Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reader Advice Day: A Newbie Takes the Next Steps

Good Morning everybody! It's turning into a very busy week for me with not a lot of time for blogging, but this post has been on my mind for a few weeks and I just need to get it out there.

I was contacted a few weeks ago by a person who has become newly interested in a plant-strong lifestyle. Instead of just answering his question myself, I wanted to get it out there to the community to see what y'all are thinking, so once again, it's reader advice day. Here's his e-mail to me with his question:

"Hi there, I came across your blog during a search for nutritarian blogs. Thank you for what you do!--- recipes, inspiration, beautiful photos!

I am about 1 month new to the plant-strong lifestyle, so I have a lot of research and testing/cooking to do. I was wondering if you had any advice for newbies. Where should I begin? What I have done so far is drink a green smoothie every morning, lower my intake of animal products, cut out processed foods, sugar, and caffeine, and choose the most vegetables possible in my meals. I am ready for the next challenge, but sure which way to go. I cook for my family- a two year old and my wife, both of whom are great sports but not totally sold on a transformation. Do you have recommended reading? Recommended steps to take? Recommended cookbooks (besides your own fantastic recipes!)?

Thanks so much for any direction. I have posted some of my progress on my blog ("

My advice? Start reading more books. I have found that no one book covers everything and that the more that I read, the more I become "brain-washed," so-to-speak, for the better. Here's my list of must read books:

Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
Superimmunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

There are a lot of other great books on the market about plant-based eating, I am sure of it, but those are just my favorites.

There are two other books that have been essential on my journey. They relate to overcoming overeating and emotional eating. They are must reads for anyone who struggles with this problem:

The End of Overeating by Dr. David A. Kessler
The Beck Diet Solution by Dr. Judith Beck

Three videos are on my must watch list. They are a series done by Jeff Novick called Shopping School, Volume I, II and III. As far as cooking and grocery shopping go, these videos set you up for success.

There is one website that I cannot recommend enough: by Dr. Michael Gregor. Once a day he uploads a video on a nutritional subject. At the end of the video he gives a food a thumbs up or thumbs down. Most of the time, when I am confused about whether or not a particular food item is healthy or not, I just do a search for that food on and I find out the answer.

When it comes to cookbooks, I'm kind of a more-the-merrier type. I have learned how to adapt almost any recipe to at least be Plant-strong and at it's very best be Nutritarian. Just know that all healthy Vegan recipes can be easily adapted to be a no-oil Vegan recipe. But it's the education that you will need to get to know the difference! Some of my favorites cookbooks include:

Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas
Unprocessed by Chef Aj (for those times when you want plant-indulgent food that's still uber healthy)
Clean Start and Clean Food by Terry Walters

But really, all of the books written by the plant based doctors (and that includes Dr. Barnard and Dr. McDougall, who I did not mention above) have outstanding plant-strong recipes in them. I'm not kidding, they're all excellent.

Pretty much every book and video that I recommend can be found here in my Amazon store. It's not a lot of money, but all of the commission that I earn from sales in my store go directly to supporting my work here at HGK. I purchase cookbooks and appliances and recipe ingredients with the credit that I earn on Amazon. So thank you to everyone who has purchased items through this link in the past!

If you would like one Nutritarian recipe e-mailed to you every day, consider signing up for Dr. Fuhrman's Member Center for $3.95 per month. I find it a great resource for recipes, but also a daily reminder of how I am striving to eat. Dr. McDougall and Forks Over Knives both have free e-newsletters with articles and recipes and I really enjoy those too. Lots of blogs and websites have incredible recipe archives. You will never have a problem with a lack of new recipes to try!

Some blogs and websites are worth mentioning here, as they are an integral part of my journey. You will need to find the ones that appeal to you. My two personal favorite blogs are Fat Free Vegan, for the photos and recipes, and Happy Healthy Long Life, for the science and recipes. But there are an endless amount of wonderful plant-based recipe blogs. Consider following your favorite doctors and bloggers on Facebook, because a lot of fun and information never makes it to blogs these days. And Pinterest? Don't even get me started!

I could go on and on, but I want to hear from everyone. What about you? What would you recommend that this reader does/watches/reads/subscribes to next? To leave a comment/view the comments, please click on the title of this post (the orange text above).

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