Getting Started With Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet
Whole Food Plant Based Diet, quiet a mouthful isn't it? Trust me, it gets easier. Both to get a hang of the name and also eat this way. Just give it some time. Your body will thank you for it.
The first step to getting started on a whole-foods, plant-based diet is to understand what it is and learn more about it. This will give you clarity on why you need to upgrade your diet and lifestyle. It will empower you with the knowledge to make the change without getting overwhelmed or swayed by misinformation.
The highlight of a whole foods, plant-based diet is the health benefits that you get from following it. Reduced risk of heart disease, better blood sugar levels, reduced diabetes risk, optimal weight and better weight management, reduced risk of strokes, hypertension, asthma, PCOS, and even some types of cancers. In the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic, reduced risk of severe COVID-19 infection. All this has been associated with a whole-foods, plant-based diet.
What do we mean by Whole Food Plant Based?
The term plant based diet refers to a diet which does not include animal products, animal ingredients or food derived from animals. This is also sometimes known as a Vegan Diet. Whole Food adds another dimension to this. A whole-food, plant-based diet is one largely comprised of unprocessed plant foods. This means a diet comprised of a variety of fruits, berries, vegetables, greens, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, herbs, spices, and mushrooms. All this in their whole form - with the fiber intact- without removing components. Processed foods include oil, sugar/jaggery, white rice, maida, rava, semiya, among others.
The History of the term Plant Based and the addition of 'Whole Foods'
Dr. Colin Campbell conducted the world's largest epidemiological study called The China Study. When he compared the diets and health status of rural Chinese to Americans, he found that that the top killers in the US - coronary heart disease and cancers - were practically absent in China! His research showed that this was primarily due to their diet and lifestyle. Consumption of Animal foods, which is big part of the standard American diet, seemed to be the top dietary cause of these diseases. So he named the healthy diet the Chinese followed, the 'Plant Based Diet' in 1982 .
He realised that this definition alone is not enough. By definition, chips and soda are still plant based. So, he added another dimension to the definition and called it the 'Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet'.
Why Diets Fail?
You already know this. You have probably tried dieting at some point or the other and more likely than not, have failed. I have had patients coming to me, tired of various methods to get to their ideal weight. "Dr, I have tried all diets, but somehow, nothing works. I am fed up!" Sounds familiar?
The problem is not with you, it's because:
- Most diets are unscientific, unhealthy & impractical
- Most diets lead to deficiencies & increase your risk of chronic lifestyle diseases
- It takes a toll on your mental health, & creates a negative relationship with food
- Diets also promote an unhealthy body image & push you to reach unattainable "beauty" standards
- Diets also encourage myths around nutrition to propagate
'Diets don't work, you go on a diet and you go off a diet. You go back to what you were eating before. When you start eating plant-based food, it becomes a lifestyle. This gives you permanently better health.
What is a Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet?
A Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet is a diet rich in unprocessed plant foods. It calls for the elimination of both animal foods as well as processed foods. It has been shown to prevent, manage and even potentially reverse chronic lifestyle diseases such as coronary artery disease, reduces diabetes risk, risk of high BP, Obesity, PCOS, Asthma and even some types of cancers
What is allowed on a whole food plant based diet?
On a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based diet, you can eat
- Fruits and berries
- Vegetables and greens
- Pulses and legumes
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Herbs and spices
These are all whole plant foods, which means they come from plants and are unprocessed - fiber is not removed
What can you not eat on a whole food plant-based diet?
On a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based diet, you avoid anything that comes from animals including
- Meat, fish and eggs
- Dairy foods - milk, buttermilk, curds, butter, cheese, paneer, cream, & ghee
You also avoid processed foods including
- White rice, maida, rava & semiya
- Sugar & jaggery
This is because animal foods including dairy foods, as well as processed foods have been associated with a range of chronic diseases.
Whole Food Plant Based Diet Pyramid
A Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet shows that the typical western diet pyramid is not scientific. Instead of a diet pyramid, a better representation would be a healthy plate with servings of fruits, vegetables, pulses and legumes, whole grain, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices. A well balanced nutritious Whole-foods, plant-based diet is one with a lot of variety every day.
How do I get Protein from Plant Based Meals?
There is a fear that you won't be able to meet your protein requirements on a plant based diet. This fear is unfounded.
- Plants have protein. Contrary to popular belief, plants not only have protein but you can meet all your protein requirements with whole plant foods. Protein rich plant foods are lentils, beans, whole grains, nuts, & vegetables. They also have other important macro and micronutrients which are crucial for recovery.
- Animal sources of protein are all recycled protein or secondary sources. Where do poultry & land animals get a majority of their protein from? Think about it, it's from plants! So when we consume animal products we are consuming recycled protein. Instead cut out the middle man and directly consume plant-based foods. You can get your protein, while eliminating the disease risks that comes from eating animal-based food
- Amino Acids: Protein from whole plant foods have all the amino acids that we need. We need to ensure that we eat a variety of plant foods and enough of it everyday. NutritionFacts.org's Daily Dozen comes in handy to ensure that we are covering all food groups. This is how the Sampoorna Ahara meals are designed
Overall, not only are plant proteins enough, but they are also vastly healthier for us
List of protein rich plant based items
- Tofu, Tempeh, Soya Chunks, Soya Beans, Soy Milk
- Lentils (Dal), Rajma, Chickpeas
- Green Peas
- Mung Sprouts
- Amaranth Seeds
- Peanuts, Almonds
How to get Iron and other minerals in Whole-Food Plant Based Meal? Here's the authentic List of Products
You can get all minerals from a well planed whole food plant based diet. Eat balanced meals to ensure great health and wellbeing!
The 7 major minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur. Here are 10 great everyday sources of minerals in your diet
- Nuts and seed are rich in an array of minerals such as magnesium, zinc, manganese, copper, selenium, and phosphorus
- Cruciferous Vegetables are rich in many minerals including calcium. Cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, cabbage, and radish. Eating cruciferous vegetables everyday is recommended for this and several other benefits.
- Pulses, Legumes and Lentils are an amazing source of minerals including iron. Eating a variety of dals, chickpeas, rajma etc., are not only great for protein but also minerals
- Avocadoes, apart from being delicious, versatile and full of healthy fats, are also rich in minerals. You can have them when in season in India. They are a lovely treat to your regular meals
- Berries are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. The first thing that may come to your mind is that berries are exotic and expensive. Yes, a cup of blueberries are extremely healthy but where are you going to get them. Even frozen blueberries are hard to find and expensive. So instead of a cup of blueberries, have an amla a day. It is the healthiest food out there and high in minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and iron among others
- Ancient Grains such as amaranth, millet, quinoa, and sorghum, have numerous health benefits. One among them is their high mineral value. They are a great replacement to white rice that you are used to eating everyday. In India, there are several types of millets, so don't hold back, go ahead and bring variety on your plate
- Starchy Vegetables unlike popular belief are not unhealthy. They do not cause you to gain weight and are a great source of minerals. Yam, colacasia, sweet potatoes, arbi, etc., are rich in minerals like calcium, iron, and copper
- Fruits such as bananas, mango, pineapple, passion fruit, guava, and jackfruit are a great source of minerals. Living in a tropical country, make use of the availability of these delicious fruits. You can have one or the other of these fruits all year round.
- Green Leafy Vegetables are touted as extremely healthy. This is not without merit. They are exceptionally healthy for us and provide a range of minerals. Include a wide range of forgotten greens like amaranthus, nightshade leaves, turnip greens, dill among others
- Cocoa is a surprise addition to this list right? Cocoa and products made from them are a great source of minerals especially magnesium and copper
Where to Get Vitamins if one follows WFPB System?
Vitamins as the name goes and as we have all studied in school are vital for normal growth and development. There are 13 vitamins you need
- Vitamins A, C, D, E, K. B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate) of these all Vitamins except Vit D and Vit B12 are available in abundance on a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based diet
- Vitamin D is made by animals like us, we need sunlight for this. I recommend 20 mins of direct sunlight on skin everyday or 2000IU Vit D supplement from a non-animal source
- Vitamin B12 is not made by plants or animals but by soil bacteria that carpet the earth's surface. It is mistakenly believed that Vit B12 is found in meat and dairy foods, but this is because factory farmed animals are given B12 injections. Therefore, it is a good idea to supplement these. Sampoorna Ahara has B12 fortified Flaxseed laddus to help you keep your B12 levels in place
For all other vitamins include a wide variety of whole plant foods and you have nothing to worry about
- Eat fruits everyday - It is common knowledge that citrus fruits are rich in Vit C, but did you know that other fruits such as melons, berries and tropical fruits are rich in folates, Vit K, A, B1, B2, B6 among others. They are also mineral rich
- Include a wide variety of local & seasonal vegetables - from carrots, to tomatoes to sweet potatoes, vegetables are rich in a wide range of vitamins
- Greens - think greens think Vit E. Dark leafy greens are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Don't forget to have them everyday
- Nuts and Seeds - again an all round good food group that you must not avoid. Not only are they rich in vitamins they also help in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. So they make for an essential part of your every meal!
- Whole Grains - switch your white rice and maida to whole grains such as unpolished rice, a variety of millets, and whole wheat to get the benefit of the vitamins these foods have
How do I know if a whole-food, plant-based diet is for me?
A plant based whole food diet has been shown to be the healthiest for humans. The Lifestyle Heart Trial was the first one to prove that a whole food plant based diet along with other positive lifestyle changes could actually reverse heart disease in a majority of patients.
- If you are looking to get and stay healthy, this is the diet for you. A plant based whole food diet has been shown to help prevent, treat and even potentially reverse chronic lifestyle diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension among others
- It is the only therapy proven to reverse heart disease in a majority of patients. It has also been proven to improve heart health and reduce Cardiovascular risk factors
- If you are looking to reach your ideal weight and stay there while also improving overall health, getting your required nutrition, then this diet is for you
- If you are looking for increased energy levels, better skin and hair, a whole food plant based diet is for you
- If you want to live a longer, better quality life, a whole food plant based diet is for you
How do you start a Whole Food plant-based diet for beginners?
The best way to get started on a whole food plant based diet is to take it one step at a time:
- Take some time to understand more about what it is and why it is beneficial.
- Start adding more whole plant foods to your diet like eating more fruit everyday, adding salads, greens, lentils, etc.
- Slowly eliminate animal source foods and processed foods. Animal source foods include meat, eggs and dairy products.
- If you have a disease condition you are looking to treat/manage with the help of this diet, sign up for a structured lifestyle program under the guidance of a lifestyle physician.
- Focus on building habits for a lifetime and not merely a dietary change for a short period of time.
How to transition to a Whole Food Plant Based Diet?
Transitioning to a whole food plant based diet is simple but not necessarily easy. There are several nutritional, social and emotional hurdles to overcome. Here are some tips to help you with the nutritional aspects of the transition.
- The best way to transition to a Whole Food Plant Based Diet is to start by adding healthy foods like whole fruits, vegetables, greens, pulses and legumes. Start your every meal with some fruit - a medium apple, bananas, a medium mango, a cup of frozen blueberries - depending on what is easily available where you live.
- Making simple swaps such as replacing polished grains with unpolished ones like brown rice & red rice, swapping dairy with plant based alternatives like almond butter, natural peanut butter unsweetened almond milk are all great way to transition.
- Cut out all oils while cooking, even coconut oil and familiarise yourself with water based cooking, steaming, baking, etc. You can use natural peanut butter, almond butter, whole coconut butter, whole coconut milk, etc., to add healthy fat in your meals.
- Look for whole plant alternatives to meat, fish, and eggs. Depending on the dish, there are several ways by which you can replicate the texture of these animal source foods with healthy whole plant substitutes. Tempeh, raw jackfruit, yam, tofu, soya chunks are some examples.
- Look for meal ideas that help you keep it fun and interesting. You can make a variety of delicious whole food plant based dishes with condiments like almond butter, whole coconut butter, and unsweetened almond milk, instead of their dairy counterparts. You can make everything from an elaborate south Indian feast to exotic dishes to desserts like cheesecakes with frozen blueberries, etc.
How do I make sure I get the nutrients I need?
You can ensure that you get all the nutrients you need on a plant based diet by eating enough of a wide variety of foods regularly and taking supplements for Vit D and Vit B12 regularly.
- Ensure that you eat fruits, vegetables, greens, cruciferous vegetables, pulses and legumes, whole grains, herbs and spices, nuts and seeds, and mushrooms. You can use Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen Checklist by NutritionFacts.org to ensure that you have included all types of foods for optimal nutrition
- Eat a variety of local and seasonal foods everyday. If you live in a tropical country like India, this should be easy. Source chemical-free food where you can. Different plant foods have different micro and macro nutrients all of which are great for your overall health and well-being. Make use of it
- Eat enough food. Get out of the diet mentality and enough food to satiate your hunger. You can comfortably eat large quantities of food as plant foods are calorie dilute and packed with nutrition. Eat a hearty lunch with good quality whole plant foods and a good dinner. Eating enough calories per day from whole plant foods is a healthy indicator that you are on the right track. Stick to the circadian rhythm when it comes to the time of your meals
What are the advantages of a plant based diet?
There are several advantages of a plant based diet. There are health benefits, environmental benefits and ethical benefits of a plant based diet
- Plant based diets have been shown to help prevent, treat, manage, and even potentially reverse chronic lifestyle diseases
- They have been shown to improve heart health and is the only therapy proven through clinical trials to actually reverse heart disease, the number 1 cause of death among Indians today
- They have shown to be protective against lifestyle diseases like diabetes, high BP, obesity, and therefore reduce risk of chronic kidney disease, strokes, heart attacks, etc.
- Plant based diets comprised of whole foods aid in weight-loss if you are overweight to begin with. They help in effective weight management without the need for extreme calorie restriction that many custom weight loss programs demand
- Plant based diets keep inflammation low, accelerate healing, and give the body an antioxidant boost. You will see higher energy levels, better skin and hair on a plant based diet comprised of whole foods
- Plant based diets are better for the environment. Using only a fraction of land and water to produce enough food as compared to animal farming. Animal agriculture is among the leading causes of climate change, is responsible for mass deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and contamination of land, the water table, and the air around us
- 30% of the world's surface area is used for growing animals. Animal agriculture contributes to one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Water is used, polluted, and depleted severely by animal agriculture. If we moved towards a plant based diet, much of this damage can be reversed
- On a plant based diet, we can restore ecological balance and have a healthier world. Animal farming is leading to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, especially in India. We may see fishless oceans by the year 2048. Domesticated animals account for 66% of biomass of all land animals while human beings account for 40% and wild animals only 4%.
- Everyday more than 150 million animals are killed for food in the world. These animals are bred for food, in captivity, in the most deplorable conditions, and are treated as commodities. Plant based diets can eliminate this entirely
- Dairy farming is also cruel with calves being separated from their mothers so that humans can drink the milk produced. Male calves are starved and slaughtered for veal - tender calf meat and used for its tender calf leather. On a plant based diet, the archaic dairy industry can make way for healthier and more ethical plant based mylks and butter suppliers
What happens to your body when you switch to a plant based diet?
When you switch to a plant based diet comprised of whole foods, your body can finally start repairing itself. Plant based whole foods provide the body with the right tools to heal itself. Your body is a powerful self-healing machine that just needs the right tools.
A diet rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and macro nutrients is the solution. One that minimises oxidative stress, doesn't cause a blood sugar spike, is anti inflammatory and wholesome. Here are just 5 of the 100s of positive changes in your body on a plant based diet
- Every meal makes a difference, there is a measurable improvement in health with even just one whole food plant based meal
- Inflammation reduces in the body when you eat an anti-inflammatory diet - a whole food plant based diet. This aids in disease prevention and reversal. Organ function starts to return to normal
- There is lowered oxidative stress when you start eating a plant based diet. This 'reverses' aging giving you better organ health, better hair and skin
- You lose weight if you are overweight to begin with, when you continue eating a plant based diet comprised of whole foods, you stay at your ideal weight range without effort
- You see improved heart health and lowered risk of the No 1 cause of death in India today - coronary heart disease. You cholesterol reduces and arteries become elastic
How do I convince my Family to eat Whole Food Plant Based Diet?
This is a difficult task for many of us. the first step is to not convince them, but to first make the change for yourself. The initial months may be hard with doubtful questions, taunts, and ridicule. But seeing is believing. When they start seeing how your life is being transformed and your developments in health, they will become more interested.
Apart from these here are a few things you can do
- Learn enough about a plant based diet so that you understand it well enough to answer their questions. They will have several questions, you should be prepared to answer them patiently and scientifically
- Offer them any whole food plant based dish you make. They may refuse most of the time, but that's aright, keep offering anyway. They will find one or two things interesting and may want to try them
- Make whole food plant based dishes you know they will like. Put in a little effort to dress it up and make it took amazing. They will want to taste it
- Send them good quality educational articles about the benefits of a plant based diet. Articles, blogs, videos, posts, podcasts, documentaries, books etc.
- If you are cooking for the family, make small incremental changes to the dishes they eat. Make it more whole food plant based. Chances are they may not notice many of the changes you make at all
How do I Sustain a Plant Based Diet Lifestyle?
You can not just sustain but thrive on a plant based lifestyle. Ensure that you first understand why you are doing what you are. Keep the education an ongoing one. Surround yourself with talks, videos, podcasts, posts etc., on the importance of a whole food plant based lifestyle. They serve as reminders and motivation.
Here are 5 tips to help you build healthy habits versus going on a diet
- Start with what is easy for you. This may be different for different people. Adding a medium apple to your diet, using natural peanut butter instead of dairy butter to breakfast toasts, using whole coconut milk, using unpolished rice are some examples.
- Pace yourself. Get comfortable with one or two new habits before adding more. Doing too many things at once can be overwhelming and the chances of giving up are higher.
- Focus on consistency. It's easier to do something over the top once than to do something small regularly. The latter gives better results than the former.
- Stock up on whole food plant based food. Keep fresh seasonal fruit, healthy snacks, & sweets to replace packaged processed ones. When you have a craving, you tend to reach out to what is closest, so keep healthy options ready.
- Don't get dejected by slipups and failures. Know that you can always do better tomorrow. Taking an apple to lunch is better than not having an apple, even if you happen to slip up on your lunch.
What are the negatives of a plant based diet?
The only negative of a plant based diet comprised of whole foods is that it works too well. So if you are on medication for a lifestyle disease, keep track of your values, you may have to work with your doctor to reduce medication. This is because on a plant based diet, your blood sugar starts moving towards normal, your blood pressure starts moving towards normal, so if you are on medication, you will have adjust accordingly.
How to cook Whole Food Plant Based Diet at home?
You can easily cook a whole food plant based diet at home by just changing a few ingredients to your regular cooking. If you are cooking mainly Indian food on a day-to-day basis many of them can be made whole food plant based by simply eliminating oil and dairy.
- It all comes down to the ingredients. Before choosing an ingredient ask yourself two questions. Does this come from a plant? Is it whole? (With the fiber intact). If the answer to both questions is yes then you can use that ingredient for cooking.
- Switch to water based cooking instead of oil based cooking. You can sauté with water, dry roast and bake instead of frying in oil.
- When it comes to common Indian dishes like sambar, rasam, and dal most of the cooking process remains the same. You can add dry tadka at the end instead of an oil or ghee tadka.
- Instead of cooking white rice, switch to unpolished rice varieties like brown rice, red rice, unpolished millets, daliya, etc.
- Replace dairy with plant based alternatives for example you can use whole coconut milk, almond milk, peanut milk, or cashew milk instead of cow's milk. Same goes with butter, buttermilk, cream, cheese, curds, etc
- Instead of using maida switch to whole wheat or millet flour. Same goes with rava and semiya as well.
- If you want to make dishes from other cuisines you can do those on the whole food plant based diet as well. Whole wheat pasta, pizza, burger, sandwiches, & desserts can be made using whole plant ingredients.
Whole Food Plant Based Recipes
There are several whole food plant based recipes available for free online. On NutritionScience.in we have over 200 whole food plant based recipes across cuisines, written in detail. You can sign up for the FREE Plant Based Recipes Masterclass and try out these whole food plant based recipes at home.
You can also get good whole food plant based recipes from books such as the 'China Study Cookbook', The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, 'How Not To Die Cookbook', 'How Not to Diet Cookbook' to name a few.
Dr. Michael Greger & His Nutrition Facts Research on Whole Food Plant-Based Diet
Dr. Michael Greger is an American physician. He advocates for the adoption of a whole food plant based diet, which is backed by the best available balance of evidence. He is the founder of NutritionFacts.org. He is a best selling author, speaker, and expert on plant based nutrition.
NutritionFacts.org is a science-based, not-for-profit platform. It provides free updates on the latest in nutrition research via bite-sized videos. It also has captions offered in multiple languages, blogs, and infographics.
Dr. Greger's books 'How not to Die' and 'How not to Diet' have been New York times best sellers multiple times.
Daily Dozen Checklist
The Daily Dozen checklist is a list of various groups of whole plant foods that one must eat every single day for optimal health. Designed by Dr. Michael Greger from nutritionfacts.org, the checklist has 12 food groups. It also mentions the required quantities that, when consumed daily, have been scientifically proven to lower risk of Chronic Lifestyle Disease
How to use Daily Dozen in Indian Cooking?
You can use the daily dozen checklist in Indian cooking quite easily.
- Download the app and have a look at the 12 categories of foods that you should include in your daily meals.
- The list of foods with examples is given on the app along with the quantity that is required.
- Initially, you have to weigh-out quantities to ensure that you are meeting the minimum requirements.
- Over time, you will get the hang of it and be able to include all items on the checklist in every meal.
- The checklist includes fruits, berries, vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, pulses and legumes, whole grains, herbs and spices, nuts and seeds, among others. Indian cooking uses these ingredients in most dishes.
- This is how our meals at Sampoorna Ahara are designed. Two Sampoorna Ahara meals a day will ensure that you have met all your nutritional requirements, checking off all items on the daily dozen checklist.
Calories vs. Calorie Density
A calorie is unit to measure energy in food.
Calorie density is the measure of how many calories are there in a given weight of food.
While many traditional diets focus on counting calories and restricting calories as a way to gain or lose weight. This is not an effective approach. You often end up eating poor quality, high calorie food, and therefore are left hungry lacking in nutrition.
When it comes to health and long term weight loss, it is not about calories but calorie density.
For example 1 samosa (approx 100 gms) has about 300 calories. This is not going to fill you up, or give you adequate nutrition. It is also going to get absorbed quickly leading to a blood sugar spike.
On the other, if you choose watermelon, to eat 300 calories, you'll have to eat 1 kg of watermelon which is definitely going to keep you full, nourish you, and your blood sugar will be steady.
When glucose is used to make energy in our cells it produces free radicals. Free radicals damage the cell from the inside out. This is called oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress causes diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc.
Whole Plant Foods are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralise free radicals and keep you healthy.
Antioxidants slow down oxidative stress which is associated with wrinkles, memory loss, and organ system breakdown due to ageing. Antioxidant-rich diets appear to protect against stroke and may also help decrease artery stiffness, prevent blood clots from forming and lower blood pressure and inflammation.
On average, plant foods have 64 times more antioxidants than animal foods - that's a huge margin. Choose wisely.
Phytonutrients are plant nutrients. They are nutrients that plants make to keep themselves healthy. When we eat whole plant foods, the same phytonutrients keep us healthy.
There are more thank 1 lakh phytonutrients and more being discovered everyday. Commonly known phytonutrients are Curcumin, Chlorophyll, Lycopene, etc.
Only whole plant foods have phytonutrients.
Animal Products and Whole Food Plant Based System
Can you eat animal products in a plant based diet?
No, all animal products are avoided on a plant based diet. This is including meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. A plant based diet is one where everything you eat, comes from plants. Plant based diets comprised of whole foods have been found to be the healthiest food for us.
Can you eat eggs on a plant-based diet?
No, eggs are avoided on a plant based diet. Eggs come from animals and not plants. They are high in saturated fats and have been linked to chronic lifestyle disease. You can however, use plant based ingredients as egg replacers in recipes. You can use flaxseeds in baking and tofu in some other dishes to make them taste like egg-based ones. This way, you can still be healthy while eating a variety of delicious dishes.
Why not Fish?
Fish is not a part of a plant based diet, as it does not come from a plant. Fish are low in antioxidants and phytonutrients and lack fiber. They also contain some cholesterol and saturated animal fat. Fish is also the leading source of many toxic pollutants. Compared to other whole plant foods, fish is not a health promoting food and is best avoided for optimal health.
Animal protein vs. Plant-Based Protein
All protein is not equal. The source of protein matters when in comes to long-term health and overall health benefits. Plant proteins come out on top in this battle. Here's how:
Whole plant sources of protein comes with with a variety of other nutrients. They are antioxidant rich, packed with phytonutrients, fiber rich, full of vitamins and minerals. They do not have cholesterol, are not high in saturated fats unlike animal sources of protein. Animal protein has no fiber and phytonutrients. They are low in antioxidants, high in cholesterol and saturated fats.
Whole plant sources of protein have been found to have protective effects on overall health and lowers risk of chronic lifestyle disease. Animal sources of protein have been associated with disease risk including cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancers among others.
One of the reasons you adopt a plant based diet is for ethical reasons. Animal agriculture is a cruel industry that enslaves, tortures, rapes and kills animals for various purposes. These animals are bred for this purpose and live in cages all their lives. They are confined to small, unsanitary cages, they are maimed to suit the needs of the end 'product'. Even free range animals at the end of the day are bred for slaughter and live their lives in captivity and are commodified.
Veganism is a social justice movement against the commodification of animals. This means that we don't use animals or their products for food, clothing, cosmetics, accessories, or entertainment. It is a movement calling for non-violence against animals
Are Eggs dangerous for us? How to Avoid Eggs?
Yes, eggs are not a part of a healthy diet and is dangerous for us. Some experts say even one egg a day increases your cholesterol, and therefore increases your cardiovascular disease risk. Cholesterol is also linked to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and certain types of cancers among others.
You can avoid eggs by learning how to make egg-based dishes with whole plant ingredients. For example, flaxseed can be used instead of eggs in baking, you can crumble tofu and stir fry it with vegetables and add a bit of black salt to mimic egg burji.
Processed Foods vs Whole Foods
Some Examples of Processed Foods in India
Common examples of processed food in India are
- White rice, Maida, Rava, Semiya
- Sugar, Jaggery
Apart from these, store packaged food may contain processed ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, dalda, corn starch, aginomoto, and various other extracted foods that are unhealthy for us.
All these are considered processed foods and have been associated with higher risk of chronic lifestyle diseases
What's wrong with Processed Foods? How do they impact your health?
In the context of health, processed foods are defined as food from which something good has been removed or something bad added.
Usually foods from which fiber has been stripped are the most common processed foods in our diet. For example polished rice is rice where the bran has been removed. All oils are extracted foods without fiber.
Processed foods are not healthy for us and have been associated with the range of Chronic Lifestyle Diseases. This is because:
- Most of the phytonutrients and antioxidants are attached to the fiber. When we remove fiber from a food we are losing out on all these amazing benefits.
- Fiber plays a role in slowing down absorption of food thereby keeping blood sugar levels stable. This also keeps you full for longer. In the absence of fiber, these processed foods are absorbed rapidly by the body thereby increasing blood sugar levels and make you hungry faster.
- Processed foods that do not have fiber also don't have the ability to protect us against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the cause of various Lifestyle Diseases.
These are just some of the reasons why processed foods are unhealthy for us and are best avoided.
Is Sugar unhealthy & How to Avoid Sugar?
Yes, refined sugar/processed sugar is unhealthy for us as compared to whole food plant based sweeteners like dates. This is because sugar is a processed food, has no fiber or nutrition and causes a blood sugar spike.
They are not just empty calories but actually harmful calories.
You can avoid refined sugar by substituting it with healthier sweetners such as Dates syrup. Soak and grind dates and use it with the fiber intact.
Is Coffee Bad for Health & How to Avoid Coffee?
Coffee has been associated with higher cholesterol levels among certain individuals. Coffee is also addictive because of the caffeine in it. It can be attributed to constipation, dehydration and poor sleep in individuals
You can replace coffee with herb and spice drinks. Kashayms don't have to be bitter and taste bad. They can be delicious full of flavour, fresh herbs and spices. They can even be sweetened with dates syrup.
There are superb alternative to drinks like tea and coffee, giving you the much needed antioxidant boost and energetic start to the day.
Why is Frying bad? How to cook without Oil?
Frying food is not recommended on a healthy diet. Any use of oil is not only unnecessary, but also counterproductive to long-term health.
- Oil is a processed food without any fibre. It is high in fat with little to no nutrition
- Consuming oil leads to oxidative stress and higher calorie intake of poor quality food
- Frying specifically destroys more nutrition and deep fried foods have toxic carcinogens
For all these reasons and more it is best to avoid frying food or using extracted oil in any form.
You can easily cook most dishes that you consume on a daily basis without using any oil.
- Learn water based cooking
- Use method such as steaming, roasting, and baking
- Learn how to make dry tadka for Indian dishes
- Check out NutritionScience.in for over 200 free Whole Food Plant Based Recipes all of which are oil-free
- Use nuts and seeds in your dishes for healthy fat intake
Is White rice not good for health? What should I eat on Plant-Based Food?
White rice is a processed food and is not good for health. Did you know that there is no variety of rice that is white?
- White rice is the product of processing red/brown/black/off-white rice by removing its bran. This is what you call polished rice.
- Most of the phytonutrients, antioxidants, important vitamins and minerals like calcium are in the bran. So when you eat white rice you are hardly getting any nutrition.
- Because of the lack of fibre, white rice is absorbed much faster by the body. This causes a blood sugar spike and makes you feel hungry faster.
On whole food plant based diet you can have any unpolished whole grain. Brown rice, red rice, black rice, unpolished millets like ragi, jowar, foxtail millets, whole wheat, etc.
Is Wheat good for health? Explain
Whole wheat is good for health. Unless your allergic to it or have autoimmune conditions that are triggered by whole wheat, they are healthful for you.
Under 2% of the population have autoimmune conditions that are triggered by gluten. For these people whole wheat is to be avoided completely. For the rest of the population it is a healthy food.
Everything you need to learn about Fruits & Vegetables, Spices, Grains, Greens etc., in Plant-Based Lifestyle
How to include Cruciferous Vegetables? List of Indian Vegetables
- You can include cruciferous vegetables in your daily diet in the form of salads, curries, gravies, sambar, and even mixed rice preparations
- You can even make fun recipes like wraps and rolls, momos, smoothies, and more with cruciferous vegetables
- Use Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen app by NutritionFacts.org to keep track of the quantity of cruciferous vegetables that you need every day
Some common cruciferous vegetables available in India are
- Knol khol
You also get other crucifers like broccoli, bok choy, brussel sprouts, and kale in some parts of the country
How to include Fruits? List of Indian Fruits
Something as simple as eating Fruits everyday can make or break our health.
- Eat a whole fruit or make a smoothie with the fiber intact for best health outcomes
- Start your every meal with some fruit. It could be something as readily available as a banana
- Choose local and seasonal fruits. These are not only less expensive but also healthier for us
- Source fruits that are grown without chemicals as far as possible. You can sign up for this at your local CSA. We work with FarmFreshBangalore.com for all our produce
- It is recommended to eat at least 360gms of fruits every single day
In a tropical country like ours, we have access to local and seasonal fruits all year round.
Some examples are:
- Musambi, oranges, grapes, starfruit
- Bananas, guavas, apple, papaya,
- Watermelon, muskmelon, pomegranate
- Jackfruit, mangoes, sapota
- Litchi, passion fruit, grapefruit
Can Diabetic Eat Fresh Fruit?
Yes, Diabetics not only can eat fruits, but should eat fruits for best health outcomes.
The reasons why Diabetics are advised against fruits are:
- Fruits have high sugar content and are more rapidly absorbed leading to higher spikes in blood sugar
- Fruits have too much sugar which can contribute to weight gain, which may lead to higher blood sugar
Is this true?
- While fruits do have natural sugars in them - Glucose and Fructose, they are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and most importantly, fibre. This is important because fibre not only slows absorption, keeping blood sugar levels stable, but also has most of the phytonutrients bound to it. So eating whole fruit has actually found to be beneficial for people with Diabetes
- Whole fruits and smoothies with the fibre intact are recommended. Fruit juices and extracts without the fibre are to be avoided, especially for people with Diabetes
- A recent meta-analysis showed that eating 600 grams of fruits a day reduces risk of developing metabolic syndrome by a whopping 34%! Metabolic syndrome is characterised by abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, high BP and insulin resistance. Reduction in risk of metabolic syndrome in turn reduces risk of diabetes and heart disease. Fruits and other whole plant foods can help both in prevention as well as treatment of diabetes
- Even Fruits like Mangoes are not only safe for Diabetics, but have also found to be helpful! Give diabetics some freeze dried mango every day for three months without any change in their diet or exercise, and their blood sugar drops by 4 points.
How to include Berries? List of Indian Berries
You can add berries like amla in you salads and smoothies. You can also add amla in rasam and sambar to give it that lovely tang. Low-salt pickles are a great way to have amla as well.
Amla is not only the healthiest berry, but the healthiest food in the world, when it comes to its antioxidant capacity. It is easily available in India. You can have dried amla powder too!
Nutritionally important berries available in India are:
- Gooseberry (amla)
How to include Beans? List of Indian Beans
Beans here refer to legumes lentils and pulses. In the Indian cuisine there are a fairly large number of preparations based on these ingredients.
- We can make a number of dishes to include this healthy food group in our everyday diet. You may be familiar with dal, sambar, rasam, vada, kosambari, sundal, etc.
- The key is to include a wide variety of legumes pulses and lentils in our everyday meals. Various types of dals, rajma, chickpea, mung sprouts etc., are common household items
- Use Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen app by NutritionFacts.org as a reference to ensure that you get enough quantity of legumes, lentils and pulses in your daily diet
- Lentils and not just protein-rich but offer a wide range of benefits and are recommended as an essential part of your everyday meal
There are several legumes, lentils and pulses in India, the most common among there are as follows:
- Whole and split masoor dal, moong dal, toor dal, urad dal, chana dal
- Kabuli chana, lobia, rajma
How to include Greens? List of Indian Greens
You can include greens fairly easily in your daily diet
- Make different kinds of dishes with greens like gravies, sambar, curries, smoothies, cutlets
- You can add pureed greens to your rotis, idlis, dosas. Make raithas with greens too
- Use Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen app by NutritionFacts.org as a reference to ensure that you get enough quantity of greens in your daily diet
There are several varieties of green leafy vegetables in India
- Dhantu, harive
- Moringa leaves
- Nightshade leaves
- Coriander, pudina, curry leaves
- Sarson ka saag
How to include NonLeafy Vegetables?
You can include a wide variety of non leafy vegetable in your daily diet.
- Plan and buy many varieties of local and seasonal produce
- Look up interesting whole food plant based recipes. You can recreate your favourite recipe and make it whole food plant based as well
- You can include vegetables in cereal dishes too. Mixed rice preparations, vegetable dosa, vegetable idli, vegetable roti are some easy examples
- If you are fussy about eating vegetables you can make vegetable and fruit smoothies, cutlets, wraps, pasta, pizza, with loads of veggies to make it more interesting
How to include Flaxseeds? It's Benefits
Flaxseed comes with numerous benefits and is an essential part of everyday nutrition. Rich in Omega 3s, Lignan, protein, dietary fiber and more, these tiny seeds are power packed!
You can include flax seeds by grinding it up and adding it to you rotis, you can also make laddus - this is what we do at Sampoorna Ahara. We even enrich them with Vit B12!
How to include Nuts?
The best way to include nuts in your everyday diet is to add to your meals.
- You can add nut butters to make your gravies creamier, or add nut shavings on curries
- You can throw in some nuts on your salads or mix them in with a mixed rice preparation
- Eating nuts with your meals is great to increase the absorption of fat soluble nutrients from your meal
- Peanut, cashews, almonds, coconut, walnuts are examples of nuts commonly available in India
How include Wholegrains?
You can include whole grains in your daily diet by just making a simple switch.
- Instead of using white rice, replace it with a variety of unpolished grains such as brown rice, red rice, unpolished millets, and dalia
- If your making dosa, idli, and rotis make sure that they are made with whole grains instead of polished grains. So brown rice idli, red rice dosa, ragi idli, whole wheat roti, etc
- There are hundreds of varieties of rice and millets that are available in India just ensure that they are unpolished
How to include Spices?
Indian cooking by default includes a huge variety of spices. Turmeric, pepper, jeera, cinnamon, cardamom, ajwain, mustard, bay leaves, cloves, star anise, mace nutmeg, saffron, caraway seeds, etc.
We make and use various combinations of spice mixes with these spices to flavour different dishes. If you are cooking regular Indian food at home you are likely using a variety of spices
How do I drink Beverages and Water in my Diet? List of Beverages
Water is the best beverage to drink to and is necessary in adequate quantities to stay hydrated. If you'd like to make water healthier, add some herbs and spices to it and sip on it the whole day. This will give you a steady boost of antioxidants throughout the day and you can have different flavours each time
- Various Kshayams like Chukku kaapi
- Ginger/lemon/green tea
- A Variety of Herbal drinks
You can find several recipes on NutritionScience.in
How do I eat Sweets, Cakes, and Bakes without Sugar?
You can eat sweets, cakes and bakes, cookies, payasams and more on a whole food plant based diet which is completely sugar/jaggery- free, oil-free, vegan, maida free
- Replace all dairy products such as milk, cream, butter, and ghee with plant based alternatives. Several nut based alternatives make for a great replacement
- Instead of using maida, opt for whole wheat. You can also use millet flour, besan and other healthy whole grain, and pulse flours
- Switch out sugar or jaggery for unfiltered dates syrup which you can easily make at home by soaking and grinding dates to a smooth paste
- You can use flaxseeds as egg replacement, and learn the proportions of each of these ingredients with each other for whole food plant based baking
- NutritionScience.in has several recipes that are easy to follow for you to experiment with
- SampoornaAhara.com has a range of sweets, cakes, cookies and more that you can buy. Every single one of them is 100% healthy!
How do I eat Snacks without Oil?
You can either bake your own oil-free snacks at home or buy oil-free snacks from healthy brands like SampoornaAhara.com
- Most Indian snacks like mixture poha, chivda, masala maitri can be baked without a single drop of oil or diary
- Crackers, nachos and biscuits can also be made completely oil free and 100% whole food plant based
Every single one of these items can be made using whole grains without the use of dairy or sugar/jaggery. You can enjoy the best of both worlds by snacking healthy and enjoying a wide variety too!
How does Whole Food Plant Based Diet Compare with Other Diets?
Types of Known Diets
There are countless number of diets out there. There are more being added everyday. Most of them are fad diets that become popular for short period of time and fade away just as quickly.
These diets are neither healthy or sustainable for us in the long run.
Instead of focusing on diets putting your energy into changing your lifestyle and building healthy habits is worthwhile.
Whole Food Plant Based Diet Vs. Vegan
A Whole Food Plant Based diet is not a diet in the traditional sense of the word. It is a lifestyle where you eat foods that are whole, not processed and eating foods that come from plants and not animals. Processed food is defined as food from which nothing good is removed & nothing bad is added.
Vegan, on the other hand is not really a diet at all! It is a social justice movement against the use of animals as commodities. It is a movement calling for non-violence against animals. One of the aspects of being Vegan is eating food that come only from plants.
Whole Food Plant Based Diet Vs. Vegetarian
A Whole Food Plant Based diet focuses on a Lifestyle with main aim of health. It excludes all animal based products including meat, fish, eggs, and all dairy products. It also excludes all processed foods including oil, white rice, maida, rava, semiya, sugar, jaggery, and alcohol.
A vegetarian diet on the other hand is one that only excludes meat, fish, and in some cases eggs. It is not a diet that focuses on long term health but one that is built on on principle.
Whole Food Plant Based Diet Vs. Keto Diet
A Whole Food Plant Based diet is founded on sound research. It is a dietary recommendation that calls for the exclusion of animal foods and processed foods. It calls for the inclusion of a variety of whole plant foods. It does not call for the elimination of any single micronutrient, and has several proven long-term health benefits.
A Ketogenic diet on the other hand, calls for the exclusion of a whole group of macronutrients - carbs. It is a high fat, carbohydrate deficient diet to mimic the fasting state. It has only been found to be helpful for those with pediatric epilepsy and not the general population. People on the ketogenic diet may have lost weight but at the cost of long term risk of chronic diseases and a lack of complete nutrition especially micronutrients.
Whole Food Plant Based Diet Vs. Paleolithic Diet
A Whole Food Plant Based diet is founded on sound research. It is a dietary recommendation that calls for the exclusion of animal foods and processed foods. It calls for the inclusion of a variety of whole plant foods. It does not call for the elimination of any single micronutrient, and has several proven long-term health benefits. It is based on what we have evolved to eat over 25 million years
The paleo diet is based on the idea that chronic diseases stem from a disconnect between what we were eating during the stone age and what we're eating today. It suggests that if you return to a hunter gatherer diet of lean meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts we will be rid of this chronic diseases.
The truth is that human beings have been evolving for the last 25 million years and our nutritional requirements and physiology was set way back then. The paleo diet takes into account only the last two million years. If we go back a little more to the first 90% of our evolution we find that our ancestors were eating over 95% plants.
A Paleo diet may not be the answer to the question of chronic disease, a Whole Food Plant Based diet may just be
Whole Food Plant Based Diet Vs. Mediterranean Diet
A Whole Food Plant Based diet is one that calls for the exclusion of all animal and processed foods. It calls for the inclusion of a wide variety of whole plant foods. This is based on decades of research that show that a whole food plant based diet may be the most effective against chronic lifestyle diseases
A Mediterranean diet which is believed to be the healthiest diet also calls for the elimination of processed foods. It calls for the maximization of whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses and legumes, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices. To this extent a Whole Food Plant Based diet and Mediterranean diet are similar.
The difference is that a Mediterranean diet calls for the inclusion of seafood and moderate consumption of other animal foods and rare consumption of red meat.
While a Mediterranean diet may be healthier than what most people are eating, it is not as healthy as a Whole Food Plant Based diet. This has been proven time and again by research, particularly for coronary artery disease which is the No1. cause of death today
Whole Food Plant Based Diet Vs. Pescatarian Diet
A Whole Food Plant Based diet is one where you eat a diet rich in plant foods that are unprocessed. This means that everything you eat comes from a plant and is in its whole form, with the fibre intact.
A Pescatarian diet is one where meat is excluded but fish and dairy products are included. On a pescatarian diet processed foods are also not excluded. A Pescatarian diet is not founded on long-term health, and much like a vegetarian diet, is founded on principle
Whole Food Plant Based Diet Vs. Intuitive Eating
A Whole Food Plant Based diet is one that focuses on building healthy habits for a lifetime. It is based on the best available balance of evidence. It encourages you to get out of your diet mentality and focus on long-term health. A Whole Food Plant Based diet has been shown to prevent treat and reverse chronic Lifestyle diseases and improve both short and long-term health.
Intuitive eating is an eating style that promotes a healthy attitude towards food and the idea that you should eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Intuitive eating calls for looking at food as neither good or bad and have enjoyable eating experiences. It propagates that food that tastes good should make you feel good.
While some of these may be true and the general attitude towards food should be one devoid of fear and negativity. Developments in health studies have shown us that some foods are not healthy for us even though they may taste good.
This is especially true with processed foods. Sugar and salt are physiological addictive. So is fat. Some other unhealthy foods that tastes good and addictive are anything with caffeine, cheese, and high fat foods.
Intuitive eating is not based on scientific research and may be dangerous for people with chronic lifestyle diseases
Which is the Best Diet for Weight Loss?
A Whole Food Plant Based diet, is the best diet for weight loss. This is because whole plant foods are calorie dilute and rich in nutrients. Fiber-rich plant diets ensure that absorption of food remains slow and you don't get hungry soon. You can start with simple steps like carrying an apple to lunch or using nut butter to breakfast toast. Even as little as one medium apple can help get you started on a healthy diet to aid weight loss.
All this while also being the most nutritious foods for us to eat.
In fact on a Whole Food Plant Based diet weight-loss becomes a side effect of good health. It allows you to focus on developments in health rather than weight-loss. Not only are you able to prevent treat and potentially reverse chronic disease but also move towards your ideal weight without even trying
Scared About Dairy? Top Whole-Food Plant-Based Alternatives can save you from Cancer, Diabetes & Other deadly diseases
How One Cup of Milk a Day can Make you Sick?
Studies have found that "Consuming as little as 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dairy milk per day was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer of 30%. By drinking up to one cup per day, the associated risk went up to 50%, and for those drinking two to three cups per day, the risk increased further to 70% to 80%." - Dairy, soy, and risk of breast cancer: those confounded milks
What are the whole food plant based alternatives to Dairy products?
You can make plant based dairy alternatives using whole grains, pulses, legumes, nuts and seeds.
To ensure that it is Whole Food Plant Based:
- None of the plant mylks/butter/curds/cheese should have any added oil, sugar/jaggery, maida added
- None of the plant mylks/butter/curds/cheese should be filtered. They should have the fiber they came with
List of plant-based mylks alternatives to Milk
You can make plant-based mylks using whole grains, pulses, legumes, nuts and seeds. Here is a quick list
- Soya/Moong Mylk
- Almond/Cashew/Peanut/Coconut Mylk
- Oat/Rice Mylk
- Till Mylk
Developments in health studies have shown us that whole food plant based mylks are far heathier than their dairy counterparts
List Plant-based alternatives to Butter, Cheese, Yogurt, Ghee
You can make plant based butter, cheese, yogurt, and ghee using soya, nuts and seeds. Here is a quick list
- Peanut/Cashew/Coconut/Almond Butter
- Soy based or nut based cheese
- Nutritional Yeast as a cheese replacer
- Peanut/Cashew/Coconut/Almond Curds
- Almond and Coconut based Ghee alternatives
You can use these butter to breakfast toasts, to make gravies creamier, and even in baking.
How to make Plant-based Mylk Products at Home?
You can easily make plant based mylk products at home by soaking and grinding nuts, seeds and whole grains to a smooth paste. You can make nut butters and curds at home as well.
Check out www.nutritionscience.in for recipes
Health Risks and Benefits of a Healthy Diet
List of Top Diseases in India and How Indians are dying because of them.
The top diseases in India today are include several chronic lifestyle diseases
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Respiratory diseases
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Alzheimer's disease and other dementias
- Diarrhoeal diseases
- Malignant and other tumors
Poor nutrition, lack of adequate healthcare, inability to access quality healthcare, poor hygiene standards, increase in smoking and alcohol, are some of the reasons Indians are dying from the top diseases in India today.
How to Control, Treat, Reverse & Prevent Heart Diseases?
A Whole Food Plant Based diet is the only therapy that has been found to control, treat, reverse and prevent heart disease in a majority of patients.
The Lifestyle Heart Trial by Dr. Dean Ornish shows that a Whole Food Plant Based diet along with other positive Lifestyle changes like exercise and meditation not only help prevent but also a reverse heart disease in a majority of patients.
Eating food rich in whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and mushrooms are the best way forward.
How does a plant-based diet reverse coronary artery disease?
A plant based diet comprising whole foods has been shown to reverse coronary artery disease in clinical studies.
Eliminating animal foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and all dairy products and processed foods such as oil, refined grains, refined sugars, and alcohol, which are the root causes of the disease, have been shown to help reverse it.
Eating a diet rich in whole plant foods, regular physical exercise, stress management techniques, and community support have helped people reverse heart disease. The plaque melts and the arteries open up.
Stroke: Why do you run a Risk of a Stroke and How can you mitigate the risk using Plant-Based Diet?
You run the risk of stroke due to several factors. Primary among them is your diet. Animal food, processed food and diets high in sodium increase stroke risk. Air pollution and smoking is also contributing factor to stroke risk.
- Diets high in Salt are as bad as smoking when it comes to stroke risk. Diet low in fruit and vegetable consumption is even worse. Other risk factors include sedentary lifestyle and not eating enough whole grains.
- Most of the risk factors that increase stroke risk are modifiable primarily by changing your diet, cutting out smoking and exercising more.
- Studies have shown the risk of stroke decreasing by 32% for every 200 gram increase in fruits - that just like one medium apple a day. Studies have also shown 11% lower risk for 200 gram increase in vegetables.
Overall a diet rich in whole plant foods, which is low in Salt, along with regular physical exercise and no smoking can reduce your stroke risk to a minimum.
Diabetes: Why do so many people suffer from Diabetes and How to easily reverse & prevent Diabetes using Diet?
Type 2 diabetes is increasing in India by the day. Today, India is the world's diabetic capital. Not only are more people being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes but they are also being diagnosed younger and younger. This is because we are moving towards a standard American diet or what we popularly call the western diet.
- Diabetes is a chronic lifestyle disease. The roots of diabetes is in our lifestyle - diet, physical activity, and stress.
- Unlike popular belief diabetes is not caused by sugar consumption, but instead by fat accumulation in the muscle cells.
- The reason so many Indians are suffering from diabetes today is because of the increased consumption of animal and processed food in our diet - following the western diet.
Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable, treatable, and sometimes even reversible through diet and lifestyle changes. A Whole Food Plant Based along with regular physical exercise and good stress management practices can help prevent, treat, and potentially reverse diabetes.
You can consult Lifestyle Physician and through a guided program easily prevent and potentially reverse type 2 diabetes.
Cancer: Risks that Threaten you & How to Prevent Cancer?
There are different types of cancers that affect people during different stages of their lives and some people are more at risk than others.
Some cancers are genetic and they may not be much that you can do to prevent them.
However, the most common cancers in women and men in India today - breast cancer and prostate cancer - are both associated with our lifestyle.
- You can reduce your risk of Cancer by completely by eliminating animal foods from your diet. Meat, fish, eggs, and even dairy products have been shown to not only increased risk of Cancer but also promote cancer growth.
- Deep frying and browning of foods during roasting or baking results in the formation of a AGEs which are cancer promoters. Avoid browning your food, by cooking at low temperatures.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol. Even consuming small quantities of alcohol increase your risk of cancer.
- Regular physical exercise has also been associated with lowered risk of these cancers.
Can whole food plant based diet cure cancer?
A Whole Food Plant Based diet can lower risk of lifestyle related cancers such as breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Studies have shown that a Whole Food Plant Based diet may be effective in reversing early-stage prostate cancer in a majority of patients
There have been no studies showing that Whole Food Plant Based diet can reverse any other type of cancer.
Chronic Diseases: What are the top Chronic Diseases in India? How to Avoid them using WFPB Food?
The number of people suffering from chronic lifestyle disease in India is rapidly increasing. Some of the top chronic lifestyle diseases in India today are
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Alzheimer's disease and other dementias
You can avoid these diseases by adopting a Whole Food Plant Based diet. Chronic Lifestyle Diseases as the name suggest are diseases that have their roots in your lifestyle - diet, exercise and stress.
By adopting a healthy lifestyle you can minimise your risk for these diseases and even avoid them completely.
How to Control Cholesterol?
You can control your cholesterol levels by eliminating animal foods from your diet such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Eliminating processed food such as oil is also key to keeping your cholesterol levels in the normal range.
If you are suffering from high cholesterol, it is also recommended to minimise the consumption of coconut and coffee.
Upgrading to a Whole Food Plant Based diet is the best way to keep your cholesterol under control.
How to Treat, Cure & Prevent Inflammation?
You can treat cure or prevent inflammation by eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods.
Anti-inflammatory foods are whole plant foods. this is because they are fiber rich and therefore rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. They also slow down absorption of food into the body keeping blood sugar levels stable and reducing oxidative stress which causes inflammation.
At this time especially, avoiding animal and processed foods becomes extremely important. Animal foods including dairy have been shown to be inflammatory. Processed foods are also inflammatory because they are low in fiber and an absorbed easily by the body causing oxidative stress.
How to Control Blood Pressure?
You can control blood pressure by eliminating all animal foods including dairy as well as oil. Low salt diets are the best at keeping your blood pressure under control.
Include a diet rich in whole plant foods for best results. Ideal blood pressure is 110/70.
How to Recover and Prevent Covid-19?
You can prevent covid-19 infection by following covid appropriate protocols in your daily life. Masking and maintaining distance are necessary. Ensure that you are double masking, keeping at least 6 feet distance from other people, and sanitizing your hands.
- Do not step outside unnecessarily
- Do not eat in public spaces
- Do not unmask to greet your friends
- Avoid social gatherings
- Avoid touching your face regularly
On the other hand you can improve your body's ability to fight covid-19 by eating a healthy diet. A diet rich in whole plant foods is ideal.
- Cut out junk food, deep fried food, alcohol and smoking to begin with.
- Keeping away from animal foods including meat, fish, eggs, and dairy and processed foods including oil, refined grains, and refined sugar, ensure that your diet is low in inflammation and high antioxidants.
- Work towards reducing your comorbidities with your lifestyle physician. Maintaining ideal weight, bringing your blood sugar back to normal, keeping your blood sugar in ideal range are all helpful.
How to Lose Weight and Gain Health?
You can lose weight and gain health on a Whole Food Plant Based diet.
A Whole Food Plant Based diet is calorie dilute and rich in vitamins, minerals, micro and macronutrients. They are also rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Whole plant foods automatically help in achieving your ideal weight without having to think or worry about it. All this while also improving your overall health, energy levels, skin, and hair, and reducing your risk of chronic lifestyle diseases.
Lose weight as a side effect of health, on a Whole Food Plant Based diet.
Why Do Plant-Based Diets Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis may be prevented treated and even reversed through Whole Food Plant Based diet.
A Whole Food Plant Based diet could improve gut microbiome. This reduces risk of urinary tract infection UTI. Rheumatoid arthritis may be triggered by a UTI and plant based diets reduce the risk.
Plant-based foods are rich in anti inflammatory phytonutrients. This reduces pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis and helps treat the condition.
Whole Food Plant based diet for Autoimmune Diseases
A Whole Food Plant Based diet is beneficial for autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are caused when the immune system attacks your own body cells.
Autoimmune diseases may be triggered by consuming animal foods which cause leaky gut and absorption of partially digested proteins. An immune response to these proteins may trigger autoimmune conditions in the body.
A Whole Food Plant Based diet has been found to reduce inflammatory response, help in treating autoimmune conditions. A Whole Food Plant Based diet can potentially even reverse autoimmune diseases in some people.
Kidney Diseases: Does the WFPB system work on Kidneys? How?
Yes, the WFPB system works on alleviating kidney disease.
Animal protein has been found to activate kidney inflammation, causes kidney damage, and protein leakage leading to chronic kidney disease.
Plant-based foods are alkaline in nature and protect overall health. They also reduce inflammation. A Whole Food Plant Based diet has been proven to arrest decline in kidney function in cases of chronic kidney disease.
Menopause: How does WFPB help avert menopausal symptoms?
When it comes to menopausal symptoms a Whole Food Plant Based diet can help immensely. Studies have found that soy foods can reduce a significant reduction in hot flashes, muscle and joint pain and vaginal dryness.
A healthy, well balanced Whole Food Plant Based diet is also anti-inflammatory and rich in in antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
This improves the overall health especially during menopausal times.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you eat bread on a whole food plant based diet?
Yes, you can eat bread on a Whole Food Plant Based diet. Ensure that it is made with whole grains like whole wheat or millets, that it is made without using any oil or dairy products. Ensure that it also doesn't have sugar or other additives. Sampoorna Ahara's range of breads are a perfect fit.
Can you eat eggs on a plant based diet?
No, you cannot eat eggs on a plant based diet as it comes from an animal and not a plant. They are high in cholesterol and animal protein which is associated with disease risk.
Are starchy vegetables like potatoes considered plant based?
Yes, all starchy vegetables like potatoes are a part of a healthy plant based diet. They are fiber rich and don't cause a blood sugar spike. They are a health source of vitamin and minerals.
Can you have coffee on a plant-based diet?
Yes, you can have coffee on a plant based diet. If you are adding milk, ensure that it is plant-based milk like unsweetened almond milk with the fiber intact and avoid sugar/jaggery/honey to sweeten it. However, coffee is not a healthy food and has been shown to rise cholesterol.
Can you lose weight on a plant-based diet?
Yes, a plant-based diet comprised of whole foods is designed to help you reach your ideal weight as all ingredients are calorie dilute. You will lose weight if you are overweight to begin with. It is the healthiest way to lose weight as you gain health in the process.
Is Pasta OK on a plant-based diet?
Yes, pasta is ok on a plant-based diet as long as it is not made from processed ingredients like all purpose flour, oil, dairy, or any grain without its fiber. Look for 100% whole grain or lentil pasta. Make the pasta with plant milks like unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk with the fiber intact.
Can you eat cheese on a plant-based diet?
No, you cannot eat dairy cheese on a plant based diet. This is because is it an animal product. It is also high in saturated fats and has been linked to chronic lifestyle disease. You can eat plant based cheeses made from nuts, tofu and seeds on a plant based diet.
What do you eat for breakfast on a plant based diet?
You can choose from a wide variety of breakfast dishes on a plant based diet. Anything from a medium apple to peanut butter on whole wheat toast, to upma, dosa, idli, poha, etc. It comes down to the ingredients used in making them. As long as you use unprocessed plant ingredients, you can have any dish you like.
Why can't I lose weight on a plant based diet?
You can't lose weight on a plant based diet if you are eating a diet comprised of processed foods made with ingredients like oil, maida, refined grains, sugar/jaggery, filtered plant milks like filtered coconut milk or drinking alcohol. In order to lose weight on a plant based diet, choose foods that are also unprocessed - the best option is to eat a low-fat Whole Food Plant Based diet. If you are not overweight to begin with, you won't lose weight on a plant based diet.
Does a Plant-Based Diet Mean Eating Vegetarian?
A vegetarian diet is not the same as a plant based diet. On a vegetarian diet, people consume dairy products and some people even eggs. A plant based diet is one where only foods that come from plant sources are consumed and a whole food plant based diet is one with a focus on unprocessed plant foods.
What is a plant based breakfast?
A plant based breakfast is one where all the breakfast foods are made from plant foods. The dishes may range from toasts to pancakes, but made using ingredients that come from plants only. You can have a healthy, full fledged breakfast with dishes made from plant based ingredients.
Are Smoothies Healthy?
Yes, smoothies are healthy if made from whole plant ingredients. They are fiber rich and a great way to get fruits, vegetables, greens, spices, herbs, and nuts. They are packed with vitamins and minerals too! Using plant milks like unfiltered coconut milk or almond milk instead of dairy, dates instead of sugar/jaggery/honey and sipping on the smoothie and drinking it slowly is the healthiest.
Can a plant-based diet reverse plaque from arteries?
Yes, a Whole Food Plant Based diet along with other positive lifestyle changes such as regular physical exercise and stress management is the only therapy proven to reverse coronary heart disease. The Lifestyle Heart Trial by Dr. Dean Ornish proved that coronary heart disease can be reversed through lifestyle interventions.
Do vegans get cardiovascular disease?
Yes, vegans can get cardiovascular disease, if their diet is comprised of processed foods made with oil, sugar/jaggery, refined grains and flour and if they consume alcohol or smoke. To reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, in addition to eating a vegan or plant based diet, one must also eliminate processed food. Moving to a Whole Food Plant Based diet, regular physical exercise and effective stress management is the key to lower risk.
Can a plant-based diet reverse congestive heart failure?
Plant based diets comprised of whole foods, along with other healthy lifestyle changes, have been shown to help improve congestive heart failure.
How long does it take for WFPB diet to clean arteries?
The duration varies from person to person. This may depend on the severity of the disease, genetic factors, and the body's ability to repair. A Whole Food Plant Based diet, along with other healthy lifestyle changes have been shown to reverse heart disease in a majority of patients.
How much weight can you lose in a month on a plant based diet?
This may also differ from person to person depending on how much weight you begin with and how far it is from your ideal weight range. Your metabolism, other disease conditions, etc. Healthy weight loss on average is slow and steady. Approximately 200 grams a week or 1kg a month.
Is plant protein bad for kidneys?
No, plant protein is not bad for your kidneys. Plant proteins come with the whole range of nutrients, antioxidants and phytonutrients that only help you get healthier. This is unlike animal proteins which has been found to be harmful for kidneys.
Is a whole food plant based diet sustainable?
Yes, a Whole Food Plant Based diet a sustainable. Unlike fad diets a Whole Food Plant Based diet is not a diet in the traditional sense. It is a lifestyle change. It also focuses on the healthiest way of eating for both short and long-term health. This makes the Whole Food Plant Based diet sustainable.
How much does it cost to follow whole food plant based diet for one person?
This varies from person to person depending on the kind of food you eat and the geography you live in. On average a Whole Food Plant Based diet is cheaper than a "normal" diet. Choose local and seasonal foods to keep costs low.
Are egg whites OK for a plant-based diet?
No, egg whites are not ok on a plant based diet. This is because eggs are not plant-based they come from animals. On a plant-based diet, you only eat what comes from plants and totally avoid what comes from animals.
Can vitamin C reduce plaque in arteries and prevent Heart Disease?
Eating a diet comprised of whole plant foods is the best way to reduce plaque in arteries and prevent heart disease. A single ingredient, however healthy it may be, will not alone make a difference.
Is nut butter whole food plant based?
Yes, nut butters are whole plant foods and therefore a part of a Whole Food Plant Based diet. Technically, nut butters are a single ingredient condiment. Many of the nut butters that you get in stores may have preservatives, additives and may also not be completely whole food plant based so check the label before buying.
Can you have cheat days on plant-based diet?
A Whole Food Plant Based diet is a Lifestyle and not a traditional diet so the concept of cheat days does not exist
Can you use vinegar on a plant-based foods?
Yes, you can use vinegar on a plant based diet. The most popular vinegar is apple cider vinegar. They make for great salad toppings and dressings. Apple cider vinegar is easily available in India.
Is peanut butter whole food plant-based?
Yes, peanut butter is a whole plant food. Peanut butter is fiber rich and a nutrient dense condiment. It is whole food plant based provided it does not have any added oil/sugar/honey, etc.
Are Pumpkin Seeds plant based?
Yes, pumpkin seeds are plant based, they come from plants and are unprocessed. They are extremely nutritious and make for great salad toppings.
Is Pumpkin Seed anti inflammatory?
Yes, pumpkin seeds are anti-inflammatory and nutrient rich. They are a source of good fats and make for great salad toppings.
Which is healthier sunflower or pumpkin seeds?
Barring few minor differences such as pumpkin seed having slightly fewer calories and giving a bit more protein, both seeds are nutrient rich. Pumpkin seeds may provide a higher value of magnesium and phosphorus. In practice eating both pumpkin and sunflower seeds are great for health.
Will I miss my favorite foods if I follow Plant Food System?
No, you will not have to miss your favourite foods if you are on a Whole Food Plant Based diet. You can recreate your favourite dishes with whole food plant based ingredients and enjoy the best of both worlds. Right from pizzas to payasams, pastas to poriyals you can have them all.
Is soy milk whole food plant-based?
Yes, soya milk is a whole plant food. It is the healthiest plant based milk. It is rich in protein, packed with other nutrients and has unique benefits.
Is almond milk whole food plant-based milk?
Unfiltered almond milk is a whole plant food. This means almond milk without the fiber removed. Most of the store bought almond milk will be filtered and those are not whole food plant based.
What is the least processed plant milk?
Any plant milk that is unfiltered (retaining fiber) and doesn't have any additives is the least processed plant milk. If you are buying off the shelf, your best bet would be unsweetened soya milk.
How do I follow whole food plant-based while traveling?
You can follow a Whole Food Plant Based diet while travelling by planning in advance. You can carry ingredients that may be hard to come by, find eateries that offer healthy food, ask for customised meals, or even cook on your own.
Can I eat pickles on a plant-based diet?
You can eat low-salt, no oil pickles on a Whole Food Plant Based diet. You can make fresh 'pickle' with amla, radish, turnip, etc.
Can I eat Pappads on a plant-based meal?
Yes, you can eat pappads on a Whole Food Plant Based diet. Ensure that they are made without added oil. You can have low salt, whole grain or lentil based papad regularly.
What vitamins do you need on a plant-based diet?
You need all vitamins to lead a healthy lifestyle and you can meet your vitamin requirements easily on plant based diet. Eat a varied, balanced diet for best benefits.
Can you get Vitamin B12 from a plant-based diet?
Vitamin B12 is not made by plants or animals but by bacteria in the soil that blanket the surface of the earth. On a plant based diet, it is recommended that you take a Vit B12 supplement to meet your requirements.
How can I get Essential Vitamin B12 naturally?
Vitamin B12 is not made by plants or animals but by bacteria in the soil that blanket the surface of the earth. You can get vitamin B12 naturally if you live a lifestyle where there is high daily interaction with soils and streams. This may also put you at higher risk of tapeworm infections. Supplementation is recommended.
How much B12 should I take on a plant-based diet?
It is recommended that you take cyanocobalamin 2500mcg per week up to age 65 and1000 mcg daily for those above the age of 65 as a B12 supplement on a plant based diet.
Can you eat brown rice on a plant-based diet?
Yes, you can eat brown rice on a plant based diet. Brown rice is a whole food plant based ingredient. It is full of fiber rich in vitamins and minerals, and high in phytonutrients. It is a healthy alternative to white rice.
Is nutritional yeast a probiotic?
No, nutritional yeast is not a probiotic. It is a healthy whole food plant based ingredient that you can use in dishes to make a cheesy flavour.
Can you put nutritional yeast on salad?
Yes, you can put nutritional yeast on your salad. Nutritional yeast is healthy and gives a cheesy flavour to your dish. Nutritional yeast makes for a great salad topping.
Can you eat candy on a plant based diet?
No you cannot eat regular store-bought candies on a Whole Food Plant Based diet. You can eat whole food plant based candies that are not sweetened with sugar or other processed sweeteners and those that do not contain fruit extracts or fruit juices.
Why is honey not on a plant based diet?
Honey is Bee Vomit. Honey is not a part of a plant based diet because it is not made by a plant. It is made by bees for their babies. Honey is also not a healthy sweetener as it raises blood sugar levels.
What is the healthiest plant based sweetener?
Fruit based sweeteners with the fiber intact are some of the healthiest plant based sweeteners. This includes dates, raisins, mangoes, figs, and jackfruits. Stevia is also a healthy sweetener.
Can I have syrups like maple syrup on a whole food plant based diet?
No, because syrups like maple syrup and filtered date syrup are processed foods. This is because something good has been removed from them. In this case, it's the fiber. These sweeteners cause a blood sugar spike and not the healthiest to consume. Switch them for unfiltered date syrup and stevia which are healthy sweeteners.
Should I eat a wide range or a narrow range of WFPB diet?
You should eat a wide range of foods on a Whole Food Plant Based diet. This is the healthiest way of eating whole plant foods. Different plant foods have different specific benefits and to get them all, a wide variety of food is recommended. This includes different fruits, vegetables, pulses, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and mushrooms.
Is eating Raw considered Real Food?
Yes, eating raw is considered real food. The healthiest raw foods are those that come from plants and are whole or unprocessed. You can thrive on a completely raw Whole Food Plant Based diet. This requires careful planning to include all necessary nutrients and eating enough calories.
Is Healthy Food Tasty Food?
Healthy food can be tasty food. Remember the taste and flavour of most foods come from herbs and spices. These are some of the healthiest ingredients out there. Once you move towards healthy whole food plant based diet, that is low salt and no sugar. You can re-sensitize your taste buds, that have been dulled by the consumption of high salt and sugary foods. This may take up to a week of eating completely low-salt and no sugar after which you cannot go back to enjoying them easily.
Is snacking allowed on WFPB Healthy Foods?
Yes, you can snack on whole food plant based snacks. Oil-free crackers, healthy sweets, fruits, vegetable sticks, dry fruits and nuts, are some examples. You can make almost any snack whole food plant based by changing the ingredients you use.
Can I be a WF plant-based Athlete?
Yes, you can. You can thrive as a Whole Food Plant Based athlete. Not only will you be able to meet all your nutritional requirements, your post workout recovery will be better and faster. This is attributed to the low inflammatory. high antioxidant Whole Food Plant Based diet.
Does WFPB cause bloating?
You may experience some bloating and discomfort in the form of flatulence initially as you increase your fiber intake.It is recommended to up your fiber intake step-by-step. This should settle within a few weeks. After which there will be a marked improvement in your gut health.
Does plant based diet cause constipation?
No, plant based diets do not cause constipation if they are comprised of whole foods. This is because of the high fiber content of whole plant based foods which actually aids digestion. Low fiber diets are associated with constipation.
Can WFPB stop diarrhea?
It is recommended to identify the cause of diarrhea under the guidance of a physician and follow treatment protocols set by your physician.
Is juicing allowed?
Fruit Juice is not healthy. Due to the lack of fiber, it gets absorbed by the blood quickly causing a blood sugar spike. You lose many vital nutrients while juicing due to the fiber being removed. Opt for whole food plant based smoothies instead.