Whole Food Plant-based Diet

Plant-based eating
Imagine no more counting calories or restricting portions. This may sound too good to be true, but when your plate is filled with whole, plant-based foods, it’s okay to eat until you’re full.

Plant-based diets are gaining a lot of attention from the medical community.[1] With so many compelling reasons to replace the animal products and processed foods in your meals, it is a great time to shift toward a whole food, plant-based diet.

What is whole food, plant-based eating?

Whole food, plant-based diets are focused around meals and snacks made primarily from plant sources. This means eating vegetables and fruit, along with whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and plant oils. In other words, a larger proportion of your plate is filled with minimally processed, plant-based foods.

 

Plant-based diet vs. vegan diet

 Although they sound similar, there are distinct differences between a plant-based and a vegan diet.

  • A whole food, plant-based diet may include some animal products for their nutritional benefits and to support the role of vegetables, grains, and other plant foods.
  • Vegans do not eat any animal products.
  • Whole food, plant-based eating focuses on foods in their natural state or that have been minimally processed.
  • Vegans do not necessarily exclude processed foods.

Both ways of eating offer the nutritional benefits of large portions of plant foods.


Benefits of whole food, plant-based eating

 The Harvard Medical School encourages healthy eating patterns that include mostly foods of plant origin [2]. Besides being cost-effective, a whole food, plant-based diet has many benefits, including the following:

  • May help to lower body mass index and maintain a healthy body weight [3]
  • Helps support healthy blood sugar levels in people with diabetes [4]
  • Supports healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels [3]
  • Increases dietary fibre intake to lower the risk of chronic health problems [5]
  • Reduces saturated fat intake [5]

 

A whole food, plant-based diet plan

A variety of delicious whole, plant-based foods are available, most of which are found in the produce section and bulk food aisle of your grocery store. By eliminating most processed and packaged goods from your meals, grocery shopping will become a lot simpler.

When it comes to eating whole foods, there are foods you should choose most often, those you should choose less, and those you should avoid. Here are some examples.

Choose most often:

  • Vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms
  • Legumes, such as lentils, beans, and peas
  • Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, squash, plantains, sweet potatoes, and yams
  • Fruit, such as apples, pears, berries, melons, tomatoes, and avocadoes
  • Whole grains, such as oats, brown or wild rice, quinoa, millet, and amaranth
  • Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and peanuts, and seeds such as flax, pumpkin, and chia
  • Herbs and spices, such as oregano, cilantro, cinnamon, pepper, ginger root, and turmeric
  • Plant oils, such as virgin olive oil, cold pressed coconut oil, and flaxseed oil

Choose less often:

  • Meat, poultry, beef, fish, and shellfish
  • Dairy products, such as milk, yogourt, cheese, and butter
  • Eggs
  • Fresh fruit juices

Avoid:

  • Cold cuts and processed cheeses
  • Refined foods, such as white flour goods, commercial breakfast cereals and granola bars, cookies, candy, and chips
  • Sugary beverages, such as pop, sweetened fruit juice, sports beverages, and energy drinks

Supplements for a plant-based diet

No matter how well you eat, adding a high-quality supplement to your diet can help to fill nutritional gaps and make sure that you’re getting the complete range of nutrients needed for optimal health. The following nutrients support a whole food, plant-based lifestyle:

 

Vitamin D3

People who follow vegan and vegetarian diets are more likely to lack vitamin D [6]Whole Earth & Sea Pure Food Vegan Bioenhanced Vitamin D3 is a unique non-GMO formula sourced from wild-harvested lichen. It contains cholecalciferol, the most bioactive form of vitamin D3, for strong bones [7].

Vegetable blends

Many vegetables can be fermented to enhance their flavour and help release nutrients for absorption by the body. Delicious options include cabbage, radishes, soybeans, and green tea. Whole Earth & Sea Fermented Organic Protein & Greens contains a wide range of 100% fermented plant-based ingredients. It is a certified organic formula that contains 21 g of vegan protein per serving.

Vegan Protein

No plant source provides all 20 amino acids that the body uses to build the proteins needed for bone, muscle, cartilage, blood, skin, hair, nails, enzymes, and hormones. To get all of the essential amino acids in the right proportion, you need to eat complementary sources of plant protein in the right combinations. VegiDay Raw Organic 100% Plant-Based Protein is a blend of 100% natural plant proteins derived from:

  • Organic peas
  • Organic sprouted brown rice
  • Organic pumpkin
  • Organic quinoa
  • Organic chlorella
  • Organic spirulina

Each delicious Decadent Chocolate, French Vanilla, Very Berry, or Natural Unflavored serving contains 20 g of protein and all of the essential amino acids, including high concentrations of the three important branched-chain amino acids L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine.

Over time, your eating habits can have a significant impact on your health – either improving or worsening your physical and mental well-being. Research shows that a whole food, plant-based diet can improve health in a variety of ways. It’s one of the easiest and most delicious ways to support a healthy life.*

References:

[1] American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). New research reveals benefits of a vegetarian diet. Available from: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-06/n2-nrr053118.php [Accessed 24th February 2019].

[2] Harvard Medical School. The right plant-based for you. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-right-plant-based-diet-for-you [Accessed 24th February 2019].

[3] Tuso PJ, Ismail MH, Ha BP, et al. Nutritional update for physicians: plant-based diets. Perm J. 2013; 17(2):61-66.

[4] Yokoyama Y, Barnard ND, Levin SM, et al. Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2014; 4(5):373-382.

[5] Government of Canada. Canada’s Food Guide: Make it a habit to eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains and protein foods. Available from: https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-eating-recommendations/make-it-a-habit-to-eat-vegetables-fruit-whole-grains-and-protein-foods/ [Accessed 15th February 2019].

[6] Crowe FL, Steur M, Allen NE, et al. Plasma concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans: results from the EPIC-Oxford study. Public Health Nutr. 2011; 14(2):340-346.

[7] Zhou W, Langsetmo L, Berger C, et al. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2013; 13(4):470-479.