On my health journey, I’ve learned a lot. A LOT! I’ve read books, magazine articles, watched videos and listened to speakers and podcasts. I know plants are where it’s at for good health.
I’ve been convinced by information from scientific research as well as from the experiences of varied people. The most influential people who’ve shown me and convinced me about why and how to eat mostly whole, plant-based foods are:
- T. Colin Campbell, co-author of The China Study and Whole
- Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease
- Dr. John McDougall, author of The Starch Solution and The Healthiest Diet on the Planet
- Dr. Michael Greger, founder of Nutritionfacts.org and author of How Not to Die
These amazing doctors figured out that what they learned in medical school taught them how to treat people with medication or surgery, once a chronic disease was present. It didn’t teach them anything about how their patients could prevent or reverse their illnesses (the top chronic diseases are: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure). What did these doctors discover? Eating plants, and excluding animal products, is the answer to good health.
All four doctors discovered their knowledge through research and/or practical clinical experience. They dedicate themselves to finding the facts and to helping people learn HOW to be healthy. They base their beliefs on facts and evidence, which is highly reassuring.
If you’re trying to decide which books to read to help you on your journey to health, Campbell and Esselstyn’s books are the top two. MUST reads in my opinion. The next two books, which I highly recommend are McDougall and Greger’s books.
I’ve learned that an ideal diet for humans is whole plant-based foods. As much as possible, we want to choose to eat plants and leave animal products off our plate. We also want to try to choose foods in their raw state often. I’m not 100% plant-based, as I don’t know if I can ever be that perfect over the long term. I’m not vegan either. Being vegan is a commitment that goes beyond food. It involves the avoidance of animal products in all aspects of life: clothing, furniture etc. Although I’m making better choices by decreasing my use of products that harm the environment or animals, I have a lot to learn and a long way to go.
My primary focus now is my health.
Other amazing people who’ve contributed to my knowledge and understanding of good health through nutrition, as well as the need to eat to help our planet and the animals, are:
- Neal Barnard: author of many books, including The Cheese Trap
- John Robbins: Author of Diet for a New America (this was the first plant-based nutrition book I ever read, way back in 1990), The Food Revolution and Healthy at 100
- Brendan Brazier: athlete and author of The Thrive Diet
- Rich Roll: ultra marathoner; author of Finding Ultra; podcast host
- Julie Marie Christensen: founder of The Protective Diet Education Program
- Joel Fuhrman, author of many books, but in particular, Eat to Live and Fasting and Eating for Health
- Rip Esselstyn, author of Engine 2 Diet and Plant Strong
- Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defence of Food
- Kris Carr: cancer survivor and author of Crazy Sexy Diet
- Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, co-authors of Skinny Bitch
- Chef AJ: food addict turned nutrition advocate and author of Unprocessed
- Brenda Davis: author of Becoming Vegan
- Victoria Morgan, author of Main St. Vegan
- Victoria Boutenko, author of Green for Life
- Meghan Telpner, author of Undiet: Eat your Way to Vibrant Health
- Kathy Freston: author of many books, including The Lean
- Thomas Campbell, MD, author of The Campbell Plan (and co-author of The China Study)
- Morris Hicks, author of Healthy Eating, Healthy World
- Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Eating Animals
- Michael S. Moss, author of Salt, Sugar, Fat
- Nancy Montuori from The Ordinary Vegan website and podcast
Specific documentaries that have helped me understand how food affects my health, the environment and the well-being of animals:
- Forks over Knives
- Hungry for Change
- What the Health
- Food Inc.
- Food Matters
- Super Size Me
- Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
- Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2
- Fed Up
- Plant Pure Nation
- GMO OMG
- Food Choices
- A Place at the Table
- Sugar Coated
- That Sugar Film
- Live and Let Live
- What’s with Wheat?
All the documentaries listed have valuable information, but the top three on the list are the ones I’d recommend watching. Forks Over Knives (2011) was probably the first documentary about plant-based eating for health that really went mainstream. What the Health is more recent (2017). Either would be a good start.
Taking time to get vegucated helps to fuel my health journey. I continue to read, watch and listen so I can learn as much as possible. I’m grateful for all the plant-based pioneers who have provided me, and other newbies, with information and recipes.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out some of the resources listed above, definitely carve out some time to do so. You won’t regret it. Even if you aren’t ready to go 100% plant-based (I am somewhere between 90-100%), you can benefit by including more plant-based food in your diet and eating less animal-based products.
Wishing you health and success on your journey,