Skip to main content
Get Care MyChart Find a Provider Find a Location

A whole-food plant-based diet combines unprocessed foods and those that come from plants. You would eat mostly vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, while limiting meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, seafood, oils, refined sweeteners, and highly processed foods. You can meet your nutritional needs on a whole-food plant-based diet using foods grown in the ground.

What are the benefits?

A whole-food plant-based diet can reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain types of cancers. You’ll likely have a healthier body weight. You also will contribute to a healthier environment – a plant-based diet helps conserve land and water use and reduces pollution and greenhouse gases.

Can I meet my protein needs on a whole-food, plant-based diet?

Protein deficiency usually occurs during calorie deficiency. Even for active lifestyles, we only need about 10-15% of our daily calories to come from protein. One serving size of beans has seven to 10 grams of protein, which is more than one egg.

What about my calcium needs?

Plant sources of calcium include broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, collard greens, chard, beans and tofu. Fortified plant-based milks (such as soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk) contain calcium. Two cups of cooked kale have about the same amount of calcium as one ounce of mozzarella cheese. Our bone density depends on other factors besides how much calcium we eat in our food. Adequate vitamin D, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking are also important factors for strong bones.

What if I am not ready to make the change to a whole-food, plant-based diet?

Making a change in our diet can be difficult and takes time. Even small changes, such as reducing red meat consumption and increasing vegetable intake, will improve your health.

Related articles

Woman in exercise clothing eating healthy bowl.

Protein takeover: How much is really needed per day?

Protein's superpower is its ability to satiety. Gundersen's dietitian shares protein options and how much protein you should aim to eat daily.
woman doing dumbbell curl

What exercise burns the most calories?

Discover the benefits of anaerobic and high-intensity workouts, which help burn calories and improve overall fitness. Start your calorie-burning journey today.
Nutrition and your mental health

The link between nutrition and your mental health

The foods you eat can positively impact your brain function, mood and mental health. Apply this “back to the basics” approach of focusing on simple, healthy food for the brain
Is my child getting enough fiber

How much fiber does my child need?

Learn about the importance of fiber in a child’s diet and how to incorporate high-fiber foods for kids.

1900 South Ave.
La Crosse, WI 54601

(608) 782-7300

Language Support:
Jump back to top