Dr. Oz conducted a major experiment during which 40 women tested 10 of the world’s most popular diets for a year. “We had one goal in mind — to pinpoint what you need to be eating right now to get the best results for sustainable, long-term weight loss,” he revealed. In the end, there were two winners: a grain-free Paleo diet and a meat-free vegan diet.
In key ways, the plans are opposites. Yet “the benefits and weight-loss results were virtually tied.” So instead of breaking the tie, Dr. Oz gambled on the “Pegan” diet — a plan that emphasizes foods that a Paleo diet and vegan diet have in common while allowing both meat and grains in moderation. The compromise worked so well, “It’s gonna be the diet that everybody is talking about,” he declared. Paleo-Vegan dieters already report losing 22, 60, even 150 pounds. How much will you lose? Here’s how to find out.
What is the Pegan diet plan?
In general, going Paleo-vegan means making vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds main staples while enjoying moderate amounts of whole grains and natural animal products. To ensure steady weight loss, Dr. Oz and other experts — including the Cleveland Clinic’s Mark Hyman, MD, author of Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? ($19.04, Amazon) who first coined the term “Pegan”— suggest simple limits.
What foods do you eat on a Paleo-vegan diet?
Our Oz-inspired Paleo-vegan meal plan allows for unlimited fruit and nonstarchy veggies plus four servings of fiber-rich grains and starch, three servings of plant-based fat, two servings of plant-based protein, and one serving of animal protein each day. Woman’s World readers testing the menus shed an astonishing amount of weight — up to 18 pounds in seven days.
Does the Pegan diet work?
A Paleo-vegan diet slashes intake of sweets, processed junk, and dairy — foods “that cause inflammation in a lot of folks,” Dr. Oz noted. Turns out, inflammation leads to both serious health problems and serious fluid retention. Because Pegan dieters emphasize anti-inflammatory fare like antioxidant-rich produce and healthy fats, “inflammation reduces quickly and you see a big initial loss on the scale,” Dr. Hyman says.
Yes, some is water weight. But it’s a sign you’ve reduced inflammation, so your entire body can function better. That includes “optimal thyroid function and optimal metabolism,” notes Hyman.
Why It Lasts
Besides being anti-inflammatory, Paleo-vegan eating is loaded with nutrients that steady blood sugar, kill hunger and cravings, rev energy, boost mood and supercharge health. “You won’t struggle with the constant urge to eat, and you’ll feel better than ever,” Hyman promises.
Bonus: Paleo-vegan dieters can enjoy a couple of weekly desserts, glasses of wine, and an anything-goes cheat day while still losing weight. “Don’t feel bad about cheat days,” urged Dr. Oz. They help make this way of eating sustainable — plus studies show an occasional higher-calorie day “gets your metabolism revved up.” Expect to lose about 1-2 pounds a week long-term.
Pegan Diet Results
Swan Guadagno heard about Paleo-vegan eating from her health-coach sister, and promptly lost 14 pounds in 21 days. “If I don’t want to exercise, I don’t — and I still lose weight quickly,” marvels the Florida general contractor, 29. “Plus, I wake up with energy that lasts all day. I feel amazing.”
Florida grandmother Julie Pride, 54, agrees. She enjoyed wine and chocolate pie, yet still shed “10 pounds and 16 inches in seven days!” she says.
Then there’s Florida mom Barbara Fletcher, 51. “On other plans, I was hungry and results were slow,” she tells us. “On this one, I had no cravings and lost 18 pounds in a week. You can’t beat that.”
Born into a “big-boned” family and unable to stick to low-cal diets, Maria Marlowe thought “I was genetically doomed to carry extra weight,” she recalls. She only switched to a Paleo-vegan plan because she heard it might help her severe acne. It did — and it also melted 20 pounds.
“It wasn’t even called “Pegan” when I first started, but I’d eat a big plate of vegetables with a little plant or animal protein and some healthy fat,” she says. “It’s delicious, and when I eat this way, I’m not hungry between meals.” Maria, now 31 and the author of The Real Food Grocery Guide ($14.95, Amazon), says, “I tell everyone to try it. It makes you feel fantastic.”
Paleo-Vegan Meal Plan
Our nutrition team borrowed guidelines from both Dr. Oz and Dr. Hyman to create these easy Pegan or Paleo-vegan menus for you to try. While using this plan, drink plenty of water and add other natural, low-sugar beverages and extras (coffee, tea, spices, vinegar) as desired. Also, enjoy up to two servings of wine, beer or any low-sugar cocktail per week. Always get a doctor’s okay to try a new plan.
(Choose One Daily)
Option 1: 1/2 cup whole-grain cereal or cooked oatmeal; 1 cup plant-based milk or yogurt (such as almond milk, soy milk, or coconut yogurt); Unlimited fruit
Option 2: 1 slice whole-grain toast with 2 Tbsp. dairy-free cream cheese or 1 slice plant-based cheese substitute; Unlimited fruit
(Choose One Daily)
Option 1: 1 cup black bean soup; unlimited sliced veggies; 1/4 avocado; 15 baked corn chips
Option 2: Mix-and-Match Salad: Fill a bowl with unlimited lettuce and chopped veggies, 1/2 cup beans and 1/2 cup corn kernels; dress with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and vinegar and seasonings to taste
Option 3: 8 pieces brown-rice sushi with all-vegetable filling; soy sauce; 1/2 cup edamame; 1 oz. almonds; 1 orange
(Choose One Daily)
Option 1: Honey-Baked Salmon: Whisk together 1 tsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. honey, crushed garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread over 3 oz. salmon fillet. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until flaky. 1/2 cup cooked brown rice. Spinach or any veggie sautéed with minced garlic in 2 tsp. olive oil.
Option 2: 3 oz. lean beef or chicken, seasoned to taste; 1 small baked sweet potato or 1/2 cup cooked corn, 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, seasoning to taste; Unlimited vegetables roasted with 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil and herbs.
Option 3: Easy Skillet Pasta: In skillet, sauté unlimited minced garlic and veggies in 1 tsp. olive oil. Stir in 15 medium cooked shrimp or 3 oz. cooked shredded chicken, 1/2 cup cooked whole-grain pasta, herbs, and seasoning to taste. Drizzle with 2 tsp. olive oil.
(Choose One Daily)
Option 1: 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas; 1 slice whole-grain toast, drizzle honey; Unlimited fruit
Option 2: 1 serving Vegan Avocado Ice Cream, recipe below.
(Enjoy Twice Per Week)
Option 1: 1 palm-sized serving any nondairy dessert you love, such as 1/2 cup Ben & Jerry’s nondairy frozen dessert, or 1 pack Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups ($7.97, Amazon).
Pegan Diet Recipes: Make Your Own Menus
The good news is, you don’t need any special recipes to eat a Paleo-vegan Diet. Each day, just aim for:
- 5 or more servings of nonstarchy vegetables and fruit
- 4 servings of whole grains or healthy starch (such as 1/2 cup of potatoes, brown rice, corn, oatmeal or whole-grain pasta)
- 3 servings of healthy fat (such as 1 Tbs. of olive oil, 1 oz. of nuts/seeds or 1/4 avocado)
- 2 servings of plant-based protein (such as 1/2 cup of beans or tofu)
- 1 small serving of animal protein (such as 3 oz. of fish, chicken or beef)
- 1 optional serving of dairy substitute
Vegan Avocado Ice Cream Recipe
Whipped avocado has such a mild flavor and such a creamy texture, even picky eaters won’t realize this treat is super-healthy!
- 1/2 ripe avocado, pitted
- 1-2 bananas, preferably frozen in chunks
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup almond or coconut milk
- 2 drizzles honey or maple syrup
- 1 cup ice cubes
- In blender, blitz all ingredients until smooth. Enjoy immediately or transfer to a sealable container and freeze to reach a firmer consistency. Serves 2.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.