Pure & Simple Plant Food, a Manifesto
Whole Food Plant-Based Cuisine and Lifestyle
Slow down. Visit your local market. Grow some of your food, especially fresh herbs or micro-greens. Source ingredients with an avid curiosity for local, seasonal and undervalued plant gems. Cook at home. Prepare food as you would sing or dance to enjoy a relaxing, playful and creative moment. Center your diet around whole plant-based foods as pure energy to thrive, play and have fun. Eating, sharing food and talking about food are part of a joyful relaxed lifestyle.
Eating as an Experience
Eating is an experience, a pleasure and an individual freedom that you can’t restrict to only a number of calories (that you would have to reach or not exceed, like 2000 calories per day) or some percentages of macronutrients (that you would have to stick to, like 80% carb, 10% fat and 10% protein).
Home-made plant-based food will remain intrinsically healthier than conventional industrialized food. But vegan labelled foods aren’t necessarily healthy anymore. Especially as vegan food producers are moving to junk, highly-processed and industrialized foods. Refined sugar, saturated fats and an endless list of additives or food preservatives aren’t that good for you (no matter, how plant-based they initially are).
Let’s be realistic. The food industry works hard to make its products as addictive as possible (driving more sales), to reduce food costs and to increase product shelf-life. Your health and well-being are not key factors in the profit-seeking equation of the food industry.
You are what you do daily.
It’s not just a diet, it’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle that associates daily physical activity, quality sleep and rest with pure plant food. Don’t wait for perfection to start moving toward healthier habits. Good quality whole plant food can lower inflammation, boost your recovery and provide long-lasting energy. When associated with relaxing practices, deep sleep and some forms of physical activity or cardio-training, your diet can actively support a more conscious, active and healthy lifestyle.
Pure Energy, a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet for Active People
Eat preferably during the day. Favor fresh and in season fruits and veggies. Enjoy a colorful and diversified diet. Cook from scratch, limiting refined or processed ingredients. Drink plenty of water. Eat raw, fresh fruits to start your day. Enjoy balanced bowls during the day with a healthy abundance of leafy greens, steamed/baked veggies, cooked legumes and/or grains…
Physical activity, moving daily over exercising…
It’s vital to have a regular moderate physical activity. Physical inactivity is a leading cause of disease and disability, warns the World Health Organization “WHO”. Approximately 2 million deaths per year are attributed to physical inactivity, prompting WHO to issue a warning that a sedentary lifestyle could very well be among the 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world.
It’s not only about few hours of extreme exercise in a fitness club… any movement counts, any physical activity factors in (power walking, cycling, running…). Everyone needs a minimum of 3h weekly of physical activity, preferably 30 minutes daily, about 10 000 steps (about 7km) of daily mobility.
As we age, our recovery capabilities start slowing down and keeping a healthy weight can prove to be challenging. Pure Energy isn’t about performance enhancing foods or hacking your health. Pure Energy is about supporting healthy habits so that you keep enjoying an active lifestyle, keep exploring and manage to stay reasonably fit and lean.
A Personal Reminder by Rich Roll:
« Consistency beats intensity. Consistency beats volume. Consistency beats passion. Consistency dictates results. Consistency is what defines character. Purpose is key. But passion is overrated. Because fanaticism is unsustainable. In other words, It’s not about the epic workout. Instead, It’s about what you do daily — because it’s the anonymous micro actions undertaken regularly that dictate not just what you can achieve, but who you are as a human. The past is the past. And so I ask, what are you doing right now? Are your actions in alignment with your goals and core values? Are they congruent with the authentic person within? The best version of who you would like to be? If not, don’t wait until the new year to adjust — change is available to you in every moment of every day. By the way, I say this to remind myself. » — Rich Roll at richroll — on Twitter
Physical Activity and Recovery Cycle
It may sound counterintuitive but exercising generates stress, micro-damages and physical fatigue. It’s by resting to recover that your body will repair, regenerate and adapt to a new level of physical activity. This adaptive process, if respected, will allow you to train more frequently, at a higher intensity and incrementally longer. It’s your consistency associated to this virtuous cycle of training and recovering that will make you enjoy it more, practice better and ultimately perform at the best of your potential.
Good quality whole plant food can boost your recovery and help prevent injuries.
Useful Disclaimer: Whole plant foods are not performance enhancers like doping products can be (EPO, for example, has a significant effect on exercise performance). Despite being called «Superfoods», « magical » powders (Spirulina, Chlorella…) won’t transform you into Wonder-Woman or Superman. Nutritional supplements are milking the food industry, which is working hard to convince you that you have specific needs as an active person. Follow the money! Check for potential conflicts of interests before jumping on the supplement powders bandwagon.
Let’s free yourself from worrying about your protein intake or calorie-counting!
What matters the most is quality. It is not counting calories. It is not over-thinking about specific ratios of macronutrients (carbs, proteins or lipids)! So to keep it simple, let’s move from abstract quantities to quality! You don’t necessarily need to count what you are eating to eat healthier. The quality of the ingredients you pick makes a real difference, as well as how you clean, store and prepare your food.
If in doubt, think quality over quantities.
Micro-Nutrition and Nutrient Density
Colorful Whole Plant-Based Foods are great sources of most of the essential nutrients that you need to thrive! Fibers (prebiotics), Vitamins, Minerals, Phytonutrients… and naturally filtered water (veggies contain up to 90% of water). All these nutrients are beneficial to your immune system, overall health and wellbeing.
Any nutrient deficiency can have severe second effects, compromise your immunity and alter your overall health. Some examples of vitamin deficiencies leading to severe issues: deficiency in vitamin C is linked to scurvy, vitamin D linked to low bone density, iodine linked to goiter or hypothyroidism, vitamin B1 Thiamine linked to beriberi.
A short list of essential nutrients that any plant-eater should be careful of and supplement includes the vitamins B12 (2500mcg weekly), D and iodine.
Choosing nutrient density can simplify your shopping decision making: Go for fresh, colorful and in-season! Prefer local and/or organically grown! Favor plant-stars like black or red rice, quinoa, oats, chickpeas, peanuts, colorful sweet potatoes, red onion, broccoli and cruciferous, baby spinach, leafy greens and fresh herbs, mushrooms, ginger, turmeric and spices, sea algae, red berries, avocado and seasonal fruits, pumpkin seeds, flax/chia seeds and nuts…
The “Daily Dozen” from Dr. Michael Greger of Nutrition Facts can be a useful checklist. It includes an indicative number of servings per type of ingredients. The “Daily Dozen” checklist is available as a poster and a free app for most smartphones.
Preparing food from scratch using whole plant ingredients is like adopting a naturally cholesterol and lactose-free diet (easily gluten-free), as well as avoiding most of processed, refined and industrialized foods (including GMO, junk, highly-transformed). For added benefits, you may consider integrating some S.O.S. free dishes (added Salt — refined Oil — refined Sugar) to your daily diet. Ways of preparing food play a role too, experiment « soft » cooking methods like steaming, stir-frying or baking at low temperatures (=< 165°C) or during a short time.
What matters is not only “what” you eat but “when”.
Every day you may want to give enough time to your body to rest and regenerate, which means avoid eating continuously and try to fast for a minimum of 12 hours daily. The principle is to eat within a window of 12 to 10 hours, to allow your body 12 to 14 hours of recovery time.
More on Plant-Based Cuisine and Lifestyle on my webpage. Learn about my experience with Time Restricted Eating.