#WholeGlow40 – My New Plant-Based Life

Melanie Santos #WholeGlow40

As you know, I'm all about a healthier mind, body, and spirit, so this spring I'm pushing my limits by challenging myself to 40 days of whole food, plant-based breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. Keep reading for the reasons why I’m doing this and some amazing nutrition resources for beginners.

I'm going to be chronicling my challenge and posting a video on YouTube after each week until May 6 when my #WholeGlow40 challenge ends. I'll also be posting on social media when I get back from my current social media break and saving my stories in an Instagram highlight.

It’s not too late to join! Sign up for our #WholeGlow40 mailing list to start receiving my weekly emails.

Post your food pics, recipes, experiences + inspo using #WholeGlow40 on social media! Forward this to a friend you want to join you!

Look. at. this. SPREAD! ( mouth waters)

Look. at. this. SPREAD! (mouth waters)

Vegan [vs] WFPB

Veganism is a philosophy deeply devoted to animal rights, and being a vegan (n.) is a lifestyle choice that involves diets, politics and ethics. Vegans (n.) not only eliminate animal products from their diet, but from all aspects of their lives. We’re talking – no leather, fur, wool or silk; products derived from insects (i.e. honey and beeswax); or toiletries that may be derived from and/or tested on animals.

When it comes to food, “plant-based” simply refers to whole, plant foods and NOT just foods considered to be “vegan”. For example, French fries or Oreos are in essence vegan, but are not considered to be “plant-based”, as neither product resembles that of their original plant form.

On the flip side, a “plant-based” meal may by definition be vegan, but a person who follows a plant-based diet is not necessarily a vegan (n.) – whereas they may consume only plant-based products but wear/use products that are derived from animals. (eatbychloe.com)

Let me explain…

Just like the vegan diet, people who eat a whole food plant-based diet (WFPB) avoid animal-based products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. Unlike the vegan diet, processed foods, including oil, white flour, and refined sugar is not part of the diet. This way of eating is based around unprocessed or minimally processed veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Here’s the easiest way to remember the distinction between the vegan diet and the whole food plant-based diet: people who are vegan can eat Oreo cookies.

People who follow a whole food plant-based diet generally do it for their health—either to prevent chronic illness and disease or reverse chronic illness and disease; this is why processed food isn't included in this way of eating.

Even though they both have the word “diet” in them, neither the vegan diet nor the whole food plant-based diet are diets at all. They are both styles of eating that have nothing to do with calorie restrictions or counting things like carbs and protein. (mindbodygreen.com)

Why I'm “going WFPB”

I'm not challenging myself to a WFPB diet for the political aspects, but rather to cleanse my system. I've been eating as many vegan meals as possible for almost a year now, but eliminating all processed foods and eating a diet rich in nutrients that only grow from the earth is INSANELY beneficial to your mind, body, and soul. 

Clarity of mind, body, and spirit.

Your brain is only as healthy as your gut is, and think about how healthy your gut and body will be while digesting whole, plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. ALSO, on the spiritual tip, it's literally grounding from within. You're returning to yourself, to the earth and the plants, by eating them. It's amaaaaazing.

Earthing in Atocha Station in Barcelona, Spain in March 2019.

Earthing in Atocha Station in Barcelona, Spain in March 2019.

Foods to Avoid + What I'm NOT Avoiding

There are hella foods one should avoid on a WFPB diet including ANYTHING that comes from animals and is processed in any way:

  • Fast food: French fries, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc.

  • Added sugars and sweets: Table sugar, soda, juice, pastries, cookies, candy, sweet tea, sugary cereals, etc.

  • Refined grains: White rice, white pasta, white bread, bagels, etc.

  • Packaged and convenience foods: Chips, crackers, cereal bars, frozen dinners, etc.

  • Processed vegan-friendly foods: Plant-based meats like Tofurkey, faux cheeses, vegan butters, etc.

  • Artificial sweeteners: Equal, Splenda, Sweet’N Low, etc.

  • Processed animal products: Bacon, lunch meats, sausage, beef jerky, etc.

Say goodbye to white, refined grains and hello to whole grains and plant-based pastas! They’re delish!

Say goodbye to white, refined grains and hello to whole grains and plant-based pastas! They’re delish!

I am going to do my best to eliminate all processed foods, but the only thing I'm definitely not eliminating is oil. Vegetable oils are liquid fats that have been extracted from whole plant foods, in turn leaving behind most of their nutrients, and being processed into a concentrated source of fat and calories with very few health benefits. (plantplate.com)

Oils are non-existent in typical WFPB diets, but for my sanity and time, I'll be using coconut and safflower oil for the dishes that require them. At the end of the day, you can choose to use oil or not. That is up to you. 

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If you're going to go on this WFPB journey, just make sure of the following:

  • That your body is capable of sustaining a diet like this. If you have any inclination that it might be an issue for you, check with your doctor first. 

  • That you're doing it for the right reasons. Losing weight is cool...I certainly would like to lose the last 30 pounds of the baby weight I gained, but not so that I can be skinny. More so that I can feel healthier and have more energy. Size is not everything. Check yourself.

  • That you're prepared to mind your business and drink your water when someone steps out of their business to ask you why you're "eating plants" or any other ignorant bullshit you'll probably hear.

  • That you're doing this for YOU and not nobody but YOU.

Do you have a great resource or tip I didn’t mention? Share it in the comments below!