By Molly Patrick
Feb 3, 2015,
It’s pretty much established that incorporating more whole plant foods into the diet is a good thing and we should do that as much as possible.
The memo has been sent out, Office Space style and most people are on the same page.
After the memo has been read and understood, the next step is to take action. And what I’ve noticed is that people tend to overthink the action part.
So if whole plant food is the key, where the fuck is the lock?
The diet and weight loss industry has made eating way more complicated than it has to be. And now that people are starting to accept that diets don’t really work, they don’t know what or how to eat. What I’m saying is, the lock has been hidden under Atkins and South Beach.
People aren’t sure what to eat, in what order, combination, amount, frequency or type of whole plant foods to make and chow down on. Here are some basic tips for adding more healthy foods into your diet, without overcomplicating it.
The good news is that just like missionary style, it isn’t complicated.
In the 80’s and 90’s, it was thought that we had to combine our food in certain ways in order for the nutrients to be effective.
- We now know that our body is way smarter than we are, and it actually does the combining for us based on what we need when we digest our food.
- The other thing we now know is that if we eat a variety of whole plant foods, we’ll get plenty of good fats, protein and carbohydrates. And the best part is, all we have to do is eat when we’re hungry (I’m talking about actual hunger, not boredom) and stop when we’re full.
- Again, the internal workings of our body are fucking brilliant and they’ll send us signals when our body needs something or has had enough of something. We just have to take heed.
The caveat to this is if we’re eating lots of junk food. When we eat lots of processed food filled with salt, sugar, fat, and artificial ingredients, our brain becomes addicted, our internal workings get short circuited and the signals our body sends us aren’t authentic.
So stick to whole plant foods that come from the ground or a tree, stay away from packaged foods, eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Nothing complicated about it – see missionary style, told ‘ya.
It’s less about following rules and more about trusting the process and letting our food work for us and not against us. (I’ve never actually watched Game of Thrones, but I feel there should be a Game of Thrones analogy here). When we’re so used to micromanaging every single thing we put in our mouth, this is a weird transition.
Let’s start by establishing what whole plant foods actually are.
Fruits in their whole form.
Veggies in their whole form.
Beans and legumes in their whole form.
Whole grains in their whole form.
Nut and seeds in their whole form.
Anything that is overly processed is not considered a whole plant food.
This includes oil, refined sugar, refined flour and packaged convenience foods – whether they’re vegan or not.
Things like sprouted whole grain bread, sprouted whole grain tortillas, tofu, tempeh and even some brands of kale chips are all healthy items to incorporate into your diet. This is because they’re close enough to their natural state that they retain most of their nutrients.
For instance, sprouted bread has protein, minerals, fiber and other good stuff going for it, whereas Wonder Bread is a waste of time and should be avoided at all possible costs because there’s nothing wonderful about it. Wonder bread is as pointless as this sign but way more harmful.
Here’s the dealio.
Every single whole plant food is made up of its own structure and chemical compounds. No two are the same, but all of them are beneficial in keeping us healthy, energized and free of chronic disease.
Scientists don’t yet fully understand how or why this is yet.
Part of this is because nutrition is so complex, as is the human body, but mainly it’s because funding for anything nutrition based that won’t eventually lead to a medication or a supplement is hard to come by.
So even though all whole plant foods are good for us, there are some that are more nutrient dense than others, and there have been some studies done that can point us to which ones we should be making a priority to nom on regularly.
Here’s a cheat sheet for you with a list of the most important whole plant foods to incorporate into your diet on the daily when possible (in no particular order):
- Cruciferous Veggies
- Orange veggies
- Leafy greens
- Raw green salads with some dressing that contains a little fat (like from cashews or sesame seeds).
- Whole grains
- Berries and pomegranate seeds
- Nuts and seeds
Now, keep in mind that eating more whole plant foods means eating less of everything else. So not only do we get the benefits from the chemical compounds and fiber that make up plants, we also get less of the stuff that isn’t good for our bod in other foods. It’s twofold.
Here’s your takeaway and how to put it all together so you don’t have dizzy head in the grocery store, wanting to get ingredients for healthy dinners next week, but ending up with frozen pizzas in your shopping cart.
If you make a batch of beans, a batch of grains, a veggie soup, prep some leafy greens and salad greens, make a dressing, and have some mushrooms, onions, berries and orange veggies on hand, you’ll rock your week in food.
Eating will be a breeze. You’ll never have to wonder what’s for dinner and take-out won’t end up in your tummy.
Alternatively, you can try our weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans, where all you have to do is follow along.
At the end of the day, try not to over think it. Eat lots of whole plant foods and stay away from packaged food as much as possible. And when you eat potato chips, don’t beat yourself up about it. Move on and feed your bod extra well tomorrow.
You can always hit up our private Facebook group as well. There are lots of knowledgeable peeps in our group (who also take some really shitty pictures. I say it with love!).
Today’s recipe is pretty much the best thing since…..Chicken Liver Pate, sans the chicken.
Make it for the meat paté lover in your life and watch their reaction with glee.
- 1 cup red onion 130g, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon peeled and grated ginger 6g
- 1/2 cup parsley 16g, loosely packed
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt 5g
- 5 turns black pepper
- 2 cups mushrooms 170g, sliced
- 2 tablespoons water 30ml
- 2 cup walnuts 180g
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice 5ml
- Heat a skillet over medium heat for a minute or so until it gets warm.
- Add the onions, garlic, ginger, parsley, tarragon, sea salt and black pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently so the ingredients don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If they start to stick, add just a little splash of water.
- Add mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of water and cook for 4 minutes, stirring intermittently.
- Place the walnuts, lemon juice and the onion/mushroom mixture in a food processor and process until smooth, for about 5 minutes.
- Stop processing occasionally and use a rubber spatula to push down any pate that has collected on the side of the food processor.
- Let chill for at least an hour before serving. Serve with cucumber rounds or on toasted sprouted bread.
- Check out our Plant Based Charcuterie Board Inspiration post for fun ideas on how to use this recipe
Have a super happy week. May you see yourself in everyone around you.
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