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What is a Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) diet?

Updated: Jun 1, 2018

A whole food plant based (WFPB) diet is a diet based on whole or minimally processed whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Consumption of meat (red, chicken and fish), dairy products, eggs as well as highly refined foods such as bleached flours, refined sugar and oils are minimised or eliminated. There is no calorie restriction when following a WFPB lifestyle. You are free to enjoy generous portions of a variety of low calorie density foods.

The main principles of a whole foods plant-based diet as are follows:

1. High carbohydrate foods such as grains, starchy vegetables and legumes are the centre of the diet and provide the majority of the days calorie intake.

2. A wide variety of vegetables are free to be eaten, including green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables.

3. There is no restriction on the amount of fresh fruit you are allowed to eat.

4. Consumption of added oils and fried foods are not recommended.

If you eat a well-balanced variety of whole, plant-based foods, you will be consuming all the carbohydrates, proteins and fats you need for optimal heath. Plant foods contain all the nutrients (with the exception of Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D) in the healthiest ratio for your body. There is no need to focus on individual nutrients, instead, focus is on a whole food approach because as the saying goes “we don’t eat nutrients, we eat food!”.

So, what do you eat? SIMPLE: whole, unrefined plants!

Below is a Food Guide of what a Whole Food Plant Based diet consists of.


· Non-starchy Vegetables: leafy greens, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes etc.

· Starchy Vegetables: Potatoes (incl. sweet potatoes), legumes (beans and lentils), whole corn, root vegetables, quinoa.

· Fruits: all whole fruits, as found in nature (not dried with added sugar or juiced).

· Whole Grains: 100% whole wheat/grain, oats, brown rice etc. (choose whole, cooked grains and pastas rather than bread or crackers for weight loss).

· Beverages: water (aim for ~2-3L per day), unsweetened plant milks, green tea.

· Spices: all spices (no added salt).

· Omega 3 sources: chia seeds, ground flax seeds.


· Meat: fish, poultry, seafood, red meat, processed meat.

· Dairy: yogurt, milk, cheese, cream, buttermilk, ice-cream.

· Added fats: liquid oils, coconut oil, margarine, butter.

· Eggs.

· Vegan Replacement Foods: vegan cheese, mock meats.

· Refined Flours: all wheat flours that are not 100% whole wheat (eg white flour, breads etc).

· “Added sugar” foods.

· Candy bars, snack/energy bars, cookies, cakes, pastries.

· Beverages: soft drink, fruit juice, sports drinks, energy drinks.


· Nuts: peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts etc.

· Avocado.

· Coconut.

· Seeds (except omega 3 sources such as flax or chia): sesame, sunflower, pumpkin.

· Dried fruit.

· Added sweeteners: maple syrup, fruit juice concentration, added sugars (incl. natural sugars).

· Coffee and tea.

· Soy protein isolate, seitan, tofu, tempeh.

If you are new to this way of eating, below is a basic guide of the amount of serves of each food group that you should be aiming for each day.

Following a Whole Food Plant Based diet gives you the freedom to eat a large variety of wholesome foods without restriction. Your food does not need to be plain and boring – not every meal is a bland salad! Overtime you will start to feel more comfortable cooking foods that may be unfamiliar to you, and your taste buds will change. But trust me, your body will thank you for it!

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