Eating a Plant-based, Whole Grain Diet

marilyna/ iStock / Getty Images Plus
marilyna/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

“If you’re not going to finish your dinner, at least finish your vegetables.” That was possibly the first and simplest dietary advice your parents ever gave you.

But as we matured into responsible adults (an ongoing process), we started trusting the health advice of others who didn’t already have the inherent trust and respect we had for our parents. We began to go round and round to different diets. Deep down we knew what needed to be done to stop the weight teeter-totter for good; but we also knew that choice would begin the battle of wills where it feels like that second helping of fill in the blank is the greatest experience in the world!

Wouldn’t it be nice to stop the head games and still be satisfied after a meal? Research has shown that eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains while consuming less animal products encourages these goals. The purpose for eating these foods is for their fiber, vitamins, minerals and disease-protecting phytochemicals.

When I made the goal to increase my whole grain, fruits and vegetables, I saw that meat was getting pushed off my plate. Yet, I was still getting plenty of protein, my skin looked great, I had more energy, and I dropped a pant size!

Looking at my food diary I realized I was eating less fat and sodium. It made sense since animal products are laden with sodium, fat and cholesterol. No matter how lean the meat is, it will always have these calorie-dense and disease-contributing elements. However, you can eat plant-based protein (whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes/beans) until your heart is content and lower your cholesterol and feel full on fewer calories. No gimmicks or products, just real food!

Take a look at how eating a more plant-based diet can help aid with various health concerns:

Weight loss: Feel full on fewer calories! The fiber, vitamins and minerals that fruits, vegetables and whole grains offer us are essential to weight loss. A multivitamin is not going to make the cut when it comes to fiber-filled foods that are packed with nutrients. Fiber is shown to slow down the passage of food through the stomach and GI tract. This pace of movement makes it easier to eat fewer calories and feel full.

Diabetes and heart disease: Fiber acts like a scrub brush in your body. It aids in removing all the plaque and unhealthful debris in our blood to lower cholesterol.

Cancer: Increasing fruits, vegetables and whole grains in the diet has been linked with decreased risk of many cancers for various reasons. Overall 35-60 percent of cancers can be linked to our diet. See the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine website for more detailed information.

Here’s a simple way to add a touch of plant-based diet to your life while waiting out the heat of the (almost over) summer.

Pineapple Bubbly

Recipe by Crystal Petrello, MS, RD

3 mint leaves, washed and torn
1 slice of fresh pineapple
Sparkling water


  1. Place mint and pineapple slice in a champagne glass. Add sparkling water. Bubbles will continue to form from the reaction of the natural sugar in the fruit with the carbon dioxide in the sparkling water.
Crystal Petrello on Twitter
Crystal Petrello
Crystal Petrello, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is the founder of Follow her on Twitter.