How Not to Die

How Not to Die

by Michael Greger, Gene Stone
Genres: Cooking / Vegan, Nonfiction
Published on December 2015
Pages: 576
Format: eBook Source: Kindle Unlimited

New York Times Bestseller

“This book may help those who are susceptible to illnesses that can be prevented.”
—His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“Absolutely the best book I’ve read on nutrition and diet”
–Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones Solution

From the physician behind the wildly popular Nutrition Facts website, How Not to Die reveals the groundbreaking scientific evidence behind the only diet that can help prevent and reverse many of the causes of disease-related death.

In How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger, the internationally-renowned nutrition expert, physician, and founder of, examines the fifteen top causes of premature death in America--heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Parkinson's, high blood pressure, and more--and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches to help prevent and reverse these diseases, freeing us to live healthier lives.

The simple truth is that most doctors are good at treating acute illnesses but bad at preventing chronic disease. The fifteen leading causes of death claim the lives of 1.6 million Americans annually. This doesn't have to be the case. By following Dr. Greger's advice, all of it backed up by strong scientific evidence, you will learn which foods to eat and which lifestyle changes to make to live longer.

History of prostate cancer in your family? Put down that glass of milk and add flaxseed to your diet whenever you can. Have high blood pressure? Hibiscus tea can work better than a leading hypertensive drug-and without the side effects. Fighting off liver disease? Drinking coffee can reduce liver inflammation. Battling breast cancer? Consuming soy is associated with prolonged survival. Worried about heart disease (the number 1 killer in the United States)? Switch to a whole-food, plant-based diet, which has been repeatedly shown not just to prevent the disease but often stop it in its tracks.

In addition to showing what to eat to help treat the top fifteen causes of death, How Not to Die includes Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen -a checklist of the twelve foods we should consume every day.Full of practical, actionable advice and surprising, cutting edge nutritional science, these doctor's orders are just what we need to live longer, healthier lives.

I’m a long time vegetarian. I don’t eat much dairy or any eggs. But it is very possible to be a junk food vegan. I’ve been slacking on the quality of my diet. It has been showing. I’ve decided to buckle down and get back on track. As part of that I was listening to episodes of the Rich Roll podcast with Michael Greger. I decided to pick up his book on Kindle Unlimited.

I’m glad I grabbed this as an ebook. It is a huge book. There is a massive amount of information here. It is organized by system of the body and disease. It covers research that has been done regarding nutritional causes or treatments for chronic conditions. He’s also quick to show when food doesn’t live up to the hype that popular opinion has given it. Basically, it all comes down to a few things:

  • Eat unprocessed food
  • Eat more fiber. Feed those gut microbes!
  • Eat plants

Dr. Greger became interested in the nutritional treatment of chronic disease as a child. His grandmother had severe cardiac disease. She had failed conventional treatments in her 60s. She was not expected to live long. She ended up being treated by Dr. Pritikin using nutrition and lived into her 90s. When Dr. Greger went to med school he was surprised to find that nutrition wasn’t discussed or was even dismissed as unimportant. It still isn’t discussed much today even in the face of a lot of research showing the importance.

“Come to think of it, I think the only medical professional who ever asked me about a family member’s diet was our veterinarian.”

Well, props to us! I understand some of the reasons why human doctors might not though. It isn’t just that you can’t get reimbursed for the time it takes for nutrition counseling. I do a lot of nutrition talking to people about their animals and some people are very hostile. I’ve gotten more irate calls to my boss for advising changing a diet instead of prescribing drugs than any other single offense. That’s getting a bit better though so hopefully more people are getting on board with the idea that nutrition is important.

Despite the pithy title and blurb this is serious book. It is readable but it is looking at study after study published on nutrition. If you aren’t a nutrition or medical geek the best way to use this would probably be as a reference book. Read the chapters with the diseases that most interest you. This isn’t a recipe book. He does talk some about how he structures his eating but it is just to give some ideas of what a whole foods diet looks like practically. It isn’t necessarily a blueprint or follow this meal plan book.

For me, this was an inspirational read. I was already familiar with a lot of it from previous research but it was nice to get it back in the front of my thoughts again as I focus on cleaning up my diet.