The basic principles of a whole-foods and plant-based plan of eating are as follows:
- To start, I am emphasizing eating whole foods and plant based here, while minimizing processed foods.
- I am also placing limits or avoids on animal products.
- Our focus is going to be on plants, meaning vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, which should make up the majority of what you would eat.
- I am excluding refined foods, such as added sugars, white flour and all processed oils.
- I want you to pay special attention to food quality, with many proponents of the Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) program, promoted from locally sourced, organic food, if or whenever possible.
The WFPB diet is flexible. Followers eat mostly plants, while animal products aren’t totally off limits.
While some people following a WFPB diet may eat no animal products at all, another people may eat very small amounts of eggs, poultry, seafood, meat or dairy.
The whole-foods, plant-based diet emphasizes plant-based foods while minimizing animal products and processed items.
Foods to Avoid or Minimize on This Plan
The WF&PB diet is a way of eating that focuses on consuming foods in their most natural form. This means that heavily processed foods are excluded.
When purchasing groceries, focus on fresh foods and, when purchasing foods with a label, aim for items with the fewest possible ingredients.
Foods You Should Always Look to Avoid
- Fast food for one such as: French fries, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc.
- Added sugars and sweets: Table sugar, soda, juice, pastries, cookies, candy, sweet tea, sugary cereals, etc.
- Refined grains: White rice, white pasta, white bread, bagels, etc.
- Packaged and convenience foods: Chips, crackers, cereal bars, frozen dinners, etc.
- Processed vegan-friendly foods: Plant-based meats like Tofurkey, faux cheeses, vegan butters, etc.
- Artificial sweeteners: Equal, Splenda, Sweet’N Low, etc.
- Processed animal products: Bacon, lunch meats, sausage, beef jerky, etc.
Foods to Minimize
While healthy animal foods can be included in a WFPB diet, the following products should be minimized in all plant-based diets.
- Game Meats
When following a WFPB diet, highly processed foods should be avoided and animal products minimized.
A Sample Meal Plan for One Week
Transitioning to a whole-foods, plant-based diet doesn’t have to be challenging.
The following one-week menu can help set you up for success. It includes a small number of animal products, but the extent to which you include animal foods in your diet is up to you.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal made with coconut milk topped with berries, coconut and walnuts.
- Lunch: Large salad topped with fresh vegetables, chickpeas, avocado, pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.
- Dinner: Butternut squash curry.
- Breakfast: Full-fat plain yogurt topped with sliced strawberries, unsweetened coconut and pumpkin seeds.
- Lunch: Meatless chili.
- Dinner: Sweet potato and black bean tacos.
- Breakfast: A smoothie made with unsweetened coconut milk, berries, peanut butter and unsweetened plant-based protein powder.
- Lunch: Hummus and veggie wrap.
- Dinner: Zucchini noodles tossed in pesto with chicken meatballs.
- Breakfast: Savory oatmeal with avocado, salsa and black beans.
- Lunch: Quinoa, veggie and feta salad.
- Dinner: Grilled fish with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli.
- Breakfast: Tofu and vegetable frittata.
- Lunch: Large salad topped with grilled shrimp.
- Dinner: Roasted portobello fajitas.
- Breakfast: Blackberry, kale, cashew butter and coconut protein smoothie.
- Lunch: Vegetable, avocado and brown rice sushi with a seaweed salad.
- Dinner: Eggplant lasagna made with cheese and a large green salad.
- Breakfast: Vegetable omelet made with eggs.
- Lunch: Roasted vegetable and tahini quinoa bowl.
- Dinner: Black bean burgers served on a large salad with sliced avocado.
As you can see, the idea of a whole-foods, plant-based diet is to use animal products sparingly.
However, many people following WFPB diets eat more or fewer animal products depending on their specific dietary needs and preferences.
You can enjoy many different delicious meals when following a whole-foods, plant-based diet. The above menu can help you get started.
The Bottom Line
A whole-foods and plant-based diet is a way of eating that celebrates plant foods and cuts out unhealthy items like added sugars and refined grains.
Plant-based diets have been linked to a number of health benefits, including reducing your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, diabetes and cognitive decline.
Plus, transitioning to a more plant-based diet is an excellent choice for the planet. The key word here is transitioning.
I would not expect you to change your eating patterns over one day. Gradually make the changes you need, as you will also see an improvement in your energy and mind-set clarity!
Regardless of the type of whole-foods, plant-based diet you choose, adopting this way of eating is sure to boost your health.