Change is hard. But it’s not impossible. And if I can make changes, I know anybody can!
Lack of accurate information complicates change., Decisions become more complicated when ambiguity waltzes in.. And that is often the case when choosing between a vegan or whole-food plant-based way of eating.
So are they the same?
While they do share refraining from eating animal products, they aren’t quite the same. To add to the confusion, folks that follow a whole foods plant-based diet are all vegans, but all vegans are not necessarily WFPB-eaters.
Vegan diets are not the same as whole food plant-based diets. Both eliminate animal products, but food choices can be very different. Regardless of which you choose, moving from one way of eating to another is challenging!
Vegan: No Animal Products
Generally, the common belief of all vegans is intense compassion for all living beings. Beyond diet, that includes no leather or products tested on any living creature or use of any product that contains ingredients obtained from animals.
So what is vegan food?
Vegan food contains no animal products or products where animal products were used in the manufacture of that food. As long as the food meets those criteria, it’s all good on a vegan diet.
A vegan breakfast can be white toast with a slather of margarine, and a heaping spoon of jam is vegan. Or shredded hash browned potatoes fried in corn oil. Or even a giant bowl of sweet chocolate and peanut butter cereal with almond milk.
For lunch? A slice of fake-cheese pizza and a salad with ranch dressing.
And maybe dinner is frozen “chicken” nuggets, frozen hash browns fried in oil, and six chocolate sandwich cookies for dessert.
That’s a shit-ton of junk food in one day!
Another vegan might have a diet of fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, and soybean-based protein. Just as in life, there are vegans of all sorts.
Whole-Food Plant-Based: Also No Animal Products
Whole-Food Plant-Based diets follow one simple rule: eat plants and not animals.
Well, that sounds simple, but there are some basic principles to follow:
- Eat whole plants in their most complete form — either cooked or raw is fine.
- Eat plants that are starchy and not starchy.
- Eat whole grains.
- Eat lots of lentils and beans.
- Eat some nuts and seeds in moderate amounts.
- If you do eat processed food, choose items with ingredients your grandmother would recognize.
- Use minimal salt.
- Use minimal, if any, additional oil.
- Use no animal products — that means fish, fowl, mammal, sea creature, or any products containing animal products.
And that’s it.
I Have to Give Up Most of My Food!
Freaking out about your diet at this point is perfectly normal! We grew up on processed, fast food! Pot pies, TV dinners, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, french fries. And that list could go on and on. I know some peeps that tasted their first broccoli at the age of 50 — great! No matter where you are in the journey, you can change!
Have you heard of the SAD diet? SAD stands for Standard American Diet. And it’s not just sad, it can be debilitating and deadly. More and more studies show how large amounts of animal products, salt, fat, and processing chemicals are killing us. Skyrocketing rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and heart disease are common. Doctors are treating the symptoms of these diseases with drugs and invasive procedures like heart bypass and inserting stents to keep our clogged arteries open enough for blood to flow.
With the right motivation, you can change.
Finding Your “Why”
Find your “why” and you can change. Find the one motivation that, deep in your soul, you need for a major life shift. You have to want that more than just about anything to accomplish a switch.
Find the one motivation that, deep in your soul, you need for a major life shift.
My primary motivation is to eliminate the fistful of drugs I take every day. I want to move better, walk further, and live to see my kids settled and happy in their lives. I want to do all that with joy. Most importantly, I want to do it without pain. With my arthritic knees and compromised spine, every step reminds me of my why.
I am on an adventure to eat whole food plant-based whenever possible. I love learning how our body needs this nutrition in order to function at its best. New ways to use whole foods to create the meals I love just makes me tingly.
What You Can Eat On a WFPB Diet
Some of the most delicious food I’ve ever created has been whole food plant-based (WFPB). I’ve made crumbly, delicious and healthy blueberry muffins. Delicious mango chutney to slather over whole-grain toast. In season, I love to whip up a frosty mango smoothie. It gives me the pop of sweetness that I crave and is full of antioxidants and fiber with added flax meal and oatmeal.
There are many knowledgeable chefs and home cooks that share recipes on their websites. They may have varying degrees of how much oil, salt, and processed sugar they use. But at this point in your life isn’t the most important part kicking junk food and artery-clogging animal products to the curb? Don’t get hung up on which is the best way to eat WFPB and let that question slow you down.
Here are a few of my favorite sources of whole food plant-based recipes:
- Molly Patrick at Clean Food Dirty Girl. Molly is a great source for amazing recipes. She and her team pull together astonishing combinations of deliciousness. Her website is rated “R” for language and f-bombs are aplenty
- . Forks Over Knives website. There are hundreds of recipes here, from simple to complicated. All different ethnic concoctions are represented — Indian, Mexican, African, Asian and American. The site is chocked full of relevant and helpful information as well.
- Dr. John McDougall, the author of the Starch Solution, has a huge assortment of recipes on his site. This website has a comprehensive library of resources as well.
These sites will get you started on your journey to be kinder to yourself with amazing food choices. If you want to learn about more resources, leave a comment and I’m happy to help.
What We Know
- A whole food plant-based diet is not the same as a vegan diet.
- Both diets eliminate animal products, but a WFPB diet features a nutrient-dense array of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Vegan diets may include junk food that is animal product free.
- While you may need to change what and how you eat, your new journey includes many delicious opportunities to eat!
- In order to make a huge change such as a switch to a WFPB diet, you need to find your most meaningful and compelling “why.”
- There is a wealth of web-based resources for WFPB recipes. You need to find the few that speak to you!
What do you think? Would you like to try to change your life, feel better, and increase your energy for all that beautiful living you have to do? Join me in this exciting adventure!
Questions? Your two cents?
Take a moment to let me know how you’re doing in the comments below.
With all the loves,