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The Pegan Diet: What to Know (Plus a Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup Recipe)

A Pegan diet-approved bowl of mushroom and wild rice soup

What is the Pegan diet and is it right for you? In special selections from her book THE EVERYTHING PEGAN DIET COOKBOOK, author April Murray, RD, explains what you need to know about this combination of the vegan and Paleo diets. Plus, she shares a delicious recipe for Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup to get you started!

Imagine taking two very different diets and blending them into one unique—and delicious!—way of eating. The Pegan diet, which includes both plant foods and animal products, does just that. It includes gluten-free grains while excluding refined carbohydrates. It is rich in healthy fats but void of dairy. In sum, it’s a well-balanced blend of all things healthy.

The vegan and Paleo plans might seem quite opposite on the surface. After all, adopting a vegan diet means cutting out all animal products and achieving protein requirements through grains and legumes, while the Paleo diet focuses only on what cavemen thrived on, and much of the protein comes from meats and fish. So how can those two lifestyle plans really work together?

With mindful melding and taking the best from each one, the vegan and Paleo diets together create a superstar healthy eating plan that is beneficial to the body, mind, and soul. You’ll get a plethora of key vitamins and minerals from veganism’s focus on plants and plant proteins, and the anti-inflammatory benefits of Paleo’s emphasis on unprocessed foods.

The Best of Both Worlds: The Pegan Diet

To optimize the health benefits of both the vegan diet and Paleo diets, the Pegan diet emphasizes whole, real foods that are unprocessed. The Pegan diet was created by Mark Hyman, MD (see more information at

pegan-paleo-vegan/). Foods that come from a box are not Pegan friendly. In fact, many of the foods you will purchase won’t even have a nutrition label. You will likely find yourself shopping the perimeter of the grocery store.

The Pegan diet advocates choosing locally sourced, organic, and sustainably raised foods. During your Pegan adventure, you may decide to start exploring local farmers’ markets or shopping at grocery stores with larger organic produce sections. This is a lifestyle change that will intensify your appreciation of healthy foods and force you outside your comfort zone.

The Pegan diet promotes optimal health by reducing inflammation and balancing blood sugar. It is believed that the Pegan lifestyle has many health benefits, including weight loss, increased energy levels, and reduced risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer.

What Can a Pegan Eat?

The Pegan diet includes both plant-based foods and animal products, however the diet emphasizes filling the majority of your plate with vegetables. Fruits and nonstarchy vegetables should comprise 75 percent of your diet. With a focus on reducing inflammation, the Pegan diet is rich in healthy fats such as fish, eggs, olive oil, avocado, nuts (excluding peanuts), and seeds. The diet also incorporates gluten-free grains such as quinoa, rice, oats, and millet which are a great source of fiber. Grain intake should not exceed more than 1⁄2 cup per meal to help regulate blood sugar levels.

Beans and lentils offer a great source of vegetarian protein. Other foods such as potatoes, and goat and sheep products are encouraged in moderation. For a complete food list, see Appendix: Pegan “Yes” Foods in THE EVERYTHING PEGAN DIET RECIPE BOOK. Pro-inflammatory foods such as gluten, refined sugar, processed soy, refined oils, food additives, and dairy products are strongly discouraged.

Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup Recipe

This soup serves as an excellent light lunch or dinner. On the Pegan diet, you can enjoy gluten-free grains such as rice in moderation, just be sure to fill most of your bowl with vegetables. (Serves 6.)


  • 81⁄2 cups Roasted Vegetable Stock (see recipe in this chapter)
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 3 cups peeled, thinly sliced onions
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 1⁄2 cups thinly sliced leeks
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6–8 hours.

Per serving:

245 calories | 1g fat | 9g protein | 53mg sodium | 10g fiber | carbohydrates 54g | sugar 16g

To learn more about starting and maintaining the Pegan diet, plus 300 recipes for everything from cherry vanilla breakfast smoothies to a sweet chocolate hazelnut spread, pick up a copy of THE EVERYTHING PEGAN DIET COOKBOOK by April Murray, RD.

If you liked this article, you may also enjoy: Vegan Junk Food: Baked Curried Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

Excerpted from The Everything Pegan Diet Cookbook by April Murray, RDCopyright © 2019 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.


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