Nutrition, not a Diet

The single most important thing about the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet is to realize it is not a diet. It is nutrition. Nutrition previously was hardly a science, but more a set of normative assumptions based on the historical accident of when nutrients were discovered. This evolved into watching for getting enough nutrients, and often making the mistake of eating food that is processed and stripped of nutrients, thinking we’ll make it up with a multi-vitamin or other specific supplements.

I listened to a presentation yesterday by Julianna Hever on proper plant-based nutrition. As a nutritionist, she proposes completely going away from talking about carbs, fat and protein, because the confusion that results from mixing up simple carbs and complex carbs. Or what source of oils (i.e. natural in certain fruits and beans vs. from a bottle). Or what type of protein, plant-based or animal. Here is a piece of hers on the protein myth:

Protein – Julieanna Hever

What you do eat vs. what you don’t

I often like to point out that vegetarian and vegan are about what you do not eat – meat, poultry and fish for vegetarians, or all animal protein for vegans. The Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet is about what you do eat. Julieanna suggests a whole new way of thinking about food, which leads to the right nutrition. So, here goes:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes (Pulses)
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Herbs and spices

Stick to the concept of whole foods, i.e. not processed foods, plant based, without added sugar (processed!), oil (processed!), or salt. What you end up with is the list above. Nuts and seeds you do in moderation, because they do contain oil, and using herbs and spices makes it easy to go light on the salt.

For the rest, there are a few things that may have to be supplemented, B12, for sure, and maybe vitamin D, iodine, iron and possibly vitamin K, possibly EPA/DHA a few of them you can still get from various ingredients, such as EPA/DHA from flax seed, chia seeds, and hemp hearts, but others are harder to obtain from food. D possibly from sunshine, but we all may not get enough of that. In short, it pays to know what is good nutrition and that is what Whole Foods, Plant-Based nutrition is all about: primarily knowing what to eat, and with enough variety in your diet, looking at colors, is an easy clue, and always bear in mind the green leafies – to keep those arteries nimble: Popeye was right after all with his emphasis on eating your spinach. Simply do not bother with the things you do not need to eat. There is enough good stuff to go around.

See my recommendations in my Bibliography of Plant-Based nutrition on Kit and, if there are any medical concerns, inform yourself, and be sure to work with a supportive doctor, or preferably a doctor with some plant-based credentials. They are becoming easier to find. Here is my Bibliography on the clinical aspects of #WFPB.