Saturday, April 27, 2013

What is a Whole Foods, Plant Based Diet?

In my last post I outlined how I came to be thoroughly convinced that whole foods and plant-based foods are the healthy option. 

But what IS a whole food? What counts as plant-based? 

Whole foods are "foods that are unprocessed and unrefined 
or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed." (*)

'Plant based' is basically an inclusive term applied to vegans, vegetarians, and those who eat eggs, and dairy products, but avoid meat.  (who would technically be classified as lacto-ovo-vegetarian ... as if it matters.)  

Now, before you think I've got it all together - please know that I don't. I had diet coke last night. I'm dipping tortilla chips in hummus right now. Trading in unhealthy for healthy around here has been and continues to be a process. 

This eating style tends to raise a few questions: 
If I'm just eating fruit and veggies, what am I eating?! And - the ever popular - where do I get my protein?! 

I must confess here that I was oddly concerned those first days that I might fall over in the middle of the afternoon, having become too weak from a lack of meat. It's been a month, and I've not fallen over once.  (Actually I feel stronger and more mentally alert! More on that later...) 

Here's a sample of what I eat in a day, with protein sources highlighted. (Though all fruits and vegetables have some protein)


1-2 cup coffee (1-2 tsp brown sugar)
Smoothie (2 cups of fruit, 1 cup water, kale or spinach, chia seeds, flaxseed)

Toasted tomato sandwich
1/2 cup trail mix

1/2 cup trail mix
piece of fruit (or, today, a soup bowl of chips and 1/2 cup of chipotle hummus - Mmm! )

personal pan size vegetarian pizza (black beans and spinach  on a tortilla crust is my fave) or 1/2-1 cup serving of sweet potato lasagne... something veggie :) 

bowl popcorn, salted, with 1-2 tbsp butter (when do you measure? When it's hard or melted??) 

** on days I work out, a protein shake is added too.
Hmm. It doesn't look like much in a list like that, but I'm FULL. It's surprising how filling healthy foods really are. Empty calories in processed foods don't keep me satisfied as long as whole foods do. Interesting... (who knows? Maybe this way of eating is not as expensive as one would think, if one needs fewer whole foods than processed 'food'...)  who eat milk or eggVegetarians who eat milk or eggs are called "lacto-ovo-vegetarians"
For more info on identifying whole foods, how to shop and much much more, check out 
100 Days of Real Food

What kind of whole foods do you plan to rotate into your meal plan?


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