Book Review: The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet

The Forks Over Knives Plan by Alona Pulde
 
<i>The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet</i> by Matthew Lederman and Alona Pulde is a guide to a healthy lifestyle rather than a diet book.  Both authors are medical doctors and have personal biographies at the beginning of the book.  
 
<i>The Forks Over Knives Plan</i> is the practical application of the lifestyle put forth in the documentary movie of the same name.  The authors make several things very clear in the book.  First and foremost  this is about a lifestyle and not simply a diet.  Second, medical science has come a long way, and doctors can provide pharmaceuticals to get a persons blood pressure and cholesterol number to a safe level.  The problem here is that the symptoms are being treated and not the cause.  Much like taking Nyquil when you have a cold doesn’t cure the cold, but masks the symptoms; you are still sick, but don’t feel as bad.   Third, is the misrepresentation of foods.  For example, calcium and healthy bones are often a reason to consume dairy products.  America has one of the highest rates of dairy consumption and one of the highest rates of fractures.  
 
<i>The Forks Over Knives Plan</i> helps the reader gradually shift over to a plant based diet by starting with breakfast the first week, adding lunch a week later, and finally dinner.  Many issues on the conversion are answered and common problems are discussed.  Emphasis is put on whole foods and eliminating processed foods and oil from the one’s diet.  The authors explain the problems of processed foods and animal products in a very clear way.  For example, meat and dairy are cited by most  as great sources for calcium.  Where did that calcium from? Answer: Plants.  Meat and dairy calcium came from plants and are used and stored in animals. Obviously, meat and dairy are not a necessary source of calcium.
 
The second half of the book contains recipes for meals.  They all use common ingredients available in most grocery stores.  The most uncommon item I recall seeing was nutritional yeast.  Recipe sections usually don’t interest me.  I have been a strict vegetarian for almost a decade now, and have my diet pretty well sorted out.  I eat simple.  Starch, beans, and produce make up general diet with produce and spices providing the variety.  Not everyone can eat like this and that is why there is a recipe section.  I did however find a few recipes I am going to try.  The Sloppy Joe Pitas, made with bulgur wheat, instead of meat, sound really good.  The recipes range from common replacements like stews and breakfast burritos to the rather unique like Twice Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes. 
 
<i>The Forks Over Knives Plan</i> is a very user friendly guide to using food as medicine and living a healthy lifestyle.  The guidance and recipes will help the reader make a smooth transition to a plant based diet and remove many of the misconceptions.  There is variety and taste in a plant based diet and its not like many people think.  I often hear “I couldn’t be a vegetarian. I don’t like Tofu.” Tofu is only an ingredient in two of the recipes.  There is more to a plant based diet than tofu. <i>The Forks Over Knives Plan</i> is an excellent start to a better life.
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