Most, if not all, chronic disease can be controlled, even reversed, with a diet that eliminates animal products and processed foods and is ultra-low in fat. At least that’s the premise of Forks Over Knives, the film and the book that “helped spark a nutrition revolution.” It spotlights the benefits of a whole food diet (nothing processed or refined) limited to plant products (no meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, or gelatin) and with negligible fat (no oils, including olive oil and nuts). The Forks Over Knives Plan, a new book in the series, was written by two medical doctors, Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman, who treat patients with this dietary regimen. This book is designed to help with the transition and assumes the reader has embraced the premise and is ready to begin.
The book starts with a “background” of scientific evidence to make the case for the diet. (Just watch the film.) Next up is The Forks Over Knives Plan, the actual scheme the doctors use to complete the transition to a vegan diet over four weeks. Each week targets a particular meal to make vegan:
- Week 1 focuses on breakfast
- Week 2 on lunch
- Week 3 on dinner
- Week 4 focuses on lifestyle issues
The readings, oriented around the week, dig into nutrition information and practical issues. For instance, which foods to stock at home and what to eat in a restaurant. The information may or may not be new, depending on your level of veganism. ForksOverKnives.com has more tools to support this transition.
The second half of the book is devoted to recipes that adhere to the new diet. Two plant-based chefs created the recipes, which are well-formatted and easy to follow. The recipes have a decidedly ethnic flavor — Indian, Middle Eastern, Italian — featuring lentils, chickpeas, beans, rice, polenta, and sweet potatoes. All are super healthy. The Easy Thai Noodles featured above are one example.
The authors admit that you must cook for the plan to work. I see the need for a strong commitment to every aspect. Presumably, the reader is pumped when they dig in to this.
The Forks Over Knives Plan promotes the vegan agenda of Colin Campbell, Neal Barnard, Dean Ornish, and other physicians who make up the “food as medicine” movement. Their specific recommendations are controversial; scholars question whether they drew the correct conclusions from the supporting scientific research.
Perhaps the plan is unnecessarily severe. True, an individual can be exquisitely healthy on a diet without meat, fish, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy, but only if handled well. The vegan diet can be hazardous if followed haphazardly. It is essential that vegans eat legumes and whole grains for protein and other vital nutrients.