A Whole Food Diet For Better Overall Health
Mother Nature needs no hype that’s for sure; and ladies eating better is the key to better overall health. Even with Mother Nature giving us all the right ingredients in the right amounts eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables isn’t always easy in our fast-paced lifestyle. A Whole-Food Plant-based (WFPB) diet from fruits and vegetables has been demonstrated time and time again by science to give our bodies the building blocks it needs to help us look better and feel better, not to mention live a longer and healthier life.
A WFPB Diet is a term that can apply or refer to any number of different eating styles. The main difference here is that a WFPB is characterized by what it includes rather than what it excludes.
A WFPB diets benefits start with a baseline of better nutrition. Obviously, this is a given but better nutrition is where a healthier body always starts. It’s what fuels our body, and thus becomes our defense against long-term chronic and avoidable lifestyle diseases that plague our country.
Why We Don't Want Better Nutrition?
Despite being a healthy source of better nutrition, most of us still don’t consume nearly enough fruits and vegetables, let alone eat the recommended amount of 7-13 servings a day.
Why not you may ask? Well for the most part we aren’t conditioned to. We certainly don’t see healthy foods taunted to us all day long in the media.
Secondly, many people are under the false assumption that eating healthy is expensive, and thirdly that it is time consuming.
Let’s address these issues first.
For a lot of people, they just weren’t served or introduced to eating fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. A lot of people are brought up on canned fruit, vegetables, meat, and processed foods and while these are ok, they aren’t the best.
Many people are also under the assumption that eating healthy means that they have to eat and buy everything organic and that is not the case at all. I tell and teach our well women community to try to follow the dirty dozen list and the clean 15 list and to just do their best 80 % of the time.
Lastly, many people think that eating a WFPB diet is time consuming because they think they have to cook everything from scratch and while that is the best, you don’t have to. A lot of regular grocery stores are carrying more and more WFPB foods already prepared.
Ladies, I get that some of you have children or husbands that are finicky eaters with certain fruits and vegetables, like broccoli, and that’s okay. I also get that it’s ok to simply dislike a specific fruit or vegetable. But it is not ok in my book to avoid fruits and vegetables simply because you really don’t want to spend time cutting, carving, and cleaning them. That’s being lazy and your health deserves better from you.
Here’s why. Science has repeatedly shown us that better nutrition comes from a nutrient-dense diet filled with fruits and vegetables (Tuso, Ismail, Ha, & Bartolotto, 2013) than it does from a diet which consists of meats, processed foods, or even refined grains.
So, if you don’t like to carve your honeydews, then ask your produce department to carve it for you. Most grocery stores offer that service, but you have to ask. For children who like to avoid certain fruits and vegetables, just keep offering it and try different ways that you offer it to them. Eventually, your 5-year-old or your 40-year-old may surprise you and try something new after all.
Better For Your Ticker
Another main benefit of following a plant-based diet is that it significantly brings down the risk of Cardiovascular Disease because WFPB diets go a long way in lowering blood pressure, enhancing blood sugar control, and lowering cholesterol. Choosing a WFPB diet is one of the best natural ways to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases on the whole.
A WFPB diet can increase your longevity by reducing your risk of premature or early death due to suffering from untreated chronic lifestyle illnesses like high blood pressure, CVD, obesity, and some cancers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the consumption of red meat as a “likely carcinogen (Harvard Medical School, 2018).” That’s not to say that consuming red meat is inherently dangerous. Occasional consumption of meats, including red meat, is allowable by some WFPB diets like the Mediterranean diet. Still, increased consumption of red meat has been directly linked to increased risk of cardiovascular and some cancers like colorectal. A plant-based diet will not only help your body become healthier but also make you live longer.
Decreases Cancer Risk
Research shows that there is a direct association between an increased risk of colorectal cancer and eating too much processed or red meat (Harvard Medical School, 2018). On the other hand, eating fruits, legumes, grains, and veggies in recommended amounts on a regular basis can lower the risk of cancer and other chronic illnesses because plants contain disease-fighting phytochemicals that can thwart cancer.
Trims Your Waistline
One of the main challenges of our modern lifestyle is obesity (Tuso, Ismail, Ha, & Bartolotto, 2013). There are various methods of fighting obesity at our disposal, however, the most effective method of battling this debilitating chronic illness is with your diet.
Choosing to stick to a WFPB is an effective weight-loss strategy. Obesity is a risk factor associated with all of the chronic and lifestyle illnesses listed above, so addressing obesity with a nutritional approach kick starts your process to better health, having a healthier BMI, and stunting the formation of chronic illness like high blood pressure and Coronary Vascular Disease.
There is a plethora of studies that factor in WFPB diets in relation to overall health and longevity.
How To Start
1. Clean out your cabinets by getting rid of as much processed food as
Possible and replacing it with healthier snacks.
2. Clean out your refrigerator by getting rid of as much processed food as
Possible and replacing it with more WFPB foods that includes fruits and
3. Replace soda with sparkling water
4. Replace breads with lettuce wraps or coconut or veggie wraps
5. Replace pasta with spiralized zucchini
6. Replace rice with riced cauliflower
7. Replace dairy options occasionally with non-dairy options- you might find
You like them just as much if not better and they are better for you
8. Add more fermented foods to your diet for improved gut health
9. Get creative and it doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming
Harvard Medical School. (2018, January). The Right Plant-Based Diet for You. Retrieved from Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Men’s Health Watch: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-right-plant-based-diet-for-you
Tuso, P. J., Ismail, M. H., Ha, B. P., & Bartolotto, C. (2013). Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant Based Diets. The Permanente Journal, 61-66. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662288/
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