Have you ever thought about trying to eat vegan? What about understanding the difference between vegans and people who follow whole food plant based diets? Have you ever been confused about what is the difference between these two? Even if you are not confused, are you at least a bit curious? I was for sure.
There are so many trendy diets out there. You hear celebrities are switching to a vegan diet or became vegan for a month, but the news usually don’t really explain what a vegan diet entails. I have two main goals for today’s post: one is to detail what a vegan diet means, and two is to show you how making some modifications to the vegan diet and actually trying whole food plant based diet (WFPBD) may be your way to achieving optimum weight, health, and energy.
Let’s talk about Veganism. By definition, it describes someone who is a strict vegetarian and who does not eat or use any animal products. People who follow veganism avoid using clothing products that may be derived from animals and personal care products that could be possibly tested on animals. Vegans eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, oils, but also refined foods. Did you know Oreos and all the different colas or sweet carbonated drinks are considered vegan? Sugar, white bread, white pasta are all considered vegan.
I remember meeting a friend who was vegan but his health was slowly. He suffered from high blood pressure and carried excess weight. The point here is that being vegan DOES NOT equal being healthy. Also, some vegans do it purely for political reasons (because they care deeply about the welfare of animals) and not for health reasons.
VEGAN ≠ HEALTHY
When you become a whole food plant based “vegan”, on the contrary, you focus on nurturing your body. The reasons why you eat healthy is to maintain a balance within your body and to reduce your chances from suffering health issues related to food. Did you know that at least 5 of top 10 leading causes of death in the US are food related health problems? The list includes heart disease, cancer, strokes, diabetes and kidney disease. I feel there needs to be a change in the way we eat. The problem comes when we get confused and focus on following the latest diet trend, which becomes unsustainable and not very enjoyable. It feels like a restriction, and the last thing we want to do in life is to restrict ourselves. We are always looking to maintain that balance of happiness and health, but society seems to drive these in opposite directions.
So, what does the WFPBD include? This diet is focused on eating foods that come from nature, that are as minimally refined as possible. People who follow a WFPBD eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes while minimizing oil consumption, refined grains like white rice, or white bread, refined sugars and processed foods like the Oreos and sodas. But how can you eat WFPBD and not be bored? I’ll give you 3 tips to keep in mind when looking into making this change.
- Make dishes as appealing to the eye as possible: add color and variety to your plate, I love using red cabbage, carrots, and deep green veggies like spinach or kale.
- Take the time to enjoy your food: if you find yourself eating while you are standing, or in a rush, or at your desk going through emails, you are not focusing on the act of eating, and therefore may not feel happy or satisfied with the food you just had. Take the time to enjoy what you are eating and to think how you are adding longevity and health to your body with this meal.
- Be mindful of flavors: add new spices or seasonings to your traditional dishes. Adding new flavors enhances your taste buds which then trigger curiosity and joy in your brain. If you love the smell of fresh peppers, add minced pepper and paprika to your dish. Add a pinch of cumin or coriander, add color with turmeric. There are so many ways to enhance flavors with natural ingredients, just give it a try and have fun!
I hope this article helps you not only understand what vegans eat and why some vegans are not as healthy as you would expect but also to take a different approach to what you eat and the benefits of the good food you put in your body. Happy eating!