How to Eat Happy, Healthy & Cruelty Free – the Whole Foods Way
Many of us have gone vegan for the animals – and that’s great! Cutting animal products out of your diet is good for the animals and for our planet. But going vegan can be good for you too, especially if you focus on whole foods!
So, what are whole foods?
Whole, plant-based foods are foods that are closest to their natural state – unrefined, unprocessed and full of nutrients. The less ingredients, the better! The main whole foods groups are vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, legumes, seeds, spices and herbs.
Refined foods, on the other hand, have been changed significantly from their natural state. This process not only strips them of their nutrients, but often adds refined sugars, fats and salt. Although these ingredients are not inherently bad for you, refining them and then adding them to a food that has been stripped of all other nutrients does no favours for your body!
What exactly am I supposed to eat?
Good news – it’s so easy to focus on whole foods as a vegan! Whole foods include fruits like berries, bananas, oranges and apples; leafy greens like spinach and kale; starchy veg like potatoes and squash. Seeds, nuts and nut butters, lentils, peas and beans. Daily meals should focus on grains like brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat and so on, while also paying attention to starches and protein-rich legumes to keep you feeling full!
Unsweetened plant milks and meat alternatives like tofu, tempeh and seitan are great too, though moderation is key! And believe it or not, today it’s easier than ever to buy whole foods online. An example day on a whole foods, plant-based diet could look like this: oatmeal topped with fruit and almond butter for breakfast, a delicious quinoa salad for lunch and a hearty 5-bean chilli for dinner.
Do I have to cut out all refined foods?
Absolutely not! It’s best to eat refined foods in moderation while focusing on whole foods – everyone deserves a wee treat from time to time! A balanced diet of fruit, veg, grains and other whole foods will have you feeling alert and ready to take on the day. Even better, plant-based whole foods are high in nutrients while also low in calories, meaning you can eat until you feel full without over-doing it. Cutting down on refined foods can even lower your chance of cancer, heart disease and diabetes later in life!
Whole foods are low in sugar, high in fibre, packed with heart-healthy antioxidants and can even help control blood sugar. They’re high in healthy fats instead of the trans and saturated fats often added to refined foods. Healthy fats are found in delicious plant-based foods like avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds.
There’s no need to commit to the latest fad diet! Eating plant-based whole foods is fulfilling because it is cruelty free and focuses on your long-term health rather than the number on the scale. The best thing you can do for your body is eat a wide variety of whole foods products to ensure you get all the nutrients you need! Pay attention to how your body feels and consult a professional about taking any supplements, if necessary – all vegans should consider taking vitamin B12 as it’s the only essential nutrient not found in plant-based foods.
A whole foods, plant-based diet will have you feeling great and is the best way to ensure long-term health. It’s good for the animals, good for the planet and good for yourself! So, what are you waiting for? Shop whole foods today!
- Gabriella Rodriguez