“Forks Over Knives” and the Plant-based diet (2022)

The truth of the phrase “you are what you eat” couldn’t be any more evident than after reading the new book “Forks Over Knives.

The book concisely lays out the argument for eating a plant-based diet versus the traditional American diet of dairy, meat and oils. Drs. Colin T. Campbell and Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., contributors to FOK, have conducted countless studies throughout China and Taiwan to prove that plant-based dietary changes can prevent or rescue you from diabetes, cancer, stroke and heart disease — the leading cause of death in America.

Here’s some scary facts for you: In 2006, 631,636 Americans died from heart disease. That is one in every four Americans, or about one person a minute, died of heart disease in the U.S alone. Another startling fact, from the book, roughly 50% of Americans are currently on prescription drugs. Yikes!

I asked the editor of “Forks Over Knives,” and author of “The Secrets Of People Who Never Get Sick,” Gene Stone to answer a few questions about how this book, the corresponding film and a plant-based diet can save lives.

Q: How did the “Forks Over Knives” film and book come about?

A: “FOK” was the brainchild of executive producer Brian Wendel, who wants everyone to know the benefits of eating plants — and is doing everything he can to get the message out. (The premise behind the film is, “Does what we eat determine how long we live?” According to Wendel, “the film is a part of a bigger movement working to end the animal-based and processed food diet.”)

Q: The major question “Forks Over Knives” poses to everyone is “What if one simple change could save you from heart disease, diabetes and cancer?” The book explains this through extensive research done in China. Can you briefly explain these studies and how profound the results were?

(Video) Forks Over Knives- plant based diet reverses heart disease, type 2 diabetes...

A: “FOK” features the work of Dr. Colin Campbell, whose book “The China Study” shows the medical advantages of eating a plant-based diet. Referred to as the “Grand Prix of epidemiology” by The New York Times, the study examined the health and nutritional habits of 6,500 adults in more than 2,500 counties across China and Taiwan, and conclusively demonstrates the link between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Q: What is the plant-based diet, and is that the same as being a vegetarian or vegan?

A: A plant-based eater is basically another way of saying vegan, which is a diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients; if there’s a difference, it’s that a vegan is generally all vegan, all the time, whereas a plant-based eater may occasionally stray.

As plant-based eater, former Texas firefighter and son of “FOK” author Dr. Caldwell B, Esselstyn, Jr. Rip Esselstyn says, “Being plant-perfect is great, but not everyone can do it all the time, so the next best thing is to be plant-strong.” Rip Esselstyn appears in the book as one of the many physicians, authors and average people in “Faces of Fork Over Knives.” “I believe that within 10 years or so there will be a stigma attached to eating meat, similar to the one against smoking today,” says Esselstyn.

Esselstyn’s father, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, has been studying the effects of a plant-based diet for over two decades. During that time, Esselstyn has said that “Sadly, today most doctors treat only the symptoms, not the given cause, giving their patients pills, procedures and operations that are expensive and dangerous. If they would just sit with patients and explain what diet can do for them, patients do succesfully come around.”

Q: What are some of the simple changes that people can make today?

A: The key principles from the book are to eat minimally refined fruits, vegetables and grains. Avoid overly processed foods and oil — inlcuding olive oil. Avoid preservatives and additives, eliminate dairy. Don’t worry about carbs, but be sure to eat the right carbs and not chips, cookies and bread. Don’t worry about getting protein. Plant foods have a ton of healthy protein.

(Video) Lose Weight for Good with a Healthy Plant-Based Diet with Dr. Anthony Lim

Q: What are some of the worst foods Amercian’s typically consume? Do you think American’s feel they are just too busy to adapt to this style of eating?

A: The worst foods people eat are animal protein, dairy and oil. Being a plant-strong eater does not mean inconvenience. It’s just as easy to eat a salad or veggies as it is to eat a hamburger.

Q: How might someone begin to transition to a plant-based diet? Can there be a happy middle ground, or is it all or nothing to reap the benefits?

A: I don’t tell people they have to become all vegan, all the time, this very minute. The more plants you can put into your diet, and the less animal protein, the better off you will be. It is not a matter of all or nothing. It is a matter of eating more plants, feel much better.

Q: On the other side of the coin, what are some of the best plant-based foods that should be in everyone’s diet?

A: All of them. Seriously — the wonderful thing about plants is that there are so many of them to choose from, and they are all good for you in different ways. Don’t get stuck eating just tofu, or broccoli, or cabbage. Eat as many different plants as possible, and reap the rewards from all the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Q: What are some of the incredible transformations in people’s health that have been made due to switching to a plant-based diet?

(Video) Plant-Based Family Grocery Haul & Forks Over Knives Magazine! / Vegan Grocery Haul on a Budget

A: People who have adhered to a plant-based diet have seen their cholesterol levels drop, their HDL, or healthy cholesterol, rise, their LDL, or lethal cholesterol fall, their triglycerides drop, and their weight drop as well. All of the major books on the subject include case studies from people who have had with dangerous lipid test results and instead of taking pharmaceuticals, changed their lives by eating plants.

Q: How soon might someone feel or notice a difference in their health or body?

A: Rip Esselstyn found when he did his Engine 2 Pilot Study that several people noticed a change within days, and many people found that their cholesterol levels had dropped by as much as 50 percent within a few weeks.

Q: I would imagine that someone adapting to this diet, “in moderation,” wouldn’t even be an issue because the need for junk food and fast food would not be there?

A: As mentioned, not everyone is plant-perfect. While some dedicated vegans never stray, many people occasionally have a bit of animal protein in their lives. No reason to beat yourself up over this. The point is to eat as many plants as possible. Still, it is true that the less junk food you eat, the less you crave it. When your body is used to nothing but good nutritious food, junk food seems, well, like junk.

Q: What are the hopes for “Forks Over Knives”, both the book and film, in changing the way the world looks at food and takes care of their bodies?

A: The hope is that as many people as possible will take up a plant-based diet-here in America, and everywhere else.

(Video) Plant-Based Meal Prep | 6 Delicious Recipes from the Forks Over Knives Meal Planner

Q: Do you think will we see a shift toward a plant-based diet than the currently popular Mediterranean Diet, Raw Food, Atkins, South Beach and so forth?

A: Yes! It’s already happening. If you look at today’s bestseller list, you’ll see more books that are plant-based than animal-based, including Alicia Silverstone’s wonderful book “The Kind Diet.” The books by Rip Esselstyn “The Engine 2 Diet” and his father Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” the great “Skinny Bitch” books, and of course, “Forks Over Knives,” which is No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list this week. is it really? not on our list The number of plant-based cookbooks has skyrocketed.

Whereas eating a plant-based diet used to mean having to find specialty stores in your neighborhood and avoiding restaurants, now even chain food grocery stores offer lots of vegan options, and places like Whole Foods offer delicious plant-based take-out. Restaurants across the country offer vegan options, and some even feature vegan dishes on their menus now. And, as mentioned, Today, if you want to eat plant-based, you have more opportunities than ever before. So try it!

((NOTE: recipes to come awaiting permission to reprint. thanks)

Don’t forget to check back Monday morning to be a part of my Meatless Monday’s campaign!

Have you read the book or watched the film? Tell me what you think. Do you eat a plant-based diet, share some of your favorite staples?


What does Dr Oz say about a plant-based diet? ›

"Dr. Oz's diet emphasizes nutrient-dense plant-based foods. However, the diet is quite restrictive, limiting meat, dairy, and grains, as well as eliminating any sugar or processed foods. While OK for a short-term 'jump-start,' it is unnecessarily strict for lifelong eating."

Is Chris Paul on a plant-based diet? ›

NBA star Chris Paul—known affectionately as “CP3”—credits his plant-based diet for helping him gain energy and tame muscle aches, on and off the court. The Phoenix Suns point guard made his 12th appearance on the NBA All-Star team in February and has been vegan since 2019.

Is Mark Wahlberg on a plant-based diet? ›

But one thing that has changed as of late is his approach to diet, he revealed in the Men's Health segment “Vs. the Internet.” While Wahlberg typically eats around eight meat-based meals per day to maintain his gains, he recently switched to a plant-based diet.

How long does it take for your gut to adjust to a plant-based diet? ›

However, an overnight conversion from standard western omnivore to healthy high-fiber herbivore can result in a period of bloating and digestive discomfort as your microbiome and digestive processes adjust. Some people may need to take a step back and make the transition over a period of six weeks or so.

Is Dr. Oz plant based? ›

Mehmet Oz, best-known as just “Dr. Oz,” does not follow a vegan diet, but has previously spoken in support of its various health benefits.

What Dr. Oz eats in a day? ›

He exercises every day (a four-mile run and ten minutes of yoga, plus basketball in his basement court whenever he can), assiduously avoids simple sugars, and eats tiny "meals" at 60-minute intervals. His standard breakfast is yogurt and blueberries; he snacks on almonds and walnuts in the afternoon.

Is Gisele a vegetarian? ›

Bündchen eats meat and fish, but not often, and eats plant based almost all the time.

Are PETA vegans? ›

Some of our positions do require you to be vegan (e.g., all positions related to campaigns, fundraising and development, and media spokespeople). However, many roles do not require this. We look for compassionate people to work for the organization.

What is Steph Curry's diet? ›

He avoids the typical light salad, steak or other prepared meals and shoots for a bowl of pasta. With a bowl full of pasta, often spaghetti, Steph heads over to the popcorn table when he gets to the game at Oakland arena. While eating so healthy most times, he prefers junk food before, during and after the big game.

Is Hugh Jackman vegan? ›

While Hugh Jackman isn't vegan, the opening of Laughing V will be the founder's first vegan venture.

What plant protein does Mark Wahlberg use? ›

Co-founder by fitness fanatic, actor, and businessman Mark Wahlberg and former GNC executives to create a line of quality, high value, all-natural products people can trust.
BrandPerformance Inspired Nutrition
Protein SourcePea
Item Weight1.8 Pounds
2 more rows

What is Tom Brady's diet? ›

The Tom Brady diet—also known as the TB12 diet—is a high-protein, plant-based diet that excludes gluten, dairy, corn, soy, MSG, coffee, alcohol, GMOs, sugar, trans fats, overly processed foods, and more. Some fruits and vegetables such as nightshades are off-limits, as are certain oils.


1. What Do You Eat on a Plant-Based Diet?
(Forks Over Knives)
2. My Transition to a Plant Based Diet & Losing 55 lbs
(Sarah Murphy)
3. The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss by Chef AJ
(Forks Over Knives)
4. Forks Over Knives - Dr. Neal Barnard on Diabetes | Forks Over Knives
(Forks Over Knives)
5. Going Plant-Based: Tim Kaufman Shares How to Get Started and Stay in the Game
(Forks Over Knives)
6. Forks Over Knives - Official Trailer
(Forks Over Knives)

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