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What is a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?

Thrive Carolinas / Healthy Life  / What is a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?

What is a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?

The whole food plant-based diet is recognized as one of the healthiest in the world. It decreases your chances of certain chronic conditions, facilitates weight loss, and improves your health overall.

What exactly is the whole food plant-based diet?

How does it impact your health beyond weight loss, and how can you incorporate it into your lifestyle?


What is a whole food plant-based diet? 


The word diet might be deceiving because it’s not a diet at all; the whole food plant-based diet is a loose set of guidelines that act as a lifestyle. This diet can vary greatly and can work for vegetarians, vegans, and those who want to keep some meat in their diet.


No matter how you choose to customize it, the whole food plant-based diet has some guiding principles:

  • Select minimally processed foods, such as choosing whole grain bread from a local bakery instead of store-bought bread with preservatives
  • Eliminate or limit animal products, whether this looks like adding Meatless Mondays to your meal plan or going vegan
  • Ensure the majority of what you eat is vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and legumes
  • Choose locally sourced, organic options when possible


A difference between the whole food plant-based diet and other diets, such as vegetarianism and veganism, is that the whole food plant-based diet is customizable to your lifestyle and eating preferences.


The Health Benefits 


The whole food plant-based diet promotes a healthy lifestyle and is one of the best weight-loss

strategies out there. Not only that, but it’s also a great tool to maintain a healthy weight. A 2017 study found participants over 65 not only lost weight on this diet, but were better able to keep the weight off than other test groups who tried different diets.


Getting Started 


For many people, animal products are a staple throughout the day, from bacon in the morning to hamburgers in the evening. To transition to a plant-based diet, one of the first steps is to replace animal products with whole grains, legumes, and vegetables. You can transition slowly, with many people opting to start with Meatless Mondays instead of cutting out meat entirely.


If you do intend to keep animal products in your diet, the best choices are seafood, organic and local poultry, eggs, and dairy products from pasture-raised animals.


Another big step towards this diet is selecting local and organic options over more processed choices. Take a trip to your local farmer’s market or search for less processed options at your grocery store.


A whole food plant-based diet is accessible to everyone because it is customizable to different lifestyles. If you’re looking to lose weight, lower your chances of getting chronic illnesses, or improve your health overall, consider setting up an appointment with our dietitian for a customized plan to transition to this diet.



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