A Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet Is Not a Diet of Vegetables
You may have heard that people living this way eat lots of spinach, kale, and collard greens, and that this is, in fact, the primary basis for many of the meals. You may even think we live only on leafy and raw vegetables. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
While leafy vegetables are an important part of the whole-food, plant-based diet, they are a very poor calorie, i.e., energy, source to be sustainable. We would need to eat almost 16 pounds (7.25kg) of cooked kale to get 2,000 calories of food! We certainly don’t eat this way, and we wouldn’t blame you for thinking it sounds crazy—we think so, too! In fact, it is virtually impossible to get enough calories from leafy vegetables alone to form a sustainable diet. Perhaps the most common reason for failure in this lifestyle is that people actually try to live on leafy vegetables alone. If you try to live on these vegetables, you become deficient in calories. Not eating enough calories leads you to feel hungry, which over time may result in decreased energy, feelings of deprivation, cravings, and even binges. These issues are not caused by switching to a plant-based diet—rather, they are all related to not eating enough.
Don’t get us wrong: We certainly recommend you eat generous amounts of leafy vegetables. But these are complementary foods that you eat regularly. They are not the energy source on your food plate.
So, if leafy vegetables aren’t the basis of a whole-food, plant-based life- style, what is?
Starch-Based Foods and Fruit Form the Basis of the Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet
Most of us are accustomed to building our dinner plate around meat. This will change with your new lifestyle. The center of your plate is now going to be the starch-based comfort foods most of us have always loved, but that have long been relegated to side dishes or stigmatized because of a misperception that they are “unhealthy.” Yet these are the foods that people around the world have thrived on for generations: tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes; starchy vegetables like corn and peas; whole grains like brown rice, millet, quinoa, and buckwheat; and legumes like chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, and lima beans.
They may be prepared a bit differently—leaving out oil and dairy, for example—but most of them will nonetheless be familiar. Those that aren’t may become delightful new discoveries you’ll make as part of embarking on your new lifestyle. In addition to starch-based foods, you can enjoy as much whole fruit as you like. No More Eating for Single Nutrients . . .
Focus on the “Package” and the Foods You Enjoy
The idea of eating a particular food for one nutrient is pervasive in our culture. We have been led to believe we should eat meat for protein, dairy for calcium, fish for omega-3 fatty acids, and even tomatoes for lycopene, among many others. This sort of thinking is misguided and has caused grave harm to human health. The quest for protein, for example, has steered us toward meat consumption. In this quest, we not only consume protein in excess of our needs, but also many harmful substances that are only present in animal foods.
No food is a single nutrient, and we should never think of foods in that way. Any given food has countless nutrients. What matters most is the overall nutrient profile, i.e., the whole package.
HOWEVER, having said this, we have put a fairly large amount of information on this website under Nutrition For LIfe: Food For LIfe: Natural Sources. This section is not intended for you to select invidivual foods to eat – BUT is there as a guide to show you how easy it is to reach your goal of a healthy lifestyle by eating a MEAT-FREE diet. Whole, plant-based foods contain all the essential nutrients (with the exception of vitamin B12), and in proportions that are more consistent with human needs than animal-based or processed foods.
So, our question is really this: Why waste any of what we eat on inferior packages? As long as—over time—we choose a variety of whole, plant-based foods, we will easily meet our nutritional needs.
Even on this diet, people sometimes tend to worry about eating a certain type of green vegetable for calcium, beans for protein, nuts for fat, and so on. We ask you to let go of that kind of thinking. The most important thing in this lifestyle is to choose the whole, plant-based food you enjoy most!
Source Reference: ForksOverKnives
Figuring Out What to Eat on a WFPB Diet
Figuring out how to eat a healthy plant-based diet is difficult for several reasons:
- Our taste buds are accustomed to meat and processed foods (with lots of salt/sugar/fat), so it takes time to learn to really appreciate whole foods. (Don’t give up until you get there because real food is very delicious!).
- Learning new ways of preparing food takes time.
- Cooking whole foods from scratch inevitably takes longer, especially at first, so we have to readjust our thinking and habits. (Once you master new skills, you’ll find all kinds of ways to cook very quickly when needed.)
- Everyone’s tastes and habits are different so there is no one set of recipes that works for everyone. (Others can provide ideas, but you have to work out the solutions on your own. Enjoy the adventure!)
For some people, making this change can feel a bit overwhelming at first, especially if you are trying to feed a family. Keep it simple! Don’t expect to be perfect overnight. Even though it takes effort, you can do it, especially if you decide you’re going to keep working until you succeed.
With this diet, you will primarily be cooking from scratch—there is really no way around it. Unless you can afford to hire a cook or know someone who will cook for you, you will be doing a lot of cooking (or you plan ahead). We have provided you with a simple guide in the form of Eat To Live booklet and Eat To Live recipes. Download them for your convenience.
You can find literally thousands of free recipes online. Of course, you don’t need thousands. Most people do fine most of the time with 6–12 recipes, but you may need to explore more than that before you figure out what you like and what works for your lifestyle.
The booklet Eat To Live – The DBM Way and its recipes will give you a good place to start
Beginner Strategy to Finding Foods You Will Like
You can find foods you like before you begin the diet, or start the diet right away with a few foods that you already know how to make while you explore new recipes.
- Make a list of all the foods you currently enjoy that already fit within the guidelines of this diet. Add to that list any foods you like that you can make fit the guidelines with minimal adjustments (like replacing meat with mushrooms, beans, or squash; using whole wheat stone-ground organic flour and making pasta or cooking with minimal amounts of coconut oil or water/broth instead of oil.
- Try WFPB recipes to find additional foods you think you’d enjoy, ones that work for you in terms of taste and preparation time. See Eat To Live for some ideas.
- After you have a basic set of 3 – 7 meals you like, continue to use them over and over each week. This takes the stress out of having to cook a bunch of new recipes. (You may want to make a detailed weekly menu so you can get all your shopping done at one time and be prepared for the full week. Make large batches so you don’t need to cook every day, of things that take a fair amount of time.; such as your own tomato sauce, home-made vegetable stocks, large quantities of chickpeas / beans / lentils which you can freeze and add to your stews, soups or curries.
- Plan your meals ahead of time. Make a menu plan. Based on your meal plan for the week, draw up a shopping list to cut back on waste – not only in time but money as well.
- As you have time and interest, try a new recipe, but don’t make the process harder or more complicated than it needs to be. Try one new recipe 2–3 times a month as you have time and desire. If you are having problems making a menu plan – try our – Eat To Live 15-Day Plan
- Don’t get discouraged if you make a recipe, and you don’t like it! Especially if it took a long time, this can be discouraging, but it is a natural part of the process. Make this a chance to figure out how you can “improve” the recipe to your tastes. Trying adding more spice, hot sauce, salsa, onions, garlic, and/or himalayan salt.
- As your taste buds change, you’ll naturally find you enjoy more and more WFPB foods, but don’t pressure yourself about the process. Keep it simple!
Remember: if at first you are not enjoying this food, don’t panic. This will not last forever, just a relatively short time period. Not enjoying your food for a few weeks is NOT the end of the world. We humans are designed to enjoy wholesome plant foods. The food industry has hijacked our taste buds. We can reclaim them and learn just how wonderful and delicious the wholesome plants that were created for us, are. For further guidance on how to remove “toxic foods” from your diet see our 5-In–5–Out Program.
- Clear out your fridge and cupboards of all non-compliant foods, or if that is not possible, stick them in a place where you can’t see them unless you make a concerted effort.
- Stock up on staples that can last awhile: packets of organic beans, peas and legumes. Buy fresh tomatoes and process them immediately you get them home – make your own tomato sauce and freeze it. Wonderful to add to stews and soups; whole grains and other starches; spices and condiments.
- Buy fresh herbs and use them with all your meals. Don’t waste the “leftovers”. Chop them up and put into an ice-tray, add clean spring water and freeze. Add this to your next soup or stew. The same thing applies to lemons and limes. If you feel they are getting beyond their freshest, squeeze them into trays and freeze. Add these ice cubes to clean spring water to give your water an added boost of water-soluble vitamins or add them to stews or soups as needed. Don’t keep these ice cubes for more than a month.
- Do produce preparation soon after shopping so that you have already chopped/prepped veggies for a quick meal. Make sure that you wash your produce in 35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide to remove pesticides and debris.
Food Management Tips
- Be sure to eat enough food every day so you are not hungry. If you eat until you are full at each meal, you’ll do much better. If you are hungry you will be tempted to eat something unhealthy.
- Make sure that you chew well and eat SLOWLY, allowing your brain to register timeously when your stomach is full. If you wolf your food down, you will overeat.
- Be prepared: on this diet, the volume of food will be larger than what you ate before. However, the cost can be much cheaper, especially if you plan properly.
- Have some healthy snack foods available when you need something extra or want to munch on something. Keep some healthy snacks in your car, office, or anywhere else you spend lots of time.
- Don’t cut out salt. A little salt can make a big difference. If you tend to use too much, tackle the issue after you’ve found foods that you can enjoy and your tastes have changed. It is our experience that one’s sodium intake is high usually because of the pre-packaged/prepared and junk foods consumed. If you eat health whole foods, with a little salt added for taste, you will be absolutely fine….
- Find local restaurants or health-food stores with a big salad bar or other WFPB compliant foods so that you have a resource for healthful meals away from home or to recommend when friends or family what to eat out.
Begin the switch from Animal-Based diet to Whole Food-Based eating by replacing certain toxic foods. See our suggested switches in the pop-up on this page: Foods To Remove from Your Diet.
Next, take a look at our 5-In-5-Out Plan. Twelve steps to switching over to a WFPB diet. If your health challenge is not Cancer, then this is an ideal way to begin the change-over for Lifestyle Imbalances.
In slow easy steps, begin cleaning up your diet using the Whole food Plant-Based Plate and / or The DBM Food Pyramid.
Download the PDF Booklet called: Eat to Live, or view in PageFlip, on that link. An easy reference guide to making your way through the puzzle that is now going to be your way of life going forward, if you are to take charge of your own health. In the booklet is a quick reference to two weeks of eating. The recipes for this menu is also included as a PDF download called Eat to Live Recipes or view in PageFlip, on that link.
The Whole Food Plant based plate alongside gives a good indication of the “The Four Food Groups”. For a balanced diet follow the recommended daily servings as indicated. Use this as a guide to get you started whilst eating the foods you enjoy, until you are familiar and comfortable with the quantities and volumes you need to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
The DBM Food Pyramid alongside gives a good indication of types and volumes foods that we recommend to all DBM Patients/Clients.
The quantities vary slightly in quantities from the Standard Suggested servings as reflected on the Daily Nutrition Page – The Four Food Groups, for a reason. Depending on your health challenge, either suggested serving will work – but be guided by your DBM Physician/Practitioner.
DBM have their own approach to a WFPB diet. A lot of WFPB menus and recipes on the internet are filled with soya / soya products and we exclude this very stringently from our program. Other WFPB menus also exclude all fats, whereas we allow coconut and olive oils – occasionally we allow flaxseed oil (therapeutic – although the seeds are better) and hempseed oil.
Fats in diets are extremely controversial! Whilst we do not encourage copious amounts of fats, especially if you have chronic imbalances with your liver and gallbladder, we do prefer that you use a certain amount in the form of coconut and/or olive oil. The use of coconut oil boosts brain function, amongst other things, and extra virgin olive oil, as does coconut oil has much research showing their health benefits. Our “fat” of choice is most certainly coconut oil which we use for cooking and many other things. Olive oil we reserve purely for salad dressings, as we want to restrict the imbalance of omega-3 to omega-6 oils in our diets. Our main purpose for using olive oil is because of its antioxidant nutrients. See Fats, Oils & Omegas
Nutrient Composition of Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 100 grams
- Saturated fat: 13.8%
- Monounsaturated fat: 73% (most of it the 18 carbon long oleic acid)
- Omega-6: 9.7%
- Omega-3: 0.76%
- Vitamin E: 72% of the RDA
- Viramin K: 75% of the RDA
|DBM COMMENTWe make reference to dairy from goat or sheep throughout this website. You may ONLY eat the goat/sheep cheese and other products as indicated on the DBM Food Pyramid, on the advice of your DBM Physician/Practitioner. Make sure you check with them before you add goat/shee dairy to your diet plan.ITS IMPORTANT
By eating whole foods, a wide variety of fruit and veggies (Eat From The Rainbow) you will get all the nutrients your body needs. To show you how wonderful fruits and veggies are – look at the graphics on the Eat From The Rainbow page and you will clearly see that a wide range of fruit and veggies will more than provide for your needs.
Just a reminder of the link you can visit to gain more information on DBMs Daily Nutrition Page