What the heck is a whole-food, plant-based diet (also known as WFPB)? And why, with so many options and an abundance of different choices, should you pick a whole-food, plant-based diet? Marketers, dietitians, fitness experts, activists, doctors, friends, and family fight what should go to our plates. Not to mention that we are dealing with eating for nutrition and entertainment, ethical, emotional, and other reasons unrelated to food. However, the following article is not about ethics, morals, activism, etc. Instead, we will unpack why you may consider a whole-food, plant-based diet based on science and experience.
The estimated reading time is 12 minutes.
My Whole-food, Plant-Based Story
Over the last 20+ years, I tried carnivore, Atkins, weigh-watches, Mediterranean, and vegetation diets, to name a few. For that reason, a plant-based diet with periodic fasting, I think, is the optimal option for weight maintenance, health, and longevity. Although I’m 100% plant-based, I am not an activist or an environmentalist. I am following a “no-ism-ist” religion. Instead, I practice and teach what I find the most useful for my students and me. At this point, my health comes first. You may ask whether I care for animals or our Mother Earth? And, my answer is – yes, I deeply care. However, this is not my motivation to eat healthily.
In my mid-twenties, I ended up in the emergency room more often than I travel these days. When I was free of sinus infection, my stomach was protesting (no amount of painkillers would help). I was weak – an ancient woman living in a young’s girl body. So for years, doctors fed me with antibiotics and painkillers. It is your genetics, they told me, take a pill, we don’t treat sinus, take a pill; everyone has migraine and depression, take a pill…you got the gits! So, I was a twenty-something-year-old ancient dying creature. And I wanted to live. Out of all the doctors, my dentist, may the universe bless his soul, recommended trying an elimination diet by recording what I eat and how it makes me feel. He was shocked when I showed him my meds. So, my nutritional transformation journey, like many other endeavors, began with pain, a notepad, and a pen. I carried my treasured notes with me everywhere. Slowly, I gave up all my meds, and 20 years later, I still keep a log (now in digital excel form).
In 2002, I became a vegetarian as a result of this exercise. When I switched from a classic Western diet to a vegetarian diet, I lost weight, improved my health, and started feeling much better.
In 2016, I parted ways with my beloved cheese in preparation for my stem cell regenerative procedure. Within a few weeks, I dropped an extra few pounds. But, like many other vegans, I indulged in unhealthy junk non-food full of oil, sugar, and who knows what kind of ingredients. As a result, I gained another 10 pounds and started to feel pretty sluggish.
In 2020, I finally cleaned up my plate from vegan junk. Finally, at 45 years young, I accomplished my best fitness and health goals. Not to mention 18 pounds lighter at 106 pounds! Of course, all my blood results are perfect, and I feel the absolute best in my life! Of course, other factors, like fasting, cold, good life choices, and financial freedom, contribute to my well-being. However, I feel like diet is the easiest to fix and follow.
What’s the Difference Between Vegetarian, Vegan, and Whole-food, Plant-based diets?
First off, we must note that none of these labels exist in nature. Still, we need to have a labeling system to classify things. Once we put an object (diet) into a box, our brain knows how to relate to it. Second, there is absolutely no universal right or wrong way to eat. I don’t believe that eating any specific diet makes one a better human. Of course, there is no arguing that a well-balanced diet leads to better health. At the same time, however, no one truly knows what that diet is. Based on my experience, I would say that a whole-food, plant-based diet is optimal for weight maintenance and simplicity, and it’s also budget-friendly.
- A vegetarian diet does not allow meat from animal and sea creatures, but cheese and eggs are acceptable.
- A vegan diet eliminates all animal products, including dairy, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and honey.
- Whole food Plant-Based (WFPB) is a plant-based diet that includes plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes; and excludes any animal products, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, and cheese. Similarly, plant-based diets focus on eating whole foods balanced diet.
What is a Whole-food, Pant-based Diet?
A whole-food, plant-based diet can be summarized in the following principles:
Whole foods describe natural foods that are not heavily processed, which means whole, unrefined, or minimally refined ingredients.
Plant-based means food from plants and doesn’t include animal ingredients such as meat, milk, eggs, or honey.
Food categories to enjoy on a plant-based diet:
- Vegetables: Plethora of veggies including kale, spinach, all kinds of peppers, collard greens.
- Fruits: Any type of fruit including pears, apples, bananas, any kinds of berries, kiwi, pineapple, strawberries, citrus, passion.
- Tubers: Potatoes (all kinds) and other root vegetables, carrots, parsnips, beets, ginger.
- Grains: Quinoa, rice, millet, oats, barley, etc. Assuming you are not allergic to grain.
- Legumes: Beans (chickpeas, red beans, and any other kind), lentils.
- Fungi: Oysters, Lion’s Mane, white buttons, shitake, mistake, and so on.
- Others: Nuts, seeds, avocados, tofu, tempeh, plant-based milk.
What are the Benefits of a Whole-food, Plant-based Diet?
Several significant benefits to moving to plant-based nutrition are supported by excellent science. These benefits include easy weight management: people who eat a plant-based diet are leaner, and the diet makes it easy to lose weight and keep it off.
One of the studies concluded that the major benefits for patients on a plant-based diet are the possibility of reducing the number of medications they take to treat a variety of chronic conditions, decreased risk of cancer, and a reduction in their risk of death from ischemic heart disease.
The other randomized clinical trial found that a low-fat plant-based dietary intervention reduces body weight by reducing energy intake and increasing metabolism due to increased insulin sensitivity resulting from reduced hepatocellular and intramyocellular fat.
Yet, another study found that whole-food, plant-based diets reduce inflammation. Participants who switched to a plant-based diet for two months experienced reductions in inflammatory scores than those eating diets higher in fat and animal products.
Likewise, Likewise, some revolutionary doctors and scientists: professor David Sinclair, Michael Greger, and Valter Longo, all agree that adding more whole-food, plant-based foods is optimal for better health and longevity.
When I switched to a whole-food, plant-based diet, firstly, I was able to lose weight and maintain it. Secondly, I finally nip my food addiction to the but! To summarize, a whole-food, plant-based diet benefits are:
- No more cravings
- Addiction Free Diet
- More zest for life
- Weekly grocery bill down to $150.00 – $200.00
- Clear skin
What Should I eat daily on a Plant-based diet?
- 3x = leafy green and cruciferous vegetables (1x = 1 serving – 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked)
- 1x = Other Vegetables (1x = serving = 1/2 cup)
- 1x =Fruits (1x = 1 medium piece or 1 cup)
- 1/2x = Legumes (1/2x = 1/2 cup lentils, peas, all beans, hummus, tofu)
- One tbs Nuts and seeds (I have to be super vigilant here because it is easy to binge on nuts. So, as my friend recommended, I make delicious nut dressings)
Resources: Get Inspired to Learn About Whole-food, Plant-based Diet:
Internet, libraries, podcasts, health, and diet experts are everywhere. We live in the golden age of information. From the tips of our fingers, we can access material from ancient practices to modern science. I love to immerse myself in the world of wellness. This is one of my passions. Often, I feel like a scientist, with my body being a lab. If the concept sounds interesting, my gut feeling switch is on, and the research is solid, I experiment. Specifically, I record what I eat and how it makes me feel: waking up in the morning, energy level, clarity of thoughts, dreams, energy levels going to sleep. You can also try this simple method of tracking your food in a notepad or a spreadsheet. The following are my recommendations for further research.
The world’s strongest plant-based person, Patrik Baboumian, is a record-breaking powerlifter. Tennis champion Venus Williams swears that making the switch to the plant-based diet was one factor that helped improve her performance and get over an auto-immune disease. Also, thanks to his plant-based diet, Mike Tyson recently said he is “in the best shape ever”!
1) Ray Cronise
Ray is a leading expert in the plant-based world. I like his non-dogmatic and scientific, experimental approach. Ray Cronise has been one of my most excellent teachers (via podcasts, books, T.E.D. talks). He is a former NASA scientist behind the Metabolic Winter Hypothesis. You can listen to the Rich Roll podcast with Ray. Ray’s book: Plant base for dummies. A super easy read with a ton of solid science and easy-to-make recipes.
- You can listen to the Rich Roll podcast with Ray.
- Ray’s book: Plant base for dummies. A super easy read with a ton of solid science and easy-to-make recipes.
2) Julieanna Hever
In 2020, I met a registered dietitian. I met my friend and teacher Julieanna Hever (M.S., R.D., C.P.T., also known as The Plant-Based Dietitian). Julieanna’s passionate approach to life and food changed my life. It was not an easy path, and it is a long story for another time. Nonetheless, the Plant-Based Diet truly changed my life for the better.
Julieanna Hever & Ray Cronise are behind the success of many celebrity transformations (Pen Jillette) and helping the rest of us. As a result of their collaboration, the most artistic and beautiful book was born.
To give you a taste, Ray’s answer to the most frequently asked question in one of his interviews:
Where do you get your protein?
“We hear people clamoring about “protein,” and yet most don’t know that the tens of thousands of proteins (plural) are synthesized from just 20 amino acids. No animal makes all 20, and plants make the nine amino acids that must come from our diet. All whole plant food contains all 20 amino acids. This is why the ten largest mammals walking the planet – including five rhinoceroses, two elephants, the hippopotamus, the giraffe, and the gaur—don’t eat animal flesh yet are still plenty muscular. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices has an abundance of healthy phytonutrients and restricts nutrients that may be detrimental to health. ~ Ray Cronise
Get Ray Cronise and Julieanna Hever’s latest book, healthspan solution. It is wealthy with plant-based Healthspan research. And, you can get easy to make whole-food, plant-based recipes.
3) Dr. Neal Barnard
Neal Barnard is a leading expert in the plant-based diet. Check out his book: “Cheese Trap.” Warning, this book will end your cheese addiction. After reading the cheese trap, I gave up dairy for good. Another great resource is 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart is, a plant-based guide. Try it for just 21 days! What do you get to lose? You most likely lose weight, have more energy, and feel younger.
4) Dr. Michael Greger
Michael is the founder of a NUTRITIONFACTS.ORG – non-commercial, science-based, and free public service. There are over 1,000 videos related to nutrition research on nearly every aspect of plant-based eating.
You can pick up the How Not to Die Cookbook with many healthy, easy-to-make meals.
5) Rich Roll
Here is another hero of mine! Rich Roll’s book is a work of art! Check out finding Ultra. Rich Roll was an unhappy addict, overweight, and unhealthy. Truly yours can relate. This book is about Rich turning his life around to compete in one of the world’s most brutal endurance events. In addition, he is a host for the Rich Roll podcast, where he delves deep into the topics of plant-based and transformation.
Not only you’ll experience an integrated approach to wellness designed to help you feel better inside and look better on the outside, but the SOFLY 3-day program gives you three plant-based recipes that you can reuse and play with. After you sign up, you’ll get a complete guide, including three SOFLY videos (using an integrated method that includes breathing, centering, releasing, and strengthening the entire body) and three healthy plant-based recipes, and a gift: a complete guide to cease your morning with morning therapy. In addition, you can adjust the recipes to add variations to create a brand new creation of your own! First, of course, check out the SOFLY resources page.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services L.L.C. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Anna Sheinman. They are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, and they are not intended as medical advice. Instead, they are intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from my own research and experience. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.