What is Whole Food Plant Based?
Why not call yourself a Vegan?
Here's a very basic answer. I highly recommend watching the documentary Forks over Knives and reading Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Gregor - Just to name a few.
People who eat a whole food plant based diet eat just that, foods that are the whole food without processing and added chemicals. In the pantry and refrigerator of a whole food plant based person you would find items like: almond milk, kale, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, nutritional yeast, beans, rice, potatoes, fresh herbs, hemp and chia seeds just to name a few. You would also find many many spices. Especially, turmeric, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, curry…and the list goes on and on.
A vegan is someone who refrains from all animal products. Their pantry and refrigerator could hold all the same items, but may also include chocolate cookies with a cream center, non-dairy ice cream, chips and frozen vegan meals. But please do not misunderstand, not all vegans are alike. Many choose a very healthy diet that does not include unhealthy snack foods. Unfortunately, there are many people that make poor choices and get sick because of it. This is a problem because their poor choices make a statement that it is unhealthy to eat as a vegan. This cannot be more incorrect. A vegan who chooses a good variety of healthy real foods can live a very long life filled with vitality. Check out the book The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World's Healthiest People by Dan Buettner specifically the 7th day Adventist in Loma Linda, California.
In my experience, Whole Food Plant Based eaters are usually making this eating choice for health reasons, whereas, Vegan's are usually making their eating choice for the rights of animals. Either way, I have found that people choose not to eat meat, fish, eggs and dairy for one of three reasons - Health, Animal Rights, Environment. And most would agree that all are important factors but each person has their own order of importance which is shifted based upon their beliefs.
With that said, the word vegan is better understood by others, many Whole Food Plant Based people may use the term vegan when out to dinner in order to help the server understand that they do not eat dairy, meat, fish or eggs.
Either way of life can prove to be difficult and complicated at times. I have found I prefer to cook and eat at home. Navigating a menu can be frustrating – however, more restaurants are offering options on the menu and most restaurants are more than happy to accommodate changes. It does help to tell the staff your dietary choices when you call for a reservation.
Complicated or not, I can say from experience having been a vegetarian turned vegan turned whole food plant based that this way of life has been truly gratifying and exciting. I love to cook and discover new flavor options. I have become much more adventurous in my eating and my body and mind are grateful for all the healthy foods I choose to eat. Let's face it you'll never feel guilty eating a bowl of spinach, kale and arugula coconut soup.
If you have questions about Whole Food Plant Based Eating, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Grace, Peace & Healthy Living,