Disease Proof

The Holidays

With the holidays just around the corner, I thought it would be advantageous to remember “why” we are launching the Holiday Challenge again this year. For many, the six weeks between mid-November and January 1st is a time set aside for indulging in rich and decadent, disease-promoting foods; and somehow there’s a false belief that the damage can mopped up in the new year. That mindset is a lie, because after the holidays there are Super Bowl parties, Valentine chocolates, birthday parties, anniversaries, Easter candies, Mother’s Day celebrations, graduation open houses, Father’s Day cookouts, weddings, more birthday parties, July 4th picnics, summer festivals and county fairs, Halloween treats, and then back to the holidays all over again. So together, let’s continue to establish new traditions that will not only cause us to feel alive and well over holidays, but throughout the entire year as well!

         holiday picture

I always dreaded the holidays to some degree, because that’s when I ate my worst. Not that I ate well the rest of the year by any means; the holidays just fueled my food addiction one hundred fold, all at once.

And, to top it off, it was expected by everyone to partake in the rich indulgences of the season. After all, “Everyone’s doing it.”

Well, that was the excuse, at least ~ a license to indulge ~ because the messes could be mopped up in the new year. It was a lie of course, but I believed it nonetheless.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the twinkle lights, the music, the festivities, the Nutcracker, the warm fuzzies of extra family togetherness; most everything about the season  . . . . . . except for feeling miserable from the food addiction hangovers. 

That always fogged my lenses with a dark cloud.

Not only did I have to deal with feeling lousy (understatement), I had to figure out what to wear as absolutely nothing fit from year to year.

How do I face seeing in-laws who hadn't seen me since an additional thirty pounds was packed on? What do I wear to my husband's employer's holiday party? (Thankfully, he eventually became self-employed, and those parties were crossed off my list of anxieties.) The women had buff arms and tummies to show off their *stuff* in those cute cocktail dresses. Me? The same baggie, black sequin jacket layered over a long black skirt.

To this day I will not be caught in anything with sequins. However, when I was obese they did hide my rolls of fat and large arms. For that, sequins do serve a wonderful purpose; plus, they do give off a shimmery holiday glow to cover-up the mounting depression within.

Oh, and the never ending supply of iced cut-out cookies. I always made triple the amount of dough and put some of it in the freezer; nothing like eating partially frozen cookie dough when no one was looking.

I would line the long dining table with waxed paper, and the kids would ice their cookies. Of course, much of the icing dribbled onto the waxed paper so I'd make sure to "clean it up" with my index finger. After we had dozens of iced and sugar sprinkled trees, bells, stars, circles, and hearts; they'd be layered between waxed paper in large, plastic containers to be enjoyed later (that night).

Throughout the season we always had boxes of those "surprise" chocolates. You know, the kind that are filled with maple or vanilla cream, raspberry jelly, nuts, fudge, and orange fluff. Those were over-the-top something to look forward to, right along with the gooey cherry cordials.

I was the Mom who invited the kids' friends over to make gingerbread houses. I'd ask each child to bring a sack of candy for the event. I was in heaven . . . . a table full of frosting and tons of candy. There was always such a generous amount donated that it never hurt for anyone to eat several pieces between "gluing" the houses together with the frosting and decorating with the decadent confections. Plus, everyone had too much fun to notice candy disappearing.

After six weeks of gluttonous eating: cheeseballs, dips, scalloped potatoes & ham, etc., by the end of December, I was saturated in misery. Well, that's putting it mildly. I was waaaay beyond miserable; more like suicidal at times. Seriously. Desperation drives the mind to irrational thoughts, and my heroin-like food addiction began to cloak my brain with some pretty irrational ways of escape at times.

January 1st couldn't come soon enough. A clean slate. Another promise. "I'm really going to stick to my resolution this time."  Yeah, right.

Well, by the Super Bowl, I was celebrating once again; and just in time for chocolate candies and iced cookies for Valentines, and birthday cakes laced in-between. 

With birthday parties, graduation open houses, and special occasions all throughout the year, I was never at a loss for my heroin-like, food addiction fix. [This must be the way a heroin addict feels.] 

Oh, those were the days of utter delight, especially when I'd clean up afterwards and find partially eaten pieces of cake in the trash to calm my jitters and shakiness. Okay, maybe not delight, but you know what I mean. I hated being trapped in the food addiction dungeon and tortured to near death on a daily basis, yet something inside of me enjoyed every minute of it. I hated it, yet I loved it. It was definitely a sickness of the mind, the body, and the soul.


The perpetual darkness shrouded any ray of hope. Little did I know that freedom was knocking on my door; however, the knocks were muffled by the noise and chaos.

But nonetheless, freedom was knocking.

Okay, so maybe I didn't keep my New Year's promise, but at least I got to thoroughly enjoy my birthday in May with my favorite Dairy Queen ice-cream cake.

I could always start over again the following January. Maybe I'd really mean business by then.

At least that was always my hope.



Christmas before and after  


Based on my own personal experience and the observations of those around me, one can easily consume over 50 cups of sugar and the equivalent to 42 sticks of butter over the holidays!  (A stick of butter = 91 grams of fat.)  The following are the grams of fat in some typical foods:

fudge pecan sundae 62g

slice of cheddar cheese 10g

1 chicken breast 13g

slice of pecan pie 27g

2” square brownie 10g

1 serving fries 14g

Danish pastry 17g

1  muffin 8g

1 chocolate nut bar 19g

bacon, egg & cheese bagel sandwich  18g

2 chocolate chip cookies 10g

slice meat & cheese pizza 17g



The following are grams of sugar in foods & beverages (4 grams = 1 teaspoon sugar):

12 oz soda  38g

1” cube of fudge  15g

3 oz pancake syrup  59g

slice of fruit pie  20g

chocolate candy bar  25g

¾ c. processed cereal  12g

piece of cake  20g

hot fudge sundae  54g

2” square brownie  36g

2 iced cookies  25g

6 oz of ice cream  40g

energy drink  68g



Do the Math.  It's dangerous.   


Stay tuned to DiseaseProof or DrFuhrman.com for complete details about the upcoming Holiday Challenge. The kick-off begins in just two weeks! 

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Comments (8) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Jennifer B - November 6, 2011 9:53 PM

I am preparing my mind for the holidays. I may add an additional supportive OA-90 meeting every week. I have recordings I listen to of people who have overcome addiction. I commit to my wonderful healthful food everyday. Not a once a year promise, or a vague notion of "healthy eating". But these foods in these amounts today. I commit. I have my ETL newsletters and Dr. Fuhrman's teleconferences. Maybe the holidays should have a solidarity movement among nutritarians to read their Dr. Furhman books over again. A nutritarian book club event where we find a fellow nutritarian and talk about what we have read.

I have been gathering recipes for the holidays. My current favorite is a sort of cross between a stuffing and a vegetarian loaf made with all the traditional turkey/stuffing seasonings but made with brown rice, beans, and vegetables served with a "gravy" of vitamix blended mushrooms, onions, and vegetable broth. I picture placing the stuffing/loaf over my collards and kale and ladling some mushroom onion gravy over it. I will measure it all out (I weigh my food). That way I will eat just the right amount, no more no less.

I have been mentally gearing myself for all of the food prep I do for my non nutritarian family who are visiting. I do not hold them to my standards. I offer my delicious food. I willingly share the wonderful information i've learned about nutrition. I am a living example of fat and sick becoming thin and well. I plan to delegate more and ask for help more. I plan to notice when I am feeling sorry for myself that I cannot eat this death dealing food and leave the room and call a supportive friend, read a book, meditate, or write about why I am grateful for my health today.

It takes time. It takes planning. But it is worth it. It is worth the wonderful clarity I have in my mind. Free of the fog of hyper-palatable foods. Free of pain, nausea, discomfort, hurting feet and joints. Free from too tight pants and dodging the cameras. It is worth the joy of finishing a meal and experiencing feeling good, at peace, no guilt.

It is worth it.

Deb - November 6, 2011 10:13 PM

I did not join this challenge last year and put on over 10lbs. I plan to join this year and hope to find another nutritarian to keep me accountable.

Annette Chambers - November 7, 2011 7:33 AM

Thank you for the details you included with this Disease Proof! I too, am reminded that the holidays can be loaded with "traps" for food addicts. Since last January, I have been a faithful ETL nutritarian, and this Disease Proof has reminded me of how my life use to be. Thanks again! Health is worth celebrating with ETL!

Angelique - November 7, 2011 10:22 AM

can't wait for the holiday challenge. It is always helpful for me at the holidays... I am hoping to get my husband to join the challenge this year!

LauraC - November 7, 2011 5:03 PM

You're always such a fantastic inspiration, Emily! I lost 50 lbs (2009-2010) thanks to you and Dr. Fuhrman. I visited your Transformation page often in those early days because I could easily super impose myself into your monthly logs and photos. Many thanks for that page!

I feel such freedom that I don't even feel the need to join the Holiday Challenge because Nutritarianism is the way of life for me now. I have the mindset that the holidays are just more regular Nutritarian days for me... aside from gathering with family & friends of course!

Thank you for the "fat facts". I'll be sure to share them with friends and family and hopefully make a difference with their holiday indulgences.

Karen - November 8, 2011 11:33 AM

Emily - thanks! I am just starting with ETL. I needed to read this. I decided this weekend that it makes absolutely no sense to wait until after the holidays to get started. You are so right. The eating celebrations will always be there. I am already planning what I will order when we go out for our anniversary dinner as well as Thanksgiving Day.
Jennifer B. - Can you share that wonderful recipe you mentioned?

Sarah - November 8, 2011 2:49 PM

I hope to join this year. I am so frustrated with my sugar addiction. I can't seem to kick it. I am going to DO- not try this time.

Janet Myers - November 11, 2011 1:46 AM

This is just a suggestion...Why not call it The Holiday Opportunity? When you call it a challenge it already suggests difficulty. When we are challenged it can create resistance and rebellion not to mention competition within yourself. If it was called The Holiday Opportunity..You could have the opportunity to...
Feel great during the holidays
Have your clothes fit
Have an abundance of energy
Feel good about yourself and your food choices etc. etc.
You get the idea..I just like/prefer to reframe this an opportunity instead of a challenge..
What do you think???

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