By: Jane Birch
Resources supporting a whole food, plant-based diet are abundant. More than you’ll ever have time to fully explore is freely available on the Internet, but I recommend you include the following two items in your study, even if you have to purchase them.
1. Forks Over Knives. This documentary is the best short introduction to a WFPB diet. It is widely available through Netflix, Amazon, and possibly your local public library. Don’t miss it! (I also highly recommend The Forks Over Knives Plan for a step-by-step transition guide.)
2. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell. This is the best book for understanding the power of this diet. Campbell does not include practical advice or recipes, but he presents the main scientific facts in a compelling way, backing every assertion with appropriate references. It may be available at your local library, but I encourage you to purchase the book. It is inexpensive and well worth the cost. Be sure to get the “revised and expanded edition.” See Amazon.
If you are LDS, you will want to watch my Word of Wisdom video. See also my book (I don’t pocket any earnings from it!): Discovering the Word of Wisdom. This book presents the evidence for a whole food, plant-based diet through an exploration of the Word of Wisdom. You can also read my articles on Meridian Magazine.
WFPB Websites and Related Resources
Due to the generosity of many WFPB experts, there is plenty of information freely available on the Internet. Below, I highlight a few favorite websites, especially from the long-time heavyweights in this field, but you can find plenty more if you look. I also describe a few more books and other resources featured on these sites.
Dr. John A. McDougall, MD — drmcdougall.com
Dr. McDougall has been promoting a WFPB diet (which he calls a “starch-based” diet) longer than anyone on this list. His website is a treasure trove. It contains a huge variety of useful information, helpfully organized by topic. He provides a free program, free videos, excellent newsletters, hundreds of recipes, and a huge, very active, discussion board. He also sells very useful books, DVDs, seminars, and short-term live-in programs, but the basic information is entirely free (and completely adequate for achieving success). You can also find many more videos by Dr. McDougall on YouTube.
I also recommend Dr. McDougall’s latest book, co-written with his wife, Mary McDougall, The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good! (2012). It is the culmination of over 40 years of experience and contains much of the knowledge he and Mary have gained over the years through research, interactions with thousands of patients, and spreading the word about a low fat, starch-based diet through books, seminars, and other presentations. But frankly, all of McDougall’s books contain the exact same message. He has not needed to change his advice because it is really that simple.
Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD — dresselstyn.com
This site features Dr. Esselstyn’s excellent book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure (2008). The book is well worth reading; if you would prefer not to make a purchase, there is plenty of free information on his site (see Articles & Studies). You can also find many more videos by Dr. Esselstyn on YouTube. He is a great presenter, so be sure to watch at least one! Here is Dr. Esselstyn’s TED Talk, “Making Heart Attacks History.”
Dr. Esselstyn has worked with hundreds of patients, and he has documented the power of a WFPB diet to stop and reverse the progression of heart disease. He presents the medical evidence for abstaining from free oils in a clear, understandable fashion that will convince even the most reluctant readers of the importance of taking care of their endothelial lining.
Forks Over Knives — forksoverknives.com
This growing website, based on the documentary with the same name, is worth subscribing to so you get free emails when it is updated. It contains great personal stories, good advice, and wonderful recipes. If you are new to this diet, I highly recommend The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet (2014). It will tell you all you need to know to be success and help you transition step-by-step. I also recommend the Forks Over Knives cookbooks.
Colin Campbell is the author of the must-read book The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health (2006, 2016). See also his excellent new book, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition (2013). For people who really want to dive into the science behind a WFPB diet, consider enrolling in his Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition course offered through the T. Colin Campbell Foundation and eCornell.
Jeff Novick is an extraordinary teacher. You can check out clips from some of his presentations online, but his DVDs are worth purchasing. His Fast Food DVDs take you through the process of making quick, delicious, and nutritious food in ten minutes or less with items you can store in your pantry and freezer. In his series on weight loss and nutrition, he draws on his expertise as a plant-based dietician to help you sort fact from fiction in a world full of contradictory dietary advice.
Jeff moderates many of the discussion boards on Dr. McDougall’s site, drmcdougall.com/forums, which makes these even more valuable. Also check out his Facebook page for a steady stream of news and good advice.
Rip Esselstyn — engine2diet.com
Rip is Caldwell Esselstyn’s son. His book, The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (2009) is a great read and is especially good for the young adult population (see also his second book, The Beef With Meat (2013). The website keeps it simple with essential basic facts and recipes and links to additional resources. Whereas Dr. Esselstyn’s diet is considered “plant perfect,” geared especially toward those who are recovering from heart-related events, Rip’s advice is “plant strong” and will appeal to those in relatively good health who are looking for more energy and better performance.
Dr. Barnard is the Founder and President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). He is a long-time advocate of a WFPB diet and also a strong proponent of protecting animals. His many books are all very well-written and useful. The PCRM website includes well-organized research on various topics, breaking news, and recipes.
This site, ably run by Jeff and Sabrina Nelson, links to a lot of useful resources. This site does not shy away from controversy, and you can find all kinds of interesting things here.
Dr. Michael Greger, MD — nutritionfacts.org
Dr. Greger does an amazing job of summarizing and sharing peer-reviewed research data in an entertaining, useful way. His book is well-written and does a great job of summarizing the evidence that supports a plant-based approach to all the major chronic disease: How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease.
Dr. Greger is best known for the amazing short videos he creates to summarize the current research in nutrition. Unfortunately, because most academic research is so reductionist, it is hard to interpret, and even with these helpful videos you’ll find some contradictory advice. Most of his videos are very short, but I HIGHLY recommend his year-in-review videos:
- “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death” (2012)
- “More Than an Apple a Day: Combating Common Diseases” (2013)
- “From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food” (2014)
- “Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet” (2015)
PlantPure Nation — plantpurepods.com
PlantPure is a new grassroots community linking people all over the world who want to eat a WFPB diet. You can join (or create!) a community in your own local area! I have a POD called “Fans of the Word of Wisdom.” It is based in Provo, Utah, but anyone can join.
Dr. Fuhrman provides some good, solid information. His forum is only available to paid subscribers, and he sells a lot of things from his website. I’d stick with the free stuff. His book, Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, is a best seller and has been highly influential in converting people to a WFPB diet.
Dr. Dean Ornish, M.D. — ornishspectrum.com
Dr. Dean Ornish is a well-respected researcher who has done a great deal to bring plant-based, low-fat diets to the consciousness of America. His recent approach, The Spectrum, provides a lot more flexibility in terms of how strict people want to be with the diet aspect of the program, including allowing some animal foods. This certainly appeals to some people who don’t feel they can go 100 percent or who want to get there more gradually.
Facebook Sites & Support Groups
I have two Facebook groups. Join either or both groups to see the posts in your Facebook feed). I usually post new items to the first group.
- Word of Wisdom Health Challenge (this one is open to anyone, which means anyone can see your posts)
- Discovering the Word of Wisdom Support Group (this is a closed group, only members of the group can view the posts)
Of course, most of the experts have their own Facebook pages. If you love Facebook, you’ll want to check out all of them:
Other helpful Facebook Groups
- McDougall Friends (this is a great support group for people eating a WFPB diet)
- Herbie Parents (good support group for parents)
The WFPB Mormon Map
Want to find other Mormons in your geographic area interested in a WFPB diet? Add your name to the WFPB Mormon Map so that others can find you and you can find others. This site is public, but only those who have the URL can find it, so it is also fairly private (it does not show up on search engines).
More WFPB Books
Here are some of the best WFPB books: Recommended Books for a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet (Note: Amazon discontinued Listmainia in 2014, so I am not longer able to add to this list.)
Certification Programs by WFPB Experts
Note: These are excellent programs, but they are costly and time-consuming. If you can’t afford the cost or the time commitment within a limited time frame, you can get a similar educational experience through your own intense study of the books and website resources by WFPB experts on this page.
Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition – eCornell (T. Colin Campbell, PhD)
Starch Solution Certification (John A. McDougall, MD)
The Diet and Lifestyle Intervention Course (Wellness Forum)
- Food for Life certification training! (PCRM—Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)
Plant-based Podcasts & Videos
- Plant Yourself podcast by Howard Jacobson (co-author with T. Colin Campbell of Whole). He interviews very interesting experts and others with experience. Not all are about plant-based eating (but even the other topics are usually very interesting). See my favorite episodes here.
- Meal Mentor podcast by Lindsay S. Nixon (the Happy Herbivore). These are average people who have had success on the diet.
- Live with Dr. McDougall. A weekly webinar with Dr. John McDougall or a guest. (Note, you can convert these to an audio file: start the video, click on the YouTube logo to see same video in YouTube, then paste the YouTube URL into ListenToYouTube.com).
Note: these are a great many WFPB videos on YouTube. Type the name of your favorite WFPB expert into the search bar. See more podcasts here: WFPB Podcasts
More WFPB Food Resources
- Getting Started
- Figuring Out What to Eat
- WFPB Guidelines
- WFPB Recipes
- WFPB Meal Planning
- WFPB Made Easy
- WFPB Resources
Last updated: November 26, 2016