Top 10 Benefits of a Pegan Diet

By Chantelle Zakariasen, www.rootandsprouts.com
March 10, 2015 Last Updated: March 12, 2015

The government is trying to take a step in the right direction, its finally clear that the situation is dire, the health of the American people is in steady decline.

In an attempt to rectify many years of pseudo nutritional recommendations by the good old FDA the feds are finally taking things seriously.

A new report by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) of dietary recommendations has been released.

Detailed in the 571 page document, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon include soda taxes, electronic monitoring on how long people sit in from of their televisions and stricter guidelines on meat consumption.

While there have been a number of positive recommendations, and better reflections on recent science debunking the cholesterol myth, the report still begs the question, has prohibition ever worked?

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The War on Obesity

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Embracing a Plant-Based Diet

The benefits of a plant based diet are undeniable, embracing a diet rich in plant foods is the most necessary step the government could take to fight unnecessary illness.

How can a society function at its highest capacity when the citizens are deficient in essential nutrients?

We assume vegetables to be boring only because we haven’t been brainwashed with commercials of roasted carrots doused with butter and herbs, quite the opposite indeed.

In order for people to embrace plant based diets the paradigm needs to shift, and surprisingly the proposal accepts that.

They call for less commercials promoting unhealthy foods, which would do a lot to change the common mentality.

Instead of glamorizing big macs, we could choose to glamorize the local farmer growing beautiful vegetables. 

Or have a realistic healthy woman eating a big salad instead of the super-sized French fries.

The modern farmer isn’t exactly what most youth aspire to be. How would that shift if we were to teach gardening in schools? If the media were to reflect just how amazing and liberating it is to grow your own food.

We’re at a crux, on one end of the spectrum home farmers are being villainized and growing your own food has even been made illegal in some places.

On the other end of the spectrum this is what the American people, and the world needs more than anything. We see these huge movements to urban gardening, rooftop gardens popping up in big cities.

Seattle is now home to the nations largest public food forest which uses organic permaculture principles to create and abundance of food.

I’m willing to bet that if the youth of today were being shown Scarlett Johanson or Miley Cyrus chowing down on organic green smoothies and digging in the dirt that they would think it was more hip and cool to be healthy.

Unfortunately this isn’t the image that’s portrayed in the mainstream media machine. Hopefully the recommendations to reduce the amount of commercials for processed foods will go through.

It’s important to note how susceptible we are to these types of programming.

Meat and Global Warming

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Does eating meat contribute to global warming? Is that juicy steak harming the environment? Well, yes, in the conventional sense, but there are more humane and sustainable ways to raise animals for food.

Global warming is far from being caused by our meat consumption, and don’t be fooled into thinking tofurkey is a better way to go.

Soy is a huge industry in constant expansion, a popular pseudo healthy meat replacement in the vegetarian world, soy has just as many implications in global warming as meat does.

Deforestation is caused because of these rapidly expanding agricultural industries. Forests are clear cut to make way for gmo soy crops which only devastate the soil and ecology over time making the land dead and infertile.

Conventional practices for raising cattle produce a large amount of methane which adds to global warming. These practices aren’t sustainable or humane and its right that they should be questioned.

One thing to consider is that cows didn’t evolve to eat grain, they’re meant to graze and eat grass.

Its been shown that proper implementation of free range cattle is actually of benefit to the ecology of the land when done correctly.

Michael Pollan makes a case for Management Intensive Grazing (MIG) in his book the Omnivores Dilemma. This type of grazing method mimics those of traditional European practices.

The implications would contribute to restoring the land and bringing back microbial and plant biodiversity.

Is it possible on a large scale? Certainly, but the shift would take patience, much of America’s ranch land has been overgrazed and rehabilitation will take time.

Fortunately we have a much greater land mass than Europe, if they can do it so can we!

“While methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, there is over 200 times more CO2 in the atmosphere. Hence the amount of warming methane contributes is 28% of the warming CO2 contributes.”

However this data presents itself I think its safe to say the time has come to move away from meat being the predominant food group.

Meals should be mostly vegetables and if one chooses to eat meat, it should be sustainably raised, grass-fed and served as a side not a 18 oz steak like we’re accustomed to.

Nutritionally there’s a big difference between feed lot conventionally raised beef and free range beef. Cows fed a natural grass diet have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory stearic acid.

Going on the Pegan Diet

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Dr. Mark Hyman MD coined the term pegan which is a combination of the paleo diet and the vegan diet.

While these two lifestyle choices may seem like complete opposites, they actually have more in common than you think. Both are based in consumption of whole foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables and an all around healthy lifestyle.

Many think of paleo as being entirely meat focused, though this may be true for some the actual goal is to eat in alignment with what our ancestors ate.

This is a pretty broad statement considering no two indigenous groups ate the same things. While northern tribes would have more meat in their diet to sustain them through winter, the Southern bands would eat far more greens and available fruits and grains.

The pegan lifestyle takes a more plant based approach similar to veganism yet with the nourishing addition of high quality meat and eggs.

Instead of the steak being the main feature we might have three other vegetable dishes and a smaller portion of steak on the side. With the greater emphasis on vegetables we’re more apt to actually meet our nutritional needs and prevent illness and inflammation.

Top 10 Benefits of a Pegan Diet

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A Step in the Right Direction

There seems to be some positive changes in the proposed changes to the nations nutritional guidelines. Empowerment comes through education, so forcing more rules down peoples throats is unlikely to work without viable alternatives.

Healthy living should be accessible and for so many people it just isn’t. As society trickles into the funnel of sustainability, solutions need to be implemented.

Neither conventional meat production nor massive agricultural growth are very sustainable.

Moving towards a plant based diet and active lifestyle for the general population is completely accessible, so long as we make it a priority. Then the health of humans and our planet will truly prosper.

This article was originally published on rootandsprouts.com

*Image of “healthy woman” via Shutterstock