2.50 Whole Food Plant Based Diet (WFPB)

In this video/article we are going to discuss the components of a whole food plant-based diet (WFPB diet). We will talk about how this is ideal for overall heart health and many other aspects of health as well. We will cover the basic nutrition aspects of this eating pattern. Later videos will discuss why this dietary pattern is not yet formally a recommendation of the USDA as well as what the USDA actually advises Americans to eat. Also, the DASH diet, the AHA diet and the Mediterranean diet will be discussed as well.

While a whole food plant based diet is quite different than what most Americans eat every day, it is the newest growing recommendations of healthcare providers as evidence is now strongly supporting this dietary pattern for optimal health. This dietary pattern is the ONLY one ever shown to reverse heart disease on more than one occasion. Many authorities call a whole food plant based diet a “cure for heart disease” and other atherosclerotic diseases such as stroke and peripheral arterial disease.

A whole food plant-based diet is not only completely vegetarian, meaning no meat of any type (beef/pork/poultry/fish/seafood), but also restricts any food item coming from an animal at all including milk, dairy or eggs. Eating this way results in zero cholesterol in your diet. Remember, you do not need to eat any cholesterol to live, thus if you are trying to stop cholesterol from building up in your arteries, then do not eat any at all. Also, a WFPB diet will contain only very small amounts of harmful saturated fats while giving you a large amount of health promoting fiber. Plant foods will give you more vitamins and minerals than any other diet and certainly will provide adequate complete protein to maintain good health.

While a person can eat “plant based” and survive on unhealthy processed foods, added sugar, added oil and salt, a whole foods plant based diet prohibits these. Just like the name implies, in a whole food plant based diet you have to eat the food in its whole form, such as eat the orange instead of drinking orange juice or eat the olive instead of adding olive oil onto something. Do not cook with oil or add oil to any foods. Check labels carefully to avoid oil. Use herbs and spices to add flavor instead. Do not add sugar to food, but sweeten recipes with fruit such as dates.

When a person decides to be simply plant based, perhaps for ethical or environmental reasons, it is quite easy to be unhealthy. Think about surviving on nothing but unhealthy plant based foods such as Oreo cookies, potato chips, cotton candy and beer. If you follow a true whole food plant based diet with a good variety, it is impossible to be unhealthy.

Do NOT be concerned that there will be nothing for you to eat. It is now time to start exploring the more than 100,000 edible plant species that exist. A whole new world of eating will open up to you which many people find exciting and quite enjoyable!

At this point it is a great time to start exploring resources in plant based nutrition.  HeartStrong.com has a comprehensive list of excellent websites, books and documentaries here: Plant Based Nutrition Resources – HeartStrong.com

In the rest of this section, we will talk in more detail about a whole food plant based diet.

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