Charlie Michel's Keys to Success for Eating a Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB) Vegan Diet

By Peter Simkins
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Keys to Success for Eating a Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB) Vegan Diet

Full credit to Charlie Michael, who created this most excellent WFPB journey that I am just starting on.

Reasons to feel good about WFPB diet (Whole-Food, Plant-Based)

  • Uses 1/14th of the resources of a meat-based diet- water, fuel, electricity.

  • Carbon emissions are 1/14th as much on average; compared to beef, it is 1/100th. Also, land formerly used to graze cattle can, in some cases, be put back into forests, sequestering carbon. You drop your carbon footprint by 1-2 tonnes/year by going plant-based.

  • Animal cruelty- we humans have enslaved 25 billion animals for eating. We eat 2 billion of them each year.

  • Less need to kill wolves in cattle ranching areas

  • Less destruction of the Amazon rainforest, which is being cut down to grow cattle and their feed

  • Antibiotics for animal feeding are 50% of the current use. These are creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. If you consume meat from these animals, you will have more antibiotic-resistant bacteria in your gut.

  • Most zoonotic diseases come from animal and human interactions. If people didn’t eat animal products, we wouldn’t have as many of these diseases

  • You are less likely to get food poisoning. There is some still from plant products, but it comes from adjacent animal agriculture.

Hardware- nice to have, speeds things up, but you don’t have to have them all!

  • InstantPot or equivalent brand. If you get the eight-quart model, there is a model option to include an air fryer—batch cooking.

  • Vitamix blender, Ascent series, which takes the small- and smoothie jars. You need a powerful blender!

  • Non-stick cookware to cook without oil (use broth or water instead).

  • Quart Mason jars with volume marks- for holding/freezing homemade broth, soaking/sprouting beans, and broccoli sprouting. Get some of the ones with the straight sides, which can then be used for freezing

  • Good chopping knife- maybe even one of the ergonomic models

  • Breville air fryer/oven. Air-fried potatoes with some spices are awesome! baking, and proofing bread, work well with this device. There are also several accessories to go with this

  • Grill Mats

  • Cart to set it on

  • Wood cutting board/block for the top

  • Baking dish

  • Silicone loaf pan

  • Muffin tins

You can view all of this in action on this Amazon Live recording. Click on the Breville demo.

  • Silicone baking mats mean no oiling of cookie sheets; food comes right off

  • Ninja Creami for making awesome sorbets and treats (Costco, Amazon)

  • Nutramilk machine. An option if you want to make your own nut butter, nut milk, and soy milk. Can be a cost-saving and generates far less packaging waste.

Critical food purchases

  • Balsamic (and other) vinegar. Also, balsamic reductions are sold at Trader Joe's. We also like products from California Balsamic but use them sparingly due to high fruit sugar content

  • Nutritional Yeast- purchase in large flake (Kitsap Community Food Co-op at 5th and Park in Bremerton). Warning: you don’t want a product with folic acid.

  • Benson’s Table Tasty. Find it here. Buy a couple of shakers (I have one with the holes in the lid insert, the other without for larger quantities). Then, buy it in bulk. Benson’s has other similar products that we also have for variety, but this one is our Go-To flavor.

  • Cow’s milk substitute. There are several plant milks out there, but watch the fat and added sugar content. One we like is the Pacific Foods brand, organic Soy, original unsweetened. Start out by mixing with cow’s milk and wean yourself off gradually.

  • Seaweed for Iodine- See Greger at for types

  • Soy Curls. The brand is Butler. Get them in packages or in bulk at the Kitsap Community Food Co-op.

  • Plant milk Yogurt- watch the fat here. Nancy’s used to make a low-fat oat milk yogurt, but they have changed the formulation as of October 2022. Only on occasion do I buy cashew milk or almond milk versions, but they are high in fat.

Critical Ingredients prep

  • Date syrup- a sugar substitute- soak 2 cups pitted dates in 2 cups boiling water for one hour. Puree’ in the blender with two tsp lemon juice. Freeze half, and store the other half in the fridge.

  • Vegetable Broth- a medley of vegetables. See Fiber Fueled by Will Bulsiewicz (book or audio), page 249


In general, we get our vitamins and minerals from our food. But there are some notable exceptions

  • B-12: Important to take. One thing missing when you quit meat. Our paleo cousins got it from the soil stuck to the plants they ate. (Even meat eaters often don’t get enough.) See for dosage.

  • D3 (for anyone at our latitude)

  • Iodine (from seaweed) can be obtained with a supplement. Not a big issue in our area of the country since the fruits and vegetables are grown in soil that used to have ocean over it, and iodine is in our soil. But we still add some seaweed to our food occasionally. Here are guidelines for those who want to dial it in.

  • Wakami, Arame, Dulse 1 Tbls 2-3x/week (1 tsp/day)

  • Nori Two sheets/day

  • Seaweed salad 1 Tbsp./day

  • Kelp Couple of sprinkles 2-3x/week. Easily overdone, be careful

  • Haijiki Do not use, subject due to arsenic contamination.

The Transition

  • Your tastebuds may object to the loss of oil, salt, and sugar. Salt buds take 10 weeks, sugar a few weeks, and oil- no research, we think it could be six months. But, as the taste buds change, the flavors in fruit/vegetables just explode. Veggies often taste just fine plain.

  • If you want to jump-start this process, even a one-day fast will help.

  • You can make the transition slowly, or abruptly, to a plants-only diet. Your preference

  • If you want weight loss, eat to the left of Chef AJ’s “red line”

  • If you want a lock-step, four-week shopping/meal plan that is meant to provide a transition, then I recommend Fiber Fueled by Will Bulsiewicz (book or audio).

  • Beyond Burgers, Impossible burgers, soy hot dogs, and some veggie burgers- we consider these processed foods as transition/occasional use foods. They can be full of chemicals, salt, and isolated proteins. Eating whole foods, as close to how the plant came from the ground, is best. But some people need something to make the transition, and these foods can help. Not recommended for the long-term


  • How Not to Die, by Michael Greger (book or audio)

  • Plus, his website

  • Fiber Fueled by Will Bulsiewicz (book or audio)

  • Forks over Knives, video

  • Eating You Alive, video

  • The Game Changers, video

  • They’re trying to Kill us, video

  • Cowpiracy video

  • Seaspiracy video (same director as Cowspiracy)

  • American College of Lifestyle Medicine, website

  • Chef AJ on YouTube, many videos

  • Well Your World has many great SOS-free sauces

  • Plant Strong YouTube channel, with Rip Esselstyne

Stay Tuned

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