Practical guide to a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet

Fruits and vegetables @ AntonMatyukha

Fruits and vegetables @ AntonMatyukha

The plant-based diet is a mystery to many, and whoever decides to switch to this diet may have a lot of questions such as where to get all the protein, is fruit healthy, what to eat for different meals, where to find plant-based recipes, and so on. In this guide, which incorporates years of practical experience and thousands of hours spent studying the science of plant-based nutrition and the human body, you will find the answers to all these and many other questions that will hopefully allow you to successfully transition to a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet and start living a significantly healthier life.

Before breakfast

The world around us is important, but every morning, as soon as we wake up and open our eyes, and before we connect with the outside world in some way, we have a unique opportunity to first go through some feel-good morning routine, doesn’t matter if it’s 10, 30, or 60 minutes and doesn’t matter if it’s walking, running, swimming, tea, learning, meditation or something else that creates positive energy for us, puts us in a good mood, and gives us a sense of well-being. What matters is that it is a unique opportunity that happens only once a day and that allows us to start each and every of our precious days as creators who set their own tempo for the day.

Otherwise, if we start each day by reading the news or messages that others have created, then instead of being creators, we become reactors, depriving ourselves of that unique morning opportunity, and allowing ourselves to start our day by reacting to the outside world and other people’s creations. There is no good or bad, but each day starts only once and that’s a unique opportunity where we get to choose whether we will be reactors or creators.

Is a whole food plant-based diet the same thing as a vegan diet?

It could be the same, but it could also be different. Vegan food only means food that doesn’t contain animal products, but that doesn’t automatically mean it’s healthy food. Why not? Because there are many refined plant foods which fall under vegan food, but don’t promote human health. So is there a term for a truly healthy diet? Yes, there is. That term is a whole food plant-based diet.

A whole food plant-based diet, a healthy plant-based diet, and a healthy vegan diet are all terms for one same diet which is based on whole plants such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables and as little as possible on refined plant-based foods, and it excludes meat, eggs, and dairy products. For more information, check out the article Is a vegan diet a healthy diet.

Is a plant-based diet boring and tasteless?

On the contrary! A plant-based diet is not only a plate with a pyramid made out of grated raw cabbage and carrots, it is a diet rich with various legumes, grains, greens, fruits, spices, nuts, seeds and other plant-based foods. Soups, stews, porridge, risotto, burgers, burritos, spreads, sandwiches, salads, sauces, pasta, side dishes, desserts, thousands of combinations and flavors. Yum!

Plant-based diet @ marilyna

Plant-based diet @ marilyna

Is it all or nothing?

The purpose of nutrition is not competition, but rather optimal health and prosperity, and for this reason we should be aware that our option is not only to give up everything or nothing. The important thing is the foundation and to daily strive to consume foods that are based more on whole plants such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables and less on refined plant foods.

It is also good for us to be aware of the fact that switching to a plant-based diet is a transition just like everything else in life. When we start learning some foreign language or practicing a new sport, we can’t expect from ourselves to know everything and do it all the proper way from the start, but instead we gradually become better and better at it. The same thing goes with the plant-based diet. For starters, for example, we can change what we eat for breakfast.

Breakfast

There are many options for breakfast and one of them is a bowl of porridge with fruits, but for those who prefer savory food can instead do porridge with legumes or other vegetables. In the article How to make a delicious plant-based breakfast in 3 minutes, you can visually see how to make porridge and examples of ingredients that could be used.

Should we only eat whole fruits or are dry fruits okay as well?

Dry fruits are deprived of almost their entire water content and because of that, the volume of one dry fruit is much smaller than a whole fruit. Nature has intelligently designed every whole fruit so that the ratio of the volume to sugar is always in balance. When we become full after eating a whole fruit, we know that we consumed as much sugar as nature has intended to be consumed with that fruit.

However, when we eat dry fruits, we can eat a lot more and thereby consume much more sugar than is naturally intended in one meal. For example, we could eat about five whole plums while on the other hand we could eat up to 15 or even more dried plums in order to achieve satiety, and that is a lot of sugar to eat in one setting.

If we sometimes want to make some meal that contains dried fruits or if we are going hiking or mountain climbing where we won’t have access to stores to purchase food from and where the food that we bring along needs to last us for a longer time, then in that case, eat dry fruits. Besides the fact that dry fruits are devoid of water, they are also often candid with sugar which is not bound to fiber and that is one more reason to eat more whole fruits.

Are nuts healthy?

Yes. Nuts are healthy, full of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber and they are rich with healthy fats that make it easier for our body to absorb the nutrients of other foods that we consume which makes nuts a great addition to every kind of meal, especially salads.

Mixed nuts and peanuts © Hailey Bilješković

Mixed nuts and peanuts © Hailey Bilješković

Should eggs be eaten because many people claim that eggs are very healthy and have a complete protein?

Of all food products, eggs contain the most cholesterol. Eggs are so unhealthy that whoever eats three or more eggs a week significantly increases the accumulation of plaque in their carotid arteries that lead to the brain. This plaque clogs arteries for years and damages the endothelium which significantly increases the risk of stroke or heart attack. Find out more about eggs and the egg industry by looking at this 4-minute video How the egg board designs misleading studies.

Do fruits and vegetables contain cholesterol?

No. Fruits and vegetables do not contain cholesterol. Only animal foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products contain cholesterol.

Do meat, eggs, and dairy contain fiber?

No. Meat, eggs, and dairy do not contain fiber because animals foods don’t have fiber. Only fruits and vegetables contain fiber and fiber is very important for human health.

What’s the difference between whole grain bread and white bread?

Whole grain bread is made from whole grains. When a grain contains a whole grain kernel it is called a whole grain. Kernels of all whole grains naturally contain three components: germ, bran, and endosperm. The germ and the bran contain about 80% of nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants, and iron while the endosperm contains mostly just carbohydrates.

White bread, just like white flour and white rice, is a refined grain and is devoid of the bran and the germ, which means it is devoid of most nutrients such as fiber. Since it is devoid of fiber, it easily and swiftly passes through our digestive system directly into our bloodstream causing a rapid increase in blood sugar levels which is not good for our pancreas, kidneys, nerves, and eyes.

So, whole grains such as whole grain bread contain the germ, bran, and endosperm while refined grains such as white bread only contain the endosperm.

Which foods are considered grains?

Amaranth
Barley
Buckwheat
Bulgur
Flax
Millet
Oats
Quinoa
Rice
Rye
Spelt
Wheat

What is the real cost of food?

The real cost of food is not just how much we pay for it upfront, but how much we pay for it overall – health, money, energy, and time. While some healthy food might cost us a little more money upfront in the store, it will likely not cost us anything later in life, while some unhealthy food might cost us less money upfront in the store, but will highly likely end up costing us our health, pain, energy, and time and money for healthcare and medication later in life.

Isn’t healthy food or plant-based food more expensive than meat and junk food?

No. Take for example hazelnuts, one of the most expensive plants, which cost around 10 euros per kilogram. If we daily consume a fistful of hazelnuts which is about 30 grams (20 pieces) of hazelnuts, this costs us 30 cents a day which is 9 euros a month. And this is an example with one of the most expensive things from the plant world.

Raw beans cost about 3 euros per kilogram. One kilogram of raw beans yields three kilograms of cooked beans. For one meal, we use about 200 grams of beans on average which comes out to cost 20 cents a day or 6 euros a month. Not only does truly healthy food cost less, it costs several times less than unhealthy foods and all other foods.

Lunch

There are thousands of options for lunch and one simple formula is to mix any grain and legume and have a salad as a side. For example, we can make whole grain rice with beans and have it with a rich mixed salad or make pasta with vegetables, lentil broth, sweet potatoes, and so on.

From which plants can we get protein and is plant protein complete?

All fruits and vegetables contain all essential amino acids which means that we can get protein from every fruit and vegetable. For all information about protein such as what are essential amino acids, what food is the source of essential amino acids, is plant protein complete, and do plant proteins have to be combined, read the article What is the difference between plant and animal protein.

Which types of legumes should we eat?

Eat beans, lentils, chickpeas, string beans, soybeans, peanuts, etc. Chickpeas and peanuts are usually considered as nuts, but are actually legumes. We can make our own legumes or buy canned beans. When we are using canned beans, we should make sure to rinse them well because they are full of sodium. We should strive to eat some type of a legume every day.

Are legumes and whole grains healthy foods since they contain phytates?

Legumes and whole grains are absolutely healthy foods and for more information about phytates, read the article Phytic acid: contrary to everything you have heard before.

Which green leafy vegetables should we eat?

Green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of nitrates, iron, calcium, and protein. Yes, protein! Most of the green leafy vegetables are made up of between 35 to 50 percent protein calorie wise, but since they are low in calories, we can’t count solely on greens for protein because in that case we’d have to eat several kilograms of greens a day.

Green leafy vegetables that can be eaten are kale, broccoli, collard greens, spinach, celery, rucola, etc. Lettuce is not as nutritional as the foods mentioned, but it’s better than nothing so go right on. If anything, we should look to eat at least a fistful of greens every day.

Green leafy vegetables © USDA

Green leafy vegetables © USDA

How should we organize ourselves when it comes to preparing food when we switch to a plant-based diet?

One of the key things when you switch to a plant-based diet is batch cooking certain foods in advance for a couple days. In order to make that easy, organization and planning in advance is needed. Planning can not only save time and money but also give you a great flexibility when it comes to preparing food.

The key foods that should always be available in your fridge are grains and legume because they form the foundation of a daily whole food plant-based diet. How can this be achieved? It’s a fact that every time we prepare grains or legumes, we have to invest an hour or more of our time and since we are already investing that much time, we should look to maximize its use by preparing an amount that will last us for 3 to 5 days each time we cook. And this way, you’ll always have some grain or legume in your fridge that is ready to use and with which you can make main meals, salads, sandwiches, and similar.

Should we use vegetable oil during cooking or eating?

Vegetable oil is 100% pure fat which is isolated and deprived of most of its nutrients and it is almost impossible to avoid vegetable oil when buying some processed plant-based product or when we are out in the city, visiting friends, or traveling, but that’s why at home, instead of using vegetable oil, we can use whole foods that are rich in healthy plant fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, and olives. With that said, if you still want to use vegetable oil during cooking and eating, first read the article Olive oil and other oils: beyond the contradictions.

Where can I find plant-based food recipes?

You can find thousands of plant-based recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks on the website NutritionStudies, website Rouxbe, book How not to Die Cookbook, and many other websites all over the Internet.

What should we eat before intensive sports activity?

Nitrates, which are found in large amounts in beets and green leafy vegetables, dilate the arteries and help oxygenated blood get to the muscles. Nitrates also enable the body to extract more energy from this oxygen, which is something never before thought possible. Beets increase physical endurance while using less oxygen. In other words, beets enable the body to produce energy in a significantly more efficient way.

Neither supplements nor steroids can do what beets could do – beets are simply natural steroids – so when you find yourself at a food market, say, “Howdy neighbor, how much for ’em steroids?” For a maximum athletic performance, eat one to three beets two to three hours before an intensive sports activity. If you need energy during a sports activity, eat dates.

Are the keto diet and the blood type diet similar to the Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?

No. For more information about the keto diet read the article Keto diet and long-term effects: decide yourself and for more information about the blood type diet read the article Blood Type Diet: Debunked.

Are the Mediterranean diet and the Macrobiotic diet the same as a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?

No. The Mediterranean diet includes animal foods and regular consumption of vegetable oils. The Macrobiotic diet also includes animal foods such as fish and promote consuming as little fruit as possible. That is opposite of a whole food plant-based diet.

Should we salt foods during cooking or eating?

Salt is a necessary nutrient, but all vegetables, within themselves, have a sufficient amount of salt for human needs. People have lived without salt for millions of years until they discovered that salt extends the shelf life of food. Only then, at the expense of health, they started adding salt to all foods in order to extend its shelf life. Nowadays, other than being used for extending shelf life, salt is also used to improve taste, but improving taste does not come without consequences.

If you have a normal blood pressure and you then eat a salty meal, your blood pressure will significantly increase in the next three hours compared to if you ate an unsalted meal. This rise in blood pressure happens to most people in the world, but there are exceptions, people whose blood pressure is resistant to the effects of salt. However, salt suppresses the arterial function of even those people whose blood pressure is resistant to the effects of salt. Only minutes after you eat a salty meal, the arterial function gets suppressed and the blood flow gets significantly reduced. In terms of physical activity this means less blood flow, less oxygen, worse performance.

If you salt your food, excess water gets retained in your body and your body reacts to that by raising your blood pressure to expel the excess salt and fluids from your system. This means your kidneys are working excessively and getting damaged because they are constantly overloaded with the task of filtering excess salt and water.

Like we said, salt improves taste and this is something that nobody wants to give up, but the good news is that taste can be improved using various combinations of spices, sauces, and acids such as lemon which, like salt, breaks down cellular walls and enables the flavors of fruits and vegetables to be stronger.

When you eat outside your home or any type of product besides whole fruits and vegetables, it is almost impossible to avoid salt, and that’s fine, but if you don’t want to stop salting your food at home then at least look to keep it below 2,300 mg a day per person.

Is there salt in meat?

Yes. Meat is sold by weight and salt retains water. If you pump meat flesh with salt water and let it sit for a while, it then soaks up all the water due to the salt. This can be done to increase profits by almost 20%. Since meat is sold by weight, that means 20% more profits with a minimum cost of cheap salt. It’s also good to be aware that eating salty foods makes us thirsty and this is the reason why many places offer free salty snacks to their customers.

How do we get used to unsalted food?

For increasing flavor, instead of salt, we can use a combination of different kinds of things including lemon, cumin, pepper, onion, oregano, thyme, turmeric, rosemary, marjoram, basil, parsley, and so on. Lemon and oranges, just like salt, break down cell walls of other fruits and vegetables and allow for the flavor of fruits and vegetables to be released and increased. This means that a flavor of any meal or salad with fruits and vegetables can be released and increased with a dressing that contains a combination of spices such as pepper, cumin, basil, and a little bit of lemon or orange. Have you ever heard of drunken berries? Just pour a little lemon over raspberries and let them stay in the fridge for an hour. That’s the power of lemon.

When we stop or reduce how much we salt food, it only takes up to four weeks to get our taste buds to change and return to their natural innate state. When the taste buds return to their innate state, unsalted foods will become tastier. We will more easily taste the flavors and nuances of different foods. We’ll notice that we are now more sensitive to salty foods. And when we are in a restaurant, if we feel the need to, we can always ask for our food not to be salted and, in most cases, if it is possible, the restaurant chef will fulfill our request.

Are hummus and falafel healthy foods?

Hummus and falafel can be made from various kinds of legumes such as chickpeas, beans, or lentils, but they are usually made from chickpeas, and chickpeas are legumes and legumes are very healthy. But how healthy hummus and falafel are depends on how they are made. Even though a tasty and healthy hummus can be made with very little or no salt and without the use of added vegetable oil and sugar, it’s often made with added vegetable oil, sugar, and a lot of salt and even though a tasty and healthy falafel can be made with very little or no salt and without frying in vegetable oil, it’s often made fried in vegetable oil and with a lot of salt and it often comes in a pita bread made out of white flour. Therefore, we should look into how often and what kind of humus and falafel we consume.

Does it matter which fruits and vegetables I eat?

Yes. Fruits and vegetables are classified by their nutrients, antioxidants, and calories. Some plants are richer than others so it is important to eat high quality plants. The more pigment a fruit or vegetable has, the more antioxidants it has. For example, red cabbage is more nutritious than green cabbage, brown rice is more nutritious than white rice, itd.

Why is the sweet potato considered the king of vegetables?

Sweet potatoes contain so many nutrients that they are considered to be the most nutritious vegetables in the world. They are so nutritious that even NASA has chosen it as an official food for its future space missions. The peel of a sweet potato contains ten times the amount of antioxidants than the rest of the potato so make sure you always eat the peel.

Snacks

For snacks, you can eat things such as fruits, sandwiches, snacks, and nuts. Strive to eat several whole fruits every day. Count a handful of berries as one piece of fruit. Fruits give you many things including energy and antioxidants.

What if I always feel hungry when I am on a plant-based diet?

It’s possible that you are not consuming enough calories. Most vegetables are low in calories so it is necessary that you center your daily diet around starchy vegetables such as whole grains, legumes, potatoes, and corn. For more information about how to get more energy on a plant-based diet, read the article You switched to a plant-based diet and you constantly feel hungry.

What could happen if we ate five to ten fruits a day?

Fruits are very healthy and rich with nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. If we eat whole fruits then we are always getting fiber which serves like traffic controllers who regulate the flow of sugar. Sugar in whole fruits is bound to fibrous structures and this is the flawless work of mother nature. For more information on how fruits affect us and what could happen if we ate even as much as 20 fruits a day, watch the video How much fruit is too much.

What is the cause of diabetes?

Fat is the cause of type 2 diabetes. The fat in the blood accumulates in the muscle cells creating toxic fat products and free radicals which block insulin. Fat prevents insulin from doing its job which is to open the doors of the muscle cells in order for energy to move from blood vessels into muscles.

For more information about that check out the video Reversing diabetes with food where people with diabetes stopped eating meat and all animal products like milk, eggs, and dairy, and all processed foods such as sweets, soft drinks, white flour pastry, white rice, and white flour pasta and started exercising and daily eating foods such as beans, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, and fruits.

Does this mean we should stop eating chocolate?

Chocolate manipulates our dopamine reward system by artificially inducing our brains to produce large amounts of dopamine. For a detailed explanation on how chocolate and dopamine truly function, read the article Why chocolate tastes so good.

Fluids

Water, tea, and cocoa are good choices. The tea with most antioxidants is hibiscus, followed by green tea.

Is it healthy to drink smoothies?

The digestive process beings in the mouth when the food that we chew mixes with the anaerobic bacteria found on the tongue and this is how the body receives information about the food that we are eating. When we chew food, the fiber inside fruits and vegetables can do its job and control how fast the carbohydrates, in other words sugar, enters our blood stream.

We should strive to make our daily diet based more on whole fruits and vegetables, however, if blending smoothies will help us consume more fruits and vegetables and less unhealthy food then rock on, but then we should make sure not to drink the smoothies instantly, but sip on them little by little for about 15 minutes using a straw. Why? Because the structure of fiber in blended fruits and vegetables is damaged and this allows the sugar to enter the blood stream much faster than when we chew and eat whole fruits and vegetables.

Should we drink freshly squeezed fruit juice?

When we eat a whole fruit we get sugar that is attached to fiber, but when we drink a glass of a freshly squeezed fruit juice we consume sugar deprived of all fiber and phytonutrients that are attached to the fiber, and that’s not just sugar of one fruit, but much more because it takes several fruits to make one glass of fruit juice. How does all that work? Find out in detail in the article What is fiber and what are its practical functions? We should understand how freshly squeezed fruit juice affects the body and look to consume as little as possible or none at all.

What are antioxidants and what are free radicals?

Free radicals are negatively charged molecules that lack an electron. Wanting to become neutral and have an even number of electrons, free radicals attack healthy cells in the body by stealing an electron from them, turning them into free radicals who then attack other healthy cells and so on. This is a chain reaction which is called oxidative stress. Antioxidants are substances that protect the healthy cells from free radicals. Imagine antioxidants as bodyguards who protect us from free radicals or disease.

Our own body produces enough antioxidants to protect itself from normal amounts of free radicals, but what if we regularly get stressed or live in a polluted environment like many people in urban environments today? Then we will need to help our body by daily consuming antioxidants through fruits and vegetables.

Antioxidants © matija.rs

Antioxidants © matija.rs

How many antioxidants are there in fruits, vegetables, and animal foods?

Thanks to the largest study of antioxidants in history, we now know the amount of antioxidants in more than 3100 foods – fruits, vegetables, drinks, spices, herbs, supplements, and more. When compared to fruits and vegetables, animal foods has virtually no antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables on average contain 11570 micro moles of antioxidants per 100 grams while meat contains 180 micro moles of antioxidants per 100 grams. This means that fruits and vegetables have 64 times more antioxidants than meat. While fruits and vegetables have a lot of antioxidants, spices and berries such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cherries contain the most antioxidants. Just 100 grams of blueberries contain 5000 micro moles of antioxidants.

Should we drink cow’s milk or milk of any other animals?

Many people are unaware that a cow has to be impregnated in order to produce milk. This milk is designed to get a small calf to quickly grow into a large cow and cow’s milk contains 33.6 grams of amino acids per liter while human breast milk contains 8.5 grams of amino acids per liter. This means that when we drink cow’s milk, we consume four times more protein and hormones than nature intended for us. The following table from one research study shows the amount of amino acids in human milk and the milk of some other animals.

Primates
Amino acids in milk g/L
Humans
8.5
Chimpanzee
9.2
Gorilla
11.5
Baboon
11.6

 

Nonprimates
Amino acids in milk g/L
Horse
15.8
Goat
25.7
Llama
29.6
Cow
33.6
Pig
35.0
Elephant
37.1
Sheep
54.1
Cat
75.7
Rat
86.9

If we don’t drink cow’s milk or other dairy products, where do we get our calcium from?

Cows are just middlemen of calcium. All nutrients, except vitamin D, come from the soil and all the calcium in a cow’s milk is obtained through the plants that a cow has eaten. Calcium is found in all fruits and vegetables so instead of dairy products, we should look to daily consume green leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, or collard greens and beans, nuts, and fruits.

Is there any information on pregnancy on a plant-based diet?

Yes, there is. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has created an excellent section on their website with information on pregnancy on a plant-based diet.

Vitamins

All nutrients on our planet come either from the sun or from the soil. You get Vitamin D when the sun’s rays touch your skin. All other nutrients – vitamins, minerals, and others – come from the soil. There are no other sources. The Sun and Mother Earth.

Should we take supplements along with eating fruits and vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables can provides with all necessary nutrients except for Vitamin D which we get from the sun and Vitamin B12 which we will talk about later. Supplements are full of risk and consequences and isolated nutrients in supplements do not function the same way as nutrients that are naturally packed in whole fruits and vegetables. If we are deficient in some nutrient, this is a sign that means we should change something in our lifestyle and diet, and doesn’t mean continue living and eating unhealthy and keep on patching the deficiencies our whole life using isolated nutrients in supplement form.

Why do people who are an exclusively plant-based diet have to supplement with vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is not produced by animals or humans, but microorganisms inside the guts of animals and humans. Water and plants that are fertilized with natural animal (or human manure) contain traces of vitamin B12. This is how humans used to obtain vitamin B12, but that’s no longer the case because we live in a different, industrialized environment with chemicals and because of this we have to obtain vitamin B12 in some other way. We can get it in three different ways.

One way is to grow our own organic food with animal (or human manure) without any chemicals and the fruits and vegetables will contain Vitamin B12. Another way is to eat food that is fortified with vitamin B12. And the third way that Vitamin B12 can be obtained is through supplements. That’s the way I get Vitamin B12 and that’s the only supplement that people who eat an exclusively plant-based diet need to take. With all that said, we can conclude that vitamin B12 is not a problem of a plant-based diet, but rather a problem of modern society.

More information about Vitamin B12 can be found on the NutritionFacts website.

What are Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and what is ALA, EPA, and DHA?

The human body can produce all kinds of fatty acids except two which play an important role in our health and which we have to obtain through food. Those two fatty acids are Omega-6 which is pro-inflammatory and Omega-3 which is anti-inflammatory. Both Omega-6 and Omega-3 are essential for maintaining health in our body.

The three types of Omega-3 fatty acids are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Our brain and body need Omega-3 fatty acids in an EPA and DHA form. How does one get them? Plants contain Omega-3 fatty acids in ALA form which we eat and then our body converts it to EPA and DHA.

The goal is to strive towards the theoretically ideal ratio of consumed amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 which is 1:1 because a huge dis-balance such as 1:16 which often happens in diets rich with animal products leads to inflammatory conditions. Plants that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and green leafy vegetables. Look to eat one to two tablespoons of ground flax seeds a day and this can easily be put in and eaten with porridge or a salad.

Physical activity

We should look do engage in some physical activity every day. It could be anything, even walking. We can use our launch break to do engage in some physical activity such walking, running, swimming, or yoga. If we have the opportunity, we should ground ourselves, and this can be done by walking barefoot on the ground or swimming. Science claims that feet have 200.000 nerve endings that our body uses to communicate with the earth or the ground that we are walking on.

The earth supplies us with its infinite number of electrons, in a similar way the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables do. If we have a garden, we can work in it barefoot. If we are in a park, we can sometimes walk barefoot. If we are next to the sea, we can swim or shove our feet in the sand or water. Every time we ground ourselves, our body becomes flooded with electrons that neutralize free radicals who are attacking our immune system.

Dinner

For dinner, you can eat a mixed salad whose foundation is green leafy vegetables. You could also eat leftovers from lunch. It all depends on you how hungry you are, how physically active you are, your metabolism, and what food fits your personal needs for the last meal of the day. As you experiment, you will gain a sense for it and know whether only a rich salad suits you for dinner or whether you could eat something else.

Mixed salad with nuts and flaxseeds © Hejli Bilješković

Mixed salad with nuts and flaxseeds © Hejli Bilješković

What if we’re out in the city and don’t have many food choices?

There are more and more vegan restaurants opening up nowadays, but there are also many restaurants that are adding plant-based meals in their menus. And even if some restaurant has no plant-based meals, we can almost always order a risotto with vegetables or mushrooms with a salad or tell the waiter, “Give me some pasta or rice and put all the vegetables you have back in the kitchen on top of it” That is certainly fine and one plant-based meal that contains several processed foods is insignificant if our daily diet centers around legumes, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

Where can I find vegan restaurants and shops that sell plant-based food?

You can find them on the HappyCow website which has a large database of vegan restaurants and shops selling plant-based food around the world.

How can I get used to a whole food plant-based diet or vegan diet when I love meat?

After a month on a whole food plant-based diet, your brain will realize the fact that the reason you start feeling better is because you are only eating fruits and vegetables. When your brain realizes this, it will start secreting saliva in your mouth at the sight of some plant-based meal. From then on, you will quite normally have a desire to eat a variety of nutritional rich plant-based meals while meat and its smell will no longer attract you. But remember, like we already said, everything in life is a transition so is switching to a whole food plant-based diet.

After dinner

Look to shut off all electronics about an hour before going to sleep and slowly start preparing for a good night’s sleep. Electronics and light inhibit the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a chemical that your body starts to secrete in the evening and which lets your body know that it’s nighttime and time for you to sleep. Turn off all the lights, shut off your router if it’s in the same room where you sleep, close the window curtains if some strong streetlight is beaming into your room, and turn off or move the electronics away from your bed.

Where can I find out more about plant-based food?

You can read the other articles on this website, attend a lecture, read the book How Not to Die and the book The China Study, check out the website NutritionFacts.org, and watch The Game Changers movie and the Cowspiracy movie.

What do I get when I eat a whole food plant-based diet?

  • You enable yourself to have a healthier, longer, and better quality life
  • You prevent the exploitation and killing of billions of animals
  • You contribute towards a drastic reduction of polluting of the planet and emitting of global greenhouse gases
  • You have higher levels of energy and a multi-fold improvement in physical performance and endurance
  • You poop better

What else can I do besides eating a whole food plant-based diet?

A healthy diet is only one of the elements of a healthy life. For a healthy life, a person needs other elements as well, elements such as physical activity, gratitude, forgiveness, love, and stress management. Let’s try to laugh and make someone laugh every day. Let’s look for and get something positive even out of difficult situations. Let’s become masters of our minds and learn how to control our thoughts and stress. And let’s not blame, but if we ever do, then let’s forgive. And let’s walk, swim, run, climb, jump, dance!

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