There was a time when I used to be ignorant, and completely oblivious to the truth. Maybe I was turning a blind eye to what was actually happening, but I was blissful in my ignorance. Like many people who still use this argument, I thought what I put into my body was a ‘personal choice’. But is it really ‘personal’, when, in your arrogance, your taste buds affect the lives of other sentient beings? And when I say ‘affect’, I mean torture, rape, and slaughter? Logic would say no.
But what if there was a way, a lifestyle, that could make you thrive, spare the lives of thousands, and salvage the environment? The vegan diet is the only diet that has been proven to be able to not only prevent, but also reverse the world’s top killers like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease – and like our dear Dr Greger says, shouldn’t this be our default diet until proven otherwise?
These three top book picks have aided me in learning more about nutrition, and gave me inspiration to cook some pretty tasty meals, if I say so myself.
1. Forks Over Knives, the cookbook that accompanies the documentary with the same title, is a game-changer. The feature film explores the claim that most degenerative diseases can be treated – or reversed – by ditching animal-based and processed foods. The documentary has been praised by notable figures such as Dr Oz, Oprah Winfrey, Jason Mraz, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, with some of them calling it a life-saving movie.
Vegan or not, everyone can get stuck cooking the same dish over and over, and feeling generally uninspired when it comes to food. This cookbook features 300 nutrient-rich, healthy recipes that are easy to follow, and don’t require two hours of your time. Incredibly thorough, the recipe book will teach you the basics (like vegetable stock, mayo, tomato sauce, ‘no-cheese’ sauce, basil pesto), and will offer breakfast recipes, salads, soups, stews and chilies, wraps and spreads, pasta and noodles, casseroles, and desserts – basically, everything you will ever need.
Some personal staple dishes from the Forks Over Knives cookbook include: basic baked granola, curried rice salad, ‘cheesy’ potato soup, lentil chili, creamy polenta with wild mushrooms, and apple cinnamon granola bars – tell me if that doesn’t sound delightful.
2. How Not To Die, by Michael Greger, MD, and Gene Stone is nothing short of a gift to humanity. Similar to the Forks Over Knives doc, How Not To Die argues that the majority of premature deaths can be prevented through changes in diet and lifestyle. Written by top physician and founder of Nutrition Facts (if you don’t watch his YouTube videos you’re missing out BIG TIME) Michael Greger, examines the fifteen top causes of death in America – heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, among others – and explains how eating a plant-based (vegan) diet can trump prescription pills, and surgical approaches – and it’s all science-based.
Another literal life-saver, this is a New York Times best-seller that can, and will blow your mind. The book is split into two parts: the first discusses all fifteen causes of death, and how not to die from them (literally titled ‘How not to die from breast cancer’, ‘How not to die from suicidal depression’, etc.), whilst the second is what Greger calls the ‘Daily Dozen’ – twelve foods that you must include in your daily diet.
So what’s the bottom line? Eating a low-fat, low-oil, wholefoods vegan diet will keep you safe from most health issues and ailments. Dr Greger also has a free mobile app that features all his Daily Dozen, where you can keep track of what you’re eating. They are: beans, berries, other fruits (meaning the more diverse the fruits, the better), cruciferous vegetables, greens, other vegetables, flaxseeds, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices (he recommends a quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric every day), whole grains, beverages (water, hibiscus tea, green tea, and more), and exercise.
3. Eating Plant-Based, The New Health Paradigm, by Jesse J. Jacoby shines a light on evidence-based nutrition, advocating for a wholefoods plant-based diet, in an age where the old paradigm of which eggs and meat are used for protein, and milk is utilised for calcium and vitamin D, has been refuted. The award-winning author gets down to the nitty-gritty of nutrition, explaining things such as enzymes, alkaline and acid-forming foods, balancing one’s pH, and cellular regeneration.
Using anecdotal evidence, medical research, and scientific literature, Jacoby demonstrates why, and how we should break free from our addiction to ‘traditional’ foods – which are slowly killing us. Eating Plant-Based is a great resource for those wanting to learn more about nutrition, and understand why a vegan diet is the healthiest choice out there. The book has incredibly useful materials: it even showcases a healthy grocery list, and what an unhealthy one looks like.
The author debunks the protein myth, and also clears the air when it comes to fats – yay to avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds, and nay to animal-based fats, and oils. Jacoby also covers essential recipes, including nut milks, hummus, overnight oats, and vegan chocolate. This book will fundamentally help you find success on a plant-based diet.
“We should all be eating fruits and vegetables as if our lives depend on it – because they do,” says one of my favourite Dr Greger quotes.