What is a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet (WFPBD)?

(The following information is courtesy of T. Colin Campbell, Center for Nutrition Studies)

Embrace Whole Plants

Eat all you want while getting lots of variety of any whole, unrefined plant-based food. View T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies' whole food, plant-based recipes for inspiration in the kitchen.

Eliminate Animal-Based Foods

Diets containing animal based protein are associated with a huge disease burden, far more than most people realize. Excess protein increases carcinogenic activity and is correlated with the health risks for all chronic diseases including coronary artery diseases and diabetes epidemics. The RDA for protein is 10% of calories, though most tend to eat twice that. The only way to over-consume protein is through excess animal food consumption or the use of isolated protein in processed foods. Animal foods have no fiber, while whole plant foods are packed with fiber, which fill you up, keep you regular, and regulate nutrients into the body.

Eliminate All Dairy

A very popular animal-based food product worthy of separate mention is dairy. Contrary to popular belief dairy consumption is not necessary for bone health and is associated with autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and cancers of the prostate and breast. Dairy proteins promote growth hormones which increase tumor growth. Worried about getting enough calcium for strong bones? You can get plenty without consuming dairy.

Avoid Refined & Processed Foods

There is a correlation between refined foods and disease - sweets, pastries and processed pastas lack their original fiber, vitamins and minerals. These processed foods convert to sugars in the blood, increasing the risk for insulin resistance, colon cancer vascular disease and weight gain.

Avoid/Eliminate Oil

Oil, even the finest olive oil, is 100% fat, calorically-dense and nutrient-poor. As Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. MD explains, oil injures the endothelium, the innermost lining of the artery, and that injury is the gateway to vascular disease. For those with known heart disease, even adding a little oil can have a negative impact on heart health. If you decide to stop consuming oil, Tom Campbell, MD recommends cleaning with it.

 

Let Water Be Your Beverage of Choice

Water carries nutrients, oxygen and electrolytes throughout the body for all of its vital work, including nerve signaling, muscular movement and toxin removal. Signs of not drinking enough water include fatigue, fluid retention and constipation. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. By the way, if you are wondering about drinking alcohol take a look at Tom Campbell, MD’s thoughts on the matter.

Start Your Day With a Healthy Meal

A healthy meal, high in fiber and complex carbohydrates will allow for steady levels of blood sugar throughout the day, a prolonged feeling of fullness, optimal alertness and less desire for snacking. Many enjoy oatmeal with fruit or whole-grain cereals. If trying to lose weight or reset tastebuds, consider eating vegetables for breakfast or any meal. Many people enjoy smoothies as they transition away from less healthy foods, although some benefits are diminished.

Beware of Fad Diets

Don't fall for food fads, such as the low-carb or Paleo diet (recycled Atkins diet), without researching the health implications.

How to Set Yourself up for Success One Meal at a Time

Living a WFPB lifestyle does not have to be time consuming, or expensive. As a matter of fact you will save time and money once you get in the habit of eating this way. Check out T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies' Plant-Based Food Guide: How to Eat Well on a Budget brimming with tips and delicious recipes. Have fun, be creative, do not take things too seriously, substitute when necessary, connect with others and enjoy. Use our sample menu for three days of WFPB meals.

Read Ingredient Labels Carefully

If purchasing a pre-packaged food product be sure to carefully read what is in the package, box or can. Note that product ingredients are listed in descending order, with the greatest amount, by weight listed first. Purchase products with just a few, recognizable plant-based ingredients. The less processed the better. Avoid added sweeteners and additives including oils and fats.

What About Vitamins and Supplements?

Tom Campbell, MD suggests that Vitamin B12 is an exception and that a WFPB eater can monitor Vitamin D with his or her personal doctor. T. Colin Campbell explains that the word vitamin is deeply embedded in our brains. In the past, children were forced to take cod liver oil and more recently colorful, sugary cartoon shaped supplements. T. Colin Campbell maintains that individual vitamin supplements do not work for long term health, and that to insist they do diverts attention away from the truly important message of consuming whole, plant-based foods.