Tweaking My Vegan Diet The Esselstyn Way

I should have named this post “Tweaking My Vegan Diet The Esselstyn, McDougall and ‘Forks Over Knives’ Way,” but it was way too long. In any event, I recently decided to improve my vegan diet by eliminating handfuls of nuts, severely limiting oils, and cutting back on avocados and nut butters. Although I read Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Essselstyn, Jr. and The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall quite some time ago, I couldn’t find the books in my house so I bought and read them again.

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr.

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr.

Drs. Esselstyn and McDougall are proponents of a low-fat whole foods vegan diet based on whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables with no added oils. I think I have been eating way too many avocados and nuts, and cooking and baking with too many oils. In my endeavor to do better, here is a photo of some of the food products I recently purchased to help me tweak my diet.

IMG_1199Since the Whole Foods’ brand of hummus which I have been using contains oils, I switched to the Good Neighbors Organic No Fat Simply Zero Hummus. I am loving it! As per the recommendation of Dr. Esselstyn in his book, I have been mixing the no fat hummus with balsamic vinegar to make a salad dressing which is surprisingly delicious. Alternatively, I have been dressing my salads with balsamic and other flavored vinegars without any oils. Also delicious!

photo copy 7I have been using the Walnut Acres No Salt Added Organic Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce on whole grain pasta and to make pizzas with “no oil” pizza crusts. I am loving the Sami’s Bakery Millet & Flax Pizza Crusts. For your information, the Walnut Acres sauce is the only fat-free jarred sauce I could find. Tonight I made my favorite no-fat, no-oil mushroom marinara sauce from scratch. I added “the works” including kale, sun-dried tomatoes, and peppers. Delicious!

photo copy 4I’ve never been a big breakfast eater, but I decided to change that too! The Barbara’s Shredded Wheat and Erewhon’s Raisin Bran have no added oils and are naturally low in fat with a good amount of fiber.

I have been snacking on Ryvita Dark Rye Wholegrain Crispbreads and Wasa Light Rye Crispreads with St. Dalfour’s Golden Peach 100% Fruit Spread. Very satisfying!

photo copy 8I purchased Kirkland Organic Salsa from Costco with no added oils or fat which I plan to use with some red bell peppers stuffed with rice, corn, and black beans. I also bought Roland’s Fire Roasted Red Peppers marinated in water, vinegar, sugar and salt which I will blend with some canned white cannellini beans to make a fat-free dip or spread.

IMG_1214In addition to these products, I intend to increase my intake of grains. Since I will be too busy to cook this week, I purchased these 10 minute grains from Trader Joe’s to pair with fresh vegetables…

photo copy 5I will be using Engine2s Whole Grain Wraps because they contain no oils. I will also be using my Forks Over Knives cookbook more often, and I will make more recipes from Dr. McDougall’s books and Dr. Esselstyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

IMG_7010-560x420What’s the point of being an ethical vegan if I’m not a healthy enough vegan to spread the word?

FOK3DBLACK655X3441-560x294I’ll keep you posted on the latest developments of my new eating plan.





  1. Sharon Collins says:

    Happy to find your site ! I too have been studying the same books and authors for a year now — and have adjusted my diet. I’ve tried to learn to cook healthy.
    I live in Minneapolis where we have a lot of food co-ops full of organic food and such as that.
    Looking forward to keeping up with you… in the company the Esselstynes and the McDougalsl !

    • You’re really lucky to have a lot of food co-ops where you live. That makes life much easier! It sounds like you’re making some wise choices with your diet. Thanks for visiting our site!

  2. Hi Debby: Thanks for sharing the eating plans and recipes with no oil. Today is my first day without using oil and it is challenging, however with the help of kind folks like you it will get easier. Take care, Deb

  3. Hi Debbie:
    I am reading the book and altering our eating life style to low salt, no dairy, and no oil food items for health reasons but after shopping in several different groceries stores locally was not able to find too many of the safe items suggested in the back of the book. Is there a go to online store you could
    Recommend that I check out?
    Thanks, Fran


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