What is WFPB?


What does “Whole-Foods Plant-Based” Mean?

“Whole-Foods” means any foods that have undergone minimal to (ideally) no processing and is free from additives or other artificial substances.

“Plant-Based” means a diet strong in whole grains, fruits, legumes, and vegetables, with little or no meat. (Typically if you eat whole-foods plant-based you are not eating meat.)

When you combine them, you are talking about a vegan lifestyle where you avoid/minimize eating processed foods and focus on eating plant-based alternatives instead.

Of course, this lifestyle is a challenge. Instead of getting caught up in whether or not I follow it perfectly, I focus on following it as closely as I can. I still eat some slightly processed foods, though I try not to make them a substantial part of my diet. 



To learn more about eating WFPB, take a look at these books. I highly recommend starting with Forks Over Knives. These recipe books are my go-to sacred texts!


What Do I Eat on a WFPB Diet?

You are Not eating:

  • Any animal products (no meats, no dairy, nothing coming from an animal)
  • Any cheeses or cheese substitutes (too much fat, sodium, and sometimes oils)
  • Any oils and any foods with oil added to them
  • Refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrups (sodas, candies, cookies, etc.)
  • Processed grains (white flour, white rice, white pastas)

You Are eating:

  • All fruits
  • All whole grains
  • All legumes
  • All vegetables

You are minimizing:

  • Processed foods (stick to whole-foods)
  • High fat whole foods (such as avocado and nuts or nut butters)

The Physicians Committee food “pyramid”

Label Reading Rules:

  1. Never believe the claims on the outside of a package or box. They’re trying to make a sale, they don’t care about your health. Just because it says “natural” or “healthy” that doesn’t make the product natural or healthy for you. 
  2. Read the nutritional information box as well as the ingredients list of every product.
  3. If you see this in the ingredient list, don’t buy it:
    • Any bread product without the word “whole” in the ingredient list. (Whole semolina or Whole durum wheat is fine, but durum, durum wheat, or enriched durum wheat is not)
    • Any product with the word “oil” anywhere in the ingredient list, no matter what kind of oil it is. Oil is not good for you!
    • Added sodium (sea salt is acceptable, but salt should be minimized in your daily diet)
    • Added sugars (specifically refined and processed sugars—these are empty, unhealthy calories)
    • Any kind of dairy product or added fats (butter in particular, big no-no)


What do I keep stocked in my kitchen? (a snapshot of store-bought products)

Breads, Flours, Grains

  • For bread slices I use Ezekiel 4:9 Low Sodium Sprouted Whole Grain Bread (they also carry gluten-free variations)
  • I also use Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Tortillas
  • Yellow corn tortillas
  • Brown rice (short- and long-grain)
  • Wild rice
  • Yellow stone-ground cornmeal (I like Hodgson Mill’s)
  • Rolled and Quick oats, occasionally I pick up Steel-cut oats
  • I don’t eat much cereal (expensive and I try to minimize eating processed things), but when I do these are the brands I look for: Ezekiel 4:9 cereals, “Barbara’s” products, and anything I find in the health foods section of Kroger not containing added oils/sugars/salts or cooked in oils, and not made of processed wheat. 
  • Whole grain pastas, rice pastas, spinach pastas
  • Ground whole grain flours (Bob’s Red Mill is basically exclusively what I use), I particularly keep whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour in stock at all times, though I also keep amaranth, sorghum, and oat flour handy

Canned & Jarred

  • Canned beans: black, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, and cannellini. Kroger sells their Simple Truth Organic brand canned beans; I always buy these because they are oil-free, preserved only in water and with sea salt. 
  • Canned fire-roasted tomatoes & diced tomatoes (usually Muir Glen but I also pick up whatever’s on sale and free of added oils)
  • The only pasta sauce I use (when I’m not making it myself) is Muir Glen’s portabello mushroom pasta sauce
  • Pizza sauce
  • For vegetable broth/stock I use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • “Morinaga” brand boxed silken tofu (found in Kroger)
  • “Simple Truth” strawberry preserve jelly. They carry a number of fruit jellies that use organic cane sugar
  • Salsa – oil-free, reduced sugar/salt (look for Muir Glen or Mateo’s Salsa-sold at Costco!- but I’ve found a few brands that actually work well for WFPB)
  • Peanut butter. It’s crazy-hard to find a good one without tons of oil or added salt in it. You want to find something from the health food section or a freshly ground batch (some grocery stores will let you grind your own peanut butter). I’ve used a few different brands and every one of them makes my recipes come out differently. My advice is to find a brand that is only peanuts and (reduced) salt on the ingredient list. No added oils or anything else.

Bottled stuff – Sauces, Vinegars

  • Yellow and Dijon mustards
  • Low-sodium ketchup (Simple Truth, Muir Glen, or Heinz Organic)
  • Low-sodium Tamari and Soy Sauce (Kikkoman and Simple Truth)
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (a natural soy sauce alternative, found at most grocery stores)
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Cholula hot sauce (original flavor, in small amounts)
  • Liquid smoke
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Red and White wine vinegar
  • Red and White cooking wine
  • Apple Cider vinegar
  • Rice vinegar (unseasoned sodium- and sugar-free, I use Marukan’s)

Veggies & Fruits

  • Whatever fresh fruits & veggies I am in the mood for. I try to buy things in-season and on sale as much as possible.
  • Sweet potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes
  • Green onions, Red onions, and Yellow or sweet onions. Millions of onions
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • I keep frozen bananas, corn, edamame, spinach, okra, and peas at all times. I also keep a bag of frozen, oil-free hash browns
  • Cilantro, Parsley, Spinach, and Kale

Milk & Egg substitutes

  • I drink unsweetened Original and Vanilla almond milk (Silk or Blue Diamond brand)
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Ener-G egg replacer and Neategg egg replacer
  • Flaxseed meal – used to make flaxseed “eggs”

Sweeteners & Chocolates

  • I use Stevia sweetener packets for my coffee, though I’ve seen a lot of debate about this saying I shouldn’t be using it…
  • Agave nectar is my best friend
  • Molasses
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Turbinado (raw cane sugar)
  • Medjool dates & Golden raisins
  • Unsweetened cacao powder
  • Unsweetened baking chocolate (make sure the cacao content is as high as possible)

4 thoughts on “What is WFPB?

    • Durum wheat is a no-no, but Whole Grain durum wheat is fine! I am following the guidelines of the Forks Over Knives and Engine 2 whole-foods plant-based diet. Whole durum wheat vs. processed durum is discussed here. Unless their view on whole durum wheat has been updated since the publication of the book, I believe it’s still okay to eat.


    • Hi there! Some people might split hairs about whether or not masa harina “counts” WFPB, but my answer is: Yes, masa harina is WFPB 🙂 If you can find it as an ingredient on websites like Forks Over Knives – which you totally can! – then you’re good to go.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s