Transitioning to a Whole Food Plant Based Diet for Optimal Health and Disease Prevention.
Whole Food Plant Based Diet Foods
Eating a whole food plant based diet will provide you with all the proteins and minerals that your body needs. There are exceptions for people who are sensitive to gluten or have coeliac disease.
You can ease into a plant based diet by planning meat-free meals or by adding in healthy whole foods such as tempeh, yam, tofu and raw jackfruit.
1. Fruits and Vegetables
A whole food plant based diet avoids processed ingredients and animal products, and it’s rich in natural, nutrient-packed foods. It’s easy to meet your vitamin, mineral and fiber needs and it’s good for your heart and the environment.
Disease prevention: WFPB eating can prevent, halt and in some cases reverse chronic diseases including heart disease and diabetes. It may also reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Focus on eating lots of fruits and vegetables, tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams), green leafy veggies like peppers, tomatoes, corn, lettuce and spinach, and cruciferous veggies. Add in some berries, nuts and seeds and healthy fats like avocado. Eat meat if you prefer, but don’t make it the center of your meal. You’ll get plenty of protein from beans, quinoa and other whole grains, and lentils and pulses.
2. Whole Grains
A whole food plant based diet includes all types of grains including legumes and tubers like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams and cassava. It also includes vegetables, fruits and nuts.
When compared to the standard American diet, this eating plan provides an abundance of fiber and other nutrients. It also helps reduce chronic health conditions and promotes a longer lifespan.
In general, a WFPB diet eliminates foods containing animal products, added oils and refined sugar. This means that you will eat more complex, nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, beans, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables. The key is to choose the right combinations of these foods for your unique needs and preferences. This approach will help you enjoy a variety of tasty meals and snacks. It will also allow you to add in foods you have never tried before.
Legumes such as beans, lentils and peas are protein-rich foods. They are also rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are an important part of a whole food plant based diet, which has been linked to weight loss and healthier blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
The high amount of filling fiber and protein found in legumes help to promote satiety, which reduces overall food intake and may lead to weight loss in the long term. Studies that have followed participants over time have shown this to be the case.
Beans contain a carbohydrate called galactooligosaccharides (GOS), which can cause gas, but soaking and cooking beans before eating them eliminates most of this problem. It is also recommended to rinse canned beans before use.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds (like sunflower, pumpkin, flax, chia, sesame and hemp) are nutrient powerhouses with plenty of protein, healthy fats, fiber and vitamins. Nuts also help regulate your weight and protect against heart disease and diabetes.
They can be eaten in moderation as part of a whole food plant based diet along with fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. A diversified whole foods plant based diet avoids processed, refined and junk food while emphasizing whole, unprocessed, natural plant-based foods that provide our bodies with what it needs for optimal health. The benefits of this type of eating include a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, as well as other chronic diseases. It also helps prevent and reverse these conditions. A whole food plant based diet is naturally anti-inflammatory and free of added salt, oils, sugar and processed meats.
Whether they are used as the main ingredient in soups or in a dip, beans (and peas) are rich in dietary fiber and minerals such as potassium, folate, iron, magnesium, and protein. Beans also contain phytonutrients that help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
A whole food plant based diet can be easily adapted to your lifestyle and doesn’t exclude meat or dairy foods. Instead, it simply encourages more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds to be the center of your meals. This way of eating is better for the environment and also better for animals! This is why it’s such a great diet for Millie, our spunky and social Grandmother who went from 10% heart function to normal heart function after switching to a plant-based diet.