Tools for your plant-based midlife rejuvenation project
This list of resources is just scratching the surface of what is out there in support of a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. These are things that I recommend to friends and family and I think you will benefit from too. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I’ll try to keep it up to date and fill it out over time.
How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Dr. Michael Greger. This is a huge book filled with references to thousands of studies showing the best diet for preventing most of the major killers in the western world. Spoiler alert: it’s a whole foods, plant-based diet for all of them.
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. Another huge book filled with scientific references. Don’t worry, it’s readily accessible for non-scientists, but will shake up some long held beliefs, especially about animal protein and its impact on health.
The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet by Alona Pulde MD and Matthew Lederman MD. This is a 28 day plan for transitioning to a whole foods, plant-based diet. I don’t actually think you should take 28 days over it, but I do think that when you jump in you should know what you’re doing and this is the book to help you learn about preparing your pantry, new cooking techniques and meal planning. It also has some recipes, but the background information is the most valuable, in my opinion.
Proteinaholic: How Our Obsession with Meat Is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It by Garth Davis MD. Dr. Davis is a bariatric surgeon who has come around to using whole food plant-based diets with his patients (and himself). He offers a compelling takedown of the low carb, high protein, high fat fad diets and why they are so dangerous. Read this if you still think you need lots of protein for weight loss and good health.
Forks Over Knives. (available on Netflix and other streaming services) This is the documentary that started it all for me. It traces how we have come to know that a wfpb diet can prevent and reverse chronic, degenerative illnesses, particularly heart disease and diabetes. I strongly recommend seeking this film out and watching it with your spouse or other supportive person. I decided to make the switch in diet before the end of this movie and I have never looked back.
Forks Over Knives: The Extended Interviews This is the heart of the Forks Over Knives film. I was a bit surprised to see it free on YouTube, but this is well worth the 2 hours to see most of the big names in the whole food, plant-based world talking in depth.
PlantPure Nation (available on Netflix and other streaming services) This film picks up where Forks Over Knives left off. It follows the attempt to bring the wfpb lifestyle to more people and covers some of the politics behind governmental nutrition recommendations. The folks behind this documentary are trying to spread the word and offer support groups and even frozen meals (US only) through their website.
How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind Dr. Doug Lisle explains in a very entertaining way how the wfpb way of eating makes losing weight so easy. He covers the principles of caloric density and satiety and why we are so drawn to high calorie foods.
NutritionFacts.org The Latest in Nutrition Related Research This is Dr. Michael Greger’s website with literally thousands of videos on hundreds of nutrition and health related topics. Prepare to spend time getting lost in this rabbit hole, but don’t worry – there’s an excellent search function. Sign up for his daily newsletter so you never miss an article or video. Only science-based material is published here.
UC Davis Integrative Medicine UC Davis Integrative Medicine is part of the Institute for Population Health Improvement at the UC Davis School of Medicine. This website is absolutely loaded with essential information about how and why a whole foods, plant-based diet is optimum for health. There are also lots of recipes. If for some reason you were limited to one resource for changing to a plant-based lifestyle, this would be it.
T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies Dr. Campbell, author of The China Study is Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University and has an interesting website full of information. He also offers a certificate in plant-based nutrition in conjunction with Cornell University.
These are the cookbooks I use most often. They are all plant-based, with minimal or no added salt, sugar or oil. I recommend going to a bricks and mortar bookstore and flipping through a bunch of books to see what appeals to you. Buy a few so you have a wide variety of recipes to choose from when planning your meals.
21 Day Vegan Kickstart This is a free program starting the first of every month to help transition to a vegan diet. It is put on by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, founded by Dr. Neal Bernard. I haven’t personally participated, but I have heard good things about the program. Dr. Bernard is one of my favourite wfpb gurus.