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Book review: Eating Plant-Based: Scientific Answers to Your Nutrition Questions

If you’re wondering how to protect yourself from the leading causes of death in the world, namely heart disease and cancer, then you must read “Eating Plant-Based: Scientific Answers to Your Nutrition Questions” by the sisters Dr Shireen & Zahra Kassam. They wrote this book in the hopes that it “will give people the confidence to embrace a healthy plant-based diet and truly understand that it is the right decision for their health and all those we share this planet with.”

Distinguished authors provide evidence-based information

Dr. Shireen Kassam is a practising Haematologist in London, England while Dr. Zahra Kassam is a Radiation Oncologist in Toronto, Canada. They both attest to the fact that during their medical training, as is the case with most doctors worldwide, they did not receive training on the significant body of evidence demonstrating the benefits of nutrition in the prevention.

and management of chronic diseases. Upon discovering the power of nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine, a branch of medicine that focuses on the root cause of disease and healthy lifestyle changes, they both founded non-profit health organizations (Plant Based Health Professionals and Plant Based Canada) in their countries to provide evidence-based education and advocacy on plant-based nutrition.

Impact of food choices on human health

Despite the overwhelming evidence in favor of eating more plant-based foods for human health, unfounded myths about the need for meat, dairy and eggs in the diet still persist. The authors use an easy-to-read, question-and-answer approach to address common fears such as:

- How can I get enough protein on a plant-based diet?

- Is it safe for children?

- Is soy safe? (and yes, it is, read the book to find out more!)

Impact of food choices on the environment

The authors devote a chapter of their book to “Considerations for Planetary Health”. Just as the Kassam sisters have so eloquently done, it behooves all health professionals to advocate for the health of the planet because without it, there can be no human health. There is no denying that the Earth has been turned into one big farm. Eighty percent of farmland is used for meat and dairy farming, yet we don’t even need to consume these foods which are literally making us sick.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing

If the thought of going 100% plant-based (vegan) is daunting, remember that it does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Just start one day, one meal at a time. Can you swap the beef for beans, chicken for chickpeas, cow’s milk for soy milk? Whatever switch you can make away from animal-based foods to plant-based foods will be a win-win-win for your own health, the planet, and all living beings.

For more information

As a Registered Dietitian, my passion is to promote the well-known benefits of plant-based foods. Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. Visit my website at


By: Didem Varol, RD

Writer bio:

Didem Varol is a Registered Dietitian and, as such, is registered with the College of Dietitians of Ontario. She is a graduate from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She currently lives in Istanbul and runs her own private practice, Plantgevity Nutrition Solutions. Prior to that, she spent almost 10 years working at Toronto Public Health, as a Public Health Dietitian in the field of chronic disease prevention. She has completed a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies & eCornell. She is also a “Food For Life” Instructor, which is an evidence-based nutrition and cooking program developed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

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