The movie that started our nutrition journey as a family, “Forks Over Knives,” advocates a “whole foods, plant-based diet.” I didn’t realize how different that can be from vegan until I started looking for recipes. A vegan avoids meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and honey. A lot of the vegan recipes I’ve seen, for example many of those in “Veganomicon,” use white flour, white sugar, and oil. None of these are found in a whole foods, plant-based diet. Instead, this diet uses flours like oat flour, spelt flour, and whole wheat flour. Alternatives to white sugar include pure maple syrup, dates, and according to your sources, stevia and agave nectar. Oil is perhaps the easiest to replace–plain water can be used for sauteing vegetables. In baking, applesauce is most common, but pumpkin puree and ground flax are other common options. Non-dairy milk mixed with lemon juice can also be used in some baking recipes.
Although I keep referring to the way we’re eating as “vegan,” what I ultimately want is to eat whole foods plant-based. What good is eliminating the fat from beef if you’re still spiking your insulin around the clock with white sugar? So you avoid heart disease but end up with diabetes? I know whole foods is the way to go, but it is extremely difficult with the array of convenience foods out there. I am trying to incorporate healthy changes a little at a time. If a recipe calls for 2 cups of white flour, I’ll use one cup of white and one of wheat. If it calls for white sugar, I’ll use part raw sugar, part brown sugar. Change is possible!