I Could Never Do That!

The following post was originally published on Disease Proof about two years ago. I thought it’d be helpful to dig it out of the archives for some inspiration again this time of year. Even now, I still hear, “Oh, I could never do that!” in response to the way I eat, and I’m sure that many of you do too. It’s good to be reminded on a regular basis of the many medical problems that we nutritarians get to bypass, and the many wonderful pleasures that we get to enjoy as a result! Some of the comments at the end are funny, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking all rolled into one. May they encourage and uplift heavy hearts, and cheer everyone on in the pursuit of excellent health. Cheers to all!


vegetablesIn the Fall of 2008, after I had dropped 40 lbs in three months, my peers started commenting and asking questions about the noticeable changes. By the next Spring, when 100 pounds were off, complete strangers such as clerks in stores would comment and ask questions as well.

Everyone’s question was, “How did you lose weight?” 

Of which my reply would always be, “By following Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book, Eat to Live;. . . . basically eating lots of high nutrient, plant-based foods.” 

“You mean no meat? No cheese? No pizza? No McDonald’s? . . . . Oh, I could never do that!” 

Now, over 2 ½ years later, the majority still say to me, “Oh I could never do that!” in response to anything remotely related to the idea of eating meals primarily composed of plant based nutrition. 


Well, the following is what I think in response to, “I could never do that”:


  • I could never blow the family budget on unnecessary test strips, insulin, medications, doctor and hospital bills, or bypass surgery.

  • I could never carry around expensive medical supplies and meds while traveling.

  • I could never ask a loved one to mow the lawn for me due to fatigue and ill health.

  • I could never turn a child away from playing a game due to a migraine headache.

  • I could never miss out on the joy of a wedding celebration due to obesity and depression.

  • I could never ask someone to drive me to kidney dialysis three times a week.




Dr. Fuhrman added:


  • I could never have heartburn and burping half the night.

  • I could never sit in the bathroom for 15 minutes trying to painfully squeeze out a hard log.

  • I could never watch a volleyball game at the beach instead of playing in it.

  • I could never have rubber bands put on painful hemorrhoids by a rectal specialist.

  • I could never worry about running to catch a bus, for fear of having a heart attack. 

  • I could never have such severe stomach cramps that emergency room personnel would assume it was a heart attack. 

  • I could never fall down and fracture a hip because my blood pressure medications dropped my blood pressure too low.

  • I could never be intubated in the ER with a tube put down my throat and hooked up to a breathing machine after suffering a heart attack.

  • I could never be in a nursing home unable to talk after a stroke or move the left side of my body. 


How about you? 

What could you never do?     



image credit: flickr by Claudio Matsuoka and FotoosVanRobin 


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Comments (150) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Travis Murray - March 17, 2011 3:16 PM

I could never let somebody crack open my chest to a repair a problem I could have prevented by eating some vegetables.

Fat Fudge - March 17, 2011 3:51 PM

I printed this and stuck it on my refrigerator.

MIke Rubino - March 17, 2011 5:46 PM

I could never have a cardilogist running my life with statins, beta blockers and bp pills nor could I ever let myself ever go back to the hospital with chest pains.

Mary - March 17, 2011 5:57 PM

I could never resign myself to a life of compromises due to poor health I could have improved through basic dietary changes.

Stephanie - March 17, 2011 6:11 PM

Oh, this is great. Chemotherapy honestly scares me more than cancer, and it is definitely one thing I could NEVER handle. But let's add the frightening experience of the beginnings of dementia and bequeathing my child with birth defects it probably wouldn't have but for my own dietary choices while pregnant.

And veggies are so yummy, anyway.

Ginger - March 17, 2011 6:24 PM

I could never let my children or grandchildren view my heart on a TV monitor, while speaking with the heart surgeon like I did with my grandma.

I could never walk with a walker.

I could never take handfuls of expensive drugs at the expense of the American tax payer.

I could never submit to procedures and tests and surgeries designed to take my money along with what is remaining of my health.

I could never have big chunks of fat pulled out of my blood vessels.

I could never live to a ripe old age in a ripe condition.

I could never be sick like I used to be again.

I could never miss a vacation or a dance recital or a t-ball game because I was too sick.

I could never, ever, ever go back to eating SAD again.

Gretchen - March 17, 2011 6:32 PM

I could never live with the guilt of making my body unwell by making poor food choices.

Brenda S - March 17, 2011 6:35 PM

What amazes me is how people automatically equate "healthy" with "bland" or "boring." And yet most people who don't really try to eat well often eat the same meals over and over and over again. Now THAT is bland and boring as well as foolishly risking one's health.

Bekka - March 17, 2011 7:02 PM

I could never not show up for my sister & nieces because I was too sick to take care of myself.

Sharon Warden - March 17, 2011 7:13 PM

Excellent points here. I'm working on it!

Gerry - March 17, 2011 7:41 PM

I could never spend another 7 years with increasingly debilitating pain in my back finally causing me to have to quit work and worry while the last of my life savings were spent to pay bills.

I could never again waist thousands of dollars on MRI's, x-rays, and Dr's visits for back studies which Dr's ordered only to tell me there was nothing they could do.

I could never again spend day after day, week after week, year after year taking huge, dangerous doses of acetomenophen, asprin, ibuprophen for back pain, being told by medical providers it was ok, because that was all they knew to say, having no better alternative.

I could never again spend hours worrying about sores on my feet that wouldn't heal and wondering when I would be the next amputee candidate.

I could never again get up 6 times a night to urinate simply because I was eating the wrong things and weighed to much, all the while following the American Diabetic Association Diet closely.

I could never again have a severe heart attack in the evening and not call 911 because I was thankful that I would finally be taken home and end the years of worry and increasing disability.

I could never again imagine defiling the gift of a healthy body that God gave me to use for Him, not to use stuff with unhealthy foods just to stimulate the pleasure centers in my brain. There are better ways to do that such as prayer and communion with Him and His perfect love and sacrifice for me.

Lillian Gimmelli - March 17, 2011 8:12 PM

Awesome!!! I am printing this out too and posting on my refrigerator and throughout the house. Thanks Emily for another encouraging and motivating message!!

Dinneen Viggiano - March 17, 2011 8:15 PM

I could never go through what both my parents, my 6 aunts, my 4 uncles, my 2 cousins and my neighbor have gone through in the last ten years: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, dialysis - all with many years of suffering for them and those of us closest to them. Most died before the age of 70.
This is a great way to counter the "I could never do that!" retort that we hear so often. I thank you for posting, keep eating the nutrients!

Stephanie Cauller - March 17, 2011 8:57 PM

I will never again let my five year old get in trouble at school because he was hungry by 10am

I could never let my 3 year old get so constipated that she had anal fissures because she could not go to the bathroom.

I could never let my husband take cholesterol medication everyday for the next 50 years (he is 34)

I could never again weigh close to 200 pounds.

Those are the things I can NEVER do again.

Emily Boller - March 17, 2011 9:14 PM

Yes, I agree Stephanie, and I could never . . . .

- I could never again fall through a lawn chair at my child's soccer game.

- I could never again wear long sleeve blouses to cover up my obese arms on the hottest days of summer. (and sweat profusely all summer long!)

- I could never again sit in an airplane seat and feel miserably claustrophic because I felt like the seat was too small.

- I could never again feel the fear that I felt when I couldn't climb a flight of stairs without shortness of breath at age 47 . . . with a family still to raise.

- I could never again be in downtown Manhattan sightseeing with my son, and see the look of disappointment on his face when I needed to sit inside an air conditioned cafe instead of see the sights of the Big Apple. I was just too exhausted to go one step further.

- I could never again go shopping in a plus size clothing store and pretend that I liked the clothes on the racks.

- I could never again live in the prison of obesity; chained to fatigue, brain fog, depression, and chronic malaise.

- I could never again search for yet another diet to start on January 1st; only to be discouraged and depressed due to failing by January 2nd.

Carrie - March 17, 2011 10:25 PM

Amazing post and equally fabulous comments! I definitely can't top the above, but I could never spend the rest of my years exhausted, unmotivated and depressed. I could never choose SAD foods over a happy life.

Jill - March 17, 2011 10:38 PM

I could never again withdraw from life, because of constipation, headaches, depression, shame or nothing at all appropriate to wear!

JulieBBB - March 17, 2011 11:07 PM

Thanks for that message, I've heard that "I could never do that response" many times, especially relating cheese, this is such an addictive food, many people really believe they could never 'live' without it. What they don't realize is that that won't live very long with it.

MIke Rubino - March 18, 2011 12:57 AM

I could never stand the thought of not being able to make it up the 14th hole at Mt Snow w/o chest pains.

MIke Rubino - March 18, 2011 1:13 AM

I could never sit in a nursing home with diabeties and have to ring the bell so the nurse could come and remove my diaper and put me on the toliet so I could take a bm.

MIke Rubino - March 18, 2011 1:18 AM

Like Travis I could not stand the thought of some surgeon cracking my ribs to do bypass nor can I stand the thought of some cardilogist running a tube up an artery out of my groin so he could insert a stent.

I cant stand the thought of my life being controled by the early detection crowd and therefore go running to have my rectom scoped and my prostate felt every time I turned around.

Tim Bennett - March 18, 2011 2:47 AM

Thanks so much for this post. I keep trying and failing at the programme but this is a good reminder to keep on giving it 100%.

Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) - March 18, 2011 7:32 AM

I LOVE this post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There's not much for me to add other than YOU GUYS ROCK!!!!

Elisa Rodriguez - March 18, 2011 7:34 AM

I COULD NEVER GO BACK to the Standard American Diet (SAD)!!!

Zach - March 18, 2011 7:36 AM

I WILL never feel helpless to my cancer-prone genetics again.

Thank you for this post Emily; it really struck a chord with me. I, like probably every "nutritarian", get the "I could never" statement from virtually everyone I tell about my diet. I don't get terribly annoyed with it because, honestly, before I read Eat to Live I would have thought the same thing.
I have been "cheating" on the diet lately on some of the unhealthy foods my omnivore spouse keeps around the house, but this post reminds me that when I cheat on this diet, there are so many wonderful things I'm cheating myself out of.

So thanks to your post, hopefully soon I will be able to say,

"I could NEVER allow myself to slip back to less than optimal health by tasting even a little bit of poisonous foods that have been processed and programmed to trigger pleasure centers in my brain"

Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) - March 18, 2011 7:42 AM

I could never sit covered up by the side of the pool watching my family swim because I was horrified of how I looked in a bathing suit.

I could never dread another family event for fear of how I would look in the photographs.

I could never suffer another migrane headache that landed me in an ambulence or emergency room.

I could never go back to needing 10 hours of sleep per night just to feel rested.

Stephanie - March 18, 2011 8:50 AM

Here's another: I could never, ever go back to having (longer, heavier) periods with CRAMPS. I'm much happier barely noticing my period.

Meri Anne Harrison - March 18, 2011 8:52 AM

I agree. I could never return to the standard American diet. I don't even like the taste of meat or animal based foods anymore.

Joy - March 18, 2011 8:57 AM

Ditto to all of the above. I will never go back to being embarrassed about taking up too much room on a bus or airplane seat or not doing something fun with my husband or friends because I couldn't walk that far or up that hill. I will never shop in a plus size store again. I will never have heartburn again. I will never take Zocor again. This was a great post, esp all the comments. So inspiring for someone like me who is fairly new to this - since September. Thank you all.

StephenMarkTurner - March 18, 2011 9:17 AM

Amazing post. Emily, you're a rock star.

I could never do without participating in the bike season, starting with ho-hum 10-15 milers in April wearing ear warmers, gradually upping the distance as the year progresses. By mid summer I'm doing 50-60 mile rides in the heat on my 25 year old leadpipe special, and...loving it!

Cheers, Steve

Grety - March 18, 2011 9:32 AM

Awesome post and comments!! That salad in the picture looks so delicious! I can't wait to have one for lunch.

LissaD - March 18, 2011 9:35 AM

I could never willingly sit and let somebody tell me I got fat and know I wasn't doing something to fix it.

Amy - March 18, 2011 10:08 AM

I could never lead my children down the path I followed for years into obesity and unhealthiness, and have them picked on like I was.

Natalie - March 18, 2011 10:25 AM

I could never not be the ambassador to my own health!

MJ - March 18, 2011 10:42 AM

Parents won't do it, so we must teach the kids to do it.
Can you all put your heads together and write a list of
10 points to give to kids....of " I could never do ........
Maybe we can wake up the kids.

Wild4Stars - March 18, 2011 11:25 AM

I could never go back to eating SAD.
And I could never, EVER top this post!

Thank you!

Tess - March 18, 2011 11:28 AM

I could never go through what I saw my dad go through with diabetes...injections, monitoring blood sugar 5 times a day, amputation, dialysis, strokes, gone at age 49.

Betsey - March 18, 2011 11:44 AM

I was at Whole Foods yesterday on St. Patty's day. They had just brought out the corned beef & cabbage. Many people were clammering to get some. I smelled it, because this used to be a BIG favorite for me. It wasn't even a blip on the radar. Then, I happily chose my Kale salad to eat for lunch. YES! I could NEVER go back. I LOVE the new me!.

THANK YOU Emily for this awesome post!

Penny - March 18, 2011 12:27 PM

These lists have made my day!!! What really amazes me is that even those who have had bypass surgery and chemo and radiation for cancer still say they could never give up meat and dairy. They continue to eat the steaks, cheese, hot dogs, etc. that they always have.

Carrie (Carrie on Vegan) - March 18, 2011 12:37 PM

Wow, this is a powerful post. I was recently at a party full of SAD eaters, many of whom were aging and in terrible shape. One man had recently suffered a heart attack, managed to survive, but is now hooked up to a battery pack and is waiting on pins and needles for a heart transplant. Everyone in the room looked at him with pity and talked about him behind his back wonderful how much longer he has. I could never be that person and I won't!!!

mberkovitz - March 18, 2011 12:48 PM

I could never again live in FEAR every day that I would die of a terrible disease and leave children and husband to grieve and suffer without me.

Sally101 - March 18, 2011 1:29 PM

I could never put something in my body that I knew could harm me.

I could never deny myself knowledge about nutrition and being healthy.

I could never go a day without eating fruits and vegetables.

Barbara Whitney - March 18, 2011 1:58 PM

I could do all of those things but I sure hope I don't. Lord help me!

Peter - March 18, 2011 2:35 PM

I could never go back to being about 50 pounds overweight and having elevated blood sugar and wondering if I would need to start taking diabetes medicine. I could never go back to having cravings for food and feeling "hungry" a couple hours after eating a large meal of pasta and high-sodium spaghetti sauce.

Chan Ngo - March 18, 2011 2:40 PM

I could never stop checking Dr. Fuhrman's facebook and websites everyday,first thing in the mornings, before my breakfasts:)

Alexandra - March 18, 2011 3:00 PM

I was one of those people who "never could do that". I didn't even consider salad as food!!! But not any more. I love the good healthy food and crave it like I used to crave the unhealthy stuff. It's a wonderful life now! Who knew?

Bill - March 18, 2011 6:08 PM

I can never feel ashamed to be out in public again after eating from ETL!
I can never go another year on meds that I brought On myself with bad eating habits.
I can never walk away from what I started and weight I lost eating correct foods.
I love this way of life!!!
Thanks Emily for your post and to everyone who has responded, this really is a huge pick me up!!!!

MacSmiley - March 19, 2011 8:59 AM

I could never go back to the vegJUNKtarian diet-style that put me in such a world of hurt.

If I had not been forced to leave Dr. Fuhrman's care when I moved 1500 miles away, we would have caught my wayward ways a whole lot sooner before any real damage was done.

Thank you for being an active Twitterer and all-around good netizen, Dr. Fuhrman!

MIke Rubino - March 19, 2011 1:20 PM

On my way out of the health food store which is in the same shopping center as the psot office today I ran into a client of mine, a big guy who could never eat the way I do. Unfornutately for him it is too late anyway. He had a massive stroke and is crippled and struggled across the parking lot pushing a walker to get to the PO. I NEVER want to do THAT!

Dorothy Pollock - March 19, 2011 5:29 PM

People say that to me all the time too.
Everyone wants tips and when you start talking you can see the shock on their faces ;=)
After losing my weight I can say... I could never again be afraid of the warm weather or cancel yet another get-together because I felt fat. Usually at this time of year I was writing down a plan to lose X # of lbs a month to look ok by summer etc.
Ugh...never again.

colleen - March 20, 2011 3:23 AM

I keep falling off the wagon- but have maintained the 28lb loss and keep fighting with a husband who has now become diabetic because he chooses to add to the ETL diet that I try and sustain. I am working towards getting off diabetic meds ( family history as well as lifestyle) have halved BP meds so I AM getting there. Have shared ETL with a diabetic Type 2 friend who would apparently prefer to continue taking insulin and meds instead of ETL!! and she has no physical limitations like I do- so annoying. Thanks Emily you are an inspiration I love reading your posts. Only another 28lbs to go!!!

Matt - March 20, 2011 4:31 PM

reminds me of when I gave my dad a copy of ETL after he had triple bypass surgery. He said it was "too radical." I'm like, you just had someone put you under, crack your ribs, connect your body to a blood pumping machine, remove your heart, put it on a table, remove a long vein from your leg and use it to create bypass channels around the blockages in your heart, sew your heart back into your body, try to reset your ribs, and sew up your chest. Yet, somehow, eating broccoli is the thing that is "too radical."

sarah - March 20, 2011 5:10 PM

I could never not love myself enough.

abb - March 20, 2011 6:34 PM

I could never again believe that these common diseases are just a crap shoot and that I can't do anything about them. I would never again want to deny myself the freedom of having some say in my health destiny.

Lulu - March 21, 2011 7:29 AM

I could never walk around looking puffy and feeling lousy because I lived my life on white bread, salt, sugar, and processed foods

Jennifer Hillis - March 21, 2011 7:38 AM

WOW! I have always been health conscious and watched what I ate BUT I am so glad I made the switch over 2 mths ago to eating vegan-ish (more raw and natural basically). I am down 16lbs and I feel the the best today that I have in the last 5 years.

I could never go through quadruple bipas heart surgery like my father did at 37 and die at 56 after losing both his legs to diabetes and 20 years of pain and drugs and no life what so ever. He too thought eating healthy was TOO HARD.....WOW!

Kim - March 21, 2011 7:40 AM

I could never again eat the emotional garbage people, especially adult bullies, throw at me. It drives you to SAD choices (and worse) and now I'm all about ETL! Not eating to numb myself from pain. Thanks Dr. Fuhrman, Emily, and everyone who's posted here!

Jennifer - March 21, 2011 8:25 AM

I could never spend a day without spinach.
I could never spend a week without kale.
I could never go without enjoying pureed frozen fruit in place of ice cream.
Took the 6 week challenge, and could never go back to SAD diet again.
I could never thank Dr. Fuhrman and PEERTrainer enough for helping me lose weight and improving my health.

Scott - March 21, 2011 8:43 AM

Great post Emily. Dr Fuhrman's " hard log" comment had the office laughing....too cool

maggie` - March 21, 2011 8:44 AM

I could never stop reading or watching DVD's presented by Dr's Fuhrman, McDouggal, Esselstyn, Lisle, and other specialists such as Jeff Novick. And, I could never stop telling people how my life and body changed simply by stopping consumption of all animal products and oils. Yes, including eggs and cheese! "How do you get your calcium and protein", they ask. Then I invite them intomy office and show them my before and after numbers and start my story.

April - March 21, 2011 9:37 AM

I could never spend my last years of life in a rest home having people bring me horrible food, change my diapers, bring me drugs, and stare at 4 walls. I could never live the last years of my life the way my family members who have passed on did.

Diana - March 21, 2011 9:48 AM

I could never hate my body again or feel ugly and unlovable.
I lost 50 lbs on Eat to Live last year and love my food and me now. Thank You Dr. Fuhrman

PS It is such a joy to see Whole Foods embracing this knowledge and spreading the word.

Aspen - March 21, 2011 10:07 AM

I could never thank Dr. Fuhrman (and Dr. B) enough for helping me lessen the pain and anguish of psoriatic arthritis without taking the awful medication other doctors said I needed. Especially since the only side effect of a vegan, gluten-free,sugar and salt free diet is a loss of weight...lol. It isn't easy (especially in college) eating a vegan, gluten-free,sugar-free,salt-free diet but it is easy to have less pain and the psoriasis (which has improved some and has not gotten worse) looks a lot better on a thin body.

Cheryl - March 21, 2011 10:17 AM

I could never spend the last 20 years of my life in declining health, not being able to continue doing things I love because of my body falling apart and "getting old."
I could never live always calculating if I could do something or not for fear my back would give out once again because of the weight I've carried around for so long.
I could never live in day-long fatigue and try to combat it by drinking coffee all day.
I could never continue taking 10 pills a day or shooting myself up with insulin when the answer to my health problems is sitting in the produce section of the grocery store.
I could never live the last years of my life sickly and weak, feeling miserable, when I could make those last years the strongest, most vibrant, best years of my life by changing what I eat.
I could never cause my children and grandchildren the pain and anxiety of watching me deteriorate painfully because I wouldn't change what I could.
Mom and Dad, this is for you!

Renee Allen - March 21, 2011 10:19 AM

I could never spend the rest of my life barely being able to breathe due to asthma or suffering through the spring and fall with awful allergy symptoms. This is what got me to change my eating!

Carole - March 21, 2011 10:20 AM

Emily what a brillant idea to start this it really makes an impact.

Janet Oberholtzer - March 21, 2011 10:22 AM

Love this post. I've been thinking about it all weekend and have linked to it in my blog post this morning

Suzanne - March 21, 2011 10:34 AM

Fabulous post.......I could never not be in control
of my health again..... Boo on the SAD, the FDA, the pharmaceutical
companies......... Three cheers for Dr. Fuhrman and his commitment to great
nutrition and sharing his knowledge.

Cris Richardson - March 21, 2011 11:56 AM

I could never pass up an opportunity to run through the waves with my dog.

I could never tell my grandsons to slow down because I can't keep up.

I could never pass up a great marathon (and each one I run is truly special!!)

Kelly Hickman - March 21, 2011 12:12 PM

Thank you for these great posts! This is week three for me and my husband. I love to cook and eat great food. This is a terrific challenge for my cooking skills...fun to use so many healthy spices and herbs. 4 stents and diabetes are soon to be erased permanently!

Patty - March 21, 2011 12:28 PM

I could never again eat an animal.
I could never go one day without fruits and vegetables.
I could never again hide in the car eating food I just bought from a fast food joint, embarrassed by how I look.
I hope I never ingest another SAD meal.
I hope I never forget how it feels to be addicted to food.

Linda Hart - March 21, 2011 12:45 PM

I could never go back to taking Neurontin 4X/day, Tramadol6X/day,and xsTylenol around the clock, and forgoing so many pleasurable activities, not to mention the depression, now that I know it was all that animal protein I consumed which caused such debilitating pain.

Joe - March 21, 2011 12:57 PM

I could never take a pill, in hopes to maintain an erection, so that I can make love to my wife. Nuf said!

Carrie Carlton - March 21, 2011 1:57 PM

I could never let ill health hold me back from all I want in life! To make a difference in this world, to teach others about nutrition, and have a family

John - March 21, 2011 2:33 PM

I could never
- live in ignorance about proper nutrition again
- blindly trust a doctors diagnosis and follow the treatment
- take drugs without fully understanding their consequences
- believe that the Government is protecting us.
- think that being sick is part of life
- enjoy SAD Food the way I enjoy Nutritious foods NOW
- ignore how what we eat and how we live affects the world
- *willingly* support an organization raising money for drug research
- not buy local foods and learn about where my food comes from
- suffer the needless side effects of diseases, easily prevented by eating mostly plants

Jenn - March 21, 2011 2:41 PM

I could never be forced to choke down 'honey-thick' liquids in a nursing home as my main 'food' because a stroke due to atherosclerosis had made it impossible for me to swallow normally.

I could never sit, uncomprehending, in a nursing home tie-in chair due to dementia from my many CNS vascular infarcts.

I could never give up gardening, traveling to see my family, and participating in parish life because I was too obese and too incapacitated from diet-related illness.

teri angeletti - March 21, 2011 2:51 PM

Comment: I could never eat like you do...
me: I am not having dialysis ever other day, with diabetes, a pacemaker and COPD

Comment: I could never do without my sweets and pizza...
me: I am not searching big size clothing online anymore because I can't find anything in the stores that fit

Comment:No thanks- I prefer to follow atkins
me: and you are currently in the hospital having heart problems and just had knee surgery because your almost 300# frame just can't handle the weight anymore

Comment: Mom- real men dont eat fruits and vegetables- I want real food
Me: sweety- real food isn't a pizza and a case of pop for dinner, and you can understand the ingredients on the package!

Comment: I don't want to look like you- I like meat on my bones to look sexy
Me: I think looking sexy is being able to walk and not have chest pains; climb four flights of stairs and not almost black out at the top; not being able to tie my shoes without losing my breath

I could never go back to chafing thighs, back and foot pain, not being able to find clothes that fit, medications and hating myself for not being able to win this battle

I could never have my boys spend days and weeks in the ICU because of what I stuffed my face with

I could never go back to fear of the inevitable heart attack, cancer and diabetes that plagues my family- I watched them suffer and die- it was just matter of time before it was my turn

I could never go back- life is just so amazing and wonderful to be a slave to food ever again. Thanks Dr. F!!!

Debyi - March 21, 2011 3:08 PM

I could never make my family suffer with worry & anxiety, wondering if this time I wouldn't come back from being in the ICU...again...and again...and again.

I could never put another man made pill/food back in my mouth again. Real food anyone!?!

Richard H. Serlin - March 21, 2011 4:24 PM

I've went from 258, at 6'3" to a solid 190 over two years by eating progressively more Fuhrman, and now predominantly Fuhrman (cholesterol under 130, blood pressure under 115/70).

A big thing really to tell people is that it's a lot easier than you think, and a lot less sacrifice, because your taste buds really do become a lot more sensitive to sugar, salt, and fat, and your tastes really do adapt a lot.

Rhonda Kellam - March 21, 2011 4:55 PM

Thank you for the post and for all these wonderful comments!

I will never go back to pretending that it is OK to opt for unhealthful choices when I do not have time to cook or do not feel like cooking, or to eat when I am not hungry, telling myself that overall, we (my husband and I) eat better than "MOST people". What "MOST" people eat will just get them there faster, but I will no longer pretend that we are not headed down the same path if we don't do better with our food choices.

To Tim who keeps "trying and failing at the programme": It gets easier. In time, you will find that the foods that you used to love won't even taste good anymore. Sugary things will taste too sweet; salty things will taste too salty, etc. And in time, you will find a healthful substitution for each and every one of those foods that you used to love.

I used to fail at this because those foods still tasted good to me. But they no longer do. Hang in there, Tim, or anyone else struggling to enjoy whole foods. It just takes time for your taste buds to adjust, but they will adjust.

I am not saying that I never fail. But at this point, when I do, it is because I do not take the time to cook. Fast foods and junk foods do not taste good to me anymore, and the recipes that keep showing up in my inbox from here are FANTASTIC!! For me, will power is not a problem anymore; it is time, and laziness.

As for desserts: I could NEVER go back to eating ice cream again, and I could NEVER go back to eating those yucky sugary non-dairy substitutes. NOTHING compares to the yummy taste of real foods. Smoothies and frozen cashew cream are delicious. They take time to prepare too, but they are worth it.

I love creamy salad dressings made from nut/seed butters, avocados, etc. These are quick and easy to prepare, and I always eat them at home. The problem is, when eating a big salad in a restaurant. From now on, I will bring raw, unsalted cashews to throw on my salad when eating out, and will NEVER opt for their unhealthful creamy dressings again. Okay, I'm inspired.

Emily Boller - March 21, 2011 5:36 PM

Late this afternoon while on a bike ride a semi-trailer rig passed me. On the side of the trailer was a huge image of baked goods with a company bakery logo and the statement, "We Bake Memories."

With these wonderfully inspirational comments fresh in my mind I thought to myself, "Yes, we bake memories all right."

I have memories of my dad in ICU after heart bypass surgery. He tried to communicate with me but could only blink his eyes in response to my questions.

I have memories of stories told to me in childhood of a grandmother I never met who passed away the month I was born. She suffered greatly from a massive stroke and diabetic complications, lying on a hospital bed in her living room, unable to move or speak for two years before her eventual death.

I have memories of being too tired, depressed and bloated to really enjoy the holidays.

I have memories of being invited to my husband's client's lake cottage for boating and swimming and dreading the thought of being seen in public in a swimming suit.

I have memories of rolling over in bed in the middle of the night and needing to use my hands to help roll my large belly over.

"We Bake Memories." (with flour, sugar, butter, eggs, cream, powdered sugar, brown sugar, chocolate chips, etc.)

Yep, we sure do.

I dedicate this post to my grandmother and ALL those who never had the treasured privilege of knowing a better way to live. May we never take this awesome privilege of freedom for granted.

Annie Hillary - March 21, 2011 8:21 PM

I will never go back to sabotaging myself. I will nurture my achievements to exercise excellent nutrition choices for myself.

Now that I realize that whole foods - nutrient dense foods are the best for me, I can never go back to denying myself the best for me. I only want what is the best for a healthy and vibrant me.

Becky Wretlind - March 21, 2011 8:38 PM

I could never see myself again lying in ICU with tubes everywhere just coming out of open heart surgery. My body was ravaged from top to bottom. Then I heard about ETL and now enjoy being a Nutritarian and drinking Kale smoothies everyday and huge salads with beans and nuts and fruits. Kudos to Dr. Fuhrman. Keep up your great work! God bless you richly!

MIke Rubino - March 21, 2011 8:58 PM

Teri, You cracked me up. Great post ! Becky wow that scary !

Yes sexy is in some way related to being able to climb a row of stairs without having to stop to take a break to catch one's breath !

Juanita - March 21, 2011 11:19 PM

I could never go back to emergency trips to the bathroom after every meal eaten out.
I could never go back to heartburn and reflux.

Carolyn - March 22, 2011 9:04 AM

Love this post. Just reading everyone's comments made me cry.

I could never again feed my child cheese, yogurt, and mac n cheese and then do nebulizer treatments with him 3 times a day and take medicine for it daily!

I could never take all the cholesterol and high blood pressure medications that my parents, aunts, uncle and grandparents did/are taking, not to mention, the triple bypass surgery!

CONNIE - March 22, 2011 10:19 AM

THESE POSTS ARE INSPIRATIONAL. Today is my first day as a nutritarion. I never want to go back on a "diet".

Al - March 22, 2011 1:41 PM

I have CVD and have taken several trips via ambulance late at night to the ER. When I was presented with the medical "five year" plan of progressive intervention, including additional stents and possible open heart surgery down the road, I knew that there had to be a better way. I found this nutritional option as exemplified by Doctor Fuhrman, Doctor Esselstyn and others. When I discussed this with the cardiologists at a well-known clinic (rather than the the name I will make up initials, let us call them "MC") I was told not to do anything "drastic" or "extreme". I reminded the good doctors that they had just run a wire up my leg and into my chest cavity and implanted a piece of metal into my heart, which I considered to be a wee-bit extreme. That was over two years ago. That was also almost 40 pounds ago. I have been eating a plant based diet since and have not looked back. When I tell people how to deal with their CVD or similar western diseases, I hear the same refrain about not being able to do that. I tell them that I ate more burgers and cheese then they had prior to two years ago. That if I can make the change, that they certainly have the ability to do the same.

I know that I could never again ride in an ambulance at 2:00 in the morning with a blood-pressure cuff on my arm as I stare at the ceiling wondering if this is my last moment on this earth.

There is hope for everyone out there. They just have to be given the knowledge. This post is for those people. Please share this information.

StephenMarkTurner - March 22, 2011 3:37 PM

I have emailed the link to a few friends and family members. So far, dead silence. I think they are taking some time to find just the right words to thank me ;-)


PS May I be permitted to give a shout for an event 'Minds In Motion' here in Waterloo in September. I will be walking a half marathon (21 km). The money raised goes to buy, not psycho meds, but rather athletic shoes, for people with mental difficulties. Very cool!

Anna - March 22, 2011 8:56 PM

I could never stare at my children and family in the face and say, I am sorry I won't be able to see your next birthday, share your wedding day, be at your next soccer game or see my grandchildren because I couldn't control my eating habits when I had the choice.

Chris Christensen - March 22, 2011 9:53 PM

Yes, I empathize with you, Emily. I never met my maternal grandmother. She was over 300 lbs and died of a diabetic coma in the bathroom, just months before my Mom was married. What a terrible trade off. As a result, I have no memories of her, never knew her.

I could never believe the lie that I'm genetically predetermined to be overweight and destined to the diseases suffered by my family.

Chicago - March 22, 2011 9:57 PM

I could never go back to viewing highly processed crap as food. I could never go back to thinking a big portion of animal protein is "healthy" when in reality it came from a tortured, unnaturally-fed, drugged, about-a-week-from-death, factory farmed victim. I could never have another test/procedure/prescription that I have no clue how necessary it really is, but the doctor is suggesting it, and it's apparently covered by insurance. I could never go back to accepting the default position (We buy the "foods" advertised on TV and everyone is doing it, even the schools, so it must be fine.) I could never again believe that convenience foods are convenient or that "it's not too bad" is a truth. I could never again assume that the government is doing an adequate job of facilitating good health or even allowing a level playing field. I could never again be so distraught over my spouse's declining health...because things have turned around as Nutritarians.
What I can do forever is continue to love: all the nutrient-dense fresh food and the related farmers, the endless recipes and meal strategies I learn about from others, expanding my knowledge on health and global food issues, and my complete comfort in walking by the endless consuming of SAD and its related trashy packaging. I don't get tripped up by SAD because I now know how to do things differently.

Pat Tyrrell - March 23, 2011 8:08 AM

Thank you SteveMarkTurner for the information regarding the Waterloo 'Minds in Motion'. I went to the website, and will now be entering the half-marathon walk. It is on my birthday weekend, so that will be a great way to celebrate turning 55. I fell off the wagon for the 6 week challenge and have been struggling to get back on, but with this event 6 months away, I am re-motivated!

As for what I could never do?...I think I'll change that to "I will never again"

I will never again...wake up in the morning with stiff joints.
I will never again...be out of breath walking up a single flight of stairs.
I will never again...feel exhausted even after 10 or more hours of sleep (although working 14 hour shifts for 4 nights in a row does leave me pretty wiped out!)
I will never again...live a 'pasta'tarian life, instead of a true 'veggie'tarian life.

StephenMarkTurner - March 23, 2011 10:07 AM

(For Pat Tyrrell)
Fantastic, I will also jog the 10k Classic in June which is MY 55th birthday weekend. Small world.

I could never ever think that 55 is 'too old' to plan for 10k runs, half marathon walks, 100k bike rides, full squats, chinups, whatever else...

With apologies to Sammy Hagar "I can't act 55"

Cheers, Steve

Pat Tyrrell - March 24, 2011 7:08 PM

(for StephenMarkTurner)...it IS a small world! We should plan to meet up before the walk, maybe on registration day!

StephenMarkTurner - March 25, 2011 9:38 AM

(For Pat Tyrrell)
Continuing with the small world stuff, my phone number is on the same page in the phone book! I am 'Steve' in the book. Call me a week before the event (and thanks, Emily, for allowing this side discussion).


Ger O'Sullivan - March 25, 2011 1:02 PM

I can never again say "Never Again" after stuffing myself with cakes, biscuits or choclates. Ive had enough!

TammyP - March 26, 2011 1:43 PM

This is my first day on ETL. This is not going to be easy. I spent my childhood eating at McD at least four times a week and ingesting a never-ending river of soda.

My husband and daughter is so supportive and wants me to succeed. I have 90ish lbs to lose.

I will never again be too embarrased about how I look to say hello to someone I knew long ago.
I will never again let weight hold me back from so many things I want to experience in this life.
I will never again shop in the big girls store.

Thank you for this life-changing information. Wish me luck.

Stamatia - March 26, 2011 6:15 PM

I could never do that...live my life having crushing abdominal pain if I'm not eating (SAD food) nearly every hour.

I could never do that...think and feel like I'm always hungry.

I could never do that...feel compelled beyond the strength of my rational will whenever I'm around food.

I could never do that...be unable to walk passed SAD food venders and purveyors without having to fight the desire and urge to eat there.

I could never do that...live my life not knowing how to care and nourish my body.

Jenna Christine - March 27, 2011 8:45 PM

I could never go back to having horrible, exhausting sugar crashes in the middle of the day, and having to pop yet ANOTHER Ritalin pill to stay focused on my research or coursework.

I could never go back to looking at my Ritalin prescription and knowing I was burning through it at twice the rate my doctor had prescribed, all the while wondering what my ADHD would be like after ten years of this.

I could never go back to having toxic hunger within two hours of eating a meal.

I could never go back to having shaky, unstable hands in the research lab, and end up spilling dangerous chemicals or accidentally killing my model organisms because I couldn't steady myself.

I could never go back to feeling short of breath when sitting absolutely still at the young, young age of 23.

I could never go back to worrying about what must be happening to my heart and arteries from the combination of stimulant medication and SAD foods.

I could never again justify the consumption of SAD foods by telling myself that without them, I would drop down to a dangerous weight due to the appetite-suppressing effects of my meds.

I could never live not knowing that my ADHD would be improved and my dependence on stimulants reduced by caring properly for my body.

StephenMarkTurner - March 28, 2011 12:15 PM

For TammyP

I got into the same rut recently, going back to fast foods when life got stressful. I very quickly learned how incredibly addicting the stuff is. I kept saying "just today, then tomorrow it's back to good food".

You will be AMAZED though, just how fast you lose your enthusiasm for it after just a couple of weeks of ETL.

Cheers, Steve

Charlene - March 29, 2011 12:59 PM

I have just started getting into Dr. Furhman again recently (about a week and a half ago) and I feel so good!! I just copied a link of this article into my blog! Thanks so much, Emily.

I can't ever let my weight hinder me from hopefully having children due to my hormones being out of whack with PCOS.

I can't ever get diabetes, because I will feel and know it was my own fault.

I can't ever get chemo because watching my sister currently go through it (although I think hers might be more enviromental, who knows?!) is enough for one family to have one person go through it.

I can't ever let my husband get sick with the heart disease that his family has dealt with.

an Italian in Paris - March 31, 2011 1:05 AM

Thanks for all this life changing information and support. I start today, for myself but mostly for my hubby, I'm vegetarian since I was 20 but he's a junk food addict, and I'm scared for his health. Let's hope he(we) won't give up!

Marilyn - April 1, 2011 8:08 AM

I could never consume the flesh or secretions of tortured, enslaved sentient beings that deserve the same love, compassion and respect of all sentient beings on this beautiful earth.

Kirk - April 1, 2011 2:42 PM

Great article. It just takes a conscious effort to make a change and each day from that point on it gets easier and easier to carry on. It's true, you are what you eat.

Dustin - May 30, 2011 8:31 AM

I love this! Great article Emily! I get this all the time from people telling me they can't eat like I eat. Then they turn around and complain about how tired they are, how sick they feel, or how much their joints hurt. It's frustrating to listen to when I know all they have to do is change their habits and they can change their life.

Sheri - September 7, 2012 11:29 AM

I could never eat the flesh of an animal that just wanted to live and that was torturted so I could eat!!
I could never be admitted to hospital with excruiating pain again due to the fact I had a kidney stone which was probably due to eating excessive meat(pre-Dr. Fuhrman days).
I could never be a burden to my children by having a stroke or dementia in my later years.
I could never have my chest cracked open for bypass surgery.

Kathy - January 10, 2013 4:25 PM

Emily, I just read your blog and looked at the photos of your dramatic life transformation. I first read "Eat to Live" about 10 years ago, but got lazy. I am 56, 190 lbs. at 5'4", in pain with several health issues. The worst is the "brain fog," depression and all-over feeling of malaise. I just made a committment to eat Dr. Fuhrman's way again 4 days ago. I have not been perfect, but I already feel a new vitality today. I am so encouraged by your story and feel new hope for myself. God bless you for going to all the trouble to document your journey. Praise God!

Deb - March 13, 2013 4:38 PM

I could never look into my worried childrens eyes after having a massive heart attack at age 47.
I could never lay in a hospital and wonder if I am getting the right care or what is going to happen to me next.
I could never let myself smoke until I felt like I was breathing through a straw.
I could never pay to put poisonious fast food into my poor body.
I could never ignore anything that is good for me since I have gotten a second chance to live.

Jackie - March 13, 2013 4:58 PM

Thank you Dr. Fuhrman for posting this, it, and the comments really spoke to my heart..I'm on my way!!!..

Carolyn Lipowski - March 13, 2013 5:47 PM

God, this is sooo good! I love this!!!

Karen Johnson - March 13, 2013 6:18 PM

Well, I am approaching 70 years of age. I could start dying now, but instead I would rather enjoy my life fully until the time is right, then die within a couple of weeks.

Ronald - March 14, 2013 12:15 AM

- I could never be confined to a wheelchair because I lost the lower half of my right leg as a result of diabetes, like my grandmother.
- I could never imagine a life where I had to count calories, carbs & fats or weigh my food before stressing over the fact that it still may cause my blood sugar to spike.
- I could never imagine spending thousands of dollars per year on unnecessary and harmful medications that will never cure a thing.
- I could never decline a romantic walk in the woods with my wife because of shortness of breath and pain in my knees and back.
- I could never imagine asking a flight attendant for a seat belt extension.
- I could never wonder if my co-workers could smell me because I was not able to clean myself properly after a trip to the toilet.
- I could never imagine forgetting what my own genitals look like because I haven't been able to see them for years.
- I could never imagine having to ask someone to put shoes on my feet and tie them for me.
- I could never imagine being closed-minded and looking at someone who is the picture of health and happiness and say "I could never eat like you."

Per Haug - March 14, 2013 4:27 AM

After having nursed my helpless mom for years after her strokes, I could never, ever self- inflict the worst imagineable paralysis there is: b-r-a-i-n d-a-m-a-g-e.

Neither could I ever imprison myself inside layers upon layers of heavy, thick, greasy fat, disable or unable to do the simplest of tasks.

Ashlee - March 14, 2013 7:28 PM

I hope Dr. Fuhrman reads these comments! I want him to know that he is spreading like Wild fire here in okinawa , Japan among the military community. Sooooo many people are interested and want to learn about this information. Our friend who introduced it all to us is actually teaching us all about this info. In a class she put together for us one night a week for 3 hours. There are about fifty of us in it. We are supporting one another with this new way of eating and helping each other with recipes. I actually did the six week program months ago. I could never go back to the way I was eating. My husband who has always had prehypertension no longer has it. My stomach pains and bloating I would often get no longer plague me anymore. It's amazing. My dad is an anesthesiologist who works at one of Mayo clinics sister hospitals. He had a heart attack at 50 and had open heart surgery. He has never understood exactly how he should eat. He has tried the Paleo diet and a few others. I introduced this to he and my mom. My dad started reading up on it and is very excited about what he has learned so far! It all just makes perfect sense. I wish I could shout it to the world. And I'm so excited my dad is going to start trying this new way of eating. And I'm anxious to see the change it will make in my mom who is overweight, sister who is overweight, and my brother who is overweight and eats TONS of meat everyday. I want them to feel good inside like I do! Thank you Dr. Fuhrman for opening our eyes!!! Thank you!

Esther - March 14, 2013 7:35 PM

I could never die of a massive heart attack during a doctor's visit. (my father)

I could never acquire diabetes, then in an effort to address, overcorrect by eating too much meat, then develop kidney stones. (my cousin)

I could never have a diabetic infection so severe that the possibility of amputation is introduced, then ignore the condition and slowly die from it. (his wife)

I could never gorge myself on salt-sugar-fat to the point of obesity, undergo a bariatric bypass, continue to enjoy in abundance the toxic food I enjoyed before, then suffer a massive stroke and die. (a very close family friend)

I could never first develop high blood pressure (nose bleeding symptom), be put on hypertension medication, develop high cholesterol, be put on statins, continue salt-sugar-fat diet (with few greens and much meat), become overweight, continue salt-sugar-fat diet, develop prostate cancer, continue salt-sugar-fat processed food diet--and protest when a concerned family member wants to introduce a relatively small green salad or cruciferous food per day into his diet. (a dear family member)

Sadly, I might have more of these tales before it's said and done.

Amber - March 15, 2013 10:01 AM

It all comes down to how bad you want to make the change!

I could never accept unhappiness when a little bit of sacrifice and hard work can make all the difference.

Elizabeth Campbell - March 15, 2013 11:17 AM

I tell myself many of these things on the list as well as

Reg Wilkins - March 15, 2013 11:21 AM

I could never feel right about saying "I could never do that" and leading others down the path to self-destruction.

Asha gala - March 15, 2013 12:56 PM

Fantastic post, great reminder Emily.
Love reading every bit you write on this blog.
I could never want to be a burden to anyone because of my wrong choices of food and life style. We need to reform our social settings and not let abusive behavior of being a burden because of ones wrong choices, be a norm or considered as aging process or because I could never do that.

Sue Garcia - March 15, 2013 1:00 PM

I CAN never thank you all enough for sharing all of the above, neither ever take too much responsibility for the outcome of my personal health. And...

I could never die embarrassed upon a toilet because I had a heart attack or stroke while straining, and...

I could never have to be buried in a piano case, and...

I could never have to deal with being so huge that EMTs couldn't lift me from where I'd fallen without having to bring in extra help.

JCP - March 15, 2013 1:23 PM

I can never again live in denial, thinking that the food I'm eating is not hurting me, like my parents who depend on many drugs for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol and won't take action :-(

Cheryl - March 15, 2013 1:42 PM

I could never disrespect my body so much that I would inhale items that poison and clog-up my body parts. I could never do it to myself or my future grandkids. GREEN RULES!

Paula - March 15, 2013 1:49 PM

I could never choose to commit suicide, one bite at a time, and in doing so, tell my children that the food meant more to me than they do.

AnnaB - March 15, 2013 5:09 PM

My father was an insulin dependent diabetic who did not live to see his 70th birthday. He had 4 strokes before he died. My brother, also diabetic, had 2 strokes prior to his 52nd birthday.
A little less than 2 years since I started the ETL program, my cholesterol is 146 and my fasting glucose is 76. I take no medications and will be 59 in less than 3 weeks. I am not getting older, I am getting better. Thank you Dr Fuhrman, from the bottom of my heart!!!

Toni - March 15, 2013 6:51 PM

I could never again have trouble getting up from a sofa or chair, bending down or cleaning house.I am terrified to have tubes put down my throat or have my chest split open for surgery!!! NEVER NEVER NEVER!!! THANK YOU DR. FUHRMAN!

Chan - March 15, 2013 8:07 PM

This is always my favorite post.

Dawn - March 15, 2013 8:48 PM

As a vegan since 1985, I have come even cleaner with no salt, no sugar, less nuts, dried fruit, way less grain. (We ate little sugar and salt and our grains were whole-we grew them ourselves organically.) Everyone always says to us: what DO you eat?!!! Good stuff, try it! Even the small changes are huge! I am so glad to read ALL of these posts....keep it up everybody! Congratulations!

Dawn - March 15, 2013 8:54 PM

Paula, your comment about suicide, is so drastic and RIGHT ON! whew! Everything about SAD's horrid effects are proven, why don't we listen?!

Sam - March 15, 2013 9:18 PM

Never say never! Only when it is to late to reverse the damage that is done. Ask yourself, how bad do you want to live. Ask yourself, are willing to take responsibility for your health. It doesn't get any easier than this, the scienctific research has been done to validate what is happening to your body. Honestly, look around you. Look at the obese children, adults. Think about where the source of the problem lies. If you don't take care of you, who is going to take care of you after the damage is done and you are stricken with a horrible, disease of a slow and lonely death. Take responsibility of your health!

Desiree Rice - March 16, 2013 12:06 AM

That are the comments I get all the time. People want to lose the weight but don't want to do the work to get there. I see their eye's glaze over when I start telling them. To be honest I do not mention too much anymore I just tell them to buy the book. I have lost 60 pounds since October 2012. Every one comments and it is great. I love myself now, look in the mirror all the time. Doctor wanted to put me o Lipitor but I told him I would try and lose weight 1st. He could not believe how far down my cholesterol had gone down. When he came to meet me in the waiting room as soon as he saw me he said you have lost lots of weight. Yah baby you better believe it. I was depressed for years, and should have been on anti depressents. I thought of suicide many times. Once I started ETL, some juice fasting and some really good Fitness daily it all went away. This is so powerful.
Thanks Joel you are doing God's work. All the info has been out there for years but for formatted it to something we could use easily. My kids will have a healthy start which I never had. Thank God for That. Free at last. From Australia Desiree Rice.

Dan - March 16, 2013 6:30 AM

I know a person who had a heart attack before I lost my weight and then had a bypass operation. Afterwards, he went on a very strict diet. I said myself, "I could never do that." However, I didn't mean "I don't need to do that." I needed to lose a lot of weight then, I knew that, but I didn't think I was able to do it. However, once I started to write down everything I eat and count calories, I found that I *was* able to give up a lot of unhealthy foods. Writing down what I eat forces me to stop and think about what I am eating. I was even able to give up meat entirely and really cut down on my desserts. I have maintained for 3 years a 95-100 pound weight loss, mainly by tracking my food, and exercising daily, both of which I do to this day. This site has helped to find healthy options for what I eat. The key is to inculcate mindfulness, therefore eliminating mindless eating.

Cathy Coates - March 16, 2013 7:04 AM

All of this is so true... I get the same response from people when they realize I don't eat sugar, wheat, or flour... only fresh, whole, "recognizable" foods that require actual chewing... as opposed to "fast food" which can be gulped and/or squeezed down like a python swallows a rat!

Nanette - March 16, 2013 7:16 AM

While I appreciate all the comments and your commitment, I guess I take a different angle on this. I've had a lot of success with ETL but I'm not rigid about it. When people say "I couldn't eat that way," I say, well it may not work for everyone and it's important for each of us to find an eating plan that works with our individual health and lifestyle. I suggest they try a few changes (go wheat free, caffeine free), see what works. Sure some people can go 100% right away but I'd rather someone make a few changes than reject the whole idea of ETL because it's all or nothing.
So I guess I could never suggest someone follow a lifestyle that works for me but may not work for them. I also suggest they consult their physician before making any drastic changes since I don't know what their medical factors may be.

Emily Boller - March 16, 2013 11:42 AM


The nutritarian eating-style is not an "all-or-nothing" mindset. It's "both-and."

One gets to change his/her tastebuds & enjoy great tasting food, AND enjoy the wonderful privilege of experiencing excellent health.

Plus, Dr. Fuhrman has stated many times that radical changes are what produce the greatest results. And great results becomes the unstoppable momentum that motivates people to keep eating for health for the rest of their lives. From his experience over the years he's discovered that it's easier and simpler to give 100% right from the beginning and keep the pilot light of addictive cravings extinguished, than to be continually fighting obsessive compulsions that are brewing beneath the surface.

Ann - March 16, 2013 1:44 PM

This post is total inspiration - and the comments spoke to me.
I will never again: (past)
Eat sentient animals, birds or fish;
Weigh 225 and wear W18-21 clothing;
Chop my hair in a harsh, unflattering cut because it seemed hopeless to try to look nice;
Become winded when walking one block and be totally unable to run;
Be jealous of and nasty with my friends because they looked good and I didn't;
Avoid activities due to shame at how I look;
Binge eat to deal with problems rather than face them, and allow people who are mean to stress me out, drive me to binge eating meat, dairy and processed crap and destroy my appearance and health.
I will (future): (I am now 51 - here's my health plan for the next 50 years)
Eat 100% vegetarian and at least 90% or more vegan and follow the basic premise of ETL;
Run, run, run til I can do half marathons since I am now healthy enough to exercise vigorously, and do a half marathon each year, starting next year, until I reach age 102!
Get to my goal weight and stay there for the rest of my life;
Have a healthy, happy and lively old age (not the miserable "long slow decline" which most people, including too many family members, have had);
Be able to travel far and near for the rest of my life;
Stay off all prescription and OC meds for the rest of my life;
Have all my mental facilities til the day I die;
Contribute money to causes supporting animals rather than medicines, medical treatments and tests.
Hopefully live as an inspiration to a new (vegetarian/mainly vegan) lifestyle!
Thank you, thank you, thank you Emily Boller and Dr. Fuhrman and Victoria Moran! This year, basically following the ETL program, I have for the first time been able to stick to a primarily vegan diet, feel great and not be hungry all the time (the way I was on a grains based diet, which always led to binging).

Priscilla (Stephens) Jacko - March 16, 2013 1:52 PM

I could NEVER put my family thru dealing with Alzheimer's like both my mother and her father did! Neither was overweight, but developed diabetes in late adulthood, and eventually Alzheimers. This is what it took to realize I HAD to do something to prevent this for myself. Even as a life long vegetarian, I was eating for comfort and too much processed food.The last 10 years I have also battle Hashimoto's thyroiditis and hypo thyroidism, and could NOT lose a pound! It was to the place where I was thrilled if I hadn't gained a pound each month.

Now, after about 6 weeks, I have lost 16 lbs, and my labs are way better. I never thought I could give up bread and dairy, but it is worth it to be able to lose weight and feel so much better!

Kathy Haughland Johnson - March 17, 2013 12:27 AM

I could never die before my child's 18th birthday, leaving him to live in a court ordered situation that would be less than desirable for him. I HAVE to Eat To Live, because the doctors DON'T have a cure for me!

Jim - March 17, 2013 6:37 AM

You have a pretty comprehensive list of "I could never," and all of them are great. I got very, very sick some years ago and was facing dialysis. My doctors gave me some time to try and regenerate. I did by "eating foods that heal." And none of that was meat. AND, it wasn't long before I went from taking 15 pills a day to 0! So I guess I would say,"I could never take 15 pills a day."

William Stockmann - March 17, 2013 8:11 AM

I bought the ETL book and followed the eating plan to the letter for two months now. I was experiencing mild angina pain and knew I'd have to do something drastic to improve my health. One of the side benefits is that I've lost forty pounds. I'm thrilled with the weight loss but don't feel more energetic, like some of the people in the testimonials. I miss eating bread the most. Is it permissible to have any bread?

CarolGrace - March 17, 2013 8:15 AM

Emily, thanks so much for reviving this article. Extremely powerful. I agree. For me, I want to write, "I WILL never go back to SAD eating again." I know how powerful words are. Understanding that I must, can, want to, need to, and will continue to eat according to the nutrarian life-style for the rest of my life is crucial for my health and my life. Thank you, Dr. Fuhrman, for your research and making this knowledge available to us. Thank you, Emily, for your transparent sharing and support. Thank you, fellow nutrarians, for your testimonies.

PS Knowing the power of words, I LOVE that on the message boards when you create a profile, they label you a nutrarian. That was very helpful to me!

Elizabeth sutaria - March 17, 2013 1:26 PM

Thank you Emily for such an inspirational article!I could never go back to eating the way I have for the past
53years(I'm 65)because I don't want to prematurerely die
and not be with my wonderful husband,sons,daughter-in-law,
and other family members and friends!

David - March 17, 2013 10:11 PM

Bill, you can certainly have bread - some of Dr. Fuhrman's recipes call for a slice of it - but make sure it is 100% whole grain and the portion is limited it to what he recommends. He often suggests filling pita pockets instead, as they contain much less flour. I grew up on PB&J sandwiches, but I've since replaced them with romaine leaves topped with nut butter, dried figs & bananas - YUM!

I will never pay a fortune for cholesterol lowering supplements only to waste them by consuming cookies, brownies, cake, strudels, sodas, etc. made with Lord knows what!!

I will never hope that no one walks in on me because I’m ashamed of what I’m eating.

shirley - March 19, 2013 12:41 AM

I could never go back to SAD and experience excruciating joint pain and decreased mobility in my limbs due to rheumatoid arthritis. I started to follow the nutritarian program in Eat to Live from January 2, 2013. I am off NSAID, have regained 98% mobility in my limbs with very little stiffness or pain in my joints. I have lost 19 pounds since starting the program. Coworkers, friends and family members are amazed by my recovery and weight loss. Many of them are following the program.

Annamaria - March 22, 2013 2:38 PM

This posting was so great. One thing I HATE is when other people seem to be constantly carping about what I eat or don't eat. When I was a child and overweight, it was constant comments about what I shouldn't be eating or how much I shouldn't be eating. Now that I don't eat all those deadly things, it's people constantly either trying to 'make me' eat them (by being offended if I don't eat what they made) or looking sad and anxious when I tell them that I'm fine without eating that stuff.

I live in a culture where people really push food on you and don't take 'no' for an answer (they also believe that if you don't eat meat, you'll die; I've been on weekends when all that I could eat was the sliced tomatoes that were garnish on the meat/bread/cheese/butter menu). It has taken me several years with different friends to convince them that I'm just not going to eat meat - period - and they need to back off. With ever new person I have to start over again, saying, 'No bread, no oil, no dairy, no meat, no sugar, no salt - NO THANK YOU' and repeat it and repeat it until people get comfortable with my choices and leave me alone about it.

Now I am armed with some response when people ask me, 'How can you give up wheat?' Or 'How can you give up all dairy products?' I'll be able to tell them I think of it as giving up heart disease and diabetes and arthritis, etc.

I really needed this post, because I'm a private person and not a campaigner. I don't try to 'sell' a nutritarian lifestyle to others (unless they ask; then I tell them 'Google "Joel Fuhrman"' and let it go) because I've had too much of people going on about my own eating habits all my life and I just want to be left alone about my choices and allowed to make them in peace. But since they won't leave me in peace, I'm glad I have an answer that 'pushes back' a bit when I feel pushed.

Mac - March 25, 2013 7:53 PM

I would love to see some more of the stories behind all these great posts.Thanks!

Jennifer Moberg - April 14, 2013 8:34 AM

I could never feel like I'm 80 years old at the age of 60
I couldn't imagine not feeling or looking 40 at the age of 60
I could never wake up in the morning and not want to get up
I could never not go the beach or a pool in my bathing suite
..I could just go on and on...

Excuses are a form of self-abuse and deprivation. It is holding yourself away from what you deserve as a person, what you are meant to be. Whether it is your diet, exercise, hobby, anything!! Eat a true nutritious diet and all good things will come of it. And I have only just begun...imagine how I am going to feel in a year, 3 years, 5 years, etc...Thank you for your guidance Dr. Fuhrman!

Stevie Marten - April 15, 2013 11:21 AM

Thanks for this great post Emily. We all struggle to balance short term gratification and long term rewards. Everyone of us should constantly remind ourselves of what we do not want in the long term, and put this in perspective with what we do not want to do because we want to avoid short term pain.

In fact, sometimes we need a mindset shift when it comes to altering our diet for the better. Instead of making a drastic change and forcing ourselves to stick to the new diet through sheer willpower (which almost always doesn't work), we should start small. Have one day in a week where you commit to a plant based diet. Or even just one meal per week. Treat it like a regular detox. As soon as we start to feel our bodies and energy levels changing for the better, no matter how small, naturally we would want more, and the shift will become much easier.

Mary - May 6, 2013 4:58 PM

Wow. I found out about Dr. Furhman today reading an article in a nail spa while my elderly mother was having a pedicure. I've been trying so many different diets over the years and struggling to get control of my weight and my hypoglycemia. I think this is it. I've ordered your book and can't wait for it to arrive. My roommates won't like my new way of eatting - I cook most of the meals - but just maybe I can convince them to join me in this new way of living healthy and happy. Thanks so much for your blog. Awesome stuff. Mary

Holly Levine - May 26, 2013 12:33 PM

I could never go back to 240 pounds miserable in constant pain unable to work because of brain fog and on 15 medications.
I could never go back to fatigue I had since age 8.
I could never go back to food addiction, always either eating, thinking about eating, trying not to eat.
Yes I gave up dairy and animal products. In return I have 90 pounds gone. No food cravings. So much energy and time to live!

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