Steps for Transitioning to a Whole Foods Vegan Diet and Enjoying Healthy, Delicious Meals—without Feeling any Deprivation A PLANT-BASED LIFE Your Complete Guide to Great Food, Radiant Health, Boundless Energy, and a Better Body

August 05, 2016

More people than ever are eating whole food, plant-based diet works to achieve weight loss, without counting calories, and gains in energy. Still, despite all the powerful reasons to switch to plant-based eating, eager converts often struggle with concerns about nutrition, preparation, and cost; lack of support from loved ones; and qualms about sacrificing the joy of eating for a  restricted diet.                              

“It’s hard to explain to someone who’s never tried it just how good you can feel eating whole plant foods, or just how good these foods can taste,” Micaela Cook Karlsen, nutritional expert and plant-based eating advocate, acknowledges. “Once it’s a habit, plant-based eating can be easy, not to mention delicious. But reformatting your patterns and old way of interacting with food takes skill and strategy.” In A PLANT-BASED LIFE: Your Complete Guide to Great Food, Radiant Health, Boundless Energy, and a Better Body (AMACOM; July 12, 2016; $16.95 Paperback), Karlsen offers a compassionate how-to manual for anyone who wants to know more about what a whole food plant-based diet is, how to transition from unhealthy eating habits, break free of cravings, and how to ensure lasting success.

Featuring a foreword by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University and co-author of The China Study, and filled with eye-opening research, A PLANT-BASED LIFE combines plenty of motivation for adopting plant-based eating with a practical plan for following through. Along with encouragement to envision exciting new possibilities, readers will find a useful framework for assessing their own readiness level for change—from Easing In to plant-based eating to committing to a Total Transformation. Then, at a manageable pace, they’ll learn how to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-Limited) goals and overcome obstacles on their path.                                   

From initial enthusiasm to lasting change, A PLANT-BASED LIFE maps out a journey with many thrilling discoveries and frustrating roadblocks. Step by step, readers will keep moving forward as they:       

  • Gather food for the mind and identify their driving force for shifting to a plant-based diet, whether it’s weight loss, disease prevention, or better for the planet.  
  • Gradually add whole plant foods to their diet by “crowding out” meat, dairy, and processed junk—without strictly forbidding any comforting, favorite food.  
  • Choose health over habit, conquer cravings, and reset their taste preferences for less salty, less sweet, and more savory, flavorful delicious food.     
  • Stop relying on willpower and create a new normal by making their food environment (at home, at work, and on the go) match their dietary intentions.  
  • Cultivate supportive relationships and enjoy sharing plant-based meals with new friends, as well as deal with both critical naysayers and skeptical loved ones.        

Throughout, Micaela shares personal insights, proven strategies, and lots of tips and tools for making plant-based eating sustainable, affordable, and satisfying. Plus, she shares over 100 delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert, ranging from elegant (Portabella Steaks, Plum Carpaccio) to kid-friendly (Super Easy Pizza). For anyone thinking of shifting to a plant-based diet or simply eating more veggies, A PLANT-BASED LIFE makes the commitment much easier and even more fulfilling.      

About the Author

MICAELA COOK KARLSEN is a founding employee and former Executive Director of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. A contributor to the New York Times bestseller Forks Over Knives and the creator of, a free online database of research on plant-based nutrition, she holds an MSPH in Human Nutrition from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is a PhD candidate in Nutritional Epidemiology at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She lives in Boston.