The Whole Food, Plant-based Diet

The main goal of a plant-based diet is to eat foods that are beneficial to our health to prevent or reverse illnesses and diseases by eating only unprocessed or minimally processed fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. It also avoids all meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs, and products derived from animals, such as honey or gelatin.

So a plant-based diet is like being vegan, right?

Yes it is, but it focuses more on whole natural foods.

The main goal of a vegan lifestyle is to eliminate–to the maximum extent possible–all products from the industries that exploit, harm, or use animals for the production of food, clothing, or any other purpose. This includes foods like meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs, and other products derived from animals, as well as non-food products like leather, silk, wool, etc. This is a very mindful and animal friendly lifestyle.

However, there are vegans who still eat a poor diet. This is because their diets include refined sugar, mock meats, faux cheeses, white flour, and pasta. Even though some of these products are advertised as “healthy” alternatives, they are still not good for the body due to the man-made ingredients inside.

We would also like to make something clear. Even though the vegan diet and the whole food, plant-based diet have the word “diet” in them, they are both more of a lifestyle. They are not a quick fix for fat loss, or some other restrictive diet method. They are about making real lifestyle changes to protect animals and achieve optimal health.

Here is a short list of man-made ingredients stuffed into processed foods:

  • Aspartame
  • Caramel coloring
  • Guar and carrageenan gums
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Methylcellulose
  • Blue 2, Yellow 5, Red 40
  • Niacinamide
  • Partially Hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • Potassium citrate
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Thiamin hydrochloride
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

Uhm…What?

We’d rather just cook our own healthy meals and not worry about the man-made ingredient that may be added to our food.

The whole-food plant-based diet is a great way to nourish your body, so you can be healthy, vital, and give your body the vitamins and minerals it craves. This way of eating can also help you lose weight, improve digestion, boost energy, sharpen awareness, and increase the body and mind connection. Now we don’t want you to think this is the only way to go. It can be very hard to go from a typical western diet to a vegetarian or vegan diet. And from what you just read, it may seem even harder to change to the whole-food plant-based lifestyle. But once you make that first small effort into making a change, you will see that it is not only simple but also delicious, exciting, and economical.

Final thought

We care, but we don’t–meaning that we want to help you change your diet to something that nourishes your body, but if you can’t make the jump right now though, that is fine too. We want you to do what feels right for you and take things one step at a time. It is much better to combine a whole-food diet with occasional unhealthy food than an unhealthy food diet with an occasional whole-food one. You’ll still be part of the Yoga Junkies team, whether you make the change or not!

Isn’t that going to be expensive?

The whole food plant-based diet is based upon fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, which are often the cheapest items in a grocery store. A big bag of potatoes will go a lot farther and be a lot cheaper than buying a package of meat or some fake alternatives. It can be a little expensive buying organic fruits and vegetables, so if you’re on a tight budget, try to stick to seasonal produce of your home country and give them a quick wash right before you use them.

Where will the protein come from?

We can tell you right now that this will be the first question that is asked when you tell people you’re on a plant-based diet. Your response should be “vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts”. Contrary to what some supplement companies would like you to believe, you don’t need tons of protein to stay healthy, gain muscle, or lose weight. 

The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This would amount to 56 grams of protein per day for the average sedentary man and 46 grams of protein per day for the average sedentary woman. To calculate your daily protein needs, multiply your weight by one of the values above. The result will be your required daily amount of protein in grams. Meeting your daily protein needs is easily achievable with a plant-based diet¬no need to fear.

Won’t I be hungry all the time?

A plant-based diet will be a great change for those who decide to adapt their eating habits, but it can leave you craving for more if you fail to follow some basic measures.

Eat a variety of foods – It would be amazing to just eat strawberries all day, but after the first few days, this type of eating would leave you unsatisfied and unhappy. A proper combination of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds will ensure that you get the nutrients and protein you need to remain full. Protein is essential to support brain, cell, and metabolism functions, as well as satiety that it provides to the body.

Eat slowly and mindfully – Don’t just inhale your food. Be sure to sit down, chew slowly, and realize you’re eating. Making sure that you are away from your phone and avoid distractions while you eat is essential to eating mindfully. This allows your body to recognize when it is satisfied and helps to prevent you from over-eating.

Drink water throughout the day – You may think that you’re hungry, but actually your body is just thirsty. Drink a glass of water and see how you feel. Your body sometimes likes to play tricks on you!

Eat a variety of foods – It would be amazing to just eat strawberries all day, but after the first few days, this type of eating would leave you unsatisfied and unhappy. A proper combination of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds will ensure that you get the nutrients and protein you need to remain full. Protein is essential to support brain, cell, and metabolism functions, as well as satiety that it provides to the body.

Eat slowly and mindfully – Don’t just inhale your food. Be sure to sit down, chew slowly, and realize you’re eating. Making sure that you are away from your phone and avoid distractions while you eat is essential to eating mindfully. This allows your body to recognize when it is satisfied and helps to prevent you from over-eating.

Drink water throughout the day – You may think that you’re hungry, but actually your body is just thirsty. Drink a glass of water and see how you feel. Your body sometimes likes to play tricks on you!

Will I have to stop going out to eat?

As long as it is not fast food, no, you don’t have to stop going out to eat. If you choose a healthy restaurant, then it is perfectly fine to grab some meals outside the house. Just try and stick to the vegetarian or vegan options, and you’re good to go. It is already hard enough to make such a big change in your diet, taking away the pleasure of dining out would just be unnecessary. Make smart choices, and you will still be way ahead of most people.

What if my family won’t eat a plant-based diet?

Let them starve. Just kidding. Start off by making a few meals without meat, and see how they like it. If they ask why the hamburgers have no meat, just tell them you wanted to try something new. Talk to them about the benefits of a plant-based diet, and hopefully they will come around. If not, lead by example, and maybe they will end up joining you once they see your amazing results.

Won’t my friends think I’m crazy?

There will be some people who question your new lifestyle, and there will be others who will fully support you. If you find yourself under interrogation, just tell them that you want to start looking after your health by eating whole foods, not the ones made in a factory. If your friends still debate you over your new lifestyle, then just send them our way– and we will set them straight 😉

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