What is a plant-based diet

Note: this post has been updated in January 2020.

You hear people talk all the time about “plant-based diets.” But do you really know what a plant-based diet is? There are different variations of this type of diet, but for the most part it centers on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. The basic description of whole-foods is food that is unprocessed and in its natural state. Plant-based means anything that grows in the soil and does not come from any animal such as meat, eggs, milk, or honey. People following a vegan diet will not buy or use products that come from animals including cosmetics, lotions (lanolin), and clothing (leather).

When it comes to plant-based diets, there are three basic types:

Vegetarian – eats vegetables and fruit, but also consumes eggs and dairy

Vegan – eats vegetables, fruits, beans, grains and no eggs or dairy (may eat soy “meat” or cheese substitutes)

Engine 2 Plant-strong/Whole Food Plant-Based Diet – whole plant foods, no meat or cheese, no dairy, and no processed foods (imitation meat and cheese substitutes)

These definitions may seem a little confusing, as they are to most people. To make it easier, vegetarians eat mostly vegetables or plant-based foods but allow certain foods. Vegans don’t eat any animal products but do substitute with soy-based variations. The Engine 2 plant-strong diet consists of just the plant foods with no allowances and no substitutions.

The biggest benefits of plant-based diets are that they are more nutritious because you are getting the vitamins and nutrients in the vegetables, protein from the grains and legumes (beans, lentils, peas) that the standard American diet is missing. We don’t eat enough of these nutrients per day to be as healthy as we could be.

The whole foods plant-based diet and the plant-strong diet are essentially the same diets as in both camps these diets do not include any meat or dairy. The phrase “Plant-Strong” was coined by Rip Esselstyn. Plant-strong is the term used by Rip Esselstyn and the followers of Engine 2 which include the food products sold and marketed through Whole Foods

Ok, what is a whole food plant-based diet?

Without all the descriptions and names, the simplest answer is a diet full of plants without the addition of processed foods. This diet eliminates all animal products, including dairy and eggs, and anything that is processed or imitation.

For those who follow a plant-based diet, instead of meals being based on meat with supplementary vegetables, the focus is always on the meals largest concentration being on the plant foods with grains and legumes being supplemental.

Whole food, plant-based diet (WFPB)

What is a plant-based diet

Although it doesn’t include any meat, dairy, or eggs it is not the same as a vegan diet, which is defined only by what it eliminates. A WFPB diet is defined also by what it emphasizes: a large variety of whole foods.

Foods that are included in the WFPB diet: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes (as much as you want). It also includes, in moderation: nuts, seeds, avocados, natural sweeteners, and certain soy or wheat products that don’t contain added fat (e.g., tofu, seitan).

Foods that are not included in a WFPB diet because they are heavily-processed: white rice, white flour, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and foods containing added fat. Yes, even olive oil.

You are probably thinking, “What kinds of meals can you make on a plant-based diet?” There are many good recipes for this way of eating on the Web. I’ve included references below to websites where you can find recipes, meal plans and nutritional information.  Don’t worry, you will not starve eating meals like these.

Some Ideas for Plant-based meals:

  • Vegan chili –
  • Vegan Enchiladas
  • Beans and rice
  • Garden Salads
  • Falafel Bowl
  • Vegetable Paella
  • Mushroom Stroganoff
  • Grilled Zucchini and Bread Salad
  • Homemade Hummus and vegetables
  • Creamy Cauliflower Soup

That is it, that is all there is to eating a healthy diet.

– via What is a whole food plant-based diet

Prescription to live a long healthy life

From the creators of the groundbreaking documentary comes the New York Times bestselling diet plan Sanjay Gupta called “the prescription you need to live a long, healthy life”—a plan to transition to a delicious whole-foods, plant-based diet in just twenty-eight days.

The trailblazing film Forks Over Knives helped spark a medical and nutritional revolution. Backed by scientific research, the film’s doctors and expert researchers made a radical but convincing case that modern diseases can be prevented and often reversed by leaving meat, dairy, and highly refined foods off the plate and adopting a whole-food, plant-based diet instead.

Time to Take Action

Now, The Forks Over Knives Plan shows you how to put this life-saving, delicious diet into practice in your own life. This easy-to-follow, meal-by-meal makeover is the approach Doctors Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman (featured in the documentary) use every day in their nutritional health practice—a simple plan that focuses on hearty comfort foods and does not involve portion control or worrying about obtaining single nutrients like protein and calcium.

Whether you’re already a convert and just want a dietary reboot, or you’re trying a plant-based diet for the first time The Forks Over Knives Plan makes it easier than ever to transition to this healthiest way of eating…and to maintain it for life.

Useful Reads:

The Plant-Based Solution: America’s Healthy Heart Doc’s Plan to Power Your Health

The China Study Solution: The Simple Way to Lose Weight and Reverse Illness, Using a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet

How Not to Die: Discover theFoods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet

Start Your Journey to Health

Join the Physicians Committee’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart to receive meal plans, recipes, and advice from nutrition experts. This service is free and will help you take control of your health with a vegan diet

The 21-Day Vegan Kick start is supported by decades of research showing that a plant-based diet can help you reach a healthy weight and lower your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Our low-fat plant-based recipes, developed by chefs, dietitians, and experts in vegan cuisine, provide nutritious meals that are both healthy and delicious. Within 21 days you will start to see results and won’t look back! via – 21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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