Whole Foods Diet
What is a Whole Foods Diet?
A whole foods diet is a dietary pattern that emphasizes whole foods in a minimally processed form. This is the diet humans have evolved to eat over thousands of years and is the diet of indigenous cultures around the world and our own ancestors. The majority of whole food diets are predominantly plant heavy, and plant diverse.
There are a variety of whole food diets in which plant food are dominant including:
Whole food plant based diet
Blue Zones diet
All of these dietary patterns are anti-inflammatory, support stable blood sugars, reduce antioxidants in the body because they all reduce processed, junk foods and limit red meats. The style of whole foods diet that you choose should be one that you can fit into your life and is sustainable long-term.
Transitioning to a whole foods diet is foundational in integrative medicine as we are fuelling the body in alignment with how the body has evolved to maintain health and balance.
There are many benefits of eating a whole foods diet including reducing your risk of:
A plant pre-dominant diet also has significant benefits for our climate, with plants having a significantly lower carbon footprint and less land use requirements than animal farming.
Whole food diets are suitable for all stages of life including pre-conception, pregnancy, breast-feeding, perimenopause, menopause, for building and maintaining body strength, and fuelling your body for training.
We can work with you to fuel your body for health and vitality whatever stage of life you are in.
Types of Whole Food Diets
Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) Diet
Whole food plant based diets follow the following principles.
Whole foods: These are natural foods that are not industrially processed. They are whole, unrefined, or minimally refined.
Plant-based: The diet is dominated liberally by food that comes from plants such as nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables,, legumes, whole grains, herbs and spices.
. Some people on a WFPB diet complteely eliminate all animal ingredients such as meat, milk, eggs, or honey.
Other WFPB eaters do may do so as vegetarian, ovo/lacto-vegetarian or pescaterian.
The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the eating habits of people who live on the Mediterranean Coast and draws on the cuisines of Greece, Italy, France and Spain.
The Mediterranean diet is rich in flavorful ingredients like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats such as olives and olive oil.
The diet focusses on whole foods from plants including:
legumes, whole grains
herbs and spices.
Foods that are limited include processed foods, junk foods, red meat, processed meat, added sugar and processed oils
Blue Zones Diet
The Blue Zones diet is based on the whole food diets that are consumed by the longest living humans on our planet.
Although the various blue zones vary in actual foods consumed, they follow these pricinples:
1. A plant predominant diet with 95 percent of diet being made up of plants.
2. Meat and eggs, if eaten is limited to twice per week
3. Fish is consumed.
4. These diets are low in milk and dairy, so many people opt for minimally processed plant-based milks such as
whole soy bean milk.
5. Legumes or beans and nuts are eaten daily.
6. No/minimal added/refined sugars
7. If bread is used, soughdough or wholewheat bread is consumed.
8. If alcohol is consumed, it is done moderately ie 1-2 unit of wine per day.
A paleo diet attempts to mimick he earliest human diet preior to agriculture so includes unprocessed:
It avoids cereals,
alcohol and processed foods.
It can be harder to maintain long term as it is quite restricted.
How to get started on a whole foods diet
Shifting your eating towards a whole foods diet can mean a shift in your shopping, cooking, where and how often you eat out. These changes can be changes for the long term.
Some people prefer a go slow approach, maybe starting a whole food diet for breakfast so that they can master a variety of new breakfast meals before then progressing towards lunches and then dinner meals.
Other people are ready for more intensive change, which means drastically cutting junk food out of their diet and substituting it for whole food cooking.
Part of the fun of commencing a whole food diet is exploring new tastes and flavours and sharing these with friends and family.
If you are going fully plant-based avoid substituting meat for highly processed meat alternatives, rather chose tofu, beans, legumes as plant protein sources.
One of the great things about a plant-based diet is that many recipes can be adapted based on which fruit and vegetables are seasonally available for you. For example in winter when mostly apples and rhubarb are available to us, we have a lot of breakfasts with stewed apple and rhubarb on top.
When transitioning to a whole food diet, you may be surprised that it seems like the volume of food you eat is large, that is because whole plant foods are full of fiber.
One Week Sample Meal Plan
Give whole foods a try!
Your move to a whole-foods, diet doesn’t have to be challenging.
Take a look at our one-week menu to help set you up for success.
To save time, do batch cooking, for example soak enough oats and buckwheat overnight to cover 2 breakfasts at a time. Or cook enough of your evening meal for leftovers to double as your lunch. We do this when we cook a batch of beans every week - it provides me with at least 2 super yummy and healthy lunch burritos.
This sample meal plan does include a small number of animal products, but the extent to which you include animal foods in your diet is up to you.
Breakfast: Steel-cut oats, buckwheat and flax seeds soaked overnight in whole soybean milk topped with stewed apple, cinnamon, and walnuts (or what ever fruit you have handy).
Lunch: Large salad topped with fresh vegetables, chickpeas, avocado, pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.
Dinner: Chickpea falafel with salad, tzatziki (can be made from coconut/vegan yogurt if fully plant-based)
Breakfast: Full-fat plain yogurt topped with your choice of chopped nuts sliced strawberries, unsweetened coconut and pumpkin seeds.
Lunch: Baked potatoes topped with meatless chili.
Dinner: Butternut squash, zuchinni and chickpea curry in coconut milk/cream.
Breakfast: Green smoothie made with whole soybean milk, baby spinach, berries, peanut butter, and ground flaxseeds.
Lunch: Large green salad with your favourite sources of protein - chickpeas, tofu, nuts, seeds, boiled eggs.
Dinner: Grilled fish with roasted sweet potatoes, carrot, parsnip and broccoli.
Breakfast: Overnight soaked chia seed pudding topped with raspberries, sunflower seeds,
Lunch: Quinoa, roast veggie and feta salad. (swap out feta for tofu if fully plant-based)
Dinner: Zucchini or lentil noodles tossed in pesto with chicken meatballs (or a plant-based meatballs made from chickpeas, capers, lemon juice, lemon zest and parsley).
Breakfast: Tofu and vegetable frittata with roasted portobellos.
Lunch: Teriyaki chicken (or tofu) and vegetable wrap.
Dinner: Black bean burritos, with Mexican rice, avocado, and jelapeños.
Breakfast: Blackberry, kale, ground sunflower seed and almond butter smoothie.
Lunch: Vegetable, avocado and brown/red/black rice sushi with a seaweed salad.
Dinner: Lasagna the filling made from passata with a combination of lentils, buckwheat, diced sweet potato, mushroom and walnuts, layered with cheese sauce (if fully plant-based then nutritional yeast and cashew sauce) and a large green salad.
Breakfast: Vegetable omelet.
Lunch: Roasted vegetables, sauerkraut and tahini quinoa bowl topped with sunflower seeds and pepitas.
Dinner: Black bean burgers served on wholemeal buns with a large green salad with sliced avocado.
Whichever style of whole foods diet works for you we hope you enjoy making and eating great food!