My Thoughts On The “No S.O.S.” Diet — Do I Follow It and Is It Healthy?

If you follow the various thought leaders in the plant-based movement you may have seen the acronym WFPB. For the uninitiated, this stands for “Whole Foods Plant-Based.” That’s the diet I and many others advocate for.

Adding to the lengthy acronym, many experts in the field also tack on that the diet they recommend is “WFPB No SOS.”

That, good sir or madam, is a mouthful.

“But a mouthful of what?” you ask.

The “No SOS” addition to the acronym stands for “no added salt, oils, or sugar.”

For many, the thought of simply following a vegan, whole foods diet can be extreme enough. Let’s be honest — for most of the country this is still seen as extreme (even though I really don’t think it should be!)

So the thought of eating this way while also cutting out all added sodium, cooking with oils, or added sugar, seems not only ludicrous, but what’s the point? I mean, is the point of eating to not enjoy our food??

Surely not.

So where do I fall on the “no SOS” spectrum? Let me take it piece by piece.

Salt

I do still add salt to my food. Except for the past week… Sort of.

For the entirety of my healthy eating journey I’ve taken a pretty simple approach to salt in my diet. I’ve felt that if I stayed hydrated enough (never a problem for me) and limited my processed food (also not a big problem) that I didn’t have to worry about whatever salt I used on my home cooked meals.

I still feel this way, but over the past week I have been trying a “no added salt” experiment, which I will detail in next week’s post, once I have the final results. So stay tuned…

Though spoiler alert, I don’t think it will change my salt philosophy. Stay hydrated. Limit processed foods. Don’t sweat it (or, do… see what I did there).

Oil

I do not add oil to my food. This one was relatively easy for me. I never liked the oily taste anyway, the way oil coats your mouth and lips. Yuck… And once I started sautéing with vegetable broth, I really, truly didn’t notice a single difference in the final product (other than the welcomed absence of said oily mouth syndrome…)

I will still occasionally eat things cooked in oil. If I’m out to eat I may indulge in a few fries here and there, or a vegan baked good that obviously has oil in it. I’m not a complete stickler, but in my kitchen I don’t use it. The only oil I keep is for seasoning my cast iron skillets… I do not believe oil is a health food or necessary in a diet, unless you want to add massive amounts of calories and fat to your meal without increasing the fullness factor one bit. Oil is a great way to gain weight. I stay away from it.

Sugar

I do occasionally add sugar to my food. Well, not like, white sugar. Or cane, brown, coconut, whatever. I don’t add that kind of sugar. The sugar I do add is in the form of maple syrup in my morning oatmeal. I try not to add a crazy amount, but I definitely use it everyday. I could possibly wean myself off it, but hey — life is meant to be sweet.

In fact, I think the entire war on sugar is a bit overblown and is a red herring meant to distract us from the role of animal products in our diet and processed foods at large.

Sure soda is just awful for you. There’s no doubt. We weren’t meant to be able to deliver 50 grams of sugar to our bloodstream in under 60 seconds. That is decidedly bad for us.

But, it is also undeniable that fruit played a major role in our evolutionary diet.

Oh and not to mention the preferred fuel source in the body is glucose, and the only fuel source for the brain and red blood cells is glucose. Our bodies were designed to run on simple sugars. While much of that can (and should) be delivered to the body in the form of complex carbohydrates, there’s no doubt that simple sugars from fruit are important to our physiology.

And back to the red herring thing. I bet if you asked 100 random people why ice cream was bad for them, 100 would say “sugar.” Not the fact that there is also loads of dairy fat, specifically saturated and trans fats, or cholesterol, or hormones, or pus, or preservatives, or anything else. Is the sugar in the ice cream good for you? No. But is it the only reason it’s bad for you — in other words, remove the sugar and ice cream is now a health food? Absolutely not.

So to make a long story short, I am not completely anti-sugar. I am not afraid of it. I think it is very natural for humans to be drawn to it, and thus I don’t get all bent out of shape about the maple syrup I use in my oatmeal :) And I even bake up a batch of vegan cookies from time to time with some real cane sugar added. You gotta indulge sometimes…

So there you have it.

My feelings on the “no S.O.S.” version of the WFPBD. Did I lose you? Essentially I think oils are useless, salt is delicious (more on that next week), and sugar is a o.k. — in moderation.


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