What is a Whole Food Plant Based Diet

Recently I get questions about how I lost some weight. So I try to explain that I have chosen to eat a clean diet made of whole food ingredients that are plant based, no processed sweeteners, added oils, added fats, and of course no animal products what so ever! Most of the time I get a look of confusion, followed by questions like “what do you eat then?” I always like to follow-up with “everything else” and there is a lot of choices in the everything else category! So here is a short list of what you should and should not eat when following a plant based whole food diet:

Should Eat:

  • Legumes (Beans)
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Natural Sweeteners (used sparingly or rarely)

Should Not Eat:

  • Meat (all meats including sea food)
  • Dairy Products (milk, cheese, cream)
  • Oil (there is no such thing as Healthy oil)
  • Processed Grains/Food
  • Sugar (Processed Sweeteners)

So as you can see the list of should eat is larger than the should not eat list. It is a simple rule to follow, if it is not a whole grain or other plant-based food, do not eat it. There are plenty of recipes that I will be sharing that are flavorful, filling, and nutrient rich.

Then I get responses like so you’re a vegetarian or so you’re vegan…….I despise those labels and challenge them because they do not adhere to a healthy principle of eating whole ingredients. I can be a vegan and suck down 3-4 Sodas per day, eat a bag of Oreos, fill my face with French fries, eat a load of vegan cheese or pretend meat products, this is just as if not more unhealthy than eating the Standard American Diet. Vegetarians can be just as unbalanced and unhealthy as everyone else following the “see food diet” I see food, I eat it. So I do not like these terms to be associated with a whole food plant based diet as they are lacking some very important principles of good nutrition.

So back to the topic at hand, what is a whole food plant based diet? Simple, a diet consisting of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes (beans), seeds, nuts, and natural sweeteners to keep your sweet tooth happy. If you read a food label and there is a laundry list of ingredients and you cannot pronounce some of them, it is probably a good idea to put those back where you found them and move on to something healthy and nutrient rich. When looking at breads and pasta, if the ingredients do not include the word “whole” in front of the grain used then it is not a whole grain. I love this example……..look at a box of multi-grain Club Crackers and compare the ingredients to a box of regular Club Crackers, the only reason they can advertise multi-grain on the box is because they use less than 2% of oat flour, otherwise the ingredients are the same. Be careful, food marketing trumps truth, you have to look for yourself, do not trust any of the advertising labels that are placed on the box!

There is a transition that will occur with your taste buds as you rid your diet of the addictive toxic foods. Please allow at least two weeks of dedication, you will notice that “bland foods” now have great flavor and your old cravings for the “bad” foods will subside.

There is no better time to start eating this way than now, not tomorrow or the next day, NOW it is truly the only time we actually have. I would highly recommend the Engine 2 Diet book by Rip Esselstyn:

There are a lot of doctors that are promoting this diet as treatment for many of today’s common disease processes like:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Obesity
  • Alzheimer’s

Please post any questions you may have as this is just a basic covering of what the whole food plant based diet is about.

6 thoughts on “What is a Whole Food Plant Based Diet

  1. This is not a whole food diet, this is, in fact, a vegan diet. A whole food diet can include meat, dairy, sugar and oil. But somehow I think you already knew that :) Don’t advocate your diet to be something it isn’t.

    • Thank you for the comment. This allows some dialogue on the idea of a whole food “plant based” diet. Being “whole” then one should not include refined sugar or fat (oil is refined fat) in their diet and could include Meat and Dairy. Now what this post and site is all about, a whole food plant diet! Being “whole” this would exclude refined sugar and refined fat from the diet and being “plant based” then this would exclude all things animal based…meat and dairy. A vegan diet can include refined sugar and oils, so a whole food plant diet is not a vegan diet, that is a fact unlike your statement above.

      • Oh yes, I suppose all those things are true. I guess I just found the “plant-based” diet label a little misleading, because something being based on something means that it heavily relies on plant bases, but doesn’t need to be perfect. Example like, a movie being “based on” someone’s life. I think that it’s more important to look at what kind of processing the food goes through, for what reasons and do the benefits outweigh the negatives? In my opinion, things like meat and dairy can provide an abundance of vitamins, such as A and essential nutrients, like iron and protein in very small amounts, which is a wonderful thing. Meat and dairy have also been an essential part of human nutrition in every single culture throughout human history. There are many stores now selling meat and dairy that undergo very little chemical processing and mainly, the processing it goes through is so that it is *safe* long enough for us to buy it and eat it.

      • I am happy to have cleared that up for you. It is very important that we pay attention to what we put into our bodies. We can all make better choices when deciding what to eat when we start to look at how the food got to our table; how it was processed, packaged, and gown. Then we can look at the benefits vs. the negatives and make better choices. Animal products do have their fair share of vitamins and nutrients without a doubt, but they come with negatives like Saturated Fats, Cholesterol, High Acidity, Oxidation, etc… That being said there are plenty of plant sources of protein that are much cleaner to use as your protein source. All the vitamins and minerals you need are found in the plant kingdom (where do you think the livestock you consume get them?), with exception to B12, which you can get from single cell organisms like Spirulina or just take a vitamin supplement. Meat and Dairy have not been an essential part of human nutrition in every single culture throughout human history, there are cultures that survive on a pant based diet. Consider the livestock industry, from factory farm to your table, I would not consider that very little chemical processing or very “safe” for that matter.

  2. I just read that yeast creates the same issues as MSG, which we all know is a negative additive. Can you do some research on that? Thanks!

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