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January 2, 2018

The How Not To Die Cookbook

by Anne Paddock

When the groundbreaking book, How Not To Die was published in December, 2015 by Dr. Michael Greger, MD, who had no personal financial stake in book sales because all of the proceeds are donated to charity (, the public took notice putting the book on the New York Times Bestseller List instantly and keeping it there for more than a year.

The book, How Not To Die is not so much a book of how not to die but a book of how not to contribute to an early demise caused by lifestyle choices. Greger sets out to educate the reader by devoting the first 15 chapters of the book to chronic illnesses that are killing us including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and more. The illness is explained along with information on how to prevent, manage, and/or reverse the disease based on the latest scientific research.

The second half of the book focuses on lifestyle choices – Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen – and specifically the foods we should be eating along with the importance of exercise. But, what makes this book different than others that send the  message of “eat more vegetables and get more exercise” is that the author’s claims are backed up by 132 pages (which is really a third of the book) of citations and notes of studies that support the recommendations.

The logical next step was for Dr. Greger to publish a cookbook so that readers can make better lifestyle choices, which is exactly what he did. The How Not To Die Cookbook was released last month (December, 2017) and is noteworthy for having 5 major attributes;

  • All the recipes are relatively easy – even those classified as “moderate” are simple and straightforward.
  • The emphasis of the recipes is on whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
  • The recipes take traditional favorites (i.e. burritos, lasagna, soup, pasta dishes) and provide a more nutritious version that focuses on flavor.
  • The recipes rely heavily on the use of herbs and spices so the user – especially a beginner – learns how to bring out flavor in whole-food plant-based dishes.
  • Each of the recipes has a color photo (most of the finished dish) so the reader can see what the food will look like.

With an unshakeable belief that “eating healthy is not about vegetarianism, veganism, or any other -ism,” Dr. Gregor focuses on whole-food, plant-based nutrition to bring healthy, easy and delicious meals to your table.

The book is divided into 12 chapters but don’t skip the introduction and the section entitled “The Daily Dozen” which is the foundation for making good and better choices in day-to-day life.  As Dr. Greger says “…eating is a sum zero game. When you decide to eat one food, it means you are choosing not to eat another food….That means every time you put something into your mouth, it’s a lost opportunity to invest in something healthier.” In short, The Daily Dozen are twelve things the doctor tries to make part of his day, every day.

All the recipes are classified as easy or moderate and are noted for which of The Daily Dozen they contain.  Try the Burrito Breakfast Bake (which I serve as lunch or dinner) – a delicious main course of whole wheat burritos stuffed with spinach, black beans, and sweet potatoes spiced with salsa and all kinds of herbs, fresh cilantro, avocado, pumpkin seeds, and nutritional yeast. Three Bean Chili is an easy and tummy warming blend of beans, tomatoes, lentils and meaty mushrooms – perfect for a cold winter day. And to satisfy that sweet tooth, consider the super easy Almond-Chocolate Truffles made with dates, raw cashews, almond butter, cocoa powder, date sugar, vanilla, and ground almonds.

The How Not To Die Cookbook is available nationwide at booksellers and on-line for about $17 at

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