Whole Foods, Plant-based Nutrition
What, exactly, is a Whole Foods, Plant-Based Lifestyle?
I guess it means different things to many people. On its face, it is as it sounds. A diet that derives the majority of its calories and nutrients from plant foods that are unprocessed or processed very little with no refined or chemical additives. Most would understand this to mean no animal products at all but some WFPB advocates consider there may be room for a small amount of wild or organic, grass-fed animal meat. Meat used as a condiment or a flavoring in dishes, not as a complete portion of a meal. However, I find the majority have ‘whole’-heartedly embraced the WFPB lifestyle and eat only whole plants as close to their natural state as possible with no or little processing and no or few additives.
Why a Whole Food, Plant-based Lifestyle?
The quick answer; your health and longevity. For decades we’ve known that rural populations
(Blue Zones) living on plant-based diets with little or no animal products live longer, are rarely over weight and suffer far fewer chronic diseases than those living a more Standard American Diet (SAD) lifestyle. Okinawans eat a diet rich in vegetables, soybeans, sweet potatoes and occasionally a little fish. The Tarahumara Indians have a primarily low fat, low cholesterol diet of beans, corn and complex carbohydrates. And the Seventh-Day Adventists of California are among the healthiest and longest living people in the United States. They live on a largely vegetarian diet rich in beans and nuts.
Eating a wide variety of colorful whole plant foods, vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, starches (potatoes), nuts and seeds that are naturally low in bad fats and dietary cholesterol, has been proven to help prevent and even reverse chronic illnesses. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, many cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases are all preventable and potentially reversible when eating a WFPB diet.
The WFPB lifestyle is not a fad diet. Embracing this lifestyle that includes some form of regular exercise, relaxation or meditation and supportive relationships, will be the single most important thing you can do for your health and longevity. The evidence is overwhelming and once you ‘get it’ you’ll never look back.