There are many conflicting and controversial opinions regarding what constitutes a healthy diet. However, there is one common thread that everyone seems to agree on. That is, a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet, or at least a diet that primarily consists of whole plant-based foods, is the healthiest way to nourish the human body. Although we can get bogged down in all the information, this lifestyle, shall we say, is incredibly simple. It means that we eat quality real food that grows from the ground, instead of processed products that are marketed as food and manufactured often with little regulation.
Scientific studies continue to point to the importance of a whole-food plant-based diet to not only prevent chronic diseases, but often to reverse them as well. It is really not surprising given plant-based food, such as fruits and vegetables are among the healthiest, most nutrient dense foods on Earth. Experts are now educating on the incredible health benefits of other plant-based food, including nuts, beans, legumes, and whole-grains. All of these foods are considered whole food because they grow in their full form from plants and can be easily harvested and eaten without much, if any, changing from their raw, natural form. When the most part of our diet consists of a variety of such foods, it is likely that we have a clean and nutritious diet.
Whole food plant-based foods are undeniably superior to food that is processed, packaged, and preserved with ingredients that are known to be harmful for human health. Even when plant-based foods have been heavily processed with additives, colouring, preservatives and sugar, we are likely to obtain little nutrients from eating them. Given such processed foods offer minimal nourishment of macro (carbohydrates, protein, fat) and micro (vitamins, minerals) nutrients, consuming such empty calories with unhealthy additives regularly is far from nourishing for the human body. Although this may seem like it is common knowledge, given the abundance of junk food available, it’s as though we have desensitised to what processed food actually is as they creep their way into our homes all of the time.
Abundant Whole Food Plant-Based Food
Anyone who eats a whole food plant-based diet knows that contrary to popular belief, it is far from restrictive and actually feels incredibly abundant. Although salad is often a staple in such a diet, there are many other ways to increase the amount of whole foods in your diet, with a combination of hearty meals consisting of starches, legumes, nuts and seeds, and high-calorie fruit. In our experience, the more whole-foods that you eat, the more that your body craves this clean, nutritious and delicious way of life. Cultivating meals with a variety of the following foods will ensure that you are consuming a range of nutrients that the body will thrive off. A healthy plant-based diet consist of:
Fruit: mangoes, figs, berries, bananas, apples, grapes etc.
Vegetables: leafy greens, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, capsicum, broccoli, cauliflower etc.
Whole Grains: oats, quinoa, rice, buckwheat, freekah, millet, barley etc.
Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, beans, green peas, edamame, organic tofu etc.
Starches: potato, squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, corn etc.
Nuts & Seeds: almonds, sesame, hemp, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds etc.
If you would like to understand recommended quantities, refer to this Plant-Based Food Pyramid.
What About Animal-Based Foods?
It is your choice if you consume animal foods as a small part of your diet. The reason why animal foods and products are not considered to be a healthy form of whole food is because they can contain unhealthy amounts of cholesterol, hormones, antibiotics and bacteria, etc. Such contents can be unhealthy for human health, and have been associated with many acute and chronic diseases from acne and digestive issues, to diabetes, obesity and heart disease. As most, if not all nutrients found in animal-based products are found in plant-based foods, many studies show that a whole-food plant-based diet is the healthiest diet for longevity and for long-term health. Most experts agree that those who have removed animal products should take a preventative B12 supplement as vitamin B12 is not found in plants.
There is of course the lack of protein myth, which has been debunked in numerous articles. It’s understandable as to why people should have concerns about eating enough protein, particularly given it’s important roles within the body. Yet there are plenty of ways to consume protein from plant-sources. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that plant-based protein is healthier than animal protein, as it also contains a variety of macro and micro nutrients and does not come with the risks that have been associated to the consumption of animal proteins. Some plant-based protein sources are:
Soy products: Tempeh, Tofu, Soy Milk, Edamame
Legumes: Peanuts, Lentils, Kidney Beans, Black Beans, Chickpeas
Nuts & Seeds: Hemp, Pumpkin, Sunflower & Chia Seeds, Almonds, Pistachios
Grains: Seitan, Amaranth, Quinoa, Whole Wheat Pasta/Bread, Oatmeal & Brown Rice
Vegetables: Spinach, Peas, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Potato, Avocado & Mushroom
Fruits: Raisons, Apricots, Banana, Blackberries, Dates & Prunes
We work to provide free recipes to everyone within the Plantd community to ensure that you have a myriad of options, a wide variety of satisfying meals, and most importantly, enjoy the incredible tastes, textures and joy that good quality food brings to our lives. We have hand selected some nourishing, whole food plant-based recipes for you to enjoy:
Black Bean Quinoa Salad
Chickpeas and Roasted Vegetable Salad
Baked Sweet Potato with Crispy Spiced Chickpeas and Yogurt Lemon Tahini Dressing
Tempeh Rice Paper Rolls with Peanut Butter Sauce
Enjoy! Head on over to @plantd.co to find several recipes shared everyday and don’t forget to leave a comment to let us know what your favourite dish is at the moment.