Disease Proof

Make the Commitment

It’s countdown time for the six week holiday challenge, and momentum is picking up! In just three days it will be the official kick-off.  Here are a few thoughts from Dr. Fuhrman to help navigate the way:


image of Dr. FuhrmanDuring the holidays ahead there will be situations where you’ll be offered unhealthy food choices. If you decide that you can only do the six week challenge when the right foods are available, you’ll be on and off it like a yo-yo, and food addictions will take over. If you are serious about caring properly for your body, and are looking for results, you'll need to make the commitment to stay on the road to wellness. No excuses.

I take bad nutrition seriously because people die from it ~ one can’t escape from the biological laws of cause and effect. When junk is eaten, including the traditional, highly-toxic foods served at the holidays, you get a momentary pleasure as it passes the lips in a short amount of time, but then produces continual suffering that lasts; and not having good health magnifies every emotional problem plaguing your life.  Plus, healthy recipes and treats taste better anyway. It may take more effort to prepare, but there is really no reason to sacrifice your good health.

Learn to thoroughly enjoy life and relationships without continually stuffing your mouth with food and drinks.  

You don’t have to proselytize, but you have to set an example for health and happiness. As you eat for optimal health and vitality in the days and weeks ahead you’ll be able to more fully enjoy the special times with family and friends.  You will flourish and this will be the most enjoyable holiday season you've ever had. 


Don’t wait until the New Year to commit to excellent health, and don’t just “try” the six week challenge; trying is another way of deciding beforehand to fail. It takes commitment to quit addictions and improve health. Commitment is a promise to stick with it no matter what. Make the commitment.  


I wish you all the best of health during the upcoming holidays! 


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Comments (28) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Jeane - November 17, 2010 7:32 AM

Thank you for this article. I have made this commitment. I am already in a Thanksgiving hassle, but I am holding strong.
When I let relatives know that I was not going to eat the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, I got a sarcastic response of "well why don't you just bring your own food and just make it just about you". I thought about lying about why I couldn't be there, but that never works out well, so I gave that up. I decided I will take some things that I can eat and I will be the best Thanksgiving guest anyone ever had.

Emily Boller - November 17, 2010 9:41 AM

That is a great attitude to have Jeane ~ you will do wonderful!


PS A family friend is a nurse in a heart cath lab. She said that the evening of Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year in the heart cath lab where she works. Keep that thought quietly in your mind if the insults come your way.

Vibeke - November 17, 2010 9:48 AM

Jeane, that is the same response I get from my family of origin and it irks me everytime. My father, after three years of me being a vegetarian, still says I'm doing it for the attention it gets me. Yeah, okay.... whatever!!!

I love what Dr. Furhman says above and I will make the committment as well.

Brenda - November 17, 2010 10:58 AM

I get that attitude so often, I usually respond with "I work hard to stay healthy, so that I can be here for you longer" Being healthy isn't selfish - it's one of the most unselfish things you can do!

MichelleB - November 17, 2010 11:00 AM

Deal me in. I lost weight last Thanksgiving as a nutritarian, even though I was visiting relatives. I simply ate salad with beans and chopped apples for every meal, and kept out of everyone's way. I asked them to get salad veggies and apples for me, and brought my own canned no-salt beans, raw nuts, and also some nutritarian cranberry sauce to share, which I used as a dressing on my salads. At Thanksgiving dinner, I had a sweet potato with my salad. I had the most colorful and appealing plate...everyone else's plate looked bland with all those off-white foods (turkey, mashed white potato with grayish gravy, bread-based stuffing, bread with butter, greenbeans in cream sauce).

chris - November 17, 2010 11:25 AM

As Dr Furhman says you dont have to proselytize. However, the main problem for me and some others is, that if you take a stand for health, the extended family takes it as an insult.

You are insulting because you dont want to partake of what they consider healthy food that they bought, prepared, and took time to serve you, even though they know what you will and wont eat before you come. Its just not rational thinking to them. They take joy in offering you what they enjoy and consider to be healthy. When you eat for true health, you make a seperation between what they eat and what you eat. You are saying, without words, that they are not eating healthy and the result is offense because their food isnt good enough. With my inlaws, just bringing my own food causes offense and hurt feelings because they arent used to so many restrictions. It makes for a less than enjoyable gathering. When you add into it traveling hundreds of miles to visit, a hotel stay, and me being on the autoimmune protocol (no oil, no salt, etc), which is even more restrictive than the ETL diet, the gap grows wider. They cant even offer me a can of beans because they have salt added to it. I have to literally bring everything for my and my son's meal, not just supplement what they have. They couldnt be further apart on eating habits, giving children ice cream for breakfast, followed by cookies, choc cow milk, etc. They think nothing of it. So when you juxtapose this radical, healthy eating with their version of healthy, it looks narrow minded, unnecessarily strict, and having bad manners not to even try something they think you will enjoy. If we stick to our guns, the in-laws become out-laws.

Carol1one - November 17, 2010 11:38 AM

That's shocking, Emily. I had a friend who brined her turkey and her elderly mother (with heart/blood pressure problems) ended up in the hospital because of it. Not so Happy Holidays.

Great motivating article by Dr. Fuhrman. I feel the excitement building for the kick-off on Saturday! I'm in!

lightweight - November 17, 2010 11:57 AM

In my family, the holidays always revolve around food. This year will be no different, although the host is on a strict dairy-free and gluten-free diet this year which I am hoping will help a little... even though relatives have been invited to bring their favorites!

I'm in for the 6-week committment as well. I want to feel great the first day of 2011!

Essie - November 17, 2010 12:15 PM

Thanksgiving will be easy since it's just going to be me and my husband. We'll stay on plan no problem, though we are chosing some fancier dishes to celebrate with since we have the holiday off and have more time.

Christmas with our family will be OK, because they are used to us being different. Luckily my mom is not at all offended if I make dishes to supplement her meal--and share. I try to choose things non-nutritarians will like.

I sympathize with folks who get blowback from their families, but heartily agree that sticking to your own healthy guidelines despite the pressure is worth it.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

Emily Boller - November 17, 2010 12:30 PM

Chris, you are doing a wonderful job eating for health and raising your son to do the same. If others take your healthy lifestyle as an insult, that is their problem; not yours. You are saving yourself AND others the unnecessary burden of caring for major diseases on down the road. Keep up the great job!

Cindy - November 17, 2010 2:13 PM

A few suggestions which worked out for me last year and which I'll be repeating this year: Bring lots of healthful food to share, such as a mixed veggie dish, a giant fruit plate (very popular for young and old), and an interesting green salad. Most popular for me last year was a big crockpot full of spicy vegetarian (nutritarian!) chili. Even confirmed turkey-eaters enjoyed some the day after Thanksgiving. I'm so appreciative of this idea and of Dr. F and staff. Happy holidays and best wishes to all.

Mef - November 17, 2010 3:45 PM

I'm definitely joining the challenge. I'm currently on my 9th week of ETL 6WP, and I'm loving it! I'm enjoying the freedom from the siren song of junkfoods, am now free of toxic hunger, and enjoying the liberating power and benefits of being able to experience True Hunger. I can now listen to the signals my body gives me, and more importantly, trust what it's telling me. My goal right now is HARA HACHI BU, i.e., "eat until you're 80% full." After all, it's still easy to overeat, even on ETL.

So here's my "pledge":
(1) I commit to continuing my journey on the ETL 6WP (p.179). (2) I commit to eating mindfully i.e., I won't watch TV or read or browse the web or do anything else while I eat.
(3) As part of my challenge to use eating as a mindfulness practice, I will slow down, savor, and chew my food well. No more inhaling my food.

I'd like to be steady at my ideal weight as the year closes.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays everyone!! Good luck to everyone --- we can do this!!!

julie baum - November 17, 2010 5:16 PM

Thanks so much Dr fuhrman, this is a real paradigm shift for some of us.
I love the replacement principle rather than focusing on the do nots, can nots, taste not etc, choose life, choose health, choose living health giving colorful and disease protective foods and feel great.
I love what lightweight said - "I want to feel great on the first day of 2011". That is a great goal. If I eat the traditional way this christmas how will I feel? and If I stick with eat to live how will i feel?.
How could anyone feel deprived while indulging in a big beautiful colorful salad with some spicy chick peas, some big fat juicy mangoes or how about colorful fruit skewers with carob sauce and a sprinkle of coconut or some yummy carob balls, oh yum!!
I like the suggestion to focus on friends and family and not so much on the food too.
(hard when its so delicious!!!)

Kathy - November 17, 2010 6:11 PM

Let's get started..

Johanna - November 17, 2010 7:07 PM

Well, I'm on a plateau and cannot wait for this to start. I have to start now. We had a holiday bake sale AND a birthday at work today, and although I am able to avoid eating all the sweets, I found my appetite enormous for some reason. Thanks, Mef, for referring to the section in Eat to Live. It sent me back to Dr. Fuhrman's book and I will try to be more stringent as a result. You helped me. Thank you!

CACC - November 17, 2010 9:08 PM

Honestly, the pressure from some "friends" and family is no different from adolescent peer pressure to try drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. It is literally the exact same process with the same feelings and emotions on the part of those doing the pressuring. It saddens me that so many full-grown adults still haven't gained the maturity to stop pressuring others to conform so they don't feel badly about themselves. The holidays should be about families spending time together; they may do that over a meal, but who cares if the meal looks the same on every plate? I'm lucky in that my extended family only talks about my "weird" diet behind my back and doesn't give me a hard time to my face. ;-) But, that is mainly because I have been eating differently for a long time for one reason or another and they're just used to it. It takes time to break them in (or down)! For those who are really struggling, I suggest the ideas in The Pleasure Trap by Alan Goldhammer, which are nonthreatening excuses for your different eating choices. Oh, and don't give up hope. My mother used to make snide remarks about how a bite of sugar might kill me; now she is a nutritarian!

Mary - November 17, 2010 9:36 PM

Chris hit the nail on the head. That's exactly the way it is with my mother-in-law, and she cooks everything herself. She gets highly offended if you don't eat everything she makes and have seconds.

mickie - November 17, 2010 11:45 PM

I want to start, but I don't think I will be successful. I don't think I can make it one day without a soft drink. I think the withdrawal would be too intense. So, as much as I know I need to start, I don't think I can and I would be setting myself up for failure to try to do this.

Jemoiselle - November 18, 2010 6:04 AM

Awesome article and even better motivation to know we are all in it together this year! I am with you all! Lets do it!

Greg Kaler - November 18, 2010 8:52 AM

mickie I commend you for your honesty. You are here on this blog so that says a lot.
You WANT TO START- that is the first step. Give yourself credit. As Dr. Fuhrman says, education is key. Once you are educated as to what is healthy to eat and drink you can begin to decide where to start.
All unhealthy food and drink have addictive qualities, from animal foods to sugar. Start by taking one or two things out first. "To get to the Wizard of Oz you must take one yellow brick at a time." I used to be addicted to soft drinks too. Do you have a juicer? Can just be an inexpensive one. Buy a bag of oranges or apples, and instead of soft drinks drink freshly squeezed juice at family get togethers. It is WONDERFUL. If you can go off sugar for awhile, in a short time your taste buds will become much more sensitive to healthy sweet tastes. You'll be amazed! At your family get together if you can juice enough, others might love to try the juice too! (No juice in bottles, frozen, etc- concentrated sweetener- not healthy.)
Any time you eat healthy at a family gathering, you are being a tremendous influence. Eating healthy affects not only your health and the health of others around you, healthy eating affects the health of the earth. And it's time we gave animals a break. We don't NEED them to survive any more, and we'll be healthier for it.

Emily Boller - November 18, 2010 8:54 AM


Withdrawal symptoms are so short-lived . . . for the wonderful payback of a lifetime ahead of freedom from food/beverage addiction and feeling great as a result of having health restored!.

I encourage you to surround yourself with an accountability and support group such as the member center. Post your struggles and temptations; many will come to your aid with support and helpful tips along the way . . . 24/7. Read the chapters in Eat for Health on understanding hunger; that knowledge is power in overcoming toxic food and beverage addiction. Buoy your sails by reading others' stories and learn from their success tips. Read the "Interview with a nutritarian" series on Disease Proof. (Ronnie, Isabel, Laurie, Sue, Dorothy, Scott, Mike, Anthony, Laura, Jessica, Lynne, Theresa, Rod, Gary, Claudia, Elisa, and Barb.)

All the best to you!

Here's a few posts to help you along in your journey. . . .




Julie - November 18, 2010 12:51 PM

Luckily my family makes a lot of veggies for Thanksgiving (without any "junk" on it). I cringe when my friend gives me the recipe for, because "you are just going to love it; I make a huge pan of it", sweet potates with marshmellow, butter and brown sugar. And then, don't forget, "the mashed potates with mayo and tons of sour cream...to die for." Yes, literally to die for.

mef - November 18, 2010 3:42 PM

Mickie, if you can't commit to changing your eating habits, then at least commit to learning and building your knowledge base about Dr. Fuhrman's approach. You can't have a strong emotional commitment without first having the solid knowledge and understanding of ETL. Dr. F has repeatedly stressed that point. The more you know about how and why it works, the more convinced you are, the easier it is to commit and actually change behavior. Knowledge is the first step to commitment and change. Some people commit without the conviction based on understanding. These people more often peel off as time goes by. It took me a very long time to be convinced that this approach was the best. But once I was convinced, and decided to take the plunge, the commitment (and accompanying compliance) came easily.

Tina Brandenburg - November 18, 2010 5:31 PM

Hi Mickie,

I want to tell you that you are among friends here and we are here to help you.

Mickie, I hate plain water and diet dew is my drug of choice :-) What I do is take a pitcher of water and slice a lemon, lime and an orange and drop them into the pitcher. It makes a yummy drink and I just keep adding more water to the pitcher the fruits hold up great in the pitcher in the fridge just swimming away.

LaurieInOklahoma - November 18, 2010 7:35 PM

For many years, making it through a calendar year of holidays felt to me like navigating a minefield. I loved the holiday foods, but was miserable trying to control my weight.

I can't tell you how much better I feel, eating the same way year in and year out. It is such freedom!! Jan 1st will mark 6 years nutritarian for my husband and me.

Yes, it does help that my sister, BIL, and SIL are all nutritarians.

However, we are spread across the country, and at Thanksgiving time Darryl and I are usually just the two of us, or we are visited by a nutritarian friend. That means we can make our Thanksgiving meal a wonderful celebration of the harvest. Colorful, delicious, and healthy.

I would not go back to traditional holiday meals for anything in the world.


MIke Rubino - November 19, 2010 7:42 AM

I like being selfish about my health and I am not above hurting feelings to protect myself. Personally Id rather be out riding my bike, fishing, or taking a jog or walk or a combinationn thereof than sitting around the table eating a fattened old bird so I just let it be known if any are going to be upset when I bring my own meal let me know and I wont come. Nobody had taken me up on this offer yet but I am dealing from a strong hand.

I went to a family outing last week and my SIL law asked me was it hard to sit at the table watching them eat all that good food. I said no not at all because I knew that what they were eating was no good for me and that I had lost any taste for all that fat and salt and empty calories. That was the end of that conversation. Not diplomatic I know but I find it best to just hold your ground.People will eventually know your serious and back off.

Paul B - November 19, 2010 12:21 PM

Emily and Joel,

Thanks for the leadership and encouragement. I'm ready.


Esther Gold - November 22, 2010 11:35 AM

Good for you, Mike Rubino! Stand firm and stick to your guns. You'll be well rewarded with EXCELLENT HEALTH.

Sheesh, last year I saw my former SIL literally eat herself into a stroke at the table. This is NOT an exaggeration. Next morning she was in the ER at 2 a.m., nearly died. Indulgence: NOT WORTH IT, people! Find a love other than food.

I adore the quote: "Learn to thoroughly enjoy life and relationships without continually stuffing your mouth with food and drinks."

Best words I've heard spoken in a LONG time.

This is such a beautiful, healthful way to live; just embrace it. The very best to everyone for a wonderful holiday season.

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