Why whole plant foods?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions in the course of my consultations and interactions with clients and patients almost every day. And especially when I explain dietary modifications to them.
Does it not surprise you to know that the eating norm that we all ought to follow have gradually turned to what we need to struggle to live by?
Humans have better synergy with plant foods than any other sources of food. As a matter of fact, the toxicity and inflammatory responses got from anything other than whole plant foods has just been linked to a series of lifestyle diseases and has kept them on the rise ever since we glorified animal foods.
For a quick note, whole plant-based foods are plant foods in their purest and most natural state. Plant foods are whole when little or no processing method is done on them. A WFPB habit is void meats and their products, fish, eggs, dairy and its products.
Going by this understanding, you can already begin to guess examples of these whole foods, right? Foods like beans, yam, potatoes, ginger, nuts, brown rice, lentils, green vegetables, fruits, clean water, corn, buckwheat, locust beans, cassava, cocoyam, etc.
Now to the question of the day, "why whole plant-based foods"?
Interesting how our world today has now normalised what is identified and labelled to be known as injurious to health and with the help of lots of money put into advertisements by big food industries. The consumption of heavily processed foods (foods which have been riped of their many nutrients) has led us to experience a surge of ill-health over the last 30-50 years, and it keeps increasing by the day.
Below are a few reasons I will like to share with you.
Aside from the fact that plant foods are the only natural and environmentally friendly foods, they also are the best healers to the human body.
1. They load us with natural nutritional benefits
The fact that they are whole assures us of being able to avail ourselves of most of their nutrients when consumed, unlike any other sources.
For example, corn is still much higher in fibre, vitamins, carbohydrates, etc., and those nutrients in them are able to be reached when eaten as corn rather than the custard or corn starch which is merely a fraction of the corn and carrying other additives of concern.
Fibre which is a very unique multipurpose food nutrient found in whole plant-based foods alone is responsible for quite a number of health responses and body maintenance.
They help you to have less craving as you stay full for a longer period. They also improve your gut health and increase the flow of your bowel contents, helping us get rid of unwanted toxic substances in the body.
"The whole is always greater than the sum of its part."
2. They provide us with a disease-free body.
Being safe and healthy is a major component of our primitive behaviour as humans. And our body just wants to be that as long as it gets the right nutrients and conditions.
Several controlled studies and researches, have shown us how eating whole plant foods is able to make you stay healthy, reverse high blood pressure, build muscles, reverse PCOS and even cancer (when detected early), lose weight, reverse a heart disease(which is the leading death cause in the world), hormonal imbalances, and many other diseases without breaking the bank.
The pigmentations, enzymes, minerals and vitamins in the whole fruits and vegetables are what countless research has found to be the excellent natural healers present in these plant foods and definitely missing in animal foods.
3. Practically increases life expectancy
Everyday today, we are constantly faced with the emission of toxic substances which in one way or the other finds its way into our body, either through the skin, nose or mouth. Consumption of harmful substances in our desires for food too. All of which gives rise to free radical production and also cause inflammation within the body which are liable to cause diseases.
Whole plant foods have the ability to ensure that your ageing process is gracious and provides every physical requirement for longer life.
The antioxidant content in plant foods is the major reasons why they are so effective in this role.
Herbs, spices have the highest amount of antioxidants, antiaging, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties, followed by berries and other pigmented fruits and vegetables which helps to reduce disease formation.
4. Provides adequate and improved energy for work.
Are you a weight trainer, very active individual, sportsman, artisan or even a salesperson? the burst of energy provided in whole plant foods which is very sustainable and durable is what you need.
The systematic long digestion time and slow release of energy from the whole foods have made the continuous energy provision possible. It also increases satiety, which means you will already begin to lose cravings for simple-sugar-filled foods which could build dependence.
Following this, your weight loss and balanced hormones are so guaranteed.
Yes, your emotional eating too will come to a halt once you begin to eat and snack on whole foods at all times.
5. You wouldn't need to count calories
Of everything that many people fear about food, the fear of excessive calories that arise from eating foods is what I often hear.
Well, the notion that all calories are not equal is what stands whole foods out. Beans or nuts for instance may have a high caloric value per gram, but the complementary nutrients of the food are what justifies the caloric load. Also, remember that they sustain you for longer.
Likewise, studies have shown that not all of the calories in the whole plant foods are absorbed, unlike the heavily processed food's caloric contents. which rushes into your bloodstream in no time, leaving you craving more.
But Samuel, I'm hoping to lose weight, would I not need to track macros or count calories?
No, baby. It doesn't matter as long as it is whole plant foods, and you eat in response to your true hunger cues. It is always a matter of time, you will definitely see the inches lost in your pants, skirts and shirts.
How do I begin to eat whole plant foods?
This is the simplest and easiest thing to do on the planet, aside from sleeping of course.
With a whole plant food eating habit, where you desire to achieve and maintain great physical health, all you just need to do is
Commit to it and be steadfast, not judging yourself even when you fall here and there.
Then you need to deliberately clear all animal foods from your kitchen fridge, cupboards, pantry and everywhere you have them, and replace them with whole plant foods.
It starts with you deliberately shopping for them. create your weekly shopping list of whole plant foods. Shop for colours in your local markets and grocery stores.
Shop for the reddest of strawberries, the blackest of blackberries, the most scarlet tomato, the darkest green broccoli and vegetables you can find. The colours are the antiaging, anticancer, antioxidants.
Put your whole foods at visible places in your kitchen and cupboards. You eat what you see.
On a regular cook, cook more at home and eat them fresh. Get to learn new recipes if you have not been cooking before and try out new options.
Again, don't be hard on yourself if your transition is being faced with temptations. It is part of it. Just stay focused and love what you do for your health sake.