The 90 Percent Rule

One of the most popular and misunderstood  topics in Dr. Fuhrman’s book, Eat to Live, is the famous 90 Percent Rule for adopting the nutritarian eating-style for life, and every person has his / her own interpretation of it:

“I eat healthy for a week, and then I celebrate.”

“I try to eat healthy, but I know I have that 10% to fall back on if I want to.”

“I use that 10% for when I eat out, because I know I’ll have salty foods and dessert.” 

“I’m not that hardcore following Eat to Live, after all, Dr. Fuhrman even said that we can cheat 10% of the time.”  

 

For those unfamiliar with the 90 Percent Rule, starting on page 223 of Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman wrote about it, and I’ll highlight below a few points that many misuse as a free-for-all license to go back to the standard American diet at liberty.  

 

  • For longevity and weight loss, the Life Plan diet should aim to be made up of at least 90 percent unrefined plant foods. My most successful patients treat processed foods and animal foods as condiments, constituting no more than 10 percent of their total caloric intake.

  • To hold to the 90 percent rule, I recommend women consume no more than 150 calories per day of low-nutrient food, or about 1,000 calories weekly. Men should not consume more than 200 calories of low-nutrient food daily, or about 1,400 calories weekly.

  • Using the 90 percent rule, you are allowed to eat almost any kind of food, even a small cookie or candy bar, as long as all your other calories that day are from nutrient-dense vegetation.    

     

 

Let’s set the record straight. The 90 Percent Rule is not the excuse to intentionally cheat. There is no valid reason to consume the worst foods that we can get our hands on, because junk food kills and perpetuates more food addiction.

The 10 percent allowance of low-nutrient foods is permissible; however, Dr. Fuhrman never intended for that to be the license for cheating, or anything close to that mindset.  He would prefer that everyone eat 100% of high-nutrient foods for the best health that’s possible. However, he also realizes that optimal health is not everyone’s priority, and everyone has that right to choose their own health destiny by the foods they select. 

Eating 100% high-nutrient foods is most beneficial for breaking food addictions, and eradicating obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and a myriad of other diseases. 

Most of us have been consuming fake foods our entire lives so consuming 100% high-nutrient foods is especially crucial for us to reverse years of damage already done within our bodies. Dr. Fuhrman has stated that we may “look healthy” on the outside when we are close to an ideal weight, but we still have much damage on the cellular level to heal and restore due to years and years of conventional eating abuse. 

It’s not a matter of how far one can push a boundary line and get by with it, but how much one desires to heal damaged cells and feel alive and well; excited to be alive! 

Scrupulous, yes.

Sensible, absolutely.

Who in their right mind would want obesity, cancer, heart disease, depression, dementia, arthritis, or diabetes at retirement age?

With that being said, living in the best health that’s possible is totally one’s personal choice. If one wants to repeatedly eat traditional holiday meals; or pizza, chips and cake at parties; or ice cream blizzards on the way home from work; or glazed donuts at Sunday School; or buckets of buttered popcorn and boxes of candy at the movies; and then feel crappy, crabby and bloated; plus feed cancer cells and blow out precious beta cells in the process, no one is going to care. It’s one’s personal choice. Each person is in control of his or her own health destiny. 

 

So does Dr. Fuhrman himself follow the 90 Percent Rule?

 

 “What do you think I’m crazy?! My father had leukemia, why would I want to put 10 percent low quality food in my body? That is just for people who can’t yet grasp that nutritarian food tastes better and is more enjoyable to eat, and is the food we actually prefer to eat. Nevertheless, this is not a religion, and if on a rare occasion I want to have something conventional that is delicious, I can.”  

 

Be wise. Use good judgment and always be in control of your health destiny, 100% of the time!

 

[The obese belly above was mine a few years ago when I was in my 40's.  Now I'm 51-years-old and feeling younger & healthier than twenty years ago!]

Interview with a Nutritarian: Carolyn

Carolyn was never obese, but she still suffered from middle-age weight gain, sluggishness, and declining health issues. It doesn’t matter whether one has fifteen or one hundred and fifty pounds of unhealthy weight to lose, everyone feels vibrant and well when a lifestyle of eating nutrient-rich foods has been embraced! Welcome to Disease Proof, Carolyn.

 

 

 

What was your life like before discovering nutritarian eating?

I was slender as a teenager, but as I moved into my 40s, I was always about 20 pounds overweight; size 12 at my worst. I felt sluggish, although I exercised often. I ate the Standard American Diet and excelled at making lasagna, bread, cakes, and cookies for my family and friends. I relied on caffeine too much and was drinking 5-6 cups of coffee a day. Plus I drank 2 cups of caffeinated tea with sweetened condensed milk; a habit that I picked up from five years of living in Sri Lanka. I had allergies, frequent headaches, and the beginning twinges of arthritis.

 

How did you find out about Eat to Live?

During Easter dinner in 2007, I asked my sister-in-law how she had so much success staying trim and fit. She told me about Dr. Fuhrman and how she’d make fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies using a Vitamix blender. I purchased Eat to Live and started following the 6-week eating plan, and continued my exercise program at the gym. Within 4 months my total cholesterol dropped from over 200 to 155, and I slimmed down to a size 8. I bought a Vitamix at the Indiana State Fair that summer and started using it every day for smoothies/blended salads, soups, and frozen desserts.

I had difficulty at first giving up coffee, but weaned myself off over time and gave up meat. I stuck to the plan, and by avoiding all sugar over the holiday season in 2009, I dropped to 128 pounds. (I'm 5'4".) After that success, stress increased at work and my weight crept back up to 135 pounds. I was generally eating nutritarian foods, but eating too much. 

I attended Dr. Fuhrman's Health Getaway in San Diego in 2010, and after listening to the lectures, I decided to give up dairy products; especially cheese so that my weight and cholesterol would return to lower levels. However, I wasn’t able to put this resolution into effect until 2011, because it was an extremely stressful time at work. I lost my job in September 2010 due to restructuring and outsourcing, but was lucky to find a new job within a few months. I moved to another state at the end of December 2010.

 

 

How do you feel now?

I no longer have allergies, headaches, or arthritis, and I have a lot of energy to do my daily activities. Plus, my husband and I get up at 5 o’clock every morning to work out at the gym before we go to work. 

I live in the “Midwest Land of Meat”, hot dish casseroles, and bar cookies; but I’ve become almost a vegan, avoid processed foods, caffeinated teas, and all milk products. The sweetened condensed milk that I used to love in black tea now hurts my stomach. In January 2011 my total cholesterol was 210, HDL was 101, and LDL 99. This past month my total cholesterol was 170, HDL 89, and LDL 73. When I started I weighed 145 lbs, and I now weigh 130 lbs and wear a size 6. 

 

What success tips do you have to share with others?

  • My typical daily diet is a blended salad for breakfast; a very large mixed salad with beans, nut based dressing, and fruit for lunch; and cooked greens or cruciferous vegetables, and a nutritarian entrée or bean patty for dinner. 

  • Experiment with cooking and eating different vegetables to acquire new tastes and preferences. Increase vegetable intake by putting a bean patty, stew, or casserole over cooked kale or other green vegetable instead of rice or potatoes. 

  • I prefer to use spices and flavors from other parts of the world (India, Thailand, Vietnam) to keep meals interesting. 

  • I try to locate vegan restaurants and/or health food stores in a city ahead of time on the internet if I have to travel for a conference or vacation. I recently went to San Diego for a week long conference, and I brought along a small bullet-type blender in my checked luggage so I could continue making blended salads for breakfast in our hotel room. I went to the grocery store and bought fruits, vegetables, and soy milk as well as a disposable, foam cooler to keep them fresh, and was reasonably successful.

  • Although my husband and I are isolated from other people who follow Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations, we have found friends who prefer to eat healthy. I maintain my resolution to keep the nutritarian lifestyle by listening to Dr. Fuhrman’s podcasts, follow the discussion threads on the Member Center, and read the blogs on Disease Proof.

     

 

Keep up the great job Carolyn!

Interview with a Nutritarian: Jodi

 

Jodi - current imageMost of the interviews here on Disease Proof have been with those who’ve discovered Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritional recommendations in their recent past, and are elated about their newfound health and freedom from food addiction and disease. Jodi has been following Dr. Fuhrman’s advice for TEN years, and she’s just as excited today with continual improvements in her health as she was ten years ago.  If you've read Jodi's Success Story on Dr. Fuhrman's website, or read a  previous Disease Proof post about her awesome recovery from debilitating psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases, you know that Jodi's healings are medical miracles!  Today Jodi is the epitome of excellent health, and her enthusiasm is contagious.  In fact, she went on to earn her Nutritional Education Trainer (NET) certification and is now helping others in their journeys to get their health restored also. Welcome once again to Disease Proof Jodi!  

 

You've been following Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style for over 10 years now. How has that experience changed your life?

My original reason for contacting Dr. Fuhrman was autoimmune issues; the most serious was psoriatic arthritis where I had a full-body skin rash and history of joint pain. Plus, I had diagnoses of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren's and Hashimotos – all autoimmune conditions.  I consider my success at conquering these ailments as Chapter One of my health journey. [Click here to see Jodi's remarkable before and after pictures of being healed of psoriasis!] Now, Chapter Two is all about the benefits that I've experienced over the years that I did not expect!

 

Please explain “Chapter Two” to us.  

Jodi at a heavier weightYear after year as I keep following this high-nutrient lifestyle, I continue to be amazed at how powerful and effective it is. For example, ten years ago I did not turn to Dr. Fuhrman for weight loss, yet I now weigh 32 pounds less than my highest weight.  The picture on the right was taken when I was younger and heavier. 

  • My cholesterol is now low, when it had been over 200, and my blood pressure is low, and I take no drugs for either. 
  • I breezed through menopause without drugs.
  • All sinus congestion and seasonal allergies are completely gone.
  • My dentist compliments my healthy gums and how little plaque I have.
  • My bone density has improved. I previously tested in the negative range for osteopenia, the latest score for my spine was ZERO. A zero score is equivalent to the bone density of a healthy, 30- year-old woman. Which means without drugs but following Dr. Fuhrman's exercise advice, I have the spine a 30-year-old....and I'm 62!  [Click here to learn more about preventing bone fractures.] 
  • My eyesight is stronger. Twice over the last 10 years the prescriptions for my contact lenses and glasses, which I use for distance, have been reduced; and I no longer need reading glasses, but I did at age 52, (and now I’m 62!)

 

Are you surprised by these improvements?

As we age, we expect to have achy joints, ailments, medications, drug side effects, doctors visits, etc., and I don't have any of those issues. In fact, I wake up in the morning and nothing hurts: no joint pain, no stiffness, and no arthritis. Yes, I'm amazed...and grateful.

 

Do you have any success tips to share with others?

Ten years ago when I started eating high-nutrient foods, I was already over 50-years-old. My psoriasis and joint pain started when I was a teenager, and I was on potent drugs for almost twenty years. Don't think you are too old to benefit; don't think you are too sick or have been on drugs for too long to see a difference. I am so convinced that the longer you follow this program, and the older you get doing it, you continue to reap benefits...benefits you never expected or imagined!

 

Thank you Jodi for being an example to all of us of the ongoing healing power of high-nutrient foods ~ you truly are a medical miracle!

 Jodi on top of the world!

Eat cherries for a healthy heart, a good night's sleep and more

The cherry is a stone fruit, in the same family with plums, apricots, and peaches. The majority of edible cherries have been derived from two species: Prunus avium – the wild cherry (sweet cherries like Bing and Rainier) and Prunus cerasus – the sour cherry (like the Montromorency and Morello varieties).  Most sour cherries here in the U.S. are grown in Michigan with some growing on the East coast as well, and sweet cherries are grown primarily in the Pacific Northwest and Michigan.1 Cherries, especially sour cherries, have a short growing season.  Sweet cherries are generally available between May to August, and sour cherries are available for just a couple of weeks either in mid-June (in warmer areas) or either July-August (in cooler areas).2

Cherries protect against oxidative stress:

Cherries range in color from yellow and pink to bright red to deep, dark red. The colors of sweet and sour cherries come from their rich supply of anthocyanins, including chlorogenic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol.3,4 Regarding antioxidant content, cherries are some of the highest ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) foods in existence – the ORAC score of sweet cherries ranks just as high as strawberries (though not quite as high as blueberries).5  

Anthocyanins protect the body against oxidative damage in a number of ways: they scavenge free radicals directly, bind to DNA to protect it from oxidative damage, and activate detoxification and antioxidant enzyme systems in the body. Cherry anthocyanins have been shown to protect blood vessels and brain cells against oxidative stress, implying that cherry consumption may help to prevent atherosclerotic plaque formation and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia.3,6 Cherry anthocyanins also slow the growth of human colon cancer cells.7

Cherries reduce inflammation:

Cherries and cherry juice have been used since the 1950s by sufferers of gout and arthritis to ease their symptoms.  Gout results from an overload of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia), which accumulates and forms crystals in the joints, causing painful arthritis; cherry consumption has been shown to reduce circulating levels of uric acid, which may be one pathway by which cherries improve gout symptoms.8

Evidence presented at the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting related the anti-inflammatory effects of tart cherry juice to both gout and heart disease.  Overweight and obese subjects consumed 8 ounces/day of tart cherry juice or placebo for 4 weeks.  Tart cherry juice consumers experienced reductions in uric acid levels and inflammation markers.  With regard to cardiovascular disease, reductions were also seen in triglycerides, VLDL, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), a molecule involved in atherosclerotic plaque formation.9  Previous studies on sweet cherry consumption have similarly documented reductions in C-reactive protein (CRP), another inflammatory molecule that is also a marker of cardiovascular disease risk.10

Cherries act as a natural painkiller:

Cherry extracts inhibit the action of cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and COX-2 enzymes.  These enzymes are important components of the inflammatory process and the sensation of pain. Also, these are the same enzymes that are inhibited by many common pain medications.  In fact, the COX inhibitory activity of cherry anthocyanins is comparable to that of equal concentrations of ibuprofen and naproxen.11,12  This may be another way that cherries and cherry juice can ease symptoms of gout and arthritis, and also may help athletes to cut down on post-workout muscle pain. Distance runners training for a race who drank tart cherry juice twice daily for 8 days (7 days prior to race plus race day) experienced less post-race pain than those who drank a placebo.13 Similarly in strength workouts, tart cherry juice consumers experienced less pain and strength loss over the four following days compared to placebo.14 

Cherries may help you sleep:

Tart cherries are one of the few rich food sources of the hormone and antioxidant melatonin, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle in the human brain.15  Tart cherry juice supplementation has been associated with improvements in sleep quality.16

When we think about high-antioxidant, health-promoting fruits, sometimes cherries are overlooked.  But as you can see here, cherries are an excellent food that benefits the heart, brain, and joints, and may even prevent tumor growth and improve the quality of sleep –  enjoy them when they are in season!

 

References:

1. Cherry. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry. Accessed on May 2, 2011.

2. Cherries. Aboutcom Local Foods. http://localfoods.about.com/od/summer/tp/CherriesHub.htm and http://localfoods.about.com/od/cherries/ss/cherryvarieties.htm. Accessed on May 2, 2011.

3. Kim DO, Heo HJ, Kim YJ, et al: Sweet and sour cherry phenolics and their protective effects on neuronal cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2005;53:9921-9927.

4. Phenolic compounds in sweet and sour cherries. Cornell University. http://ecsoc2.hcc.ru/ecsoc-2/dp260/dp260.htm. Accessed on May 2, 2011.

5. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity of Selected Foods. 2007. US Department of Agriculture. http://www.ars.usda.gov/sp2userfiles/place/12354500/data/orac/orac07.pdf Accessed on May 2, 2011.

6. Traustadottir T, Davies SS, Stock AA, et al: Tart cherry juice decreases oxidative stress in healthy older men and women. J Nutr 2009;139:1896-1900.

7. Kang SY, Seeram NP, Nair MG, et al: Tart cherry anthocyanins inhibit tumor development in Apc(Min) mice and reduce proliferation of human colon cancer cells. Cancer Lett 2003;194:13-19.

8. Jacob RA, Spinozzi GM, Simon VA, et al: Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women. J Nutr 2003;133:1826-1829.

9. Martin KR, Bopp J, Burrell L, et al: The effect of 100% tart cherry juice on serum uric acid levels, biomarkers of inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk factors. In Experimental Biology 2011. Washington, D.C.: The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology; 2011.

10. Kelley DS, Rasooly R, Jacob RA, et al: Consumption of Bing sweet cherries lowers circulating concentrations of inflammation markers in healthy men and women. J Nutr 2006;136:981-986.

11. McCune LM, Kubota C, Stendell-Hollis NR, et al: Cherries and health: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2011;51:1-12.

12. Seeram NP, Momin RA, Nair MG, et al: Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant cyanidin glycosides in cherries and berries. Phytomedicine 2001;8:362-369.

13. Kuehl KS, Perrier ET, Elliot DL, et al: Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2010;7:17.

14. Connolly DA, McHugh MP, Padilla-Zakour OI, et al: Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage. Br J Sports Med 2006;40:679-683; discussion 683.

15. Burkhardt S, Tan DX, Manchester LC, et al: Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2001;49:4898-4902.

16. Pigeon WR, Carr M, Gorman C, et al: Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study. J Med Food 2010;13:579-583.

 

 

Glucosamine supplements fail to improve knee osteoarthritis

A previous meta-analysis of clinical trials had suggested that the benefits of glucosamine supplements were exaggerated, and noted that most of the studies had been carried out by manufacturers of the supplements.1

Now, a recent study called “Joints on Glucosamine,” presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology has concluded that glucosamine has no beneficial effects on osteoarthritis of the knee. The 201 participants, given either glucosamine or placebo, were subject to MRI at baseline and after 6 months to structurally assess arthritic conditions. The odds of worsening of the cartilage were the same in the control and treatment groups, indicating that glucosamine did not slow the damage to the cartilage.2

In a news story covering this study, Eric Matteson, MD, chair of rheumatology and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, commented:

"We do know that glucosamine therapy does not appear to be harmful, but there is no evidence it is helpful."3

In October, in a review of the literature on glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, the Center for Science in the Public Interest reported that the evidence for each of these supplements (and combined glucosamine and chondroitin) were inconclusive.4 They also note that for arthritis symptoms, the placebo effect is particularly strong – the author of the article, David Schardt states:

“Studies show that a sugar pill relieves arthritis pain in up to 60% of patients.”

This fact highlights the importance of the results of this new study – the scientists quantified cartilage damage via MRI, rather than relying on the subjects’ reports of knee pain.

Like so many other diseases, the best way to prevent and treat osteoarthritis is to remove the cause. A recent meta-analysis of 85 studies on the risk factors for osteoarthritis found that being overweight posed the greatest risk.5 For most of us, reaching and then maintaining a healthy weight with nutritional excellence is the best protection against osteoarthritis.

 

References:

1. McAlindon TE et al. Glucosamine and chondroitin for treatment of osteoarthritis: a systematic quality assessment and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2000 Mar 15;283(11):1469-75.

2. http://acr.confex.com/acr/2009/webprogram/Paper15123.html

3. http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/ACR/16561

4. Schardt, David. “Do arthritis supplements work? Don’t bet your joints on it.” Center for Science in the Public Interest: Nutrition Action Healthletter, October 2009

5. Blagojevic M et al. Risk factors for onset of osteoarthritis of the knee in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2009 Sep 2. [Epub ahead of print]

 

Superior Diet and No More Skin Rashes

When you get healthy, good things happen. Sometimes it’s obvious. Scott lost 250 pounds. You’ll notice that! But for Jodi it was different. She had chronic skin rashes all over her back, until she improved her diet and starting living better:

Unfortunately, I slowly lapsed back into my old sad habits, living a frantic, restaurant hopping, stressed out life in Manhattan. By the time I turned 50 in 1999, now living in NC, I was covered from head to toe with psoriasis and tested positive for other autoimmune diseases: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s and Sjogren’s.

In my quest for improved health, I read Dr. Fuhrman's book, Fasting and Eating for Health. The book has a chapter devoted to autoimmune conditions. I have followed his eating plan since 2001 with much success. I experience skin–flares up only when I stray from Dr. Fuhrman's eating program…continue reading.

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Coffee in Pregnancy Increases Cleft Lip Risk

Cleft lip is a fissure causing a gap in the top lip and findings of a new study in American Journal of Epidemiology reveal drinking coffee during pregnancy slightly ups the risk of cleft lip or harelip. Experts compared data on 573 women who had babies with cleft lip and 763 women whose kids did not. Women drinking a daily cup of coffee during the first 3 months of pregnancy were 1.39 times more likely to have a baby with harelip and the likelihood increased to 1.59 for women who drank 3 or more cups of coffee a day; Reuters reports.

Sometimes I have a cup of coffee. Luckily I can’t get pregnant. Coffee, i.e. caffeine, isn’t healthy. Drinking coffee has been shown to double arthritis risk, raise blood pressure and disturb heart function. Caffeine is a toxin, which can cause headaches, anxiety and detox symptoms similar to coming off drugs.

Recently, a study showed women drinking more than 3 cups of coffee a day had 17% smaller breasts. Oh, and instant coffee can make you hallucinate. Far out man.

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Health-Points: Friday 5.1.09

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Pomegranates Fight Cell Inflammation

A new study in Journal of Inflammation claims polyphenols, plant nutrients that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, contained in pomegranate extract inhibit the production of inflammatory compounds, potentially preventing chronic inflammation associated with heart disease, Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, diabetes and arthritis. For the study, scientists stimulated cells to prompt an inflammatory response and then incubated the cells with pomegranate. Results showed pomegranate extract decreased pro-inflammatory reaction; Bakery and Snacks investigates.

Pomegranates are the real deal. Dr. Fuhrman calls them potent disease-fighters, especially for prostate cancer. In 2006, a study revealed men drinking pomegranate juice had better PSA scores. And pomegranates have also been found to help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetes.

In related news, the term “antioxidants” is resonating with consumers and increasing their willingness to try products including them. Maybe that’s the why the pomegranate phone is so darn cool.

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More Women Getting Arthritis...

A new study by the Mayo Clinic reveals rheumatoid arthritis is on the RISE among women in the United States. Up significantly from previous data. However, the rate has remained about the same for men; Reuters reports.

Now, you could do Tai Chi to reduce arthritis-related knee pain or you can STOP arthritis altogether. Previous research indicates that a vegetable-based vegan diet offers protection against arthritis and helps ease symptoms.