The shortest answer is eat mostly plant sourced foods that are packaged as closely as possible to the way nature designed them. Get most of your nutrients from foods instead of pills or powders. I said “most” twice, intentionally. None of us are perfect, and we don’t live in a perfect world where we can find fresh produce around every corner. There will be temptations along the way, and times when you just want to have a piece of cake. Don’t sweat it. Our bodies are miraculous machines. When we have the nutritional support we need from food, our bodies are capable of incredible feats.
However, this shouldn’t be confused with the term “moderation” because, let’s get real, what is moderation? Everyone has a different understanding of how much just-a-little-bit of junk food is. For some it’s a few chips for others it’s a fast food meal twice a week.
Depending on your level of health, and food addition you might have to go cold turkey from all animal foods and oils. Just like alcoholics can't have one drink because it can open the gateway for relapse, food addictions needs to be treated the same way.
Here is the break down.
Eat at least 90% of your calories from:
Limit the following to a maximum of 10% of your diet:
Take advantage of these benefits from eating the WFPB way:
1) Excess plant based foods get burned off as body heat instead of getting stored as fat cells
One major benefit to eating a plant based diet is you don’t need to count calories. Lucky for us we don’t have to limit ourselves to eating celery sticks to burn more calories than we consume. Say goodbye to wasting time calculating points and worrying if you ate too much today. When you feel hungry, eat! Those extra pounds you’ve been carrying will melt off as a nice side effect of eating vegetables.
2) Plant foods nourish the body from the inside out
Eat a wide variety of color rich foods. Nature specifically designed produce to look appealing to the eye to entice us to eat it. Fill your plate with a wide variety of different shades of vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts and grains.
Different colors represent different chemicals that are the most prevalent in the produce. Lycopene in tomatoes, beta-carotene in carrots, anthocyanins in blueberries, and indoles in broccoli, for a short list. Produce that keeps the color on the inside are more nutrient dense than produce that turns white or a pale color under the skin. Some nutrients will help improve your skin; other will give you stronger hair and nails. The list of how various nutrients positively impact your outer beauty is endless. But don’t worry about having to memorize which colors mean what. They are all vital. The goal is to eat all of them. When your food looks attractive, it will translate into you feeling and looking great too.
Examples of which foods to hit according to color(this doesn’t include every possible plant food):
• Deep Reds: strawberries, tomatoes, cranberries, grapes, watermelon, cherries, red quinoa, kidney beans, spices, apples, peppers, onion
• Sweet Oranges: sweet potatoes, oranges, squash, persimmons, grapefruit, pumpkin, carrots, apricots, mango, papaya, cauliflower
• Yellows: bananas, squash, lemons, pineapple, peppers, onions, apples, peppers, garlic
• Dark greens: cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, herbs, avocados, French lentils, split peas, apples, peppers
• Blues: blueberries, kelp, juniper berries
• Vivid Purples: eggplants, plums, cabbage, purple cauliflower, beets, purple potatoes
• All Browns: nuts, ginger, mushrooms, spices, beans, legumes, whole grains
• Blacks: dark chocolate, blackberries, dates, beans
3) Phytonutrients found in plants help detox toxins, making it easier to boost the immune system
Tired of wasting days in bed recovering while you could have been enjoying the sunshine? Feeling sick too often may be due to a high level of toxins lurking in your body. The less toxins in your body, the stronger your immune system will be to keep you feeling sick-free. Many of the most health damaging toxins are fat soluble. Meaning, they like to imbed themselves deep into fat tissue. To remove them you have to get the toxin out of the fat cells and lose weight to prevent new ones from finding a home. So far, over 10,000 phytonutrients have been discovered. These bad boys will play scrub-a-dub-dub to rid your body of these toxins. Eat a wide variety of leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables to put as many different phytonutrients to work for you as possible.
4) Plants help you get rid of cravings for foods that make you gain weight
After switching to a plant based diet, you’ll notice that most of the cravings you’ve had before will be gone. No more midnight fridge raids, nor a daily piece of cake to fix sweet tooth, nor digging deep to find the will power to stay away from fatty foods. Your body will simply start to prefer the tastes and benefits of nutrient dense foods and you won’t have to feel like you’re depriving yourself by saying “no” all the time. Thank both the fiber and the components in whole foods that haven’t been lost in processing for this benefit.
5) Plants give you more energy
Carbs= Energy. Before you get too nervous about seeing “carbs,” it’s important to note we are talking about complex carbs only. Simple carbs are the refined grains and sugars (enriched flours, white rice, sugar, etc.) Stay away from these. Complex carbohydrates, however, are found in fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes. A whole food plant based lifestyle will increase your complex carb intake, giving you more energy. You can use the extra energy to get more out of your workouts and thus get better toned muscles.
6) Plant foods help the body heal
This is the most incredible benefit of going WFPB. Best seller authors have collectively documented successful treatments of thousands of patients using plant based principles. (A small sample of doctors is: Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. John McDougall). They have helped patients with cancer, auto-immune diseases, heart disease, loosing weight, and strengthening immune system. Because of their pioneering work and dedication to sharing their successes, we now know dietary choices have the power to significantly impact our health. We don’t have to succumb to genetic predisposition.