Transition Foods

Here's something interesting and contradictory when you think about it. Many people start eating a whole food, plant-based diet by not eating whole foods. How weird is that! They eat plant-based, and they buy some whole plant-based foods, but their shopping cart will be loaded with processed foods that are not whole foods. I did it myself. When I first started eating a WFPB diet, I started by eating Amy's vegan chili for lunch everyday. And I'd have Amy's cheeseless pizza for dinner at night or maybe a frozen vegan dinner. I ate a lot of manufactured vegan burritos.

And I thought that was normal. Eventually though, I began to get the whole food part of the WFPB diet as well. And as I began to get that, I began to find myself shopping more in the store's produce section and less in the processed foods section.

But many people never leave the processed foods. They stay there forever and then they wonder why they aren't losing weight or why their health hasn't improved. And I'm not talking about the person who occasionally uses a processed food (I love Amy's cheeseless pizza so much I still find myself picking it up on occasion) or who maybe uses a fake mayo sparingly. I'm talking about the person who, while they think they are being whole food, plant-based, in reality they have never adopted a taste for WFPB foods.

A good example of this might be the consumer who regularly buys fake meats because she still craves meat. Or the guy who eats a veggie burger for lunch every day because he still wants a hamburger. But I believe that as long as we continue to crave that hamburger or that piece of pork or chicken, then we haven't really adopted our taste buds to the whole food, plant-based lifestyle.

So, how do we make that transition from the standard American diet to the whole food, plant-based one a reality? I think it requires consciously deciding that we will adopt the taste for our new diet. For example, as a transition food, Amy's vegan chili does that better than a veggie burger would. Why? Because beans and the other ingredients that go into a chili are staples on a WFPB diet. And so a can of vegan chili will help us to adapt to the WFPB way of eating. On the other hand, a veggie burger will just continue to remind us of hamburgers and cheeseburgers, and it seems to me, that will leave us to continue wanting foods that are on the standard American diet. In fact, it could lead us back to the SAD diet very quickly because if our taste buds haven't adapted yet, then we would never really see a veggie burger as being an acceptable substitute for a real hamburger.

So, for those beginning to eat WFPB but want to transition into it, or "lean in" as they say, do so. But try to transition in with foods that will be familiar to you but will also help to adapt your taste buds to the WFPB way of eating. I think that by doing that, you will be successful much faster. And for those who are still eating transition foods long after you've adopted the diet, you might stop and ask yourself why you're doing that. Perhaps, if there's still change in your health or weight that you'd like to see, then maybe it's time to move away from those transition foods and more into the healthy whole, plant-based foods that can be found in the supermarket's produce section instead.