Dr Oz: Whole Plant Based Diet
Dr Oz did a segment on the documentary called Forks Over Knives that teaches us how to avoid Cancer, Heart Disease and Diabetes just by changing our diet to a Plant Based Diet. Lee Fulkerson, the writer and director of Forks Over Knives, said that he read lots of scientific data including the contents of The China Study and that he hopes that his movie will spread this information to a broader population. Fulkerson originally weighed 231 pounds, had a blood pressure of 142/82, a LDL Cholesterol of 157 and a CRP of 6. Dr Oz said that CRP measures inflammation and you really want it to be less than half of Lee Fulkerson’s original amount. After 12 weeks of being on a Plant Based Diet, Fulkerson weighed 211 pounds, had a blood pressure reading of 112/70, LDL Cholesterol of 80 and a CRP of 2.8. He said that he was shocked that the numbers would come down that quickly and by that much. Dr Oz said that he was not shocked at all by these results and that for years he carried around The China Study, which shows a connection between nutrition and disease.
Dr Colin Campbell wrote The China Study and said that he found in his research that we can turn Cancer on and off just by what we eat. When protein is consumed in excess, it turns Cancer on. And when you take away an excess of protein, it turns Cancer off. Plant Proteins do not do this, it is just Animal Proteins. Dr Caldwell Esselstyn told Dr Oz that they looked at 120 people who started the Whole Plant Based Diet, and over a 9 year period 92% of them remained on the diet.
Here are the three food groups that we should avoid and what we should replace these foods with:
Dr Oz: Protein Replacement
To be on a Plant Based Diet of course means to stop eating meat, but this also includes throwing out chicken, fish and eggs from your diet. Dr Oz said he was shocked about fish not being allowed, but they said that while fish does have omega 3’s, most of the fat in fish is not omega 3’s and it makes us fat. Plus, fish has cholesterol without having fiber, vitamin C or any healing properties. The basic rule of thumb is that if a food has parents or a face, you cannot eat it. Instead, get your protein from quinoa, millet, amaranth, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, etc. Beans are especially great for you because they have soluble fiber which lowers your cholesterol, plus they are inexpensive. Dr Oz did mention that you must get some Vitamin B12, even if it is in a supplement, if you are going to avoid meat altogether.
Dr Oz: Dairy Replacements
The next group of foods to avoid on the Plant Based Diet are dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt because these contribute more saturated fat to our diet than meat does. Dr Oz said that we have to make sure to get potassium, calcium and vitamin d into our diets if we are going to cut our Dairy Foods though. Broccoli is 30% protein and a great substitute for dairy products, along with brussel sprouts, collard greens, soy milk, rice milk and almond milk. And for Vitamin D, the best source is the from the sun!
Dr Oz: Processed Food Replacements
Dr Oz made sure throughout this show to not refer to the Plant Based Diet as a true diet, because it should really just be a new way to think about living your life rather than a diet. Doctor Oz has stressed for quite some time the importance of giving up Processed Foods, so this does not come as a surprise. Instead of Processed Foods, eat things like whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, fruits, limes and lemons. Why the limes and lemons? To make salad dressing of course! Even olive oil is considered a refined food because you have to process lots of olives to get olive oil and you are removing the fiber and pulp from the olives. Instead, top your salad with balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or malt vinegar. Here are some healthy salad dressing recipes that got mentioned as well.
Dr Oz: Salad Dressing Recipes
Dr Oz showed a diagram of how our stomach senses fullness by sending a signal to our brain that your stomach is full or stretched. Processed foods and oils do not stretch the stomach as much as Whole Plant Based Foods do, so you do not get full as quickly. One delicious salad dressing to make that does not include oil is to mix thyme, lemon juice and minced garlic. Toss this dressing over a salad made of tofu, spinach and other veggies for a quick and delicious lunch. You could also add red pepper to the Salad Dressing Recipe to add some kick. Some healthy meal choices include steel cut oats with cooked apricots and cinnamon for breakfast and whole grain fettuccine with zucchini and a no oil tomato sauce on top for dinner.
I cannot wait to see Forks Over Knives when it comes out! How many of you are going to give a Plant Based Diet a try? Please leave a comment below and share your ideas for healthy meals that are Whole Plant Based Diet compliant!
Fabiola Robichaud says
Can’t wait to buy that Forks Over Knife!! You made a believer out of me! Since I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. And Diabetes 2 runs in the family! Way to go!! Love you shows Dr. Oz!!
Fabiola Robichaud says
Hi Dr. Oz,
You made me a believer out of me! Can’t wait to buy that book Forks Over Knife! since I’m having trouble with Cholesterol, High Blood pressure, Pain in my joints etc., I will try it for sure!
Love your show Dr. Oz!! Thank you!!
Catherine King says
Thank you so much for bringing Forks Over Knives on your show. I’ve been on a plant based diet (vegan) for 10 years and it’s not only easy and nutritious, but now I eat more variety than I ever did on a meat diet. I read The China Study about a year ago and can’t say enough about it. This should be required reading in every medical school.
Nancy Stein says
My husband and I have been on a plant based diet for 11 months. We are both 65 years of age and feel like we are 20 again. We have so much more energy and all the aches and pains are gone. Our blood work is terrific. Everything that was said today is so important for people to realize that it is time to say no to processed foods and Non-GMO products and begin taking charge of our own health. Let thy food be thy medicine. It works and it works fast! This is a lifestyle change. It is a challenge but a fun one and once you try it you won’t go back you feel that good! It’s more economical to purchase as well.
Jenny roy says
Hello Dr Oz,
I am i would love the try the plant base diet…but , i have surgery removing all of my large intestine, can this diet work for someone like me?. please advise if possible.
Sue Eitniear says
Sounds great am goin to try it!
What I don’t understand is that Dr Oz has been saying to consume olive oil and yesterday he changed and said not to consume olive oil. Why does keep changing his mind?
Nancy Stein says
Olive oil isn’t bad for you, what they were saying is that it is a good fat, however if you are using it on everything you will gain weight as it is a fat. Try to use just a little when cooking, but if eating a salad instead of using it as a dressing for more fat consumption try making a dressing using some of the suggestions they mention or check on line for many vegan oil free dressing recipes. Another option for cooking is to use a small amount of organic vegetable broth instead of oil to saute your food. It works very nicely. Trust me this way of eating will change your life forever.
Pat Wight says
I have read The China Study and agree completely. I have MS and have been on a plant based ‘eating program’ for over 3 years now. I am eating better than I have in years and a big bonus is the delay in the progression of MS for me. Yipee!
Nancy Stein says
Great Testimonial Pat….You are doing the right thing by eating a plant based diet! Check out the 2012 taste of health holistic cruise. You can go to their website. We went this year and it was fantastic and you eat a plant based five course meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also have 30 some speakers and plant based nutrition cooking classes on board. Lots of fun!
Brenda Molligan says
I love the banana ice cream recipe…I am on a plant & poultry diet. I only eat organic free range chicken breast (1-2 oz only) once to twice a week…after I had my gallbladder removed for some reason I cannot eat the dark leafy vegetables, like broccoli or spinach…I can eat iceberg lettuce, but those others leave me feeling bloated and nauseated. That only happens when I eat those kind, my LDL was 132 after three months it was down to 76, and 25 lbs of weight loss, I don’t think that I could ever live on a vegan/vegetarian diet, but I have cut out the dairy and red meat & fish and processed foods, yes even diet soda, I feel so much better than I ever have.
Barbara Shirley says
Dear Dr. Oz, I really love your show and respect your advice. Although I would really love to try the plant based food plan (I’m currently trying a low carb plan), I’m a bit concerned about all the grains which are high carbs. Please, please allay my concerns because I want so much to eat in a healthy manner and still lose weight. Thank you so much, Barbara
I was from China almost 30 years ago. Went back for a visit recently. To my great chagrin, what I saw was a huge population of ” 4 highs:” high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high blood triglyceride, and high blood glucose level. Sadly, a lot of them, especially the generations of “80’s” and “90’s” almost abandon the plant based diet. On the contrary, I have been keeping a majorly plant based diet myself here in the US — I do eat fish, chicken and milk, and I’m absolutely healthy with all the index normal, and at an age of mid 50’s, I rarely get any disease — I actually have not even gotten a flu or cold for years. The trick is still the old fashioned way: control what you eat and how much you eat.
There is no need to stick to a strict plant based diet. Incorporating chicken breast, fish, nonfat milk, and optimal amount of egg each day (one egg a day), into a plant based diet may be the best diet: You don’t take too much fat, and you don’t take too much carbs.
Jenny roy says
agree with Joe suggestion 🙂
Nancy Stein says
I don’t agree with Joe sorry. See the Movie “Eating” and it will change your mind. We are beating cancer in our family with NO CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT . My husband has prostrate cancer and we have been on a plant based diet for almost a year and his psa level has gone from 4.8 down to 3.5. Pretty good for 11 months on a plant based diet. We have never felt healthier and we have so much energy its sometimes overwhelming! Again see the Movie “Eating” it just may save your life or the lives of a loved one. You can buy it online. Can’t wait to see Forks Over Knives in the Orlando area soon I hope.
Is a video for Dr. Oz’s plant based diet show available somewhere? Thanks.
Nancy – The reason why you feel so good and so healthy after the plant based diet may not be due to your strict plant based diet, per se, but rather due to your eating healthy. The bottom line is eating healthy, a strict plant based diet (you’ve got to control the amount and types of plant based food in order for it to be healthy) or otherwise, which is totally different from losing weight. Of course eating healthy can maintain your healthy weight. There is a clear definition for eating healthy, and there are many ways of eating healthy. A controlled plant based diet is just one of them.
Paul W Allen says
SOY; Can you tell me the foods which have soy????????????????Like Tofu;Which is better,Regular or Lite……………….Other things like hummus,soybeans,
Nancy Stein says
There has been a lot of talk about soy as you know you need to be any soy product clearly states that it is Non-GMO on the label. Buying soy at your health food store or Whole Foods Market should be safe. Mori-Nui Tofu is a good brand and it comes in a box and can be stored on a shelf does not need refrigeration…again be sure the box says Non-GMO. Soft tofu is used for sauces, desserts, firm and extra firm for most other recipes. You can also buy tofu in vacuum sealed containers these have to be refrigerated. The healthiest soy products are fermented soy including Miso and Tempeh. Again be sure they are organic and Non-GMO..now for the soy to watch out for…you can use Soy Milk if it is Non-GMO. The soy products you want to stay away from are many processed foods that have in their ingredients SOY ISOLATES and TVP these ingredients are causing numerous food allergies for many people and are also under questions to other health problems so I would stay clear of any product with those ingredients. Miso is a paste and a good one to buy is by Eden Foods. It comes in light and dark…it is considered very medicinal…never let miso boil in a recipe as it will take away the medicinal effects. You can use Miso in soups, stews, dressings etc. because it is a paste you will find it easier to dilute a tablespoon of miso in a little water or vegetable stock before adding to a recipe just makes for easier mixing. I use light miso for lighter dishes and red miso for more hearty dishes. Both are delicious. Also an added hint if you have never used tofu before you must drain the water from tofu before using this can be done using paper towels under and on top with a heavy can on top for about 30min to an 1hr before using in a recipe. For fermented tempeh you will want to steam the tempeh 15-30 min before using in a recipe. I think you will like the texture better and if your not used to the flavor of tempeh (nutty flavor) the steaming lightens up the fermentation taste. After steaming you can slice it or dice it and marinate it and then saute until lightly browned. Hope this helps you out. For soy sauce you can use Braggs (which is also gluten free) or Tumari.
I have been a vegan since I was 9 and when I was 14 I went raw vegan.. Now I am just about 100% raw vegan, but I will occasionally have sauteed veg or a cooked grain. Plant based vegan diets are so healthy and of my family, me being the only vegan or even vegetarian, I am the only person who wakes up in the morning feeling great and ready to start the day. I recommend to everyone that they at least try it and really explore the foods; check out ethnic cuisines and join groups so you can talk to people and share ideas.
Heather D. says
I’m amazed. I grew up in Texas on meat and potatoes. I eat mostly chicken,carbs and little veggies. I’m truly changed between this movie and the documentary ” Food Inc.” I’m so excited to start eating this way.
I am sooo confused. I loved the movie “Forks over Knives” but am confused about the “all oil is fat and is bad for you” thing. Is olive oil, coconut oil etc. bad for you because it’s fat?
Nancy Stein says
Susannah, the most important thing to learn from Forks Over Knives is that a plant based diet is the best diet to promote wellness. An animal based diet promotes illness and disease. Regarding the oil issue…there are pros and cons as with all diets. I believe as do those in a macrobiotic plant based diet regard oil as very important in ones diet, however do be sure it is a good grade organic oil such as extra virgin olive oil, Non-GMO canola oil such as spectrum expeller pressed, grapeseed oil, avacado oil, walnut oil, these are all low in saturated fat and high in good fats. Coconut oil is also good. You must have these good fats in your diet for healthy joints and bones and it is also good for promoting healthy hair, skin and nails. As long as you don’t overdo the oil you will be fine. Again the important thing to remember is plant based nutrition. Eliminate the animal protein, meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Eliminate the simple carbohydrates such as white sugar, white flour. Eat lots of vegetables and complex carbohydrates beans, legumes, whole grains like barley, wheat, millet, polenta etc. Your body will thank you.
Nancy Stein says
forgot to add Susannah that when you cook with oil and animal based foods the oil turns to carcinogens, however, when you cook with oil and plant based foods it does not. Hope this helps with your decision.
Hi, Here is a comment I received on line. I am more confused that ever. Can you tell me what you think. Thanks!! Susannah
Thanks for you comment about oil; a good topic for a future blog. In the meantime, here is an excerpt from our book. It is in Chapter 10 which is devoted to getting started; and is under the heading of “Some Not-So-Healthy Foods — A Reminder.”
Olive Oil. People are always shocked to learn that olive oil is not a healthy food, but the truth is, all oil derives 100% of its calories from fat. Your body does need fat, just as it needs carbohydrates and protein—and it gets just the right amount of all three from fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. As Dr. and Mrs. Esselstyn say, “You don’t need oil for cooking. You can use almost any liquid—even beer or wine.” An optimal diet delivers 15% or less of its calories from fat, so choosing to use oil makes coming anywhere close to that number very difficult.
You may have seen in our book that we have focused our “4-Leaf Program” on maximizing the percent of your calories from whole plants, still in nature’s package. Our 4-Leaf level begins at 80%; leaving you 20% for some of the other items. If you’re eating at 4-Leaf, you can eat almost anything you want in that remaining 20% — and you will no doubt have great results. But if you continue to make oil and cheese a routine part of your daily life, you will have a real tough time getting above 80% on our simple scale.
Patti Johnson says
i’ve seen most of the recent health documentaries including Food, Inc., Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and most recently Forks over Knives. EVERYONE should see the film… definitely an eye opener. I was shying away from beef and chicken… but now, it actually turns my stomach just looking at it. My husband, who is definitely a ‘meat and potato’ man, and suffers from high blood pressure and a little extra weight, saw the film and for the first time… has decided to avoid meat and dairy. I’m convinced his health will improve very quickly.
does this diet have side effects including lightheadness and fatigue (lack of energy) I started this diet 8 days ago and wake up feeling very tired and sluggish. I have had several heart stents in the past and triple heart bypass about 8 years ago. I really want this to work. I am about 50 pounds over weight and have tried many weight loss programs. None that have been a lifetime diet and made me feel good. Can you help me. Thank you!!
Poppy Sandoval says
Just saw the movie and it was inspirational, but a bit dogmatic. I don’t agree with everything. Fat does not make you fat, people! I eat olive oil, butter, eggs, meat (veggies, too of course), and I have weighed 115lbs all my adult life. I don’t eat processed food or sugar. How do these findings fit in with Dr Weston Price’s findings? He supports eating the diet of our ancestors – no processed food, but meat, eggs, and quality dairy are a part of the diet.
Lynn Carter says
The studies are well done, the science is excellent and the results confirm the benefits of eating a plant based diet. There are two issues that are not discussed in the film and they are:
1. The amount of time it takes to purchase and prepare a plant based diet
2. The extremely high cost of purchasing fresh and whole foods.
When one works 60 hours a week, goes to nursing school, raises two children alone and must live on a shoestring budget to survive it is virtually impossible to participate in this life style.
I can see that it would be difficult and i feel for you. Do what you can….start small and make gradual changes. Something is better than nothing. Buy in bulk and prepare for the week. Example, i purchase organic beans in bulk, cook them and then freeze them to have handy. Prepare all your veggies for the week….buy, clean, chop, store. Buy what is on sale and prepare and freeze. It is time consuming, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Maybe look into eating raw. It saves on cooking time and prep. I make raw cookies for my kids that the love. It has raw oats, raisins, dates, and cinnamon. Make it a priority, and it will start to happen. My mother and brother have died from cancer in the last couple years and i have made eating better a priority.
Dan Westford says
According to the distinguished Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., the only oil you need is the equivalent to about one teaspoon of flax seed oil. This contains the Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Other oils, even extra virgin olive oil contains saturated fats which are contraindicated for anyone with cardiovascular disease.
Oils and fats are about 9 calories per gram. Avoiding all excess oils will help obese folks lose extra fat weight.
Dan Westford says
I lost 90 pounds on a whole plant based diet and am a long-term admirer of the work of the distinguished Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. of the Cleveland Clinic as well as his father and son.
Dan Westford says
Calorie per calorie, leafy green vegetables are richer in protein than a steak. Leafy greens are an important source of calcium, iron, and protein. For a balance of proteins, I also eat legumes (peas, beans, and lentils) as well as whole grains (brown rice, quinoa). Colorful vegetables and fruits have some protein, but those are important for other nutrients. Vegetarians need to watch out for deficiencies in B12, D, and Omega-3, but the right foods allow for optimal health with plant based diet and no animal based foods. I don’t eat animal based foods because of contaminants and excess cholesterol. Saturated fats and oils are another reason I avoid animal based foods. I don’t consume any additional vegetable oils, just ground flax seed.
Nona K. Bray says
Dr. Oz I have a problem I need to loose weight about twenty pounds, I am 5 ft nothing and sixtey years old with high blood presure. Of course there alot of fat in my body, and heart problems run My family. I also have bad gums and I know that is not good for My Heart but I can’t afford to get them fixed. Heathy food cost more then unhealth. Weight loss programs also coast money money I don’t have to spend, I am sure there is alot of people in the same boat I am one that is going down. Can you tell we what to do? Thank You Very Much, and may God Bless. Nona
Want to do this lifestyle change. Can’t figure out how to start. I tried a few weeks ago and found I was ravenous at work and moody. I am not overweight but I do have a history of stroke, heart disease and cancer in my family. Advice? Support? Thanks.
Nancy Stein says
I find a lot of people starting a plant based diet think of as all other diets and count calories. On a plant based diet you don’t count calories. For instance an 1800 calorie diet for a standard american diet is only 600 calories for instance on a plant based diet. So I tell my students to eat until you feel full…now this isn’t junk food..your eating whole grains, such as, brown rice, millet, polenta, barley etc. also eating lots of greens, vegetables, beans and legumes, fruit and don’t forget to add tofu (non GMO), seitan and tempeh to your dishes for added protein. You can also have snacks of So Delicious Coconut Milk Yoguart, nuts and seeds inbetween meals, if are hungry eat. I hope this may help you. I just find many students are not eating enough and feel hungry all the time. Don’t treat this as eating to much. Good Luck. Also remember when you begin a plant based diet your body will start to detox from all the bad things we have consumed over the years so you may be dealing with a cleansing reaction as well and fatigue and feeling of flu like symptoms can be common. When your body adjusts you will feel great!
I saw this movie last night and fell in love with this plant based idea. It just makes sense. My only problem is recipes. I see the kinds of foods listed but have no idea what to do with them. Is there a site that has these foods listed and also has recipes? Id really like to try this but if its not easily accessible….
Also, my cholesterol is 277 & I am about 20-30 pounds overweight. Id love to be able to cut my numbers in half like they did on the movie.
Joe, please do not try to tell people that eating eggs and chicken, etc is OK. It is NOT OK on the FOK diet. And the carbs you are complaining about in fruits and veggies are healthy carbs.
Nancy Stein says
Allison, a plant based diet if you follow it to a tee will reduce your total cholesterol in about 4-6 months. It works fast. I was 243 and am now 170 and all other totals in normal range now. My blood sugar went from 100 to 78..it works far faster then prescription drugs.
First I want to apologize for my earlier post. I didn’t realize as well as being a movie that there were books written as well. So my 12 year old daughter and I watched forks over knives together and she (who usually eats anything and everything) and even though she isn’t giving up meat and dairy altogether she is WAY more aware of what she puts in her body. She is 5’8 and very thin but after seeing the movie she’s thinking about all the health issues they discussed. I also got my mom on board and while she’s super healthy this way of eating excited her. So both of us are now getting the recipe book and when I went grocery shopping the other day, I bought healthy for the first time. I’m glad to now be aware. :)))
Nancy Stein says
YEAH!!!! Allison! Being excited will make you a success!
I adopted the plant based diet about 2 months ago, and have been losing pounds and gaining energy ever since. I must admit that I have had fish, so I would say I am 90% plant based. I have had no dairy or other animal products, but since having my gallbladder removed (which was the reason I adopted this lifestyle), I find that protein rich beans do not agree with me, but fish does. When I had no fish OR beans (excpet for chickpeas) in my diet, I was feeling a bit weak. The fish has helped, and I feel balanced. I think balance is also critical–listening to our bodies and responding accordingly.
I read the china study about a year ago,after a few month my LDL’s went from 158 to 81. Felt better with extra energy. Diabetes became controllable and felt all around healthier. It’s hard to maintain a plant based diet around a bunch of meat eaters. I need to get busy and I am excited about getting back into it.
Donna C says
I recently started a plant based food diet about 2 months ago. I use a vitamix. I have a green smoothie every morning with some of no added sugar frozen blueberries, half a frozen banana, 2 C kale, some fresh organic baby spinach or fresh parsley. I then add superfoods such as 1/4 c goji berries, royal maca, MSM and raw cacao. I will often have other fruit & veggie smoothies throughout the day but no superfoods in those. The vitamix pulverizes the veggies so it help with digestion. As for recipes, a cookbook called happy herbivore has great recipes.The new one, everyday happy herbivore comes out tomorrow. She has a blog too. She pretty much follows the forks over knives plan.
Nancy Stein says
Noticed Vita Mix has also come out with a new Raw Food Cookbook for vita mix users.
I am struggling with something. As I posted earlier, I am seeing/feeling good results on a plant based lifestyle. However, I am really having a hard time breaking away from the calorie and carb obsessed life I was living before. I find myself going to my old online food diary, entering evrything I eat all day, and today, thought I stayed plant based, raw ad steamed, I went over the calorie limit set for me on that site. Now I feel like I am going to gain weight, which I dont even understand how I could on the food I ate today (alot of steamed kale, brown rice, garbanzo beans, salad, hummus, one piece of Ezekiel pita bread, a papaya pineapple smoothie, and apple, just lots of stuff). How do I break out of my body image, calorie obsessed mentality? Part of me doesnt seem to trust everything we have learned about calories vs. nutrients in plant based eating. Help!
Nancy Stein says
Nikki, I hope I can help clear your mind. Remember the carbs which should be whole grain are complex carbs not simple carbs. Try to picture 3 different ovals each one representing a stomach. The first one is filled with plant based nutrition…it is high in fiber and fills your stomach full so you actually will eat less as the fiber content fills your stomach so you actually eat just until you feel full. The second stomach is the standard american diet. You feel full after eating, but in actuality the highly processed foods only fill your stomach half full so soon after you feel hungry again so you actually keep eating more food throughout the day. On an 1800 calorie diet eating the standard american diet is only half the calorie intact so it is more like 900 calories so you do need to eat more at each meal on a plant based diet to be assured you are eating enough calories throughout the day. Because it is whole foods you tend to think you are eating more food but are actually not as the caloric intake is different. See the movie Forks Over Knives as it explains this misconception in this movie.
Dan Westford says
Nikki and Nancy,
I have seen real weight loss (90 pounds), health gains (perfect blood work), and feeling of well being after converting to a whole plant based diet. I started with Dr. Dean Ornish and am working with books by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. right now. I learned from Gina Kolata that calorie counting just doesn’t work (“Rethinking Thin”). Western cultures are faced with processed foods including excess fats/oil, sugars, refined carbohydrates, antibiotics, genetically modified components, irradiated whole foods, colorings, preservatives, herbicides, pesticides, and many other questionable food-like substances. Flavor enhancers similar to MSG and aspartame are pervasive. These increase appetite and cause side effects for many people.
To preserve health, we must look out for the many pleasure traps set by the food industry and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Getting away from excess oils in hummus and other foods was one trap for me. Thank you for your posts.
Nancy Stein says
well said Dan! I find so many people try to count calories on a plant based diet just like you said
Stephanie Webb says
My family of 5 started a plant based, whole foods diet about a 2 months ago and its been really hard. Not because of the food, but because of all of the people it affects. Thanksgiving and Christmas were extremely hard because we couldn’t eat most of the food that had been prepared. Even the veggies had milk, butter or other products that we had cut out of our diet. The relatives were somewhat offended that we didn’t want to eat what they had prepared so we ended up just eating a little of this and that so our mom’s wouldn’t have a complete meltdown. It’s amazing how many emotions are tied to food!! We have tried to explain what we are doing and why we are doing it, but the reception isn’t positive.
On the other hand, my 3 children have adopted the new diet without any complaints. I have a 6, 2 and 1 year old. We sat our 6 year old down one night and explained why we were changing and now she is completely gung-ho about the healthy eating. She even downs the ‘green juice’ every morning. The other 2 are too young to know the difference so I lucked out there. Start them young! The only problem I am having is recipes. We aren’t completely vegan but pretty close and I don’t like most of the recipes that I find. Other than that, it’s going great! I will never go back to our old ways of eating and so thankful I found out about Folks Over Knives!
Nancy Stein says
Stephanie, I hope my comments will help you out the next time you are at someone else’s home for dinner. My husband and I are vegan and follow a plant based diet, however, our daughter, Son-in-law and 7 grandkids are not vegan. If they come to my house for dinner I do cook both ways a meat dish for them and all other dishes are vegan for everyone. If you are going to their house tell them to make dinner easier on them that you will bring a few dishes that are plant based but can be enjoyed by anyone who would like to try it.
For Holidays I found the easiest to bring to someone’s house was Gardein stuffed Turkey Breast. They only need to bake for 30 min. You can also make many different loafs and make your own gravy to bring and potatoes. Check out Chef Chloe’s website for fantastic recipes and a good starter cookbook is 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson that is the first cookbook I bought and every recipe is delicious and easy to bring to someone’s house. A good baking vegan book is the vegan Joy of Baking…as you will want to bring a dessert or two that you can also enjoy. Unfortunately until everyone catches on you have to bring your own dishes and hope for the best. I know my family said we were not fun anymore so I know the frustration you are feeling but they will get used to it. Also when they have time invite them over to see Forks Over Knives so they better understand where you are coming from and that being healthy is a high priority for you and your family. This year my daughter had Thanksgiving as she said it was easier for us to bring dishes we could eat and she could dishes her family liked and it worked out perfect. Hope this helps. Don’t let others make you feel bad for wanting to improve your health.
Bill roberson says
I jut saw Forks and Knives last night for the first time. I was shocked by what was in there. I have been a huge meat eater my whole life but to be honest never felt great after a meal. I would love to get started on a plant based diet but not sure what the first step is. I’m excited about the idea not only for myself but for my family as well. Great movie it might have just saved my life!
Nancy Stein says
Bill, I started with online research and my first cookbook was 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson. I figured with a 1,000 recipes it would keep me busy for a while. It has and every recipe in her book is 5 stars! It is not a picture cookbook, but you will not be disappointed with any recipe in it. They are quick, and easy to understand. Whether you go cold turkey away from meat, fish, dairy and eggs or one day a week and work up to 7 days a week make the change as your body will thank you for it. Good Luck!
Rose Pollard says
I started eating this way about a year and a half ago. I had been doing a lot of research, and one day I just decided to cut meat, dairy, gluten, and sugar from my diet. I dropped 30 lbs. in the first 3 months without doing a lick of exercise. I noticed a change in my mood, energy level, and some strange little changes…like my spider veins in my calves started to fade, my hair got thicker, and some of my very annoying menopausal symptoms improved or disappeared completely. I thought it was just a fluke until a couple of my friends asked what I was doing and tried it as well. The exact same thing happened for them.
I never thought about what I couldn’t eat; instead, I focused on those things that I could eat. It’s really just a mind set. I was never hungry, and my cravings vanished. I’m no doctor, but my guess is that when you’re body is getting the nutrients it needs, your brain stops sending signals that manifest as cravings. As far as recipes, I pretty much just made up my own. I eat a lot of beans and potatoes, wild rice, salads, and green smoothies. Onions and garlic make everything tastier. I keep washed and chopped baggies of raw veggies and homemade trail mix in the fridge that I can just grab when I’m on the go. It’s not difficult…you can do it!!!
Nancy Stein says
Rose- I like your statement : “I never thought about what I couldn’t eat; I focused on those things that I could eat. It’s a mindset” , that is so true.
Chantelle Sobers says
I started the plant based whole foods diet a week ago, and I have found that my enery levels have improved and I feel better after meals (stomach-wise). I am in the process of training to run a 10K later this year, and figured this lifestyle is the best one to adopt if I’m to run the race and place in the top 20!
Im not saying that going cold turkey is a walk in the park, it has its challenges. But im committed to doing this to be able you live a long, healthy, productive life.
Rose Pollard says
It takes a couple of weeks to adjust (mentally), but soon you’ll lose the cravings and the taste for meat, dairy, etc. The only thing I miss is cheese (I was a cheese-aholic). I have found some really satisfying substitutes made with nuts, tahini, and rice, though. I also use portobello mushrooms in place of meat in some of my favorite dishes.
Good luck, and hang in there…it won’t take long ’til it becomes second nature.
After watching “Forks over Knives”, both my husband & I are going to change our way of eating to a plant-based, whole food diet. I have several health issues that I hope will be resolved by changing the way we eat. I would also suggest the website “all recipes.com”. You can put in vegan & get recipes there for free.
I just finished watching “Forks over Knives” and learned so much! Many of the questions I previously had were answered. I always though that we needed protein from animal sources and to get the vitamins we need like b12. It is amazing how you can improve your condition dramatically with just changing your diet. I am aware of how diet and lifestyle affects our healthy. However, I was always not sure what to prepare at meal times. After watching this movie, I know I can eat healthy with just plant based foods and this makes it so much easier, because there are a lot of vegetable based recipes out there. I just never thought about using them because I thought I had to have meat and the meat based recipes were very few as far as what I like. I am looking forward to implementing this, although it will be in small steps as far as totally eliminating meat and diary. I am very excited in getting started!!
I just watched “Forks over Knives” (my son and his GF recomended it), I was blown away and can’t wait to get started and am thinking about buying a Vita Mix machine as well 🙂
Bill roberson says
It’s been 5 weeks now since I started my new Journey with eating the right way and I not only feel a lot better but I have dropped 23 lbs. I can now run over 2 miles without hesitation. Life is good!!!
Just finished watching forks over knives and I was wondering if anyone could direct me to a website that has easy to follow plant-based and whole food recipes. Would love to learn to prepare the green salads, black bean salads, etc that I see on TV. Thank you in advance for your help as I too try to lead my family of five on the right path.
Engine2diet.com is a eating plan developed by Rip Essilstien the son of one pf the researchers in Forks over knives. Hope that helps. I have been eating this way now for 9the weeks and it feels great.
Bill, thanks for that recommendation. Just what I was looking for!
fatfreevegan.com is a great site of various vegan recipes.
Also, hacres.com has wonderful recipes. They aren’t fat “free”,
but mostly and very yummy!
Try tofu as a cheese replacement! My family makes delicious lasagna with it. Use Extra firm tofu, crumble it in a bowl with your hands, and flavor it with salt, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and brewer’s yeast (also called nutritional yeast). I use nutritional yeast for flavoring things all the time, including popcorn! You can replace butter for your popcorn by drizzling on a tiny bit of olive of flax oil, and sprinkling on nutritional yeast and salt. tastes great:)
Rose Pollard says
Thanks for the tips. I do miss lasagna, and I’ve heard about nutritional brewer’s yeast, but haven’t tried it yet. The popcorn thing sounds wonderful!
Nancy Stein says
Rose be sure you buy Nutritional Yeast “not” Nutritional brewer’s yeast two different things.
As a type 2 diabetic, how to eat beans (very high in carbs/protein), veggies, etc. and still stay within my limits? Which type of rice do you eat? What beans are the best? I don’t want soy products I’ve heard some bad things about soy.
My husband is on a low carb diet, mostly meats. It is really hard to do two type of meals.
Nancy Stein says
Candy I think a good book to get you started in the right direction is the “The Starch Solution” by Dr. John A McDougall, MD. You can also go to his website and see A short video about the book. There are hundreds upon thousand of vegan bean and grain recipes online. Your not counting calories on a plant based diet. If you do it correctly you should be able to turn your diabeties around in 30 days. Please do not follow a low carb diet that is the biggest mistake and a very unhealthy diet for diabetes, cancer, heart disease. I am concerned for your husband health. Please watch the movie Forks Over Knives again. If you follow the plant based nutrition foods by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. John A McDougall, Dr. Esselstyne, Dr Neal Bernard…you will be feeling great in 30 days. Do your research and eat the recipes they suggest. You have to invest a little money in books, a little time in research, and a little time back into the kitchen cooking real food. Start by going through your pantry and eliminating all foods with high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated oils and foods that have so many ingredients that you can’t even pronounce. Get rid of them! Give them to a food bank or to your friends who want to eat them. Then replace your pantry with whole grains, lentils, beans, stock your fridge with greens greens and more greens, low sugar fruits, nut and seeds, vegetables of all kinds.
Gail Garrison says
I’ve been on a plant-based diet for about a month now. My blood pressure, which was high previously, dropped 20 points! And a vascular problem I had with lower-extremity edema improved markedly. But I don’t seem to be losing any weight (I’d like to lose about 30 lbs.). Did anyone have a similar result? Perhaps it takes longer with some people???
Nancy Stein says
Hi Gail, you might want to read or watch a preview on youtube “The Starch Solution by Dr. John A. McDougall, M.D. He also is plant-based nutrition and his new book is eating whole grain starches (not simple starches) for weight loss.
I was on Dr. E’s diet for almost a year. My LDL went down within weeks, but after a few months went back up and stayed there. My cardiologist said my high LDL is genetic and diet can only do so much.
Other problem , I found it virtually impossible to dine in restaurants or travel (especially overseas) and stay on this diet! I’m sure whe Bill Clinton goes to a restaurant and asks them to whip up something without a drop of oil or dairy, they are happy to. All I get is a glassy stare!
Honestly, has anyone out there who goes out to dinner with friends EVER found it possible? I just got tired of going to great restaurants with my husband and friends and ordering a salad with no dressing, while they enjoyed fabulous meals…
This site has great conversation, very helpful, thanks to everyone!
Recently, my friend recommended Dr. Mark Hyman’s new book, “The Blood Sugar Solution”. My husband is type II diabetic, high blood pressure, overweight and so on. He had a small stroke a year and a half ago. I feel that I have to be very, very careful when we start to drastically change any of his patterns. He is on an insulin pump now and lots of pills.
Dr. Hyman’s diet includes some meat and I was thinking that this might ease my hubby into better habits more easily.
If you are a diabetic on a plant based diet, can you please tell me about your experiences during the adjustment period away from meds.
For example: my husband had a very active day last week and carefully ate only plant based foods. That night his blood sugars plummeted because his normal course of insulin was too much as a result of exercise and eating such healthy foods! He had to get up in the middle of the night and eat grapefruit in a sugar syrup because his sugars were at 37, dangerously low.
He has watched FOK, FAT, Sick and Nearly Dead, and Food Inc., so he is informed.
Thanks for help and suggestions!
Nancy Stein says
Elaine, Being on a plant based diet is the best diet for a diabetic. You need to advise your doctor that your husband is eating vegan plant-based foods so the doctor will keep adjusting the insulin level for your husband. For Meat substitutions I would use Gardein Products. Not sure where you live but you can find these at health food stores, whole foods market and super target now carries them. They are the closest food that taste like chicken, beef, etc. check out their website at http://www.gardein.com …I would not take your husband off his meds….they just have to be adjusted as the diet brings down his sugar counts. Lightlife makes a product called gimme lean sausage that is very tasty and Field Roast makes good alternative meat as well. Be sure he is eating enough whole grains and beans as well which help to regulate his blood sugar such as brown rice, barley, quinoa etc. Tofu, Tempeh and Seitan are great meat alternatives. I would suggest you buy a good cookbook like 1000 vegan recipes by Robin Roberston to get you started. Eating the right combinations will keep his blood sugar from spiking high or low.
Nancy Stein says
Chris, there are many tricks to eating out on a plant based diet…one is don’t eat at American restaurants! Try different cuisines, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean. If you do choose to eat out at American…I check the restaurants menu on line…if I don’t see anything then I call the restaurant and ask if they can accommodate me. In most cases if its a good restaurant the chef has always come to the phone and been very gracious in telling me what he can do for us and to let him know when we arrive. You can also take any dish and simply ask them to leave off the meat, dairy (cheese) and anything made with eggs. Every restaurant has salad and you can always use lemon juice and olive oil for dressings, Many restaurants now offer veggie wraps, veggie burgers, etc. sometimes these foods do not show on the menu and you have to ask for a vegan dish. Most waiters and waitresses do not understand what vegan is so you have to spell it out no meat, fish, dairy or eggs. I have no longer feared telling restaurants I am vegan…its time for chefs to step up to the plate and offer both options on there menus. The only way that is going to happen is if people speak up when they order out. Not sure where you live but here in Orlando fl Bahama Breeze has worked with us, Season 52 (Dardin restaurant) has a vegan menu. Most pizza places will fix a veggie pizza with no cheese (I understand you can bring in a block of vegan cheese and they will use that for you), All restaurants can make steamed veggies and offer potatoes. You have to think outside the box and practice what to ask for. It takes determination and practice but my husband and I are getting so much better ordering out and no longer have any fear of telling them we are vegan.
Nick M says
“After 12 weeks of being on a Plant Based Diet, Fulkerson weighed 211 pounds…”
And the 20 pounds he lost was ENTIRELY muscle, not fat.
I began a plant based diet on June, 4th, 2012. Since then I have lost 18lbs. That’s 18lbs in about 17 days. I have been overweight my entire life. Within 8 days of starting a plant based diet my doctor took me off 2 blood pressure meds I had been taking for over 15 yrs. There is no way I would ever return to my former unhealthy way of eating. I am reaping way too many benefits to ever look back!
Not sure if anyone is still reading this string, but to Nancy’s response above regarding ordering vegan in restaurants, I have no trouble with that and yes, it’s easy to get no-meat or dairy meals. What is impossible is getting no-oil or fat meals! And that is the core of The China Study diet! I’ve eaten in many fabulous ethnic restaurants, but they all cook with oil! And the few times I’ve asked for meals prepared without oil, believe me, they were. No one is going to scrub a pan clean of oil, etc to accommodate you. If you believe that, you’ve never worked in a restaurant, even very high end ones….
Nancy B. says
I have just watched ForksmOver Knives and Vegucated this week. After having my gallbladder removed about 8 years ago (due to,unrelenting symptoms despite cutting all fats from my diet, but not going plant based), I am no longer able to digest much fat at all (no more than 4 grams in one meal). Yes, eating in a restaurant or at anyone’s house is nearly impossible. Traveling is nearly out of the question unless I can prepare my own meals. At this point, trying a plant based diet won’t change those things for me, so I may make that change for myself and my family. I guess I’m just saying, I understand the difficulty with getting no oil or fat in a restaurant. I’ve even had chefs sneak it in and then I’ve paid the price. I’ve paid for meals I’m afraid to eat because they look greasy to me.
I just watched the documentary Forks Over Knives a couple days ago. I cannot emphasize enough how interesting and informative it is. I would say that I generally eat healthy foods, but this show has definitely opened my eyes and has changed my way of eating even more. It is really amazing to know that just eating the right foods can actually reverse certain diseases. This documentary is a must for everyone to see.
Food Inc. is also very good one to see as well. I actually watched this one prior to watching Forks Over Knives, and Food Inc. steered me away somewhat from animal based foods. But after watching Forks Over Knives, it has confirmed my change to a plant based diet.
Elaine in NM says
My type II diabetic husband has lost 20 lbs and is feeling great. He is still using his meds including an insulin pump, but requires less. If you are diabetic, do you know of chat sites just for plant-based diabetics because there are special issues for type 2ers. We do eat some chick, fish and egg, but more as condiments. Thanks everyone!
Rose Pollard says
“Food Matters” is another really educational and interesting documentary on this subject.
SAM KIM says
I began plant based diet sept. 2012 after a cardiologist recommneded angiogram and may be stent. So far I am alive and no angiogram yet. Blood work results are improved but calcium score and carotis results did not go down. My food is combination of self and delivered. I need to expand choice of food. Please let me know where I can find delivery service of cooked plant based food. Thank you.
daniel kinney says
I actually saw this movie on NETFLIX today for Free and there are a few more interesting movies like Joe Cross Documentary called, REBOOT with Joe. and FORKS OVER KNIVES. I am starting this journey today is my last day of processed foods and animal fat. After watching this movie i got sick after I learned the chemicals in our food and the stuff they are putting into the animals, i had already given up milk and switched to SOY and I love soy. It just taste better to me. I am so glad that i watched these Documentaries on Netflix today or i may have died and early death. 1/4 of what I eat keeps me alive, 3/4 of what I eat keeps the Doctors alive. ~ that is a powerful statement.
Mary Smith says
I thought we were supposed to eat salmon at least twice a week. No?
I can’t seem to find any whole grain bread, pita or tortilla that doesn’t contain some kind of oil, can anyone give me a brand name or have I misunderstood about oil. Maybe in the movie they are referring to adding oil? Also in book it says no nuts, but I see a lot of people are talking about eating nuts??
Nancy Nurse says
OLIVE OIL is NOT GOOD for your HEART!! OIL is NOT GOOD FOR YOU! Watch this short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zheiZX0_Z2w
Nancy Nurse says
Be careful with Gardein Products…. I just looked at the ingredients.. they are LOADED with oil and OIL IS HARMFUL!! It is highly processed. It WILL make a difference in your body. I know, first hand. In fact, I can even tell now if I’ve eaten something that has “hidden” oil in it – I immediately get brain fog. But, listen to the experts, not me. Watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zheiZX0_Z2w
Nancy Nurse says
Here’s another great 5 minute video for you by Jeff Novick on how unhealthy fats are, especially Olive Oil! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbALgjmZUek