There is a movement taking place that has an increasing number of people understanding the healing and protective power of food and its direct impact on the quality of our life. It is the Forks Over Knives movement that started in 2011 and aimed to educate and support people worldwide to make dietary changes that provide optimal health. Since then, it has grown to contain numerous resources, including articles, recipes, videos, classes, courses, and books. One of these valuable resources is the book entitled, The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet.
In this article, I will feature a book review of this resource and how it can help you harness the power and potential of your daily food as a healing and preventative mechanism for optimal wellbeing. Below I will share what you can expect from this new resource and how it can help you on your wellness journey.
Forks Over Knives Background
In 2009, Brian Wendel connected with doctors, Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman, as well as other leading whole food, plant-based experts to create what would become one of the most influential documentaries related to health and nutrition thus far. In 2011, this documentary, aptly titled Forks Over Knives, was released and captured the attention of many health professionals and people alike. By presenting transformative information that challenged many status quo beliefs about food and health, it created a quiet revolution that had people questioning their nutrition choices. This was no new diet; this was a new paradigm and way of understanding and applying the power of what we eat. Over the following years, the movement only continued to gain popularity as people were experiencing profound changes in their health, weight, energy, and quality of life.
In 2014, Drs. Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman released a new book to support further the movement that was teaching people to take back their health by starting with what they put on their plates. The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet features step-by-step guidance and 100 recipes to enable each individual to transition their diet throughout a four-week timeframe. Like the documentary that started it all, it is my pleasure to promote this resource because I know personally and professionally how much what we eat influences how we feel and what diseases we get or don’t get. Please know that I am in no way affiliated with the Forks Over Knives organization and am strictly raising awareness about the book to help more people benefit worldwide.
About the Authors
The Forks Over Knives Plan is written by Dr. Alona Pulde and Dr. Matthew Lderman, who are two classically trained medical doctors who are using the power of nutrition for healing and prevention in their practice and personal lives. They are also the founders of Kinectin, which features the “Hands of Joy” holistic framework that helps people identify what will make their life more wonderful and then supports them in that pursuit.
Dr. Alona Pulde is a board-certified practitioner of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and Family Medicine Physician specializing in nutrition and lifestyle medicine. She has worked hard to integrate the best of both fields into her practice and today unites these two powerful and synergistic healing approaches. Dr. Pulde received her Doctor of Medicine from Albany Medical College and her Master’s degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Emperor’s College. She is also the lead author of the book, Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole: Your Guide to Optimum Health.
Dr. Matthew Lederman is a board-certified Internal Medicine physician with an avid interest in the field of nutrition and lifestyle medicine. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at The University of Michigan, where he graduated with distinction. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree at Temple University School of Medicine and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. After initially practicing as a hospital-based Internist, Dr. Lederman quickly switched his direction towards the field of nutrition and lifestyle medicine, having had the honor of learning from some of the greats in this field. He also co-authored the popular book, Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole: Your Guide to Optimum Health
About the Content
The Forks Over Knives Plan is available in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle formats. It is composed of three parts, seven chapters and 100 recipes. The content is well laid out and written in a friendly, explicit, and easy to read style, with lots of cited research and personal quotes from people whose lives have been transformed by the whole food, plant-based eating approach. Here is an overview of the three parts:
Part 1: Eating the Forks Over Knives Way
This part contains three chapters. These share each of the doctors’ stories and why their medical practice has turned into healing people with nutrition. It covers the science and research, which confirm the power of whole plant foods and what constitutes a whole-food, plant-based diet. It also provides tips for how to approach various lifestyle considerations in light of this plan.
Part 2: Welcome to Your Four-Week Transition
This part contains four chapters, each one dedicated to one week of the forks over knives meal plan. Week one is focused on breakfast and how to deal with protein. Week two is focused on lunch and how to deal with calcium. Week three is focused on dinner and how to deal with fats. Week four is focused on fine-tuning the program and how to deal with carbohydrates. This part also provides the reader with a specific grocery list to follow, colored images of several of the meal recipes, and specialized focus sections that address common concerns.
Part 3: The Recipes
This part includes 100 recipes, divided into various sections like breakfast, soups and stews, casseroles, amazing grains, and desserts.
The ultimate goal of this program is simple: to leave you energized and free from debilitating chronic conditions so that you can spend less time in the doctor’s office and more time with the people who are important to you, engaged in the activities you enjoy.
Drs. Alona Pulde & Matthew Lederman, The Forks Over Knives Plan
When I first watched Forks Over Knives, back in 2011, I was already well into living and teaching based on the whole food, plant-based foundations. What that film did for me is, first and foremost, offer conclusive validation that I was on the right track in my personal and professional path. It was music to my ears! Secondly, I was thrilled to know that now there was a resource that can help people understand the power of wholesome plant foods in an enjoyable video format. Since then, I have been happy to share about the Forks Over Knives movement and help support its mission.
This book is a fantastic addition to the growing collection of resources to meet each person’s learning preferences. Its most valuable aspect, I feel, resides in the fact that it provides people with a comfortable and specific place to start when it comes to transitioning their diet. The book is super easy to follow and pleasant to read; there are no lengthy or complicated scientific overtones. It gets right to the point in addressing key nutritional concerns and how you can turn your health around by changing your diet.
The Forks Over Knives Plan is neither about counting calories nor nutrients. It is also not about willpower, portion control, or deprivation. It is about eating real, whole plant food for nutrient density, and enjoying life. The plan encourages you to eat a lot, in fact, but of the right foods. The Forks Over Knives Plan revolves heavily around managing hunger and cravings. Nearly every section addresses this on some level. You can rest assured that the guidance and the recipes are all poised at leaving your body and tastebuds fully satisfied.
What I find so compelling about the plan is that it teaches people about their food, to properly understand it and its role in the creation of health. This is an approach that I profoundly resonate with as I know the powerful transformations that can occur when people understand the connections between their choices and the resulting consequences and are equipped with the right information. You will learn what to buy, how to stock your kitchen and even some specific cooking techniques. You will also learn the basics about nutrients to feel confident that if you are eating the Forks Over Knives way, you will be covered for the nutrients you need.
What you shouldn’t expect from this book, however, is a focus on the quality of the food when it comes to things like organic, genetically modified, local, or similar considerations. It is evident that the authors want to empower people to take the first and most critical steps that pave the way to good health. Yet, at the same time, to do so in the simplest and most straightforward way. Of course, I would have loved to see at least some mention concerning the quality, not just the type of food. However, I know firsthand that it can be counterintuitive to throw too many variables at people at once concerning what they should pay attention to and change.
I applaud the approach taken by the authors when it comes to taking those first steps to make the transition from an animal-food and a processed-food based diet. It is precisely where I was back in 2006 when dairy was still one of the main staples in my diet. I was influenced then by the misguided and industry-pushed mainstream thinking that this food group was doing my body right. As I learned differently over time, one by one things began to change, and my eating and teaching approach reflected the essence of the Forks Over Knives Plan. The best part? It felt amazing! I did not want to stop there, though, but continue to optimize my nutrition to the highest level of healing and prevention that felt most in alignment with my needs and understandings of optimal health and human nutrition. For this and many other reasons, I always recommend the same step-by-step approach to others for the most sustainable, rather than short-lived, change. Never stop learning and growing as you keep moving forward.
About the recipes in the book, you can be sure that they will provide ample ideas to meet all kinds of lifestyles and family needs. Whether it comes to breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, or desserts, you will find something delicious with which to nourish your body. Most of the recipes are cooked or baked dishes that are based on various starches and beans and vegetables. The recipes range from very simple ones, with only a few ingredients, to more complex ones that require multiple steps. Most importantly, perhaps, is that the ingredients are pretty much all very common and should be very easy to source. Once you stock your kitchen well, you should have an easy time putting together the majority of the recipes. I have not personally tried any of the recipes, as I do not personally like to follow recipes when making my meals and prefer to be creative and dynamic at any given moment. However, I can attest that they definitely sound delicious, filling, and very nutritious.
It is always a pleasure to support and promote efforts that help individuals in our world lead healthier and happier lives. I feel especially strong about this when such efforts also take into account our modern challenges, including the environmental destruction and climate crisis, animal welfare, and cruelty in the animal agriculture industries, and human justice issues. When we choose a plant-based diet, we are directly helping each of these areas while we best support and optimize our health. By helping yourself in this way, you are benefiting our entire Earth and all living beings on it.
If you are needing to or struggling to lose weight or desire to reverse or heal any chronic disease, then this book is for you. If you are ready to release the eating habits that have created the current conditions that you are experiencing, then this book is for you. If you are prepared to lead a higher quality of life and enjoy the richness of living in a fit and healthy body, then this book is for you. The Forks Over Knives Plan will help you put your health right back where it belongs - in your hands. This book will equip you with valuable tools to know how to navigate this dietary landscape and build a solid nutritional foundation for life. Set your health up for success, starting today with the foods you eat!