There’s no denying that public interest in health and nutrition has grown considerably. But many are still unsure what makes up a whole food, plant-based diet (WFPB). Are you one of them? Do you ever feel steeped in competing information on topics like these? Well, you certainly aren’t alone.
The term “whole” in WFPB describes foods that are minimally processed. This includes as many whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes as you want.
Many eventually give up the “diet” label, in favor of “lifestyle.” Perhaps that’s because our popular notion of dieting has become so confusing. A WFPB lifestyle is different. It’s not a short-term punishment charged by guilt. It’s simply a return to whole foods, rich flavors, and natural health.
It’s pretty simple: whole, unrefined, plant-based foods. That’s it.
The benefits of a healthy lifestyle are enormous. When you adopt a whole food, plant-based lifestyle you can increase the odds that you will:
The price? Simply changing your diet. It has never been so easy or so relatively effortless to achieve such profound benefits.
Let’s break it down into what can and can’t be on your plate...
barley, brown rice, teff, millet, wild rice, quinoa, amaranth, steel cut and rolled oats, whole wheat
Legumes (dried or canned with minimal salt)
adzuki, beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, fava beans, kidney beans, soybeans, green beans, peas, mung beans, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans, homemade veggie burgers
Greens (fresh or frozen)
kale, collards, spinach, lettuces, parsley, cilantro, chards, bok choy, arugula
all kinds of potatoes, onions, leeks, carrots, radishes, beets, garlic, ginger, turnips, daikon
squash, celery, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, sea vegetables
Fruit (fresh or frozen)
apricots, apples, bananas, berries, cherries, melons, mangoes, papayas, pineapple, grapes, kiwi, plums
Omega 3 Rich Seeds
flaxseed, chia seed
water, unsweetened plant “milks”, herbal teas, green tea, decaffeinated coffee
peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, and nut butters
low-fat coconut milk, unsweetened shreds or chips, raw
Seeds (except omega 3 sources)
sesame, pumpkin, sunflower
maple syrup, date syrup, molasses
Minimally Processed Whole Soy Products
tofu, tempeh, miso
caffeinated coffee and tea, alcohol
fish, poultry, seafood, red meat, processed meat
yogurt, milk, cheese, butter, half and half, cream, buttermilk
chicken, duck, quail, ostrich
Plant Fragments (these oftentimes include vegan replacement foods)
white sugar, barley malt, beet sugar, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, cane juice crystals, cane sugar, corn syrup, confectioner's sugar, fructose
white flour, white rice, quick cook oats
soy protein isolate, pea protein isolate, seitan
soda, fruit juice (even 100% pure fruit juice), sports drinks, energy drinks
"The epidemic of chronic, degenerative disease that is sweeping the western world can not only be stopped, it can be reversed. The power lies in the hands of the consumer, in the choices we make about what to put on our plates."
—Dr. T. Colin Campbell
Learn more about the science behind the lifestyle with the groundbreaking research in The China Study.
Some of the most important health decisions you make will be in the grocery store. In a perfect world, we'd all go right out to our garden and just pick our fruits and vegetables. While that is not the reality for most of us, it is not hard to find healthy and nutritious foods at your local market.
“Fifteen months later, my eyesight was fully restored, I was off the lung-transplant monitoring list, I needed oxygen only at night, and I no longer required any insulin.”
“People often call my mother’s recovery a miracle...I believe the miraculous thing may be that so much illness could be avoided if people could only move from foods that hurt to foods that heal.”
“—I completed a 50K, and a 50 mile ultra marathon on some crazy trails. Imagine, I am supposed to be in a wheelchair, and my doctor now refers patients to me for advice! How cool is that?”
Adopting a whole food, plant-based diet is like a marathon, not a sprint. If you are one of the majority of Americans with chronic health problems, you certainly didn’t get yourself into poor health overnight. It can take a good long while to untangle yourself from the habits and patterns you’ve had your whole life. Take into account the inevitable bumps and hurdles along the way. However, as you find foods you like, and you find new habits in shopping and cooking, this will just be a new lifestyle.
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