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?

Image source:

Image source:


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  • Interesting, I’ve always sort of ignored the Paleo thing assuming there was no way I could do it since I am vegetarian…I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

  • Stacey

    I follow a Paleo diet 90% of the time. I don’t eat dairy or grains except for eating out (gets hard to avoid) and if we are at a party or friend’s house. They are both foods I do enjoy, so I give myself a free day once a week. However my body seems to feel better when I don’t eat them which makes it easier for me to eliminate the rest of the time. I do seem to eat more carbs (veggies, fruit) than I do fat I think, so I’m curious how this goes for you. However I don’t count any of my calories, so I could be completely wrong.
    Good luck!

    • Thanks! I am curious to see how my body reacts by taking the grains out. The milk has been out for a long time now and I feel so much better!

  • Good luck being pegan (the name also makes me giggle!) I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you. See, we CrossFitter aren’t crazy after all. I am not 100% paleo, but I do get my carbs from fruits/veggies instead of grains and I’ve noticed it’s made a big difference in the way I feel. Here’s another interesting video on the paleo perspective:

    Good luck in the race tomorrow!

    • lol, nope you guys aren’t crazy! Thanks for the video!

  • suzanne

    Oh I am so excited because I cant wait to see what you cook up! I personslly feel like I have more energy the less grains I eat, but it can be challenging (for me) and i eat meat!! Good luck!!

    • Don’t worry, you’ll get all the recaps!

  • Kimi

    Yea!! Another human experiment to follow!! You are great for this since you have such a disciplined mind. I am toying with going paleo but I am not a big meat eater so I am stoked to see how you do this with as little meat as possible. I just added this site to my RSS feed so I can follow it more frequently. Good luck!!

    • haha, yup another experiment! If you go paleo, keep my in the loop!

  • Rikuou

    Hate to say it, but if you’re eating fish and dairy, you’re not vegan. Vegans don’t eat jello because it has gelatin, much less even look at yogurt. Speaking as 20 year vegetarian, vegans can be testy when you make claims lile that. Pescatarianism on the other hands, which allows fish and dairy, has been hailed as one of the healthiest diets for long life.

    • Hi Rikuou, you actually happened to stumble upon a very old post. my after thoughts and results are already posted. 🙂 You are right, fish isn’t vegan but because of all the limitations with the paleo+vegan it was a requirement for me to maintain nutrition. However, this is over a year old and because of health concerns I am actually no longer a vegan (info also on blog). Thanks for commenting!

      • Jason

        Cop out. There are other ways around EVERY vegan “health issue”.

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