In the spring of 2009, we received a very interesting phone call. On the line was Brian Wendel, who said he was making a film on the power to prevent and treat chronic disease with a whole-food, plant-based diet. He turned to us because we were running our medical practice using this diet as a primary treatment. Brian wanted to show an audience how patients suffering from serious chronic conditions can, with relative ease and in a short time, turn around their difficult situations and achieve true health and vitality—just by eating well. Given our experience and training in lifestyle medicine, we were confident in this approach. We knew the power of this way of eating and were eager to help in whatever way we could to introduce its significant promise to a wide audience. And so without hesitation, we agreed. The film Forks Over Knives was released in theaters and on home video in 2011. The responses of audiences worldwide surpassed our best hopes for its reach and influence.
The food-as-medicine concept is now reaching millions of people and the movement is growing stronger each day. The movement’s popularity is driven by one important factor: The lifestyle works! More and more people are learning that a diet based in fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes intervene makes all the difference when it comes to achieving good health . . . and the word is spreading in a big way.
Nearly five years after our involvement in the documentary, we are thrilled to have teamed up with Forks Over Knives again—this time to provide this four-week transition guide. In this book, we bring you the specifics of the Forks Over Knives philosophy and guide you through an A-to-Z transition so you can live the whole-food, plant-based way for a lifetime. Among other things, we detail what a whole-food, plant-based diet is and is not—and you’ll see that this means you will be living on food that is not only healthy, but also hearty and satisfying. We show you how to survive and thrive on the foods you love—like pancakes, burritos, mashed potatoes, and lasagna—and at the same time, get all the nutrition you need.
People seek dietary changes for various reasons, whether it’s to become healthier, lose weight, improve athletic performance, or just feel better. Regardless of the reasons for wanting a change, you are probably looking for a better result than you are getting now. Many diets fail because they tend to be nothing more than variations of the Standard American Diet. That is, they basically require a reshuffling of the same animal-based foods—oftentimes in order to meet target goals for certain individual nutrients, such as protein, calcium, or omega-3. They also tend to follow similar principles, such as counting calories or even purchasing supplements from the diet’s author.
On the other hand, when you adopt the Forks Over Knives way of living, you will be trying something completely different. You will not be eating for single nutrients, counting calories, or buying supplements from us. Instead, you will simply focus on eating the whole, plant-based foods you enjoy. Though the food you’ll eat is neither unfamiliar nor exotic, the composition of your plate of food will change substantially—so much so, in fact, that the lifestyle achieves something unlike anything else out there.
The hallmark of the whole-food, plant-based lifestyle is its unique ability to prevent, halt, and even treat chronic illness, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The changes it can bring to your life are often rapid and measurable.