Whole foods vs Vegetarian: Which One Is a Healthier Diet?

Quite a few years ago, I watched a programme on Netflix called Forks Over Knives, a documentary about whole food and plant-based diets. I was so inspired after watching it and thought I would try a plant-based diet right away. Although apparently, I’ve failed, the ideas introduced in the programme have since changed the way I shop for groceries and eat.

Whole foods

Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed, such as fruit and vegetables, beans, grains, etc. A lot of dairy products and anything that’s highly refined, such as white flour, sugar are not whole foods.

Unlike a vegetarian diet, a whole food diet doesn’t focus on eating just vegetables because vegetables alone don’t give our body enough energy. If we only eat vegetables for an extended period, we’ll just be hungry, lack energy, and end up with disorders like binge eating.

The foundation of whole food or plant-based diet is fruits and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweetcorn and peas, or whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa. These foods keep us full.

What about the vegetarian diet?

Basically, vegetarian and vegan are both seen as healthy diets, but the truth is, they’re not necessarily healthy. Vegetarians don’t eat meat, but they can eat pizza, crisps, fries, chocolate cookies, and they can eat a lot of processed and refined foods such as cheese, butter and ice cream. On the other hand, whole food and plant-based diets focus on health. The key isn’t to stop eating meat. The key is whole food – unprocessed food.

Give it a go

Can I go 100% whole food or plant-based? I’ve already tried. I can’t. While I prefer vegetables to meat most of the time, I do like a flame-grilled steak or chicken tikka masala once in a while. Other than that, I never really like processed food, not even pasta sauce, dressing or anything like that. I prefer homemade stuff, like fresh tomatoes for pasta sauce (I was so stubborn I wouldn’t even use chopped tomatoes in a tin) and fresh lemon juice for salad dressing. Just healthier, and taste better. 🙂

Switching from takeaways to home cooking and from store-bought stuff to homemade stuff take a bit of determination. Who’s got all that time to make everything at home anyway?! But once you get used to it, you’ll soon realise cooking at home isn’t just much healthier, it’s fun too!

Speaking of vegetables, these are some of my favourite vegetarian soups.

Forks Over Knives – Official Trailer

The documentary is now streaming for free here.

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