What is a whole food plant-based diet?
The term “whole food” is thrown around a lot, and it’s easy to understand why: an edible food that includes all the nutrients a human needs to sustain life and protect them from diseases sounds like the best thing in the world.
But what does it really mean? In fact, there is no such thing as ‘whole’ food.
This definition means that foods like the fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds every animal needs to function, as well as other plant-based foods, can all be said to be ‘whole’ foods.
Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB) means to only eat foods from plants. Foods from plants are natural and a desirable way to eat.
Until recently, most people have thought of plant-based food as vegan, which means that the animal products in your diet are replaced with plant-based ones.
While the term “vegan” implies the removal of all animal products from one’s diet, the term “whole foods plant-based diet “implies that the diet is plant-based and focuses on whole foods.
But, a plant-based diet can be so much more than just a vegan one. It can be as simple as swapping out milk for coconut milk, or as complex as going entirely raw.
This means that these delicious foods are not processed or refined. The focus is on eating unprocessed and unrefined natural foods from plants.
A whole-food, plant-based diet is based on the idea that eating a diet consisting of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains will increase your overall health.
A whole food plant-based diet is a nutrition plan that seeks to minimise consumption of processed foods which are health-damaging foods and maximise the amount of whole plant foods eaten by a person.
Healthy foods to enjoy on a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet
The diet comprises vegetables, fruits, and grains. These foods are all 100% plant-based and do not contain any animal products.
In order to sustain your whole food plant-based diet, you need to include the following 5 food groups: grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
This means no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, or any other animal-derived ingredients.
There are several ways to enjoy a vegan diet, like using protein-packed, plant-based foods in place of animal-based foods.
Plant-based diets provide essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre, and reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and other chronic health conditions.
Some WFPB diet food list:
- Root Vegetables:
- Sweet potatoes,
- black beans
- kidney beans
- mung beans
- adzuki beans
- Whole grain products:
- brown rice
- Green vegetables
- collard greens,
- Brussels sprouts,
- Any fresh fruit:
- coconut products
The following foods are not allowed on a whole-food, plant-based diet:
- high in sugar – like pastries, candies, soft drinks, fruit juices, and sodas.
- high in salt – like potato chips, pretzels, salted nuts and frozen and canned foods.
- high in carbohydrate foods – like white rice, flour products, white pasta, and white bread.
Depending on how you choose your foods, a vegan diet is more likely to help you avoid overeating than a diet that includes large amounts of processed foods.
Just remember to minimise foods in refined grains, junk foods, dairy products, and sugar.
Benefits of a plant-based diet
We all know that eating animal-based foods all the time is not good for you, but the question is, how healthy is a plant-based diet?
For one thing, you may think you are eating a lot of junk food when you eat a lot of plants, but that is not the case.
Whole food plant-based foods are natural, unprocessed foods that are grown on a farm and used without chemical or animal-based additives.
Plant-based diets are popular because they
- are generally lower in calories,
- less expensive,
- easier to prepare,
- help you lose weight,
- lower your cholesterol, and
- improve your blood sugar levels.
The benefit of a vegan diet is the avoidance of meat and animal products. This includes animal-derived substances such as eggs, milk, gelatine, etc.
Being a vegan helps you shed those extra pounds because you cut the fat and calories in meat, eggs, and dairy products.
This diet is well-suited for combating obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Also, it is a plant-based diet program that is rich in fibre, phytonutrient, and antioxidants, and is low in saturated fat.
This is because it is rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, which speed up the digestive process and prevents sugar spikes.
Polyphenol phytonutrient found in plants inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables increases levels of health-promoting phytochemical and antioxidants and reduces cancer risk.
If you have certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes, a plant-based diet may help improve your symptoms.
What are the downsides of a plant-based diet?
While many people love the plant-based diet, there are some problems that may occur when people go on this diet.
Before you consider this diet, make sure you know the potential problems that may exist.
First, you may have a hard time getting enough calories on this diet. Many people who try this diet end up adding other foods to their diet to ensure they are getting enough food calories.
Second, you may have a hard time eating out on this diet. Many restaurants have plant-based kinds of foods on the menu, but there is not a lot of variety.
Although there are many benefits to a plant-based diet, there are also some downsides. By eliminating meat and other animal products from a diet, though it may contain concentrated nutrients, it is possible that many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are lost.
A plant-based diet can lead to nutrient displacement issues or nutrient deficiency if you do not plan your menu correctly.
In particular, be sure to include sources of vitamins A, B, D, E, K, iron, calcium, zinc, and iodine in your diet.
Whole food plant-based foods are undoubtedly the best choice you can make when embarking on a healthy plant-based diet.
You’ll find that they will enable you to learn how to use your body’s amazing ability to heal itself to repair the damage done by the foods you’ve eaten in the past.
When you eat whole food plant-based foods, your body will feel better than it has ever felt before. You’ll feel stronger, look healthier, and have more energy than ever before.
If you are going to go whole food plant-based, it is really important to remember that whole food plant-based is not about eliminating food groups or ingredients but about eating whole food plant products like consuming plenty of vegetables and fresh fruits.
Eating a whole food plant-based diet means getting in touch with the earth. It’s an organic lifestyle that’s really healthy for the body and the mind!