Forks Over Knives by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr, MD

fokForks Over Knives is a book for human beings, aimed at helping them live healthier lives. It is about the heart disease, diabetes, and cancer that appear epidemic in our culture. It is about the curative power of a plant-based diet and the steps necessary to achieve one. Included are  brief bios of some of the major contributors to the film of the same name (Neal Barnard, MD of PCRM; Gene Bauer of Farm Sanctuary; Rip Esselstyn of The Engine 2 Diet, and many more).  There is nutritional information, a guide to reading food labels, a list of some of the problems with animal agriculture, and tips for transitioning to a new, healthier lifestyle.  It is also a book with over 125 vegan recipes to help you on your journey.

A Primer for Plant-Based Eating

This would be a good book for someone who is interested in a plant-based diet but lacks the needed information to achieve one. It only grazes over the plight of animals and does not go into any depth with environmental impacts, since this is, after all, about promoting a healthy lifestyle. However it is popularized, the book created by these two physicians has the ability to reach multitudes more people in impacting their purchasing and consuming behavior than do a myriad of grassroots activists; recent research appears to support the idea that more people may accept a plant-based diet for health reasons than any other. There is enough information about the torment of farmed animals, presented in a succinct manner, that some people are bound to learn enough to become concerned about the origins of their food. If that is not enough, there is a chapter, too, on the environmental impacts of our food choices. Again, these are a brief few pages, but it is enough to make the case that our current way of eating is not sustainable, is environmentally destructive, and needs to change. (It will be left for other authors to make the case for the cessation of human exceptionalism.)

Recipe For Change

There are recipes in many categories: breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads and dressings, sauces and snacks, main dishes, side dishes and desserts. Most appealing to this reviewer were the many simple-to-make salad dressings, perfect for adding a bit more taste and zing to my raw food salads. There is the Quick Barbecued Tempeh which is incredibly easy and ready for the grill with only minutes of preparation (and an hour marinating). The Cherry Pineapple Cake is quick to assemble and has an interesting combination of tastes and textures. There are many contributors to the recipe section of the book, giving it a diverse view of the plant-based world of eating. Best of all, the recipes are designed to make transitioning to a plant based diet easy and healthful. However, this is not the glossy-paged colorful vegan cookbook like many that line my shelves; this book has a much wider purpose than that. Whether new to this type of diet, or a long-time vegan in search of something new,Forks Over Knives offers a healthy sampling of recipes for a better world and information for the journey to plant-based eating.