Review & Giveaway: The Forks Over Knives Plan — Great Help for Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet!

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It started with Forks Over Knives and its companion book.  Then there was Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook.  But what if you need a little help implementing the information from the documentary and incorporating the cookbook’s recipes into your daily life?

Introducing The Forks Over Knives Plan, a 4-step program for transitioning from the Standard American Diet nightmare to a health-promoting, plant-based lifestyle that you can sustain in the long term.  Of course, when I heard it was coming out, my interest was piqued since that’s exactly what I do for clients, and I’m always on the lookout for a good resource to recommend.

Forks Over Knives Plan

Image courtesy of Touchstone

Authors Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman, both of whom were featured in the film, start off with an explanation of plant-based diets, the health benefits and the types of foods involved.  They cover all the bases from macronutrients to vitamin and mineral intake, explaining concepts such as caloric density and how to read nutrition labels to figure out the percentage of different nutrients in a food.  They then move on to a 4-week plan that can be followed to achieve a total dietary makeover, meal by meal, using the information presented in the first half and the recipes at the end.  Practical problems such as eating out and dealing with questions from friends and family are also addressed.

While I don’t agree with all aspects of the program (I’ve mentioned that I’m not a proponent of ultra-low-fat diets and strongly disagree with the idea that eating plant-based eliminates overeating), overall it provides a solid framework for anyone who wants to get started with the plant-based lifestyle.  I haven’t had a chance to read every word of the book just yet, but I’m looking forward to delving deeper once I’m finally done with schoolwork.

Of course, the recipes were what really caught my attention about this book.  The book has over 100 brand new dishes from none other than Del Sroufe, the culinary genius behind much of the original Forks Over Knives cookbook.  I say this without hyperbole; the man is amazing when it comes to recipes.  Categories in the book include Breakfast; Wraps, Roll-Ups and Burgers; Casseroles; Amazing Grains; and, of course, Desserts.  Everything is made with whole ingredients, no oil and a lot of creativity.

When The Forks Over Knives Plan came in the mail, I spent a little time flipping through it and was immediately struck by the photograph of the Breakfast Fruit Crisp.  Usually, it takes me a couple of days with a new book to pick out recipes to try, but with this I knew I had to have it for breakfast the next day.  So out came the baking pan, the frozen berries and the oatmeal.  About an hour later, ta da!  Breakfast!

breakfast fruit crisp

It was the fastest I’ve ever tested a cookbook, and needless to say, it was delicious.  My only complaint was that it didn’t have enough cinnamon.  I made it with mixed berries but it would also be quite good with pears or apples, which are more in season right now.  Apples would make it taste kind of like pie!

The other breakfast recipe I tried, I actually made for dinner.  Meet Big Breakfast Burritos.

big breakfast burrito forks over knives plan
big breakfast burrito and greens
True to their name, these suckers are big.  Chock full of scrambled tofu, sweet potatoes and assorted veggies, they’re just the thing to satisfy your appetite any time of day.  I enjoyed mine with a bunch of sauteed garlic/mushroom Swiss chard, savoring the pleasant smoky flavor that the filling had despite not including any sort of smoky spice.

Speaking of, if you like spice and don’t mind a little prep work, there’s Tex-Mex Bean and Cornbread Casserole.

tex mex cornbread casserole fok plan
Instead of the gravy you’d find in a shepherd’s pie, this has barbecue sauce, which Chef Del kindly provides a recipe for elsewhere in the book.  It takes a little time to make since it has to cook down, but the upside is that there are no weird ingredients and it’s not crazy salty like the bottled stuff.  It has a very rich flavor that infuses the casserole to provide a lovely coating for the three kinds of beans.  I went all-out “Tex Mex” and added some corn and hot chlies to the mix, and I have to say, this is one of those dishes I could happily eat forever.

There are so many other recipes that I want to try, like the Quinoa and Millet with Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash.  There’s also a lovely Rice Casserole with Lentils and Sauteed Vegetables that features a “cashew crumble cheese” topping.  Just the recipes alone make this a book worth having!

One thing that really struck me about The Forks Over Knives Plan was how beautifully it’s presented.  I didn’t expect it to be hardback or to have so many unique recipes in addition to its wealth of information on plant-based diets.  Though I find it kind of odd that Forks Over Knives has developed into somewhat of a franchise that now has its own official “plan,” I can’t argue with the fact that the film and all of its related books have done wonders to bring the plant-based lifestyle into the mainstream.

The folks at Touchstone are supplying one lucky QV reader with a copy of this great book!
All you have to do to enter to win is reply to this post and tell me what your favorite thing is about being plant-based.  Or, if you’re not plant-based yet, why you want to make the transition. (US entries only, please.)

Contest extended!
One winner will be chosen using on Friday, November 28th, so be sure to get your entries in now!

Giveaway is now closed.  Thanks to all who entered!

Check out this sneak peek of the book from authors Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman!  Reprinted with permission.  (And stay tuned over the next couple of days for a tasty recipe from Chef Del!)

The Science Behind a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet
By Alona Pulde, MD, and Matthew Lederman, MD,
Authors of The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet 

Let’s face it: Americans are sick, tired, and overmedicated. Every fifty-three seconds someone in the United States dies of heart disease, which, as the nation’s number-one killer, claims about 600,000 lives per year.1 Cancer, now the second leading cause of death, takes the lives of more than 1,500 people per day.2 Meanwhile, nearly 10 percent of the population has diabetes3; and our children are getting sicker, as indicated by the startling fact that obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past thirty years.4 We have turned to the medical system for help, and it has delivered medication in a big way: Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, more than 50 percent take two, and 20 percent are on five or more prescription drugs.5 Despite the billions of dollars being spent on pharmaceuticals, the needle almost never moves downward on the rates of chronic disease, and people still feel lousy and sick.

Health statistics aren’t just about numbers on a page or data on a statistician’s ledger. These are our mothers, fathers, siblings, and children. These are our friends. The health crisis is taking a real toll on our daily lives, profoundly affecting the personal happiness and productivity of millions of us every single day.

There is good news, though. Research is revealing with greater certainty that we understand the main cause of this epidemic: an American diet that derives more than 90 percent of what we eat from animal-based and processed foods.6 Understanding the cause means there’s hope! The research tells us that if we change to an entirely different way of eating, we can dramatically alter our health destiny.7

Modern pioneers like T. Colin Campbell, PhD; Caldwell Esselstyn, MD; Dean Ornish, MD; John McDougall, MD; Neal Barnard, MD; and others are leading the charge. Thanks to these doctors and researchers, along with an emerging body of scientific evidence from all corners, we now know that a whole-food, plant-based diet is more powerful at preventing and treating chronic diseases than any medication or procedure. We are so convinced by the evidence that we believe if this diet came in a pill, it would be heralded on the front pages of newspapers and magazines around the world for its effectiveness.

There is a movement under way as hundreds of thousands of people, if not more, are trying the whole-food, plant-based lifestyle for themselves and finding great success. We have personally seen remarkable results in our own medical practice, not to mention experienced it in our own lives. Here are just a few of the significant life-changing results you may expect:

  • Prevent and reverse the leading chronic ailments. A whole-food, plant-based diet can prevent, halt, and even reverse heart disease8 and diabetes.9 Other diseases that are also positively impacted by this type of diet include: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and overall mortality.10 Cancer is also significantly affected by this diet. In fact, the foods that make up this diet are the exact same foods that were recommended in the first “surviving cancer” dietary recommendations.11 There is also evidence that a plant-based diet may reduce the risk of diverticular disease, gallstones, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and kidney disease.12 Furthermore, after switching to a plant-based diet, people routinely report experiencing or seeing in others improvements in a range of ailments, including osteoporosis, arthritis, headaches, acne, asthma, sexual dysfunction, reflux, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, dementia, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, infertility, insomnia, and sleep apnea. They even find themselves experiencing fewer or less intense colds, viruses, and allergies.
  • Reach your ideal weight. Our friend Doug Lisle likes to point out that humans and their domesticated pets are the only earthly creatures that suffer from being overweight and obese . . . in spite of the fact that we’re also the only creatures who practice portion control! Why is this the case? It’s simple. All of the other animals on earth are eating foods that are appropriate for their species. If we also eat the foods that are appropriate for our species — whole, plant-based foods — then we, too, will be able to eat without portion control and will naturally reach a comfortable weight. (We’ll talk more about this in our discussion of calorie density and body weight on page 30.)
  • Improve mental clarity. Eating a whole-food, plant-based diet improves cognitive function and protects against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.13 Most people experience greater clarity of thought, improved ability to concentrate, and better memory.
  • Experience only positive effects, not “side effects.” Perhaps you have chosen to transition to a plant-based diet to reverse heart disease or reduce your diabetes medications, but now that you’re here, you can see that you’re about to welcome into your life an abundance of positive effects. These can include better mood, sounder sleep, improved bowel function, and more vibrant skin. You will have more energy to do the things you love, like playing with your children or grandchildren, biking, gardening, walking, swimming. You may even want to exercise more. By contrast, as we’ll discuss in more detail a little later, medical procedures and medications can have all sorts of major unintended negative consequences.
  • Have a sense of well-being and empowerment. You are in control of your health. You do not have to settle for compromised health or believe that you are destined to succumb to chronic disease. You can live with less fear that a heart attack can happen at any time or that you will be struck by the same chronic ailment from which other members of your family have suffered.
  • Save time and money. Whether you have health insurance or not, you will likely have to pay out of pocket for at least some of your health care expenses if you are sick. Fewer trips to the doctor and fewer procedures and pills equal more time and money you can spend in other areas of your life.

The above is an excerpt from the book The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet by Alona Pulde, MD, and Matthew Lederman, MD. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy and references.

Copyright © 2014 Alona Pulde, MD, and Matthew Lederman, MD, authors of The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet

Authors Bios
Alona Pulde, MD
, is a family practitioner specializing in nutrition and lifestyle medicine. Alona developed the Lifestyle Change Program used for patients in the film Forks Over Knives and in her clinic, Transition To Health. She is the author of the book Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole: Your Guide to Optimum Health. Alona joined Whole Foods Market in 2010 as a health and wellness medical expert.

Matthew Lederman, MD, is a board-certified Internal Medicine physician specializing in nutrition and lifestyle medicine. Matt has lectured for the eCornell T. Colin Campbell Certificate Program in Plant-Based Nutrition and appeared in the films Healing Cancer From the Inside Out and Forks Over Knives. With Alona, he cofounded Transition To Health and coauthored Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole. Matt joined Whole Foods Market in 2010 to help direct various health and wellness projects.

For more information please visit and follow on Facebook and Twitter


About the Author:

Sam has been a vegan since summer of 2009 and has spent the subsequent years experimenting with all manner of vegan food. She holds a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and is a graduate of the Bauman College Nutrition Consultant Program. She has been a member of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce since August 2017 and is a former member of Toastmasters International, from which she was awarded a Competent Communicator designation for public speaking. When she's not blogging or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, play silly card games and knit socks.
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  1. Natalie  November 14, 2014

    One of my favorite things about being plant-based is the incredible and delicious options that I can make.

  2. Pamela  November 14, 2014

    Thank you for your enthusiastic review of some of the recipes! I am heading towards a more plant based diet.

  3. Brenda Morris  November 17, 2014

    Due to Hugh cholesterol in family and the fact I never liked eating meat, I love the new options and recipes for a plant based diet

  4. Brenda H  November 24, 2014

    This book is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I have lots of heart disease and cancer in my family. I’m disabled and have very diminished mobility. I’m on many medications, so I want to do all I can to help myself by caring for my body. The other BIG reason for my transition is based completely on animals. I’m a huge animal lover and I couldn’t continue looking at my plate and seeing the animal that once was looking back at me. I’ve cut out meat from my diet, but I really want to transition from vegetarian to vegan. I can’t wait to read this book!! I hope I win otherwise it will be a long time waiting for the library to get it or to save up to buy it ass money doesn’t grow on trees yet. Good luck all and happy, healthy transitioning for you all as well!!!

  5. Nate  November 28, 2014

    This would be huge for me as I’m almost a year in to the plant based life. I stopped smoking, stopped eating meat and processed foods and I started racing extreme obstacle courses. At 40 it hasn’t been easy but it feels great!!


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