levels at an all-time high, a lot of people are looking to reboot their diet and lose some weight they may have gained during the pandemic. Dr. Mark Hyman, author of "The Pegan Diet," says a good way to restart is combining the paleo and vegan diet. The "pegan" diet focuses on nutrient-rich produce and quality animal meats to help prevent disease, improve heart health, decrease inflammation, balance hormones and increase energy.

So how can you make the switch to the pegan diet? Here's what to eat in a day. Remember this countdown: 5-4-3-2-1.

5 Cups of Non-Starchy Veggies

Non-starchy vegetables include leafy greens, carrots, tomato, peppers, mushrooms, squash and many more delicious types of produce. Having five cups a day will fill you up with nutritious fiber and help you stay full longer — and therefore not need as many snacks! And the great thing about non-starchy veggies is that if you end up having more than five cups, it's OK. These are low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods.

4 Healthy Fats

Many people fear fat — but you don't have to! You just have to find the right kinds and avoid eating them with starch and sugar. Reach for plant-based fats like avocado, nut butter, nuts, or oils like extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil. As examples, start with half an avocado in your smoothie, 1 tablespoon of nut butter on your celery, a handful of pumpkin seeds on your salad or about 10 pecans with your apple. Think about adding spices like cinnamon or nutmeg for flavor instead of sugar.

3 Smart Proteins

The pegan diet is not a high-protein diet. You can think of meat as the side dish to the plant-based main courses. Start with one palm-sized serving of protein from the traditional paleo diet: organic grass-fed meat, chicken, fish or eggs. The rest of the day, choose two types of vegan protein for your other servings: black beans or tofu, for example. It's not about eliminating animal meat but rather limiting the amount you have.

2 Fiber-Rich Carbs

These kinds of carbs are nutrient-dense and help keep you full longer. Try whole grains like quinoa, sweet potato or butternut squash. The fiber in these foods allows the carbs to digest slower, which can help curb your cravings so you're not hungry all the time.

1 Dairy Substitute

Try a nut milk, nut cheese, or nut yogurt. Dr. Hyman particularly likes coconut yogurt for it's creaminess and flavor!


Dr. Hyman's "The Pegan Diet" book includes 30 delicious recipes to put these guidelines into practice. Enjoy snickerdoodle doughnuts, avocado latke "toast," chai pancakes with coconut whipped cream, spicy grain-free steak tacos with tapenade, fall-off-the-bone short ribs with cashew "couscous."

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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