Doug Souvignier, M.D.
Doug Souvignier, M.D.

When it comes to feeling your best, there’s a powerful ally waiting in your kitchen: whole, plant-based foods. These natural wonders can act as life-giving medicine for your body.

Whole-food eating focuses on minimally processed foods derived from plants. That means enjoying a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds while minimizing or eliminating animal products and processed foods. By embracing this approach, you’ll flood your body with essential nutrients and phytochemicals that promote health and well-being.

The healing benefits of real food include:

·  Stronger immunity. Colorful, plant-based foods are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support the immune system, helping to reduce inflammation and promote overall health. From the vitamin C in oranges to the iron in spinach, these nutrients work together to keep your body functioning at its best.

·  Heart health. Studies indicate that adopting a whole-food, plant-based diet can lower cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Foods like beans, oats and nuts are rich in soluble fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol levels.

·  Weight management. Focusing on whole, plant-based foods naturally leads to a diet that’s lower in calories and saturated fats while high in fiber. This can support weight management efforts and reduce the risk of obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

·  Gut balance. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains provides prebiotic fiber that nourishes the beneficial bacteria in your gut, supporting digestion and overall gut health. This can lead to improved immunity and reduced risk of digestive issues.

Couple preparing a vegetarian meal together
Whole, plant-based foods can act as life-giving medicine for your body.

Transitioning to a whole-food, plant-based diet doesn’t have to be daunting. Start by incorporating more plant-based foods into your meals gradually. Aim to fill your plate with a rainbow of colors from veggies and fruits. Experiment with new recipes and flavors, and don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen.

·  Swap out sausage or hamburger for cooked beans, lentils or tofu in dishes such as marinara sauce or soup.

·  Add nutrient-rich chopped kale or spinach, garlic and tomatoes to scrambled eggs.

·  Favor whole grains like quinoa and brown rice instead of highly processed white rice and pasta. After cooking, stir in fresh chopped herbs for even more nutrients.

·  Layer arugula, sauteed Swiss chard or bell peppers into sandwiches and quesadillas.

·  Top cooked steel-cut or rolled oats with chia or flaxseeds, bananas and blueberries. Add a splash of nondairy milk.

·  Toss frozen fruits, which have the same or more nutrients as fresh, into smoothies. Kick it up even more by blending in a couple handfuls of spinach.

·  Slice and refrigerate cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, snap peas, pineapple—whatever you like—so they’re ready for a quick snack when hunger hits.

·  Don’t forget about healthy fats from avocados, nuts and seeds. Use them on salads or stir into whole grains.

It’s never too late to improve what you eat, and it’s not about perfection but progress. Every plant-based meal you enjoy is a step toward better health.

Doug Souvignier, M.D., has practiced as a primary care doctor with Sutter since 1996. Los Gatos Concierge Medicine, a membership-based service of Sutter’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation, offers easy access to your doctors, in-depth appointments and coordinated care with specialists at Sutter and beyond. For more information, call 408-523-3344 or visit

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