There’s a lot of confusion about what is the best diet for humans. In the past 20 years processed foods have become ubiquitous. Many of us don’t even know what real food is or how to prepare it. But it’s easy once you get started with the basics!
What is a whole-foods plant-based diet?
WFPB is a diet that includes a wide variety of plant foods, whole grains, legumes, fruits, leafy greens, starchy veggies like squash, sweet potatoes, small amounts of nuts, seeds, and avocados, and lots of fresh and dried herbs and spices. We eliminate processed foods like white flour, refined sugar, soft drinks, and refined oils.
Why would anyone want to eat a WFPB diet?
Scientific studies show the effectiveness of diet whole-foods plant-strong diets in the rapid recovery from many chronic disease symptoms due to inflammation. People with the highest longevity, happiness and health, eat a diet high in plants and very low in animal products. This diet is also low in saturated fats, and it’s easy on the environment.
Where do you get your protein?
All plant foods have some protein and fat as well as carbohydrates. And these macronutrients are in safe, absorbable packages. We only need about 10 to 15 % of our diet from protein according to the World Health Organization. When you eat a wide variety of plants every day, you get an average of 27% protein.
Usually, the only supplementation you need on WFPB is an algae-based DHA, D3, and B12. Everything else you need is more than ample on a meat-free diet as long as you eat a wide variety of foods and get enough calories.
Don't we need dairy for calcium?
Cow’s milk is not a good source of calcium for humans because it is high in saturated fats, and casomorphins that can damage your immune system. The hormones in milk have been linked to type 1 diabetes in children as well as possible links to autism.
Calcium from plants is safe and abundant in most legumes, greens, and root vegetables.
The United States has a much higher rate of osteoporosis than countries that use no dairy products or calcium supplements and eat a whole-foods diet low in animal products.
But don't we need the nutrients in animal products?
Humans can survive on just about any food. But a diet high in animal products is not optimal for humans. We have long digestive tract compared with carnivores. We are designed for predominantly starch digestion. Animal products were never meant to be our main source of calories.
Animal products played a part in our becoming dominant on the planet, along with the use of tools and fire, no doubt about that.
The introduction of animal products into the human diet helped to increase and concentrate our calories and made it possible to live outside the tropical regions that other primates are limited to.
But with factory farming we are eating way too much meat and it is not the lean, hormone-free fare we had when we were wild.
When we learned to use fire and other food processing techniques like drying, pounding, and fermentation, we grew bigger brains, spent less time digesting and became dominate as a species. Read Richard Wrangham’s book Catching Fire to learn the details of our evolution to cooked foods.
Meat had its place in our evolution. But science is finding that our optimal diet does not include nearly as many animal products as we eat in the US, now that we have other better options.
What about GMO, organic, and regenerative farming?
Humans have been breeding plants for specific benefits through hybridization for centuries. But that is not what Monsanto is doing. Large corporations have created crops that are resistant to toxic glyphosate and other poisons. Corporations did this so they could have a monopoly on our food source and create more profits for shareholders. GMO chemicals are creating dead zones in our oceans and major water systems and damaging our gut microbiome, immune system and more.
The mono-crop mentality is partly responsible for the destruction of much of our ecosystem, and the rise of chronic disease from 3% to 43% in just a few decades. Organic food production is better, but it still uses monocrop techniques.
Over tilling damages topsoil and depletes soil of the natural bacteria we need to thrive. Regenerative farming is better because it goes back to low-till soil techniques that hold millions of trace elements we need to thrive. Regenerative farming, and permaculture farming techniques reintroduces crop diversity and is key to saving our ecosystem.
Why is WFPB low in fat and oil?
Diets with over 25% of calories from fat, have been correlated with lifestyle diseases, and obesity.
We need healthy fats in our diets. All the fats we need are readily available from just about all plant foods including, fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, and whole nuts and seeds.
Oil is 100% fat and has had all the beneficial phytonutrients removed. Refined oil has been found to damage epithelial cells in the gut causing dysbiosis of the gut bacteria.
Diets that are too high in fat are a major contributor to cardiovascular disease.
Delicious meals are easy to create without using oil. You will be surprised at how little you miss oil and high-fat recipes on a WFPB diet.
Once your taste buds adjust to real food you won’t want to go back to oily rancid, processed fare.
Your Gut Microbiome and WFPB
Your microbiome is the key to health and longevity. Your microbiome requires a diet high of fiber, whole foods, phytonutrients, and plants to thrive.
Your microbiota plays a major role in the immune system by helping to maintain mucous a barrier along your digestive tract to keep toxic substances out of the blood stream.
Gut microbiota dysbiosis from eating a processed diet high in animal products can affect your metabolism making it difficult to lose weight.
Chronic disease symptoms have their root-causes in damage to the microbiome; including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, inflammation, Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and more.
WHAT DO YOU EAT ON A
There are so many healthy recipe guides these days because the popularity of whole foods diets is on the rise. The shear bulk of your food will be fruits and non-starchy veggies, while the largest volume of your calories will come from whole grains, tubers, and legumes.
Non-starchy Leafy Greens and colorful veggies
There are thousands of different combinations of raw and cooked veggies to choose from. At only 100 calories per pound you can eat as much as you like.
Starchy Whole Grains and Tubers
Large piles of quinoa, buckwheat, steel cut oats, whole grain breads, brown rice, pastas, sweet potatoes, squash and yams. Around 500 calories per pound.
Large servings of black beans, Garbanzo beans, adzuki beans, lentils, pinto beans, tofu, miso, and so many more! Around 600 calories per pound.
Fruit is high in fiber, so it does not spike your blood sugar and has valuable phytonutrients that heal your gut bacteria. Only around 200 calories per pound when you avoid drying, juicing, or blending.
Nuts, Seeds and Whole Fats
Small amounts raw Avocados, olives, pine nuts, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds, and more make oil unnecessary.
Use sparingly at 2800 calories per pound.
Spices, Vinegars & Sauces
There are many delicious varieties of balsamic and apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, and many delicious sauces to create with natural herbs and spices.