Plant-based diet – A general term to describe a diet of primarily plants which is usually chosen for health reasons. The term is often used to refer to 100% plant-derived diets, but may also be used for diets that include modest amounts of animal-based products.

Whole foods plant-based (WFPB) diet – A plant-based diet that focuses on eating plants in their intact, whole form with minimal processing. Some whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, nut butters, etc may be included but the focus is on foods as they’re found in nature: whole wheat berries, oat groats, whole nuts (without the shell!), beans, fruits, vegetables, etc. This term usually refers to 100% plant-based diets.

Vegan diet – Vegans avoid supporting any industry that confines or harms animals, like zoos, rodeos, leather . . . . A vegan’s diet may or may not be a health-promoting diet. There’s plenty of vegan junk food!

Confused yet? Add to that, that people will use whatever term they like even if it’s not so accurate.

Coaching and Behavior Change

Everything Howard Jacobson offers online at is brilliant. He’s a writer, teacher, coach and advocate for justice, sustainability and whole foods plant-based living. His humility and sense of humor are disarming, his intelligence incisive, and his ability to unleash fabulous metaphors in casual conversation always makes me smile. Check out his podcast–it’s the best!


There are soooo many options online. If you like to watch Youtube: try Rainbow Plant Life or The Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Show. If reading recipes is your thing: Oh She Glows, Vegan Richa, Forks over Knives . . . then there are the apps. Here’s one website that may not pop up in your feed:

Straight Up Food is Cathy Fisher’s cooking and recipe website. She’s a self-taught chef offering tasty, ‘straight up,’ familiar dishes with a super healthy flair. She doesn’t use any refined oils, refined sugars or salt in her recipes. (That’s called a no SOS diet.) If you haven’t gone “no-SOS”, no problem; you can add a little of those ingredients to your taste to most recipes (careful with baked goods, however). I have Cathy’s Straight Up Food cookbook which is a reliable resource for simple plant-based recipes and cooking tips–the spiral binding is a big plus.

General Health Resources

Dawn Motyka, MD is a Santa Cruz family physician who specializes in Functional Medicine. She’s a ‘regular’ doctor with a holistic approach. She generously answers questions from callers and emailers on her radio show and you can hear the archives via her podcast or on her website. We are fortunate to have her in our community.

Simon Hill

Physiotherapist and Nutritionist Simon Hill hosts a very informative health-focused podcast (The Proof) where he interviews experts in the fields of nutrition and exercise. He sometimes gets ‘into the weeds’ of the science (which I appreciate) and emerges with summaries and some straight-forward takeaways. Although Simon advocates for plant-based dietary approaches he welcomes guests with varied views on his show. Simon also ventures into topics such as environmental sustainability and human relationships, reflecting the larger context of human health and well-being. Simon’s first book, The Proof is in the Plants, came out in 2021.