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Whole Food Plant Base Diet

What Can You Eat On A Plant

Whole-Food, Plant-Based Nutrition: A Beginner’s Guide

When picturing what a plant-based meal looks like, fruits and vegetables probably come to mind. And theyre an important part of just about any healthy diet. But youre not limited to these foods. There are a wide variety of foods to enjoy on a plant-based diet.

The major types of food typically eaten on a plant-based diet include:

Eating across all these food groups will help you get an abundance of micronutrients from your food. Also, when choosing from each category, think eat the rainbow. Colorful plant foods are full of phytochemicals and antioxidants that are good for keeping different parts of your body healthy.

Another easy way to eat the healthiest combination of plant foods is by remembering an acronym coined by Dr. Joel Fuhrman: G-BOMBS. G-BOMBS stands for: greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds.

Critical Nutrients To Consider

Every single way of eating comes with caveats. Just because someone eats animal products doesnt mean they meet all of their nutritional requirements!

While its true that following a whole food plant-based diet means you need to supplement with vitamin B12, animal-based diets are almost always too high in saturated fat and cholesterol while lacking fiber, folate, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

To ensure that we all meet our requirements, wed like to show you the nutrients that need to be looked out for a little more carefully and as well as foods to emphasize to cover your needs.

  • Calcium: green vegetables, oranges, tahini, calcium-fortified soy milk, and tofu
  • Iron: oats, spinach, dried figs, lentils, tahini, chickpeas
  • Zinc: whole grains, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, pumpkin seeds, almonds
  • Iodine: nori or dulse seaweed, iodized salt
  • Omega-3: flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts
  • Vitamin D: sun exposure, some UV-light grown mushrooms, supplement
  • Vitamin B12: fortified food, supplements

Please note that its crucial that every plant-based eater supplements with vitamin B12. Everyone over the age of 65 should take this supplement, no matter if they are following a pl or not, due to the worsening ability to absorb it.

B12 is made by bacteria and due to our sanitized water and food supply, we need to make sure were all getting enough. Animal feed is often fortified with B12 vegans just cut out the middle animal to cover their needs.

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Intermittent Fasting And The Plant

On a daily basis, I practice intermittent fasting most days, adopting a 14/8 fasting schedule eating just 2 meals a day within an 8-hour period, allowing my body to rest for 16 hours. This helps moderate insulin spikes and promotes autophagy.

An easy way to start is to eat within a 12-hour window for a few weeks, then gradually decrease this week by week to a 10-hour eating window. Decide if you would like to shorten this, based on how your body feels. Be gentle.

For more information on the benefits of intermittent fasting, read this recent article from Harvard Medical School and this Wikipedia article. If you struggle with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, I highly recommend that you research this. It is absolutely reversible.

Helpful Articles & Resources

Plant Based Food Pyramid

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

I highly suggest watching the documentary Forks Over Knives from Netflix or Amazon to understand scientific research and studies supporting this way of eating, as well as checking out these other recommended resources.

For reading, The China Study, by Dr. Colin Campbell, is at the top of the recommended list.

Check out this site for more information visit Forks Over Knives article, What is a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet.

This book is an excellent resource for those interested in cancer prevention and survival. It contains vital information about the research behind diet and disease cancer in particular. The last section is full of great recipes. This is the book we use in Food for Life classes.

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Your Sex Life May Improve

While nurturing relationships is important for a healthy sex life, what you eat plays an important role in your overall sexual health as well. Erectile dysfunction is an early indicator of poor vascular function, blood flow, and heart disease. The same clogged arteries that cause ED eventually also slow blood flow to the heart and the brain. The Massachusetts Male Aging Study found a direct connection between diet and ED. Men who ate plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and who avoided red meat and highly processed foods were less likely to experience erectile dysfunction.

Your Blood Cholesterol Levels Will Plummet

Elevated blood cholesterol is a key risk factor for heart disease and strokes, two of the leading killers in the United States. Saturated fatprimarily found in meat, poultry, cheese, and other animal productsis a major driver of our blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol in our food also plays a role.

Studies consistently show that when people go plant based, their blood cholesterol levels drop In many cases, the decrease is equal to that seen with drug therapywith many positive side effects! People who require cholesterol-lowering drugs can further slash their cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk by adopting a plant-based diet.

Whole-food, plant-based diets reduce blood cholesterol because they tend to be very low in saturated fat and they contain zero cholesterol. Moreover, plant-based diets are high in fiber, which further reduces blood cholesterol levels. Soy has also been shown to play a role in lowering cholesterol, for those who choose to include it.

Read Also: Diabetic Diet Foods To Avoid

Whole Foods Plant Based No Oil Diet

Why no oil in the diet? I get you. I had the same reaction when I first came across this way of cooking.

Oil is the most calorie dense food there is.

Not only that, they are empty calories, meaning that they arent giving you any additional nutrition to speak of. The fibres been removed until the only thing left is the oil.

So while extra virgin olive oil is largely thought of as being healthy, from a perspective of the whole food plant based diet, its considered over-refined.

When you eat a whole olive with the olive oil inside its fine because its a whole food.

Apart from the high calorie count, oil can make food unhealthy, especially when cooked. Its no secret that fried foods are not good for us, or that deep fried foods are bad for the heart.

So it doesnt come as a huge surprise that oil is not included in this health-boosting diet.

Personally, since embracing oil-free cooking on a more full time basis at the end of 2021, I actually love my food more and more .

Use These Easy Oil Alternatives On A Whole Food Plant

How to Cook Whole Food Plant Based Diet? – Food & Nutrition 003 #shorts

Its easy to get in the habit of dousing your food in olive oil. Does anyone really measure oil when cooking? No, and thats why its easy to add too much oil, and excess calories. In many cases, you dont even need oil. For example, I made a zucchini noodle and avocado cream sauce for dinner, and normally I would have added oil when chopping the avocado, basil leaves, garlic, as well as salt and pepper to the sauce, but this time I just used water. Since avocados are a naturally occurring high-fat food, the added oil wasn’t necessary, and swapping water worked just fine.

Another place I eliminated oil was when stir frying my veggies. Using low-sodium vegetable broth gave me all the liquid needed in the pan and added some flavor, eliminating the need for oil. Of course, this trick doesn’t always work, but it is certainly a reminder that there are great oil alternatives.

Also Check: How To Repair Metabolism After Yo-yo Dieting

Try Air Frying To Avoid Oil On A Whole

Earlier I learned everything there was to know about air fryers when I wrote up a plant-based air frying guide. An air fryer is phenomenal for WFPB eating since it enables cooking without oil. Tofu is a great example. Normally you’d have to put oil in a frying pan and crisp it up, but air frying eliminates that need, since it works like a mini convection oven, cooking evenly on all sides. Just turn it on and let it do its magic. You can also dehydrate foods and cook pretty much anything you like oil-free.

A Reduced Risk Of Cancer

Research from the United Kingdom looked at about 475,000 adults who were cancer free at baseline. The participants were categorized as regular meat eaters, low meat eaters, fish eaters, and vegetarians and followed up to check their incidence of cancer 11.4 years later. The low meat eaters, fish eaters, and vegetarians had a lower risk of colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers when compared with regular meat eaters. The researchers suspect a low BMI could also be a contributing factor to the lower cancer risk.

Another study focused on breast cancer specifically and found that individuals who most closely followed a plant-based diet had 67 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who followed it the least.

One note: If youre not ready to give up on animal proteins just yet, dont worry. Another study found that, while adding plant-based proteins to your diet can help lower your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, there was no increased risk associated with animal proteins. So while its not necessary to completely eliminate meats and dairy from your diet, you can still lower your risk of certain diseases by making an effort to include more plant proteins. To set yourself up for success, Manaker suggests making a shopping list heavy on produce, beans, and plant-based proteins to make sure you have plenty of options to reach for when you get hungry.

Recommended Reading: High Protein And Low Carb Diet

It’ll Save You Money On Groceries

Whole plant foods are not only the healthiest and most sustainable foods around theyre also some of the most affordable. In fact, going plant-based can cut grocery bills by $750 a year per person, according to research published in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition.

When you stock your kitchen with WFPB staples such as brown rice, potatoes, and dried beans, you can assemble nutritious, satisfying meals for just a few dollars. To showcase just how affordable plant-based diets can be, weve put together a budget-friendly one-week vegan meal plan: How to Eat Plant-Based for Just $7 a Day.

Youll Be In A Better Mood And Have More Energy

Whole plant

If youre adding vibrant vegetables and fresh fruits to your plate youre already at a better mood advantage. Research published in Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism has shown that whole food, plant-based diets are linked with healthier moods and higher productivityand the more people eat, the happier, less, depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied they are with their lot. Whole foods are also typically easier to digest and keep you fuller longer, therefore sustaining your energy levels throughout the day.

Recommended Reading: Diet To Reduce High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Whats The Difference Between A Vegan Lifestyle Vs A Vegan Diet

Whereas someone who follows a vegan diet is only concerned about what they eat, a vegan lifestyle means a vegan diet and also no other products which come from animal exploitation, so no leather, wool, beeswax etc.

Choosing a vegan lifestyle makes us aware of what ethics we are supporting when we buy certain products, with regard to their ingredients.

It means sourcing vegan shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, make up and much more.

Vegans will also try to source products which are friendlier to the environment.

We want to support the fellow inhabitants of the planet where we live, as well as stop destroying our planet.

Yes Eat These In Abundance

Whole Grains

barley, brown rice, teff, millet, wild rice, quinoa, amaranth, steel cut and rolled oats, whole wheat


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


kale, collards, spinach, lettuces, parsley, cilantro, chards, bok choy, arugula


all kinds of potatoes, onions, leeks, carrots, radishes, beets, garlic, ginger, turnips, daikon

Other Veggies

squash, celery, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, sea vegetables


Omega 3 Rich Seeds


water, unsweetened plant milks, herbal teas, green tea, decaffeinated coffee

Read Also: How Is Cancer Related To Diet

Alzheimers & Neurodegenerative Disease

Believe it or not, even people with Alzheimers disease and other neurodegenerative conditions can benefit from a plant-based diet. While there are few documented cases of reversal, most are preventable. In fact, a comprehensive report conducted by husband and wife team, Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, concluded that over 90% of Alzheimers cases are preventable.

Much of this prevention is achievable with lifestyle strategies, and whole foods, plant-based nutrition is one of the most consequential strategies of all. Additional research has shown that this may be due in part to the brain-gut connection. A poor diet disrupts the gut microbiota, contributing to inflammation in the body and affecting the central nervous system and, ultimately, the brain. One study found that inflammation, gut dysbiosis, and leaky gut may contribute to the process of neurodegeneration in Alzheimers patients.

For more on how diet affects Alzheimers and brain health, check out this article by Dr. Michael Greger.

The Meat Of Plant Diets

Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet Beginner’s Guide

The other question deals with a man’s appetite for animal products. When it comes to your heart, are all animal foods off the table? Maybe not if you’re smart about your choices.

Dr. Satija led a study, published in the July 25, 2017, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, that examined the dietary data of about 209,000 adults over two decades. The researchers compared the heart disease risk posed by these three categories of plant-based diets:

  • an overall plant-based diet that emphasized consumption of all healthy plant foods while reducing intake of all animal foods, like dairy , eggs, fish, meat , and foods that contain animal products like pizza, soups, and mayonnaise

  • a healthful plant-based diet that emphasized consumption of only healthy plant foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and healthy oils, while reducing intake of less healthy plant foods as well as animal foods

  • an unhealthful plant-based diet that emphasized consumption of less healthy plant foods, such as fruit juices, refined grains , potatoes , and sugar-sweetened beverages, while reducing the intake of healthy plant foods as well as animal foods.

No surprise, they found that the people who followed the healthy plant-based diet had the lowest risk for heart disease. They were also more active and leaner. On the other hand, those who followed the unhealthful plant-based diet had a substantially higher risk for heart disease.

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Make Wfpb Side Sauces & Dips

When switching to a WFPB diet, one of the first things you can do is master how to make a delicious oil free cashew sauce .

You can then adapt it into a delicious cilantro sauce or basil sauce, because these will be really helpful for adding flavour to everything you eat.

Find a sauce you love to add to your plate, then you can love every meal you eat!

Next, make an oil free hummus or an easy avocado dip for eating with crudités and serving with your salad. You can also use tahini sauce as your salad dressing.

Make a scrumptious oil free tomato sauce and youll immediately have access to meal variations like pasta, rice or quinoa with tomato sauce.

Your Skin May Clear Up

Dairy products are sometimes associated with breakouts, but studies show excess calories, added sugars, and processed meats can also ramp up acne-causing oil and sebum production. On the flipside, fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and micronutrients and low-glycemic index, which can help decrease inflammation and support clearer skin.

Recommended Reading: Low Fiber Diet Before Colonoscopy

Potential Health Benefits Of A Plant

In the United States, having a poor-quality diet is the biggest predictor of early death, according to an article published in the May 2017 Journal of Geriatric Cardiology. A classic American diet thats high in saturated and trans fats, sodium, and processed meat puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to health and longevity, while a diet that promotes whole foods and plant-based ingredients appears to have the opposite effect.

Indeed, most people who adopt this way of eating do it for the potential health benefits. There have been many cardiac benefits linked to eating this way, like reduced cholesterol, Manaker says. Some studies suggest that eating a plant-based diet may improve fertility parameters, and it also may reduce your risk of developing diabetes. A well-planned plant-based diet can be safe for everyone, including babies, children, and people who are pregnant or nursing, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics noted in its 2016 position paper.

As the following research suggests, a plant-based diet may help reduce the likelihood that youll need medication, lower your risk of obesity and high blood pressure, and maybe even help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Heres a closer look at possible plant-based diet benefits.

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