There is often confusion about what a wholefood, plant based diet means so firstly let’s talk definitions. A wholefood is a natural food that is unrefined and not heavily processed. Plant based means a food that comes from plants, not containing any animal ingredients.
While a wholefood, plant based diet is vegan friendly, the vegan lifestyle extends further to exclude all items made from animal products not just food; for example, leather shoes or handbags.
A good starting place to eating a wholefood, plant based diet is to make sure your diet is rich in vegetables – including root vegetables, fruit of all types, legumes and pulses, grains and cereals in their natural whole form. Nuts and seeds also fall into this list, a handful a day is recommended. Eating a rainbow of colours from fruits and vegetables each day not only makes your meals look great, but it also provides a wide variety of tasty, wholefood nutrients to boost our energy and our body’s daily processes.
If the idea seems overwhelming then start small with some easy to implement changes.
- You could commit to using whole grains like oats for breakfast, and whole grain breads instead of the processed white variety.
- Designate some meat-free meals throughout the week – for example, try using chickpeas, kidney beans, quinoa or lentils, add sprouts and mushrooms to a salad with a couple of chopped walnuts.
- The next step might be to commit to completely plant based day(s) within the week.
The health benefits of a wholefood, plant based diet are well documented in scientific research, books and documentaries. The health benefits can include having more energy, clear and radiant skin, healthy weight management and supporting healthy blood sugar balance. Your bowels will love the extra fibre to help keep it swept clean and your body will find it easier to rid itself of toxins.
A plant based diet also positively impacts the planet. Plants use less water to create our food and have a smaller carbon footprint than animal sourced food.
Living a wholefood, plant based lifestyle is an exciting adventure with so many vibrant, tasty options out there to try. Plants provide us with such nutrient-rich, versatile options and if buying in season, often at a lower cost to our pocket as well. A little heads up before embarking on this journey… plant based eating is addictive. Once you get a taste for it, and start to feel the benefits, you’ll be hooked!