So, what exactly is a whole food, plant-based diet?
A WFPB diet is centered on eating whole, unrefined plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. It excludes meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, and animal-derived ingredients (including whey, gelatin, milk-fat, and casein), as well as highly-refined, processed foods, including added sugars and oils.
A WFPB diet directs our focus towards what we’re putting into our bodies, rather than on what we’re leaving out, and is a fantastic way to promote overall health and well-being. According to a vast number of peer-reviewed studies and world-renowned medical pioneers, like Drs. Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn, eating a WFPB diet minimizes our likelihood of numerous chronic illnesses: including stroke, heart attack, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and various cancers; and is widely considered to be the best eating plan for optimal health and longevity.
The highly-respected American Dietetic Association (ADA) also considers plant-based diets to be appropriate for individuals during all stages of their life, including pregnancy, breast-feeding, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, as well as for athletes. In short, it’s a great diet for everyone, and can help us live healthier and longer.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN/CALCIUM/OMEGA 3 THOUGH?
Whole, plant-based foods are full of fiber, rich in vitamins and minerals (including omega 3 and calcium), free of cholesterol, and low in calories and saturated fat. Protein is also one of the essential nutrients found readily in plants, and since all protein actually originates from plants, meat is merely an intermediary source: one that comes with the unwelcome addition of cholesterol, saturated fat, hormones, carcinogenic compounds, and animal cruelty.
Great sources of protein: beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole grains
Great sources of calcium: kale, fortified non-dairy milk and yogurt, calcium-set tofu, spinach
Great sources of omega 3: walnuts, flaxseed, seaweed, edamame, kidney beans, canola oil
We’ll go into more detail in the next chapter.
BIG AND STRONG
The belief that we need animal protein to grow big and strong is as unfounded as the belief that drinking cows’ milk gives us stronger bones, and world record-breaking strongman Patrik Baboumian is living proof of this. In the 2019 James Cameron-produced film The Game Changers, which documents the rise of elite plant-based athletes, Baboumian recalls:
“One person asked me how can you get as strong as an ox without eating meat? And my answer was, have you ever seen an ox eating meat?”
Well, have you?!