One way to evaluate your food choices is to understand caloric density. A quick look at the caloric density chart above shows us the differences between low-nutrient, high-calorie foods and high-nutrient, low-calorie foods. It is roughly the same amount of calories to eat 1 pound of Oreos as it is to eat 1 pound of bananas, 1 pound of apples, 1 pound of mangoes, 1 pound of kale, 1 pound of spinach, 1 pound of carrots, 1 pound of cucumbers, 1 pound of tomatoes, 1 pound of sweet potatoes, and 1 pound of celery. That’s 10 pounds to 1! Now I’ll admit that I like the idea of living on a strict diet of Oreos. But I know that if all I ate on any given day was a single box of Oreos, I would not only be under-nourished, I would be hungry. My stomach would simply not be full. The sheer density of the whole foods is so much greater. Your body doesn’t count calories. It looks for a certain volume of food each day. If you choose low-nutrient, high-calorie foods, it is easy to overeat in terms of calories in order to satisfy the body’s quantity-driven satiety cues. If you choose high-nutrient, low-calorie foods, you can generally eat as much as it takes to fill up without creating an excess in terms of caloric consumption. So the goal each day is to fill up on nutrient-rich, low-calorie fresh produce and exercise portion control and/or elimination of higher-calorie, lower-nutrient foods.
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Plant foods have been shown in numerous studies under varied circumstances to be the healthiest form of energy for the human body. If you’re still searching for some answers, consider reading through some of the posts I’ve written about finding health from a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle:
- what is real food?
- the building blocks of a vibrant life.
- why vegan?
- is a vegan diet safe?
- why your body needs carbs
- how to set up a whole-foods, plant-based kitchen
- whole-food, plant-based testimonials
If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to learning how to live a plant-based life, take a look at the life.unlabeled. 6-week challenge. It includes full meal plans for 6 weeks, including meal schedules and recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner, prep schedules to help you plan your day, grocery lists, the know your food shopping and basic prep guide, a nutrition log for keeping track of your journey, and blank forms for flying solo once you’ve mastered your new lifestyle and are ready to plan your own meals.