A whole food, plant-based diet is all about eating real food. The stuff that actually grows from the earth. Sure, that may cut out a few of your favorite treats but you'll soon find that for every factory processed, fat-filled, sugar-laden product that you think you can't live without, there are countless yummy and healthful options to fill its place, even dessert! Luckily, eating plants means lots of delicious choices:
- fruits - over 100 varieties
- vegetables - again, over 100
- legumes - lots of beans and peas
- grains - more than you think
- tubers - all kinds of potatoes
- nuts - lots and lots
- seeds - sooo many types
So what's NOT included? Animal products. All of them: including meats, fish, eggs and dairy. You also want to stay well away from highly refined products like processed sugars, bleached flours and processed oils - yes, even those supposedly "good for you" kind should be kept to a minimum.
So, isn't that vegan? Well, yes... and no. A vegan diet also excludes animal products but vegans are not necessarily strict about limiting processed foods. Store bought veggie burgers, meat substitutes and vegan 'cheese' are often just as full of refined fats, sugars and sodium as any other manufactured food product. A whole food, plant-based diet is more specific. It means, as much as possible, eating and cooking foods from their whole natural state. You can even eat raw and skip turning on the stove all together!
But what about my beloved pastries, bacon, and mac 'n' cheese, you ask? Yes, weaning ourselves from the excessive stimulants (fat, sugar, salt) in the Standard American Diet (SAD) isn't easy but you'll find that you don't have to give up delicious baked goodies and satisfyingly rich main dishes. On the contrary, you'll be enjoying your old favorites with a healthier twist, discovering wonderful new recipes and tasting the true flavors of our earth's bounty! It definitely is possible to retrain your palate and you'll be amazed at how quickly you begin to enjoy all those new tastes and textures. And because most whole, plant-based foods are highly nutrient-dense (lots of the good stuff: macro-nutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, but not so many calories) you'll be eating a lot! Sounding pretty good already, isn't it?
Like any lifestyle change, it's important to set yourself up for success. The goal is to move closer and closer to eating completely plant-based but like everything else in life, we can all expect to be sidetracked occasionally. Take it one bite at a time and let every meal be an informed choice. That means learning as much as you can about your food, nutrition science, health, chronic disease and this delicious dietary pattern. Most importantly... don't be afraid to cook! Change isn't always easy, so do check my LINKS page for lots of online resources to support you, and feel free to message me directly. I'll be glad to do some legwork in finding the information you need.