Considering adopting a diet of plant-based whole foods? Here is everything you need to know about eating cleanly.
The whole-foods plant-based diet, also known as WFPB, adheres to the tenet that a vegan, unprocessed, salt- and oil-free diet is beneficial for health.
What is a whole-foods plant-based diet?
A stringent plant-based, whole-food diet differs significantly from the usual vegan diet. It supports the use of minimal or no processed foods and discourages the use of oil and salt. This prohibits vegan meat and cheese, bread, ice cream, cookies, candies, munchies, and frozen dinners.
But even without vegan frozen pizza, you can still eat a lot on a whole-foods plant-based diet, and it need not be tasteless. There are around 200,000 edible plant species around the globe, yet only about 200 are consumed by humans. That is sufficient to provide you with a considerable cooking arsenal of fruit, vegetables, cereals, legumes, herbs, spices, and vinegar.
Is a plant-based, whole-food diet healthy?
Given the lack of dairy-free macaroni and cheese in a box, French fries, and candy, it’s safe to assume that health is the primary motivation for anyone interested in a whole-foods plant-based diet. And for good cause.
Multiple studies have connected diets rich in fruits and vegetables to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and some malignancies. In addition to being inherently abundant in anti-inflammatory foods, a plant-based diet that excludes salt, oil, refined sugar, and white bread, which are known inflammatory triggers, is also naturally rich in whole plant foods.
Should you supplement? Studies indicate that a plant-based diet may have health benefits, however, a vegan diet inherently lacks vitamin B12, which aids in DNA synthesis and maintains healthy blood and nerve cells. Michael Greger, MD, WFPB advocate and founder of NutritionFacts.org, suggests supplementation with this essential vitamin. However, you should always consult your physician before making severe dietary changes.
What plant-based entire foods may I consume?
There are a large number of whole-food plant-based ingredients available, although they initially appear to have several restrictions. Therefore, you need not have a large amount of salad unless you truly like to.
- Soy sauce, vinegar, nutritional yeast, mustard, and salsa are examples of particular condiments.
- Drinks: Coffee, tea, kombucha, sugar-free sparkling drinks
- Poblano, guajillo, jalapeno, Aleppo, bird’s eye, serrano, and Scotch bonnet are fresh or dry chili peppers.
- Herbs and spices that are either fresh or dry include parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, cilantro, basil, and ginger. Also, salt-free
- Fresh, frozen, fermented, and dried fruits and vegetables (check for added sugar and oil)
- Legumes include all types of beans and lentils
- Baby Bella, portobello, shiitake, maitake, enoki, wood ear, etc. are examples of mushrooms.
- Sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, and other nuts and seeds.
- Homemade or one-ingredient nut and seed butter (watch for added sugar and oil)
- Other plant-based proteins: tofu, tempeh, and vegan meats made from whole ingredients (oil-free, free from protein isolates)
- Potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes are tubers.
- Date syrup, maple syrup, and blackstrap molasses are examples of naturally occurring sweeteners (in moderation)
- Look for milk manufactured without gums or additives, such as Elmhurst 1925, or make it yourself.
- Look for oil-free vegan cheeses produced from almonds or seeds.
- Brown rice, Kamut, farro, oats, quinoa, amaranth, and wild rice are examples of whole grains and pseudo-grains.
- Moderate consumption of whole grain bread and tortillas is advised.
- Soba, brown rice noodles, sweet potato noodles, and these pasta are made with whole grains:
What is prohibited from a plant-based, whole-foods diet?
In addition to the following list, remember the most fundamental rules of plant-based diets comprised of whole foods: no oil, no salt, no processed sugar, and no processed grains.
- Milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, kefir, and more are examples of dairy products.
- Contains soda and soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and processed fruit juice
- Make oil-free tofu scrambles and bake with ground flaxseed.
- Meat and seafood: But you probably already knew that
- Instead of oil, sauté with vegetable broth
- Due to the inclusion of oil, salt, and sugar, most ready-made meals, chips, puffs, sweets, and cereals are not plant-based whole foods.
- Sugars and sweeteners that have been refined: white sugar, brown sugar, pancake syrup
- Oil and salt are prohibited in vegan processed meats and cheeses.
- None of the types of salt are encouraged.
- Almost always, dairy-free ice cream contains oil and refined sugar.
- grains of white color, pasta, tortillas, and bread: Also included is rice.
What are some plant-based, whole-food recipes?
Salt and oil greatly improve the flavor of meals. The oil enhances the Maillard reaction, often known as browning, which imparts flavor, fragrance, and color to food.
Even without salt and oil, your culinary prowess can still be impressive. Herbs, spices, citrus juice, chili peppers, and miso, along with all alliums (onions, garlic, shallots, chives, leeks, and green onions), are all fair game in the culinary world. Adopting them in your cooking will eliminate bland food from your kitchen.
Having said that, a whole-foods plant-based diet can be more time-consuming, so do not feel guilty if you cannot commit to it 24/7. We get it. Some of the stated foods, such as white bread and spaghetti, are less expensive than the plant-based option. Cooking from scratch requires time, which not everyone has. (This is especially true for us with our desire for vegan pizza.) Maintaining a rotation of plant-based recipes made with whole foods may be the ideal balance for you.