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What IS a Whole Foods, Plant-based Diet?

By now you've heard the term "plant-based". There's plant-based ice cream, shampoo, and nuggets, but does this mean these foods and products are healthy? When it comes to health, there's no diet proven to prevent and reverse more chronic diseases than a Whole Foods, Plant-based diet (WFPB).

In this article you'll learn the difference between the terms "Whole Foods, Plant-based (WFPB)", "plant-based", and "vegan", and why WFPB is the very best.

Whole Foods, Plant-based

The original term, whole foods, plant-based was coined by T. Colin Campbell, one of the authors of The China Study, and founder of the Center for Nutrition Studies, formerly T. Colin Campbell Foundation.

A whole foods, plant-based diet is a simple lifestyle where plant foods - fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, are enjoyed in millions of delicious combinations. Full of fiber, vitamins, nutrients....and yes, even protein and calcium, these foods are the fuel of strength, vibrancy, longevity and a lean, fit body.

WFPB is love, acceptance, joy, and vibrancy.

A WFPB diet has been scientifically proven to prevent and reverse heart disease, type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of cancer and Alzheimer's, reduce the risk of childhood asthma and obesity, and so many more chronic diseases.

What whole foods, plant-based is not.

It's not meat; chicken, fish, shrimp, cow, pig, goat, lamb, etc. It's also not milk, eggs. Nor oils (yes, even olive oil or coconut oil), or processed and refined foods.

It's not judgement. It's not perfect. Humans are not perfect. It's ok to jump in 100% WFPB, and it's ok to lean into WFPB. It took me years before I gave up salmon. And then again to reduce oils to virtually nothing, and I'm still not perfect with the oils, but I'm getting better every day.

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto


Want to add more plant-foods but aren't sure where to start?

Try our 3-Days, 3-Ways to add more plant foods. It's a FREE mini course!


Read on to learn more about the term "plant-based" vs. "whole foods, plant-based", and the term "vegan", and to get some awesome plant-based resources at the bottom of this post.....


The term "plant-based" harkens back to "Whole Foods, Plant-based" but in reality, it simply means that there are plant-derived ingredients in the food or product. It's an un-regulated term and has become clever marketing to sell products.

It's important to be aware and read ingredients on food packaging. If you can't read the ingredient or you can't find it in your pantry, don't eat it. Real food is ingredients, it doesn't have ingredients.

“Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.”

― Michael Pollan


The term "vegan" is grounded in animal activism. Vegans do not eat animal flesh or anything that comes out of an animal or wear clothing derived from animals or anything that came out of an animal.

Vegan food isn't necessarily healthier. It can be healthier, but Oreos are vegan, potato chips are vegan, and lots of other processed foods can be called vegan that are not health-promoting.

Opinion on veganism

In my opinion, the best advocacy for animals happens without us ever having to open our mouths to speak. If we're vegan, as well as whole foods, plant-based, people are drawn to our health, vibrancy, vitality and positivity. I have also found that when I share positive stories about animal advocacy 75% of the time and the realities of factory farms etc. 25% of the time, people are much more open to learning and leaning towards a plant-slant. I'd love to know your thoughts on this too. I'm open to discussion!

“If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't. ”

― Michael Pollan

Learn more about WFPB:

I love this simple slide show created by the Center for Nutrition Studies.

Whole Food Plant-based recipes:

Find recipes in our blog:

The FOK website:

And I recently joined this awesome online cookbook subscription from Meatless Meals for only $5 per month!

Whole Foods, Plant-Based Communities:

Whole Communities

This is an online community for people working to grow the WFPB movement through business and community projects:

CNS Kitchen

Supportive online community for people new to WFPB eating to get support and recipes.

Trusted WFPB Science:

WFPB podcasts:


Do you have a resource to add? Contact us at to submit your suggestion!


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