Ample research suggests a deep-rooted connection between the consumption of processed food and the onset of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and even cancer. Embracing a whole food plant-based diet (WFPBD) can not only serve as a potent preventative measure against these health conditions but can also help manage and improve existing ones. Notably, WFPBD is more of a lifestyle than a mere diet.
Understanding the Whole Food Plant-based Diet (WFPBD)
The essence of a WFPBD lies in the consumption of whole, unrefined, and unprocessed foods. This includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes like beans. Moreover, it necessitates the avoidance or minimize consumption of all animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs, and cheese and oils. You’ll also need to forego the use of oils and oil sprays for cooking. If you must use oil, use unsaturated oils such as olive oil sparingly. In essence, you’ll be nourishing your body with foods that are closest to their natural state.
WFPBD vs Vegan Diet: What’s the Difference?
Although WFPBD and vegan diets both exclude animal products, they are not identical. A vegan diet may still include processed foods such as potato chips, refined flour products like white bread, packaged cereals, and processed soy meats. Despite being free of animal products, these items are highly processed and could contribute to chronic diseases. Therefore, it’s crucial to note that being vegan doesn’t always equate to having a healthy diet.
Transitioning to a Whole Food Plant-based Lifestyle: A Practical Guide
If you’re wondering where to begin your journey toward a WFPBD lifestyle, here are some practical steps.
Step 1: Start Small
Commence by cutting out one or two processed items from your daily diet. For instance, if you consume soda or any beverage other than water regularly, consider eliminating that. Even diet sodas can contribute to obesity. Next, incorporate an additional one or two servings of fruits and vegetables into your meals daily, with a goal of eventually reaching five servings.
Step 2: Cut Out Processed Meats
Once you feel comfortable, usually within a week or two, aim to eliminate bacon and other processed meats such as lunch meat from your diet.
Step 3: Embrace Plant-based Cooking
Begin by preparing one plant-based meal each week. Gradually increase the frequency of these meals. The average time to transition to WFPBD is about 2 months. However, each individual moves at their own pace. No matter how slow the transition may be, as long as you moving closer toward your goal, the speed doesn’t matter.
Step 4: Stock Up On Essentials
Maintain a pantry filled with essential WFPBD items like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, a variety of dry beans (including garbanzo, kidney, pinto, and black beans), lentils, and whole wheat flour. Having canned beans on hand can also be useful for backup. Consider cooking and freezing larger batches of beans for future use. These ingredients are versatile and can be used in a myriad of delicious recipes.
Ready to Cook? Dive into Delicious WFPBD Recipes
After understanding and preparing for a WFPBD lifestyle, you’re ready to explore the culinary side of this healthy lifestyle. So why wait? Dive right into our collection of mouthwatering WFPBD recipes to tickle your taste buds while nurturing your health.
Hummus is easy to make, it’s versatile, and it can be modified for any palate preference. It can be a substitute for mayonnaise in sandwiches, it can be used as a dip or in salad. It is a great source of protein as the main ingredient is garbanzo beans.
*1 cup garbanzo beans
½ freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice-add a whole lemon if tangy flavor is desirable
2 cloves of garlic-optional (or more if you like garlic flavor)
½ cup fresh basil or parsley or cilantro-add 1 cup if you love herbs
2 tablespoons tahini sauce (optional-adds creamy texture)
1 teaspoon of salt (skip salt if on a low sodium diet or use salt substitute)
* To make fresh garbanzo beans at home, soak one bag of dry garbanzo beans overnight in warm water. Add 2 cups of water per 1 cup of dry beans, bring it to a boil, and simmer until fully cooked. Add water as needed to keep beans submerged in water while cooking. If you have access to an instant pot, then soak one bag of beans for one hour and cook for one hour. Add 2 cups of water to 1 cup of beans. Freeze leftover beans for later use
**You can vary the amount or skip the jalapeno based on your spice tolerance
Combine garlic, herbs, lemon juice, jalapeno, tahini, salt and garbanzo beans in a food processor and blend together.
Other flavored variations to the recipe:
Roasted red bell pepper hummus
Roasted garlic hummus
As listed above, plus cumin and red bell pepper
-roast about 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
-add 2 tablespoons of water
-add garlic and jalapeno and saute
-add chopped seeded red bell pepper
-keep adding water to keep ingredients from sticking to the pan
-cook ingredients till bell pepper is roasted
-mix sauteed ingredients with lemon juice, salt, tahini, herb, salt, and garbanzo beans together in a food processor and blend.
To make roasted garlic hummus:
-use entire or even two garlic heads
-pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
-wrap the garlic in foil and bake for about 15 minutes or until the texture is soft
Oil-Free Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard (or stone-ground mustard)
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (optional)
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped basil
1 teaspoon of water
Fresh ground pepper and ¼ teaspoon of salt to taste (use salt substitute or no salt if on a low-sodium diet)
Mix the ingredients together
Combine all the ingredients in a jar or Tupperware, and mix well.
Use or store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Oil-Free Ranch Dressing
-1 12-oz soft silken tofu
-3 tbsp unsweetened plant-based milk (either almond, soy or oat milk)
-2 cloves of garlic
-¼ cup coarsely chopped onion
-½ fresh squeezed lemon juice
-¼ cup fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley
-1tbsp fresh dill or ½ tsp dried dill
-1tbsp chopped fresh chives
-combine tofu, milk, garlic, onion, parsley, and dill in a blender. Season with salt and pepper. Add additional milk as needed to reach the desired consistency. Mix in chives. Chill before serving. Discard after 3-4 days if not consumed
-2 cups spinach or mixed greens
-½ cup shredded carrots
-1cup mixture of red, yellow and green bell peppers
-3 chopped radishes (watermelon radish adds a lot of flavor and color)
-1 chopped cucumber
-¼ cup red or sweet onion
-½ cup shredded cabbage
-1 cup cooked garbanzo beans or hummus
– *1 cup cooked red or white quinoa
-½ cup of chopped walnuts (or sliced unroasted, unsalted almonds), optional
Mix all the ingredients together, add oil-free salad dressing or oil-free ranch dressing.
Feel free to modify and add any of your favorite vegetables
Quinoa is a gluten-free, high protein (8 grams per cup), high fiber (5 grams per cup), highly versatile, easy-to-cook grain. It comes in a variety of colors. To cook quinoa, rinse quinoa in warm water. Add 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa, bring it to a boil, and then let it simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Add more water as needed to fully cook.
2 cups chopped cilantro
1 lemon (large)
½ cup walnuts
*2 cloves of garlic
Salt to taste
*can skip if you prefer or add more if you prefer spice
Combine ingredients in a blender until all the ingredients are finely chopped.
Use it as a dip or salad dressing. See recipe for a nutritious and delicious bowl below.
Sweet Potato and Beet Salad
½ cup chopped kale
½ baby spinach
¼ cup sweet onion
½ cup cooked garbanzo beans
½ thinly sliced beet
½ cooked sweet potato or 1 if small
~1 tbsp cilantro lime dressing (may add more if needed)
Chop sweet potato in about ½ inch slices.
Mix 2 tablespoons of water and sweet potato in a skillet, cover and cook on medium to low heat. Mix as needed, and add more water to keep from sticking.
Mix all the ingredients together. Chill for about 1-2 hours before serving.
Tomato and Onion Salad with Fresh Basil and Kiwi
1 chopped large tomato chopped
½ chopped sweet onion
¼ cup chopped fresh basil (can also substitute basil for parsley or cilantro)
1 finely chopped jalapeno (optional)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients together, ready to devour!