Word Choice · 13 June 2013

I wonder if the only the difference between “a whole food, plant-based diet” and “a plant-based, whole food diet” is word choice and order.

I wonder about this seemingly innocuous word order difference because I have used both phrases in my ramblings about health. Apparently, I forget which I usually use because as I scanned through my collection, I found that I have about equal amounts of each. So naturally, I figured I ought to examine if they are indeed the same.

For me, word choice and order are important. What words are said first could be construed as more important in a phrase. If that is true, then does it matter whether whole food is before or after plant-based?

From everything I have read about eating healthy, it is imperative that we stay away from processed foods. We need to have whole foods that are closest to what they are in nature. Those whole foods must also be plant-based because eating a whole cow is certainly not healthy. Especially, at one sitting.

The other side of the coin is that it is also extremely important that we base our diets around plant-based foods. When we mostly eat fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, and other plant-based food we can be much healthier than when we eat more than minimal animal products.

In reality, I suppose that either “whole food” without “plant-based” and “plant-based” without “whole food” really misses the point regardless of the order. We can have a plant-based diet and still eat lots of junky processed foods or we can eat lots of “natural” whole foods without being plant-based. Either of these types of diets can lead to poor health.

When it comes right down to it, all four words need each other to be a complete thought. Even though I ought to go back and make myself consistent, there is probably no difference between “whole food, plant-based diet” and “plant-based, whole food diet” except word choice and order. (So maybe I will not go back and fix it.)

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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