There’s a scene in the documentaryWhat the Health that has stuck with me in the year or so since I watched it. Filmmaker Kip Anderson is interviewing Dr. Robert Ratner, the chief scientific and medical office of American Dietetic Association about the rise in diabetes in the U.S. Dr. Ratner explains that diet and exercise are to blame. But when Kip asks which diet in particular causes it, Dr. Ratner doesn’t have an answer. When Kip asks about studies that show a plant-based diet can both prevent and reverse diet, Dr. Ratner gets defensive and—for lack of a better word—freaks out. He ends the interview on the spot.
The encounter with Dr. Ratner isn’t the only strange behavior Kip Anderson and his film partner Keegan Kuhn encounter while working on What the Health. But fortunately, they do meet plenty of doctors who are willing to discuss the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Their new book, which is aptly titled What the Health, is a companion piece to the film. It chronicles their exploration of our broken about our industrial food, medical, and pharmaceutical systems. It also delves into the benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet, as well.
I have many books that cover the health benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet. What makes this one different is that it’s chock-full of knowledge from multiple sources. Kip and Keegan interviewed lots of experts, include Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Joel Kahn, Dr. Michael Klapper, Dr. Milton Mills, and many, many others.
In What the Health, the health issues that arise from eating meat, eggs, and dairy products are discussed, and their rolls in the development of diseases such as diabetes and cancer are explained. The roll genetics plays in disease is explored, dietary myths are busted, and a few secrets are spilled.
Because this book, or perhaps the film, might inspire you to go vegan, 50 plant-based recipes are included to help start your journey. These are simple dishes to help with your transition, and they include breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and drinks. Nothing is too “weird” or foreign, as they’re all healthy vegan versions of old favorites. You’ll find recipes for such delicious dishes as Creamy Mac, Burrito Bowls, Stuffed Bell Peppers, and Mom’s Ultimate Vegan Chili.
The first recipe I made from What the Health was the Pesto White Bean Bruschetta. I wanted to try it because it’s a great appetizer for holiday parties, and I just can’t turn down a good pesto.
The pesto in this recipe is made with zucchini, which means you’re sneaking some veggies in where people might not be expecting them. Pairing the pesto with tomatoes and white beans makes this snack a terrific healthy snack option.
If you’ve resolved to adopt a plant-based diet or eat healthier in 2019, What the Health is the book for you!
Pesto White Bean Bruschetta
- 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove garlic, minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup finely diced Roma tomatoes
- 1/2 cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Whole grain bread of choice
To make the pesto, combine all the pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.
To make the bruschetta, in a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, beans, salt, and pepper and toss to blend.
Spread the pesto on the bread and top with the tomato and bean mixture.
Serve, and enjoy!
From What the Health by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn with Eunice Wong (BenBella Books, 2018)
- Vegan Cheese & Zucchini Pinwheels
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Tomato Tartlets with Spinach Pesto
- Spinach Artichoke Dip Bites
I have a copy of What the Health for one lucky winner this week. To enter, follow the instruction below. Contest ends at midnight on January 1st. U.S. and Canadian residents only, please. Good luck!