• Adelle Goodman

Beginner's Guide to a Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet

Updated: Jun 1

One of the most significant steps that you can take to strengthen your health, prevent chronic diseases, manage your weight healthily, and boost your energy levels is to switch to whole foods and plant-based nutrition. Changing your diet is a great way to live longer and reduce the risks of being sick.

You're likely thinking that switching to a plant-based diet seems to be a good idea, but you do not know where to begin. Don't worry, we've got expertise and tools to make the change enjoyable and comfortable. A health coach is experienced in this area and will help you make sure that your switch to a healthier lifestyle is well-informed and sustainable!

What is a Plant-based diet?

Plant-based nutrition refers to a diet that focuses on foods that are derived from plant sources. These include fruits, grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, beans, and legumes to name a few!

While there are different interpretations of a whole-food, plant-based diet depending on who you asked, one thing is clear. The base of our diet should be plants in their whole, original form. Processed foods and animal-based products are ideally completely excluded from the diet when trying to achieve optimum health.

Benefits of living a plant-based lifestyle

There are several benefits of moving towards a plant-based nutrition lifestyle. These benefits include:

Disease prevention

Plant-based diets support your health, including a lower risk of developing coronary heart diseases, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

A vegan diet offers all the necessary whole foods plant-based protein, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins for optimal health, and is often higher in phytonutrients and fibre than conventional dietary choices.

However, it’s worth noting that a plant-based diet doesn’t automatically mean that it's all healthy, particularly when it comes to packaged and processed foods.

Technically, products such as white flour, refined sugar, and some certain vegetable fats can all be labelled ‘plant-based’, but this doesn’t mean they should make up the bulk of a healthy diet. When making a basic plant-based grocery list, consider primarily sourcing whole foods such as:

  • Beans and legumes

  • Seeds, nuts and dried fruits

  • Whole grains

  • Pasta

  • Fresh produce (fruits & vegetables)

Easy weight management

Your risk of obesity lowers when you swap an animal-based diet for a plant-based one. Plant eaters normally weigh less although this isn’t always the main goal. The idea of a plant-based diet is to nourish your body and improve health outcomes; weight loss is just a welcome by-product of eating well and replacing unhealthy foods with healthier ones!

Improves your cholesterol

High cholesterol results in fatty deposits in the blood, which restricts blood flow and may potentially lead to a heart attack or stroke. A proper whole food plant-based diet plan can help normalize your cholesterol levels. Specifically, walking away from a diet that's filled with animal products towards one that is plant-based can lower your cholesterol levels by between 5 and 20 percent. In comparison, those that follow a vigorous vegan diet can lower their cholesterol levels by as much as 30 percent.

Also, switching to a plant-based diet has numerous positive environmental impacts. It lowers pollution, reduces topsoil destruction, and slows deforestation, among many other benefits.

How can a health coach help improve your diet?

Health coaches support their clients in achieving health goals through behaviour and lifestyle modifications. Getting support all throughout the change is a great way to ensure your new lifestyle is sustainable far into the future!

Whether your goal is to develop better nutrition, lose weight or increase energy, a coach takes time to listen to all your concerns, assists you to discover why you're struggling, and then help you to cruise the world of inconsistent nutritional advice to figure out what exactly works for you.

In the usual healthcare systems that we are used to, doctors often limit appointments, which means spending less time with a patient. And while a strong connection exists between health and diet, many medical professionals don’t have adequate know-how in nutrition-particularly whole foods nutrition to provide support and guidance that patients require.

Certified health coaches spend more time with patients and help them make a connection between what they eat and how it influences their health.

Whole food plant-based meals use plant foods and eliminate unhealthy items like refined grains and added sugars. By adopting this way of eating, you’re guaranteed to improve your health. To learn more about making the switch to a healthier lifestyle, easy, sustainable, and FUN, reach out to Nourish by Nicole and find out more!