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?
Before we can tell you how a whole food, plant-based diet can transform your life, we need to define terms. 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!
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!
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.
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.
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?
The Fab Four plant-based foods are greens, beans, berries, and seeds. We have discussed them all:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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”
This blog post focuses on amino acids, the building blocks of a healthy and vibrant life. It explains how nine 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
What 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.
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.
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.
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 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?
In this article, we explain away many of the misconceptions about whole grains. We tackle the myths that whole grains are ‘bad’ for you or they ‘make you fat,’ and explain why they are a health-promoting, nutrient-rich and satiating food.
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.
Rice often gets a ‘bad rap.’ This article explains why rice has a welcomed place at the whole food, plant-based table.
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
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.
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!
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 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.
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!