Plant Based Lifestyle: WFPB Diet, Exercise, & Optimal Sleep

A plant based lifestyle extends beyond dietary changes. While a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet is incredibly beneficial for promoting health, it is not the only component of a healthy lifestyle.


In this article, you will learn about the three pillars of a plant based lifestyle:

  • Pillar 1: WFPB Diet
  • Pillar 2: Physical Activity & Exercise
  • Pillar 3: Sleep & Stress Management
plant based lifestyle

Whole Food Plant Based Diet

The first pillar of a plant based lifestyle is a WFPB diet. This way of eating promotes the consumption of whole plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. 

Plant Based Diet vs. Vegan Diet

Before going any further, it is important to define certain phrases that are commonly used in the plant based community.


A vegan diet focuses on the avoidance of all animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy. Vegans might choose to avoid animal products for a variety of reasons, including concerns for their health, for animals, or for the environment.


As the term "plant based" has risen in popularity, it has taken on various meanings. For some, a plant based diet completely excludes animal foods and is synonymous with a vegan diet. For others, a plant based diet emphasizes whole plant foods while allowing a small amount of animal products.


For the purposes of this article and this website, a plant based diet is synonymous with a whole food plant based diet, which includes plant foods that are unrefined or minimally processed.

What Are Whole Plant Foods?

A healthful plant based diet centers on five foundational foods:

  • Greens & Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Colorful Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Whole Grains
  • Fruit
what to eat on a vegan diet

Benefits of a Plant Based Diet

Whole plant foods offer an array of health benefits. Research has consistently demonstrated three key findings:

  • Vegan diets are superior to omnivorous diets for most health outcomes
  • WFPB diets are superior to diets that allow highly refined plant foods
  • A complete plant based lifestyle, including physical activity and stress management, provides benefits above and beyond a healthy diet

Learn more about these Plant Based Diet Benefits!

Physical Activity & Exercise

Physical activity is the second pillar of a plant based lifestyle. 


To promote optimal health, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults:

  • Exercise for at least 150 minutes per week at a moderate intensity or 75 minutes per week at a vigorous intensity
  • Perform strength training exercises at least twice per week
  • Include balance exercises for adults who are 65 or older

A combination of aerobic exercise and resistance exercise provides significant health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

aerobic exercise strength training diabetes

Recharging: Sleep and Stress Management

The third pillar of a plant based lifestyle is recharging, which refers to a broad category including sleep and stress management.


The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get an average of seven to nine hours of sleep each night.


In addition to getting a good night's sleep, it is vital to properly manage stress levels. 

Free Guide: Cooking Without Oil

how to cook plant based without oil

Download this free guide to learn:

  • How to saute without oil while keeping vegetables from sticking
  • How to roast without oil while keeping vegetables from dry out
  • How to fully develop flavors with whole food plant based no oil (WFPBNO) cooking

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