After eating vegan for over three years, I found myself in a rut with my diet. Being in college has allowed me to fill up on lattes, snack on potato chips and reach for non-dairy ice cream after a long week. While treats are good in moderation, they've slowly creeped into my daily life. Feeling like I've dabbled in every type of vegan diet there is, but never seriously stuck to one, I wanted to make a change. I decided to give the Whole Starch Low Fat vegan diet, better known as WSLF, a try.

#SpoonTip: "Diet" in this article refers to the overall intake of food, rather than a short-term, weight-loss-centered "fad diet." WSLF is a way of eating that's meant to be sustainable in the long-run, rather than used as a "quick fix," which I would never want to promote.

OK, But What Is WSLF?

The WSLF diet has become popular in the vegan community thanks to its creators, Instagram and YouTube couple Alex and Kristin MacDowell, known as Mr. and Mrs. Vegan. Using what they know from their nutrition education and years of experience with plant-based food, the two developed WSLF, a diet based on leafy greens, colorful and starchy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruit. In the body, starch is broken down into glucose at a steady rate, which creates long-lasting energy and satiety. For this reason, starches found in foods like corn, potatoes, and rice are the backbone of WSLF.

Did I Just Say Potatoes And Rice?

Heck yes I did. Oftentimes, fad diets will beg people to avoid foods like potatoes and rice, or even tell them to avoid all carbohydrates. Contrastingly, WSLF begs people to eat these foods every day. Along with carbohydrates, following WSLF means you should also be consuming leafy greens and vegetables (like broccoli, beets, and squashes), starchy vegetables and legumes (like black beans, sweet potatoes, and lentils), whole grains (like oats and quinoa) and fruits (like blueberries, strawberries, and bananas).

Also WSLF-approved — just in smaller portions — are unsweetened nut or grain milks, whole wheat breads, oil- and sugar- free cereals, and healthy fats from nuts and avocado. Foods to be avoided include animal products, highly processed foods, oils, coconut, refined sugar, and high amounts of nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives. If you're still a bit confused about the diet, here's a breakdown of my week eating WSLF.


The night before I ventured into the world of WSLF, I reflected on my current state: often tired and reliant on coffee, lacking the energy to power through my workouts, and constantly craving junk food (someone pass the Oreos please!). I had also begun to recognize that days when I ate meals high in fats, I had a harder time waking up in the morning. I wanted a change because midterm-season was right around the corner, which always calls for long-lasting energy and a clear mind.

As a nutrition student, I know that the food you put into your body is one of the most important factors of how you function. However, I was still skeptical if one week of eating a certain diet could show any kind of results. I had the opportunity to talk about my skepticism with Mr. Vegan himself and he was able to persuade me otherwise.

"Just one WSLF meal will produce positive results on our bodies. The overly processed, high sugar, high salt, high fat meals instantly damage our body's endothelial lining," he told me. "So every meal matters, but there is definitely room in a healthy diet to celebrate."

With that in mind, I celebrated my upcoming week of WSLF by munching on my last peanut butter-laden piece of toast as I meal prepped a massive pot of WSLF sweet potato chili, adapted from Mr. and Mrs. Vegan's eBook, and another pot of brown rice. 

Day 1: Monday

Breakfast: Oatmeal with soy milk and banana, plus a soy coffee.

Lunch: Pre-made chili, baked potato, baby carrots and strawberries.

Dinner: Baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli, brown rice, and mixed greens, followed with an herbal tea before bed.

Energy level: I did my standard workout, feeling slightly dead by the end of the it. I felt the same as I usually do by nighttime (aka pretty dang tired). After reviewing Mr. and Mrs. Vegan's eBook, which claims "caffeine latches onto your nerve receptors and wreaks havoc on your hunger signals," I nervously decided that I would attempt to quit coffee, starting tomorrow. 

Day 2: Tuesday

Breakfast: Oatmeal with banana, mixed berries and chia seeds, plus a "London fog" (earl grey tea with steamed soy milk, hold the sweetener).

Lunch: Salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, black beans, mushrooms, beets, and corn.

Snack: Dried cranberries and raisins.

Dinner: Big bowl of sweet potato chili with brown rice.

Energy Level: As Mr. and Mrs. Vegan suggest replacing coffee with tea in the journey to quit caffeine, I opted for a "London Fog" this morning, which contains just a fraction of the caffeine in coffee. I worked out today, with my usual lack of ample energy. However, I made it through a long day of classes feeling overall energized and pretty excited that good food and some tea was all I needed to keep me going.

Day 3: Wednesday

Breakfast: Large bowl of oatmeal containing banana, apple, and chia seeds, plus my earl grey tea with soy milk.

Snack: Strawberries and baby carrot; a tall coffee (oops).

Early Dinner: Big bowl of sweet potato chili, brown rice, mixed greens, and chickpeas.

Energy Level: Sadly, I crashed; tiredness hit me and a headache ensued midday. I got in line for a small coffee, wondering if I was hitting the detox stage where my body has an existential crisis because suddenly it recognizes a change. After somehow dragging myself to the gym, feeling an overall lethargy in my body throughout my workout, I was a little discouraged, but knew I had to prevail. I ended my night practically asleep before I even made it to my bed.

Day 4: Thursday

Breakfast: Oatmeal with almond milk, banana, berries, and almond butter, plus a London Fog.

Lunch: Salad of mixed greens, beets, tomatoes, chickpeas, corn, peas, edamame, broccoli, and carrots.

Dinner: Sweet potato chili with brown rice and baby carrots.

Energy Level: I woke up before my alarm went off for the day, drank some water and powered through my workout. I decided I would not succumb to any needs of coffee for the day, determined to axe caffeine at some point. I was ready for sleep when the time came, but reflected on the fact that I had felt completely energized all day and never craved coffee. Breakthrough? I think yes.

Day 5: Friday

Miranda Knight

Breakfast: Oatmeal with strawberries and mango.

Lunch: Chili with brown rice.

Dinner: Salad of mixed greens, butternut squash, chickpeas, black beans, carrots and black olives.

Late-night Snack: Oatmeal with almond butter.

Energy Level: I didn't have classes today, but I knew I would be drowning in homework and studying, so I had my alarm set for 7:30 am. Somehow, I again woke up before my alarm went off; this time, though, I hopped out of bed without batting an eye (something I haven't done all year) and practically skipped to and from the gym. I felt so energized for the day that I didn't even get any kind of caffeinated drink that morning, and my energy was sustained for the rest of the day.

Day 6: Saturday

Miranda Knight

Breakfast: Sweet potato oatmeal (adapted from the WSLF eBook) with banana and almond butter.

Early Dinner: Two bowls of mixed greens, butternut squash, carrots, black beans, steamed veggies, and roasted potatoes.

Energy Level: Waking up was a breeze again, and I felt well-rested enough to get right up without laying in bed for another 15 minutes. I went to the gym, thinking I would go easy and just jog for a bit, but felt so energized while I was there that I ended up doing a full three-mile run and weightlifting after. I again made it through my day fully-energized without any caffeine.

Day 7: Sunday

Miranda Knight

Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries and almond butter.

Lunch: Veggie sandwich on whole wheat bread (my first processed food of the week!).

Snack: Sunwarrior snack bar (not WSLF), plus a coffee.

Dinner: Oatmeal with strawberries and apple chunks. (I really love oatmeal).

Energy Level: I woke up to my last day of my WSLF week feeling on top of the world. I had so much more energy than usual these past few days and could hardly believe just a week of WSLF made this change. However, I had a snack bar this day that made me realize that what I was eating seriously made a difference. The bar was high in fat and contained nuts and coconut oil; this was definitely not WSLF, but I was in a hurry and didn't think twice. Within 30 minutes, I was immensely tired and felt like I needed a nap.

I quickly realized it was probably due to the high amount of fats in the bar, plus the fats from almond butter and avocado I had eaten earlier. I hastily drank some coffee to revive myself for the rest of my day, ending the night with a better understanding of food's affect on the body. 


Miranda Knight

The Monday after my week on WSLF I ended up eating entirely WSLF without much effort, though I did take time to reflect on how the past seven days were far more eye-opening than expected. I also was able to chat with a few students from across the globe in an WSLF Facebook page. One girl, Franca Monica, described her love for WSLF.

"I’ve tried a lot of diets up to now, always experimenting on how I feel and look and on how practical it is," she wrote. "WSLF gives me the best results in both and enough room for delicious eat outs."

I would have to agree with her on this. I gained a ton of energy, got better results at and from the gym, woke up easily, didn't feel bloated as I often do, and found the food I was eating to be delicious, easy, and satisfying. While I can't say that WSLF is for everyone, it worked well for me and I would encourage anyone to try it — even just for a week (but with results this good, who would stop at just seven days?).