What is a Nutritarian?

My desire is to help others get free of food addictions, and reclaim their health. The focus of my writings will be sharing success tips that I’ve learned along the way of getting my own health back.

However, I’ll take occasional detours to respond to any non-medical questions from the comments section of my posts.

I’ll begin with, “What is a nutritarian?”

Dr. Fuhrman clearly explains it in the following article: Are You a Nutritarian? I highly recommend reading it thoroughly, because correct information, not will power, is the key to success.

In a nutshell, a nutritarian is someone whose food choices are influenced by excellent nutritional quality. He/she chooses foods that are high in a wide spectrum of micronutrients per calorie. I’ve heard Dr. Fuhrman call it, “Getting more bang for the buck.”

For example, if the choice is between brown rice or cherries; yams or white potatoes; spinach or iceburg lettuce, the nutritarian will most often choose foods that have the higher nutritional values. Which in these cases would be cherries, yams, and spinach.

The nutritarian lifestyle that leads to optimal health is a direct result of eating more micronutrients, in quantity, quality and breadth, while not consuming excessive calories.

Dr. Fuhrman’s unique contribution to the science of nutrition not only include his simple health equation H = N/C, which demonstrates mathematically that Health equals one’s consumption of nutrients per calorie, but also the biochemistry and physiology explaining how high micronutrient eating suppresses appetite and resolves food addictions and cravings.

I know there are some naysayers who may criticize me for being vain and self-congratulatory, but Dr. Fuhrman insists that I ignore them, and make the point that nutritarian eating is not just about weight loss and looks, but about health. Healthy skin is a reflection of a healthy body, and you can clearly see the difference in my before and after photos above (the right one, a year later after my dietary epiphany).

Let’s dialogue. How has the nutritarian way of eating improved your health? Momentum begets momentum. Even if you’ve just begun the nutritarian journey, any changes, big or small, let’s hear what’s happening to you!

Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (22) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Judy Rienzi - August 31, 2009 8:08 AM

Emily, you shouldn't worry about naysayers. You should be proud about your accomplishment. That's quite a huge accomplishment and people need to hear and see you. Great job.

Kris - August 31, 2009 9:34 AM

You are an inspiration! I discovered Dr. Fuhrman in the spring. I have not yet committed to the nutritarian eating style, but I have made many changes. Much less cheese and dairy and meat, much more fruits and veggies, including green smoothies and raw vegetables. So far I am much more regular elimination wise, which seems borderline TMI, but it's really good news for me. Also, I have been able to get off acid blocking medication. Every now and then I'll eat something like a sausage egg mcmuffin and the heartburn comes roaring back. It's pretty obvious that I don't have GERD but that my body prefers the healthy foods.

Thanks again!

dalene - August 31, 2009 9:56 AM

I've been enjoying reading your articles, BUT I must say - your eyes look brown in one picture and blue in the other. Makes me think it might not be you in both pics.

Schwabby - August 31, 2009 10:10 AM

Since beginning this journey about 8 weeks ago, I have noticed several changes in myself and my daughters lives. For one, more energy! I was so sluggish and could hardly move and now I am up moving all night long and I stay awake up much later since beginning this journey. I also seem to be able to think much clearer. My daughter has experienced these same results. A family trait is a big belly, my whole family (except my dad) is following Dr. Fuhrmans advice and we have all begun to lose our bellies! Not so much weight as inches around our middle. My daughter had some dairy products over the weekend and gained 3 inches back in her waist! We knew my son was lactose intolerant but now we realize that we probably all are and that was the reason for the big bellies!
My sugars are normal, my blood pressure is dropping and I expect my triglycerides to be much better at my next check up!
I notice that I just feel better when I live the nutritarian lifestyle!

DebbieSLP - August 31, 2009 10:29 AM

I discovered Eat To Live in August, 2004. At the time, I had grown (literally) sick of the Atkins/Sugarbusters type diets, now known as South Beach, and although I initially lost weight on them, had quickly gained it all back after returning to a "normal" (standard American) diet. I was back to being fifty pounds overweight - bordering on obese for the first time ever -- but I just couldn't stand the constipation, bad body odor, sluggishness, and skin problems I had developed while on high protein diets. I felt awful and was ready to do something truly different.

After reading Eat To Live, the China Study, Breaking the Food Seduction, The Pleasure Trap, and a couple other books, I decided to eliminate all animal products from my diet, cold turkey, that September. I had never even heard the word "vegan" before. I looked upon it as an experiment, fully expecting not to be able to stand giving up my cheese, cream sauces, milk, ice cream, steak, chicken, pork, fish, lobster, etc. etc. But I decided to give it a chance for the recommended six weeks. Just a personal challenge, nothing more. Maybe I would lose a few pounds in the process before going to the next fad diet.

Within six weeks I had lost my taste for dairy and meat. I could get a little ice cream on my fingers while preparing someone else's cone, and not even want to lick it off. I could stand in front of a plate of cheese and crackers at a party and have no desire to put the yellow greasy stuff in my mouth. Cravings and desires for meat and cheese were simply gone. I could not find them anywhere in my mind or taste buds. I was astounded, and still doubtful.

I had no more constipation; in fact I think I started having normal elimination for the first time in my life at age 35. My period that month had no PMS and no pain, something I thought was just a normal scourge of all but the luckiest women. I was sleeping better, and feeling refreshed and energetic all day. I found I did not need a pick-me-up of coffee or candy at 2:30 like always. Miraculously, I had not had a single headache after the first couple weeks of "detox," despite at least biweekly migraines or headaches for the past ten years. Oh, and I had lost ten pounds. Enough to buy new clothes.

Based on how I felt, I decided to continue on the vegan version of Eat To Live for just another month or so. Then just another month turned into a year.

By that time I had lost the fifty pounds, and kept it off for several months without cravings, hunger, or much effort. I had not had PMS, constipation, or a migraine for months. I felt more positive about life and myself. I discontinued talking Celexa. I took on more work and recreational activities. My rosacea, oily skin, and dandruff had all but disappeared.

I ended the vegan experiment around that time, but in the four years since, animal products are more of a condiment in my diet than a main focus. About 75% of my meals are vegan. And I still avoid dairy, since I found it brings back PMS, constipation, and skin breakouts in a hurry, and who needs those?

Unfortunately, nobody else in my family went along with my diet changes, although they usually tolerate it pretty well. Even so, I don't find it difficult to eat what I want, emotionally, or any other way. Kale has become my favorite vegetable. I find salty, sugary, and greasy foods unpalatable most of the time. Such a change, for just six weeks of experimentation. I'm still astounded that it could be this easy.

Dr. Fuhrman would look at my diet and call it a less than ideal, but better than most, version of Nutritarianism. I call it feeling, looking, and eating the way I want, preventing disease, and being forever freed from worrying about weight.

Lovin' the Glow - August 31, 2009 11:00 AM

Thank you, Emily! My health is rebounding due, in part, to your sharing about nutritarianism. I have had health issues for years and found early on that eating healthy kept me off medications. I became so healthy that I was lulled into complacency and my eating habits took a slide. Unfortunately, my health took a slide, too. It was so slow that I did not really realize the full impact. Emily, and Dr. Fuhrman's nutritarian concept, has inspired me to revisit my healthier days.

What is a nutritarian? I would rather answer what being a nutritarian has done for me. I am happier. My unhealthy symptoms are diminishing. Friends tell me I look great and ask if I got new makeup. I look in the mirror and find the puffiness and redness in my face fading. My skin and eyes are taking on a glow that reminds me of my youth. My energy and creativity level is higher as well as my ability to roll with life's punches.

I would love some TIPS ON HOW TO STAY ON TRACK. I tend to fall off the wagon when I am grilling steak or baking chicken for the family or when my daughter bakes gluten-free muffins/cupcakes/brownies.

Rebecca - August 31, 2009 11:17 AM

Just wanted to say I'm at 6 weeks on the eat to live program. I have struggled with eating addictions since my teen years. Now I do not crave cruddy food. I eat three meals a day and fully enjoy them. My family is eating better, too. I've lost 21 pounds and 3 inches around my waste. I'm able to keep up with my 6 children (17yrs. down to 8) much better. Much more energy, happier, healthier, and thankful to God for your inspiration on your transformation web site! Keep up the great posts on diseaseproof. It was just so helpful to read and see the transformation of someone else who did it! It made me want to be that person instead of the one who just tried to eat right. I am also enjoying much healthier skin.

Susan - August 31, 2009 12:22 PM

I read Dr. Fuhrman's book, Eat to Live, early in 2007 and immediately began changing my diet. I also read The China Study and The Pleasure Trap around the same time. Changing my diet was easier than I thought.

I lost 25 lbs and have kept it off. I consider eating this way my lifestyle, not a diet. It is amazing how my taste buds have changed. Once you remove all the salt and fat and focus on eating whole foods, a whole world of flavors awaits.

I feel great, more energetic, my skin tone improved.

I recommend the Nutritarian way of eating to clients whenever I can.

Suzy - August 31, 2009 12:34 PM

After 30 years of living from one diet to another, I have become a nutritarian! I used to have a closet full of clothes from size 12-22 - now I wear a size 8-10. For the first time in my whole life, I have been able to wear the same size pants all summer - something I never did before. I would wear a pair a time or two and then they were too tight. Maybe 2-3 years later I could get in them 1-2 times again and then maybe never again.

After finding Dr. Fuhrman, thanks to Emily Boller's amazing journey to health and wellness, I jumped on the nutritional wagon. It is so wonderful to fill up daily on great tasting foods - before I never knew what vegetables really tasted like. The only "sweet" thing I crave is my morning green shake! I'm hooked on the goodness!

At age 60, I have never felt so good, eaten so well, and been able to keep up with my grandchildren as I do right now. Thank you Dr. Fuhrman and Eat to Live, thank you Emily Boller for your encouraging articles and thank you to all who keep posting on diseaseproof.

I thank you, my husband thanks you, my family thanks you and most of all my Healthy New Body thanks you. I have now lost 120 pounds!!!!!!!!!!!!

Laura - August 31, 2009 12:47 PM

Emily, you are absolutely beautiful! You look 20 years younger now than in your "before" photo.

aunt cia - August 31, 2009 4:22 PM

I'm a newbie, not even at 6 weeks yet, but I've been eliminating unhealthy foods for several years now, as I came to light on each one. I have more energy now than I had even in my childhood, my skin is finally healed from the ugly acne I experienced for 16 years, and now that I am following ETL, I have lost 8 lb in 4 weeks! Yay! I am convinced that this is the way to go. I appreciate that Dr Fuhrman has acknowledged that a small amount of animal protein may be used as "flavoring" and my family and I do eat a bit of the "good" animal products, if there is such a thing. I am enjoying finding that I like beans and lentils and that they help to cut the cravings for junky sugars and fats. I am so grateful to have joined the ranks of nutritarians everywhere! Let's show the world a healthier way to eat, thus treating our bodies kindly and in return being able to give back to society...

CJ - August 31, 2009 4:26 PM

I found Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live book in 2006 and lost 70 pounds in 6 months. I have no cravings in between my 2 or 3 meals I eat each day and look and feel better than ever.

I have also, albeit slowly, converted my husband, not fully, but the difference it has made for him is phenomenal. His blood pressure has dropped as has his weight. We are both bicycling again and active most all of the time - the energy we have gained is worth so much to us as we begin our senior years.

We are both enjoying excellent health and haven't had a cold, or any other sickness, in years. What a life!!


Emily Boller - August 31, 2009 4:53 PM

Yes! Yes! and Yes! to the nutritarian way of eating!

FINALLY a healthy way of eating that is PERMANENT that we can all fully enjoy ~ even for the worst cases of us who've suffered with severe eating disorders and food addictions!!

FINALLY we can all get healthy without counting calories, measuring portions, counting points, and being tied down to calculators, measuring cups and scales.

FINALLY our minds can be free!

FINALLY our bellies can be deflated!

FINALLY we can live a life free from groaning in misery on the couch, and desire the great outdoors that's naturally put within all of us when the stronghold of food addiction is completely gone!

And yes, to the unknown person above, I plan to devote an entire post in the future to specifically address how to stay on track and overcome the falling-off-the-wagon mentality.

Let's all celebrate liberation from eating for disease!

Cartwheels of inexpressible joy for everyone!!!


Sally - August 31, 2009 5:07 PM

What are the benefits of being a nutritarian to me?
There are so many I don't know where to begin...
Lots of energy!
A feeling of well being,more often a feeling of bliss!
Freedom of cravings for bad and unhealthy food!
Craving greens and colorful veggies and fruits!
Not taking any medications when most of my friends and relatives do (I'm 54)!
Having a 41 year old husband and people don't realize I'm older than him!
I breezed through menopause...no moodiness,hot flashes,night sweats!
These are just a few...I love living this lifestyle!

Mike - August 31, 2009 6:49 PM

All I can say is after eating non-optimally my first 48 years, one year following Dr. Fuhrman's advice from "Eat to Live" changed my life. I feel fantastic every day, lost 30 lbs, lost 100 points on my overall cholesterol and hundreds more off my triglycerides. Dr. Fuhrman's H=N/C formula made logical sense to me over a year ago so I tried the Nutritarian approach to eating and so glad I did. More people need to open their mind to the H=N/C way of eating -- it will change their lives.

CJ - August 31, 2009 8:34 PM

Being free of the chattering in my mind is something I enjoy too. I always had a dialogue going in my mind, fighting with my thoughts over what I should eat, when I should eat, how much, etc. Now, I just eat when I'm hungry, stop when I'm full and don't think about food in between.

A lot of times, before Eat to Live, I would be planning what I was going to eat for lunch while I was still eating breakfast. It was a constant battle of food thoughts, along with guilt.

I love this freedom!

Joe Fitzpatrick - August 31, 2009 9:29 PM

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and Dr Fuhrman was in town later the same month. In the first 58 days, while thinking about Eat to Live, then getting the book and reading it, I experienced the following changes:
- lost 20 lbs
- total cholesterol dropped 19%
- LDL dropped 17%
- triglycerides dropped 52%
- HDL increased 2%
- fasting blood sugar dropped 22%

Within 11 months:
- my waist measurement was 32.5 inches. I did not take it at the start but it was probably about 46 inches,
- I had lost 56 lbs
- my fasting glucose was down 34% to 86 mg/dL
- My skin used to crack to make what looked like paper cuts, and then took a week to heal. Now it doesn't crack, and any wounds heal quickly.
- I am sick less often, and when I am I recover more quickly.

Princess Carol - September 1, 2009 2:23 AM

I became a Nutritarian July 22, 2009. I have seen my weight plummet 56 lbs and have lost almost 5" from my waist.
My stamina is greatly improved, awful pain all over my body is gone (since I've lost excess fluids/toxins), low blood sugar symptoms have disappeared, desires for poor food choices are rapidly disappearing...to illustrate:
I had been wanting popcorn for a while...so on Saturday finally gave in and "rewarded" myself...nuked a bag...It didn't taste that great, so I knew that was no longer a temptation. There was one piece of Pizza Hut pepperoni left from the night before...figured: "Aha! This will be my treat!" Imagine my (pleasant) surprise when I started to eat it...the pepperoni tasted terrible...I ate about half the slice and threw the rest away...another "craving" bit the dust! I still wanted "something" so I ate 2 fresh, home-grown tomatoes that were in the fridge...Absolutely tasted like nectar to me!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a shock (in a wonderful way) it was to enjoy the flavor and texture of these tomatoes.
I have been making soups that are actually liked by family members (who add their own salt!!) and am again amazed at my feeling so satisfied w/o meats/cheeses being crucial to my liking them! I can't imagine ever eating any other way!

Jeanne - September 1, 2009 10:53 AM

Becoming a nutritarian (I am new and have a long way to go) is a meal by meal decision for me. Last night I was very hungry and could have easily grabbed the chips. Instead I made a wonderful scrambled egg with all sorts of veggies - more veggies by far than eggs. What I have started to do is to look at low nutrient foods the same way I look at wheat, barley, rye, and oats; as poison to my body. I am a person with Celiac Disease who has never cheated in the two years since diagnosis. It is amazing what happens when I add low nutrient food to my "poison" list. I make the Celiac choices b/c I do not want lymphoma, anemia, migraines, diabetes, and osteoporosis. I can also look at low nutrient foods the same way; I don't want obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and so on.

Lynne (Horsecrazy) - September 2, 2009 9:17 PM

My sister and her husband lead the way to Dr. Fuhrman and our nutritarian lifestyle. My husband and I will be forever greatful. We had been mostly vegetarian for a long time but still ate out much too often. For me, it was just some pounds creeping up that I didn't like (I am 60), but my husband was on blood pressure meds and meds for cholestrol and triglicerides. Since adopting a much stricter nutritarian livestyle he is off his BP meds and we hope soon off the others. We both feel better and look better. Neither of us was especially heavy but it is amazing what just losing a few pounds can do for you. This is the best thing possible you can do for your health!

lois - September 3, 2009 1:53 PM

to dalene: it IS emily....... i watched the transformation as it happened... perhaps the nutritarian lifestyle transformed her eyes as well :-)

Emily Boller - September 4, 2009 7:10 AM

Yes, both faces are mine. My eyes, skin, and hair all transformed right along with the size of my clothing.

My eyes have become clear and almost shiny-like.

My skin has become supple and full of healthy color.

My hair has lustre and shine without being greasy at the roots and brittle on the ends.

I no longer have dry cracks that split open on the heals of my feet. (ouch!)

I'm no longer bloated or organically depressed after eating a meal.

And the most amazing thing is that my waist is now smaller than BEFORE five, full-term pregnancies; and I weighed five lbs less than my current weight!

Being nutrient depleted really took its toll on my body, and looking back, I just thought the lethargy and aches/pains were a part of "getting old."

Now at the age of 48, I feel younger, stronger, and have more energy than I did in my late 20's and early 30's! Seriously.

It's all about getting optimal health back. Weight loss just happens to be a wonderful by-product of excellent nutrition!

Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.

Remember personal info?