How I Easily Lost Half My Body Weight Eating More Food Than You Could Ever Imagine

Benji Kurtz

My journey to good health has been nothing short of life-changing, as you may have gathered from several other posts on this site. There’s no doubt, the direction of my passions, my business endeavors and my time have all changed. All the way through, while losing the weight and answering questions from friends, relatives and strangers alike, I was told, “You should write a book!”

As it turns out, I, along with my friend Glen Merzer, have done just that. The Plant Advantage: How I Lost Half My Weight on the Fuel Plus Fortification Diet is available now, in paperback and Kindle editions, exclusively on In addition to telling my story and explaining the science behind whole-food plant-based living, I am thrilled to feature over 50 healthy, plant-based meal recipes from eight contributors, including Chef AJ, Kim Campbell, Wendy Solganik of Healthy Girl’s Kitchen, Cathy Fisher, Del Sroufe, Michael Klunker, Joanna Samorow-Merzer and Plant-Based Katie Mae.

Read the book that Dr. T. Colin Campbell calls “A delightful read for anyone who may be confused by the gibberish infusing the public discussion on food and health.” Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn says the book “concisely defines the science and skills enabling the lifestyle and nutritional literacy required for a long and healthy life.” I invite you to pick up a copy – and tell a friend!

Thank you for your ongoing support!

Benji Kurtz

Announcing The 2015 Food=Medicine Conference


Shortly after becoming plant-based in the summer of 2013, my wife Claire and I traveled to California for a plant based conference. There, we got to see some of the giants of our movement speak. It was exciting, it was inspirational, and it was fun to be around like-minded people! We returned this past October, getting the chance to see some of the same speakers as the year before, and some new ones, too. On the plane on the way home, (it’s a long flight. Lots of time to think!) – I decided that it was time to plan a big annual event in the deep south. These speakers that change lives every single day needed to be at an event in the south, where we are fatter, more unhealthy, and in worse shape than most other areas of the country. On that plane ride home, the idea to form the Alliance to Repair the American Diet was born.

Today, roughly 6 months later, I am pleased to announce that the first ever Food=Medicine Conference is a reality. We have assembled an all-star lineup of speakers in areas as diverse as physicians, dietitians, world-class athletes, celebrity chefs, cookbook authors, sustainability experts and personal trainers. The event will be held November 13th-15th at the Emory Conference Center Hotel, and will include all healthy plant-based buffet meals. We’ve booked some amazing faculty members, including pioneer Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., Dr. Kim Williams (the first vegan president of the American College of Cardiology), ultra-athlete Rich Roll, fan favorite Dr. Michael Greger, and many, many more!

For more information about this conference, and the outstanding opportunities to learn from the world’s experts in the field of true health, please visit our site. I’d love to invite you to save some money on admission, too! Just use code BENJI at checkout, and save $150 per ticket! Oh – and if you’re a physician, I’m pleased to announce that we have qualified for CME accreditation through Emory University School of Medicine. Be sure to look for that on the site as well!

Benji’s Interview With Don’t Lose The Cow

Check out my interview with Matt from We talked about my weight loss journey, what I’m doing now, and where I’m heading in the future. In the interview, you’ll learn:

  • What it felt like to lose that much weight and how my life has changed.
  • The health improvements that I saw after switching to a Plant-Based Lifestyle.
  • How my tastes changed and what I find myself craving now.
  • How I strategically use transition and comfort foods to enjoy life and ensure that I stay on track.
  • How I manage eating out and my go-to restaurants to stay on track while traveling.
  • How I transitioned to a plant-based diet, and how I accelerated my weight loss to lose the last 60 pounds.

Enjoy the interview:

Benji Interviewed on NPR’s ACT Radio KTEP In El Paso, Texas

I was recently interviewed by Tom and Greg from NPR’s KTEP, 88.5 FM in El Paso. We discussed how I lost half my body weight, what inspired me to change my life and where I am now.

You can listen to the interview here. Enjoy!


Benji’s Weight Loss Story Featured In The Globe Magazine

I was pleased to be interviewed and featured in this week’s Globe Magazine article spotlighting weight loss stories! Appearing in a supermarket magazine, and next to Darrell Sheets from Storage Wars, too. Now that is pretty surreal! Thanks for sharing my story!


Chef AJ’s Red Lentil Chili Recipe

Ingredients for Chef AJ's Red Lentil Chili

Ingredients for Chef AJ‘s Red Lentil Chili

Of all the dishes that we have tasted since going Whole-Food Plant-Based, the one that rises above the rest, and that we continue to make over and over again has to be Chef AJ’s fabulous Red Lentil Chili!

It’s easy, it’s fast, and it makes enough to feed us for several days! Oh – and the price per serving is negligible, too!

We make the chili in the InstantPot (don’t forget – use code ‘BENJI’ at checkout at to save $45!), but if you have a slow cooker or just want to make it in a pot, you can certainly do that – but in the Instant Pot, you’re talking about only 10 minutes once it comes to pressure, roughly 15-20 minutes total after all ingredients are in the pot.

The tomatoes, red bell peppers, dates and garlic ready to blend

The tomatoes, red bell peppers, dates and garlic ready to blend

Here’s the recipe:

1 Pound of dry red lentils
7 Cups of water (if you start with boiling water, it will come to pressure faster)
2 (14.5 oz) Cans of salt-free tomatoes, fire-roasted preferred
1 (6 oz) Can of salt-free tomato paste
10 Ounces of chopped onion (we love onion so we often use a full pound)
1 pound of red bell pepper (about 2 large), either VERY finely chopped, or blended as described below
3 Ounces of dates (approximately 12 Deglet Noor)
8 Cloves of garlic, finely minced
4 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1.5 Tablespoons of parsley flakes
1.5 Tablespoons of oregano
1.5 Tablespoons of salt-free chili powder
2 teaspoons SMOKED paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

All ingredients in the pot - ready to cook!

All ingredients in the pot – ready to cook!


Blend the dates, tomatoes, red bell peppers and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth. Place all remaining ingredients in an electric pressure cooker. Add the tomato/pepper blend in. Cook on high for 10 minutes. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. ***IMPORTANT NOTE*** If you are using the InstantPot, I have had trouble with the pot overheating/scorching, but only if I stir the ingredients before cooking. Why? Got me! Ever since I took AJ’s advice and only put the ingredients in and didn’t stir, no problems.

The sequence of ingredients added when I cook the chili is water, onions, lentils, all spices, and the blended mixture last.

Finished! Some steamed broccoli with the chili on top, and finished with some of Chef AJ's Faux Parm!

Finished! Some steamed broccoli with the chili on top, and finished with some of Chef AJ’s Faux Parm!

Luckily, we have video of AJ making this fantastic Red Lentil Chili along with Julieanna Hever in one of their wonderful “Chef & The Dietician” YouTube videos. Check it out!

P.S. Don’t forget to pick up Chef AJ’s book Unprocessed for more fantastic recipes just like this one!

My Chat with Chef AJ

AJ and Benji I was honored to be Chef AJ’s special guest during her weekly teleclass on August 28, 2014!

As you know, Chef AJ is the secret behind some of our very favorite Whole-Food Plant-Based dishes, like her fabulous Red Lentil Chili, Split Pea Soup, Faux Parm, and many delicious no-sugar-added desserts!

Listen to the entire teleclass below as we talk about the Whole-Food Plant-Based lifestyle and my journey to better health and a slimmer waistline!

A Whirlwind Week – And It’s Only Tuesday!

Front page of CNN Health 7/28/14

Front page of CNN Health 7/28/14

Wow! What a couple of days! I’m so pleased that Sara Cheshire at asked if she could write my story on CNN’s health section. Apparently they feature a weight-loss success story every Monday and mine was one of the iReports chosen to have a reporter assigned and run on proper. I just learned that they were going to run it the week before last, Ms. Cheshire and I were in touch throughout the last 10 days, and it ran yesterday. I really thought the piece came out well. I was so pleased that some of the leading figures in the Plant-Based movement chose to share it with their social media audiences, including Dr. McDougall, Forks Over Knives, Rich Roll, Jeff Novick, Eco-Vegan Gal and many, many more. The night ended with a surprise story based on the CNN one (but with some original content) on the Daily Mail website.

Front page of the Cleveland Fox affiliate

Front page of the Cleveland Fox affiliate

Just in the last 36 hours, our facebook group has grown from about 60 fans to over 1,600, I’ve received about 200 friend requests from total strangers, and answered questions from probably about 50 folks about where to start their own journeys. Inspirational and humbling!

As if that wasn’t enough (and it was, trust me!), I was pleased to be invited in-studio to appear on HLN’s midday program HLN Now. You can watch the video of my conversation with host Lynn Berry below.