Did you guys see the 2011 Forks Over Knives documentary? If you did, you know it was pretty life-changing. And if you haven’t, it’s a must-see! Well, the Forks Over Knives movement has a new book out — and it’s a plan on how you can adopt a whole-food, plant-based way of eating, plus it gives you 100 simple recipes to do so deliciously.
We’ll definitely be checking out the book, but in the meantime, check out this excerpt by authors Alona Pulde, MD, and Matthew Lederman, MD, of The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet. Read on and prepare to look at food in a whole new way — literally!
No More Eating for Single Nutrients … Focus on the “Package” and the Foods You Enjoy
The idea of eating a particular food for one nutrient is pervasive in our culture. We have been led to believe we should eat meat for protein, dairy for calcium, fish for omega-3 fatty acids, and even tomatoes for lycopene, among many others. This sort of thinking is misguided and has caused grave harm to human health. The quest for protein, for example, has steered us toward meat consumption. In this quest, we not only consume protein in excess of our needs, but also many harmful substances like dietary cholesterol that are only present in animal foods.
No food is a single nutrient, and we should never think of foods in that way. Any given food has countless nutrients. What matters most is the overall nutrient profile, i.e., the whole package. Whole, plant-based foods contain all the essential nutrients (with the exception of vitamin B12), and in proportions that are more consistent with human needs than animal-based or processed foods. So our question is really this: Why waste any of what we eat on inferior packages? As long as — over time — we choose a variety of whole, plant-based foods, we will easily meet all of our nutritional needs.
Whole, Plant-Based Food Will Provide the Best “Package” of Nutrients
When eating fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains and legumes to comfortable satiation, you will get superior nutrition without also getting all the unhealthy elements present in animal-based and highly processed foods. Among other things, you will effortlessly consume:
A nutrient profile consistent with human needs. All whole foods contain carbohydrates, protein and fat. These are the macronutrients, which are the source of virtually all calories, or energy. Different foods, however, contain each of these in different proportions. The foods you eat on a whole-food, plant-based diet will most easily get you to a healthy carbohydrate, protein and fat ratio, which lies somewhere in the range of 80/10/10.
Lower-calorie-density foods that will leave you neither underweight nor overweight. Whole, plant-based foods in general are significantly lower in calories per pound (calorie density) than animal products and processed food. Higher-calorie-density foods lead to excessive calorie consumption and overweight bodies. Many chronic diseases are caused by the same foods that result in being overweight or obese.
A sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals. Every vitamin or mineral you need to thrive is present in a whole-food, plant-based diet in amounts and proportions consistent with our needs. The only exceptions are vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
Dietary fiber. Fiber plays a key role in signaling to our brain that we have eaten enough and is also an essential part of digestion, normal colon function, and binding and removing toxins that would otherwise be re-absorbed into the body. Animal foods do not contain any dietary fiber, so we must get it from whole plant foods.
Copyright © 2014 Alona Pulde, MD, and Matthew Lederman, MD, authors of The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet.
About how much of your diet is whole-food and plant-based? And stay tuned tomorrow when we share a delicious recipe from the book! —Jenn