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My friend Corinna is worried about high blood sugar and other incipient health problems, so she asked me to recommend a few books to help her get started on a plant-based diet. She wants to learn about medical theory as well as to gain practical advice on cooking, grocery shopping, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while traveling. Here are my recommendations:
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas Campbell, MD. The father is a professor of biology at Cornell University and the director of the China-Oxford-Cornell Diet and Health Project, a 20-year study of nutrition and health in China, the largest epidemiological study ever undertaken. The son is director of the University of Rochester Program for Nutrition in Medicine. This book, first published in 2006, revolutionized the study of health and nutrition, establishing beyond reasonable doubt the fact that an animal-based diet is the chief cause of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and auto-immune disorders — the leading causes of infirmity and death in modern society. Despite the stellar scientific credentials of the authors, the book is written for the layperson. Part autobiography, part scientific mystery story, part sociological critique, the volume traces a remarkable journey of a boy who grew up on a dairy farm to become a world-renowned scientist who battles the American agri-industry. This book may change your life.
Super-Immunity by Joel Fuhrman, MD. The author is a practicing physician who specializes in nutritional approaches to chronic diseases. His plant-based approach focuses on the health benefits of six food groups — cruciferous greens, allium (onion and garlic family), mushrooms, legumes, berries, and seeds. Fuhrman makes a convincing scientific argument that if these foods are eaten daily as part of a whole plant diet, you will be free of the major ailments that sooner or later afflict most Americans. The book includes sample diets and recipes.
Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson. Superbly researched, Robinson’s book tells us how to shop, cook, and eat to maximize our intake of protective phytonutrients. For example, did you know that red cherry tomatoes have up to twelve times more nutrition than red beefsteak tomatoes? Or that tearing romaine lettuce the day before you eat it doubles its antioxidant content? Or that slicing, chopping, or pressing garlic cloves and letting them rest for ten minutes before cooking, boosts their cancer-fighting properties? This book is highly recommended for its practical tips on improving your diet.
Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. There are literally thousands of vegan cookbooks out there, but this one, in my opinion, is the best. With over 250 delicious recipes, the authors also include practical tips on such things as knife skills, kitchen equipment, one-pot meals, and healthy fast-food you can prepare yourself. My wife Eva, who is a masterful chef, keeps this cookbook handy and refers to it almost everyday.
And finally, a tip about eating healthy when traveling. East Asian cultures don’t use dairy and have a long tradition of vegetarian cuisine. When Eva and I are away from home, we eat nuts and fruit for breakfast, and for lunch and dinner, we look for a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant and enjoy a wholesome soup or stir fry.
Copyright 2016 Michael Simms