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. 

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Comments (12) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Diane Lassen - November 15, 2011 5:49 PM

This is such a difficult time of year for so many people. Heightened stress and emotions lend themselves to emotional eating. Things spiral out of comtrol and so does our eating. Sugar is addicting, and for many people, they avoid it all year and then fall apart during the holidays. it only takes a few cookies to rekindle the sugar addiction. Believe, me I know first hand! That's why it is imperitive to start early and plan ahead. Eat real clean foods, and avoid the junk out there. And watch the alcohol. Not only is it a sugar in itself, it weakens our inhibitions and leads to binge eating.
What a great post! I encourage all my clients to take the holiday challenge!!
thank you!
Diane Lassen, RN, BSN, Holistic Health Counselor

Nutrinurse - November 15, 2011 6:06 PM

The addiction I've continued to struggle with is with diet sodas. But this past weekend at work in the hospital, three female post-op patients all were hoarding six-packs of the stuff at their bedside. It stopped me in my tracks to see how addictive a substance it is, and I renewed my resolve to kick the habit. I'll be making the Holiday Challenge Promise. Thanks, Dr. Fuhrman and nutritarian community!

Gerrry - November 15, 2011 6:08 PM

Thanks once again for the healthy reminders and updates on the bottom line for restoring and taking care of the wonderful gift of a healthy body.

I wish I had known earlier about Eat to Live, but even with the damage I had done due to my ignorance and prior unteachability, I was able to get a new lease on life, and reverse the vast majority of disease conditions that I had endured for ten years.

Regular use of ground turmeric root to control residual osteo arthritic inflammatory flare ups, has minimized the symptoms of the damage done during those years of abuse prior to finding and implementing nutritarian living principles, such that what was once debilitating back pain is now a minor annoyance.

Following EAT TO LIVE, has allowed me to enjoy a dramatic improvement in my health for the last 5 years, rather than the steady decline I had witnessed for the prior 10, and return to a vigorous physically demanding vocation.

Thank you, Dr. Fuhrman, for your committment to telling people what they need to know, not what they THINK they want to hear (we only think we want to be told it's ok to destroy our health, because it allows us temporary fleeting pleasure).

Some will never make the change, but many of us never knew there was an alternative until we found your writings.

In Him,

Healthy Hailey - November 15, 2011 7:15 PM

Eating greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, berries, and seeds through the holidays is easy. Make a huge GOMBBS salad (http://kitchenofhealth.blogspot.com/2011/11/gombbs-salad.html) and share it at those tempting holiday parties.

Kevin - November 15, 2011 11:38 PM

Great post. Enough said.

Ryan - November 16, 2011 9:06 AM

I started eating dates (just a few) to satisfy my craving for sweets. Does anyone know if this is a healthier alternative?

Hawar - November 16, 2011 11:02 AM

Ryan, if you get more familiar with Dr.Fuhrman's approach (by reading previous blog entries and his books) you would see that he doesn't like people to snack. So if you are using dates to snack, that's no good.
Here is some useful info on sugar:

Stephanie - November 16, 2011 2:56 PM


Dates are definitely a healthier alternative. It's my understanding that all the dates we get in the U.S., even the ones we think of as fresh, are really pretty much dried, so you should consider them a dried fruit. That means some are okay, but you still should primarily consume fresh fruit. Dates are used in a lot of nutritarian recipes (especially desserts) to add sweetness.

Dr. Fuhrman,

You are awesome! Thank you for doing the challenge once again!

Stephanie - November 17, 2011 5:00 PM

I was just flipping through a holiday catalogue of my roommate's. The cover advertises: "Holiday gifts for anyone on your list!" The catalogue was, however, put out by Mrs. Fields, and every single "gift" in there was some iteration of cookies in a cute display--not a gift that would work for me, any other nutritarian, a diabetic, or someone trying to lose weight. Some of the baskets were so big they actually looked like death.

Thank you again, Dr. Fuhrman, for reminding us that the American addiction to sugar and disease causing foods is crazy and that the holidays are crazier still and no excuse to give in. Even more importantly, thank you for working so tirelessly to educate those Americans who don't know anything about nutrition as yet. You and your hard work are very much appreciated!

michele - November 17, 2011 6:32 PM

Dr. F thank you for your firm, decisive, unwavering words to health. You and Dr. Esselstyn are my faves and I live by both of your plans. NO nonsense and no more telling your self half truths. It is not ok to make Holiday excuse for treats. Stay strong. @veganfork (twitter)

Pierre - November 17, 2011 8:22 PM

I just want to relate my experience.

When the doctor diagnosed me with Diabetes-type 2,I knew immediately what I had to do.

I had read Joel Fuhrman's EAT TO LIVE, and now had every incentive to apply it. My doctor put me on Metformin 3 x a day, and basically had me keep a food journal. Her only nutrition advice was to eat lots of protein, like cottage cheese and fruit, and avoid some processed meat. She also said I could eat some dark chocolate to lower my blood pressure.

Well, I did better than that. I started eating lots of vegetable dishes, salads, etc. I started excercising. And within 30 days, I dropped about 13 lbs, and my glucose reading dropped over 50 % and was about 7mmol/dl. I was within the normal range.

I admit, this change happened not even following Dr. Fuhrman's plan 100%. She was impressed with the results, but STILL insisted on prescribing GLIBURIDE. This move made no sense to me.

I refused to take any more pills. I did not accept the Gliburide. She basically dismissed my plant food approach to eating and the powerful results it gave.

I think what I need most is group support for this program, and I encourage it. The world is not friendly to this paradigm of health excellence. Doctors have their set ways, and will seek to dismiss it.

Best wishes to all in the New Year.

Ryan - November 18, 2011 10:33 AM

Thanks for the link Hawar. I agree that we should stay away from refined sugars. However, aren't dates a type of fruit?

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