Free Meal Plan with Dr. Greger-Approved Recipes

The good news: I’m writing a cookbook.

When I set out to write How Not to Die I wanted to create more than just a reference book. Yes, I tried to pull together all of the most compelling evidence on the role diet can play in preventing and reversing disease, but I also sought to make it a practical guide for translating those thousands of studies into an actionable guide to day-to-day healthy living. That became the second half of the book, in which I centered my recommendations around a daily dozen checklist of foods I try to fit into my own daily routine.

The response to the Daily Dozen has been tremendous! While I offered some thoughts on ways to incorporate things like turmeric or flax seeds into your diet, we’ve been getting flooded with requests for more recipes. The science is there, but how can you make anything taste good without adding salt, oil, or sugar? So I’m excited to announce my plans for a companion How Not to Die Cookbook (all my proceeds, as always, go to charity).

The bad news: Given all the recipe testing and food photography, it’s not going to be out until December 2017, more than a year away.

But in the meantime, there is great news: a new tech startup called Lighter has created meal plans based on recipes they developed to fit my specifications

Sign up for free at

You can also follow the culinary stylings of other leaders in the evidence-based nutrition movement like Dr. Neal Barnard and Julieanna Hever (or anyone from ultramarathoners to NFL athletes). I was honored to be among the first invited to aid in furthering their mission to help the world eat better. “Everyone,” reads one of their mottos, “deserves nourishing, delicious meals.”

Another Freebie

Vegworld Magazine, run by the Texas power duo featured in the documentary The Marshall Plan, has generously offered free one-year subscriptions to all subscribers.

If you subscribe to, sign up for your free one-year subscription to the magazine here.

Sign up for Our New Volunteer Newsletter

Thanks to the tremendous influx of support this year, we have doubled our operations staff. Read more about all the new hires on our About page. Kristina, for example—our Registered Dietitian turned Social Media Director—has increased our Instagram followers nearly 15% in just three weeks. Check it out!

Kate and Steven were hired to help coordinate our ever-growing army of volunteers, the lifeblood of We are launching a special email newsletter to keep current volunteers up to date, as well as relay new volunteer opportunities and quick, simple things anyone anywhere can do to support our mission.

Sign up for our new volunteer newsletter at

Currently, our most urgent need is for volunteers with university or hospital library access who can help us retrieve scientific studies. Right now, our article retrieval team is pulling about 700 papers a week, but to feed the voracious appetite of our 19 researchers we really need to get up to around 2,000 a week. So if you are affiliated with an institution with electronic access to medical journals please consider pitching in.

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

91 responses to “Free Meal Plan with Dr. Greger-Approved Recipes

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  1. Dr. Greger, do you need any more recipes for your cookbook? I have a fantastic vegan ice cream recipe I’d love to share. It’s sugar-free, simple, quick, has 6 ingredients (3 from the Daily Dozen). My husband asks me to make it for him almost every night.

        1. Steffen Jurisch: I don’t normally mention typos, but you may want to change “cock” into “cook” (or chef?) since the first word means a certain part of male genitalia (or a rooster) and the second word means “someone who cooks food”. Just saying… :-)

              1. Steffen and Thea: Who says vegans don’t have a sense of humor? (And who says the auto speller doesn’t have a sense of humor?)

                  1. Thea: I have a question since you’re a moderator. Will the two Q & A sessions with Dr. Greger be later available on for guests to view? (I don’t do Facebook or Twitter.) Thanks Thea.

                    1. George: I don’t do Facebook or Twitter either! I was thinking the same thing as you after reading that section.
                      FYI: Things may change with the newly planned Volunteer Newsletter. But at least to date, I am as much in the dark on plans as you are. I learn about everything as everyone else does on this site.
                      I do, however, have a way to communicate with the new volunteer coordinator. So, I will pass on your question and let you know when I get a response.

                    2. George – I’m with you. Not everyone wants to be out there on the internet. I don’t facebook or twitter either. And am not interested. Hope Dr. Greger will link the Q&A here on his site. :-)

                    3. George and Ginger: As promised, I had passed on your comments to NutritionFacts staff. I was asked to pass back this reply:

                      “I don’t think these will be available on the website, as they are geared to increasing our social media engagement. However, after we do this first set and see how it goes, we may consider adding them. But as of now, they will only be on Facebook and Twitter.”

                      My 2 cents: I think it’s good to keep asking. If enough people express an interest, maybe the information will be made available here on NutritionFacts.

  2. Those Lighter recipes are full of fake meats containing coconut oil and soy protein isolates – most trying to sound like they are vegan protein substitutes. These definitely would not fit John McDougall’s idea of a good diet. Are these really what Michael Gregor would recommend?

    1. Hi there, I work for Lighter, and just wanted to clear this up! If you click “Follow Dr. Greger’s Recommendations” on Dr. Greger’s page, your menu won’t have any fake meats in it; it will adhere to his recommendations. You can also indicate in your preferences that you don’t like/want “meat alternatives” or “dairy alternatives,” and then they won’t show up for you. I hope that helps!

      1. Hi Lara! I write whole food, plant-based oil-free recipes and have written for a bunch of publications, including Forks Over Knives (recipes coming to their site soon), Food Revolution Network, and a vegan food company-Veestro. I was wondering if you’d like to check out my work and see if there would be interest in working together. I love Dr. Gregor’s work! My site is!

    2. I signed up on the site and added meat/dairy alternatives to my dislikes. I’m getting tons of recipes with beans, lentils, and my favorite tempeh! And tons of colorful fruits and veggies. No processed foods, no oil. I love it!

    1. Agreed! I found his golden tumeric dressing on Lighter and have been inserting it in my meal plan every week! SOOO GOOOD!!!

  3. I love this!! So fun seeing your How Not To Die recipes come to life (Zombie Corn!). Lighter will definitely make it easier to get in my Daily Dozen =D

  4. I’m really excited about this – I love lighter and use the site every day. I feel the addition of Dr. Greger’s meal ideas make this tool invaluable.

  5. I have been loving using Lighter! They develop DELICIOUS plant-based meal plans and amazing recipes based on your budget, time, allergies, and preferences. I have been cooking without adding oil, salt, and sugar for some time now and I have Lighter to thank for that!! The meals are delicious and everyone has found them very flavorful and satisfying! It’s a great resource if you’re looking into eating the way Dr. Greger recommends!

    1. Hi Hillary! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. So happy to hear you’ve found some new recipe ideas – sounds like there’s a ton of healthy, tasty dishes coming out of your kitchen. Keep up the great work! :)

    1. Good question…We’re on it! Full nutritional analysis (for every recipe) is on its way very soon! (PS – This is Lara from Lighter.)

  6. Such great news about Lighter! At this point, I’m used to modifying recipes to leave out the oil, decrease the salt, increase the veggie volume etc. but it’s pretty cool to NOT have to do that…

  7. I wanted to send out a BIG “Thank You” to Dr Greger for all that he is doing to help us learn to eat healthy and live the best life possible. I am reading How Not To Die that I checked out from the library (can’t afford to buy it just yet). I made my own Microsoft Word document of the Daily Dozen and will put it into a page protector on my refrigerator. I’m going to enjoy the recipes from Lighter as well. At first glance, they seem to be more “normal” plant-based foods and will be more affordable for me. I tried Dr Neal Barnard’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart once, but gave up trying to follow the recipes because I could not afford some of the more unusual ingredients. I’ve been eating a (mostly) whole foods, plant-based diet for about 8 months now, but after reading How Not To Die, that is convincing me to go to completely plant-based. I’ve lost 37 pounds, gotten off of cholesterol and diabetes medications, and hope to soon be off a blood pressure medication and an anti-depressant. (Need doctor’s guidance to taper off of those.) Again, Dr Greger, thank you so much!

    1. WOW!!! Congratulations to you, Janzelle! Keep up the great work and thank you for sharing your success with us. We are so happy for you. :)

  8. If only I had started reading this when I was younger….
    Seriously, I wish stuff like this had been available a few decades ago when it really mattered. Now I’m gonna have to double up on some of those yummy recipes to make up for lost time. That does work, right?

  9. Lighter is an amazing startup!!! Met some of the women who run it and it is going to go places!! The food is healthy and soooo good while not harming a single animal in the process :)

  10. Dr. Greger,

    Thank you for sharing this great resource with the community. The site makes it very practical to apply your principles to life.

    The very first meal and I already have a question about it. It’s: “Breakfast Polenta with Banana & Berries.” Sounds very palatable and the pictures add to that. Now the recipe adds in one plate fruits (berries, banana) and fats (“Mix it up with your favorite fruits, nuts or seeds…”). What will result when you combine fructose (fruits) and fats (nuts/seeds)?

    Wouldn’t a human liver began producing triglycerides (when one combines fructose and fats), bad cholesterol (instead of turning fat into energy)? I,personally, experience on myself when I try such a combination (when I eat any meal, a nutrition bar that has fruits and nuts/oils/fats, I began feeling chest pains. When I allow about 2 hours, first fruits and then fats, I don’t get such reaction. Also helps any exercise after fruits to burn off fructose from the system. This very much restricts my schedule and meal planning.

    Would you please elaborate on this nutritional/anatomical aspect? How would you stop such a reaction by the liver, to convert fat to triglycerides and instead burn/turn it to energy?

    Thank you, Doctor, Greger.

    1. “when I eat any meal, a nutrition bar that has fruits and nuts/oils/fats, I began feeling chest pains…” You need to see a doctor, that’s far from normal.

      1. It is…,but Docs don’t find problems with heart, electrocardiogram ekg doesn’t show problems.
        Thanks for the replays but still can someone answer my question about fructose (even in a fruit) and far… The liver begins to produce triglycerides..

  11. Maybe its me . . .but I found the Lighter site to confusing and difficult to use. Not intuitive. Too time consuming to try to figure it out. It’s much easier to go to Dr. Mcdougall’s site, type in whatever your’re searching for and up pop a whole bunch of choices. I’m an eggplant eater. . . Just type eggplant into Mcdougall’s search engine and up come the recipes. Just pick one and get cooking and, more importantly, get eating!
    Lighter, in my opinion, is way over-engineered. Keep it simple.

  12. I would like to buy a t shirt but the nearest country to New Zealand is Australia in the shipping list. I reckon if you can ship to those Aussies , then you should be including us Kiwi’s in the Southern Hemisphere – any chance?

  13. I joined “Lighter” via the above link but I don’t believe it is consistent with Dr. Greger’s recommendations in his book and I am very disappointed. Today’s dinner menu item, for example, was a “puff pastry pizza” made with commercial puff pastry. I would be much more likely to make my own yeasted whole wheat crust and avoid all the animal fat. I look forward to Dr. Greger’s book but I think “Lighter” is not a good choice.

    1. Hi Tracy,

      Rachel from Lighter here — I just wanted to clear this up! If you click “Follow Dr. Greger’s Recommendations” on Dr. Greger’s page, your menu won’t have any processed foods in it; it will adhere to his recommendations. You can also indicate in your preferences that you want “low-processed foods” and then those types of ingredients won’t show up for you on your menu. I hope that helps!

        1. Hi Tracy – Looks like Rachel was able to address your concerns. I just wanted to add in that the impression I get from Lighter is that they’re also trying to reach people that might still be in the beginning stages of their plant-based journey. In that case, certain recipe shortcuts are going to be a good starting point for them. Sounds like you’re going to give it another shot. And I hope you do…lots of great content on there! Happy cooking! :)

  14. Went to Lighter, and am very disappointed. Most of the recipes are not ones I would prepare. After I had printed off one to try, and wanted to print off another, I got a message telling me I had to pay. Sorry, not paying for something advertised as free.

    1. Hi kc – There are two different options when using the Lighter website. There’s lots of free content available (recipes, meal plans, etc.) – then there’s also an optional monthly membership plan. When exploring their site, just be sure to stay in the “free content zone”. Lots of fun stuff over there! Hope you find the time to check it out again soon.

  15. Great news that a cookbook will be coming out. However, someone already published a cookbook with the title, “How Not to Die” and listed it as a companion to Dr. Greger’s book. There are many negative comments on requesting that the service remove that book from their listings because it is unauthorized, and contains recipes with key ingredients such as shrimp that Dr. Greger would never approve. Hope this erroneous version can be more clearly identified before the real one appears. Several people already purchased the imposter version not realizing it had no relationship to Dr. Greger and his dietary principles.

  16. I’m disappointed with the recipes on the Light website. Many of them are fried in olive oil or cooked at high enough temperatures to oxidize nutrients and form harmful compounds or AGE’s. It seems to me that Dr. Greger’s recipes are not up to Dr. Greger’s standards. I doubt that I’ll be buying the cookbook if it’s anything like the sample recipes.

    1. Hello! A few others had the same concerns and here is a response from the Lighter team: “If you click “Follow Dr. Greger’s Recommendations” on Dr. Greger’s page, your menu won’t have any processed foods in it; it will adhere to his recommendations. You can also indicate in your preferences that you want “low-processed foods” and then those types of ingredients won’t show up for you on your menu.”

      Hope this helps! I would definitely recommended checking out the site again using these filters. Lots of great stuff going on at Lighter! :)

  17. I don’t like to follow complicated recipes with lots of ingredients, and lots of processed, fake but still vegan ingredients.
    I like to stick to more natural, simpler stuff. I have a steamer, rice steamer but I cook my rice on a pot on the stove.
    I load up the greens — cabbage, kale, collards, etc and the vegetables — fresh or thawed frozen mixed vegetables with mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc and put it all in the steamer. I have a grain ( either brown rice, or quinoa, or
    barely, etc ) — cooked separately on the stove. And some beans, usually cooked separately. I put alot in the steamer, so there is usually leftovers for the next day.
    It may not look as professional as the recipes & menus that have tofu and fancy, complicated ingredients with spices & sauces. But it has lots of vegetables, greens, grain & beans.

  18. I really love the site so far. However, it is kind of frustrating that most of the good advance features cost you money. I don’t mind paying money but there should at least be a 30-day trial period of the full version. I would like to see it work to its full potential before I throw down money every month or yearly.

  19. Hi again, I’m only taking a statin, and if I follow the “Daily Dozen” to the letter, following recommended # of servings and serving sizes, and I had a heart attack 12 months ago, would this satisfy my daily nutritional requirements also?
    Thanks in advance!

  20. So this is what happens when a writer does the homework needed to write quality material. Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful content.

  21. I’m messed up about this daily dozen list – please help!
    So in the “how not die” it tells me I should get 3 servings of 50 grams of cold cereal (I guess oats will do?) or 100grams of hot cereal ( I guess oats will do?) – so does this mean that if I heat up my yummy stuff I can eat double the amount?
    This makes absolutely no sense to me hahaha – please help explain it to me!
    And btw: why aren’t we allowee more the 1 and 2 servings of the different vegetables? It seems like nothing to me when you think about how quickly you can get them from frozen form.

    1. Hi Sebastian,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thanks so much for your question.

      One reason that the hot cereal may be twice the weight (amount) of cold cereal is that water is added to the hot cereal during cooking, which takes on quite a bit of the weight. I would focus more on serving sizes than the weight of the food. Overall, he recommends 3 servings of whole grain foods per day. This could be 1/4 cup of dry oatmeal, a slice of 100% whole wheat bread, a 1/4 cup of dry quinoa, etc.

      Regarding the vegetable recommendations, Dr. Greger recommends these as minimums. By all means, he would love to see people eating more fruits and vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables and berries. There is no limit or maximum intake of fruits and vegetables.

      I hope this helps answer your questions. Best of luck!

      1. Hello,

        The application and the Daily Dozen video both say a serving is 1 cup of cold cereal, or 1/2 cup of hot cereal. The comment you responded to is reversed (though in grams).

        Which is the correct version? If not the mobile app and the video, I guess you should correct those.

        1. Hey Dan, thanks for writing. Because hot cereal has to have water added to cook it, I believe the larger volume corresponds to this kind of cereal. Cold cereal being dry is a more concentrated source of calories, so the serving size would be the smaller amount of 1/2 cup.

  22. Hello – I am really excited to get ahold of you book – trying to get a copy in SA. I have Costochondritis and wondered if any of your top 12 foods to eat daily will help to cure my condition. Or perhaps you may recommend something, other than pain medication, that could assist. I have tried Noni Juice, all sorts of herbal medicines, homeopathic remedies and none are proving to be effective. Many thanks!

  23. I am trying to get to a healthier weight and really would love for recipes to include nutrition information and calories.

  24. Hi. I’m Maxine founder of – we are a start up and the first UK vegan recipe box.

    We are wanting to find out if we can use your recipes (like Lighter do) in our recipe boxes. We would love to create a recipe box / kit service for people trying to prevent and reverse the main diseases.

    I appreciate as we are in the UK this might not be doable for you but if there was anyway we could make it work, We would be calling it the Dr. Michael Greger meal service for XXXX

    We are a start up and we were thinking of having a % of the recipe costs to go to your charity. We would be more than delighted to talk to your team! It would be very exciting and brilliant to deliver all the food people need to help them reverse their issues.

    Many thanks and look forward to hearing from you.

  25. Dear Dr. Greger:
    I have your “how not to die” cookbook. Is it generic or people with autoimmune disease can use it?


  26. As one of the volunteers for, I’m glad you now have the How Not to Die cookbook and will be trying out those delicious-looking remedies. As far as whether folks with autoimmune disease can use it- Please do. Healthy food, as Dr. Greger often points out can benefit many body systems, so we don’t need a cookbook for each seperate organ system. Please cook away and enjoy!

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