When people hear my story they will often ask, “this sounds amazing–how do I get started?”

For me, the road to a plant-based lifestyle and the development of Plant Life started many years ago with medical school, and maybe even before then as a rower learning about nutrition from my fellow un-educated teammates or my freshman coach, Adam Holland who got me to read about the Atkins diet.  But I don’t think one has to survive that nightmarish process (rowing and/or med school) in order to get excited and commit to adopting more plant-based foods and habits!  In fact, the whole point of Plant Life to get people up to speed and to experience the benefits of a plant-based diet with a lot less of the hassle than I had!

I’ve got nothing against diving in head first, but your chances of success go way up if you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it beforehand!  So my reply to their question is always, “get a little education so you can get even more excited and give yourself the best chance of success!”

While people have many reasons for changing their lifestyle, and all are welcome, I usually recommend the same resources I used.  My changes had a lot to do with the health benefits related to a plant-based diet and lifestyle: preventing heart disease, reducing risks of diseases, and just plain ol’ feeling better every day I have on this green earth!  Usually, that is what is prompting others, as well.

So I present you with the first resources I used to get myself interested in a Plant Life!  And notice, not one of them is a medical textbook (though one is written by a former Olympic rower):

  1. “Forks Over Knives” - This was sort of a random Netflix choice that started it all for me.  I watched this by myself, and then a couple of weeks later with my best friend, Joe, and his girlfriend–we all decided it was time to make a change.  It’s a great overview of the ideas, pioneers, and the impact of living the Plant Life!
  2. “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death” –  A few months after watching Forks Over Knives, one of my friends happened across this video of a lecture by Michael Greger, MD.  I think the guy is hilarious, and in the process of cracking me up he provided a more in-depth view of what a Plant Life can do for you from a health perspective.  More plants leads to less disease!

I can’t say I’m the best at reading, but after a couple of videos I figured I could invest a little more into getting my head around the process.  (Honestly, one I got through as an audiobook); these two are fundamental sources for a plant-based lifestyle from a health perspective, and that’s why they make the list:

  1. How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease – Caldwell Esselstyn is one of the “stars” of Forks Over Knives.  His book really meant a lot to a physician like me because I’ve worked with guys like this, and they wouldn’t abandon the old claims of traditional medicine if it were not for the incredibly convincing results–and boy they are convincing! Plus there are some great recipes in it!  Later on, I’ll post about how this book changed/saved my dad’s life!
  2. The China Study  – No offense to the dad I referenced above, but T. Colin Campbell and Esselstyn’s sons are super lucky to have dear old dad be founders of the plant-based movement (makes creating a plant-based website wayyyyy easier). This one was co-authored by father son Campbell.  Aside from that, this was a very interesting population-based book that was also featured in the Forks Over Knives movie and gave me some good discussion points to work through the bigger picture of plant-based eating.

So there you have it, my Start Up list!  Full disclosure, there are some scathing arguments out there against some of these sources–some people get super aggressive defending the status quo.  But don’t knock it until you try it; I’m only including that statement so you don’t think I have my head in the clouds!

I should also say, the process of getting through all this stuff took a coupe of months–so don’t think I went and soaked all this up in a few days.  You don’t even have to read and watch it all before you get started!

Also, there are a ton of other books and resources out there that could work for you!  If you have any other suggestions, leave them in the comments below–they might help someone on the path to living the Plant Life!