Principles logoI’m frequently asked, especially at this time of year, ‘What is a plant based diet?’ I love sharing with new friends why eating a plant based diet is so good for you, however sometimes it can be tricky to fully grasp the principles of my whole food, plant based diet, so I’ve put together: The 9 Principles of Caroline’s Whole Food Plant Based Diet.

This is the first of five posts that will run until the end of January that will help you to turn your life around in 2014 by adopting a whole food, plant based diet.

As you probably know, this is not a ‘traditional’ diet. This is not about restricting yourself in how much you can eat, this is all about eating as much as you want of the right foods that will help you thrive and resist illness and disease. You’ll feel and look amazing!

So, you’re wishing that you felt better, weren’t over weight and would stop catching every little (and not so little) cold that goes around at this time of year STOP wishing and start doing. Here are my 9 principles for adopting a whole food, plant based diet:

  1. Eat the whole food. Never eat processed foods.
  2. Eat more starch. Base each meal around a starch. Forget everything you’ve heard about potatoes, rice, pasta, couscous being ‘bad’ for you. This is completely wrong. Enjoy and eat as much as you want as long as it’s brown and you’ve not added any animals or their fats to it and you’ll be fine. Read my blog post “Why carbs will not make you fat.”
  3. Cook without oils of any kind, use non-stick pans, stainless steel pots etc. Always use water instead of oil when you cook. Read my blog post “Oil – is it really that good for you?”
  4. Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of getting up. This means that you’ll be set up for the day. I recommend eating porridge every morning and topping it with different fruits and/or nuts each day. I often also eat two or three slices of wholemeal toast as well with mashed banana.
  5. Don’t drink fizzy drinks, alcoholic drinks, fruit juices or drinks with lots of caffeine such as coffee. Stick to drinks such as hot water and fresh lemon, still water and a slice of lemon or lime, decaff herbal teas such as peppermint, lemon and ginger, fennel, cinnamon, rose etc.
  6. Carry fresh fruit with you at all times. If you’re getting the bus, train or car home from work, take a piece or two of fruit with you for the journey. Those hunger pangs you get when you’ve finished work will be quickly diminished once you’ve sunk your teeth into a crunchy apple or sweet banana. Carrying fruit with you throughout the day will stop you reaching for crisps, chocolate and sweets that are all too available at checkouts.
  7. Eat as much as you want of the following fabulous foods in any combination you want throughout the day.
    1. Starches
    2. Whole grains
    3. Fruit
    4. Vegetables
    5. Beans and pulses
  8. Don’t eat the following foods. They should never, ever be part of your daily diet. Ever.
    1. Meat e.g. beef, lamb, pork in any way for instance as chops, minced, steaks, bacon
    2. Poultry e.g. chicken, turkey ,duck,
    3. Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, cottage cheese, butter, yoghurt, sour cream, cream
    4. Eggs
    5. Animal fats such as butter, margarine, lard
    6. Oils such as olive, sunflower, vegetable, sesame, walnut
    7. Processed and packaged foods, except for certain ones that contain only the permitted ingredients
  9. Don’t use salt or refined sugar. Rarely are salt and sugar added to anything that is cooked on the plant based diet. If you’re going to add salt to your food, wait until it’s cooked and on your plate. Taste it. Does it need salt? If it does, add a few ground flakes of Maldon sea salt. Sugar in its purest form is never added, however, you can use a little honey, pure maple syrup and pure fruit jam.

And if you’re trying to lose weight, here are a further three of my principles of eating a whole food, plant based diet that are just for you if you want to lose weight by eating a whole food, plant based diet:

  1. Don’t count calories. They’re useless. People like you and me generally don’t have access to the gadgets that are needed to tell you exactly how much energy you’re burning or consuming. I’ll be going into deeper detail on this in a couple of weeks’ time.
  2. Don’t weigh yourself. You do need to keep an eye on numbers but don’t use scales to do it. Ideally you need to know how much body fat you’re carrying and you need to know your circumferences. Get a normal everyday tape measure and take your ‘before’ measurements – upper arms (mid bicep), waist – around your navel, hips – at the widest point below your waist, both legs – mid thigh. Once you’ve got these measurements add them up and you can then track the changes.
  3. Set yourself clear objectives.  If you’re starting out on a journey to visit friends or relatives you would normally plan your journey – you’d check your oil and tyre pressures, top up with screen wash and you’d make sure you had enough fuel for your trip. Do the same for yourself if you want 2014 to be the year you regain your health and wellbeing. You might have heard of SMART objectives, these aren’t just for business, these are to help you achieve the best version of yourself. Set yourself specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely objectives. If you need help on setting yourself objectives I’ll be writing a post on how you can do this in the coming weeks.

What I’d Ask You To Do Now Is…

Up above, I shared with you information on the principles of my whole food, plant based diet. If you found this post helpful, please take a moment to SHARE this post with people you think will find it valuable. You can use the buttons to share this post with your social networks. Hopefully you will and so I’ll give you a big THANK YOU in anticipation.