Vegan + Paleo = The Pegan Project

TGIF! Or because of the headline you might be thinking more along the lines of WTF?

pegan project

First things first!

What a week, I felt it kind of dragged by but that could be because I have so much fun stuff going on this weekend.

Tonight we might head to an oyster roast, but we’ll be back early since I have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn for the Folly Beach Messa 8K…

What you thought I already gave up on my race a month for 2013? Oh no, my friend, still going strong!

It’s a great way to start the day since Saturday night we’ll be partying the entire night at Jennie’s wedding! I can’t wait to see her walk down the aisle… did I mention she’s wearing her mom’s gown? Ryan and Jennie are such a great couple, I am so glad they found each other.


And then there is one more big event going down for the Boyles… Planning Project Pegan kicks off.

“Project Pegan” Begins

I don’t know why I always am the one thrown under a bus when it comes to experimenting with diets, workouts, etc. Well, it could be the biologist in me and my love for learning how my body responds to new things.

Okay, so here’s what is going on. Dan and I have been doing a lot of research lately on Paleo diets. For the past few years I thought the whole paleo thing was either a fad, something for crossfitters, or a “get thin quick” sort of program.


Eat like a caveman? This was just not something I wanted to try to wrap my head around. In fact, I have been quoting as saying something a long the lines of:

“If you want to live like a caveman, sell off your car and find a Fred Flinstone mobile. Oh yea and find a cave to live in because I don’t think cavemen had energy powered housing.”

Harsh? Perhaps.

But, once I became vegan, I really opened up to trying to understand other people’s nutritional habits. If I am vegan, then what’s wrong with someone that likes to take the paleo route?

But still… eat like a caveman?

That brings me to yesterday… Dan and I spent a few hours researching how the body fuels itself mosts efficiently. Does it prefer fat as fuel or are carbs the #1 preference? According to Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple, fat is the most desired source of fuel by the body. Ask any paleo lover and they will say the same… after all our cavemen ancestors lived off mostly fat and protein.

Here’s what Mark has to say:

vegan paleo

According to paleo followers: metabolic diseases, cancers, cavities, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses did not plague the early cave dwellers. What did eventually cause the issues was the creation of agriculture and our reliance on grains.

I still wasn’t wowed or intrigued. Let’s not forget that agriculture was also the cause of civilizations and cities, something I am pretty happy about.


American Indians Give Some Direction

I started to research the American Indian diet. I don’t believe that cavemen should be our role models, after all, it’s kind of like comparing chimps with gorillas… VERY closely related but not quite. American Indians on the other hand, are a group that I can relate to.

Genetically, we are the same… they were hunters and gathers and also kicked off agriculture in our culture.

Any ways, to make a really long research point: our native Americans lived off a diet of high fat (~40-60%), very high fat and protein. The protein was important but fat was the staple of their diet. And this was found to be the case no matter if they were sea side indians or inland. This is a great report I found on their diet.

And what’s really interesting, is that they made note that once corn was added in, along with other grains they saw a rise in illness and tooth decay. So these items were only enjoyed in moderation (smart people!).

And that brings me to my next diet experiment (let’s not forget “experimenting” like this led me to be a vegan in the first place).

I love seeing how the body responds to food. I love researching but actually getting my hands dirty is what makes me able to understand and relate!

So kicking off TOMORROW (I do grocery shopping today), I will be cutting out grains from my vegan diet, adding in fats and seeing what this whole paleo fat thing is all about…

For 4-6 weeks.

I am calling it PROJECT PEGAN. 

Of course it could be “Project Vegeo” but Pegan makes me giggle.

While Dan tried to convince me to become a meat eater for the next month, the idea of feeling gross for the first 2 weeks just didn’t appeal to meal. How would I know if I was feeling side effects of the high fat or of the addition of meat?

So I sat down at the computer again to research if it was possible to be a vegan paleo freak (No, I don’t think that Pegans are freaks) and guess what… it is.  Sure, it might be a bit hard but come one, it’s not the first time I’ve challenged myself!

I am going to make one small meaty addition however, to help me meet my requirements and so I don’t eat just nuts and tempeh for dinner, I will have salmon 0-2 times a week.

I know, it’s not vegan BUT I already know that my stomach can handle salmon and it’s a great healthy fat… it’s more to make sure I am getting the nutrients I need more than anything else. I mean come on, vegans restrict enough… now I’m restricting even more?

My Rules: 

-With food tracking (using MyFitnessPal), I’ll attempt to stick to a diet of 35-45% fat/day. In case your curious, the recommended daily intake is 25-35%… I think I get around this now, closer to the 25% but to be honest, I’m not sure. Here’s a pretty good layout of my nutritional layout I am going to aim for.

-Removing all grains and legumes from the diet… good bye oatmeal, pasta, and barley. Quinoa is actually a seed so it’s allowed! Yay! Coconut flour, almond flour, etc will be used for baking and cooking. I can’t not have my Sunday pancake! Read here for why paleo followers think grains are the devil.

vegan pancake

-Meals will include at least one high fatty plant such as: nuts, avocado, coconut (oil, meat, and flour); olives (and olive oil), flax seeds, etc. Don’t worry I have quite a list I’m putting together with high fatty foods.

-I’ll be keeping a daily “diary”, taking notes on how I feel, my physical preformance (I have several runs over the next 4 weeks) and share the findings here on the blog.

Let’s Clear Some Stuff Up:

This is simply a personal experiment. I love being able to not only talk about the facts of diet/nutrition but to give a personal report as well. I do not recommend the paleo diet or a vegan diet, I simply believe in living a healthy life and finding what works for you.

Basically, I wrote that to say: I’m crazy.

If you want to check out my food and thoughts make sure to follow me in the social world! I’ll be sharing images and thoughts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook:

Instagram: FitnessTaylor

Facebook: Blog Page

Twitter: @Femininemuscle

So wish me luck as I head out in search of Vegan Paleo meal ideas!

Do you ever “experiment”? 

What is the craziest diet restriction you’ve put on yourself?

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