What is WFPB Vegan? And Recipe for Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats
Whole Food, Plant-Based or WFPB Vegan…you may have seen me use this phrase or abbreviation a time or two in my posts, but what is it and what does it mean? Today I’m talking about it and other variations, such as WFPBNO and WFPBNOSOS. And I also have an awesome breakfast recipe at the end for Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats that is not only delicious but a fast and easy make-ahead breakfast to get you and your family going in the morning.
Whole Food, Plant-Based Vegan Eating
WFPB is the abbreviation for Whole Food, Plant-Based. It is eating foods in their unrefined state, i.e. whole, and made of plants. This doesn’t mean that you don’t cut or cook your foods, it simply means minimizing processed or refined foods. And by processing, we mean foods stripped of fiber and other nutrients or supplemented with refined oils, sugars, or flours. Additionally, it is vegan, that is, does not include animal products, such as beef, poultry, eggs, dairy, seafood, etc.
Does this sound restrictive? Well, that leaves thousands and thousands different edible plant species available to eat! The list includes:
Fruits & Vegetables: Over 30,000 different options, including avocados, bananas, apples, potatoes, broccoli, winter squashes, jackfruit, etc. Does it matter whether a fruit or vegetable are botanically classified as a fruit or a vegetable in this case? No. And eat fruit, it’s good for you!
Whole Grains: Thousands of whole grains and pseudo-grains, both with and without gluten exist, such as wheat, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, corn, pasta, etc.
What differentiates whether a grain is whole or not? A whole grain contains all parts of the grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm, that it had while it was growing. The bran is the outer covering, germ is the embryo, or where a new plant sprouts from, and the endosperm is the starchy food supply that supports the growth of a new sprout. There are lots of nutrients and fiber in the bran and germ, which are stripped in refined grains, leaving only the starchy endosperm. Go here for some great information on whole versus refined grains from the Whole Grains Council.
Looking for different options in your grain repertoire? Check out the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council for some great ideas!
Beans/Legumes: Beans, beans, the musical fruit…includes garbanzo beans, black beans, soy products, kidney beans, miso paste, tempeh, lentils, peanuts, etc.
Protein Products to Substitute for Meat: Such as tempeh, tofu, jackfruit.
Nuts & Seeds: Flax, chia seeds, hazelnuts (filberts), almonds, pepitas, hemp hearts, etc.
Nut, Legume, or Grain Milks, Creams, and Yogurts: Plant-based substitutes made from almonds, soy, oats, rice, coconut, etc.
Herbs & Spices: Full of beneficial antioxidants, herbs and spices do more than just flavor our food.
Whole Sweeteners: Things such as dates, coconut sugar, maple syrup. These do not have nutrients or fiber stripped away in a refining process. Many WFPB vegans eliminate honey as an ethical choice.
WFPB Shopping List
To make it easier for you, here’s a handy Trimazing! WFPB Shopping List that may come in handy. It’s full WFPB foods you can find at your grocery store. It also contains the 2019 Environmental Working Group‘s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 List to help you choose produce with lower risks of pesticide contamination.
You’ll often see variations in abbreviations of WFPB eating. Really, they are the same thing. Here’s an explanation.
WFPBNO means Whole Food, Plant-Based, No Oil. While WFPB really does mean eliminating all refined foods, including oils, one of the most highly refined substances, many people use the abbreviation WFPBNO to emphasize they are not using refined oils at all. This means not cooking or sautéeing foods in oils or using them in dressings or baking.
WFPBNOSOS or WFPB no SOS is Whole Food, Plant-Based, No Sugar, Oil, or Salt. Again, emphasizing not using refined oil, but also refined sugars and salt. Processed foods often contain a huge amount of added sugar and sodium, which is not health-promoting. In addition, some people with salt-sensitive hypertension avoid adding salt to their WFPB foods and use this abbreviation. This does not mean you can’t add a pinch of salt or a drizzle of pure maple syrup to your food at the table when you’re eating, just that you avoid refined, processed foods with their high content of added refined sugars, salt, and oil.
Why Eat Whole, Plant-Based Foods?
Eating WFPB is considered a health-promoting diet. It is high in fiber, free of cholesterol, packed with beneficial antioxidants, and nutritionally-dense while lower in fat and calories. Plant foods are full of protein, complex carbohydrates, calcium, iron, and more, without saturated fats and cholesterol of animal foods.
No Oil? Why?
Oil is simply a highly refined substance made by pressing an ingredient with such high pressure that it expresses the fat from the fiber of a fruit, vegetable, nut, grain, or bean, by rendering it from an animal, or made synthetically from other substances. Oils are empty calories at a whopping 4,000 calories per pound! That’s 120 calories per Tablespoon—the equivalent to a giant bowl containing over a pound of a veggie salad with balsamic vinegar! If I’m going to eat 120 calories, I want to feel like I ate something!
Besides being high in calories, there’s significant peer-reviewed science showing oil of all types, plant- and animal-based, interferes with arterial function.
And…it has also been found to lead to insulin-resistance!
Eating WFPB is a change from what most people are used to with the Standard American Diet, however, its not insurmountable, is delicious, and with a few tips and tricks, becomes a sustainable, health-promoting lifestyle. You’ll be surprised, you can still eat your favorite foods, like pizza, chili, mac and cheese, and more, just with a healthy twist! Contact me today and I can show you how!
In the meantime, try these awesome overnight oats! If you love anything Pumpkin Spice, then these are for you! And, you don’t have to wait until Fall to enjoy them—make them year-round if you want! Your body will thank you for all the fiber, antioxidants, protein, and carbohydrates without any added refined oils, sugars, or salt (and I promise you won’t miss that)!
Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats
- 2 cups Pureed Pumpkin or other winter squash
- 2 cups Unsweetened almond milk or other unsweetened plant-based milk of choice
- ½ cup Maple syrup
- 1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice or cinnamon
- 2 cups Old-fashioned oats use gluten-free if sensitive
- 2 tbsp Chia seeds
- ½ cup Raw Pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) or hemp seeds or other chopped raw nuts, like pecans.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, almond milk, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Add the oats and chia seeds and mix well to combine.
- Divide into 5 1-cup jars. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight or until set. Store covered in the fridge up to 5 days.
- Enjoy cold or heat in the microwave for 1 minute before eating. Top with pepitas or other chopped nuts, if desired.
To Roast Pumpkins and Winter Squash in the OvenCut in half, remove seeds, and roast, cut-side-down, on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet at 400˚F for about 45 minutes until soft. Scoop out pulp and puree.
To Cook Pumpkins and Winter Squash in the Instant Pot
- Wash the outside of your squash.
- Put 1 cup water in your Instant Pot and insert trivet/steamer rack.
- Put whole squash in your Instant Pot. If it's too big, trim and put pieces in. No need to peel or otherwise cut. Yes, you're leaving the seeds in!
- Put on the lid, set to pressure, and cook on High pressure 25 minutes.
- Do a quick release when done and then carefully remove your squash.
- When cool enough to handle, cut in half, scoop out seeds, and then scoop the cooked pulp out of the skin to puree.
Pumpkin Pie SpiceDon't have pumpkin pie spice? Simply make your own! Mix together:
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
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Cindy Thompson, MS, is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator; an American Council on Exercise certified Health Coach, Peer Fitness Trainer, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist; Tilth Alliance Soil and Water Steward; 5 Gyres Ambassador; Rouxbe Culinary School Plant-Based Professional; and retired fire captain and paramedic. She provides health and lifestyle coaching at Trimazing! Health & Lifestyle Coaching. Cindy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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