Salads Should Be Your Best Friend!

Hundreds of population studies show that raw vegetable consumption offers strong protection against cancer.1 The National Cancer Institute recently reported on over 300 different studies that all showed the same basic information: if consumed in large enough quantities, vegetables and fruits protect against all types of cancers, and raw vegetables have the most powerful anticancer properties of all foods.2 However, less than one in 100 Americans consumes enough calories from raw vegetables to ensure this defense! I encourage my patients to eat two salads each day (or one salad and one green smoothie, which is discussed later in this chapter), and a glass of freshly squeezed vegetable juice whenever possible. To help you remember the importance of raw vegetables, put a big sign on your refrigerator that says, “The Salad is the Main Dish.”

The word salad here means any vegetable eaten raw or uncooked. Fresh fruit, unsulfured dried fruits, canned beans, and a delicious dressing can be added to it. Eating a huge, delicious salad is the secret to successful weight control and a long healthy life.

This health makeover program encourages you to eat raw vegetables in unlimited quantities, but think big. Since they have a negative caloric effect, the more you eat, the more weight you will lose. Raw foods also have a faster transit time through the digestive tract, resulting in more weight loss than their cooked counterparts. The objective is to eat as many raw vegetables as possible, with the goal of one-pound daily. An easy way to accomplish this is to eat a salad at the beginning of your lunch, and then have some raw vegetables with dip before dinner. This could be an entire head of lettuce with one or two tomatoes and some shredded peppers, beets, or carrots. Or, you could have cucumber and shredded cabbage with shredded apples and raisins, or raw broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and snow pea pods with a delicious humus or salsa dip. The possibilities are endless, and Book Two details many ways for you to reach this goal. Though it may seem daunting, it is far from impossible to consume one pound of raw vegetables, especially if it is split between two meals. Believe it or not, an entire pound is less than 100 calories of food.

My long-time advice to eat a large amount of raw vegetables—a.k.a. a salad—before lunch and dinner has been tested by the medical community. Researchers used a crossover design to track the calories consumed by the same people when they ate salads as an additional first course at a meal and when they didn’t. The research showed that consuming salads reduces meal-calorie intake and is an effective strategy for weight control.3 Raw vegetables are not only for weight control, they also promote superior health in general.

When you add one of my delicious fruit, nut, or avocado-based dressings to the salad, the monounsaturated fats in the dressing increase the body’s ability to absorb the anti-cancer compounds in the raw vegetables.4 The synergistic combination of the raw vegetables and the healthy dressing makes the salad a health food superhero.

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

1. Link LB, Potter JD. Raw versus cooked vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004;13(9):1422-1435. Franceschi S, Parpinel M, La Vecchia C, et al. Role of different types of vegetables and fruit in the prevention of cancer of the colon, rectum, and breast. Epidemiology 1998;9(3):338-341. McEligot AJ, Rock CL, Shanks TG, et al. Comparison of serum carotenoid responses between women consuming vegetable juice and women consuming raw or cooked vegetables. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1999;8(3):227-231.

2. Key TJA, Thorogood M, Appleby PN, Burr ML. Dietary habits and mortality in 11,000 vegetarians and health conscious people: results of a 17-year follow up. BMJ 1996;313:775-779.

3. Rolls BJ, Roe LS, Meegns JS. Salad and satiety: energy density and portion size of a first-course salad affect energy intake at lunch. J Am Diet Assoc. 2004;104(10):1570-1576.

4. Unlu NZ, Bohn T, Clinton SK, Schwartz SJ. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. J Nutr. 2005;135(3):431-436.

Image credit: Carey Tilden

Q & A: How Much Raw Food Should You Eat?

Raw food diets are very popular. They’re cool. A lot of people have success on them, but the truth is you don’t have to go 100% raw for superior health—some cooked food isn’t going to kill you! Now, in this quick discussion from Dr. Fuhrman’s member center, he talks about the optimal level of raw food and cooked food a diet should have:

Question: What is the percentage of raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds one should consume in his or her diet? In other words, how much of our diet should be raw food? I think I eat about 75% raw now. Is that too much raw? Can you have optimal health on 50% raw food if that raw food is comprised of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds?

Dr. Fuhrman: No, I think 75% raw as an ideal approximation is right. Consider that nuts and seeds avocados could supply about 30% to 40% of calories, raw fruits about 20%and raw vegetables about 20%. But of course, that does not mean a diet with more cooked greens and vegetable and bean soups would not be very healthy or as healthy.

Image credit: NatalieMaynor

Q & A: Being a Fruitarian is Not the Most Healthy

Fruit is great. Foods like blueberries and pomegranates are known cancer-fighters and help prevent cardiovascular disease, but should you only eat fruit and nothing else? Here’s a brief discussion from Dr. Fuhrman’s member center about fruitarianism and longevity:

Question: I have been exposed to the ideas fruitarians and raw foodies. I always figured that if I had enough self-discipline to practice these dietary philosophies. I would experience superior longevity, but a while back I learned popular fruitarian advocate T.C. Fry died at age 70. What gives?! If these dietary practices reap nothing in longevity beyond age 75, what hope is there for someone who doesn’t have a family history of longevity and is by no means as dedicated as prominent fruitarians and raw foodists?

Dr. Fuhrman: Being a fruitarian diet is not most healthful! I have seen lots of fruitarian, raw foodists in poor health, including one who died in his forties because he refused to take an antibiotic for his severe pneumonia. T.C. Fry died of severe Vitamin B12 deficiency, with resultant hyper-homocystiene causing vascular disease. I saw his hospital records before he died. He taught people they did not need to take B12. There are no guarantees, in life, but fruitarianism is not the answer.

Image credit: ƒernando

I'm a Raw Food Dude. I Drink My Greens!

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Linda Wooliever of Vermont Fiddle Heads and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of DiseaseProof or Dr. Fuhrman.

What I love about the raw food movement is that it teaches people to eat locally, from their own garden, local farmers or community supported agriculture, as well as wild harvested foods, and to prepare and eat minimally processed whole foods. I love that raw foods are some of the best food I have ever tasted, jam packed with water and flavor!

But I don't necessarily like all aspects of the raw food movement. It can be strict and somewhat purist and the message that you can eat whatever/whenever you want so long as it is raw. I took a lot of the messages to heart even though some didn't intuitively make sense. I wanted to believe what I read. I said to myself, "Well, it seemed to work for other people, so why not me?"

I like experimenting with new foods and ideas, so I gave myself a green light to eat WAY too much fat on the raw food diet. I also gave myself the go ahead to eat a lot of raw chocolate, which can also be high in fat and while it is very fun to use wild with raw cacao, I don't recommend it for daily use. Long story short, I began to gain weight on raw food.

Despite having a relatively low caloric intake, most of my calories were coming from fat. After 8 years and much experimentation with my raw foods diet, I started to feel a bit run down and I was a little perplexed about what to do. The books that recommend a low-fat raw food diet, don't really explain how to do it because when it comes time to show recipes, these recipes are nut-rich, very dense and heavy.

Thankfully my friend gave me Dr Fuhrman's book to read as a gift and I really felt grateful for it. His message was very similar to some raw food dudes that I applaud who also extol the importance of a low-fat, minimally-processed, vegan diet. What I REALLY appreciated was actually spelling out the daily food intake goals per day, i.e. a pound of raw greens and other veggies, a pound of cooked greens, etc.

This helps a lot of people, I think, and it helps a person like me. I can very easily adapt how I eat to this daily plan and I make it easy and delicious. I finally felt like I was getting some guidelines that seem doable and sensible. This is a lifestyle and not a diet.

Image credit: mikaela_