If you are new to the Plantiful Health community I suggest you check out the page ‘What Is Plantiful Health?‘ for a great way to get started and learn more about what we are advocating. From this perspective, the gold standard for health, so to speak, is a plant-based diet, or what we call “Fully Plantiful.”
This means that 100% of one’s daily calories are coming from whole plant foods.
But what are whole plant foods, exactly? Anything that grew on a plant, be it the fruit, the stalk, the leaves, the roots, or the seeds, is fair game. Still not sure? Well, the fruit part is easy. Here we are talking whole fruits — not the fruit filling in a PopTart. The whole, intact apple, not the apple juice.
Moving on, the stalk, leaves, and roots, are what we culinarily call vegetables. Things like celery, spinach, and sweet potatoes. In whole form, this means a spinach salad, not the spinach in a microwavable frozen spinach soufflé.
The seeds of the plant can be called nuts, grains or beans and legumes. So, things like walnuts, quinoa, and black beans.
So why eat more of them? Why is the Plantiful Spectrum based on how many we eat?
Let’s take a look at the science.
In a study of more than 60,000 U.S. adults, researchers compared different diet groups based on their average body weight. In the U.S. today, obesity is an epidemic. Over one in three U.S. adults are obese. This means they have a body mass index of above 30 kg/m2. Another third of Americans are overweight, with a BMI between 25 and 30. The remainder of Americans have a normal weight, of 18.5 to 25, or are underweight (below 18.5).
The diet groups the researchers compared were ‘omnivores,’ ‘flexitarians,’ ‘pesco-vegetarians,’ ‘ovo-lacto-vegetarians,’ and ‘vegans,’ with omnivores eating the least amount of whole plant foods and the vegans eating the most.
Hey, that progression is pretty similar to the Plantiful Spectrum!
So what were the results, you ask? Who fared the lightest of all the groups?
5th Place: Standard American Diet (SAD)
Average BMI: 28.8
Class: Overweight, near Obese
4th Place: Flexitarians (occasional vegetarians)
Average BMI: 27.3
3rd Place: Pesco-Vegetarians (fish eating vegetarians)
Average BMI: 26.3
2nd Place: Ovo-Lacto Vegetarians (vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs)
Average BMI: 25.7
1st Place, and the only group with an average BMI in the normal range: Vegans!
Average BMI: 23.6
Class: Normal Weight
In other words, as whole plant food consumption increased, average weight decreased.
Increase the amount of whole plant foods in your diet. Decrease the rest. Watch the weight start to come off!