Forks Over Knives (2011): What to eat and foods to avoid

by Penny Hammond on April 9, 2013 · 39 comments

in Diets

Forks Over Knives - diet plan bookForks Over Knives (2011) is a book that recommends a plant-based diet for health.

  • Avoid all meat (including fish), dairy, eggs; also oils/fats and processed foods.
  • Eat freely: fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains.
  • Limit lightly-processed whole foods.

Get a copy of Forks Over Knives book, Forks Over Knives Kindle Edition, Forks Over Knives DVD, or Forks Over Knives Cookbook for more information on why plant-based diets are better for your health, animals, and the environment, and for recipes.

The reasoning behind Forks Over Knives

This book suggests that plant-based whole foods are good for your health, good for animals, and good for the environment.

Forks Over Knives diet plan – food list

What can you eat on the Forks Over Knives diet? The foods listed here are taken from the Forks Over Knives book (which says whether you can eat foods freely or sparingly), and the Forks Over Knives Cookbook (which lists ingredients). There are some assumptions made about which ingredients from the cookbook should go in each list.

Foods to eat freely in Forks Over Knives

  • Whole foods
  • Fruits
    • E.g. apples, apricots, bananas, berries, blackberries, blueberries, citrus, dates (presumably fresh dates as dried fruits should be limited), figs, grapes, lemons, limes, mangos, melons, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums, pomegranate, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines
  • Vegetables
    • Cruciferous vegetables including bok choy, baby bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, napa cabbage, radishes, swiss chard, turnips, watercress
    • Leafy greens including arugula, beet greens, chard, collards, escarole, kale, lettuce, parsley, spinach
    • Other vegetables e.g. acorn squash, artichokes, asparagus, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, green beans, leeks, onions, parsnips, peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, bell peppers, hot peppers, pumpkin, scallions/green onions/spring onions, shallots, spaghetti squash, tomatillos, tomatoes, squash, yellow squash, zucchini
    • Bean sprouts and other sprouts including adzuki bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli sprouts, mung bean sprouts, soybean sprouts, sunflower sprouts
    • Tubers including potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
    • Mushrooms including button mushrooms, cremini, porcini, portobello, shiitake, and other mushrooms
  • Legumes
    • Beans, e.g. adzuki beans, anasazi beans, black beans, cannellini beans, fava beans, kidney beans, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, pinto beans, white beans
    • Chickpeas/garbanzos
    • Lentils, e.g. green lentils, red lentils
    • Edamame
    • Dried peas, e.g. black-eyed peas
  • Whole grains
  • Herbs and spices
    • Herbs – e.g. basil, bay leaf, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme
    • Spices – e.g. allspice, ancho chili powder, cardamom, cayenne pepper, chipotle peppers, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, crushed red pepper, cumin, curry powder, fennel, fenugreek, garam masala, garlic powder, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, kombu, lemongrass, mustard powder, nutmeg, onion powder, paprika (smoked and sweet), peppercorns, saffron, turmeric
  • Slightly processed foods which are okay to eat
    • Oil-free salad dressings, also low in added sweeteners
    • Tofu
    • Pasta sauces with little or no added oils
    • Plant milks (unsweetened) including soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, hemp milk, and nut milks such as almond milk
    • Unsweetened applesauce, pumpkin puree
    • Soups make from whole foods

Foods to limit / eat sparingly in Forks Over Knives

  • Fatty whole foods
    • Avocados
    • Nuts e.g. almonds, (raw) cashews, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts
    • Nut and seed butters, e.g. almond butter, cashew butter, chestnut puree, peanut butter
    • Seeds, e.g. flaxseeds and ground flaxseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
    • Olives
    • Coconut products, e.g. coconut, unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut meat, coconut flour, lite coconut milk, coconut water
  • Sugary whole foods
    • Dried fruits (preferably unsulfured) – e.g. dried apples, dried apricots, dried blueberries, dried cherries, dried cranberries, currants, dates, mejdool dates, prunes, golden raisins, raisins
  • Dairy substitutes
    • Unsweetened plain soy yogurt
  • Whole grain products
    • Whole grain breads, mixes, and crackers, including whole-grain bagels, cereals, muffins, pancakes, pastas, pita pockets, pizza crusts, and waffles
    • Corn or whole wheat tortillas
    • Whole grain pasta, brown rice noodles, soba noodles
    • Foods made with whole grain flours such as brown rice flour, cornmeal, oat flour, sorghum flour, spelt flour, whole wheat pastry flour
    • Be careful to avoid added oils, sugars, and other unwanted ingredients
  • Sweeteners
  • Condiments and pantry – barely processed

Don’t worry about carbohydrates – it’s important to eat carbohydrate-rich food

Consider a vitamin B12 supplement

Foods to avoid with Forks Over Knives

  • Animal-based foods
    • Meat, e.g. beef, pork, lamb, etc.
    • Poultry, e.g. chicken, turkey, etc.
    • Game meats and birds
    • Fish and shellfish
  • Eggs
    • Eggs including egg whites
    • Any foods containing eggs or ingredients made from eggs
  • Dairy
    • All milk products, including milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, cream, etc.
    • Dairy from all kinds of animals, including cows, goats, sheep, etc.
    • An foods containing dairy products or ingredients made from dairy products
  • Hidden animal ingredients that may be on labels as casein, whey, whey protein, albumen, caseinate, sodium caseinate, lactose, lactic acid, rennet, and rennin
  • Refined foods
    • Foods made with bleached flour
    • Refined sugars and foods made with them
    • Potato chips, pretzels
  • Oils
    • Extracted oils including olive oil, vegetable oils, coconut oil, etc.
    • Fish oil
  • Artificial foods
    • Foods containing chemical additives such as artificial colorings, flavorings, and preservatives, including dairy-free pastries, low-calorie soda

Health benefits claimed inForks Over Knives

The diet in this book claims to reduce the risks for: acne and other skin conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, bad breath, birth defects, bloating, body odor, cancer, cataracts, constipation, depression, diabetes I and II, diarrhea, ear infections, erectile dysfunction, gout, heart disease, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome IBS, kidney stones, lupus, macular degeneration, migraine, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, overweight/obesity, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, prostate disease, rheumatoid arthritis, stomachaches, stroke

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, and does not endorse it.

Get a copy of the Forks Over Knives bookfor a description of why you should follow a plant-based diet.
Buy now from AmazonDiet book
See the Forks Over Knives DVD, the original documentary behind the books.
Buy now from AmazonDocumentary DVD
Get a the Forks Over Knives Cookbook for more information on why plant-based diets are better for your health, animals, and the environment, and for recipes.
Buy now from AmazonCookbook
The diet’s website is; it’s on Twitter at, Facebook at, and Pinterest at

How has this diet helped you? Please add a comment below.

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