What is a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet?

Often I am asked: “What is a whole food, plant-based diet? Is it different from a vegan diet?”

Let me try to explain.

Eating a whole food, plant-based diet (WFPB) is a diet based on starchy vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fruits, nuts and seeds. The emphasis here is on whole, or minimally processed foods centered on plants.  Here is a great explanation of all the abundant foods you can eat from Forks Over Knives.

Does that mean eating this way 100%? No, technically one could eat a diet based mostly on plants, but still consume a small amount of animal foods.

So, how is it different from a vegan diet?

By eating a vegan diet one has removed all animal foods and its by-products. Nothing that ever had a face or a mother. However, you can eat a vegan diet completely based on unhealthy foods like French fries and other processed foods.

Being vegan most often extends beyond the measure of just food. Someone living a vegan lifestyle is concerned with all sentient beings and their welfare.

Combining a WFPB diet and a vegan lifestyle to me is just tops and worth striving for.

Here are two great articles that explain these lifestyles choices in more detail. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, co-author of “The China Study”- the most comprehensive nutrition study conducted – and who also coined the phrase “whole food, plant-based diet ” (WFPB) wrote:

Questioning the Ethics & Science of a Pure Vegan Diet

Martica Heaner, PhD:
“Vegan, Plant-Based Diet or ….. What Label Works?”


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