Whole Foods Plant-Basics
One of the most effective ways to make an impact on your health is transitioning to a primarily whole foods, plant-based diet. Let’s dissect what it means to eat “plant- based whole foods”. Plant-based food means it can be grown from the earth and does not contain any animal product such as meat, milk, or eggs. Whole foods can be thought of as unrefined natural foods that have not been heavily processed. Before allowing the “diet” label to cause any doubt, we like to recommend the 80/20 ratio where 80% of your diet is plant sourced and 20% of your diet can be from an animal source or from additional plant sources. This allows for lifestyle flexibility and the option to keep meat and dairy in moderation. Of course, it’s always better to choose the sustainably sourced organic animal products when available, meaning your beef is grass-fed, your eggs are free-range, and your fish is wild caught.
There are significant benefits that come with adjusting to a plant-based diet that include weight management, reducing your environmental impact, taking action for animal rights, and disease prevention. Research has shown that many illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, types of cancer and more can be controlled and even in some cases reversed by transitioning to a whole foods plant-based diet. Your digestion will dramatically improve because plant-based food has a higher fiber, water, and healthy fat content allowing your body to process and eliminate waste more efficiently and ultimately reducing your risk of intestinal diseases. Try replacing dairy and meat with plant-based foods to heal chronic gas, bloating, and gut inflammation. In addition to improving your health, switching to a plant-based diet has been quoted as the “single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact”. This is due to 60% of agriculture greenhouse gas emissions caused by the meat and dairy industry alone. If you can find inspiration from living healthier and lighter, allow this to be the first step in living primarily plant based!
One of our favorite benefits of this lifestyle, is the amazing impact it has on the skin. Because plant-based foods are more nutrient dense than animal products, your body will thank you for the boost of vitamins and minerals. Our skin thrives off the vitamin A, C, E and antioxidants that are provided in natural foods. We don’t typically think about receiving hydration through our food, but by increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, you’re consuming more water to help keep your skin clear and free of irritation. Skipping meat and dairy will tremendously help in reducing inflammation in the body which has been known to cause acne. Eating processed foods packed with refined sugar may also cause inflammation through the process of glycation. Glycation is when excess sugar binds and damages the essential proteins in the body, including collagen which may cause accelerated aging along with other health complications. We talk more about the amazing benefits nutrient dense foods may have on your skin here: https://www.oohawaii.com/what-is-your-skin-hungry-for/
We don’t disagree that meat, cheese, and processed foods taste good! If you’re looking to make a change in your diet, it’s important to approach the transition with a positive open mindset and a sense of compassion. Feeling compassion for both the animal lives you’re saving in reducing your financial support of factory farming, and compassion for yourself in the time it takes to adjust to a primarily plant-based lifestyle. Any effort towards a plant-based diet is an effort in reducing harm to animals and improving your health so there is no shame in taking it slowly. When it comes to changing your lifestyle, it’s all about progress, not perfection so doing the best you can to educate yourself about the benefits and how to successfully make this transition will aid in your commitment to a healthier diet. If your first step is to cut out meat 1 day a week in exchange for a plant-based item, let that small change be the inspiration that sparks a lifetime of health consciousness ahead of you.
Whole Food Plant Basics Grocery List:
Prepping meals and keeping a stocked kitchen will help you stay on track. Below is a list of plant-based staples we like to keep around the house for meals and snack time!
–Organic Fruit: Always best when seasonal and local if possible! Berries are high in antioxidants and low in sugar
–Organic Vegetables: Eat the rainbow! Also best if local and seasonal!
–Organic Root Vegetables: Okinawan potatoes, Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips are a great hearty substitute if you’re cutting back on gluten or grains.
–Organic Legumes: Beans are a great source of protein for a plant-based lifestyle. We recommend pressure cooking them to reduce lectins
–Nuts and seeds: Make for a great boost of energy or addition to any salad.
–Grains: A variety of non-wheat based whole grains in moderation can contribute to a healthy plant-based diet.
–B12 and Vitamin D Supplements: To maximize results of your primarily plant-based diet we recommend a reputable supplement without additional fillers.