The Whole Food Plant-Based Diet
Under the umbrella of a 'plant-based' diet, there are many different dietary styles which vary widely in their composition. Based on the available scientific evidence, I recommend a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet, which consists of minimally-processed, whole plant foods.
A WFPB diet includes:
- Legumes (also known as pulses, such as chickpeas and lentils)
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains and their products
- Meat and fish
- Dairy products
- Refined oils, including coconut and olive oil
- Refined sugars
- Highly-processed foods
Is a WFPB diet a vegan diet?
A WFPB diet is different to veganism.
While people who follow a WFPB diet are essentially on a vegan diet, they may not exclude animal products from their lifestyle, and as such, would not identify as vegan. Veganism is an ethical philosophy which seeks to eliminate the use of animal products from the diet and lifestyle.
Conversely, many vegan foods which are highly-processed, such as vegan cheeses and mock meats, are not included on a WFPB diet.
Why would someone choose to eat a WFPB diet?
For their health:
WFPB diets are packed with vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, and powerful phytonutrients (such as lycopene in tomatoes and beta-carotene in pumpkin), and have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
For the environment:
The simplest and most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is to eliminate animal foods including meat and dairy from your diet. Farmed animals contribute huge quantities of greenhouse gases (methane and carbon dioxide) to the atmosphere, which are the key driver of global warming.
On compassionate grounds:
Modern-day animal agriculture is a far cry from our idyllic, childhood notions of animals living in happiness and harmony on a farm. Agriculture is a business, and like any other, costs are cut where possible to maximise profits, which means animals are packed tightly into cages, subjected to painful procedures without anaesthetic, and aren't allowed to socialise or express normal behaviours.