To understand a whole-food plant-based diet, let’s start with plant-based.
Plant-based focuses on eating a wide variety of plant foods, but also means you’re not eating any animal products. That includes meat, fish, poultry, dairy, and eggs. Plant-based puts the emphasis on the plants, and not just eliminating animal foods.
Whole-food means minimally processed. Think whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
We’re striving for a whole-food plant-based diet 80% of the time — simply put, that means we focus on minimally processed plant foods.
What about pastas and breads?
By definition, these are processed foods, but if they’re whole grain and oil-free, they’re not considered highly processed and are totally fine to eat in moderation.
What about store bought milks?
This is a great question, and unfortunately the answer isn’t black and white. But, in short, plant milks land in the minimally processed category.
Where it gets complicated is that this varies depending on whether the milk has a bunch of added ingredients like sweeteners (i.e. added sugar), vanilla flavoring, etc. But when in the store, be sure to check the back of the label. Look for the milk with the least amount of added ingredients, and always try to avoid ones with palm oil.