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It’s common knowledge that fruits and vegetables are amongst the healthiest, most nutrient dense foods on earth. But what about nuts, beans, legumes, or whole grains? Do they offer similar benefits? All of these foods occur in nature – they hang on trees or plants, grow under or above ground, can be picked or harvested easily and be eaten without much or even any alteration at all. You can eat them raw, steam or bake them, and get perfect, clean, and very nutritious meals.
The complete opposite of that sits on nearly every shelf in today’s supermarkets: package after package of processed food with long lists of ingredients that are unpronounceable. Since these foods have been processed, stripped away from basically any essential nutrient, and instead are now accompanied by additives and preservatives, there is not much benefit you can expect from them. Even more so, you are lucky if these ‘foods’ don’t mess up your health and well-being, leaving you malnourished and even overweight.
Since our bodies look for a good dose of both macro (carbohydrates, protein, fat) and micro (vitamins, minerals) nutrients, they will keep craving food until their needs are fulfilled – which means you’ll get a whole bunch of empty, useless calories and harmful ingredients on top of that.
This doesn’t mean that all you should eat is salad. Leafy greens are highly nutritious of course, but they cannot provide you with all the energy and satiation you need in order to thrive and stay healthy long-term. It’s important to have a sustainable staple food, like starches, legumes or calorically dense fruit, which you can and should top with your lettuce and nuts or seeds.
To give you an insight into the colorful world of whole plant-based food, we created this simple overview for you. A healthy vegan diet therefore consists of:
like bananas, mangoes, berries, citrus, grapes etc.
like kale, carrots, zucchini, lettuce, broccoli, eggplant etc.
like rice, barley, millet, oats, quinoa etc.
like black beans, green peas, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans etc.
like potatoes, corn, squash, sweet potatoes, yams etc.
like cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sesame etc.
All of these nutritious foods can be used to create a beautiful, well-rounded and satisfying meal for any type of occasion. Since they are packed with everything your body needs to function well and heal, they make for a perfect base in your everyday food compositions.
When thinking of the term ‘whole food’, you could count things like milk or meat in as well – after all, they can be unaltered or unprocessed too. But we as human beings do not thrive on animal-based products, since they harm our bodies and contribute to acute and chronic diseases – this is part of the reason we recommend a fully vegan diet. Since meat, eggs, and dairy contain ‘non-nutrients’ , such as cholesterol, hormones, carcinogens, dioxins, antibiotics, and bacteria, these foods can cause issues such as:
Animal-based products do not contain a single nutrient that isn’t found in plant-based foods. It’s true that they do offer some vitamins and minerals, but it’s much smarter to get them from foods that don’t cause any harm at the same time – it’s not necessary to filter them through an animal first. You have probably heard of the lack of protein or B12 in a plant-based diet, which might keep you from starting this way of eating.
In reality though, plants are the original source of amino acids and you don’t need an animal to make protein out of it first – your body can do the exact same. We also require much less protein than you might think! Even the World Health Organization recommends less than 10% of calories should come from protein – the best sources for this are beans, legumes, spinach, whole grains, and nuts.
If you want to stay safe and clean, that’s absolutely the way to go.
What we are looking for are foods that offer a high amount of nutrients while at the same time causing no harm whatsoever in our bodies. But every single one of us has other types of requirements and food preferances that serves them best since we have different constitutions.
If you want to avoid chronic disease, obesity, and suffering, a fully plant-based vegan diet with lots of whole and fresh food is best. While some people do better with more starches like potatoes, others prefer lots of veggies with beans, or fruit smoothies and veggie sandwiches. All of your favorite foods can be made healthy!
No way of eating is better than the other within the whole food plant-based world, so feel free to experiment and see for yourself what makes you thrive. If you look for some more guidance, join our free course in transitioning to a whole food plant-based diet and get lots of hands-on advice as well as a meal plan and success tips.