WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED LIFESTYLE
Updated: Nov 22, 2020
"Let nothing that can be treated with diet be treated by other means." ~ Maimonides
T. Colin Campbell, PhD, created the term 'plant-based' in the early '80s and then added 'whole' to differentiate this optimal and healthy diet from other diets. A Whole Food Plant Based Diet (WFPB) does not include meat, chicken, fish, dairy or eggs. However, it is not the same as a vegan diet, which is mainly defined by what it eliminates. An WFPB diet is also defined by what it emphasizes: a wide variety of whole foods.
Explicitly, the term WFPB describes that the diet itself contains foods that are not processed or that are minimally processed. This includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. It also includes, in moderation: nuts, seeds, avocados, natural sweeteners and certain soy or wheat products that do not contain additional fat (for example, tofu or tempeh).
Highly processed foods, on the other hand, are not included in an WFPB diet. This means avoiding highly refined cereal products (white rice, white flour), foods that contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners (powdered sugar, high fructose corn syrup) and foods that contain added fats and even all oils of vegetable origin (olive, corn, sunflower, coconut...)
You don't need to count calories or measure yourself with carbohydrates to balance your weight with this diet. And besides, contrary to popular belief, a WFPB diet will not break your pocket!. Many of its basic products such as beans, potatoes and grains are among the most affordable foods. Within this diet, possibilities of combinations are endless, so that you can adapt your palate, or the food of your culture using whole foods; It's all about habits.
A Whole Food Plant Based Diet lifestyle is different. It is not a short-term thing to loose weight. It is simply a return to whole foods, rich flavors and natural health, with the addition that it is the diet that most benefits the planet, animals and human beings themselves.
The most important scientific evidence supports that the natural human diet is based mainly on starches. According to Dr. John Mcdougall, an American physician, nutrition expert and pioneer with more than 50 years of experience in the study, research and teaching of the effects of nutrition on disease, “…all large healthy populations, throughout verifiable human history, have obtained most of their calories from starches. Examples of people who once prospered include Japanese, Chinese and other Asians who ate sweet potatoes, buckwheat and rice, the Incas in South America who ate potatoes, the Mayans and Aztecs in Central America who ate corn and quinoa, and the Egyptians in the Middle East that ate wheat. There have only been a few small and isolated primitive populations such as the Arctic Eskimos, who living at the extremes of the environment, have eaten the opposite. (According to several scientific studies, this population was not as healthy as they try to make us believe). Therefore, the scientific documentation of what people have eaten in the last thirteen thousand years strongly supports the WFPB.”
To help make things a little easier, we have defined the following three food groups:
Whole foods, unrefined, of plant origin:
Include vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, tubers, roots, flowers, etc.
Foods of animal origin
Include all types of meat, such as beef, pork, lamb, fish and chicken. They also include eggs and all dairy products.
Processed plant fragments
What does it mean to process plants in fragments? In order to isolate the components of the original plant, mechanical and chemical processes are used to extract and treat nutritional components, such as removing oil, extracting fiber or bleaching. Many processed plant fragments are overwhelmingly composed of highly refined fatty carbohydrates. To improve their addictive nature, their shelf life or their visual appeal, these foods depend on artificial ingredients such as preservatives and colors or flavors and are generally very low in nutrients since they lack their original fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, there are different degrees of processing. The oils and the sugar, for example, are highly processed foods, while whole wheat pasta is minimally processed.
For optimal nutrition, I recommend eating the whole foods category of unrefined vegetable foods.
A special note about oil:
Oil, even the finest olive oil, is 100% fat, high in calories and very poor in nutrients. It is known that oil damages the endothelium, the innermost lining of the arteries, and that lesion is the gateway to vascular disease. For those with heart disease, even adding a little oil can have a negative impact on heart health.
Why follow the Whole Food Plant Based Diet?
Prevent, even reverse, heart disease.
Lose weight and have more energy.
Lower risk of prostate, breast and other cancers.
Improve the digestive process in its entirety.
Prevent and treat diabetes.
Living more time.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization 80:952-958. http://www.who.int/bulletin/archives/80(12)952.pdf McDougall, John; McDougall, Mary (June 4, 2013). The starch solution. Book Pub Co. McDougall, John (2006). Dr. McDougall's digestive tune-up. New Century Publishers.
Campbell, T. C., & Campbell, T. M. (2006). The China study: The most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted and the startling implications for diet, weight loss and long-term health.