Food Over Medicine Book Review

Winner of the giveaway:


Congratulations, Emily! Contact me to claim your prize.

If you are contemplating a healthy lifestyle and want a very simple to understand book to read, Food Over Medicine is  it! While there are no charts or complicated scientific language, this book was written for an average person who wants simple science to the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Written by Pamela Popper, PhD, ND, along with Glen Merzer (coauthor of Mad Cowboy book), the book is written in a conversational format. The reader will feel like she sat down for a long talk about “eating [one’s] way out of disease.”  Dr. Popper takes no-nonsense approach, and I love it!

We have strange ideas about food in this country… One is the idea that… you can eat almost anything you want as long as you eat it in moderation.

Pam Popper

food-over-medicine_2Glen is the interviewer and the host of this conversation, while he often also becomes an instigator, testing to see if Pam would sway from her dietary approach to health.  While Glen Merzer and Dr. Popper are both dietary vegans, Pam does not insist on an all vegan approach to be the solution to all health problems.  She agrees that living a fully plant-based, compassionate diet is desirable; however, she points to the fact that centuries of human history and research show that with a restrictive animal food (meat) intake, elimination of dairy, junk and oils, a person can still have a healthy long life.

I’ve had the honor of following Dr. Popper’s practice for the last six years and meeting her in person.  When the book came out I could not wait to get my hands on it.  I have to tell you that I was not disappointed.  With three highlighters to underline thought-provoking parts in the book, and a notepad at hand, I settled on the couch for a couple of nights of “me” time.  The book has enough references to keep me busy for a  year!

Having finished the book, and learned a few things along the way, I felt like I had taken a gulp of fresh water. No frills, no nonsense, no crazy theories, counting calories, or making healthy lifestyle unappealing to the masses, Dr. Popper inspired me to continue with my approach to teaching healthy living.

Dr. Popper takes a very peculiar approach, unlike many plant-based lifestyle promoters, by allowing her program participants to consume organic meat two to three times a week (optional).  Her goal is not to make the entire world vegan, but rather to make humanity as healthy as imaginable, and plant-based living as approachable and enticing as possible.

Let’s spoil them with the glory of the food!

she said during our interview.

She will be the first to tell you that flesh foods have no benefits to human health; however, restricting animal food intake completely, when educating generally healthy individuals, we might lose more than we win. By allowing some flesh food intake, we can create individuals passionate about health, many of whom will become “accidental vegans,” as she calls them–those who, having done her program realize that one day they no longer desire animal products. While not intentionally vegan, such lifestyle will still preserve lives of millions of animals.

There is a time, however, when Dr. Popper would suggest a very restrictive, fully vegan (whole foods) lifestyle to those who have already developed degenerative health conditions. While occasional treats and occasional coffee might be acceptable for healthy individuals, practicing “Wellness Forum” dietary habits (much like what you find on Vegalicious, only with an allowance of occasional organic animal foods), some have to eat a squeaky clean diet to avoid suffering and dying from otherwise preventable causes.

If you are like me, you will fall in love with Dr. Popper’s philosophy.  She chides medical professionals for prescribing “minimal… dietary changes” to sick patients, and does the same to naturopathic practitioners who use bottled vitamins and herbs as their form of prescription medication, instead of becoming educated on things that would bring about life changing results in the lives of their patients–“dietary and lifestyle choices contribute to everything from heart disease to strokes, cancer, MS, and possibly even Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”

In the book you will find numerous testimonials, a range of other health-related topics, and an urgent call for educating future doctors. Dr. Popper insists that

…if they’re seeing patients with degenerative diseases and they’re not practicing nutrition, they’re not practicing medicine, period.

Ultimately, of course, the patient must decide whether to trust traditional medicine or a well-balanced diet, but Dr. Popper presents persuasive arguments for people to take responsibility for what happens to them, rather than remain helpless victims, whose fate lies solely in the hands of their doctors.

If you have been reading Vegalicious blog long enough, you have heard me say it times and again–you are your best advocate, and no one will care about your health the way you do.

The book also contains 25 oil-free, plant-based recipes to live for.



I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sit down with Dr. Popper (her practice is based in Ohio!) for an hour-long interview to pick her brain on topics that are important to Vegalicious readers.  I will be sharing it in a separate post.  We will cover a wide range of topics:

  • hormone health
  • using salt
  • protein supplementation
  • gluten intolerance
  • use of medications
  • probiotics
  • supplements
  • green smoothies (should we or shouldn’t we?)
  • kidney stones

and much, much more.

You do NOT want to miss it! So, make sure to subscribe to get the interview delivered to your inbox.

Giveaway (now closed!)

Having enjoyed this book so much, I wanted to give away a copy to one Vegalicious reader. I know that you all love being educated.

WHO can enter

Anyone can enter the giveaway! If the winner resides in the US, she will get a printed copy of the book; anywhere else in the world–an electronic copy.

The winner will have only 24 hours to claim the prize, once the announcement is made (check this post on Monday, 9/23, for the announcement–there will be no separate email or post).

WHEN to enter

You can enter the giveaway between today and midnight on Friday, 9/20/13. The winner will be announced on Monday, 9/23/13.

HOW to enter

You must leave a comment with a valid email and use your first name to be considered; AND you have to leave a valid comment (not something like: “I want to read this book.”)

The winner will be picked randomly.

In the comment section tell me why you would like to get this book. You can also share the most challenging aspects of living/pursuing a healthy, plant-based, lifestyle. 

PS: Leave only one comment. The comment might not appear immediately–it will be held for moderation. If you submit it, it will be approved.

PLEASE share this post! The social share buttons are on top/bottom of the post and on the side. Share green wisdom with the world!

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  • Emma Jurgens

    • MY HIV DISEASE WAS CURED BY DR NICE, WITH HIS HERBAL HEALING SPELL/ ([email protected]).DR NICE is the only Dr who could ever get my HIV-AIDS cured with his healing spell, I have tried almost everything but I couldn’t find any solution on my disease, despite all these happening to me, I always spend a lot to buy a HIV drugs from hospital and taking some several medications but no relieve, until one day I was just browsing on the internet when I come across a great post of! Michelle! who truly said that she was been diagnose with HIV and was healed that very week through the help of these great powerful healing spell doctor, sometime I really wonder why people called him DR NICE I never knew it was all because of the great and perfect work that he has been doing that is causing all this. so I quickly contacted him, and he ask me some few questions and he said a thing I will never forget that anyone who contacted him is! always getting his or her healing in just 6 hours after doing all he ask you, so I was amazed all the time I heard that from him, so I did all things only to see that at the very day which he said I will be healed, all the strength that has left me before rush back and I becomes very strong and healthy, this disease almost kills my life all because of me, so I went to hospital to give the final test to the disease and the doctor said I am HIV negative, I am very amazed and happy about the healing Dr NICE gave to me from the ancient part of Africa, you can email him now for your own healing too at :[email protected]

  • Guest

    So how does her philosophy differ from a Paleo diet, except for the fact that Paleo dieters dont eat grains, but as a vegan, I have learned that I am very sensitive to grains, wheat and gluten, so I have all but eliminated grains, breads and pasta from my diet with the occasional exception of Quinoa. Thanks LuAnn [email protected]

    • LuAnn, she does NOT promote meat eating. She allows it in her program, so more people would changed to a healthy plant based diet. She does restrict it to no more than 3 small portions a week, only organic; while no dairy and no processed oils are allowed. So, it is very different from the Paleo diet.

  • Deb Kloosterman

    …this sounds like a fantastic book! I love reading information about the health benefits of a plant based diet because it reinforces what I feel intuitively. It makes so much sense to me that the simpler, more whole and truly healthy one’s food intake is, the more supported their body will be in terms of health. It is a challenge to eat a healthy vegan diet because there are so many processed meat substitutes and not so healthy food products. Learning more about this topic will assist me with food choices for my family and also enhance discussion with those who are on a similar journey. [email protected]

  • chelsea

    ahhhh! I’ve been thinking about getting this book and it looks like now i have even more reason to do so since you’ve given it such an awesome seal of approval. I recently read “Salt, Sugar, Fat” and it was a dry dry read. Don’t get me wrong, it was really informative, but it was dry. I suppose that my mentality is that the more informed I am about health the better prepared I always am when the inevitable “where do you get your protein, ” and “but we *need* meat” issues come up. hah.

  • Melissa Lesie

    Sounds like a great book. I am currently reading as much as I can about nutrition and the body’s ability to heal itself. I have vitiligo, low iron, thyroid antibodies and all the symptoms associated with poor thyroid function but all the doctors can tell me is to come back when my thyroid is no longer functioning and then they will do something. I don’t think so.

  • Devona

    I would love to read this book! I try to educate myself and my family about food and it’s relationship to our health. Thank you for writing this review!

  • Marika Mathews

    I believe this book will help me thru my journey of changing to a healthier lifestyle [email protected].

  • Monica Guirguis

    I could really use this book on how to talk to others who are not motivated or willing to change to a healthier lifestyle. I admire the fact that she is practical and doesn’t want to stuff veganism down people’s throats and just wishes for them to be healthy. That is all that I wish for as well for my family, friends and community. [email protected]

  • Diane

    I loved watching/listening to the interview. Such an accessible manner of taking in such wonderful information. I’d love to have a copy of this book as a point of reference for when I receive questions on this whole topic!
    We’ve been plant-based for a year and a half now, love the way we eat and want to share the information with others… sometimes I’m searching for the words to explain properly though. I think this book would help me out there 😉

  • Sarah

    [email protected] Great review! I am going whole food vegan in an attempt to prevent disease…plus I’ve got baby number 2 on the way! I also have a dear friend who has an autoimmune disease and I would love to pass the book onto her! Love your blog!

  • Celine

    My name is Celine and I’m 15 years old and I want to win this book because I really wanna know more about this lifestyle. I am considering to become a vegaterian at first, and maybe I will becoma a vegan later aswell, who knows? But yeah, I would love to win this book so so much!! 🙂
    [email protected]

  • Jena

    Earlier this year I started getting curious about the whole foods, plant based diet. Since that curiosity I have made the switch to a while foods vegan diet and I’ve never felt so good. I’ve been following Vegalicious now for months and love all the new and exciting things I’m learning from my health to yummy recipes in the kitchen. About 2-3 months ago I discovered Wellness Forum Foods. This is part of Dr. Popper’s Welness Forum. They have healthy, organic vegan food you can order ahead of time or pick up as grab and go. I it’s come in handy for dinner many times when I don’t have any food in the house. I’ve seen the book there and I’ve even seen Dr. Popper herself! So exciting! I want to read his book because I fully agree that food should be used as medicine. We only have one body and so we must take care of it with the food that is most beneficial for our bodies. This book is on my reading list regardless of if I win or not. The more information I can learn, the better decisions I can make and healthier I will be!

  • Pingback: Food Over Medicine | Interview With Pam Popper()

  • Kelly

    I’ve been vegetarian 20 years and following your blog for about 4-5 years and it has inspired many changes to my diet. For the past couple months I’ve been seriously contemplating switching to vegan and have made more changes that direction. I’m not sure I will completely eat vegan all the time, but I want to eat that way probably 90% of the time. This book sounds interesting in that I may learn some additional info on my vegan transition and maybe not feel guilty if I have cheese on occasion or yogurt, or feel like I’m horribly damaging my otherwise healthy body if I eat those from time to time. (It will be few and far between).

  • Michele

    This book sounds amazing! I’d love to read it and learn more information about the health issues I’m currently dealing with: celiac, candida, and other autoimmune disorders. As well as see if there are any changes to my diet and lifestyle that I could make to continue to heal. Thank you for sharing this information!

  • I agree with what Susan said, I will be reading this book for sure.I’ve been watching documentaries but it’s been awhile since I’ve read a book about nutrition. I’m excited about this eating lifestyle and am excited to share it with others and my family.

  • Jacqueline

    I saw this book in the store not long ago and thought that it would be a wonderful book to read. I have started my plant based journey only a few months ago and I believe that this book will not only help with the questions I get from others about this lifestyle, but help me grow as a vegan. Since most of the people around me only believe in popping pills, this book may be a way to show them that there is more to “health” than a prescription.

  • Gillian Grattan

    I firmly believe that food is the key to everything from curing cancer to all these so-called illnesses in children which never occured 100 years ago like autism, ADHD, anxiety, etc. It all comes down to the power of food and what we choose to put into our bodies. It is unfair that so many choices available are filled with a long list of weird chemical ingredients. Why can’t food be more basic? Why is it all about profit and big business which ultimately is killing and destroying so many lives? When my kids want candy if we go to the local shop, I hate that the only choices are things filled with colour, weird chemical ingredients and other crap. I would love to read this book to further educate myself on the power of food over medicine. And even if I don’t win it, I am still ordering it from Amazon! cheers!

  • Guest

    So how does her philosophy differ from a Paleo diet, except for the fact that Paleo dieters dont eat grains, but as a vegan, I have learned that I am very sensitive to grains, wheat and gluten, so I have all but eliminated grains, breads and pasta from my diet with the occasional exception of Quinoa. Thanks LuAnn

  • Lydia

    I’m a newbie when it comes to eating plant based and I need all the info I can get,this book sounds very imformative.

  • Nicole Selah Destrampe

    I have issues with severe vit d deficiency, hypothyroidism, very little growth hormone and adrenal issues all a result of a pituitary tumor that was removed in 1998( I was 14). We have also lot two pregnancies one 5 weeks ago I was 18 weeks along and thought we were “safe”. We have two beautiful daughters and I feel very blessed for that however the more I can learn about naturally healing myself the better, so yes I’d love to win this, if not I’ll be buying it thanks for the opportunity!

  • Sandy

    I have been suffering with a pituatory adenoma for 8 years now. I am trying hard to fight this disease. I would really enjoy reading this book to help me heal and find my way to eating healthy and helping my family do the same. Thank you Elena, for all the wonderful articles you post. Im looking forward to achieving a healthier lifystyle thanks to Elena. Thank you.

  • I’ve been wanting to read this since before it came out.

    I don’t really find my vegan diet to be challenging. It can be when eating out, but I don’t do that often.

  • Sheena

    This sounds exactly like what I need right now!
    I’ve been vegan for almost 4 years and over the past few months I’ve been in a bit of a rut. I almost gave up, but I know that’s not an option. I’m just taking it one choice at a time and am finally starting to get my vegan mojo back. This would be so great to read.

  • Jill B

    I gave up meat several years ago without any problems. But I can’t seem to get to the point where I am completely plant-based. I tend to eat whatever is quick and easy instead of what’s healthy. I think this book would help since it’s written in a simple, easy way to understand. Thanks for all the great info you give us!

  • kimber

    Old habits are hard to break. This book looks like it would be a fabulous addition to the information I’ve been accumulating over the last couple of years. As I get older, diet becomes more and more essential to being clean and green! Thanks for the great give away!

  • Bonnie

    This would be an awesome addition to my reading to help me with a plant strong lifestyle!! I have been vegan/ no oil since April 10, 2013. I’ve lost weight, my cholesterol has come down, I feel great and I’m RE learning to cook!

  • April

    This is something I need to learn, I have a pituitary glad tumor (prolactinoma) and need a book to teach me and the other in my house how to eat healthy, I want to have a healthy life but the medicine I am on makes me dizzy. I want to eat my way right OFF this medicine. Thank you for the oppertunity of this giveaway.

  • Emily Richardson

    I have gradually adopted a plant-based diet and reduced my doctor visits from 6 times per year to NONE in the past 365 days. I want to learn more and I’d love to have a book to share with my friends who are anxious to learn too!

    • Emily, congrats! You are the winner. Contact me for further details. Instructions at the top of this post.

  • kazspence

    Exciting news Elena 🙂 After completing your Vegan 101 course and making the decision to have only a plant based lifestyle, which I love, I have been given the aok from my doctor to go off my high blood pressure meds that I had been on for 8 years. YAY I am finally medication free, never felt better, weight is dropping off and I am find myself hungry for knowledge. I would LOVE to Read this book. Thanks for everything you do, I love sharing your teachings. Namaste from Australia

  • Adriane

    after losing my sweet mother to ovarian cancer three years ago its become my life’s passion to seek health and healing through foods. I wish she were here to read it!

  • trh1

    I am always trying to learn. This IS a new book that I need and want to read! Sadly, my mother was known as a “pill popper” and medicine quite frankly scares me! I have seen too many people be affected by medicine, and what can be horrible side effects. So much runs in our family, and I definitely don’t want to be the next generation of pill poppers. I want Food Over Medicine to be my Life and Life Saver! By the way Elena, I love this new look, and especially the awesome header illustration, with you,the hubby, and lil’ Sprout! 🙂 Thank you for your dedication to all of us!

  • Pam Trebets

    I would love to learn more about diet to avoid doctors and taking pills. This topic is very near and dear to me as I really have little faith in traditional medicine.

  • Melika

    I love the title to the book bc I believe the title can be true in so many ways. I follow Vegalicious on FB, subscribed to the emails, share her research and passion with others that want to learn more about joining the journey to a vegan life style. I myself, have not been successful yet, but I am continuing to work at it. Although, I haven’t read Food over Medicine yet, I do believe it is a book that most of us may want to read…especially myself and my step-dad…who suffers from a rare form of gout…it’s a disease form and lingers far longer than the normal forms. In any case, I appreciate Vegalicious, Elena, for sharing your research and passion with all of us. BTW, I LOVE the new header on the emails! Very creative!

  • Amber

    This is very interesting to me as an omnivore. Although the majority of my diet consists of vegetables, I’m trying to cut meat out slowly. I now only consume meat at dinner and I feel like a book like this will be very helpful for me in my journey.

  • Kathy

    I am new to the vegan journey and would love a copy of the Food Over Medicine book giveaway! I am a firm believer that the good Lord gave us bodies that would regenerate if we feed them right! Thank you, Elena for all the good info I have found on your site.

  • Shannon

    In my several year journey of a healthy lifestyle, I keep reading more about food as medicine. My journey has brought me to plant-based eating and I’m always eager to learn more. I can’t wait to read this book~

  • Joelyn Morgan

    As a health coach this sounds like something I know my clients would enjoy.

    I am also looking forward to eventually meeting Pam Popper at the Wellness Center as I have been in Columbus for 16 months now and JUST heard about it!


    This sounds like a book I would definitely enjoy reading! Thank you for the giveaway.

  • Annetta

    The title caught my attention immediately “Food over Medicine”. I have been struggling with my health for a couple of years now, and trying all natural approaches. The book seems to be an ideal reference book, not too complicated, compiled with unbiased evidence. An interesting read the very least. Thank you for the opportunity for a free giveaway!

  • ChristinChristina Motzko Mital

    I would like to read this book because I have been vegan for 1 yr and 1 month, but am VERY new to nutritional remedies. I have printed out a million pieces of paper with nutritional healing “recipes” on it and it would be great to have all these “recipes” in one place and bound together. I am also interested in reading Dr. Popper’s
    arguments for people taking responsibility for what happens to them.

  • Andrianna

    I would like to read Dr Popper’s book to gain more insight on my current journey towards a Vegan nutrition plan. Looking for continued inspiration on the path!

  • Sharon

    This book looks like a critical reference for continued health and well-being, a tool to get those of my friends and family to view food “as their medicine,” and a gift to myself of more enlightenment in the realm of nutrition.

  • ljhook

    Living without insurance throughout most of my life has made it necessary for me to be very diligent about how I take care of my body – I LITERALLY can’t afford not to. Vegan happened naturally for me but I am still learning. Thanks for the giveaway!! ~Lisa

  • cindy

    I would love to win this book. I absolutely hate taking medicine and love reading anything I can about the subject and also sharing the info with friends and family.

  • Teresa

    I would like t his book because I think Dr Popper has a more realistic way of sharing this information and I have family who might hear the message from this book. Thanks for all you do.

  • Susan

    I would love to win this book. I am interested in doing all I can to improve my and my family’s health and read as much as I can on nutrition. I look forward to reading this book whether I win it here or not.

  • Jackie

    My husband was diagnosed diabetic this year. He’s 35. I’m a nurse and have seen the aweful turmoil diabetes can cause and refused to accept that my husband would be doomed to that fate. We did a lot of research and are on our way to transitioning to a vegan diet. His sugars are already improving, he’s lost weight, and feels more energetic. Best part is I’m feeling better too! The challenge we face is we have a one, three, and five year old and are apprehensive about going all in without having all the facts and a good plan. I’ve been researching for several months now and feel confident we’ll be able to make the complete switch soon. The more I learn the more I realize this is the path for me and my family. I hope one day to be teaching others about this healthy, healing life style as well.

  • Love the updated web design & photos. I did notice it a few days ago…. awesome! I am hoping to win a copy of Food Over Medicine by entering today. Just the title of the book gets to the point of what will enable us to take charge of our health and our lives with food and without prescribed poison. I am in the process of healing myself with food, with Elena’s help, of course, and can’t thank you enough Elena. If I don’t win, I will make sure to order it on Amazon. Have a great day!

  • Kristina Vera

    I would love to read this book I’m enjoying what I am learning about this far

  • Carolyn

    The reason I would love to have this book is because I still have much to learn about eating healthier via a whole foods, plant-based diet. One of the most challenging aspects of pursuing a plant based diet is myself. By that I mean, old habits, old ways of thinking, false information that has been fed to us since we were out of diapers has been a bit of a process to let go and re-educating myself on what is really healthy and good for me, vs. what the media and other organizations say are good for me. It’s a challenge bucking the trends and being the weirdo (in some cases) by trying to live a healthier and better life.

  • Rebecca Siharath

    Hi! I would love to read this book! I crave knowledge on mastering clean eating and living a healthy lifestyle! My greatest challenge is, how do I do this long term?!! I struggle to create habits to last long term! Pick me!! I think I would greatly benefit from reading it! It would definitely not be wasted on me, and I would share the book with others!! 🙂

  • Ashley

    Very interested in this book. 🙂