Every Day Counts; Let's All Get Healthy in 2012


The holiday season can be a joyous time when we celebrate with our family and friends.  However, with unhealthy foods everywhere, I take bad nutrition seriously because people die from it.  I am sick of seeing people injured and dead, especially when they learned about the power of superior nutrition and did not take advantage of it. Food addiction is powerful for sure, but think about if that junk food (white flour, white rice and white sugar are dangerous junk) is worth a cancer diagnosis or open heart surgery. When junk food is eaten, including the traditional, disease-promoting foods served at the holidays, you may get momentary pleasure as it passes the lips, but the results continue on to compromise your health now, and many years in the future.  For some reason people do not realize that they aren’t granted a new body after they harm the one they have. We pay a price, usually later in life for our dietary indiscretions. As we get older, the more years one remains overweight and the more times you indulge in cancer-causing foods, the more difficult it becomes to assure protection against a tragic life-threatening cancer when you finally do decide to eat healthfully. Now is the time to throw your cigarettes away, not next year. Now is the time to get off your soft drinks and sugar addiction, not after the holidays.

Since everyone can use great recipes (and I supply many of them) to make delicious desserts and main dishes, I do not see the reason to eat white flour and sugar-filled garbage that creates cancer. Just because the world has gone crazy, and has become addicted to dangerous refined foods and factory farmed junk-food chicken and meats (factory-farmed meats are junk-food too) doesn’t mean you should join the self-destructive insanity.  


Remember how eating unhealthful and overeating while celebrating the holidays left you feeling ill and regretful in the past?  (And it wasn’t likely that pleasurable either.)  I doubt pigging out on junk is that pleasurable compared to cocaine or heroin. Not that I would know that, but I do know that food addiction kills a thousand times more people each year than cocaine addiction. Plus, not having good health magnifies every emotional problem plaguing your life and is a contributory cause of depression. Now is the time to change things. Make the effort, set the example and do not let the holidays derail your commitment. Giving up addictive and harmful habits are tough, but you have to be tough on yourself to succeed. Accept no excuses. It will be well worth it. Do it now. Make the commitment.    


Don’t know where to start? Try these simple guidelines taken from my book Eat to Live:

  • Eat at least one large salad each day.
  • Enjoy generous amounts of cooked green vegetables with mushrooms and onions.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with at least three fresh fruits each day.
  • Eat at least one-half cup of beans each day. 
  • Remember the acronym GOMBBS. Greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, berries, and seeds. These are the most health-promoting foods.
  • Avoid completely these disease-promoting foods: white flour, sugars, artificial sweeteners, oils, and factory farmed animal products. Unhealthy food is designed to be addictive – keep it out of your home.
  • Retrain your taste buds to prefer healthy foods. Staying away from sugar and salt is the secret to a heightened sense of taste and enjoyment of natural flavors.  


Here are some tips for staying on track:

  • Always keep your kitchen stocked with fresh and frozen produce.
  • Budget time: plan out when you will shop for groceries, cook, exercise, relax, and spend time with friends and family.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time and make a detailed grocery list before you go shopping.
  • Cook vegetable bean soups in large batches, and store leftovers in the refrigerator so you can quickly heat some up for lunch or dinner later in the week.
  • Stay focused on your health – eating right is self-care. Do not allow the unhealthy influences around you to derail you from your health goals.
  • My new 90 percent rule (I just made it up today) does not mean that you can eat 10 percent of anything. It means the 10 percent of animal products or flour products or sweet desserts can still be made from whole grains, natural fruit and dried fruit sweeteners, and more naturally raised and cleaner animal products.   In other words, I see no reason for people to continue to consume the worst foods on the planet. Junk food kills and just perpetuates food addictions.


Fast forward to next holiday season: you will make the best choices; the ones that will allow you to achieve overall health and quality of life. You'll be celebrating your health instead of simply indulging in the “traditional” destructive foods. As you eat for optimal health and vitality, you’ll be able to more fully enjoy the special times with family and friends. You will flourish and it will be the most enjoyable holiday season you've ever had. There will be no need to “start over” next January 1st. You will already be committed to your health, and feel pleased with yourself for maintaining your healthy habits over the holidays.  So are you going to take my holiday challenge? 

The official kick-off begins on Monday, November 21st.  Click here to read the official rules and to make my Holiday Challenge Promise. 

What works for you?


Periodically we feature interviews with successful nutritarians here on Disease Proof. I thought it’d be helpful, insightful and fun to devote a post for you, the reader, to write success tips in the comments section below to encourage and help others. In other words, what works for you?

To get the ball rolling, the following are a few tips that have worked / continue to work for me:

  • It took an unwavering commitment to the Eat to Live eating plan, even when I gagged on greens those first attempts at eating them. (Now I’m addicted to greens!)
  • I devoted the better part of a year to focus on the mechanics of making Eat to Live an integral part of my life. I reprioritized my schedule. I excluded many social events that were centered around the standard American diet that year. I cut out extra activities to make time to study and understand Dr. Fuhrman’s materials. I surrounded myself with upbeat and positive people on the member center who continually supported and encouraged me.  I did whatever I needed to do to keep focused; and now eating for health is an engrained habit ~ a lifestyle.   
  • To this day I keep nut butters out of the house because I can easily overeat on them. 
  • To this day I limit eating dried fruits and banana ice creams to only special occasions, because they rev up my sweet tooth for more sweets.
  • I’ve learned to be content with boundaries as they keep me out of food addiction and unnecessary weight gain. Some may view boundaries as restrictive deprivation, but I view them as a small price to pay for the enjoyment of ongoing freedom and health.


What about you? What are some success tips that you’ve discovered in your journey to health?  Your tip(s) just may be the key that unlocks someone else's prison door!



image credit: flickr by aMichiganMom

Interview with a Nutritarian: Gary

On January 2, 2010, Gary was fed up with being an unhealthy artist and art professor so he attended a New Year’s Eat to Live Kick Off that I hosted in my hometown. Something “clicked” that day that permanently transformed Gary’s thinking about nutritarian eating, and he’s now on the path to long term, weight loss and health success. Welcome to Disease Proof, Gary!


obese "before" pictureWhat was your life like prior to discovering Eat to Live?

I was addicted to food, especially sweets and desserts. I would overeat and get seconds and thirds until I was absolutely miserable. I was also, at one point in my life, about 75 lbs overweight.


What motivated you to get your health back?

I’ve always been an unhealthy eater and packed on the pounds at an early age.  In my 20’s I took up bicycling which helped me lose about 40 lbs, but I didn’t have good eating habits established to maintain the weight loss. After a bike ride I would reward my efforts with junk food. 

Then I began working full time, going to college and taking care of my family.  Due to lack of time I quit riding my bike and put all the weight back on.  During my first teaching position as an art professor, I continued to gain weight so I joined Weight Watchers and lost 60 lbs.  Eventually I put most of the weight back on.  Then I met you [Emily] through some friends and was inspired by your weight loss story.  I read Eat to Live and was impressed with the health and nutrition facts in the book.  It gave me the necessary encouragement to lose weight again, because I was motivated to live a healthy and long life without medication.  I followed the six week plan in Eat to Live and experienced tremendous results in weight loss and well-being.  However, I began to get comfortable and lax, and gained a lot of the weight back.  Then on January 2 of this year, I attended the Eat to Live Kick-Off event that you hosted in Fort Wayne.  I heard real life testimonies from nutritarians, and was inspired to earn my health back once again.

One thing that you said that day that stuck in my mind was, "You can't do this with one foot in nutritarian eating and the other foot in the standard American diet.  You have to go all the way." I knew that I had to jump in with both feet in order to permanently succeed.  That was about four months ago, and I am happy to say that I’ve jumped in all the way for the rest of my life. I’ve continued to educate myself on healthy eating and getting the right nutrients, and I’m now at a weight that I have never seen in my life; at least since I began weighing myself years ago.


How did you feel before starting ETL?

I felt blasé’ and was self-conscious about my appearance.  I had absolutely no energy and had trouble staying focused.


How do you feel now?

I am energetic and feel great!  I am back to riding my bike almost everyday, and I’m even planning a long distance bike trip this summer.

In addition to bicycling, I’ve started doing push-ups every night. When I started I was lucky to accomplish two push-ups. Now I am up to doing two sets of 30. I hope to get to 100 without stopping by the end of summer.

                                         Before weight:  260 lbs                        

                                        Current weight: 173 lbs

 before and after pictures

Success tips that you’d like to share with others in the journey to health:

  • Don't go half way... go all the way. 
  • Get radical about it and lose the excuses!
  • Read, study and get educated on health and nutrition. Read Dr. Fuhrman's book, Eat to Live, and Dr. Campbell’s book, The China Study
  • Learn to cook. You can't succeed at this eating lifestyle with fast food and microwaveable processed crap.  You have to learn to control the food that goes into your mouth. I’ve learned to enjoy cooking and trying new, creative recipes.
  • Learn the value of regimen. We live in a culture that is flooded with choices. Learn to limit choices; by establishing healthy boundaries anyone can succeed!


If you could sum up what nutritarian eating has done for you, what would it be?

I want to live to be a hundred years old without medications or radical medical intervention, and I want to still be riding my bike at that age. I now believe I can do this; I now have the tools to make this a reality!


Congratulations Gary for taking the plunge and jumping in with both feet for life!

Interview with a Nutritarian: Claudia

I first met Claudia on the member center of DrFuhrman.com when I was a rookie at learning the ropes of eating for health. Claudia is a veteran nutritarian and always had something helpful to recommend; supporting me through bumps in the journey, including an unexpected surgery. She’s one of those steadfast encouragers that we all need from time to time. Welcome to Disease Proof, Claudia!   

before and after photo of a female nutritarian

Tell us about your life prior to discovering Eat to Live.

I’ve been a vegetarian since the age of 15; however, I didn’t become one for health reasons. I was taught in school that there were four food groups, two of which were meat and dairy. Since I wasn't eating any meat, I was made to feel that this was cause for great concern. In fact, I had an aunt who pleaded with me to at least eat a little bit of meat, so that I wouldn't “get sick and die.” 

My vegetarian diet was similar to the disease-promoting diet that most Americans eat, minus the meat. I didn't care for vegetables at all. Instead, I was addicted to junk foods like pizza, French fries, grilled cheese, and vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. As a result of my food addictions, I had a problem with overeating and struggled with my weight. By the time I was a senior in college, I knew I had a problem because friends and family were commenting that I had put on too much weight. I was always struggling to either lose weight or keep it off. I didn't have a diet-style which was sustainable or would satisfy me long enough to maintain a healthy weight.   Eventually, I eliminated all dairy products which brought my cholesterol down to a healthy level. However, I was still a food addict and eating disease-promoting foods.


How did you feel before eating nutrient dense foods?

I was always a low energy person and didn’t like to exercise. Deprivation dieting and exercise were both burdens to me; therefore, I didn’t stick to either of them on a consistent basis. I also developed a large fibroid uterus which placed limitations on my ability to be physically active. 

Just prior to Eat to Live, I’d been following a cooked-starch-based vegan (McDougall) program. I was losing weight, but I always felt hungry on the starch-based diet.  I was always thinking about the next meal, and had to carefully count calories in order to avoid overeating. My food tended to be colorless due to the emphasis on grains and potatoes. My skin looked pale and became extremely dry. 


What's different about you now? 

I’m now vibrant, colorful, and alive, and functioning everyday at my very best; enjoying life to the fullest!   I now enjoy an active life and have the energy to do so much more than I ever did before. I feel very blessed to have stumbled across this way of eating, because it has freed me from food addiction, and from the constant cycle of yo-yo dieting. It still amazes me that after failing so many times, that I was finally able to find a diet-style that would be sustainable for a lifetime. I absolutely enjoy the food that I eat now, and I love the fact that I can eat this way, feel great, and stay at an ideal weight. 

I’m also amazed how much my tastes have changed as a result of sticking to this way of eating. I’ve turned into a person who now likes just about every vegetable under the sun. It’s so true that tastes do change. I love knowing that I’m in control of my health destiny, and that I’m not doomed to suffer and die from chronic diseases that plague so many Americans.

Since I was a vegan before becoming a nutritarian, my cholesterol and blood pressure were already good. My triglycerides, which weren't terribly high in the first place, were cut in half when I switched from the cooked-starch-based diet over to ETL; and my HDL (good cholesterol) increased significantly.

My highest weight in my mid-20’s was 145 lbs. (I’m only 4’11”.) In the before picture above, I’m 31-years-old and weigh 120 lbs. Now, at age 52, I weight 90 lbs; which is less than I weighed in high school!

After many years of following ETL, Dr. Fuhrman stated that I’ve achieved the parameters associated with dramatic enhancements in life extension. He also pointed out that symptoms of longevity are often considered abnormal and treatable offenses by conventional doctors who do not recognize cases of extreme good health.


Do you have any success tips that you'd like to share with others in their journeys to health?

Yes, success happens. It is only a matter of time. It doesn't matter how many times you have tried and failed in the past.   There are so many of us who have experienced a lifetime of yo-yo dieting before discovering nutritarian eating, which has changed us forever. Anyone can do this. Just know that, and make it so!


Thank you Claudia for being a forerunner nutritarian, and for inspiring and encouraging many along the path of eating for health!