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What are Plant-based Whole Foods?

This is a frequent question I get asked when telling people that I lost 145 pounds with nutrient dense Vegetable Juices and a Plant-based Whole Food eating lifestyle. That question usually comes along with, "what about the protein?" and, "how do I transition from traditional animal protein foods to create healthy plant-based recipes? "How can I possibly just eat vegetables, plants & fruits?"  Prefer personalized guided support?

When you consume a variety of plants - the whole plant including Fruits & Vegetables, Beans, Legumes, Nuts and Seeds are the builders and re-generators of the body and contain ALL the amino acids, phyto-nutrients, proteins, mineral, salts, enzymes, fiber and vitamins needed by the body, provided they are used in large quantities, raw (or cooked), and preferably without preservatives, and as with juicing, that they have been properly extracted from the vegetables. Moreover, you will receive healthier, bio-available nutrients and protein since plant protein is less likely to promote cancer growth and increase blood cholesterol levels associated with heart disease. In most cases, plant-based foods are nutrient dense foods, whereby animal-based proteins are almost devoid of any usable nutrition.

 

The Garden Approach - A cornucopia of health promoting selection

Click to read more --->  THE EIGHT CATEGORIES of PlantBased WholeFood

 


As the ground breaking nutritional science book  "The China Study", states on page 348:

Never before has there been such a mountain of empirical research supporting a whole food, plant-based diet. Now, for example, we can obtain images of the arteries in the heart, and then show conclusively, as Drs. Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. have done, that a whole food, plant-based diet reverses heart disease.  Animal protein, even more than saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, raises blood cholesterol levels in experimental animals, individual humans, and entire populations. International comparisons between countries show that populations subsisting on traditional plant-based diets have far less heart disease, and studies of individuals within single populations show that those who eat more plant-based foods not only have lower cholesterol levels but also less heart disease. We now have a deep and broad range of evidence showing that a whole food, plant-based diet is best to combat cancer and alleviate diabetes and autoimmune diseases. We also have tantalizing evidence linking multiple sclerosis with animal food consumption and especially dairy consumption.

Published data show that animal protein promotes the growth of tumors. Animal protein increases the levels of a hormone, IGF-1, which is a risk factor for cancer, and high-casein (the main protein of cow’s milk) diets allow more carcinogens into cells, which allow more dangerous carcinogen products to bind to DNA, which allow more mutagenic reactions that give rise to cancer cells, which allow more rapid growth of tumors once they are initially formed. Data show that a diet based on animal-based foods increases females’ production of reproductive hormones over their lifetime, which may lead to breast cancer.

Intervention studies show that when people who have type 2 diabetes are treated with a whole food, plant-based diet, they may reverse their disease and go off their medications. A broad range of international studies shows that type 1 diabetes, a serious autoimmune disease, is related to cow’s milk consumption and premature weaning.  Kidney stones arise because the consumption of animal protein creates excessive calcium and oxalate in the kidney. We know now that cataracts and age-related macular degeneration can be prevented by foods containing large amounts of antioxidants. In addition, research has shown that cognitive dysfunction, vascular dementia caused by small strokes, and Alzheimer’s are all related to the food we eat. Investigations of human populations show that our risk of hip fracture and osteoporosis is made worse by diets high in animal-based foods. Animal protein leaches calcium from the bones by creating an acidic environment in the blood.

We now have a deep and broad range of evidence showing that a whole food, plant-based diet is best for our kidneys, bones, eyes, and brains.  More research can and should be done, but the idea that whole food, plant-based diets can protect against and even treat a wide variety of chronic diseases can no longer be denied. No longer are there just a few people making claims about a plant-based diet based on their personal experience, philosophy, or the occasional supporting scientific study. Now there are hundreds of detailed, comprehensive, well-done research studies that point in the same direction.

 

"If you want to live free of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes for your entire life, that power is in your hands (and your knife and fork). But, sadly, medical schools, hospitals, and government health agencies continue to treat nutrition as if it plays only a minor role in health.

And no wonder: the standard Western diet, along with its trendy “low fat” and “low carb” cousins, is actually the cause, not the cure, of most of what ails us. In a nutshell, the “miracle cure” science has been chasing for the past half century turns out not to be a new wonder drug painstakingly formulated after decades of brilliant and relentless lab work or a cutting-edge surgical tool or technique using lasers and nanotechnology or some transformation of our DNA that will turn us all into immortal Apollos and Venuses.

Instead, the secret of health has been in front of us all along, in the guise of a simple and perhaps boring word: nutrition. When it comes to our health, it turns out the trump card is the food we put in our mouths each day. " In the process of learning all this, I also learned something else very important: why most people didn’t know this already.

The medical and scientific research establishments, far from embracing these findings, have systematically dismissed and even suppressed them. Few medical professionals are aware that our food choices can be far more effective shields against disease than the pills they prescribe. Few health journalists report the unambiguous good news about radiant health and disease prevention through diet. Few scientists are trained to look at the “big picture,” and instead specialize in scrutinizing single drops of data instead of comprehending meaningful rivers of wisdom. And paying the piper and calling the tune for all of them are the pharmaceutical and food industries, which are trying to convince us that salvation can be found in a pill or an enriched snack food made from plant fragments and artificial ingredients2*."

 

What I can tell you is that there are 3 stages of pre-cancerous conditions: initiation, promotion, and progression. Do you know that cancer and other debilitating disease or chronic auto-immune conditions could be growing and progressing from the carcinogenic foods that you consume? Were you aware that at any of those stages, that any-type of growing cancer, can be reversed? Did you know that cancer, diabetes, obesity and degenerative disease could be stopped in its tracks with nutrition? Did you realize that what you consume in your day-to-day life could be feeding any cancer or other debilitating degenerative disease, whether it is active or lying dormant?

If you should in fact receive a positive diagnosis (for any form of degenerative disease, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, or chronic auto-immune illnesses), there is really no need to be fearful. You need not resort hastily to pharmaceuticals, medications, invasive treatments or surgery. I would implore you to not only read thoroughly, but consider now the following excerpt from T. Colin Campbell, PhD in his latest book, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition2*


 "The good news is that we don’t need medical breakthroughs or genetic manipulation to achieve, maintain, and restore vibrant health. A half century of research—both mine and that of many others—has convinced me of the following: What you eat every day is a far more powerful determinant of your health than your DNA or most of the nasty chemicals lurking in your environment. The foods you consume can heal you faster and more profoundly than the most expensive prescription drugs, and more dramatically than the most extreme surgical interventions, with only positive side effects. Those food choices can prevent cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, macular degeneration, migraines, erectile dysfunction, and arthritis—and that’s only the short list. It’s never too late to start eating well. In short: change the way you eat and you can transform your health for the better".

"For some reason, “health food” has a reputation for being tasteless and joyless. You might be thinking at this point that the miracle diet for human health must be the most grim fare imaginable. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Evolution thankfully has programmed us to seek out and enjoy foods that promote our health. All we have to do is get back to our dietary roots—nothing radical or miserable required."

"The ideal human diet looks like this: Consume plant-based foods in forms as close to their natural state as possible (“whole” foods). Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains. Avoid heavily processed foods and animal products. Stay away from added salt, oil, and sugar. Aim to get 80 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 10 percent from fat, and 10 percent from protein. That’s it, in 66 words".

2*Campbell, T. Colin (2013-05-07). Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition (pp. 6-7). BenBella Books, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

 

THE EIGHT CATEGORIES of PlantBased WholeFood - The Garden Approach

 

Based on the findings of her father, T. Colin Campbell in 'The China Study', *LeAnne Campbell - in her complementary book, "The China Study Cookbook", recommends selecting whole plant-based foods in their native state rather than trying to obtain specific nutrients from highly processed foods or supplements. This recommendation is based on three important points:

1) Optimal nutrition occurs when we EAT food rather than take nutritional supplements.


2) The closer foods are to their native states— prepared with minimal cooking, salting, and processing— the greater the long-term health benefits will be.


3) Choose locally and/or organically grown produce whenever possible, but don't be afraid of, or abstain from conventionally grown -- just wash and prep consciously. Be aware of your food sources.


One of the interpretations of T. Colin Campbell's research (as cited* by LeAnne Campbell in The China Study Cookbook) was that the consumption of a variety of different parts of whole plants promotes optimal health. Given this, the Campbell's have broken the plant into seven categories— fruits, grains, leaves, roots, legumes, flowers, and nuts— and given mushrooms a separate category because they can’t be easily categorized as part of a plant. This categorization is to make you aware of the different parts of the plant and to help you think about consuming all parts of the plant. It is not meant to be a strict guideline but merely a framework to use in trying to put together a meal that Nature deems nutritionally ideal.

They created these categories rather simply. Obviously,
roots are the parts of plants that grow below the ground. Leaves include all lettuces, kale, spinach, celery, collards, Swiss chard, cabbage, and so on. Fruits are the parts of plants that contain seeds, such as tomatoes, apples, peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins, and oranges. Grains consist of the seeds themselves: wheat, corn, barley, quinoa, oats, and the like. Legumes are made up of all the different types of beans: soy, pinto, red, black, lentils, kidney, and even peanuts. Flowers are broccoli, cauliflower, dandelions, etc. For nuts, include all tree nuts. Almost every part of the plant is edible, nutritious, and delicious, and each part has a different nutrient composition; even the smallest sprout of seed, legume, flower, root, nut, grain or leaf categories play a power-packed 'alive' superfood role of the utmost nutritional density. So it’s important to consume a variety of the categories in order to obtain a full complement of nutrients on a given day and across a week or month.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE:  Here’s a look at some of the nutritional value of the eight categories (seven types of plant parts plus mushrooms): FRUITS are packed with vitamin C and other phytochemicals. GRAINS abound in carbohydrates, fiber, minerals, and B vitamins. LEAVES are lush with antioxidant vitamins, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. ROOTS have lots of carbohydrates; some have carotenoids. LEGUMES are a hearty source of protein, fiber, and iron. FLOWERS are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals. NUTS are loaded with omega-3 fats, vitamin E, and protein. MUSHROOMS offer a good supply of selenium and other antioxidants.

To be consistent with the message in The China Study and especially its sequel, 'Whole' by T. Colin Campbell, "The China Study Cookbook" nutrient compositions are not presented with recipes. Nutrient contents in different samples of the same food often are highly variable, leading consumers to be concerned with trivial and meaningless differences instead of the far more important health characteristics of food variety and wholesomeness.  "no need to count calories....just eat plants"

 

CATEGORY EXAMPLES:

FRUITS: ACORN SQUASH, APPLE, AVOCADO, BLACKBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, CRANBERRIES, CUCUMBER, EGGPLANT, GRAPEFRUIT, GREEN PEPPER, KIWI, MANGOES, OKRA, ORANGE, PAPAYA, PEACH, PEAR, PUMPKIN, RASPBERRIES, RED PEPPER, STRAWBERRIES, TOMATO, ZUCCHINI, WATERMELON

GRAINS: AMARANTH, BARLEY, BUCKWHEAT, CORN, KAMUT, MILLET, OATS, QUINOA, RICE, RYE, SORGHUM, SPELT, TEFF, WHEAT

LEAVES: ARTICHOKES, ARUGULA, ASPARAGUS, BASIL, BEET GREENS, BELGIAN ENDIVE, BOK CHOI, BRUSSELS SPROUTS, CABBAGE, CELERY, CILANTRO, COLLARD GREENS, KALE, LETTUCE (ALL VARIETIES), MUSTARD GREENS, PARSLEY, RHUBARB, SEAWEED, SPINACH, SWISS CHARD, TURNIP GREENS

ROOTS: BEETS, CARROTS, GARLIC, GINGER, LEEKS, ONIONS, POTATOES (ALL VARIETIES), RADISH, RUTABAGA, TURNIPS

LEGUMES: ADZUKI BEANS, BLACK BEANS, BLACK-EYE PEAS, CANNELLINI BEANS, GARBANZO BEANS, GREEN BEANS, KIDNEY BEANS, LENTILS, PEANUTS, PEAS, PINTO BEANS, SOYBEANS, WHITE BEANS

FLOWERS:  BROCCOLI, CAULIFLOWER, DANDELIONS

NUTS: ALMONDS, CASHEW, HAZELNUT, MACADAMIA, PECANS, PISTACHIO, WALNUTS

MUSHROOMS: BABY BELLA, CREMINI, OYSTER, PORTOBELLO, SHIITAKE, WHITE BUTTON


 

THE GREAT EXCHANGE:   SUBSTITUTIONS TO CREATE PLANT-BASED RECIPES*

As you transition to a health-promoting eating style, you may want to re-hab a favorite animal-derived recipe to a plant-based garden approach (as well as extra-sugary recipes to less refined ones). Below is a list of possible food substitutions. You may know of other suggestions that work well. Use whatever makes the dish tasty for you and your companions without compromising your health directive. Be creative and experiment with new ingredients, spices and flavorings.

Click here for my favorite PlantBased WholeFood recipes.

~ LOOK AT ALL THESE DELICIOUS FOODS TO CHOOSE FROM -- ALL PLANT-BASED WHOLE FOODS ~


REPLACE MEAT, POULTRY, OR FISH: Depending on the recipe and your food preferences, you can use favorite vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, beans, grains, or portobello mushrooms or a 'steak' of broccoli spear to replace these items. Another food you can use as a substitution while transitioning to a whole food, plant-based diet is tofu, which is available in varying consistencies, from very soft to extra firm (for slicing and crumbling). For optimum benefit create your own 'faux meats' and veggie burgers or nut n' tofu loafs - there is a multitude of combinations. There is also seitan, a wheat product that comes in plain and spicy flavors, as well as soy hot dogs, veggie burgers, tempeh, and soy crumbles (similar to ground beef).

REPLACE DAIRY MILK: Nondairy milks include soy, rice, almond, hempseed, cashew, coconut, hazelnut, and many others. Experiment with a few different kinds to find one that works best. Generally soy milk will produce a thicker product, and rice milk a thinner one. When making a creamy sauce or a pudding, I have found the best replacement to be unsweetened soy or almond milk. Otherwise, rice milk or any other type of milk substitute can be used in its place.  To replace cheese, consider different recipe blends of tofu, miso, nutritional yeast and nuts, although it won't necessarily melt, the flavor and texture is all there.  Melting varieties (high oil/fat content) of commercial 'dairy free' cheeses are available but read the labels carefully - some still use casein which defeats the purpose of plant-based substitutions.

CHOOSE WHOLE GRAIN FLOURS: There is a wide variety of whole grains, parts of grain (endosperm, bran, cracked), and combinations of grain flours (5-grain, 7-grain, 9-grain) in the market. Wheat, oat, triticale, rye, barley, flax, spelt, brown rice, and durham grain flours are some examples. Use whole grain products, not refined flours. For some people, their choice of which whole grain (as flour) to use will depend on their sensitivity to gluten, especially found in wheat, barley, and rye. To some extent, determining which grain flour to use in order to avoid this allergy is a matter of trial and error.

REPLACE CHICKEN EGGS: There are many different substitutes you may use for eggs. In most cases, you can use whatever is easiest or more convenient for you without it affecting taste or consistency. Some examples of egg substitutes are: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons hemp hearts dissolved in 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon chia seed meal with 3 tablespoons water, ½ mashed banana, ¼ to 1/ 3 cup silken tofu, commercial egg replacer used according to the directions on the box, or ¼ cup applesauce— each replacement equals 1 egg.

SUBSTITUTE FATS AND OILS IN MAIN DISHES OR SALADS: Use vegetable broth, water, or wine for sautéing or frying. Or simply bake instead of frying. Try oil-free salad dressings with a base of vegetable broth, water, avocado, nut butters, or vinegar.

REPLACE FATS AND OILS USED IN BAKING CAKES, COOKIES, AND SWEET BREADS: Prune paste is one of the best substitutes. It does not change the taste of the dish as much as other substitutions do. Puree 1 cup of pitted prunes in a food processor with ½ cup of water. Substitute 1/ 3 the amount of prune paste for the amount of oil called for in the recipe (i.e., use 1/ 3 cup of prune paste to replace 1 cup of oil). Pureed bananas also work well in some recipes, but they do not hold moisture as successfully as the prune paste, and they distort the flavor. Unsweetened Apple sauce is an excellent replacement for oil/butter.  Consider raw cacao mixed with water and a splash of maple syrup for a rich chocolatey syrup solution. 

CHOOSE WHOLESOME SWEETENERS: When substituting for the sweetness of refined sugar, try concentrated pure fruit juice— specifically apple juice— maple syrup, or any of a wide variety of pureed fruits, including applesauce, bananas, preserves, and jams. Dried fruits, such as dates and raisins, work well for baking. Shredded coconut adds a sweet touch, too. The sweetness of each sweetener varies, so you may need to alter the amount according to taste.

For sweeteners, there are two categories: wet and dry.  I recommend tasting your recipe along the way to determine if more or less is needed.  Here are a few examples of both:

Wet: brown rice syrup, agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses, fruit syrup, barley malt syrup
Dry: date sugar, stevia, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, Sucanat, evaporated cane juice
 

REPLACE SALT: Depending on the recipe, seasonings such as onion, garlic, parsley, coriander, and celery seed can be used. Fresh onion, garlic, lemon juice, salsa, or any type of hot sauce can add zing without sodium (just be careful to check the brand; some are high in sodium). Granulated Sea vegetation like Dulse or Kelp is a great substitution for salt and supplies the much needed B12. Low-sodium soy sauce, tamari or Bragg's Amino Acids are delicious in many recipes.


*Campbell, LeAnne (2013-05-07). The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes (Kindle Locations 523-526). BenBella Books, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

 

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