Keep it Going! Take the Next Step Toward Excellent Health

SunshineAs the holiday season comes to a close, I hope you and your loved ones have enjoyed many happy and healthy celebrations and made some wonderful memories.

Right now, wherever you are in your journey toward superior nutrition, you should appreciate your accomplishments, and now take it even further. Building a healthy diet is like building muscles or learning a new skill – if you make the commitment and practice every day, you will get stronger, you will see results, and it will become easier and more enjoyable.

Read more at DrFuhrman.com 

Let's Redefine Deprivation

My youngest son and I recently visited my oldest daughter and son-in-law in Seattle. We experienced all the wonderful landmarks of the city such as the Space Needle and Pike's Place Market, etc., but the highlight was hiking to the top of Rattlesnake Ridge to see the breathtaking and magnificent views from the summit.

I was so totally blown away by what I saw when I reached the summit that I squealed with delight! - just ask my daughter who captured my over-the-top enthusiasm on video via her iPhone! I was also reminded how very thankful I am to no longer be addicted to the Standard American Diet and obese. [A little over five years ago, at age 47, I was severely addicted to fake, low-nutrient foods, 100 lbs. overweight, prediabetic, and suffered from coronary artery disease, hypertension, chronic fatigue, and increasing immobility. Within a year, I dropped the weight and got my health restored.]  

Additionally, I would've missed out on so much of the trip if I were still unhealthy, because we walked and hiked a lot and had a wonderful time doing it!

 

The worst of the nightmarish memories of obesity and poor health have gradually faded over time, and I tend to take my health for granted these days. I need trips like this past one to be reminded, once again, how much freedom I have now as a healthy individual. Plus, my obesity would've ruined the visit for my daughter and son-in-law as I would've only been able to sit around in their apartment, or sightsee via bus tours, or dine continually on decadent foods – not much else - and that would've been a bummer for them.

I'm continually grateful for the many blessings that being fully committed to the nutritarian diet-style has allowed me to enjoy these past five years. And to think that for many years I incorrectly thought it was too restrictive, and I was afraid that I’d be regularly deprived.

Not being able to hike up Rattlesnake Ridge and experience the grandeur of the view at the summit, or watch the shear delight and excitement on my 14-year-old son's face would've been restrictive. Likewise, I would've been deprived of making a lifetime memory with my daughter and son-in-law as well.

We must get this deprivation thing turned around. Eating a crispy, succulent apple instead of a candy bar is not deprivation - it is liberty! Eating a scrumptious kale salad with orange-cashew-toasted sesame dressing instead of a grilled cheese sandwich and bag of chips is not restrictive – it is pure pleasure beyond what words can express! 

 

image credit by yarophoto.com

Unhealthy Perfectionism vs. the Pursuit of Excellence

Over the past five years I’ve witnessed many individuals repeatedly struggle with the nutritarian diet-style because of the greatly misunderstood topic of unhealthy perfectionism vs. the pursuit of excellence.  

Unhealthy perfectionism entails the all or nothing, obsessive mindset of striving for flawlessness that messes in a negative way with the psyche. In the context of changing eating habits, this type of perfectionism can be felt as a burden that leads to dissatisfaction and depression if perfect flawlessness can’t be obtained.

“If I can’t eat perfectly, I won’t do it at all.” 

Or . . .  “I blew it. I ate a cookie so now I’ll go ahead and pig out on everything.” 

Or  . . . “I didn’t lose any weight this week so I’m quitting - it's all or nothing for me.”  

That kind of stinkin’ thinking has to go, because it is detrimental to success. 

 

However, like an Olympic Champion who gives 100% to win the Gold Medal, getting out of food addiction takes 100% commitment. One can’t give half-heartedly and expect to see great results. It takes complete abstinence and no compromises to get free from the entanglements of addiction.

A nicotine addict can’t smoke “just one” cigarette a day and expect to get free from, or stay out of the addiction. Nor can a recovering alcoholic drink “just one” glass of wine every day. It takes abstaining 100% from the addictive substance to get free, and then to remain free. 

Additionally, it’s much easier to eat perfectly – strict adherence to the plan - and get completely rid of nagging cravings than it is to vacillate and keep them continually percolating beneath the surface; waiting to ignite at a moment’s notice. The latter is spelled M-I-S-E-R-Y, because you’re always fighting the demons of temptation. Whereas, once the overwhelming cravings are gone, the inner turmoil is silenced.    

The one who strives for excellence may make mistakes in the learning process, also known as slip ups*, but those errors propel the incentive to work harder. Slip ups may impulsively happen from time to time, but they are minor and short-lived as the quest for excellence is wholeheartedly pursued with great joy and excitement!

[* A slip up is not an intentionally planned cheat: a whole vacation, an entire week, a full day, or even an entire meal. It is a small indiscretion, like maybe some bread that was not health-supporting as a part of one meal, and it didn’t create a total binge of unhealthy eating. The imperfection didn’t destroy or even interrupt 100% commitment to nutritional excellence.]

It’s absolutely necessary to carefully link days of perfect eating together for cravings to subside and then go completely away; and then it is equally important to never return to old habits in order to achieve long term success. One bite of an addictive substance can open the addiction right back up to full force. 

Unfortunately, I’ve observed many who don’t want to be labeled a perfectionist (for fear of being the unhealthy kind) so they intentionally veer off the path of perfect eating just to avoid it! 

That kind of stinkin’ thinking has to go as well, because those who intentionally veer off the path of perfect eating will end up in head on collisions with the Standard American Diet and never get free from unhealthy dietary entanglements. Ever. And sadly, they’ll never achieve optimal health or a quality of life either.   

Ask former nicotine addicts if they smoke a couple cigarettes a day to avoid being labeled a perfectionist. Ask recovery alcoholics if they still hang out at the bars after work to avoid the label as well.

To get free, and to remain free, one has to eat almost perfectly – for life.  

   

PS   As I was taking the above photo of the scales, I couldn't help but be reminded that 2-3 years ago, junk food and candy were still somewhat tempting to me at times; but now that stuff is disgusting.  I didn't think that would ever happen, but it did.  I used to think that Dr. Fuhrman was some kind of saint from outer space (not really) to say that candy and junk food were disgusting to him . . . but it really does happen over time! 

        

Exposing the High Cost of Food Addiction

For over twenty years I was addicted to the Standard America Diet, and as a result I overate and became 100 lbs overweight. Consequently, I developed several nutritional diseases: heart disease, pre diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, chronic bronchitis, and boils; just to name a few. And to maintain that obese state I had to consume at least 3700 calories a day.  

Last year I calculated the average food expenses of my indulgent eating habit and was nearly shocked at what I discovered. 

Basically, I was eating in excess of $4,500 / year than I am now as a Nutritarian. My entanglement with the Standard America Diet drained at least $90,000 from the family budget over a 20 year period of time! 

Numbers don’t lie. The following is the cost comparison of weekly food expenses for one person, Yours truly, Emily Boller:

 

THEN

 

 

NOW

 

 1 loaf of bread

3.90

 

 lettuce

10.00

 ½ lb of butter

2.00

 

 kale, collards, spinach

10.00

 honey

2.00

 

 colorful vegetables

10.00

 peanut butter

3.50

 

 fresh fruit

20.00

 2 bottles of dressing

5.00

 

 frozen fruit

 7.00

 1 lb cheese

5.00

 

 nuts/seeds/flax

 7.00

 32 oz. yogurt

7.00

 

 oats (on occasion)

 3.00

 32 oz. cottage cheese

6.00

 

 mushrooms

 7.00

 microwave popcorn

7.00

 

 onions

 3.00

 1 gallon of milk

3.50

 

 beans (dry / bulk)

 5.00

 2 quarts ice cream

7.00

 

 tomato paste

 5.00

 candy

7.00

 

 TOTAL

87.00

 processed cereal

7.00

     

 mixed vegetables

5.00

     

 lettuce

7.00

     

 carrots

2.00

     

 chips & crackers

7.00

     

 fruit

7.00

     

 cookies

5.00

     

 frozen pizza

5.00

     

 lasagna

3.00

     

 meatloaf

3.00

     

 chicken breasts

6.00

     

 roast beef

3.00

     

 deli meats

5.00

     

 mayonnaise

2.00

     

 macaroni and cheese

3.00

     

 garlic bread

3.00

     

 rolls and biscuits

3.00

     

 Subway meal

7.00

     

 diet sodas

14.00

     

 Dairy Queen

5.00

     

 chewing gum

2.00

     

 ice cream novelties

4.00

     

 TOTAL

166.90

 

 

 

 

THEN: $166.90* / week = $8,678.80 / year

*This amount excludes coffee and alcohol addiction; this number would've been much higher with daily stops at Starbucks or alcohol purchases.  Also, I was "only" 100 lbs. overweight so this amount would've been much higher if I would've been heavier as well.

 

NOW:   $ 87.00* / week = $4,524.00 / year

*This amount excludes backyard gardening; this number can be significantly reduced with homegrown produce.

 

 

 

Add to my former expenses a quarterly visit to an endocrinologist and a cardiologist, lab tests, surgical procedures, hospitalizations, and the various prescription and over-the-counter drugs that I had to take . . . .gluttony not only robbed me and my family of a quality life, it drained the budget as well, big time!

None of us can afford being addicted to the Standard American Diet. Food addiction is nothing to joke about. It robs and destroys health, relationships, careers, dreams, and financial resources. Instead, making the commitment to Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian approach is not only health promoting, it is cost effective as well. 

 

Here’s to great health, a quality life, and money in the bank to all!

Eating for Health Isn't Extreme; It's Essential

We live in a toxic environment. Even the good ole’ fresh country air isn’t what it use to be. Not long ago I was riding my bike in a nearby rural county, and a crop dusting plane flew overhead and began spraying a cornfield in the distance. I turned around to avoid the residue, but then the plane circled and came my way to spray another field.  

I grew up on a farm, and one of the highlights of summer was creating makeshift rafts to float in flooded soybean fields after a heavy rainfall; giving no thought to the poisonous, chemical run-off from the fields that would’ve been in the water. 

Even suburban housing additions are full of toxins as chemicals are applied to well-manicured lawns. And, of course, cities have their own set of poisons floating around in the air; not to mention the toxic foods that many of us may have eaten since childhood. Our bodies have been, and will continue to be inundated with toxins in one way or other; unless one has the privilege of living on a pristine island in Utopia.

And that’s one of the many reasons why it’s essential for all of us to fully embrace the nutritarian diet-style.    

Every bite of food that we put into our mouth counts.

Although certain chemicals can damage the body, repair can most likely happen if we are healthy and not continually exposed to them.  Therefore, it's crucial that we eat right and minimize our exposure to toxins and chemicals. 

But it takes a firm and radical commitment.      

“It takes more than moderate changes to wipe out the cellular damage that happens earlier in life.”   Dr. Fuhrman

We must turn a deaf ear to the naysayers that incorrectly and ignorantly believe that eating for health is extreme. And we must consume nutrients that build up our immune system, cleanse chemicals and toxins, and protect against disease.   

Following Dr Fuhrman’s nutritional protocol 100% to prevent the growth of cancer cells and disease is not extreme; it’s essential.

Here’s to optimal health to all!

 

Related post:  The 90 Percent Rule

 

Image credits: Crop dusting, flickr by chaunceydavid818; Pollution, flickr by ribamica

 

 

 

Imagine the Revolution!

Are you sick and tired of a medical industry that's influenced by drug reps trained in communication skills, sales, and profit margins; and with research funded and designed to benefit pharmaceutical companies?

Are you fed up with a health care system, including dietitians and nurse educators who encourage diabetics to eat dangerously or serve pizza, fried chicken, and beef 'n noodles to severely ill patients?

Are you disappointed that our educational system puts no value in instructing students in optimal health and longevity?  How fulfilling and productive is a career intermingled with food addiction, hangovers, and disease?  What enjoyment and satisfaction is there in a beautiful home and nice car mixed with alcoholism, eating disorders, heart disease, pain meds, chemo treatments, diabetes, and broken relationships?

Are you saddened by a culture that models, by example, and promotes gluttonous pleasures and indulgences?  What will happen to a society in which eating for disease has run rampant? 

Are you disturbed by the fact that a quarter of a million dollars can be spent on a heart surgery that would have been easy to avoid with a proper diet-style?  Are you equally disturbed that $110 can be spent on a small vial of insulin for type 2 diabetes, when eating healthfully would've resolved it ~ while entire families go to bed hungry?  Is it even ethical to squander such financial resources?   Do we need more medical care or more health education?

  • Imagine the revolution.

  • Imagine medical care and treatments that get people well based on scientific nutritional research instead of unsuccessfully managing diseases based on financial gains and losses.

  • Imagine an education system that values instruction in optimal health and longevity as a top priority for all students; no child left behind.

  • Imagine an entire society that has eradicated food addiction and nearly 80% of its diseases.

  • Imagine the financial and emotional burdens lifted as a result of no more heart bypass surgeries, cancers, dementia, chemical restraints, and vials of insulin.

The change of one is a transformation.

The change of many is a revolution.

Change begins with you and me.

Let’s all be that change.

It's time for the revolution!

 

NutritionalResearch.org

 

Painting credit: “Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Leutze; 1851; oil on canvas; Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photography credit:  (c) by Emily Boller

 

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful Moms out there!  Whether you are called Great Grandma, Grandma, Mom, or Mommy we honor all of you this special day! 

I thought it would be inspirational to feature a new mom, Katie, that I met a couple of years ago on Dr. Fuhrman’s Member Center.  We eventually became Facebook friends, and then I finally got to meet her in-person last summer at Dr. Fuhrman’s Health Getaway on Amelia Island.  I’ve been so impressed how she’s radically changed her eating habits and now enables her young family to eat for the best health possible too.  [In fact, she even went on to become a certified nutritional trainer through Dr. Fuhrman’s NET program!] When pictures of her relatively recent, second pregnancy started showing up on Facebook, she glowed with health and vitality!  It’s amazing what eating for health can do to a young woman’s life.  Welcome to Disease Proof, Katie.

Katie - before and after

What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian approach?
I ate a very unhealthy diet before learning about Dr. Fuhrman. My favorite foods were things like pizza and chocolate. I was a vegetarian for a few years; but a very unhealthy one. Since I was slim I figured I was healthy enough.

I always had terrible allergies and also struggled with sinus issues. A few years before becoming a nutritarian an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor told me I would need to have surgery to alleviate my severe sinus infections. I also had debilitating migraine headaches. Finally, I also developed severe and painful cystic acne when I was around 18 which continued into adulthood.
 

How do you feel now?
I feel so much better now it is amazing. I didn't know how bad I felt until I realized how good I could feel. My allergies, sinus issues, migraines and acne all resolved after becoming a nutritarian.  And I have more energy and am able to think more clearly now.


Since you weren’t a nutritarian yet during your first pregnancy, did you notice a difference between the two pregnancies, labor and delivery, and postpartum recovery time?

Towards the end of the pregnancy with my first daughter my mom gave me a copy of Dr. Fuhrman’s book, Disease Proof Your Child.  It completely changed my perspective on nutrition.  Each of my pregnancies were uncomplicated, but I had gained 15 pounds more during my first pregnancy than my second.  I also had horrendous heartburn with my first, and just mild heartburn with my second.

With my first, I went two weeks past my estimated due date and had to be induced.  The labor was very difficult, and my recovery was rather slow.  With my second daughter I went into labor naturally two days after my due date and overall it was a wonderful, drug-free experience.  My recovery time seemed to be much easier as well.  


Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others; especially to young mothers of small children?Smoothie

  • The most important factor to changing my way of eating was learning as much as I could about the science behind Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations. I spent hours poring over the information in Dr. Fuhrman's books and on his Member Center.
  • We keep meals very simple at our house and cook large batches of soups over the weekend so we don't have to cook much during the week. I also like to make green smoothies or micro salads so I can get large amounts of greens in quickly while taking care of my kids.

 

 

 

Katie’s favorite micro salad: 

4 cups chopped kale

2 cups mixed greens

2 cups chopped green or purple cabbage

3 medium carrots, chopped into chunks

1 apple, chopped into chunks

Place all ingredients in a food processor (you may have to process each ingredient individually depending on the size of the container) and process to desired consistency. Top with beans and a nut based dressing.  Enjoy!           

In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for you and your young family?

It has changed me and my family forever. My husband and I will definitely eat this way for the rest of our lives, and we hope our daughters will continue to as well. My 3-year- old loves the food she eats and has been healthy her whole life. She’s never had an ear infection or needed antibiotics. I'm incredibly grateful to Dr. Fuhrman for this life-changing information and to everyone on the Member Center for sharing such personal and inspiring experiences. I'm also very thankful to my mother for giving me Disease Proof Your Child and for providing a wonderful example of what it means to eat to live.  I also want to thank my husband for all of his support who, despite his initial hesitation, has fully embraced nutritarian eating.

  Katie's family

Katie, you are truly a wonderful role model for all mothers, young and old!  Congratulations on radically improving you and your family’s health by choosing the nutritarian diet-style.

 

Blessings to all mothers today, and keep up the great job of leading your family’s health destiny!  

I Could Never Do That!

The following post was originally published on Disease Proof about two years ago. I thought it’d be helpful to dig it out of the archives for some inspiration again this time of year. Even now, I still hear, “Oh, I could never do that!” in response to the way I eat, and I’m sure that many of you do too. It’s good to be reminded on a regular basis of the many medical problems that we nutritarians get to bypass, and the many wonderful pleasures that we get to enjoy as a result! Some of the comments at the end are funny, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking all rolled into one. May they encourage and uplift heavy hearts, and cheer everyone on in the pursuit of excellent health. Cheers to all!

 

vegetablesIn the Fall of 2008, after I had dropped 40 lbs in three months, my peers started commenting and asking questions about the noticeable changes. By the next Spring, when 100 pounds were off, complete strangers such as clerks in stores would comment and ask questions as well.

Everyone’s question was, “How did you lose weight?” 

Of which my reply would always be, “By following Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book, Eat to Live;. . . . basically eating lots of high nutrient, plant-based foods.” 

“You mean no meat? No cheese? No pizza? No McDonald’s? . . . . Oh, I could never do that!” 

Now, over 2 ½ years later, the majority still say to me, “Oh I could never do that!” in response to anything remotely related to the idea of eating meals primarily composed of plant based nutrition. 

 

Well, the following is what I think in response to, “I could never do that”:

 

  • I could never blow the family budget on unnecessary test strips, insulin, medications, doctor and hospital bills, or bypass surgery.

  • I could never carry around expensive medical supplies and meds while traveling.

  • I could never ask a loved one to mow the lawn for me due to fatigue and ill health.

  • I could never turn a child away from playing a game due to a migraine headache.

  • I could never miss out on the joy of a wedding celebration due to obesity and depression.

  • I could never ask someone to drive me to kidney dialysis three times a week.

     

 

 

Dr. Fuhrman added:

 

  • I could never have heartburn and burping half the night.

  • I could never sit in the bathroom for 15 minutes trying to painfully squeeze out a hard log.

  • I could never watch a volleyball game at the beach instead of playing in it.

  • I could never have rubber bands put on painful hemorrhoids by a rectal specialist.

  • I could never worry about running to catch a bus, for fear of having a heart attack. 

  • I could never have such severe stomach cramps that emergency room personnel would assume it was a heart attack. 

  • I could never fall down and fracture a hip because my blood pressure medications dropped my blood pressure too low.

  • I could never be intubated in the ER with a tube put down my throat and hooked up to a breathing machine after suffering a heart attack.

  • I could never be in a nursing home unable to talk after a stroke or move the left side of my body. 

 

How about you? 

What could you never do?     

 

 

image credit: flickr by Claudio Matsuoka and FotoosVanRobin 

 

Never Give Up

 

There's nothing more deeply satisfying than crossing the finish line of a goal accomplished. 

 

This past year my 21-year-old son died unexpectedly. After the initial shock wore off, I entered into a dark season of PTSD and bereavement for several months. During the most acute phase of it I could barely function, because I would be in a daze of paralyzing grief and confusion. I had a difficult time accomplishing the simplest of tasks such as unloading the dishwasher or starting a load of laundry.  Vigorous workouts were unthinkable in the quagmire of my demise.  I couldn’t even successfully take inventory of food to make a grocery list, let alone muster up the strength to navigate the supermarket aisles or prepare a pot of soup.

I continued to eat whole foods, but many times a meal only consisted of a bowl of oatmeal and an apple; or a green pepper with hummus, a banana, and some nuts. I was just too overwhelmed in the anguish of grief to care for myself properly during that time and apathy set in.   

It saddens me when I hear some say, "I fell off the wagon" in reference to making unwise choices due to a stressful day or difficult season of life. Hard times happen to everyone; they just do. Unless one has made a conscious decision to completely throw in the towel and quit eating healthfully altogether, no one has fallen off any wagons.  The nutritarian eating-style is for life; not a diet to jump on and off on a whim. The wagon mentality only fuels yo-yo dieting for those who buy into that mindset. And the most dangerous part is that staying off the wagon may last for days, weeks, or years . . .until one gets psyched up to get back on it again.  

Even if some days are like wading through quick sand, and it’s a challenge to continue on, stay committed to making wise food choices as best as one can possibly manage.  It may be only baby steps, but keep moving forward in the pursuit of excellent health. There’s never a valid excuse to throw in the towel and completely quit, because nothing is more deeply satisfying than crossing the finish line of a goal accomplished. Earning one’s health back is a priceless treasure that comes with absolutely no regrets.

The sun will shine again and happiness will return as one continues to stay the course.

Never give up.

“It will take strength. It will take effort. But the pleasure and rewards that you’ll get from a healthy life will be priceless.”   Dr. Fuhrman

 

 

image credit: celebration by Elijah Lynn


 

Does It Really Hurt?

by Kathleen Callahan 

I've been thinking of that a lot since my battle with a packet of graham crackers in the nurses’ lounge yesterday. As I stood in front of the bin of crackers, willing my hands to stay by my side and my feet to walk out the door, that old, familiar, time-honored voice whispered in my ear, "Just this once won't hurt." Would it? I mean, really, in the grand caloric scheme of things, I'd had a beautiful lower-calorie nutritarian day. How much damage could a hundred calories really do? I'm sure if I'd had the graham crackers and stepped on the scale today, I'd still have lost weight.

Graham crackers. Flickr: Sterlic

Here's what I've figured out. Just this once wouldn't have hurt at all. In fact, it would have felt darn good, especially when whatever empty dopamine receptors I had that were crying out for a hit got that first blast of the sugar/salt/processed combo that brings such a sweet release. How many of us have felt it? You're at the church supper, eyeing a gorgeous piece of pie. You're out to dinner with friends, perusing the menu, trying to convince yourself that you're going to order the salad with broccoli and lemon wedges instead of the fettuccini alfredo . You're trying with everything you've got to avoid the cabinet that holds your husband's stash of Doritos. Most people sharing space with you at that moment would have no idea of the epic battle going on inside you as you ferociously and desperately debate yourself over your upcoming food choice. Sometimes we win that battle, and sometimes we don't. We may reach for the pie, smile at the person standing next to us, and  say, "Oh, well. Just this once won't hurt." And, it doesn't. If anything, it brings on a full-body wave of release. We actually sigh out loud sometimes with the bliss of it. Our shoulders drop as our muscles drain of tension.

Our eyes may even glaze over a bit as we go to our happy food place where our taste buds sing and our heart soars. Dopamine, after all, is the very same chemical that is released when we fall in love.

So, it's true, then. Just this once really doesn't hurt at all. In fact, it feels really good. However, when I close my eyes and picture myself having that bite of pie followed by the full-body melt, it's hard not to also imagine the images we've seen of crack addicts in the movies. Just picture the wild-eyed, jonesing addict on the floor, leaning up against the dirty wall of the crack house, tourniquet tight around her upper arm. She inserts the needle into her vein, pushes the plunger, and we see that same body melt, the same release, the same eye glazing we ourselves get when we eat the pie.

Aren't we so very fortunate that our addiction is socially sanctioned, that it takes place in clean, sparkly church halls, restaurants, and our very own kitchens? Aren't we lucky that we don't have to hide in dirty alleys to get our fixes? And, isn't it incredibly tragic that we share the same exact sort of dopamine-craving, soul-crushing, health-destroying compulsion that the crack addict does? My heart just breaks and my eyes fill to think of the enormity of it.

Just this once doesn't hurt. But, here's what does: The next day, when we're standing in front of the bin of graham crackers and doing battle yet again with the craving, we have no rational reason to avoid them. After all, we already know that once won't hurt. We proved it to ourselves the day before. Physiologically, we've primed our dopamine receptors to look for the blast of dopamine that comes from our fix. We all know it's awfully hard to fight biology. We tell ourselves we don't want the crackers as our hands are tearing the packet open and our mouths are watering in anticipation.

Here's what else hurts. Not only are we eating crackers every day now, but we're also eating a bagel with butter in the morning. And, because we're feeling so tired and drained from a lack of nutrients, we're too tired to cook when we get home, so we're grabbing take-out. And, then we see the scale nudge up in the wrong direction. Because here is a universal truth—our minds can be fooled by our addictive brain, but our bodies cannot. We can tell ourselves that we won't gain weight just by treating ourselves every now and then, but our bodies will always tell us the truth.

And this hurts, too: We feel demoralized. We feel weak. We feel desperate, and let's face it, we feel terrified. We may have the specter of serious health problems looming over us. We may have watched a loved one die of their addiction and like Scrooge, feel we've been shown a vision of our future by the Ghost of Things Yet to Come. Anyone who's lain in bed at night with a head full of visions of diabetes and heart disease knows exactly what I'm talking about.

But, does it have to be this way? Are we destined to die in the back alleys of our clean lives? I suppose it's preferable to die in a sterile hospital rather than in a dirty crack house, but must this be our only choice? I don't think so. I believe with all of my heart that we can change our futures. We've all seen people on Dr. Fuhrman’s blog and website do it. We've read of our Fuhrman forum friends beating heart disease, holding cancer at bay, ditching the insulin and cholesterol meds. We know of people who run marathons in their 80s. We know of others who were reborn after losing a hundred pounds. Why can't this be us, too? It can, my friend, it can.

Here's what I learned yesterday: resisting that graham cracker was an incredibly painful experience. It caused me far more pain than eating it would have. I mean, the pain was truly visceral. I swear every cell in my body felt it. But, you know what? When I walked out to my car after work last night, I felt triumphant. I felt victorious. My belly felt blissfully content from the gorgeous homemade harvest soup I'd fed it. And, I knew that I was one step closer to breaking that devilish food addiction once and for all. For me, that kind of intense pain is worth it.

It's tricky for us, because unlike the crack addict who decides to go clean, we cannot avoid our crack houses. There will always be church suppers, restaurant outings, and, yes, even our own kitchens. There will be Super Bowls, birthdays, Mother's Day, the Fourth of July. And after the summer, we've got that sugar-orgy holiday of Halloween with Thanksgiving and Christmas following right on its heels. How will you navigate your way through these dangerous waters? Will you go for the addict's release, or will you fight for your life? Will you fight for your family, so that unlike my dad, you won't leave them with an empty chair at the Thanksgiving table and steal from them the chance to hear your voice say that you are thankful to be alive and thankful for them?

I know what choice I'll make  from now on.  I will take care of this one body I've been gifted with. After all, I can't turn it in every few years for a new one. It requires my love and protection if I am to live free of addiction and disease. 

 

Image credit: Flickr - Sterlic