My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘no oil’

How To Find A Plant-Based Doctor #Jeff Novick, MS,RD #Esselstyn, MD

How To Find a Plant-Based Doctor

Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD

Jeff Novick, MS, RD


Jeff Novick, MS, RD

Over the last few years, I have been honored and privileged to work with and speak to literally 10’s of 1000’s of people who were looking to change to a plant based diet and lifestyle.  As a result of this work, one of the questions that comes up very frequently is how does someone find a plant based doctor to work with.

While there are several ways to respond to this question, one of the greatest responses I ever heard was from Dr Caldwell Esselstyn during our Q & A sessions at an immersion.   After hearing it, I asked him if we could work together on expanding and drafting his response into a formal article.   What follows is our first draft, which we may update and amend over time, but because of the importance of this, we wanted to put it out now.

Here we go…

How To Find a Plant-Based Doctor

Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD

Jeff Novick, MS, RD

People often despair that they lack a local physician with a plant based focus. It is a common concern we hear often. While ideally it would be best if there were a plant based doctor for everyone who wants one,this is rarely the case.

However, do not despair. Working together we can bring you and your current doctor fully up to speed with knowledge about plant based nutrition. Therefore the first thing that will be important for you to do is to get yourself up to speed on the basics of plant-based nutrition.

One way to do this is by visiting one of the residential or immersion programs** run by one of the recommend doctors. Other ways that can also be of value include reading the recommended books**, watching the recommended DVD’s** or taking the E-Cornell plant based nutrition course**. Of course, nothing can take the place of a live interaction with a knowledgeable plant based doctor.

It is important to continue to work with your doctor and let them realize we are not taking away his/her patient; we are merely focusing on a very important dimension of care -the causation of their illness, which local physicians 1. don’t have the time for 2. don’t have the passion for or 3. lack the training or skill set for.

Also, in the beginning, you do not have to get into the specific details of your diet.  Just let them know you have decided to start eating better and going to make some changes (eat a few more fruits, veggies, whole grains and beans and less junk food and fried foods) and see how things go and that you would like them to keep an eye on your numbers. Even ask them if they have any recommendations.

Then, just keeping following the program. This way, working together with your local physician, he/she will be able to reduce 1. blood pressure meds as the patient’s hypertension resolves 2. reduce cholesterol meds as cholesterol lowers 3. reduce diabetic meds as glucose is reduced.

In addition, once you being to have success and your doctor sees these positive changes, he/she may initiate the conversation with you about what you have done and be far more willing to have the conversation from a more open perspective having witnessed the improvements. And, by doing it this way, you will have helped to educate your doctor about the power of plant based, no oil way of living without having any confrontational interactions.

When we approach it this way, the local MD’s will recognize that those of us in lifestyle medicine are working synergistically in the spirit of cooperative endeavor to have their patients have the full benefit of plant based nutrition to halt and reverse their disease.

**Here is the beginning of the recommended resource list in alphabetical order by last name.

(It will be updated over time with live links to the resources.)


Neal Barnard MD

– Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes

– Breaking the Food Seduction

– 21 Day Weight-loss Kick start

Colin Campbell

– The China Study

Caldwell Esselstyn

– Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease

Rip Esselstyn

– The Engine 2 Diet

Doug Lisle

– The Pleasure Trap

John McDougall MD

– Dr. McDougall’s Digestive Tune‐Up

– The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook

– Dr. McDougall’s Total Health Solution for the 21st Century DVD

– The McDougall Program: Twelve Days to Dynamic Health

– The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss

– The New McDougall Cookbook

– The Starch Solution


Neal Barnard MD

– Tackling Diabetes DVD

– Kick Start Your Health DVD

Caldwell Esselstyn

– Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease

Rip Esselstyn

– Forks Over Knives Presents The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue

Michael Klaper

  1. -Digestion Made Easy

Douglas Lisle

– The Continuum of Evil

– Losing weight without losing your mind

– The Pleasure Trap

John McDougall MD

– Dr. McDougall’s Total Health Solution for the 21st Century DVD

– McDougall Made Easy & Irresistible

– Dr. McDougall’s Money-Saving Medical Advice

– Dr. McDougall’s Common Sense Nutrition

– McDougall Made Irresistible

– Dr. McDougall Disputes Major Medical Treatments

– McDougall Made Easy

– McDougall’s Medicine

Jeff Novick

– Lighten Up

– Calorie Density

– Should I Eat That

– From Oil To Nuts

– Nuts & Health

– Fast Food Vol 1 The Basics

– Fast Food Vol 2 Burgers & Fries


– Forks Over Knives

– Processed People

Immersions and Programs

– The McDougall 3, 5 & 10 Day Programs

– Dr Esselstyn – 5-hour intensive counseling seminar at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute

– Farms To Forks Weekend Immersions

Online Course

– E Cornel Plant Based Nutrition Course

Additional Material


John Abramson MD

– Overdosed America

Gilbert H. Welch MD

– Should I be tested for Cancer?

– Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health

– Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics

Nortin Hadler MD

– Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cooking Without Oil by Cathy Fisher

(Cathy Fisher from Straight Up Food)

Cooking without Oil

The thought of cooking without oil can be a little mind-bending if you haven’t done it. The mere suggestion to chuck the oil from the kitchen (and the body) usually elicits the responses, “What do you mean?” and “Why?” Because most of us have never heard that oil was harmful to health and because we have consumed it nearly every day of our lives, it can be hard to fathom living without it.

“But what about olive oil?” Whether it is olive oil, canola, corn, flax or any other kind of oil, as a category, oil has some major negatives going for it. For one, oil is very high in calories, about 120 per tablespoon; compare this to maple syrup (52), balsamic vinegar (14), soy milk (8), vegetable broth (2), and water (0).

For the whole scoop on why oil is not healthy, see E2’s “Big Oil” post from last Thursday ( Basically, we want to consume fats that are still in their natural packaging—in the whole food—not fats that have been overly processed into an oil, a substance that our body, given the choice, would say “No thank you” to. Here are a few suggestions that will help you to enjoy your food without the use of oil:

Vegetables: When you are sautéing vegetables on the stovetop, simply replace the oil you normally use with water or vegetable broth. You can use other liquids too, but these are the most common oil replacements for sautéing. Vegetables naturally have a lot of water in them, which releases when they are cooked, so this is why we only need to add a small amount of water or broth. Just keep an eye on your pan so that your vegetables don’t stick; I keep a glass of water nearby so I’m ready. Your food can quickly stick or burn if all the water cooks off and you are not paying attention.

When sautéing vegetables like onions, celery, mushrooms, and bell peppers, heat up your skillet or pot (non-stick or stainless steel) with a couple tablespoons of water in the bottom, and when it starts to crackle, add the vegetables, keeping them moving with a wooden spoons for a few minutes until they soften. Sautéing allows the natural sugars to release and intensify. The nice thing about sautéing in water or broth is that you end up tasting more of the food instead of the oil.

If you are roasting or baking vegetables, you also do not need to use oil. We have been taught that we need to first coat chopped vegetables, French fries, tofu, tempeh, etc. in oil, or in an oil-based marinade, but the oil is simply not necessary. These foods will still cook, and if left in long enough, they will lightly brown. Depending on what you are baking, a little crispiness can be achieved if that is your goal (with something like fries).

Baked Goods: Oil can be replaced in many different ways for baked goods. Oil gives baked goodies a rich taste and also acts as an emulsifier and softener. Instead of oil, use other moist foods, such as bananas, apples/applesauce, soaked dried fruit (like raisins or prunes), dates and tofu. In my cornbread recipe, I use cooked quinoa and banana to provide moistness instead of oil. It takes a bit of practice to determine how much banana, for example, replaces the amount of oil called for in a recipe, but if you keep notes as you go, you can adjust as needed next time. If you don’t want to figure out your own oil conversions in recipes, check out the “Big Oil” post mentioned above to find many plant-based recipe sites that do not use oil.

In preparing your pans for baking cakes, breads, or cookies, you can use parchment paper instead of oil. Parchment is a silicone-coated paper that nothing sticks to and it is disposable. (It’s different than wax paper but is found close to it in your grocery store.) Or you can use silicone bakeware, which is food-grade and safe to use; bread and cupcakes just pop right out of loaf and muffin pans. Silicone baking mats are also available; these are useful for flat baking (cookies and also for roasting vegetables). Both the silicone bakeware and the mats are washable and reusable.

Salad Dressing: For salad dressings, if I am following a recipe, I will simply omit the oil altogether and leave it at that, or then add a little water or juice to make up for the lost volume. Oil and vinegar as a dressing is so traditional, it may be hard to imagine a salad without the oil, but I think you may grow to appreciate the cleaner, fresher taste of the vegetables and greens without the slipperiness.

For quick homemade dressings without oil I like to use prepared mustard, vinegar, water, or juice (lemon, grapefruit, lime, apple, carrot, celery), and if I will be making a blended dressing, I’ll add in some soft fruits or vegetables, such as strawberries, cucumbers, or mango. For creamy dressings, a little tofu, avocado or soaked nuts may be added, however go light on these since these are much higher in calories than vegetables and fruits. A tablespoon or two of minced fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley) are also a tasty addition to homemade salad dressings.

If you’re interested in seeing how oil is made, check out this three-minute video fromScience TV’s, “How It’s Made” ( I recently watched this video on canola oil and couldn’t believe how many steps it takes to make it. By the end I would have a hard time calling this food.

It will take a little time for your taste buds to adjust to no oil, maybe a couple weeks to a month; but give those buds time, they will come around. As someone who does not cook with oil at all nowadays, when I do have a little, it tastes, and feels, somewhat overwhelming, and I don’t care for it. Cheers to you for bidding goodbye to oil! If you have a tip or suggestion for substituting oil, please share it below.

Cathy Fisher teaches cooking classes at True North Health Center and the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California. Visit to view more of Cathy’s healthful plant-based recipes.

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