The Definitive Guide to Starting Your Plant-Based Journey, by Traci Baxendale Ball, LMSW, CAADC
WFPB (Whole Food, Plant-Based) Resources: Pioneers and Best-of-Best Books
- The Longevity Diet – by Valta Longo PhD
- How Not to Die – by Michael Gregor, MD*
- If You Love Me, Don’t Feed Me Junk – by Sandy Gooch
- Starch-Based Diet – by John A. McDougall, MD, and Mary McDougall
- The China Study – by Thomas M. Campbell
- Forks Over Knives – by Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederman, MD
- In Defense of Food – by Michael Pollan
- Reversing Heart Disease – by Dean Ornish, MD
- Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease – by Caldwell Esselstyn, MD
*The book by Michael Gregor (#2) is, in my opinion, the definitive source on how to beat illness and potentiate health using whole-foods. I’ve read and studied all the other sources/authors on the list and would recommend you work your way down them as part of your lifestyle change.
Legacy List: Patricia Bragg, Emanuel Bronner, Steve Demos, John Foraker, Michael Funk, Rosemary Gladstar, Jeffrey Hollender, Linda Kahler, Ron and Arnie Koss, Terry Lemerond, The Lundberg Family, Bob Moore, Elwood Richard, Paul Schulick, George Siemon, Irwin D. Simon, Arran and Ratana Stephens
My Favorite Podcasts, Websites, and Movies
- The Ordinary Vegan (podcast)
- The Gamechangers (movie)
- What the Health (movie)
- Earthlings (movie)
- Dominion (movie)
- Eating Animals (movie)
- eatplant-based.com – the most definitive internet source of plant-based recipes
How Do I Eat to Be Fully Adherent With a WFPB Diet?
WFPB adherence guide: no meat, no oil, no dairy, eggs, or processed foods, including vegetarian/vegan processed food. Limited sugar, no white flour. Erythritol is the only safe sugar substitute. Even Stevia has been shown to cause organ damage. No store-bought juice. Avoid/reduce alcohol and caffeine if possible. If gluten is a concern, all recipes can be made with a gluten-free substitute. Plant milk only, please!
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- Use canned coconut milk if a creamy milk texture is required and you don’t mind the taste. You can keep cans on hand.
- An alternative to cheese/cream: make cashew cream by soaking cashews in water then blending in a food processor.
- Try bulgur as a substitute for all meat in these dishes if you would prefer to stay away from soy. If you’re being strict with your WFPB diet, you may choose not to try the tasty substitutions for meat that are currently on the market. The ‘Impossible Burger’ is a great option if you are looking to feed a craving for fast food. There are also good soy faux-meat products that you can use to substitute for ground beef, burgers, etc.
- Hibiscus tea and green foam is a potent health tonic. Drop a handful of dried hibiscus 🌺 into 8 cups cold water, let stand overnight, add the juice of 1 lemon, then blend a little tea with peppermint leaves for green foam.
- Use vegan smoothie powder (Vega) only, adding kale or spinach, frozen fruit, ginger, and cocoa powder to pack in nutrients. I add tea leaves or matcha 🍵, and any leftover veggies/fruit. Pack in essentials such as ground flax. There is a delicious recipe for a chocolate PB smoothie called “Gut Instincts” on my website. (Note that honey is not adherent to the full WFPB model.)
- Date sugar is unprocessed and IS a whole food.
- White tea+lemon = max phytonutrients.
- Ground cloves are the most antioxidant-packed spice! They taste lovely with stewed pears and apples.
- Save the liquid you drain from cans of beans, beet juice, etc. It contains resistant starch and phytonutrients. Use in smoothies and soups.
- Several studies have found that the supplement Astralgus increases telomere strength. Telomeres are directly implicated in longevity.
- If you’re hungry, fill your belly with rice, beans, potatoes and corn. These starchy foods are very satisfying and speak to the genetic principle that we are starch-burners.
Meal Plan for Clean Eating Whole Food Plant-Based
- Oatmeal or other whole grain, berries, nuts.
- Whole-food smoothie with pea-based protein.
- Grits with seared veggies, whole wheat toast.
Week 1 Dinner Plan:
Note: Use whole-grain breads only in all meal plans and eat as many veggies as you like!
- Veggie burgers, air fries, baked beans, salad.
- Pasta, salad, garlic toast.
- Roasted sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and assorted roasted veggies with dip. eg: Roasted tomato or red pepper hummus.
- Avocado and potato tacos (or quesadillas), salsa, rice, refried beans.
- Grilled portabello sandwich and veggie spears.
- Veggie wraps.
- Bok choy, broccoli, and bean sprout stir fry with rice.
- Jalapeño nachos, black beans, and salad.
- Veggie pizza.
- Potato salad or twice-baked potato with assorted pickles, cucumbers, sprouts or cabbage slaw.
- Toasted TLT sandwich, veggie spears.
- Beet salad, white beans, baked potato.
- Homemade veggie lentil soup and bread.
- Quinoa and diced veggies with purple baked potatoes.
- Mushroom risotto, peas, leeks.
- Taco crunch wrap, salad, refried beans, rice.
- Ratatouille, twice-baked potatoes.
- Calzone or folded pizza crust with mushrooms, banana peppers, green peppers.
- Mac and ‘cheese’, veggies
- Mashed potatoes, vegan gravy, sautéed green beans.
- Veggie pita, potato wedges.
Fall/Winter favorites to add into previous meal plans (make double batches and experiment with your recipes):
- Chilli with cornbread muffins
- Sloppy joes
- Squash bake
- Hash browns bake
- Cabbage rolls
- Stuffed green peppers
- Experiment with making soups/curries using organic veggie broth as a base
Desserts with no white flour and minimal sugar:
- Baked apples
- Fruit salad
- Rice pudding
- Carrot cake
- Fruit crisp
- Pumpkin custard
- Flax muffins
- Buy some wide mouth Ball jars. They keep food fresher than when using plastic containers, plus you can freeze them. Ball jar salads are amazing for lunch.
- Experiment with different flours.
- Try setting aside a few hours a week to batch cook ahead.
- Always take a grocery list to the store.
- Buy rice, lentils and dried beans when on sale. Those dried beans have twice the protein of canned beans. Save all the liquid from canned beans. It’s resistant starch and a great emulsifier in smoothies and soups.
- Save up your pennies for a good Instapot and air fryer, cook with cast iron.
Some Notes on B12 and Dairy
“B12 is the one nutrient that cannot be obtained sufficiently from today’s plant-based diet. This is not because we need to eat animal products to obtain it. In fact, animal products themselves don’t always contain enough B12. The reason for this is that neither plants nor animals naturally synthesize B12. It is made from bacteria. Animals consume dirt, which is full of bacteria, through the unwashed plants and non-chlorinated water they consume. B12 accumulates in the animals’ tissues, which becomes a source of the vitamin for humans when we eat the animal.”
Drs. Pulde and Lederman discuss vitamin B12 and supplementation:
‘Milk is Good For You’: A Dairy Industry Conspiracy
Every nutrient in milk can be found in whole plant foods!
“Milk is simply not necessary in the diet. Every nutrient in milk can be found in whole plant foods, and some nutrients needed for healthy bones, like vitamin K and manganese, are not in milk but are in whole plant foods. Current recommendations calling for three servings of dairy a day are more about politics and industry lobbying than they are about science. Considering that the average American’s fiber intake is paltry, I would suggest making more room for foods that offer both calcium and fiber, like almonds, chickpeas, chard, kale, broccoli, collard greens, and tempeh. Most plant-based milk alternatives are fortified with calcium and, just like dairy milk, fortified with vitamin D.” – Andy Bellatti, MS, RD
Casein and Cancer
“However, whole milk intake in men contributed to elevated prostate cancer mortality risk. Furthermore, the linear dose-response relationship existed between an increase of whole milk intake and prostate cancer mortality risk.” – Andy Bellatti, MS, RD
Simple Food Rules If You’re Not Ready to Make the Switch
- Limit pre-made foods and processed foods.
- Reduce sugar, increase fiber.
- Eat three meals per day without snacking in between.
- Reduce dairy and eggs.
- Cut back on poultry and red meat.
- Double water intake.
- Eliminate pop.
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Traci Baxendale Ball LMSW, CAADC is the founder of Vibrant Health Company LLC
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