Whole Food Plant Based Eating…ever heard of it? I hadn’t! Until…about a year after our first baby, I still had some baby weight to lose and was frustrated and eager for something to work. I had been trying for months with a net loss of 6 pounds. My weight would trickle down a little and then up a little, despite strictly adhering to my plan. I just wasn’t sure at this point, how to get back on track. I had an idea about doing a fruit and vegetable fast / cleanse but I wasn’t sure if it was just desperation and grasping for straws and if it was even healthy.
My Friend the Registered Dietician
We were visiting family in Texas for Christmas when I got to connect with a life long friend. She’s a registered dietician and counsels people all day on their health journeys. I thought I’d asked her what she thought about my idea. I don’t know if I even had a name for it at that point…Vegan? Plant based? Whole Food Plant Based? It was all foreign to me. She was very encouraging about my inquiry. While she hadn’t done it personally, she had family members who had and she was pretty positive I’d get good results. I decided to begin researching different plant based approaches and come up with a plan for the new year which was quickly approaching.
So, what is Whole Food Plant Based Eating exactly?
“A whole-food, plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.” – Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederman, MD
Alona Pulde, MD, is a family practitioner and Matthew Lederman, MD, is a board-certified Internal Medicine physician. Both specialize in nutrition and lifestyle medicine. They appeared in Forks Over Knives and are authors of The Forks Over Knives Plan and Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole. Drs. Pulde and Lederman joined Whole Foods Market in 2010 where they serve as health and wellness medical experts.
Without knowing much about this way of eating, I committed to 100 days of Whole Food Plant Based eating…zero dairy or meat. My husband agreed to join in for the ride- at least for dinners when we ate together.
The Forks Over Knives Turning Point
In my time over the holidays, I came across several books, websites, and documentaries including:
- VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good by Mark Bittman
- Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
All of these were very inspiring to me. Some shared personal success stores and others shared research and science behind this way of eating. I was very surprised at all of the benefits this way of life had to offer as well as the amount of research backing it. A couple nights into my 100-day journey, my husband sat down with me to watch “Forks over Knives” on Netflix. I had read about it in my research and time and again it seemed to be a pivotal point for people. After we watched it, we were both convinced to take this journey. He was leaving the next day for a week long work conference, yet he decided to commit and only eat plant-based foods. I was stunned! I felt very encouraged that this approach would not only help me achieve my personal goal (weight loss), but also have long term health benefits for my body, as well as be a good approach to model for my family.
Our 100-Day Commitment
Over the course of the next 14 weeks, we stuck to our commitment. I knew that if this was going to become a way of life for our family that we had to eat more than salads. I needed to find good recipes… “Omnivore-worthy” recipes! I pinned hundreds of plant-based recipes, tried dozens of them out on my family (including some with tofu!). We also continued to educate ourselves on this way of eating. We watched all sorts of documentaries, some focused on Whole Food Plant Based eating and others with a more vegan twist. (There is a difference between the two, but we won’t get into that during this post)
I was very excited about this new way of eating. I even had my blood tested a couple of times to see how healthy this way of eating was. Everything was normal (except Vitamin D (which has to do with living in the frozen tundra as we affectionately call it) and interestingly, my cholesterol which has always been normal, was on the low end of the normal range. I also lost 22 pounds and was feeling great.
After the 100 Days
Summer was quickly approaching and so was the beginning of the social season in Canada when everyone comes out of hibernation and throws Bar-B-Ques and backyard parties under the midnight sun. Whole Food Plant Based eating was easy doable during hibernation, but summer socials brought in a new dynamic. Part 2 of this series will share how we evolved from 100% Whole Food Plant Based eating to “Social Omnivores.”
What are your thoughts? Do you think you could ever go 100% Plant Based? Have you tried it before? What did you like/dislike about this way of eating?
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Hi! Thanks for sharing your story. Just out of curiosity, what made you choose this diet over other ones? (e.g. Whole30, paleo etc.) I’ve hear a lot about each but never enough to convince me that one is the best. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Melissa @ Our Happy Hive says
Hi Marie! I’m glad you liked the post! Honestly, at the time I decided to go Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB), I didn’t do much comparison shopping. I had tried one approach a few months before and it wasn’t working for me, so I started of the WFPB journey with the goal of just trying it out for 100 days. I figured it couldn’t hurt! But as I learned more about the benefits of the lifestyle, I was really impressed with the long term health impacts. Forks over Knives documentary, is really what convinced us about the merits of this approach. Thanks for the feedback!
Thanks for all the info! My husband is on a medication, which requires him to cut his meat intake, and it was rough to start, but we are kind of loving how we are feeling with this new plant-based diet. I’m gonna check out some of the reading you recommended, since I’m kind of going in this blind! 🙂
jenna urben | the urben life says
I really love the idea of living a whole food plant based diet and lifestyle! I’m dairy-free and egg-free so I already eat a lot of vegan meals. I look forward to your next part of the series, it’s hard to fully transition to WFPB when family and friends aren’t on the same page.
I have been plant-based for about a year and a half and I absolutely love it! I still get so excited when I see new vegan options spreading around the world and I love trying new vegan foods! It was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made!
thanks for sharing this! I’ve been looking at a healthier route these days to better care for the insides of my body! crazy to think how much food these days aren’t “food” – if that makes sense! Need to be more aware of what we consume now
Very interesting article indeed! My problem is giving up on meat completely because we have a family of meat lovers. Personally I have reservations about any kind of diet purely because I think it’s difficult to maintain it. Our diet needs to reflect our lifestyle and age for healthy living!
I’m goibg to pin this! I think about trying this for an extended period of time but I never brought myself to do it. I’m going to take a look at the resources you provided. Keep us posted!
Sarah Dean says
Congrats on sticking with your challenge and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m currently doing Veganuary and loving it.
I’ve watched quite a few of those documentaries but added some to my list!
Thanks for sharing your journey. 🙂
Melissa @ Our Happy Hive says
I haven’t heard of veganuary. What a great idea!
This looks like a rear option for our home. My husband is on whole 30 and while he and I like the program, it’s quite expensive… fresh produce is less expensive than meat so it may be worth going this route. Thanks for the intro to this! I’ll pin to save it!
I am always interested in hearing people’s journeys. My “diet” lifestyle changes throughout the year when I am in competition prep so reading about the journey of others is always fascinating. I’m trying something new now myself.
Awesome! I have been contimplating the idea of going whole food plant based for awhile now. I know my body just reacts and feels better when I eat this way. But I struggle with having to cook meals that my very meat eating husband and 2 toddlers will eat and it throws me into eating what they will eat all the time. I need to commit and try out some new recipes. Thanks for your informative post! X
We recently made the switch to Whole Foods too. Although we aren’t 100% plant based. Organic is the way to go. The health benefits are countless. Not sure I would be able to get my blood work as often but I should do it once just to see.
Anna Thompson says
I have never tried 100% plant based and I’m not sure I could try it. I love so many foods out there I would be afraid of not having them again. But Kudos for your journey. I always enjoy reading things like these.
I’ve done a lot of the same research and considered taking this type of challenge, too. You’ve inspired me!
I believe that I could have a partial vegan diet. I have cut out dairy products and eaten the meat replacements before also converted a nonvegan recipe to a vegan one.