Everything You EVER Wanted to Know About a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet

We are in the second week of our Food Day Challenge—a gathering of people from all over the world who have committed to eating a whole food, plant-based diet for three weeks.

Since our 2016 Challenge started, we have been getting a lot of inquiries about the “dos” and “don’ts” of a plant-based lifestyle.

While we have been addressing these questions in daily emails and discussions in our private Facebook group, I decided it would be helpful also to put together a comprehensive list that you can consult during the Challenge–and beyond!

So here are 36 articles for your reading (and reference) pleasure.

How to Get Started?

The Great Vegan vs. Plant-Based Debate

Before we can tell you how a whole food, plant-based diet can transform your life, we need to define 21-Day Food Day Challenge Logoterms. In this article, we clarify the difference between a vegan diet and a plant-based one. After you read this article, you will never confuse the two approaches again!

Getting Started With a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet–a 3 Step Plan

In this blog post, we cover the three key steps to beginning your transition:

  • Understand your ‘reasons why.’ Knowing your real motivations for choosing a whole food, plant-based lifestyle is an essential factor for a successful transition.
  • Assemble all the necessary resources in the kitchen as well as a solid support system.
  • Begin to change how you cook (and eat). Following a plant-based diet is easier than you might think!

The 5 Biggest Myths About Plant-Based Diets

There are a lot of misconceptions that swirl around plant-based diets. People believe it is too expensive and time-consuming, or that by adopting a plant-based diet, you will eat ‘too many’ carbs and ‘not enough’ protein. We tackle these myths and more here.

9 Tips to Transition Successfully to Plant-Based

Rome was not built in a day. It is difficult to become a 100 percent whole food, plant-based eater overnight; think of the process as an ‘evolution’ rather than a ‘revolution.’ Here we share 9 invaluable tips about how you can transition successfully to a plant-based lifestyle. My favorite tip? #5. Check it out.

How to Read a Food Label the Right Way 

If you ever wondered what those food labels really mean, you are going to want to read this article. A seminal piece, it will show you how to read labels correctly and why the most healthful foods have no label at all.

What Are the Best Whole, Plant-Based Foods?

spinach greensThe Fab Four plant-based foods are greens, beans, berries, and seeds. We have discussed them all:

Eating Your Greens (or Why Mom Was Right)

In this article, you will discover the almost unbelievable health benefits of greens as well as the difference between dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables.

The Brilliant Bean

This blog post is dedicated to the brilliant but often forgotten bean. We discuss why it is a nutritional powerhouse and how beans contribute to a longer and healthier life.

The Beautiful Berry

Berries are a delicious, nutrient-rich gift of nature that help you fight cancer, reduce the risk of heart and lung disease, and even boost memory. This article captures the many benefits of this ‘little’ fruit.

Magic Seeds

This blog post is entitled Magic Seeds, but it shines a spotlight on one seed in particular: the fabulous flaxseed. Learn why flaxseed is in a ‘class of its own,’ why you should integrate this seed into your daily diet, and even tips on how to cook and prepare them!

How Can I Change My Eating Habits?

jul-03_bean_illustrate5_1e_20024178Change Your Life Forever–One Habit at a Time

Putting the Power Back into Will Power

Changing Habits: Listening to Tony Robbins

Changing a Habit? What You Might Be Doing Wrong

At the end of the day, deciding to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet is all about changing a habit. These four posts give you tips on how to do just that, covering strategy, willpower, expert advice, and common mistakes.

The Essentials: Amino Acids, Fatty Acids and “B12 and D”

The Essentials–Part One: The Awesome Amino Acid

This blog post focuses on amino acids, the building blocks of a healthy and vibrant life. It explains how strawberrynine essential amino acids must come from our diet (because our bodies cannot manufacture them) and addresses the myth that animal-based proteins are superior to plant-based ones.

The Essentials–Part Two: The Skinny on Fatty Acids

This article clarifies why essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) are important for you, the best place to source them, and why you need to keep the ratio between these two omegas in balance.

The Essentials–Part Three: All About B₁₂ (and D)

Find out everything you wanted to know about getting enough vitamins B12 and D when eating a whole food, plant-based diet. Plus we answer the age-old question—“Do I need to take supplements?”

What About Protein?

bowl of flaxseedThe Protein Question

How much protein do you really need? How do you calculate your protein needs? And where is the best place to source your protein? These are all questions that are answered fully in this article. Plus, we cover the real health risks of getting your protein from animal-based foods.

3 Relatively Unknown Protein-Related Problems (and How To Fix Them)

This article does an even deeper dive into the topic of protein and introduces three little-known enzymes and hormones which play a big role in our aging process and risk of cancer.

Calming the Soy Storm

Over the last several years, soy has gone on a bit of a popularity roller coaster. First, it was the miracle food and then it was condemned as a major cancer risk. To calm the ‘soy storm,’ this article gives a balanced view of soy’s merits as well as guidelines on how much soy you should eat daily.

Facts on Fat

Brussels sproutsWhat really Makes Us Fat? Is it because we do not ‘move’ enough? Or is it that we eat the wrong type of foods or too much food (or both)? In this article, we unveil the real culprit behind those extra pounds that have created a national obesity epidemic.

The Ultimate Guide to Saturated Fats

What is saturated fat? Is it good or bad for your health? Why is there a linear link between saturated fat consumption and cholesterol levels? Does saturated fat cause cardiovascular disease? Is there an acceptable level of saturated fats? You will find the answers to these questions and much more in this ultimate guide.

The Frightening Facts About Trans Fats

Not all fats are created equally. In this article, we shine a spotlight on trans fats: how they are made, how they differ from other fats, and why the only ‘safe’ level of trans fat consumption is ZERO.

Diet and Diabetes: Why Saturated Fats Are the Real Enemy

This is a great resource which explores the connection between eating saturated fats and diabetes. We explain insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, and why a plant-based diet is your first line of defense.

The Cholesterol Conundrum

The subject of cholesterol is a confusing one. This article seeks to clear the air when it comes to cholesterol, including recommendations of what to eat in order to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level.

Carbs: What Is the Deal with Gluten, Grains, and Potatoes?

Busting the (Whole) Grain Myth

In this article, we explain away many of the misconceptions about whole grains. We tackle the myths jul-03_bean_illustrate5_1b_20024178that whole grains are ‘bad’ for you or they ‘make you fat,’ and explain why they are a health-promoting, nutrient-rich and satiating food.

What You Need to Know About Gluten

Should You Really Be Gluten-Free?

These two blog posts cover the subject of gluten exhaustively: what gluten is, the different types of gluten sensitivities, and if eating gluten-free is really healthier.

Should You Eat Rice?

Rice often gets a ‘bad rap.’ This article explains why rice has a welcomed place at the whole food, plant-based table.

Potatoes: Man’s Best Friend (Not Worst Enemy!)

This blog post explores why potatoes are NOT the enemy but how many people prepare them just might be.

SOS—Getting Rid of Added Sugar, Oil, and Salt in Our Diet

Sugar

The Real Truth About SugarClose-up of blueberries with water drops on white background

Are Sugar Substitutes the Solution?

Are You Addicted to Sugar?

These three articles explain why sugar is so devastating for your health. We discuss the addictive properties of sugar, why sugar substitutes do not solve the problem, and how you can successfully kick the sugar habit. After reading these articles, you will never think about sugar in the same way again.

Oil

Why You Should Opt Out of Olive Oil

The simple message of this popular blog post? Avoid olive oil. It is not a whole food and, therefore, has no place in a whole food, plant-based diet. Consider eating olives instead!

Coconut Oil–The Ultimate Guide

In this article, we give you the raw, unedited truth about coconut oil. Despite its recent popularity, as ‘miracle’ oil, coconut oil is nevertheless still oil—processed and high in calorie density.

Fish Oil–Is It Your Friend or Foe?

Fish oil has long been thought to be an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. But as we explain in this blog post, nothing could be further from the truth. We also tell you how you can obtain your omega-3s from a rich and varied whole food, plant-based diet instead.

Salt

A Pinch of Salt?Walnut

Did you know 89 percent of adults and over 90 percent of children exceed daily recommendations for sodium intake?

But too much sodium kills. So as tempting as it might be to use salt as a way to spice up your dishes, keep your levels down. And remember: the more whole and unprocessed your foods are the less salt they contain.

And that is a giant round-up of UC Davis Integrative Medicine resources, which will help you through this 21-Day Food Day Challenge and beyond.

Happy reading and whole food, plant-based eating!