The 10 Most Important Books About SOS Veganism

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Last Updated on March 14, 2021 by admin

The 10 Most Important Books About SOS Veganism

In our guide about SOS veganism, we outlined some of the most prominent vegans who have omitted sugar, salt, and oil from their diets. These include Alan Goldhamer, Ray Cronise, Joel Fuhrman, and Douglas Lisle. Many of these doctors, scientists, and health experts have written books introducing, explaining, and even defending SOS veganism.

Maybe you’re interested in reading a few of these as well as other books on the subject. You want renowned authors that have made an important difference in veganism. You want facts that are backed up by science and research. Luckily for you, you don’t have to search too hard. We’ve compiled 10 of the most important books about SOS veganism for you. We’d vouch for the content in any of these books. Once you read them, we think you will, too.

  1. Plant-Based Nutrition, (Idiot’s Guides)2E by Julieanna Hever with Ray Cronise

Julieanna Hever is the founder of the Plant-Based Dietician website. She studied at Cal State Northridge in California, earning her Masters of Science. She later became a registered dietician. When she’s not helping people improve their health and diet, she’s sharing her views in VegNews Magazine as a nutrition columnist. Hever’s work has appeared in Permanente Journal and the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology. She’s published three other books.

If you remember from our guide, Ray Cronise has a scientific and space-based background, having cofounded the Zero Gravity Foundation and serving as a former employee of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. He penned a single book before working with Heber. It’s called Our Broken Plate: How Our Mastery of Food and Environment May Have Contributed to Unprecedented Obesity and Chronic Disease.

In Plant-Based Nutrition, Heber and Cronise advocate for healthier eating. The message is intended for omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and SOS vegans alike. The authors include research that supports that plant-based diets may be able to alleviate symptoms from cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Many fans of the book have had whole body and life transformations by eating plants over meat. They’ve lost weight, cut cravings, and even treated conditions like sleep apnea, acid reflux, and high blood pressure.

Do keep in mind that this is the second edition of Plant-Based Nutrition. If you by chance already own the first edition, it’s worth getting this updated copy. It has more stats, studies, and advice on healthful, plant-based eating.

  1. The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force That Undermines Health & Happiness by Douglas J. Lisle with Alan Goldhamer

If you remember from our introductory post on SOS-free veganism, Douglas J. Lisle and Alan Goldhamer are two of the most influential names in this branch of vegan eating. After having created Esteem Dynamics, which blends human psychology and wellbeing, Dr. Douglas J. Lisle shared his expertise with vegans across the country. Dr. Alan Goldhamer owns the Santa Rosa, California TrueNorth Health Center. He’s written several articles that have appeared in medical journals as well as a few books.

The best-selling of these tomes is by far 2003’s The Pleasure Trap. It doesn’t matter that this book is more than a decade old; its message still rings true today, maybe more so now than it ever has. Drs. Lisle and Goldhamer touch on how everything from our moods to our wellbeing and health are dictated by the foods we eat. With their combined expertise, they of course back up all their claims with case studies and scientific and medical research.

If you’re new to plant-based dieting and/or veganism, you don’t want to miss this book. It’s short, under 300 pages, but even if it was longer, you wouldn’t want to put it down. Don’t be surprised to find yourself reading and rereading it.

  1. Straight Up Food: Delicious and Easy Plant-Based Cooking without Salt, Oil or Sugar by Cathy Fisher

If you’re new to SOS-free veganism, then Straight Up Food will become like your Bible. Cathy Fisher is associated with Dr. Alan Goldhamer, having worked at his TrueNorth Health Center for many years. During her stint, she was also a part of John McDougall’s McDougall Program.

Having studied childhood education and psychology on a university level, Fisher gradually changed her career path. It all started when she realized she had adverse reactions to dairy. She decided to try cutting out dairy and eating only plants and has been doing so since 1999!

Fisher has also worked with the National Health Association, a nonprofit. Her work has appeared in their journal, Health Science, where she has also worked as an editor. When she’s not at TrueNorth Health Center or busy with the National Health Association, Fisher has contributed to several other books on plant-based diets. These include Micaela Cook Karlsen’s The Plant-Based Life, Jill Nussinow’s Nutrition CHAMPS, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Color Me Vegan, and Thomas Campbell’s The Campbell Plan.

Her first and only book (thus far) is Straight Up Food. If you’ve loved Fisher’s recipes on,, and, you’ll be grateful to have them all in one compilation. This book spans 251 pages and includes recipes for delicious dishes such as a Potato-Veggie Scramble, Enchilada Casserole, and Almond Poppy-Seed Cake for dessert. With large pictures, full ingredients lists, and detailed steps, you’ll be cooking SOS-free in no time.

  1. Bravo!: Health Promoting Meals from the TrueNorth Health Kitchen by Ramses Bravo with Alan Goldhamer

Another alumni of TrueNorth Health Center is Ramses Bravo. As the executive chef of the facility, he’s worked closely with Dr. Alan Goldhamer for years. Goldhamer also contributed to his book Bravo!: Health Promoting Meals from the TrueNorth Health Kitchen.

Bravo has been in the food and restaurant industry for more than 14 years. Before joining the TrueNorth Health Center, he worked in another California facility, the Kenwood Inn and Spa.  Bravo has also contributed his healthful, SOS-free recipes to the Forks Over Knives website.

Even if you can’t get out to Santa Rosa to visit the TrueNorth Health Center, you can always eat like Dr. Goldhamer and staff by picking up Bravo’s book. According to the author himself, it’s possible to ward off conditions like hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other chronic diseases by eating a SOS-free vegan diet. In fact, over 7,000 readers and book fans reported doing just that!

With menus spanning up to two weeks, you can easily get on board with SOS-free veganism with Bravo’s book. Each recipe includes full color photos as well as instructions and ingredients for following along. If you need a little more guidance, Bravo includes guidelines and tips for success. All of Bravo’s recipes are loaded with fiber and nutrients while cutting out cholesterol, saturated fats, and heavy calorie totals. SOS-free veganism has never tasted so good!

  1. The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good! and The Healthiest Diet on the Planet: Why the Foods You Love-Pizza, Pancakes, Potatoes, Pasta, and More-Are the Solution to Preventing Disease and Looking and Feeling Your Best by John McDougall

We briefly touched on Dr. John McDougall’s life and career above, but, as the author of two of the most renowned SOS-free veganism books out there, he’s worth mentioning again. Studying at the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University, McDougall focused on psychology. He became an intern, with certifications from the National Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Internal Medicine.

He, like many others, used to eat animal products and byproducts, until he had a serious stroke. McDougall was only 18 years old, so he was young for such a health scare. This started his interest in introducing healthier diets across the healthcare sphere. For instance, in Minnesota, he oversaw Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s dietary program for several years. Before that, he had been in Napa Valley, California at St. Helena Hospital, where his vegetarian dietary program was the first of its kind.

While you can and should read McDougall’s work in Naked Food Magazine, his two books are must-reads, too. In The Starch Solution, McDougall introduces a unique way of eating. He and Mary, his wife and coauthor, don’t recommend dropping all carbs from your diet. Instead, they suggest following the McDougalls’ 7-Day Sure-Start Plan, which has plenty of carb and starch-filled recipes.

You might think this is counterintuitive. You’d be surprised, though. Those who have tried the 7-Day Sure-Start Plan and followed McDougall’s advice have lost weight. How? With the proteins from carbs, you get plenty of energy that lasts for hours. That reduces appetite. Carbs have less fats than you think as well. In that vein, they may be even be helpful in warding off some diseases!

We also must discuss McDougall’s other masterpiece, The Healthiest Diet on the Planet. If that title alone doesn’t make you want to pick this up and read it cover to cover, the content well.

McDougall advocates for the removal of animal proteins and fats from your diet. He says these contribute to gaining weight, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, constipation, ulcers, indigestion, and high cholesterol.

Does that mean you have to give up your favorite foods? No! McDougall recommends modifying recipes so they have more complex carbohydrates. You’ll find ways to sneak in tubers, legumes, and whole grains to pizza, pancakes, and other delicious eats when you follow the recipes outlined in this great book.

  1. The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss: A Revolutionary Approach to Conquer Cravings, Overcome Food Addiction, and Lose Weight Without Going Hungry by Chef AJ with Glen Merzer

Chef AJ once ate a nonvegan diet and was overweight. Once she got her own weight on track, she decided to share her tips for success with others. Based in Los Angeles, she’s a culinary instructor who’s contributed to Forks Over Knives. Her other book, Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight, includes many yummy recipes that are rife with vegetables and fruits.

She works with Glen Merzer on The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss. Merzer is a Bellmore, New York native and has been enjoying the plant-based diet for years. He studied at Boston University in Massachusetts as well as Indiana University and the New College of Florida. As a novelist and author, Merzer is more known for his nonfiction work, which shows how to eat plant-based foods that are low in fat.

In The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss, there’s a lot to learn. This book is more advice-based than recipe-based, although don’t worry, there are plenty of recipes to be had.

Some of the concepts Chef AJ and Glen Merzer cover in this book are calorie density and why it matters as well as the Seven Cs, which are all about weight loss. Prepare to have more energy and eat more healthfully and deliciously than ever!

  1. How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease and The How Not to Die Cookbook: 100+ Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger with Gene Stone

Dr. Michael Greger has a background in nutrition. He gained his degrees at the Tufts University School of Medicine and the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. As recently as the mid-1990s, he’s warned against eating animal products and byproducts. In fact, in 1994, he had a paper published on mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

As a vegan, he believes in plant-based whole foods for better health. You can read his dietary advice on, a website he founded. Greger is also the author of several books on topics like what life is like as a medical student, low-carb dieting, and bird flu. His best-known book by far is the New York Times bestseller, How Not to Die.

This book is so good that the Dalai Lama says it “may help those who are susceptible to illnesses that can be prevented.” Those illnesses include cancer, liver disease, high blood pressure, and other chronic diseases. Not only does Dr. Greger tell you which foods you should eat to protect yourself from these diseases, but he tells you why, too. For instance, sipping hibiscus tea has been proven to be more beneficial than hypertension medications for high blood pressure. Given his medical and scientific background, his words are proven by research.

If you just can’t get enough of Dr. Greger’s work, then don’t miss The How Not to Die Cookbook. The premise here is the same, but with tons more recipes than advice on dieting. You’ll love the Daily Dozen, which are ingredients that Dr. Greger himself prefers. With full-color photos, ingredients, and simple steps, you too can learn how to make Dr. Greger’s famed Two-Berry Pie with its succulent Pecan-Sunflower Crust or his delish Superfood Breakfast Bites.

  1. The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health by T. Colin Campbell and The China Study Cookbook: Revised and Expanded Edition with Over 175 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes by LeAnne Campbell and T. Colin Campbell

Colin Campbell worked for years on The China Study. It all started during his time at Cornell University. He never strayed far from academia, even after graduation. Working as a family physician, Dr. Campbell joined the University of Rochester as the clinical director and cofounder for the University’s Program for Nutrition in Medicine.

He also linked up with the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Oxford University, and his old stomping grounds at Cornell over the course of 20 years to pen The China Study. The basis of the book is comprised of 300+ studies and papers. To earn access to these papers, Dr. Campbell had to obtain grant year funding, of which he had over 70 years’ worth!

What is The China Study? It proved the correlation between disease and diet, especially animal proteins. By moving towards plant-based whole foods, Dr. Campbell scientifically showed how these could be better for the body.

This revised version features the same revelations in The China Study, but with additional research and input from Dr. Campbell and his physician son Tom Campbell. Once you finish reading this masterpiece, move onto The China Study Cookbook. This is coauthored by Dr. Campbell and his daughter LeAnne.

LeAnne follows three principles: locally-grown organic produce is always best; native, local foods can provide better nutrition; and there’s no need to take supplements if your diet is healthful enough. Although not totally SOS-free (there are small amounts of salt and sugar in some recipes), you can make changes to the recipes to adhere to your own diet. Some sample recipes you’ll find in The China Study Cookbook are Passionfruit Bliss Cheese(less) Cake Delights, Black Bean Chipotle Burgers, and Almond-Topped Blueberry Coffee Cake.

  1. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure by Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.

As the founder of the Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease Program, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. is a huge proponent for veganism. Graduating from Yale University and then Western Reserve University, Esselstyn was once a superior athlete in rowing. He even took home an Olympic gold medal in the sport. He’s been associated with many medical communities across the country and has written more than 150 articles and studies.

In between all this, Esselstyn got into plant-based eating. He’s omitted any animal-based foods from his diet for nearly 35 years! Not only that, but Esselstyn has oils from his diet specifically. It’s no wonder then that his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, skyrocketed to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list.

He proves every single one of his claims with research, including a long-running study of those with heart disease and other cardiac conditions. Some of these patients had a grim outlook, being told they wouldn’t live for longer than a year. Yet over the 20 years Esselstyn studied these patients on a plant-based diet, they all survived. Not only that, but they never had another heart-related symptom again.

You’ll also find 150+ recipes to peruse and prepare for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. It doesn’t get much better than this!

  1. Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition by Joel Fuhrman

Speaking of former athletes who later became major authorities on veganism, there’s Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He once performed for the US World Figure Skating Team. He learned firsthand what nutrition could do after he treated a career-threatening injury with alternative medicine. If you’ve ever used the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (Whole Foods and countless others do), then you’re familiar with just a small slice of the work Fuhrman has contributed.

He currently has 13 published books under his belt, but the most popular of these is Eat to Live. A New York Times bestseller that was also a favorite for Advice & Misc. (it sat loftily up on their list for 90 whopping weeks!), this version is revised. In the extra chapter, Dr. Fuhrman introduces the concept of toxic hunger. What this means is that when you eat foods that are high in oils, animal products, sugar, and calories, you don’t get enough phytochemicals and micronutrients. Often, toxic metabolites, inflammation, and oxidative stress develop.

Luckily, Dr. Fuhrman has a six-week plan full of foods you should eat to avoid toxic hunger. We also recommend checking out the accompanying Eat to Live Quick and Easy Cookbook. Here, you can browse through more than 131 SOS-free vegan recipes. These include now-healthy indulgences like Chocolate Almond Truffles, filling Carrot and Red Lentil Soup, and tasty Blue Apple Nut Oatmeal.


If you’re interested in SOS-free veganism but don’t know where to start, the 10 books recommended above are great resources. Whether you read one or several (or perhaps even all) of the books on this list, you can’t go wrong. You’ll have greater energy, fewer health maladies, and you should even expect to lose some weight, too.

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