We believe that an Organic, Whole Food, Plant-Based diet provides the healthiest possible intake of nutrition for children and adults both, if correctly followed.
A Whole Food, Plant-Based diet is centred on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It is a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, legumes and seeds. It excludes or minimises meat, fish, dairy products and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar and oil.
We want to re-create familiar and multi-cultural dishes, such as pizzas, jacket potatoes, burgers, lasagne, burritos, sushi and many others, in a much healthier way.
Our aim is NOT to segregate families who do not follow a Plant-Based Diet at home, but to introduce children to a creative and healthy way of eating. Everybody is welcome to join and free to follow their own diets at home!
A Whole Food, Plant-Based diet is not a diet of vegetables
No more eating for single nutrients - Focus on the "Package"
While leafy vegetables are an important part of the whole food, plant-based diet, they are a very poor calorie source.
We would need to eat almost 16 pounds of cooked kale to get 2000 calories of food!
We certainly do not eat this way, and we would not blame people for thinking it sounds unbelievable - Little Green Steps thinks so, too!
In fact, it is virtually impossible to get enough calories from leafy vegetables alone to form a sustainable diet.
Perhaps the most common reason for failure in this lifestyle is that people actually try to live on leafy vegetables alone. If people try to live on these vegetables, they become deficient in calories.
Not eating enough calories leads people to feel hungry, which over time may result in decreased energy, feeling of deprivation and cravings.
These issues are not caused by switching to a plant-based diet - rather, they are related to not eating enough.
We certainly recommend people to eat generous amounts of leafy vegetables, but these are complimentary foods that people eat regularly. They are not the energy source on a food plate.
So, if leafy vegetables aren't the basis of a whole food, plant-based lifestyle, what is?
The answer is simple: starchy tubers, vegetables and whole grains (like brown rice, millet, buckwheat, corn, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes) and fruits form the basis of the Whole Food, Plant-Based diet.
The idea of eating a particular food for one nutrient is pervasive in our culture. We have been led to believe we should eat meat for protein, dairy for calcium, fish for omega-3 fatty acids, and even tomatoes for lycopene, among many others.
This sort of thinking is misguided and has caused grave harm to human health. The quest for protein, for example, has steered us towards meat consumption. In this quest, we not only consume protein in excess of our needs, but also many harmful substances like dietary cholesterol that are only present in animal foods.
No food is a single nutrient, and we should never think of foods in that way. Any given food has countless nutrients. What matters most is the overall nutrient profile. Whole, plant-based foods contain all the essential nutrients (with the exception of vitamin B12), and in proportions that are more consistent with human needs that animal based or processed food.
So, our question is really this: 'Why waste any of what we eat on inferior packages? As long as - over time - we choose a variety of whole, plant-based foods, we will easily meet our nutritional needs, and so will children.
Even on this diet, people sometimes tend to worry about eating a certain type of green vegetable for calcium, beans for protein, nuts for fat, and so on. Little Green Steps believes that it is essential to let go of that kind of thinking. The most important thing in this lifestyle is to choose the whole, plant-based foods people and children enjoy the most!