Welcome to the Plantiful reading list! Below, you’ll find a list of books that helped me transition to a whole food, plant-based diet. I read a lot! These books helped me build a solid foundation from which I was able to change my life and overcome some serious health issues.
I own, and I’ve read, every book listed below. They’re all great resources, and I believe in their messages. While each one of these books differs slightly in delivery, the overall theme is the same: eat plant-based, whole foods for optimal health.
Before digging into these awesome books, I need to make an important disclosure:
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means if you decide to make a purchase, I earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I recommend the books below because I found each one of them to be extremely useful, and they are all excellent resources, not because of the small commission I earn if you decide to buy them. Please don’t buy any of the books below if you don’t feel they will provide value to you.
1. Eat to Live
By Dr. Joel Fuhrman
The book that started me down the path I’m on today. It was a long path. I read this book shortly after it came out, probably sometime around 2004 to 2005. Unfortunately, I did not immediately put the information in this book to immediate use. Nonetheless, I credit it with saving my life in the long run. When I initially read it, and for years afterwards, I was skeptical of the claim that one could drastically improve their health and reverse disease through diet alone, but it planted a seed of hope in me. When I was eventually diagnosed with diabetes, the first thought that popped into my head was “Nutritarianism” (Dr. Fuhrman’s brand of the whole food, plant-based diet). And it worked! I was able to reverse diabetes, lose 70lbs, get off of blood pressure meds, and end several other ailments that had plagued me for years, evidently as a result of my poor eating habits and nutrition. If you’re going to read one book off of this list, I’d suggest it be this one.
By Dr. Joel Fuhrman
This is the latest book I’ve read. Excellent source of information for someone interested in changing their way of life, as opposed to going on a diet. The problem with diets is that, at some point, they end, and you go back to your old eating habits. Interestingly, Dr. Fuhrman points out that yo-yo effect most people experience with their weight when going on and off of diets is, in itself, harmful.
By Dr. Joel Fuhrman
The first book I read after being diagnosed with diabetes. I literally started it, in audio format, after leaving my doctor’s office! Excellent resource for those suffering from type 2 diabetes.
By Michael Greger, M.D. and Gene Stone
To me, the title sounds a bit gimmicky, but I love this book! I even bought a copy for my mom! I read this shortly after I’d transitioned to a whole food, plant-based diet. It’s jam-packed with scientifically based nutrition information that debunks much of the multi-billion dollar food industry misinformation that puts profit over consumer health. What I love even more… Dr. Greger donates all the proceeds from this book to the 501c3 charity NutritionFacts.org, which, in and of itself, is an excellent resource for nutrition information. I found this book to be a refreshing change of pace from some of Dr. Fuhrman’s books. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Dr. Fuhrman, but I think Dr. Greger’s book is a bit more approachable, albeit very lengthy. His message is a little less stringent than that of Dr. Fuhrman’s. My take-away from the book is that you don’t have to go all-in. Instead, focus on doing what you can to add more healthful food to your diet. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of guy, so I jumped into whole food, plant-based eating with both feet. Dr. Greger’s book helped me realize that my approach may not work for everyone, and that it could be extremely beneficial to focus on adding healthy food to your diet instead of removing unhealthy food. Over time, and I believe Dr. Fuhrman mentions this as well, the more healthy food you add to your diet, the more you’ll crave healthy food.
By T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and Thomas M. Campbell II
This book was a real eye-opener for me. I read it several years before I went whole food, plant-based. Dr. Campbell was on the leading edge of groundbreaking research in nutrition that debunks much of the misinformation we’ve been led to believe over the years by the food industry. This is the guy that did the research… you’re hearing it from the horse’s mouth in this book.
By T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and Howard Jacobson, PhD
I liked The China Study so much I had to read this one. Excellent book! Really gets into the complexity of the biochemistry behind nutrition and the human body, and addresses the shortcomings of the ”reductionist” mindset behind much of today’s nutrition information. Why do we, as a species, think that we can isolate very specific nutrients in foods, in the form of vitamins, supplements, and additives, and expect them to deliver the same impact, biochemically, on their own as they do when they’re pre-packaged in their natural delivery system: the whole food? The answer… we can’t. Mainstream science is so obsessed with reducing foods to singular chemicals that we can point to as cure-all, ”smoking guns” that we’re missing the big picture… foods, in their natural state, are their own perfect nutrient delivery system.