What does WFPB mean?

Whole-food, plant-based. This means the recipe uses only plant-based foods in their whole form.  For example, whole wheat and not white flour, brown rice not white, the whole avocado and not avocado oil, etc.  A whole-food, plant-based diet is based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Those foods can be in any form, however. For example, you don’t have to eat whole peanuts, peanut butter is fine because it’s made of whole peanuts and no part of it is removed. Peanut oil is not a whole food, as most of the nut is taken away.

What is the difference between WFPB and Vegan?

Vegan food is all food that does not come from animals. It is a great start to eating plant-based, but does not mean the foods are necessarily nutritious. Oreos, Pop Tarts, Hershey’s chocolate syrup and french fries are vegan, for example.  Sugar, oil and refined flours are all vegan but are not whole foods.

While WFPB is vegan, vegan does not mean WFPB.

What do you eat in a typical day?

In the morning I always drink a green smoothie, then usually some oatmeal, whole wheat toast with avocado or peanut butter and banana.

Lunch is usually leftovers from dinner the night before, or a peanut butter banana sandwich, a big salad, a veggie sandwich with hummus, a baked potato, or other ideas you’ll see on my blog. We eat a lot of apples and bananas, too.

Dinner is always something exciting! My day centers around a delicious, vegetable-heavy sit-down dinner with my husband and baby.

Snacks and after-dinner treats are some of my favorite things to make. You’ll see lots of my ideas on my blog.

What health benefits have you seen from eating this way?

We are rarely sick, and when we do get sick we recover quickly. My baby has never had an ear infection or any signficant sickness (knock on wood, she’s only 14 months when I wrote this).

We effortlessly maintain a healthy weight–I’m 5’5″ and consistently weight below 110 lbs, my husband is 6’1″ and around 160.  I actually weigh about 10 lbs less than I did in high school. I gained 18 lbs in my pregnancy and was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within weeks.

We feel good! We enjoy the blessing of being able to “run an not be weary, walk an not faint.” We love to run, hike, bike, have dance parties in the kitchen, and do yoga for at-home date nights. Being physically active brings us a lot of joy and relieves stress.

One health benefit is looking young–we get mistaken for high schoolers all the time but we’re both 28. Hopefully the trend continues, haha!

Of course, no matter how healthy one eats, there will always be physical ailment at some point or another—it’s a necessary part of life and an experience that teaches us a lot of empathy, patience, and much more.

Why avoid oil? 

Oil has more calories than any other food, at 100 calories per tablespoon. It is just like sugar in the sense that it is a very refined, processed food. Foods are healthiest when they are in their natural state off the tree–olives, avocados, coconuts. In their whole state they have nutrition, fiber, and just the right amount of calories. When we eat whole foods, we don’t have to worry about getting sufficient nutritients, whereas if we eat a lot of processed foods, we might be missing key nutrients.

Most of all, studies show that all oils damage the endothelium (lining of the heart and blood vessels). This can result in vascular diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and atherosclerosis (build of cholesterol that leads to heart attacks). This page explains the effect of oils in an easy-to-understand way.

While olive oil causes less of a build up in our arteries than butter or saturated fat, it is not health-promoting. Being less damaging and healthier is not equivalant to being healthy.

Basically, all oil (both animal and plant derived, yes, even coconut oil) clog up our arteries and add empty calories. It’s a hard truth to accept, I know!

I can understand avoiding meat, but why eggs and dairy? 

There are both health reasons and ethical reasons to avoid eggs and dairy, but I am most attracted to the health reasons. I would love to have my own chickens and goats and treat them right to get my eggs and milk, but even still they wouldn’t be good for me.

The health reasons for avoiding dairy:

  • -The saturated fat and cholesterol of dairy is a major contributor to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
  • -Dairy is very inflammatory. It also causes growth. It is meant to turn baby cows into 2000 lb cows in a matter of months. Dairy fuels cancer growth and weight gain.
  • -Dairy does not lead to strong bones. We, as Americans, drink more milk than any other country, and yet the U.S. also has the most hip fractures.
  • Click here for sources.

The health reasons for avoiding eggs:

Just like dairy, eggs are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which are leading causes of many chronic diseases. Eggs also fuel viruses. In labs, they grow viruses in an egg solution. They create a great environment for virus growth, which we do not want in our bodies.

Click here for sources and here for some fascinating research about eggs.

Do you eat sugar?

I try to avoid refined sugar, but I do enjoy it occasionally outside the house.

There is a lot of confusion about sugar, but I strongly feel that natural sugars in their whole food form are nothing to worry about. We eat tons of fruit (like 4  bunches of bananas a week for my small family). Fruit is low-calorie, high-nutrient, and full of phytochemicals and antioxidants.

As far as sweeteners, we use raw honey and maple syrup, dates, and some coconut sugar. Dates and fruit are the healthiest sweeteners since they come coupled with fiber that reduces their glycemic load.

How do you get enough protein?

First of all, you should read Proteinaholic. That book answers this question thoroughly!

All foods have some protein, and plant foods have plenty. We don’t need to worry about getting enough protein as long as we are gettin enough calories, just like we don’t need to worry about getting enough oxygen as long as we’re breathing.

No one who eats enough calories is protein-deficient. There are other nutrients we’re lacking that we should be talking about, like fiber. Seriously, the protein question is so 2005. We know better now that protein is NOT an issue.

Here is a video if you’re still unconvinced.

Is it safe for pregnant women and infants to eat WFPB?

It’s one of the best gifts you can give your baby. Also, the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and the American Pediatric Association both agree that a vegan diet is perfectly safe and healthy for all stages of life, including pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Here is a video about eating animal foods during pregnancy.

I’ve had two plant-based pregnancies, and they’ve been healthy and happy–a little nausea in the beginnings but no aches or pains and lots of energy.

How do you know what’s true about health? 

This is a great question. There is so much misinformation out there! How do we sift through all the fear-mongering, the marketing, and the biased research?

First of all, it’s important to practice basic research smarts. Look at primary studies. Read research articles and not just headlines. Find out who funded the study (if it was breakfast cereal companies, of course the article will say breakfast is the most important meal of the day!). Make sure the study was done with a large sample size and can be repeated.

Aside from doing research wisely, I think we should use common sense and follow what our heart and the Spirit of God is telling us. I believe God wants us to know truth and He wants us to be happy, so He will help us feel what will bring us health and happiness.

We need to be open-minded and not just read what we want to hear. You can find an article “proving” whatever you want to be true (“See? Bacon and eggs every day is healthy!” for example) but in the end, only hard work, self-restraint, and self-mastery will bring rewards.

I use NutritionFacts.org for a lot of my information because it is non-biased and uses primary sources to find out the truth about hundreds of health topics. I also read a variety of scholarly articles, news articles, and listen to online summits from health professionals.

Have a question? Send me an email! faithfulplateful at gmail.com.