Whole Food Plant Based Diet, quite 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.
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'.