The Forks Over Knives Diet: Is Vegan Going Mainstream?

I was sitting in the Orlando airport listening to CNN's Sanjay Gupta prattle on in his special "The Last Heart Attack."  He was discussing prevention, tests for early detection, etc., and then my ears pricked up a bit.  He was interviewing Bill Clinton about his eating habits, specifically, being a disciple of the "Forks Over Knives" diet, a no oil-added, vegan lifestyle. "Forks Over Knives" is a documentary released earlier this year that covers a lot of ground about nutrition.  In the movie they emphasize eating a plant-based, whole-food diet, but the filmmakers actually take it a bit further.  They really support people going vegan and cooking with zero (or as little as possible) added oil.  This means no olive oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, etc.  Lots of other flavorings, but all vegan.  The only fats come naturally from the diet. Gupta chatted about Clinton's diet, which the former president credits with keeping him alive and avoiding more complications from his heart issues.  Apparently all those jogs over to McDonald's during his presidency were not such a good idea. I've also seen snippets of "The Dr. Oz Show" where Oz talks about eating whole foods and as many fruits and vegetables as possible.  Oz is a fan of Dr. Mark Hyman who's book "Ultrametabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss" (Amazon link) also supports the "Forks Over Knives" diet.  It sounds pretty extreme, I know.  The mainstream media talks about this in a continuum.  Eating leaner meat is good, eating less meat is better.  Eating two servings of fruits and vegetables are good, eating five or nine servings are even better.  They encourage people to eat a little better than they were and then hopefully in a few months move the needle again and add some more positive dietary changes. I've seen "Forks Over Knives", the Dr. Oz clips, read Dr. Hyman's book, and interviewed Dr. Matt Lederman who was featured in the documentary (I'll have another post about Dr. Lederman soon).  I've also read Dr. Lederman's book, written with his wife, Dr. Alona Pulde, "Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole: Your Guide To Optimum Health" (Amazon link), which is a step-by-step guide to the diet and includes several recipes. By the way, Drs. Lederman and Pulde are developing the Wellness Clubs for Whole Foods Market, so you can be sure a lot of their philosophy is being adopted into this huge grocery chain.  Should be interesting when the meat producers figure this out. At this point I think I can safely say I'm pretty informed about the diet and I've been leaning a bit towards it.  I'm not ready to commit, but I've been vegetarian for the past week or so and picked up some no oil-added sauces from the grocery store.  (I actually found a no oil balsamic salad dressing that's tasty and a BBQ sauce too.)  I also made a soup from scratch using just vegetable broth, tons of veggies, a little brown rice, and no oil.  I was skeptical but it was truly delicious, one of my best pots ever. Oddly, this diet is easy for me.  I like to cook, the substitutions so far are simple, and I'm not craving anything I've cut out.  I wasn't expecting that.  Dr. Pulde and Dr. Lederman make it clear in their book that if you're jonesing for something you should have it.  If you're deprived, the whole thing will just backfire and you'll go back to your old ways.  They prefer the baby steps approach, eating a little better for now, then, when you're ready, making some more improvements. I wholeheartedly agree; changes slowly over time are barely noticeable and doing everything in one fell swoop can be really tough.  Even switching from regular soda to diet is better even though I personally think diet soda is evil.  It's a step in the right direction. What do you think of the diet?  Do you think it's ridiculous and way too extreme?  Are you curious to try it and see how it feels?  Would you consider eating just a little more veg and a little less meat? Let me know, I'm curious about your reactions to this post. Cheers, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

, , , , ,

88 Responses to The Forks Over Knives Diet: Is Vegan Going Mainstream?

  1. Jt Clough | Big Island Dog September 10, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    I’ve got a bit of a hard core 21 (20 left) days coming up and so this may be an easier diet after that!

    I’m doing a 21 day challenge to eat local food only. I’m lucky in that I recently moved to Hawaii and find that there is way more fruit, vegetables, beef and fish that are grown and produced right here on the Island. Still, it is a challenge to only eat and buy that food.

    I’ve been interested in Forks over Knives for awhile and when my husband watched the documentary last night, the night before we started the 21 day challenge, he got all stoked about it. So I’m in for sure because he is 45 years old, needs to lose 25 lbs with diabetes in the family history. He loves french fries and many things along those lines. I’ve actually worried about it for the last couple of years. He’s also summitted Mt. Everest with one arm (only man to do so)… which leads to…

    Yes, it is hardcore, but that’s the way we roll when we decide to do something. I think there is huge benefit to the diet and though there will be times to eat something not within the guidelines, like the the women in the documentary said, “just get back on the horse as quickly as possible”.

    I believe the more mainstream it goes the better the health in this country will get.

  2. Katherina @ Zephyr Runs September 10, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    I don’t think it’s an extreme move for me, but one day a few years ago it would have been. I saw another influential documentary, Food Matters and read an influential book, Death By Supermarket and decided to quit my habits cold turkey and went raw vegan. It lasted 3 months before I decided I was stressing myself out too much. Since then it’s been a constant improvement, to the point where I now get those 5-9 servings of veggies daily, in fact I probably get a lot more. I eat meat less than once a week and am happy with my diet. Forks Over Knives is a great documentary with a lot of evidence pointing towards what I think a lot of people already know in their hearts. It’s just a matter of making the small changes that will one day add up to something big! Love your review :)

  3. Randi September 10, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Hi! Great article. I’ve recently (4wks) become a vegetarian and I tinker w being a vegan some days. My boyfriend and I are doing this together. We want to be healthy, we want our families healthy and we want long lives. This plant-based, whole food “diet” makes sense. We’re not put together biologically to eat meat and, per Forks Over Knives, it’s not serving us any good to eat meat, dairy or so much sugar.

    Mainstream? I definitely think it’s growing. Is that bad? Not at all. Hopefully the attention will shift supply and demand to accommodate those of us struggling at the grocery stores each day to find affordable, organic (and local) foods. I often feel like i’m at battle against processed, chemical sh*t storms found everywhere in America. It’s time to evolve, back to the way we were designed.

    Thanks for listening. I’ll keep reading :) God bless

  4. Lisa Johnson September 10, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Thanks Katherina for sharing your cold turkey story. I can see myself doing the same thing. I get so passionate about good information and then I run off disorganized but determined. lol. :-)

  5. Lisa Johnson September 10, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    JT Thanks for talking about your story and your husband’s. How amazing that he summited Mt. Everest with one arm! Wow. That’s way more hard core than a few fruits and vegetables … :-) Appreciate you stopping by. L–

  6. Lisa Johnson September 10, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Randi, great comments and yes, I’d love the grocery stores to wake up and get better. I live in a pretty affluent area where there are a lot of options but being in the Northeast I still struggle with regional availability. I hope this is a tipping point, it would be amazing to have more healthy people walking around out there and the obesity numbers going down for once … :-) Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Amy September 10, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    I love this column Lisa. I have been eating fish once a week but other than that has been vegetarian. However, this winter, I’m thinking about following the diet. The only hard part would be not having pizza so maybe I’ll allow myself a slice of pizza a week. It’s all about compromises, I guess.

    I do think it is easier in the winter time because I have the tendency to make a lot of soups- kale soup, black bean soup, butternut squash soup. Like you, when I give up meat, I don’t really crave it. I think me eating fish once a week is because of laziness and it is just so easy to take a piece of salmon and grill it, where when you have a diet that is solely bases on vegetables, it requires time to think about what you want.

    Thanks for posting your opinions on the eating diet :)

  8. Tara Burner September 10, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    I was vegan for A LONG time!

    up until recently
    and now I’m more vegetarian than vegan.

    Veganism is also not just about food you consume but things you wear, use, etc… not using anything w/animal or animal by products in it…(wool, leather, silk, lanolin) so much more than just the food aspect.

    I still haven’t seen Forks over knives so can’t comment on that specifically.

  9. Jeannie September 10, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    I have definitely considered vegetarian or vegan a lot.I personally like to eat less meat for digestive issues and don’t lime to spend the large amounts of money on good organic cuts of meat. However, with family of 5 and two good meat eaters, I find it difficult to make a complete transition. I don’t want to be cooking more than one meal either. If we were To go that route as a family, it would require a lot more planning wise, organization, etc. Which I am struggling with right now. I would love to but feel I need to get the planning piece in place and more education to make sure everyone is getting the nutrients they need in my family. Other food issues come into play too such as gluten and soy which we avoid some of.

  10. Lisa Johnson September 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Amy, I would say it’s harder for me in the winter. I do make soups, but I miss my salads and fresh veggies a lot …

  11. Lisa Johnson September 10, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Jeannie, it is difficult isn’t it? It’s not so simple as go to the store and buy some veggies and family dynamics are an important part of healthy living. I agree there’s no point cooking multiple meals for multiple people. I will cook a dish with meat though and sub out some nuts for me in exchange for the meat I serve my husband and son. Just keep experimenting and you’ll get there. :-) Thanks for your comments.

  12. Jared September 13, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    The hardest to give up for many pondering a vegan diet is cheese or ice cream. I just stumbled on @wayfarefoods cheeses, sour creams, puddings, and ice cream that are oat based rather than oil based. Delicious!! A must in the vegan kitchen

  13. Lisa Johnson September 13, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    Jared, thanks for sharing the cheese. For me cheese is easy, but I’m still sneaking ice cream. lol

  14. Califia September 13, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    For me, going to a Vegetarian (I don’t think we can do Vegan, my husband isn’t into that.) diet is tough because the fresh veggies are so expensive. We are in the Houston, Tx area, and the price of vegetables that are near us is ridiculous. Couple that with gas prices, and even a good deal at a distant grocery store can be expensive! It’s sickening.

    We are making a slow transition. My issue is our 15 month old daughter, and an extremely limited budget. I have a hard time finding recipes for free that are strictly vegetarian or vegan, especially recipes my husband will LIKE. I can’t afford to buy up a bunch of books, but at the same time, I really want to experiment with different recipes that are featured in the books. We are having serious income issues though, and with only 1 car it has certainly been a stressful time, trying to schedule around his 2 jobs and not having transportation when he works both of them.. Sometimes shopping for “convenience” foods for him makes it even harder, because he is on the run.
    I plan to make a trip to our library and see if they carry these books, and then compile a book of recipes from that. But with our hectic schedule, getting to the library is like fighting our way through stampeding horses. lol.

  15. Shiva Steve Ordog September 13, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    It is good to read your views and experience on this. After seeing the movie “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead,” my girlfriend and I embarked on a juice fast that quickly morphed into a green smoothie fast when the juicer died of overwork on the 2nd day. We were past the 9 week point when we saw the movie “Forks Over Knives” and it seemed to underline some of our personal experiences with going all raw fruits and vegetables. More energy, weight loss, and improved skin for a start. I am a yoga teacher and vegetarian. She is not. We still have a salad or two during the week and often top them with some sour cream, greek yogurt, or shreded cheese and she often includes some diced chicken. To the extent that we have shifted our diet toward the one recommended by Esselstyn and Campbell, we have had amazing results. Did I mention my weight loss was enough to quit taking BP meds? Good luck on your health journey.


  16. Christina Baldwin September 13, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    I recently became a raw vegan to heal a chronic health issue. I can not begin to tell you how much faster I’m healing and how much energy I have! (I was a pretty healthy eater even before the raw vegan diet). It’s Definately something people need to “lean into” slowly, unless you are using it as a healing diet. As you get more and more into a whole foods, plant based diet, the foods you used to love don’t taste as good anymore (especially processed or meat). I own a copy of FOK, and lend it to anyone who will watch! Most people don’t realize that they have control of their own health and wellness. I’m so happy to see people having this conversation, thank you!

  17. CW September 13, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    I have been a vegetarian for over one and a half years now and love it! I have lost 40 pounds by not eating meat. I have been a Vegan for 3 months and loved that but to me its hard to maintain. I watched Forks over Knives this weekend and will now go back to being a Vegan for health reasons. The data is way too convincing that animal products cause heart attacks, cancer and strokes. I believe we are seeing the beginning of a national change. People are getting tired of gaining weight and getting sick from our diets.

    I also watched a great new movie this weekend that will help me reboot my palette and re enter Veganism. The movie is Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. Wow what a great documentary you have to watch it. It is free on Amazon Prime and Netflix Streaming.

    The movie shows you how to reboot your cravings and go vegan. Check it out!

    PS You also loose lots of weight!

  18. Lori Lynn September 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    My husband and I went vegan the moment we stepped out of the movie theater after watching “Forks Over Knives” on June 12, 2011. In fact, I think we were convinced half-way through the film. It was an easy switch for me, being nearly vegetarian, but I was totally shocked that my meat-loving carnivore husband was equally enthused. I cannot imagine doing this half-way. Once we understood the dangers about dairy, I couldn’t even consider eating my once-favorite food, cheese, ever again. The change is easy as far as eating the food and enjoying it. I have never enjoyed my food so much as I now do and I don’t feel deprived. I feel healthy and educated. I don’t mean to suggest that the transition is easy. It took a lot of work to learn how to read labels, how to prepare meals and how to shop and plan ahead. It is still a challenge, but it gets easier every day. And an added bonus is the ease of clean up. Since there is no oil in the food, many of the dishes can just be rinsed off with hot water. No gooey cheese or oil is sticking to the pots and pans.

  19. Lori Lynn September 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Oh! And I forgot to mention that between my husband and I, we have lost over 50 pounds since switching our diet over. The best part is we are eating just as much food as we were before, but now it is more satisfying and nutrient-dense.

  20. Annie September 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    It does seem that people are really interested in whole foods plant based diet/eating.

    I have been eating a whole foods plant based diet for 7 months. I recently went on vacation with three of my cousins, all omnivores, and they decided to follow my vegan diet for the week we were together so they could see how they liked it (I did the cooking). I’m happy to report they liked it a lot and now are taking steps to eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat. I’m glad I had such an influence on their health – just like The China Study and Forks Over Knives influenced me.

  21. Christa September 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    I followed this link from the forks over knives page. I’m always curious what others say about the film. Unfortunately I find most posts tend to really support it (a bit over-zealous for my taste) or simply rip it apart without any substantive reason other than the fall-back: “it’s too extreme” and “humans were made to eat meat” rationales.

    I was very pleased to see an unbiased review and comments that are intelligent, realistic and open-minded.

    I’m one of those people that read and research quite a bit, but once I make my decision, I go all-in immediately. I went cold-turkey (no pun intended) when I went vegetarian about 10 years ago. It was simply because for whatever reason, my body started rejecting meat. Chicken or beef made me feel nauseous when I ate it. I always follow my body, so I stopped all meat consumption. I couldn’t believe how different I felt, lighter.

    I knew about veganism, but like some others mentioned, I didn’t think I could ever go vegan – I LOVE cheese. However, as I’ve aged, my body gradually stopped processing dairy products (lactose intolerant). Again, I listen to my body. I went vegan and initially struggled with cooking. It took me a good 6 months of reading and playing around in the kitchen until I became comfortable cooking really good vegan dishes. I like family friendly meals as well as more gourmet style cooking when I have extra time.

    When you have younger kids and a spouse who are still omnivores, it’s very difficult. I suggest doing some research on kid-friendly vegan meals. There are a lot of vegan cookbooks and blogs out there with good recipes you can try. Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson has some really nice, comfort-food recipes you can try. And the blog: has a lot of great recipes from a father of 4 young kids.

    Start slowly by trying to make some vegan variations of their favorites. It’s easy to make vegan pizza (daiya cheese or teese are great cheese-substitutes). They are processed foods and still have oil, but again, it’s a baby-step to ease the family in the right direction. I would worry less about processed and oil based foods when initially making the transition. Once they get used to these, start adding a meal or two a week that doesn’t have any processed foods, but still cook with some oil when needed. Gradually increase the number of meals with whole food/plant-based recipes until the processed foods aren’t needed any longer. Then start working on the oil-free cooking.

    Good luck!

  22. Molly Mentzel September 13, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    I watched FOK 10 days ago and I’ve been vegan for 10 days now ;o) I was not vegetarian before. My healthy eating journey started probably 4 years ago. I started reading, watching and informing myself. Magazines, books, the internet, TV and documentaries. A few years ago I completely stopped buying anything with hydrogenated oil, corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup, and MSG. I cold turkey cut out my 3 diet cokes a day and switched to unsweetened tea. My kids are 13 and 10 and they don’t even remember when they used to eat that icky peanut butter (which, by the way, tastes like candy to me now. Disgusting.). I started adding some more fruits and veggies, but didn’t get too far with that. I exercised more. I brought my cholesterol down from 213 to 158! Not overweight, just a genetic thing. I’ve kept reading, watching and learning over the years and have leaned towards a veg diet. I thought it would be too hard, having a family and all. Watching FOK put me over the edge and I went from eating dairy and meat 10 days ago to now being vegan for 10 days and finding it VERY easy. It’s easy because I’m not making my family do it, so I still cook the meat and eggs and pour them a glass of milk. At their ages, they’re going to need to make the decision on their own. I’ll teach them over the years, but wont scare them into it. My hubby is willing to eat veg to support me, which is sweet, but I’ve told him to go ahead and eat both ways until he decides on his own that he wants to change. I’m having a fabulous time finding recipes, buying veggies I’ve never bought before, and everything so far tastes amazing! It’s not the FOK diet, just simply cut out all dairy, eggs and meat and added a zillion more veggies ;o) I already ate healthy with tons of whole grains, etc. Already shop at Whole Foods. I do think that it’s been an easy 10 days because I’ve slowly cut things out over the past few years, and I’ve really informed myself and waited until that final straw…which was FOK :) I also already cooked and baked from scratch, so that wasn’t hard either.

  23. Kristen September 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    I agree about the small steps over time and the fact that I am not craving anything that I have cut out. The only thing that I am not into in Veganism is the highly processed meat substitutes like Soy Hot Dogs and Tempeh. I am not convinced that highly processed foods are any better for my health than natural antibiotic-free meat products. So I am refraining from going completely vegan. I think I would call mself Flexitarian as I am allowing myself some meat and dairy on a limited basis, and completely cutting out processed/packaged foods.

    That being said, was an extremely powerful documentary for me and made me completly reexamine the way I eat and feed my family. Many healthy changes have been made as a result.

  24. Judy Roz September 13, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    There are so many wonderful books out there to help you with the transition. The sad part is that we wait until we are in bad state before we will try the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. That is the first thing you have to realize this is not a diet. Most people hear that word and think it will end at some point. By eating vegan or vegetarian you are doing good things for your body to function properly. There are some great cheeses out there that aren’t soy and you can use gluten free pizza dough or ezkeial tortilla for a fab pizza base or tostada. pile on the veggies. Don’t fall into the junk food veggies by doing everything fried. My husband and I are 85% raw and 15% cooked vegans. His diabetes is gone with no meds. This October 29th will mark a year for us. He was vegan totally in the beginning and once in a while would do some cooked fish. I was vegetarian with eggs a couple times a week and some goat cheese on salads. I would have fish when we went out….baked or steamed. By February I was total vegan and I can say we have had no fish at all since July. That was lobster one night because we were in Maine. Do read Dr. Esselstyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease….. it will help you understand how this works. I know some of you are saying….oh we don’t have heart disease in our family….well, guess what we all have it if you are over 20 and have been on the standard american diet which includes dairy, eggs, and meats. The best thing anyone can do for their family is to make it your family whole plant base.

  25. Don Grafstrom September 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Thanks for supporting healthy living. I was a carnivore until three years ago. I was turned on to Dr. McDougal through a program called “Slender for Life” which allowed me to change my mental attitude toward food and subsequently lose 55lbs in 5 1/2 months. I am not a Vegan or a Vegetarian, but a “Flexitarian”. I try to make the best choice of what is available to me at the time. I am basically a vegetarian, but occasionally consume meat or fish, more as a condiment. It will be a tough struggle to beat industry propaganda, but hopefully the truth on healthy eating will prevail! SPREAD THE WORD

  26. Clive September 13, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    I’ve been a vegan for over two years now since my diagnosis of early prostate cancer. Best thing I’ve ever done and I wish I had eaten this way all my life. My PSA dropped significantly, and has stayed down, and so far I’ve avoided surgery, My chronic arthritis cleared up and I now take no medications for anything. Most importantly, I feel better, stronger, and have more energy. I don’t miss any animal products whatsoever. I recommend everyone see “Forks Over Knives” and read Campbell’s The China Study.

  27. Dusty September 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Being vegan is great, and with all the info from the china study an the additional info from Forks over Knives, I can see it going “more” main stream. But it has to be more than not eating meat and dairy. It definitely has to be about eating whole foods and eating healthy foods. I have been vegan for 15 years, but just over the last 6 months have I realized that we were not healthy. NOW we are working on being healthy vegans. Being vegan was the right choice, but we utilized a lot of processed foods in our diet that was NOT healthy and well of course SUGAR! I am thrilled to see a push toward more healthy lifestyle, this is the diet God gave in the Garden of Eden, of course it makes sense!

  28. Debi Walker September 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    This is the best diet ever! I have tried many. Raw food, vegan vegetarian. Removing the oils lets you enjoy the foods so much more. My husband hard core meat and dairy has taken to this like a duck to water. He is doing well with it. This cnn special has made a huge difference to us. Thank you so much for promoting this special. It was very well done and has had very possitive effects.

  29. Lisa September 13, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    My husband and I went cold “tofurkey” vegan for four weeks after watching a program on PBS with Dr. Neal Barnard. Prior to watching the program, I had no interest in relinquishing meat! I prefer to call our diet “plant based.” We have also minimized the amount of oil that we eat and use vegetable broth instead of oils. Without trying, we both lost ten pounds and my husband’s blood pressure was in the normal range for the first time in 10 years. I am amazed at the energy that we both have.

    It’s been almost three months and we are still mostly following a plant based diet (we had ice cream a couple of times and shrimp once.) We intend to continue this type of diet; I have no desire to return to beef, pork, poultry, or dairy. We may occassionally have fish or seafood and ice cream. I have not craved meat one time since changing my diet and I used to love a rare steak! We bought several vegan recipe books and we modify the recipes to minimize oils. We have been eating many new wonderful foods and flavors! We love it!

  30. Kenneth Gruneisen September 13, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    I saw the movie on July 19th and decided then to just make an honest effort to only eat plants and avoid all meat and dairy products. It has been an easy adjustment, since I found the fact-based documentary to make such a compelling case against the animal protein casein. Since then I have dropped 30 lbs from 255 to 225, and I feel better and get many compliments about how much better I look. I shifted where I shop for food and go to the local farmers market where they do not sell any boxed or canned foods, instead of going to the other grocery stores (unless I have to, or it is a matter of convenience). I am not sure I’m following a specific “diet” if one is associated with the movie, and I didn’t read any books or study up anything outside of the movie because I am busy.

    I am probably doing some things wrong concerning some of the oils and processed foods. I might eventually (have not yet) adventure off and dare to eat some meat or cheese, since I was left with the impression that less than 5% casein in my diet was “safe”, so a meal with chicken or meat might fit within that guideline once every few weeks as I see it.

    I’ve posted a number of references to the movie on facebook and turned my friends and family onto it.

    By the way, the website link I added with this comment is NOT about weight loss, it is about a winning investment system in good times and bad. It might be helpful to any investors who plan to live a longer and healthier and more stress-free life!

  31. Marcee Lundeen September 13, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    I decided to try it after watching Dr. Gupta, Forks over Knives and reading Dr. Esselstyn’s book. I have polymyalgia rheumatica and have been on steroids and antiinflammatory meds for several years. I’ve tried to get off, but after 2 or 3 days I’m miserably stiff. I am happy to report that I’ve been following the program for 2 weeks, I haven’t taken steroids or anti-inflammatory meds for 2 weeks, I’ve been out to a restaurant, twice, The Reef in Houston, owned by the former The Next Iron Chef contestant Bryan Caswell, explained my diet requirements and found them totally accommodating. They made me a special warm salad with arugula and all kinds of steamed root veggies with a balsamic/mustard dressing. I feel great and don’t miss my steroids. I’ve also dropped 7 lbs, whether from being off steroids or because of the food, but it doesn’t matter, either way, I’ll take it!

  32. Alan Kenney September 13, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    You are highly observant and point on about what you have picked up from your examination of this subject. Twenty three months ago I leaped with both feet into a vegetarian/macrobiotic focused diet–similar to what you talk about–when I was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer. This diet saved me. To me the danger of listening to you is that while you are dipping your toes in the water ever so gingerly, many peoople who could be hugely influenced through your powerful gift of analysis, will suffer disease instead of health. Disease is so deeply entrenched in our culture from the Standard American Diet (SAD), that the epidemic is in full swing. Former President Clinton is a symbol that this lifestyle (more than a philosophy or trend), is right on and there is huge health revolution going on. Example, scientists are now saying tha 1 in 3, possible 1 in 2 men, will be experiencing cancer in our society. cutting to the chase–it is the SAD lifestyle that has created this. It is the plant based diet which reverses it. You are a talented observer and communicator. Look deep, reach deep into the truth of this slice of life that you have just witnessed. Then use your talents to get people to run to the exits of the standard american food outlet, and get themselves to a plant-based, whole foods diet…the one that healed me from colo-rectal cancer.

  33. vanessa September 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Lisa, Thanks so much for sharing your insite as well as toe dipping journey into the lifestyle that I passionately live by.
    I have been eating ,living and teaching this plant based lifestyle for over 3 1/2 years now I have never felt better! My 2 young daughters and husband came along for the ride from day one and we have never looked back. I am also a facilitator with the Wellness Forum..I run /own the Nevada Wellness Forum. I trained with the team featured in Forks Over Knives and I must say they are an incredible group of educated and inspiring individuals. I love love love this lifestyle and can’t ever imagine not eating this way…everything got better and more clear when I went plant based no oil!

  34. Allison Hulley September 13, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Yes, its a wonderful diet. Went vegan (whole family) in January and have never felt better. My husband’s and my “labs” are all in super normal range. I love to spread the work as I’m also really keen to make the world a better place for the poor animals who are so cruely slaughtered and then make everyone sick anyway. They have such a cruel miserable life. No need for anyone to eat them. Its terrible for anyone to take away life. We all need to think about that. Its the same as eating your dog or cat. They are all animals and know they are about to be killed and are terrified. They are killed in such a traumatic way.

  35. Lisa Johnson September 13, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    Alan, thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. I understand from your point of view that I’m not shouting from the rooftops loudly enough. What I have found over time is that a subtle approach, backed up by facts will help change peoples minds. You have a very powerful story and I’m sure many would listen to it and make changes but my story is not so powerful, merely exploratory and curious. I’m also all over the continuum with my own personal choices. I ate a bit of meat yesterday and felt fine. I waver between vegan days and vegetarian days. My husband and child don’t agree with me, although neither have seen the movie (there will be a showing at my house this weekend) I’m settling into this new lifestyle tentatively (as you said) and I’m just sharing my experience with my readers. I’m sure any more in the right direction is a good one and hopefully if someone is in serious trouble they’ll consider more drastic changes. I can tell you for sure, if I can cancer, I wouldn’t be waffling, I’d be following this plan religiously.

    Thanks again, I really appreciate you sharing your story. L–

  36. Lisa Johnson September 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    Marcee congrats, that’s so great to hear you’re doing well. :-)

  37. Lisa Johnson September 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    Judy thanks for sharing your guidelines as you transitioned over to a vegan diet. It’s very helpful. I should add at this time that my son is allergic to, corn, soy, legumes and nuts. It would be difficult for him to go completely vegan as quite a few foods are cut out of the vegan diet with that list! He eats very veg heavy and is thriving so for now that’s ok.

    Again, thanks so much for giving us some tips. L–

  38. Lisa Johnson September 13, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Christa thanks so much for your comments. What you said is exactly what I was trying to achieve in this post and I’m glad it resonated with you. I’ll definitely check out the link for Vegan Dad, I’m pretty sure I follow him on twitter :-) Sending you a (hug) and thanks for the support! :-)

  39. Lisa Johnson September 13, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    Annie you rock, what a great way to turn your loved ones onto something healthier. :-)

  40. Lisa Johnson September 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to leave a comment. It’s great to see the variety of paths people are taking to live healthier. Glad we’ve connected in a small way and I hope this helps everyone along on their journey. :-) Thank you. L–

  41. Julie Camacho September 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    I am ALL for it!! I sure hope there is a wave of people who are looking to change their eating lifestyle…It sure would help the price of health foods to go down.
    I am slowly getting my family (including my diabetic husband) on the band wagon…we are eating 3 vegetarian dinners (not quite vegan)a week. 90% of the rest of our meals are vegan.

  42. Ravi September 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    Nice article and wonderful discussions.

    For me, it started with cholesterol issues about 2 years ago and when my doctor prescribed the statin medications, I was not able to deal with the severe side-effects immaterial of what brand. Then I switched to Red Yeast Rice (had to find a lab that tested these products and certified them safe) since then. At the same time my doctor recommended that I read Dr. Esselstyn’s “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” around November of last year. It was an eye-opener for me and I started the process in January. I gave up meat the first month, egg the next and all dairy products in March. I’ve been a vegan since and am loving it. Haven’t had a craving once thus far. We’ve managed to buy as much organic fruits and veggies as possible. We’re thinking about joining a CSA farm for all seasonal organic stuff.

    I have even started juicing about a month and a half ago. My wife and I are planning on going on a 15-day juice fasting to cleanse ourselves from the toxins.

    Both “Forks over Knives” and “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” have inspirece me to keep going on. The latter one inspiring me to get rid of all the medications I’m taking for my allergies. I know I will.

    For folks, who love to read, here are some wonderful books and references:
    1. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
    2. The China Study by Dr. Colin Campbell
    3. Ultrametabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss by Dr. Mark Hyman
    4. Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness by Brendan Brazier

    and last but not the least, check out The Whole Grains Council Website ( for excellent information.

    The biggest problem I see in general is the availability of information to the general public. That said, once we get the information, we have to act upon it. Not just for ourselves but for our families as a whole. We, in our family, are slowly changing our practices to eliminate all the processed food as though I’m a vegan, my daughter and wife are not. They’re slowly changing their lifestyles. Knowingly if we feed our kids all the stuff that isn’t good for our health, the fault is on us.

  43. Mark Osborne September 14, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    A year ago, I decided I needed to lose some weight and I figured a lifestyle change was in order as I was getting a little heavier every year.

    I was doing some research on nutrition and happened to stumble across The China Study. It made me think so I did an experiment to try out a 100% vegan diet.

    It turned out that a 100% switch to vegan was pretty easy for me – I found it much easier to abstain from some food completely than try and choose healthy meals – especially when it came to eating out.

    My excess 50lbs fell off and I stabilized at the weight I was at 21.

    Somehow having to think about what to eat led me to take my health seriously and I have more energy and enthusiasm for exercise now. I have run a couple of 5K races and regularly run 5 to 6 miles at the gym. I even got off my asthma meds and don’t suffer from seasonal allergies anymore.

    I was so impressed that I even created a blog on vegan health and fitness!

  44. Jess September 14, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    I have been eating the whole-foods, no-oil, plant-based diet for over a year now. I can’t say enough good things about it. I had very unexpected emergency open-heart double by-pass surgery at age 56. Now at age 59, my LDL (bad cholesteral) is around 65, which is 1/4 of what it was 20 years ago. I take no statins, no beta-blockers, and no blood-thinners, not even aspirin. I eat as much as I want, whenever I want, and I very much enjoy what I eat. I have more energy than I can ever remember. I walk 20 miles per week, in addition to cycling, kayaking, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing (depending on the season, of course). I have shared my experience with many people, and I have personally withnessed similar results with just about everyone who tries this life-style.

  45. Lisa Johnson September 14, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Mark and Jess, thanks for sharing your stories. :-) Jess, yours is so dramatic! Sorry it took open-heart surgery to get to where you are now but it sounds like you’re truly enjoying life now. L–

  46. Ana Flores September 14, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    I applaud everyone for taking steps to living a healthy life. It can be difficult, but I approach the matter one day at a time. To eat healthy is a little more pricey, but I figure if I don’t spend it on good food now, I’ll be spending it on medicine later. Char Nolan said that when people think the way you eat is radical you should tell them”that having your sternum cracked wide open for open-heart surgery is radical!”

  47. Laura September 23, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    Went cold turkey on the FOK diet 3 1/2 weeks ago. I’ve lost 8# and am totally satisifed, not “jonesing” for anything. I think the secret is a stack of great vegan cookbooks (“Peas and Thank You” is my current favorite, along with The Meditteranean Vegan Kitchen — haven’t received the ones recommended by FOK yet, but they’re ordered) along with the website I still haven’t fallen in love with kale, but I’m working on it. It does require more cooking and thinking ahead, but so far it’s been great and my husband LOVES the food. My kids, not so much, but I’m not giving up.

  48. Lisa Johnson September 24, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    Laura, that’s great and if you ever figure out anything great to do with kale please let me know … :-)

  49. Pamela Good September 25, 2011 at 1:33 am #

    Wow, I don’t know if I can do this but I do think it is the direction I need to move towards. It just seeems that the people that eat this way are so much leaner and I feel that leaner is healthier. i like the idea of making changes slowly. this year I have moved to 5-8 hours of exercise a week from 1.5-2. I have also incorporated a lot more fruits and vegetables and only eat whole grain bread, rice and pasta. I need to really cut back my wine intake and i do cook with olive oil.
    I am going to order some of the books listed, China Study, Fok, etc.

  50. Lisa Johnson September 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    Pamela, they definitely talk about it as a continuum. So just start with a few small changes, get used to them and then move a little further down the road. Perhaps you could commit to a vegetarian lunch every day for instance, or start swapping regular pasta for whole wheat pasta. The little changes add up and you’ll barely notice small changes over time. L–

  51. kristen September 25, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    im 28 my ldl is 199 and total cholesterol is 261. i have a thyroid nodule and im tired of going vegan as i am on statins and continuing regular diet isnt getting me anywhere. eventhough high cholesterol runs in my dad side of family..i shouldnt be on meds at my im going vegan..its soo hard but im tired of taking statins..i hope it works for me.

  52. Lisa Johnson September 26, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    Kristen, good luck, I just re-watched Forks over Knives last week with my son and I hope you find it’s the solution you’re looking for. :-) L–

  53. Kate September 26, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    I never really liked milk or meat until I became pregnant with my first child & my Doctors basically demanded that I start consuming them. Something in me began to crave meat – the fatty beefy kind! Two kids, 80 lbs., and twelve years later, I question the wisdom of those recommendations. I started the diet several days ago – still holding on to some seafood for now. Hope to make me and the world better in the long term…

  54. Lisa Johnson September 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Kate, good luck, it’s so easy to buckle to pressure from your doctor and they usually have very little nutritional education …

  55. Don Schenck October 2, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    The challenge my wife and I face is that she cannot have soy, as she has a thyroid condition. Also, she’s celiac.

    We’re interested in embracing a MOSTLY plant-based diet, allowing ourselves the occasional, say, grass-fed steak. I feel that would benefit us without us feeling deprived.

    But much of the FOK diet uses soy-based substitutes.

    In the end, we’ll probably adopt most of this diet and reap the benefits. I’m (slowly) reading through Dr. Dean Ornish’s book, “Spectrum”, and it advocates choosing a diet that fits your lifestyle while being aware of the health consequences of said diet.

  56. Lisa Johnson October 2, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    You also might want to try reading the Exsalus book too Don. I know what you mean about the soy allergies and Celiac. We have soy, nuts, corn and legume allergies in my family and I think it’s basically impossible for some of us to go vegan … we have to work around it too. It’s why I resist going full vegan and instead go heavy vegetarian. And when I do eat meat I make sure it’s organic, and as sustainable and humanely raised as possible. :-) Thanks for adding your thoughts …

  57. Jackie October 4, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    I watched Forks Over Knives this weekend. The documentary was quite compelling and very informative. I’m 43. I do not take any medication. I consider myself healthy. I have an active lifestyle; going to the gym at least four days a week along with walking/jogging at least two days as well. I am overweight though. As of yesterday, I began a vegetarian diet with the intention of going totally vegan. So far, I’m not missing meat yet.

  58. Lisa Johnson October 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Jackie, good luck with it all. Be open to the journey and adjust as you need to. That’s, at least, what I’m doing … feel free to check back and give us an update. L–

  59. loism October 5, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    hello, thanks for the forum! my thoughts; I think the show did an excellent job showing benefits and strong support for going with less of meat, dairy and certainly processed food. I only found the woman with breast cancer segment too “commercial” for me. Her situation was extreme, and only one example of breast cancer “miracles”, if they were going to highlight her (as thrilled as I TRULY am for her), they need to ad more supporting numbers over larger studies. I found this part too “flashy” and too easily seemed as if addressing the serious disease with oversimplified answers, appealing to the less educated and and those who can be persuaded with “oversell”. If they had given more research validity to the subject, her case would have had balance. Otherwise, really good job. A direction we should all move towards. For myself, a good reminder to cut back on the “bad” and add more “good” food. My biggest drawback is eliminating even small amounts of lean meat, fish and dairy. I find plenty of other good research showing support for lean meats, fish, greek yogurt and olive oil. These will continue to be in my diet in moderate amounts. I have found other persuasive arguments ( and not from the meat dairy industry), research that supports these in moderation. However, still “hats off” to a subject we all need to hear and adhere to more.

  60. Lisa Johnson October 5, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Thanks Lois, appreciate your thoughts. L–

  61. Rosemary October 6, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    My Husband and I watched the forks over knives documentary about three weeks ago and we have both been vegan ever since, except for a few minor changes we do like salmon but we have kept it down to a tiny portion once a week. We cheat with red wine and use a little olive oil for cooking. Even so, we are doing great with sticking to our veg, grains, legumes,nuts and fresh fruit every day. I have even stopped eating wheat because of arthritis and skin problems. I run a Bed and Breakfast, so baking fresh baked cookies,scones and muffins and not tasting them has been quite a challenge!

    Let me tell you, it was really hard at first and you can forget eating out because you never know what ingredients they put in it. I haven’t seen any weight loss yet but I am sure it will happen in time.

    It’s actually fun learning new recipes and whats more fun is going to the grocery store and looking down at your shopping cart with all the healthy items inside compared to looking at other peoples carts.

  62. Lisa Johnson October 6, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    Ssshhhh, Rosemary we’re not supposed to admit the grocery cart thing! lol L–

  63. 3BoyPapa October 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    I watched FOK on tuesday and I am in day 3 of being a new vegan! Feel great and not really missing meat or dairy. Luckily, the is an Earth Fare near by (like a Whole foods) and I can find everything I need. All of the soy based substitutes for meat are fine and I am enjoying the fruits, vegetables, and natural ways to flavor whole food. I do enjoy red wine and i am an all grain brewer — not sure why these would be bad for anyone.

    Also check out Food, Inc… these 2 films don’t convince you to abandon meat based, processed food, gmo, non-organic diet, not sure what will.

    My friends and family think this is extreme, but I think open heart surgery is extreme!

  64. Lisa Johnson October 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    Hey 3BoyPapa, thanks for stopping by, be careful about too much soy in your diet it has something in there that mimics female hormones and it can mess with your system a little. Just spread out your protein sources to stuff other than soy, I had a client who had too much and her doctors actually banned her from eating for a few months to get her system back to normal. She was eating soy-based protein bars a wee too much.

    I’ve seen Food, Inc. and it’s definitely eye opening. I would say to you if you want to really dive in deep buy Jonathan Sofran Foer’s Eating Animals, it really covers the whole process of farm to table including the big farm system which are pretty horrible (Food Inc. talks a/b this but Foer’s book is a lot more detail.)

    Glad you’re enjoying it 3 days in. Feel free to stop back and update us on your progress. L–

  65. pssssst November 7, 2011 at 12:36 am #


    I started the FOK diet Sept 26, 2011 which puts me at six weeks tomorrow. After just three days I noticed remarkable recovery in my joints/arthritis. When I started this diet I figured that I’d be miserable and give up like every other fad thing I’ve ever tried. Honestly, I don’t miss the meat and dairy at all unless I pass by a fried chicken joint (that smell). As long as I can keep going, I’m fine.

    Like someone said in an earlier post, I love creating new recipes using ingredients that I have never used before. I also love that I can be resourceful enough to cook without the added oils, and make it taste delicious.

    Also, When I started, I went in with the idea that I wasn’t in it to lose weight, it was strictly to eat healthier and live better. The bonus of that is, even though I eat as much as I want, I’m losing weight.

    This is the first time I’ve ever found a diet that I can honestly say I can make into a lifestyle change, not just a temporary thing.

    I’m also looking forward to my next doctor visit to see my vitals and I’m hoping to get some blood-work done.

    I wish everyone good luck with their new lives. I know mine has been a blessing.

    God bless

  66. Lisa Johnson November 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing your story psssst! I’m glad your arthritis is feeling better and that you’ve been eating all you want but still losing weight. I’ve been continuing to play with vegan leanings and have lost weight from from the experimentation even though I’m not all the way vegan. I can make a darned good soup with no added oil! And other stuff too. Thanks for stopping in, Lisa

  67. Jennifer November 19, 2011 at 1:25 am #

    my husband and i decided to go vegetarian after watching the documentary “Farm to Fridge.” We just could not stand by and support companies that would torture helpless animals this way. Then we started watching more documentaries about vegetarianism and veganism and came across Forks over Knives about 3 weeks into our new diet. It changed the way we looked at food and how it affects our health. I don’t know how anyone can watch it and not want to change their diet. I don’t want to have diabetes like my grandparents! Or have strokes like my in-laws! I want to be healthy! So we went vegan the next week (after finishing up what was in the fridge. Waste not, want not.) We feel amazing. I used to need 9-10 hours of sleep to feel rested. now i only need 6-7. I have so much more energy too! My husband has a lot of health problems he’s had since birth and they don’t pain him or bother him like they used to. We are already healthier and it’s only been a month. I think everybody should do it. :)

  68. Lisa Johnson November 19, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    Jennifer I don’t even know that documentary! I’ll have to go track it down … thanks for coming by and sharing your viewpoint. Truly appreciated. And that’s so great about the sleep and really interesting too. L–

  69. Aaron December 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    yo homies, my mom just started doing this forks over knives business and i friggin love it. i still add a bit of olive oil when i’m roasting veggies and what not because i don’t want them to stick..any ideas on something that would prevent sticking and still be legit? also any breakfast ideas? i’ve been chowing down on oatmeal and some other whole grains with rice milk ( i really want to make my own almond milk) – but i’m looking for something more diverse for breakfast. I used to always eat awesome fatty omelets and taters.. breakfast is my favorite meal, any delicious ideas?

    thanks ya’ll

    F O K all day every day – i just made that up, we should make shirts.

  70. Deane January 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Why is olive oil ‘bad’ if it’s a plant-based product and
    what other plant-based products are considered ‘bad’ using this?

  71. Lisa Johnson January 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Hi Deane,

    I took am skeptical, frankly, about olive oil being bad, especially since I cook with it all the time. If I get cancer or heart disease though I’ll guess I’ll consider it … L–

  72. Mark Osborne January 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    It’s not that olive oil is bad per say – it’s just that it is a very dense form of calories with low nutritional value and will crowd out healthier options.

    Adding refined fats can also have a negative affect of satiety – they cause you to eat more food than you need.

    I use a small amount of olive oil in a skillet for sautéing – but I also add a little water as needed. I do not use oil for salad dressings.

    I usually just use a mixture of ground flax and nutritional yeast as a salad dressing as it is rich in Omega-3s and as a dry dressing it doesn’t cause my salad to go soggy. I often prepare salads for lunch a day of two before I eat them.

  73. Lisa Johnson January 23, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Hi Mark, the “olive oil is bad” actually comes directly from the book written by the two doctors from the movie, they have a whole section and specifically use Olive Oil as the example. They believe it shouldn’t be used in cooking at all and even gave specific cooking information for how to NOT use oil. They were quite specific. :)

    That said I agree with you, it’s a dense form of calories with low nutritional value, it’s also quite tasty and from the oil family one of the healthier ones to choose. L–

  74. Kim January 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    I like your article. I have seen the documentary. I am a vegetarian and getting closer to a vegan diet after seeing the film. I disagree with your statement that diet soda is better for you than regular though!!

  75. Lisa Johnson January 25, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Kim you weren’t the first and it is arguable … chemicals vs. ridiculously high sugar content … lol. Best to avoid both. L–

  76. Will March 20, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    My wife actually forced me to watch the Fork over Knives video and I found it very interesting. I have a friend who is a vegan and it seems he doesn’t even like vegetables and seems to be over weight, however, I eat a ton of lean white meat, 2 pieces of chicken a day. I exercise, lift once or twice a week and run at least 9 miles a week and it seems I am gaining weight and my blood pressure is in the hypertension range. I recently went to a cardiologist and he is considering putting my on medication. My point being, what I am doing is simply not working. I go back to the cardiologist in 54 days. I am going to hit this diet as best I can and see if it has an impact. Not just on my waistline ( I feel I am probably 15-20lbs too heavy) but also on my energy levels and my blood levels. Why not? Best of luck to anyone giving it a go.


  77. Lisa Johnson March 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    Will good luck and thanks so much for adding a comment here. You are living a healthy lifestyle but something is still getting away from you. I’ve found over the years with clients … 9 times out of 10 it’s because of diet. Hope this works for you, I’d do all I could to avoid medication, but if it’s necessary, it’s necessary … :-) L–

  78. kim June 1, 2012 at 6:46 am #

    Hi,I am on the FOK whole foods, vegan plan and so far, so good. I have been able to find many uses for tofu which replaces all my meat options and does not make me crave actual meat. This being said, I have only been on the plan for a week but it has been fairly easy for me.

    I grew up eating a mostly plant based diet consisting of rice, fresh veggies, and small amounts of meats and fish for flavorings (like Athony). My background is Vietnamese. I got away from the Vietnamese diet just within the last decade or so but I’ve lived in the U.S for 38 years. I am 42 years old. I consider myself healthy and active. I don’t take any medications of any sorts. I found the documentary compelling enough to change my eating habits. I will most likely miss my mom’s braised catfish but I am sure I can replicate that dish using tofu. I am really excited to be able to take control of my eating habits again as I feel it has gotten away from me.

    Lisa, I may have to watch it again but I thought Mark Osborne more accurately reflected what the documentary said about olive oil. It is bad for you because it has dense calories that don’t fill you up and it is also heavily processed which is also bad. I will watch it again to see if I can get more insight. Thanks for your article and I wish good luck to us all. Healthy Eating!! :)

  79. sandimccoy August 6, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    I was wondering what type of beverages are allowed besides water. Thank you!

  80. Lisa Johnson August 6, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Sandi, herbal teas I believe are fine. I’m not sure how they feel about caffeine, I’d have to look it up. :-)

  81. Kay-Marie February 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Coming from a Japanese background – after watching the movie the change in diet wasn’t too difficult. I miss my Asian stir fry with oil though – I don’t miss the meat much as we often only have slivers of fish from time to time in the typical Japanese meal.

    I am confused about the use of powdered bullion though. Reading the nutritional labels – often they are zero protein, zero fat – so why not use them?

    I also don’t know the rules on wine or vinegar. Both a favorite. Any advice?

  82. Karen March 4, 2013 at 1:48 am #

    Kay-Marie, vinegars are fine. In fact, balsamic vinegar is great on things like kale. No tahini hummus and balsamic vinegar makes a great salad dressing with no oil.

    As for wine, you can have it in moderation. Just be aware of the sugar content in alcohol.

    Most bullion has added oil and tons of salt. I have found that the most important thing about this food plan is learning to read the INGREDIENTS part of the label. If you make sure all the grains are WHOLE, there is no added oil, and no animal products in the ingredients list, then you are probably safe. The problem with nutritional labels is that manufacturers can adjust the serving size so that it looks like there is no fat when thee actually is (less than .5g means they can legally say 0g). But if there is ANY added oil, they must list it in the ingredients.

    I saw a package of “whole wheat noodles” that had words like “eat right” and “healthy” all over it. The first ingredient was whole wheat. But then there was semolina and durum wheat after that (not whole grain). So, the packaging meets FDA guidelines but is still misleading. I rarely look at the labels until AFTER it passes the ingredients test. Then I check on things like sodium content.

  83. Karen March 4, 2013 at 1:57 am #

    Lisa, there is now some research that caffeine may injure your arteries. I don’t know the study, but I’ve hear Dr Esselstyn state this in a recent talk. I roast my own coffee, so I’ve cut back on when I drink it but have not given it up completely yet.

    BTW, I just started this plan only a week ago. I had a heart attack followed by emergency bypass surgery followed by several complications. I feel very lucky because I survived and I’m able to make changes to my diet that might reverse or at least stop the progression of the disease. It is empowering to feel that I have some control, so I am not struggling at all with the change yet. If you had told me a month ago that I would be choosing this food plan, I would have laughed at you. Ultimately my cardiac rehab nurse recommended FOK and then I read Esselstyn’s book and then The China Study. Wow – it’s just so compelling!

  84. Lisa Johnson March 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    Karen, thanks so much for sharing your story and I wish you all the luck in the world as you right the ship! I hope FOK works for you and you live a long, healthy, happy life. L–

  85. Lisa Johnson March 5, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Karen thank you very much for chiming in. Great info. L–

  86. Sammy May 20, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    I read all of the comments and I think I’m the only one who is having difficulty on this plant based diet. My husband loves it and lost 6 pounds the first week. I gained 3 pounds and had severe bloating, gas and stomach distension. I felt horrible, had a week of depression and generally hate it. I switched to WFPB juicing and feel a bit better, but not as well as I’d like. It’s been a month and I’m discouraged.
    BTW, I was used to a protein shake (some dairy), or fruit and yogurt or breakfast, salad with ranch or Caesar dressing for lunch and chicken or beef with a veggie side or another salad for dinner.
    Peanuts for a snack and occasional chocolate for a treat. Not what I thought of as horrible.
    Any tips?

  87. Mirek January 10, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

    I was wondering if that ForksoverKnives diet is appropriate for people like me who have kidney stones. I’m not allowed to eat spinach and other green leaf vegetables. From the documentary I gathered that this is mostly what was eaten there. Thanks

  88. Lisa Johnson January 26, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

    Mirek, definitely check with your doctor! Kidney stones are nothing to mess with and as you know, diet can have an effect on them. Good luck!

Leave a Reply