Eat to Live: Knowledge Motivates Change

Adapted from Dr. Fuhrman's book Cholesterol Protection For Life:

When I began my medical practice as a specialist in nutrition, I focused my attention on individuals who were looking for nutritional intervention as a means of reversing their medical conditions to recover their health and avoid taking medication or having invasive surgery. The inevitable outcome was that when my patients were committed to superior health through nutritional excellence, they were able to reduce and eventually stop their dependency on medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and a host of other conditions. Spectacular disease reversals were the norm, not the exception.

I found that when people ate a diet comprised of the most nutritious and powerful "anti-cancer" plant foods their cholesterol dropped more powerfully than it could from the typical cholesterol-lowering medication. Their diabetes went away. I soon said, "Let's not just treat your diabetes and control it. Let's get rid of it and make you non-diabetic."

The focus was never on caloric restriction; rather, it was on eating more high nutrient food, and as a result, eating less of everything else that was not a high nutrient food.

Besides reversing chronic disease and preventing heart disease and cancer, I found that my patients were able to reach their ideal weight with ease. No calorie counting, no complicated formulas, pills or unfulfilled promises. The basic plan is simple: just take the healthiest foods and make them taste great and eat as much as desired. My patients dropped the weight they could not lose before, and they achieved these results relatively quickly.

The traditional viewpoint is often stated that if you lose your weight too rapidly it won't stick and you will gain it all back. I have never advocated that people be in a race to lose their excess weight. I see no reason, however, to eat unhealthy foods or to eat when you are not hungry under some notion that losing weight slower would be better. The reality is that your body just drops its unhealthy weight relatively quickly and naturally when you eat so well under the Eat to Live program.

The permanence of the results can be attributed to the fact that the program is knowledge-based. Knowledge motivates the change, not willpower. The Eat to Live diet-style supplies spectacular results in the weight loss arena that are permanent because once a person becomes a nutritional expert and experiences the results, they Eat to Live forever. The secret is to gain the education first. You must do the work; read Eat to Live, or gain the knowledge on line from my membership services, but you must study and understand the science. If the preponderance of evidence and logic does not make perfect sense to you, don't do it. The more you learn, the easier it becomes to eat this way for the rest of your life.

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Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
anet - June 22, 2006 5:53 PM

Knowledge motivates change??
I disagree so profoundly with this statement. I WISH it were true. BUT in my own case I had the Knowledge for years that I needed to improve my nutrition,even read ETL for the FIRST time about a year before I commited to it in earnest.
BUT knowledge wasn't enough to motivate me. It took FEAR.
I just don't have much faith in Knowledge as a Motivator.
Especially when you consider the way that junk food, eating unhealthy is almost an addictive drive...... when did knowledge start helping addicts??
Everybody IS different and some are more swayed by rational argument...but for many of us little piggies...we gotta get the crap scared out of us before we commit to Real Change.
I am honestly THANKFUL every day for the physical and emotional trauma that motivated me to commit to nutritional excellence.

Mason Cooper - June 22, 2006 6:26 PM

This is dead on. The key to health is knowledge - the problem is that the average consumer gets their knowledge in the wrong place.

Michael - June 23, 2006 9:14 AM

I agree with you Anet. I have had lnowledge to eat healthier for more than a decade, but I could never make the changes stick for more than a few changes at a time. Knowledge is certainly helpful, but I was only able to make changes in my life when other areas of my life changed. I attend Overeaters Anonymous. The 12 steps, the support from the people, and the meetings have helped me to make changes in my life. That is one aspect Dr. Fuhrman doesn't cover in his book that Dr. Ornish covers. The emotional support, prayer and meditation, being part of something bigger than yourself, are all part of living a life that has enabled me to take the focus off food for pleasure and a way to deal with emotions and life. I had to change the way I thought and lived before I could make any real dietary changes.

Michael - June 23, 2006 9:54 AM

Whoops! I meant I could never make the changes stick for more than a few days at a time.

Joel Fuhrman - June 24, 2006 12:32 PM

I see that you disagree with me Anet, and I appreciate your input here and your opinions, but your opinion here is not only wrong, but also discouraging to others. And, Michael your comments demonstrate I am correct that knowledge, not will power is the critical motivator, you just needed more knowledge. I never said all the knowledge that every person needs in is my one book, Eat To Live, nor that I am the source of all useful knowledge, but I still submit that you guys are wrong and it is because of your lack of knowledge; if you knew more you would have had less trouble changing.

Anet, you did not have success initially because you still had partial knowledge. I never said that learning how to eat healthfully was enough. You may have learned about healthy eating, but you are woefully uninformed about how eating preference are affected by mood, addiction, hunger, social proof, self-esteem, food preparation skills, taste retraining, societal pressures, fears, myths, and other impediments that are aided by knowledge.

My work over the last few years has demonstrated that I can affect dramatic change in even initially resistant people, not by merely appealing to their rational minds, but by giving them the confidence and tools to overcome their subconscious fears, addiction and cravings. Fear of a looming health crisis may be a motivator too, but even more important is the learnable body of knowledge that is critical to help addicts, especially food addicts get well. I agree of course that for many need more support, but the idea that only fear can work, no way. That is why our supportive community at is useful and why I continue to produce more supportive educational materials and why I am working on my next book.

Linda - June 24, 2006 10:14 PM

I think it's both. Anet, you were scared into it, but only because of the knowledge you learned.
I think fear is a part of it for everyone. My main reason to begin eating well began many years ago because I wanted to be feel better, be better; AND not die in pain! The more I read, the more I wanted health.
So I think the fear thing is there even if it isn't looming large.

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