I Graduated from the Forks Over Knives Online Cooking Course!
During the summer of 2019, I started a new 90-day adventure by taking the Forks Over Knives Cooking course.
I will admit I was a little nervous since I was not the primary cook in the house, but I knew we needed to improve our overall cooking skills. Despite our best efforts, we were still finding ourselves in somewhat of a rut with cooking the same things over mainly because of our lack of cooking skills. This also led to continued dependence on processed foods.
While neither Larissa nor I follow a strict vegan diet (and still don’t) we do both strongly believe that animal-based and processed food diets lead to many of the chronic diseases people are suffering from today.
We also believe that one can reverse chronic diseases by following a plant-based diet so I had some great motivation going into this course! Not to mention, the film “Forks Over Knives” was one of the documentaries we saw early on in our switch to a vegetarian lifestyle!
In Episode 265 – Forks Over Knives Update (July 15, 2018) I provided you all with a quick update with respect to how I was doing and what I was learning. This past week I just graduated from the Forks Over Knives Cooking course, having successfully completed all activities and assignments. Here is a summary of what we discuss in the podcast.
The course is set-up in 9 units as follows:
- Getting set up
- Knives and Knife Cuts
- Basic Cooking Methods Steaming and preserving vegetables, cooking in water.
- Basic Cooking Methods Part 2. Dry heat cooking (caramelizing, sauteing, pan tossing, roasting, braising, and combo cooking methods).
- Batch cooking. Stir fry, salads, preparing veggies in advance. Rice, grains and legumes.
- Flavor Balancing and Seasoning. Forks over knives is all about foods with flavor!
- Plant-Based Staples Shopping List.
- Daily Meal Inspiration.
- Final Assessment. The final exam and a BUNCH of resources!
Listen here to hear us discuss my top takeaways or read on for a quick summary:
My 5 Big Takeaways
The Forks Over Knives Mindset
Think about food as a whole package of nutrients rather than as getting certain nutrients from one food. If you live and eat according to a whole foods plant-based lifestyle, you will get all of the nutrients you need (with the exception of B12).
Good Kitchen Equipment Can Make a HUGE Difference!
One of the activities we did was a “kitchen reset” which entailed stocking the staples (such as stock, spices, etc.). There was a big focus on organization, which I totally understood as the course went on. Being organized helps you focus on the food.
Knives are some of the most important pieces of equipment in your kitchen. You don’t have to buy the best but buy the best that you can. It really does make a difference!
Since the knives I had for years were pretty bad (in fairness, I never really took care of them), I decided to buy a new set. I chose the Top Chef 9-Piece set that was very reasonable and do a GREAT job!
The course also discusses the importance and “how-to” of taking care of your knives so be sure not to skip that! It makes a difference to the quality and life of your knives.
- Set includes: 8" chef knife, 8" bread knife, 7" santoku knife, 4.5" utility knife, 3" paring knife, shears, sharpening rod, and knife block
- Durable: Made from ice-tempered 4116 high carbon german stainless steel for an exceptional degree of corrosion resistance and peak edge retention
- Professional grade: 15-degree edge sharpness for precision cutting and hand finished with Japanese ultra-fine polishing wheel
- Balanced: Full tang construction for balance, durability, and ease of use
Mise en Place – The French Culinary Term for “Setting in Place”
Since taking this course, Larissa and a whole new podcast on the concept of mise en place because it was a HUGE takeaway for me. Listen to it here.
Mise en Place refers to the act of gathering and prepping (i.e. Slicing, dicing, etc) so that you’re all set to go as the cooking begins. This helps you focus on the process of cooking and the food itself.
Mise en Place also helps to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
Cooking Without Oil. Yes, It’s Possible!
This was the concept that I was probably the most skeptical about but yes, now I am a believer in the idea that cooking without oil is possible!
The trick to sauteing and caramelizing is constant movement and high heat! In order to de-glaze your pan, all you need is some water or cooking wine.
Also, a good quality pan really makes a difference! This is something I didn’t really think about or put much stock into before taking the class.
A quality plan doesn’t have to cost a lot. I bought the Emeril Lagasse 62952 Stainless Steel Fry Pan from Amazon and LOVE it!
- Encapsulated aluminum base, which means that the cooking surface heats up quickly
- Convenient dishwasher-safe construction
- The magnetic stainless steel base is suitable for use on all stovetops, including induction
- Riveted stainless steel handles go from stovetop to oven, stainless steel is safe to 550°F
Welcome to Flavor Country!
A lot of people think of plant-based food being bland but really, there can be some amazing depth to the flavors when you learn how to properly cook with them and mix them together.
There is a whole section of the course dedicated to flavors. The five flavors discussed were sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. Umami is particularly important to adding flavor to plant-based cooking.
Plant-based sources of umami include:
- Bragg's Organic Kitchen Variety Pack includes: Bragg's Organic Liquid Aminos 16 oz + Bragg's Sprinkle Seasoning Blend - 24 Herb & Spices, 1.5 Oz + Bragg's Nutritional Yeast Supplement, 4.5 Oz.
- Bragg's Liquid Aminos organic is an excellent alternative for Tamari and Soy Sauce.
- Bragg Organic Sprinkle is an original blend of 24 organic herbs and spices. Contains no additives, no preservatives, no fillers.
- Delicious salt-free seasoning with no sodium, no carbohydrates, no sugar, and no cholesterol
- Items are certified USDA organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and certified kosher.
Would I Take the Forks Over Knives Course Again?
Absolutely! I thought the course was very well laid out and the feedback from the instructors was great! Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from an online cooking course but the material was great and I walked away learning a LOT!
Not ready to jump into the full course just yet? Try a monthly membership for only $9.99/ month to see if
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Recipe of the Week (Yes! It’s a Forks Over Knives Recipe!):
Resource of the Week:
More Resources and Sources Cited:
- Forks Over Knives Cooking Course
- Rouxbe Plant-Based Certification Course
- The Meadow (Gourmet Salts)
- What is Gourmet Salt?
- High Carb Hannah
- Vegan Zombie
- Cheap Lazy Vegan
Thanks for listening!
Peace, love, and veggies,
Vickie and Larissa