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.

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