If you were to ask me the biggest challenges in writing The Plant-Based Journey, I would have to say one of them is this:

Keeping up with the daily flood of information about the benefits of plant-based eating.

News about easy weight management, longevity, reduced disease, increased vitality, and environmental impact as the benefits of plant-based living  – not to mention all the delicious eats – inundate my desk each day.

As a matter of fact, the very day the edited second draft of my manuscript was due at my publisher (January 5) I had to ask for an extra day because new information about whole grain consumption and longevity hit the wires.

How could I not include this little nugget? Here is the information I stopped the presses for.

More whole grains linked with lower mortality*

Evaluating statistics from more than 100,000 women and men over a period of about twenty-five years, researchers compared the participants’ whole grain intake with mortality data.

They discovered that for every single serving of whole grains (28g/day), overall death risk dropped by 5%.

And the drop was 9% for cardiovascular disease -related death.

A single serving of whole grains (approximately 28 grams) is simply, for example:

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or other cooked whole grain
  • 1/2 cup cooked 100% whole-grain pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked hot cereal, such as oatmeal
  • 1 slice 100% whole grain bread
  • 1 very small (1 oz.) 100% whole grain muffin
  • 1 cup 100% whole grain ready-to-eat cereal

One slice of Black Bean Polenta Pie (recipe in Plant-Based Journey) and you’re easily in for 3 – 4 servings of whole grains


The study, which  appeared January 5, 2015 (told you!)  in the Journal of the American Medical Association  Internal Medicine.

As reported by the Harvard School of Public Health, the study concludes that

These findings further support current dietary guidelines that recommend increasing whole grain consumption to facilitate primary and secondary prevention of chronic disease, and also provide promising evidence that suggests a diet enriched with whole grains may confer benefits toward extended life expectancy.**

The 100,000 subjects – who are they?

Researchers  looked at data from more than 74,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 43,000 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The subjects filled out questionnaires about their diet periodically,  from the mid-1980s to 2010.

When adjusted for multiple factors – age, smoking, body mass index, physical activity, and overall diet excluding whole grains – the researchers compared the participants’ whole grain intake with mortality data.

That’s where they got the numbers.

Swapping out refined grains and red meats for whole grains

The study also included an advisory for replacing refined grains and red meats with whole grains as being likely to lower mortality.

As a matter of fact,  replacing  just one serving of refined grains or red meat per day with one serving of whole grains was linked with lower cardiovascular disease-related mortality:

8% lower mortality for swapping out refined grains and 20% lower mortality for swapping out red meat.

The dietitian-approved plant-based plate in The Plant-Based Journey includes seven to twelve or more servings a day – as energy needs demand – of starchies (as I lovingly call them!) in the form of whole grains and starchy vegetables.

There you have it – more reason to dig into that inviting bowl of steamy oatmeal, big mound of fragrant brown rice, and chunk of comforting corn bread!

How did you get your whole grains so far today?  Share in replies below.

Plant-Based Journey Book update!


The title page of Journey! This is from the review copy – still work to be done, but I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

With final edits now so close, my publisher put together a review copy of the manuscript for us to send out for review and endorsement.  I took this screenshot of the title page to share with you.

*excerpted and adapted from The Plant-Based Journey, BenBella Books, 2015.


Hongyu Wu, Alan J. Flint, Frank B. Hu et al. “Association Between Dietary Whole Grain Intake and Risk of Mortality.” JAMA Internal Medicine,January 5, 2015.

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