Whole Foods, Plant-Based Lifestyle! WTH?! & Why You Need to Care

March 21, 2018

Still a new year baby. Time to do things right and time to take back our health! We can be inundated with lots of food and health information, in fact up to our eyeballs.

Paleo this, ketosis that. Low-fat is good now, or high-protein or low carb is back?!? Which one is it???

Whichever is your flavor, I will not necessarily knock it. I am writing about what actually works from an “I am sick of being sick and want true health” perspective. I am writing what can actually prevent, treat, and reverse chronic disease. That’s right, you heard it right, up to 80% of it, in fact.

  • According to the World Health Organization, about 13% of the global population was obese in 2016 and the worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly tripled from 1975-2016.
  • According to the Organic Trade Association, Americans are spending $50 billion annually on organic products and almost 14% of all fruits and vegetables are sold organically. The trend is increasing which tells me consumers are paying more attention to their produce.
  • According to the Vegetarian Resource Group, most vegans are actually under $50,000 on the lower end of household income. Plant-based sources are more cheaply available if you are looking at the right places.

What it is: A whole foods, plant-based diet (WFPB) is defined as unrefined, unprocessed plant foods such as leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and minimizes or avoids meat, dairy products, eggs, processed foods.

What it is NOT: Paleo, ketogenic, vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean or raw food.

What we are eating now: Standard American Diet (SAD) is made up refined and processed foods and products which are very high in saturated and trans fat, sodium, dietary cholesterol, fat and processed sugars.

Evidence:

Reasons why you need to consider transitioning to a WFPB diet:

  1. Overfishing; depletion of fish species due to harvesting fish for consumption.
  2. Meat production on the environment especially in regards to greenhouse gases, depletion of rainforest, and usage of freshwater on Earth.
  3. Usage of antibiotics, synthetic hormones and the practice of factory farming livestock.
  4. Plants are more sustainable and less costly to farm.
  5. It is a lot more difficult to get vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber from an animal-based diet.

Recommendations:

  1. I don’t advocate one diet over another, but advocate eating more plants. This approach allows us transition to better health rather than just diet.
  2. Shop along the perimeter of the supermarket. Those are where the freshest ingredients are.
  3. Eat as many whole ingredients, closer to Mother Nature as possible. If it is not grown from a vine, a tree, or out of the ground, minimize your intake. Oh yes, please cook your food as well.
  4. Strive for 5 ingredients or less if needing to get packaged foods.
  5. Check out EWG Dirty Dozen app to see which foods you DEFINITELY need ORGANIC and ones you do not need organic to save money.
  6. Check out Dr. Michael Gregor’s Daily Dozen for your must-have’s daily plant foods.
  7. For my healthcare professionals, check out the new PCRM’s app for Nutrition Guide for Clinicians.

See my other articles:

Much Love,

- Zhu

Dr. Colin Zhu is a board-certified lifestyle medicine physician and plant-based chef and is the author of the new book: Thrive Medicine: How to Cultivate Your Desires and Elevate Your Life, now on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.

Documentaries/Books to learn more:

Websites for consumers and health professionals: