Starter Menus

One of the first challenges as you move to a Whole Foods Plant Based (WFPB) diet is: “What am I going to eat?” A WFPB diet is not just about eating fruits and veggies. It is about eating the right mix of fruits and veggies so that you get the correct nutrition to enhance your health!

Well, you are not the first person to be faced with that challenge and, fortunately, many who have come before have recorded their experiences and have made them available to help you. Most of the references below are from people well qualified in nutrition and/or medicine who have worked in the field for many years and even decades to determine what you need to eat to recover your health and to have a long, healthy life.

Firstly, you may need some menus for a few weeks to get really ramped up. These sources are a great start.

  • The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Website. It includes a link to a free 21 day program with recipes and a support group to get you started. A new group starts every Monday — get yourself scheduled for the next program!
  • Cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn’s “The Plant Based Solution“. Dr. Kahn, a vegan for 40+ years, is so committed to promoting the WFPB diet that he has opened a number of WFPB restaurants in the Detroit area. In the last third of the book Dr. Kahn provides his Twenty-One-Day Menu with Recipes (and Bonus Recipes). These are really exciting meals!

Next, you may want a variety of other recipes to select from as you go forward. Here are some of our favorites:

  • we have posted some of our favorite recipes.
  • The excellent book “Vegetarian to Vegan” by Sarah Taylor contains an extensive recipe section by Chef Mark Reinfeld. With over 20 years of experience preparing creative vegan cuisine, he shares his insights on how to approach vegan cooking. The collection of recipes are easy to make, with nice clear instructions. They often include helpful suggestions for variations.
  • Anne Crile Esselstyn (wife of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. and their daughter Jane Esselstyn have produced “The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook“. It is contains over 125 Plant Based recipes, many of which we enjoy

You may also want to get more into the why’s and wherefore’s of what makes suitable food on a WFPB diet. Here are a couple of great books that are well worth reading and adding to your collection in the kitchen:

  • Dr. Joel Fuhrman is the author (amongst several other books on WFPB living) of the New York Times Best Seller “Super Immunity“. In this book he examines all of the various categories of food that you should eat in a WFPB diet and, in particular, tells you what are the most nutritious. This is a really important book to read and to keep handy as a reference
  • Dr. Michael Greger is the author of the almost encylopedic “How Not to Die” — a book well worth reading. But equally important Dr. Greger maintains the website Every day the site produces a video or article on some aspect of nutrition (It is free to sign up and well worth the stream of information that will come your way — usually short videos of 3 – 4 minutes duration). If you have any question about a food, go to the site and search. It is highly likely he has information on it

Eating WFPB is fun, nutritious and especially it is healthy. As you move foreward on your new, healthy lifestyle you will undoubtedly come across recipes that you find special. We would love to hear from you about them and possibly add them to our site.

Starting on your WFPB diet you join an ever increasing number of people who are making a difference to their own health, to the health of others and to the planet. WELCOME! We are happy to have you with us!

A Quick Start to your Menus

As we mentioned above the first question once you decide to opt for a WFPB diet is “What am I going to eat?” It may be that you want to get started but do not yet have the time to go through the references we mention above so as to get organized.

So, here are some suggestions to provide a “Quick Start” for you. They are derived from our reading of the references above, much more reading and several years of experience.

We List a few different options for your three meals of the day and for snacks. These are fairly easy to prepare and this will get you started. I include links to recipes we have published on Viva*Sparkle, where appropriate.

As always try to consume only organic fruits and vegetables and to only use sodium free, or low sodium, processed foods. Resist the temptation to use oil (use water instead when cooking). Do not add sugar. Use whole grains instead of refined grains.


  1. smoothie – we have this almost every day.

  2. oatmeal porridge – add raisins or a sliced banana and serve with a non-dairy milk (no added sugar!)

  3. baked beans on toast – perhaps with sauteed mushrooms and tomato (saute in water, not oil)

  4. a bowl of non-dairy yogurt (with active cultures) with frozen organic blueberries and/or raspberries. We use coconut milk yogurt.


  1. open face toasted cucumber sandwich (whole grain or gluten free bread) with humus – add some spinach and tomato

  2. garden salad garnished with dried cranberries or fresh blueberries and some balsamic vinegar, if you want

  3. leftovers from a previous supper

  4. vegan soup

  5. steamed kale marinated in balsamic vinegar with some toasted whole wheat bread


  1. baked beans with potato and greens

  2. Jyoti surprise

  3. broccoli stir fry with rice

  4. Portabello mushroom cap burgers

  5. Sweet Potato Chili


hint: always make a large amount of these dishes so that you have leftovers for lunch


  1. a small handful of nuts and a small apple

  2. celery sticks and hummus

  3. carrot sticks

  4. kale chips – unsalted and without oil – best to make them yourself

  5. cinnamon raisin scone


  1. Fresh fruit cup

  2. chocolate mousse

  3. 2 squares of dark (non-milk, no sugar) chocolate

A weekly shopping list


  1. Always buy vegan

  2. Whenever possible, buy organic

  3. Whenever possible, buy low sodium

  4. whenever possible, buy Gluten Free


These are items you always want to have in your cupboard. Buy them in bulk and replace as needed. We generally buy 2 to 4 weeks supply at a time to reduce the shopping burden.

  • dried pulses: chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, great northern beans. Buy a couple of pounds at a time, cook them up and store in the freezer until needed. Also hae a few cans of low sodium, organic varyities for use when needed.

  • Brown rice – try some varieties, plain, jasmine, basmatti, abrorio, wild

  • frozen berries: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries

  • spices: turmeric, Italian seasoning, cumin, thyme, taragon, .  . . you name it — it depends on your taste

Fresh Vegetables

  • brassicus: collards, broccoli,
    cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts

  • dark leafy greens: spinach, lettuce, chard. We often buy the triple washed varieties to save time

  • eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash, acorn squash

  • diced or pureed tomatoes in cans (look for low soium, organic)

  • mushrooms, whatever you can find, to your taste

  • large (3 – 4 inch) portabello mushroom caps

  • cucumbers

  • hot peppers, to taste . . .


  • bananas

  • apples

  • berries – what is available and

  • Melons, in season

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