Interview with a Nutritarian: Talia Fuhrman

Talia Fuhrman, the oldest daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Fuhrman, may possibly be one of only a handful of young adults in the US that has now been eating high-nutrient foods since birth. I thought it would be motivational to interview Talia, age 25, not only to inspire the young people of America, but also to encourage all the parents who are doing their best to raise children to eat for health in a culture that promotes just the opposite.

 

What was it like for you growing up in a home that had ample selections of delicious and healthy foods to eat at all times?

As bad as the American obesity and disease epidemic is today, times were certainly different when I was a child and a teenager. These days people know what a vegan means, more people are vegetarians and overall, we are seeking the birth of an increasingly health-conscious America. When I was younger, my family was an odd anomaly in our community of standard American eaters. My feelings about living in this healthy-eating environment evolved over time and became so much more positive as I grew from my childhood and into my early teens.

I definitely felt different from my peers! It would be impossible not to feel different when my parents were preparing cashew cream kale for dinner and zucchini filled “brownies” in my lunches when my friends were opening boxes of cookies and obsessing over their Lunchables lunch boxes and Lucky Charms cereal. Prior to middle school, I wanted to be like my friends and would beg my parents to have the pizza served on Fridays at my school’s cafeteria and cake at birthday parties. Fights with my parents about food often occurred at home, but they allowed me to have some of my favorite “junk foods” like pretzels at the mall and pizza at school every now and then. If they had been too strict and didn’t allow me to eat any conventional foods, I think this would have put a dent in our relationship as I grew older.

I did absolutely love the foods my parents made for me at home and I didn’t feel deprived with the plentiful selection of healthy fruits and vegetables, and it was only in social settings that I desired to be like my friends and eat what they were eating. As a child, some of my favorite foods were strawberry banana “ice cream” made with frozen bananas and soymilk, and sweet potatoes mashed with coconut milk and cinnamon. I loved organic strawberries and I have vivid memories of running around our living room while eating lettuce leaves. When my dad began preparing homemade date-nut balls, which he now sells on DrFuhrman.com as “date-nut pop’ems,” that was a very good day.

 

What did your parents do to help you make the transition into social settings away from home?

They taught me why it was important to eat healthy foods and the negative consequences of eating junk foods. My parents did a good job of teaching me that their desire for me to eat healthy foods was out of love for me and wanting me to be a healthy person. Once I was old enough to make my own eating choices, they let me make my own decisions in social settings. I never went to a birthday party in which my parents wouldn’t let me have a slice of pizza or piece of cake if I wanted it, and if I decided to make a poor eating choice, I was taught that I would be the one to pay the price with a stomach ache, runny nose or feeling ill.

 

What were the teen years like for you? 

Understandably, my teenage years were very different from those of my childhood. I matured and took it upon myself to read and educate myself about nutrition and had no desire to eat the same foods as my peers. I packed my own school lunches filled with hearty salads and whole-wheat avocado, hummus sandwiches, for instance. I was the girl who ate dried persimmons and macadamia nuts for lunch and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I never dealt with weight gain, fatigue or acne and always had energy.      

 

Tell us about your young adult years. Why did you pursue an undergraduate degree in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell, and why are you now working so hard to develop a blog for young people? 

Throughout my life, I had exposure to seeing how what we eat affects the quality of our lives; not simply whether or not we will get cancer in our later years, but how we feel on a daily basis. I spent my childhood and teens hanging out in my dad’s office where I got to meet patients who got rid of debilitating health conditions by committing to the nutritarian lifestyle. My passion for nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle blossomed when I was a teenager from the combination of seeing these success stories and my innate love of science.

When I was a freshman in college, I did go through a doubtful phase and questioned whether or not I would get sick of studying nutrition. I pursued a few other career choices but none of them gave me as much satisfaction as studying nutrition. I am passionate about helping people get healthier and never suffer from pain due to avoidable health conditions, and this is why I am developing a blog for a younger audience. The teen years and our 20s are when we start to form our lifestyle and eating habits that we will take with us into adulthood.

My goal for the blog is to foster a positive community in which healthy eating is fun and learning about nutrition isn’t boring. I want to provide all the information that I know about nutrition to a younger audience in a way that is easy to understand, enjoyable, and even stylish. My dream is that living a healthy lifestyle will become what younger people will want to do because it makes them feel good, and because they can have fun with it too. It’s not as difficult as most people think to make smart, health promoting eating choices. Yet, teens and young adults I’ve encountered are totally in the dark, and have no idea they are laying the groundwork for their future health with that they eat today. The first step will be to have the knowledge about which foods are good for us and why it’s important to consume them. After that, people just need to learn how to prepare tasty meals that incorporate these foods. It can become a creative process of trial and error and a rewarding one too. My blog will have easy to prepare, tasty recipes to help people get started in making meals and desserts that are both healthy and delicious as well as nutrition advice that is written in a fun and youthful way. 

 

Thank you Talia ~ we wish you all the best and can’t wait to see what unfolds in the days and years ahead!  To view Talia’s blog click here

 

 

image credit: portrait by Esther Boller

 

 

 

 

 

 

Countdown to the Holiday Challenge!

Next Saturday, November 20th, will be the official kick-off for “The six week holiday challenge.”  This week I’ve asked author and motivational speaker, Sarah Taylor, to share a few words with us.  Sarah was the delightful emcee and motivational speaker who warmed the hearts of all at this year’s Health Getaway in San Diego. You will be encouraged by what she has to share.  Welcome to Disease Proof, Sarah.  

 

portrait of Sarah Taylor

Thanks Emily! I love the idea of focusing on the holidays as an opportunity to actually get healthier, rather than an excuse for a six week binge. I don’t think most people get “down-in-the-dumps” in the winter from the weather - I think much of it is a result of eating toxic food in huge quantities, and feeling low self-esteem because of all the bad choices; not to mention an expanding waistline! So, let’s all take Emily’s challenge and use this time to actually get healthier

I also love Dr. Fuhrman’s six-week plan in Eat to Live because there’s a huge amount of power in the 30-60 day window. Studies show that it takes 30-60 days to develop or break a habit; and interestingly, it also takes about the same amount of time to get rid of toxic food cravings. So, the six week holiday challenge is perfect to make permanent changes in one’s habits, which will ultimately revolutionize one’s health. 

Imagine this: instead of waking up on January 1st feeling fat, sick, and depressed; we all wake up feeling proud, energetic, happy, and alive! 

Here are a few ideas to choose from to help establish healthier habits by January 1st:

  •  Commit (or re-commit) to following Dr. Fuhrman’s six week plan
  •  Commit to only eating when truly hungry
  •  Commit to eliminating salt
  •  Commit to drinking a green smoothie every day
  •  Commit to eating at least a pound of greens every day before filling up on other foods
  •  Commit to eliminating all processed sugar
  •  Commit to trying a new nutritarian-friendly recipe every week (even if it’s just a dip or a dressing)

                         

Make 2010 the year that you go through the holidays with energy, vitality, and aliveness! Imagine starting 2011 looking and feeling better than you did before the holidays; and knowing that you have new, well-established, healthy habits that will serve you for a lifetime! 

 

 

fireworks image credit Flickr: Normaron Fishion

The Six Week Holiday Challenge

In America there’s a mindset that it’s totally acceptable and expected by well-meaning friends and relatives to gorge on decadent, rich foods during the holidays; aka the “Six Week Holiday Binge.”  It’s been taught and modeled to most of us since childhood, and for many, it’s hard to break free from the culturally engrained habit of eating for disease during that period of time. 

Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving paintingI don’t know about you, but I’m fed up with being pulled into the culture’s holiday eating traditions:

  • traditions that are excuses to eat (and drink) for disease; planting seeds of toxic addiction and premature death
  • traditions that cause one to feel “blah”
  • traditions that result in the accepted norm of waking up on January first ~  lethargic, bloated and depressed; necessitating the need for New Years’ dieting resolutions

Whether one has many pounds to lose and needs to overcome toxic food addiction by following Dr. Fuhrman’s six-week eating plan as outlined in Eat to Live; or just wants to fine-tune a healthy habit like: eating only when hungry, or make a new, health promoting recipe each week, or increasing exercise intensity; most all of us can commit to a health improvement during the holidays. 

To help us get and stay motivated, I’ve invited several guest contributors, (including faculty from the Nutritional Education Institute, founded by Dr. Fuhrman), to share their expertise and practical tips to help us successfully navigate the holiday season ahead.  For example, they will instruct on such topics as why moderation fails, sidestepping sweet seductions, eating for health while away from home, and the wonderful benefits of daily exercise.   

The change of one is a transformation ~ the change of many is a revolution. Invite your family, friends and co-workers to jump on-board with you!  Let's all band together and intentionally challenge and change the cultures’ status quo by wholeheartedly committing to eating and exercising for health during the holidays. 

The six week holiday challenge will begin on November 20th and go through December 31st; with the official kick-off on Saturday, November 20th.  Stay tuned to Disease Proof in the weeks to come to be inspired and motivated by the line-up of guest authors!  

We are in control of our health destiny; not the medical industry and pharmaceutical companies, and definitely not the holiday traditions!  It's time to celebrate the holidays feeling well, and wake up on New Year's Day feeling our very best!

 

Let’s hear from you. What will be your six week holiday challenge? 

 

 

"Freedom from Want" painting by Norman Rockwell