¿WHAT´S A WHOLE-FOOD, LOW-FAT, PLANT-BASED DIET?
There is a reason why we hear this term so often: nowadays, many doctors and dietitians recommend this way of eating not only for optimal health, but also as a tool to prevent and, in most cases prevent, many of the diseases of affluence.
First of all, let´s see what it means:
Whole food= It refers to unprocessed, unrefined foods, in their whole form. For example, brown rice would be a whole food, but not the flour. White rice would not be whole food either, because it´s been depleted of much of its fiber. An avocado is a whole food. However, avocado oil is not. Easy right?
Plant-based = There is not much to explain here. The diet is based in plant-based foods. Therefore, animal products are avoided.
Low-fat = This means avoiding the use of all isolated fats such as oils, margarines, butter and so on. In addition, consumption of high-fat foods such as nuts, coconuts, avocados, seeds and olives, should be kept to a minimum or moderate intake.
So what do you eat when you follow a whole foods, low-fat, plant-based diet? Very easy. We eat grains, tubers, legumes, vegetables and fruits, with moderate amounts of nuts and seeds. This “moderate amount” will depend on the individual, his state of health and his goals.
What non-whole foods are often included (in moderation) in this way of eating?
Flours = it is recommended to avoid white flours in general, however, flours made from whole grains (f.e. Whole wheat flour) can be included in the diet. This includes breads, pastas etc. Obviously, as long as they are free of animal products and oils.
Sugar and syrup = it is highly recommended to avoid them. However, minimal amounts are usually not a problem for most people. For example, using small amounts of sauces containing sugar, such as a little bit of ketchup on your potatoes, or a little bit of mustard. Adding a teaspoon of sugar to your porridge or some molasses drizzled over your pancakes. Nevertheless, sugar intake should always be kept to a minimum, to special occasions or simply avoid it altogether.
Salt= obviously salt isn´t a whole-food either but adding a small amount daily, isn´t a problem for most of the people. Try to keep the sodium intake under 2300mg/day (around a teaspoon of salt). And ideally, under 2000mg/day.
How much can I eat or how many servings?
Due to its high nutritional density but low calorie density, it is not necessary to weigh the food, count calories or restrict your portions. As long as your dishes are based on cereals, tubers, legumes, fruits and vegetables, you can eat until you are comfortably satiated (never to the point of feeling uncomfortable!). This is one of the reasons why people lose weight without being hungry all the time. You can put a considerable amount of food on your plate and and still lose weight.
How does a day of eating look like?
Very easy. Here is an example of a day:
Breakfast: rolled oats with blueberries, a couple of walnuts and a splash of non-dairy milk.
Snack: two peaches and 1 red bell pepper.
Lunch: brown rice, black beans and broccoli.
Snack: 2 oranges.
Dinner: baked sweet potatoes, tomatoes and chard.
Optional: A little bit of some oil-free sauce at lunch and dinner.
As you can see, eating a whole-food, plant-based and low-fat diet is not only simple and healthy, but also incredibly cheap. Just as when following any other vegan diet, do not forget to include a B12 supplement.
This is just a short explanation of this way of eating. I´ll be talking more in depth about different topics related to a whole-food, low-fat and plant-based diet in forthcoming posts. Stay tuned 🙂