If you recall your school days, you might have learned about a healthy diet with the help of a food chart called a food pyramid.
A food pyramid/diet pyramid is a triangle-shaped picture that shows different food groups at different levels. It is a handy tool to visualize various components of a healthy diet. Even health experts use it to illustrate nutrition advice.
Generally, these diet pyramids include animal products, making it useless to people on a Whole Food Plant-Based diet.
Here comes a Whole Food Plant-Based diet pyramid to the rescue.
Let’s explore it in detail!
The Whole Food Plant-Based pyramid
Like any other food pyramid, the Whole Food Plant-Based diet pyramid is visually represented as a triangle with different food groups from the bottom to the top. But unlike a regular diet pyramid, these food groups are whole and plant-based.
Similar to other diet pyramid, the area covered by each food groups at different levels, from bottom to top, indicates the proportion of the group you should eat in a day.
Our body’s daily requirements of different nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals also decide the assignment of different WFPB food groups to different levels of the pyramid.
The WFPB pyramid includes:
- Vegetables and fruits at the base. It means your diet should have maximum proportion of a variety of whole vegetables and fruits loaded with all kinds of essential nutrients.
- Whole grains at the lower middle level. It means your diet should have significant proportion of whole unprocessed grains, especially for carbohydrates and fiber, oatmeals are an example of whole grains, according to this article from Proper Good.
- Legumes and beans at the middle level. It indicates you should include plenty of fresh or dried legumes to fulfill your protein requirements.
- Nuts and seeds at the upper-middle level. It indicates you should include some sources of healthy fats in the form of whole seeds and nuts.
- Spices and herbs at the top. Besides adding flavor, include some spices and herbs in your diet can provide with healthful antioxidants.
The food groups excluded from the WFPB pyramid
The primary principle of a Whole Food Plant-Based diet is not only to include whole, plant-based food, but also to exclude potentially unhealthy food.
Hence, the following foods don not find a place in the WFPB pyramid:
- All types of animal-based foods, such as meat, seafood, dairy, animal fats, etc.
- Oils (even plant-based oils) as the WFPB diet discourage eating oils for their possible harmful health effects.
- All kinds of processed food, including refined flour, refined sugar, chips, cookies, and other packaged snacks made of processed food products.
Other nutrients to complete the WFPB pyramid
There are some vital nutrients a Whole Food Plant-Based diet may not be able to fulfill. These include Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and water. These nutrients are essential for many critical body functions.
Hence, to complete the Whole Food Plant-Based diet pyramid and maximize your health outcomes, it is necessary to include them in your diet.
Since Vitamin B12 is not produced by plants, you can opt for Vitamin B12 supplements with the consultation of a health expert. To get adequate Vitamin D, you just need to spend at least 20 minutes in the sun.
Everyone knows the importance of hydration for a good health and radiant skin. You must take at least 8-10 glasses of fluids daily. It can be plain water, juices, or other healthy beverages.
A WFPB diet pyramid can help you choose the right food in the right quantity and ensure you get all the essential nutrients your body needs. Use it as a guide to eat a healthy diet!