WFPB-What is it, and why bother?
When I decided that I wanted to become a health coach I knew immediately that I wanted one of my main focuses to be helping people understand that it is possible to eat satisfying food that is actively good for you without anything detrimental.
For years previous I had held the same belief as many others that food wasn’t food if it didn’t have meat, dairy, and eggs. How I wish I could talk to my younger self! Years ago when I did turn to a whole-food plant-based style of eating, not only did I feel better, but I also learned that the flavors that I enjoyed came from plants, and the textures that I loved in my food were also possible through the power of plants. I felt better, my health markers improved, and eating became an avenue for exploration and creativity. I felt renewed.
For many reasons I eat strictly plant-based, but I don’t expect others to. We all know that eating mostly plants, or at least more plants, is beneficial for overall health outcomes, so I have set out to help anyone who wants to add a few more plants or go all the way to only plants do so. This style of eating is quickly gaining recognition as one of the healthiest eating patterns because of the study of blue zones, studies and research conducted by the likes of Caldwell Esselstyn, Dean Ornish, and the PCRM (Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine), and because of the conclusive results of such studies showing it’s positive effects on healthy weight, reversal of cardiac disease and type 2 diabetes, and because of its ability to aid in the management or reversal of a whole host of terminal illnesses that plague many in today’s modern society. This style of eating is simple, inexpensive, and satisfying.
Meals in this style of eating are built from the following food groups: whole grains/vegetables (starchy and non-starchy)/beans, legumes, and pulses/fruit/nuts and seeds which correspond easily with the "MyPlate" recommendations. Now you may be asking yourself a few questions such as, “Isn’t this just a vegan diet? Can I eat meat, dairy, and eggs and center my eating around plants?” To begin with, there is no such thing as “a vegan diet”. What?!? Yes, you read that right. Being vegan or veganism is an ethic. It is a moral point of view. When someone says that they are vegan, that doesn’t tell you what they eat. It only tells you what they don’t eat.
WFPB eating patterns are patterns that are centered around whole plant foods. Someone who is vegan can eat WFPB centered, or they can not. Someone who isn’t vegan can eat WFPB centered, or they can not. In WFPB eating, you are simply building your meal around minimally processed plants. Whether or not you add something not WFPB, and how far you want to take it is up to you.
So, what’s the big draw to eating WFPB? Well, simply put, when eating meals built around vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains you can eat a large volume of food without eating a large number of calories. For example, 4 ounces of chicken is 272 calories, calories in 4 ounces of cheese is 456, and there are only 104 calories in 4 ounces of black beans. Whole plant foods have fewer calories per volume than processed foods and animal-based foods. Plant foods are also full of fiber and water which increase feelings of fullness, and the herbs and spices that we add to the foods we eat are all plants! In short, eat more and weigh less.
That sounds pretty good to me. If this interests you, then please make sure to stick around, and keep looking for new articles and videos. In future articles and videos, I’ll be discussing more in-depth how to build WFPB centric meals, the concept of calorie density, and the science behind changing your cravings and food preferences. I’ll also be sharing recipes for how to incorporate more plants into your diet. Until then I encourage you to learn more about WFPB eating and to learn more about the health benefits of plant foods. Until next time let good health take root!