How are cookbooks by physicians different from cookbooks by 'vegan health coaches', 'vegan nutritionists', celebrities and sports athletes? Their health tips are backed by real science and clinical experience! Each of these physicians has treated thousands of patients over several decades. Some of them have conducted ground-breaking studies and published their results in prestigeous medical journals. Most are parents. Their spouses and children are plant-based too!
For healthy individuals, any of the books below would suffice. Broadly, the diets and recipes recommended by various doctors are very similar to each other. For heart disease patients, see books by Caldwell Esselstyn and Dean Ornish. For diabetes, see books by Neal Barnard. For ailmants like obesity, gasto-intestinal problems and auto-immune disorders, any of these books would do.
by Del Sroufe, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Julieanna Hever, Darshana Thacker & Judy Micklewright
Forks Over Knives (96 mins, 2011) is probably the most popular documentary that explains the science behind plant-based diets. With testimonials by researchers and physicians. Not available for free. Watch it at Amazon or NetFlix.
The cookbook is not by a single physician or researcher. It is a collection of healthy recipes by popular vegan chefs.
This cookbook was inspired by The China Study (419 pages, 2006) which explains a 20-year study (from 1984 to 2004) that tracked the eating habits of almost 65,000 individual in 17 provinces in China. The China Study is not an easy read — it is quite technical, suited for researchers and scientists. The book was recently updated: The China Study (496 pages, 2016).
Colin Campbell is the key person behind the China Study. He is now Professor Emeritus at Cornell University. To learn more about his work, see NutritionStudies.org.
The cookbook is written by LeAnne Campbell. She is Colin Campbell's daughter. More books by LeAnne Campbell: here.
Dr Esselstyn conducted a 20-year study that tracked 18 patients with advanced coronary artery disease. Despite the aggressive treatment they received, among them bypasses and angioplasties, 5 of the original group were told by their cardiologists they had less than a year to live. Within months on Dr. Esselstyn's program, their cholesterol levels, angina symptoms, and blood flow improved dramatically. Twelve years later, 17 compliant patients had no further cardiac events. Adherent patients survived beyond twenty years free of symptoms.
The authors of the cookbook are Anne Crile Esselstyn (Caldwell Esselstyn's wife) and her daughter Jane Esselstyn.
Dr Joel Fuhrman is a general practitioner who wrote a New York Times Bestseller: Eat To Live (400 pages, 2011). He has an extensive website: DrFuhrman.com. Most content as available only via paid membership.
Free recipes: here (access to most recipes requires paid membership).
Neal Barnard is the President of PCRM.org (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine). In 2006, he conducted a randomized controlled trial to demonstrate that a low-fat vegan diet (almost) cures diabetes (see this research paper). To bring that knowledge to the masses, he wrote a book: Dr Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes (288 pages, 2008). He also wrote the Introduction for The Kind Diet (320 pages, 2011) by Alicia Silverstone.
Free recipes: here and here. All recipes for Neal Barnard's 21-day vegan kickstart program are described here.
John McDougall has been a long time advocate of plant-based diets, even before Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn and Neal Barnard did their clinical trials. He influenced Carl Lewis, the 'Olympian of the Century' to turn vegan.
As a young man, John McDougall was overweight. In his own words, "In 1965, when I went to college at age eighteen at Michigan State University, I suffered a major stroke, a condition that today strikes about a thousand teenagers annually in the United States." John recovered and went on to become a physician in Hawaii, caring for 5,000 workers at a large sugar plantation. His patients were first-, second-, third-, and fourth-generation Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, and Filipinos. John observed, "Those in the first generation were always trim, usually active into their eighties and nineties. Not so for the younger generation which suffered from far more diseases than the older generation." He discovered that the difference lay in their diets. "My first-generation patients had remained faithful to their native starch-based diet, which featured primarily white rice with the addition of fruits and vegetables." This insight inspired John to change his own food habits. He then made it his life mission to spread the word to others.
Rip Esselstyn is Caldwell Esselstyn's son. He is a former ultra-athlete and a former Texas fireman who wrote The Engine 2 Diet (288 pages, 2009). Engine 2 was heavily marketed by Whole Foods in 2012-2013 time frame.