Frequently Asked Questions

Was it difficult to start a whole foods, plant-based diet?

We had been eating “healthy” (I thought) for 8 years. We had incorporated: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, lean meats, fat-free dairy (and 2 teaspoons of olive oil daily) into our diet, following Weight Watcher’s Good Health Guidelines.

It was relatively simple then to clean the fridge, freezer, and pantry of animal-derived foods for our Grand August Experiment (my daughter took the cast-offs). I then added in lots more frozen vegetables and fruits to our chest freezer, along with more varieties of potatoes, grains and beans to our pantry, and fresh fruits and vegetables to our fridge.

I actually like the look of the streamlined refrigerator. Foods are visible. And like the McDougall’s, I try to keep a plate of cooked potatoes, at-the-ready, front and center. Along with 1-cup portions of cooked beans, grains, and vegetables.

There are large parts of the grocery store where we don’t need to go now. It’s made life more simple in a lot of ways.

Is there a baby-steps approach I could use?

Yes! I have a friend who is doing “Two For Two”:  two weeks of whole plant foods for two meals a day. Oatmeal for breakfast, and brown rice and beans for lunch, for two weeks. Dinner is whatever you choose.  I think it’s an easy entry, and you can see how you feel after the two weeks.

What are you doing now?

We have learned a lot this past year.  Now, 8/6/2010, we are following the Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat To Live diet which focuses on high-nutrient plant-foods. His Nutritional Excellence Pyramid for daily foods includes:

  • Leafy green and non-starchy vegetables: up to 1 lb. a day cooked, plus up to 1 lb. a day raw
  • Fruits: up to 4 whole fruits, or 4 1-cup servings of fruit, especially berries
  • Raw unsalted nuts and seeds: 1 oz. maximum if trying to lose weight, or 2-3 oz. if you are maintaining
  • Ground flax seed: 1 TBS. daily
  • Cooked beans: 1 cup per day, minimum
  • Starchy vegetables or whole grains: 0-1 cup serving per day
  • Animal products: 0-2 servings per week (we don’t, unless, as Tom says “the amount is nutritionally insignificant“).

Our goal is to not use processed oil. (McDougall says, “The fat you eat is the fat you wear.”) And we are weaning ourselves down to a low-salt (the ideal being no-salt) diet. These have been major changes since mid-April, 2010, following Dr. Furhman’s program. And we have been experiencing  the rewards along with it . Who knew you could just as easily “water-saute” your vegetables?  Taste preferences are definitely changing!

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