Our understanding of the whole foods plant based (WFPB) diet is expanding at an ever increasing rate. It is difficult to always keep up with this progress. Dr. Joel Kahn’s “The Plant-Based Solution” is an incredible source book to bring you up to date and to the cutting edge of our knowledge. If there is any book on this subject that you read, and own, and use, and refer to, and get recipes from, this is the book!
The author, Dr. Joel Kahn, is a brilliant, multi-faceted individual:
- He is an M.D. having graduated from University of Michigan
- He is an accomplished cardiologist who has done thousands of stent insertions and who runs his own cardiology clinic
- He has been a vegan for over 40 years and follows a Whole Foods Plant Based (WFPB) diet, low in added oils and gluten-free
- He is a scientist with a deep knowledge of nutrition and the advances in this field
- He is a restauranteur with vegan restaurants in the Detroit area
- He is an activist continually attempting to convert the institutions and the people around him to a healthy lifestyle, trying continually to present the logical and the ethical arguments in support of his case
- He is an animal rights supporter with strong ethical reasons for being so
- And, he is a gourmet chef
All of these aspects of his personality and his work come through in this book.
The many praises of the leaders in the WFPB diet, the Introduction and the first chapter set the stage for this inspiring presentation of Dr. Kahn’s “Plant Solution”. They also include the first instances of his “Plant Rant” feature where he vents the frustration that so many of us feel with respect to our health, pharmaceutical and food systems.
Chapters 2 through 11
In these chapters Dr. Kahn explores the impact of a WFPB diet on the treatment of the many forms of disease that plague our society: heart disease, cancers, diabetes, etc. As he provides the information he draws on his wide range of experience to augment the presentations with case studies, the science of plant based nutrition, the statistics that support the arguments, what foods are most beneficial, details of how to prepare foods, and, of course, his “Plant Rants”. I was pleased to see that he includes comments on the microbiome, something not often included in books of this genre but one whose importance is gradually being better appreciated. He also discusses the issues he has with the ethical and nutritional positions taken by governments and institutions with respect to diet. Why, for example, do hospitals serve foods recognized internationally as carcinogenic, in their cafeterias and wards? It is impossible to read this information and in any way logically conclude that you should be eating animal based products!
Chapters 12 through 14
In these chapters Dr. Kahn goes beyond the normally covered topics in a Plant Based book to address briefly the issues of
- longevity (not just increasing healthspan but also lifespan). He talks of the blue zones, caloric restriction, and other factors besides nutrition that play in the achievement of a long life ,
- the incredible plight of animals in the food systems that we have created in our modern world. Have we no respect for the lives of our fellow creatures on this earth? When so many of our religions in the world preach respect of the lives of other animals how can we ethically allow this abuse to happen?
- and, finally, some information on the impact of our animal based nutritional systems on the biosphere. The damage that we do to the earth through these practices is tragic and may in the not too distant future create the collapse of many aspects of our environment
As usual in his exposition, Dr. Kahn provides many pointers to documentary information in books, journals, videos and the internet.
The last part of the book gives a 21 day menu program for converting to a WFPB diet. This is an excellent set of recipes. However, we think that unless:
- you are a true gourmand and do a lot of cooking, or
- you have a chef on staff who can do vegan cooking
you might find the menus daunting. No fear. There is no need to fret. Select a few of the recipes that you are comfortable with and use those. Gradually expand over time to include other recipes in what you eat. (after your 21 days there is no way you abandon your WFPB diet!)
Dr. Kahn provides an excellent, extensive list of the research papers and web available documentation that support the arguments he makes in the book. This incredible resource alone is reason to have the book if serious about your health and studying the subject.
If you purchase and read no other book on WFPB diets this year this is definitely the one to have!