What the heck is Whole Food Plant Based?
When someone asks me how I lost 50 pounds, I start to explain my Whole Food Plant Based diet. Let’s face it, it’s not the easiest diet plan to explain. The name even sounds confusing. What the heck is Whole Food Plant Based anyway?
You can see the history of the term Whole Food Plant Based here. The phrase was coined by T. Colin Campbell, PhD in order to really explain the science behind this way of eating. He also wanted to differentiate it from the Vegan Diet.
That’s probably because it’s not really a diet plan at all – it’s a lifestyle! I know you’ve heard that with other eating plans and it sounds cliché but it really is a lifestyle. It’s one that is easy to follow and has landed me at a 50 pound weight loss that I have been able to keep off…So let’s break it down:
- Whole Food = No additives. Nothing enriched. No chemicals or natural flavors. No preservatives, just 100% whole good food. It’s best if it’s organic, but doesn’t always have to be. The easiest way to think of it, is getting your food as close to the way God made it. Fresh, whole and chemical free.
- Plant Based = Avoid all animal proteins like red meat, fish and dairy – that includes cheese. (Many people put cheese in a category of it’s own). Basically avoid anything with eyes and/or a mother.
- What about Salt? = Salt is necessary for the body to digest food properly, but it also raises blood pressure. You only need 1 teaspoon of salt daily according the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and most foods naturally contain sodium. So, if you are adding it with the salt shaker, you can be pretty sure you are adding more than your body needs.
- Sugar = Added refined sugar turns to fat and raises glucose levels. It can lead to fatty liver and other unwanted illnesses. Stick with unrefined sugars like Coconut Palm Sugar and dates in small amounts. Sugar also feeds cancer cells. If you don’t want cancer to grow, don’t feed it.
- Oils are okay right? = You should try to eliminate oils completely. Oils are plant fragments. Oils just lead to added fat which let’s face it, you and I don’t need.
- Spices and Sauces = Pretty much any non-salty, whole spice is a great way to flavor your food. Many sauces can be purchased, and many can be home made. The main thing is to exclude oils, dairy and additives in Whole Food Plant Based. Beware of chemicals here! Read ingredients and food labels.
- What can you eat then? Whole Food Plant based includes lots of colorful vegetables, beans, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, unrefined sugars. Also 100% whole grains such as breads, farro, whole grain pastas, whole grain wraps, quinoa, bulgar, couscous, and wild and brown rice to name a few. Click here to see all the wonderful foods you can eat with Whole Food Plant Based.
- So, it’s Vegan? = Nope. It’s definitely not Vegan. It’s like Vegan on steroids. Although I personally love, love, love animals – we rescue dogs from kill shelters, I own 4 dogs and a hedgehog, and I was a pet sitter for years, whole Food Plant Based is not so much about saving the animals as it is about avoiding the harmful animal proteins and chemical additives that can cause illnesses and diseases. With that being said, anyone wanting to save animals, will definitely accomplish that by eating Whole Food Plant Based. I speak for myself personally, because I was Vegan for several years before I switched completely over to Whole Food Plant Based. As a Vegan, I used oils and sugars as long as they were not animal based. I wasn’t too concerned with added chemicals and fat. Many of the processed foods for Vegans contain harmful additives. There are many very healthy Vegans out there, but, when I was a Vegan, I mainly cared if the food I was eating came from an animal source. If I wanted, I could eat any Vegan Labeled processed food, but that didn’t make it good for me. One day I added up the calories in a Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe and each piece was an astounding 900+ calories! With all that being said it is very similar to the Vegan way of eating. So similar that some Whole Food Plant Based people just say they are Vegan to make easier to explain. This is similar to the Vegan diet because you are avoiding meat, eggs and cheese. It’s just a few steps more into the healthy zone.
So, that’s pretty easy right? I think so. You can definitely do this! In the posts to follow, I plan to make it as easy for you as possible to start and follow the Whole Foods Plant Based way of life. I will introduce you to the heroes that discovered along the way like T. Colin Campbell and those that inspired me to try it like Dr. John Mc Dougall, Dr. Michael Greger and Rip Esselstyn . I will teach you how to shop & prepare your meals and we’ll even follow an amazing woman named Cha-Cha (my Mom) who is now eating Whole Food Plant Based and fighting Breast Cancer, Diabetes, and Congestive Heart Failure. She is turning her life and her health around. You can learn more about her in Cha-Cha’s Corner.
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