Why You Should Eat a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet

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

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


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  1. nora says:

    Muy buena información

  2. LaTronia says:

    I need to lose 60lbs and keep it off, do not want to be on blood pressure meds

  3. Tarah says:

    Very informative!

  4. Tanya says:

    I have gastroparesis and cannot eat raw fruits and vegetables. I have to avoid any cooked vegetables that have skins. Vegetables must be cooked till very soft.

  5. Quish says:

    I have diabetes I would like to see about getting rid of it by changing how and what I eat.

  6. Dr. Shawn Demmerle says:

    So much focus is on losing weight what about 50 year Olds going into decline and are in NEED to Gain 20+ pounds. The Dr’s tell me what I already know about nutrition, I cannot keep weight on, Never could my whole Life!!

  7. Delores says:

    Very informative. So want to change how I prepare meals for my family. Want to be healthy and without medications.

  8. Shirley Ferris says:

    Great information!!!

  9. David says:

    I wanna to know more

  10. Diane Reiser says:

    I have gastritis and fatty liver disease, I need help with recipes in maintaining a healthy gut.

  11. Joanne says:

    My husband and I are wanting to change are life style of eating . In need of loosing wait the most. Hopefully we have found are way with your program.

  12. Antoinette says:

    I need to lose 70 lbs

  13. Renee says:

    My mom battles blood pressure, and I struggle with weight staying on.

  14. Jenny Farnsworth says:

    Just getting started so will let you know but info has been good

  15. Cathie says:

    Bonjour comment puis je lire votre article en français ? Mon anglais n’est pas aussi bon. Je suis désolée merci

  16. Paul Haymer says:

    I need to lose 6lb and eat a healthy diet

  17. Quiero que me ayuden a perder peso con una dieta equilibrada

  18. Good Information Thank you