How Do You Eat a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet?


A whole food, plant-based diet emphasizes unprocessed foods that are rich in micronutrients, including grains, legumes, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eggs, dairy, fish and meat can be consumed in moderation, if at all.

A plant-based diet is generally higher in carbohydrates and typically not suitable for those who require higher amounts of protein. Benefits include lowering the risk of a variety of chronic diseases as well as being an effective method for achieving and controlling a healthy weight. The risk of diabetes, hypertension and blood pressure are significantly reduced by lowering the intake of animal foods, which contain higher amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. Some considerations for following a plant-based diet include monitoring the intake of vitamin B-12, iron, calcium, vitamin D and zinc. People should also pay attention to overall calorie, fat, sodium and sugar intake.

Forms of vegetarianism, including lacto-vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian and vegan, exclude all meat, including beef, pork and poultry. The primary difference is the allowance of dairy and eggs. Lacto-vegetarians allow dairy products, and lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat dairy and eggs. Vegans don't eat anything that contains meat, eggs, dairy or any other products derived from animals. People following any type of plant-based diet can replace protein from meat with beans, lentils, tofu, nuts and quinoa, as well as other soy and meat alternatives.