Optimal health is for life

In less than a minute, while waiting at many checkout lanes in America, one can be inundated with the latest women’s magazine articles about revving up metabolisms. Anything from stimulant pills, special foods and exercises, and even continual eating have been touted by the so-called dieting experts. One can also watch most any episode of a popular TV show and see fitness trainers screaming metabolism lectures in the faces of crying, obese contestants.

In a recent post titled, “Metabolic rate: the slower, the better” Dr. Fuhrman busted the metabolic myth. He stated that eating high nutrient, low calorie foods helps achieve a slower metabolism that has many health promoting and anti-aging benefits. Basically, a slower metabolism is highly favorable for optimal health and longevity.

For me personally, I can eat the exact same thing as I did the year that I lost 100 lbs and gain weight now. When I was obese, I could consume a whopping 3700 calories per day just to maintain that size. Now, because my body is well-nourished, closer to an ideal weight, and functioning at a slower metabolism, I require much less food. If I’m careless and eat when I’m not truly hungry, the weight can easily creep back on.   

For example, this past winter, due to my slower metabolic rate and living in northern Indiana, I was constantly cold. I tried layering extra clothing and drinking hot herbal teas, but the only thing that genuinely comforted me was a bowl of warm oatmeal. I would eat it mid-afternoon when I was the coldest; not because I was hungry, but because I was cold. I would literally “hug” the hot bowl and let the steam warm my face! Ahhhh . . . . 

However, the scales told me that that was stupid. Thankfully, when I listened to my body’s signals for true hunger and made wise choices again, the weight dropped off. 

Again, this past summer, with longer days, the kitchen became “alive” about 9:30 pm when my husband and children gathered after evening activities. Again, I wasn’t hungry, but in the midst of my family’s “social hour,” I nibbled. Well, once again, the scales revealed my stupidity. 

A well-nourished, healthy body really does require much less food than expected. There’s a learning curve to maintaining great health, but if one uses common sense in implementing:

  1. eating healthfully

  2. eating only when hungry

  3. and stopping when satisfied

Optimal health is for life.    



image credit -  flickr: rockymountainhigh

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Comments (9) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Eileen - October 13, 2010 11:20 AM

Having followed the ETL principles for about three months now, I have found that I need very little food per day to sustain a pretty active lifestyle. I sometimes visit the fridge out of habit only to leave empty handed (YAY!!!). This was not the case before reading ETL. I would wake up thinking about food, eat constantly, and exercise very little. Now I ride my bike 25 miles a day or more, up hills, through rough terrain, four days a week. I also am a bartender and walk about 8 hours straight 3 days a week for my job, all on about 1200-1500 calories a day.

I sleep better than I have ever before, my senses are heightened to the point I can't even walk through the meat section of the grocery store because the putrid smell of dead flesh disgusts me (I never noticed the smell before). I am calm, patient, positive, and content almost all of the time. I used to be very negative, critical, and short tempered. I've even been told by my 9 year old daughter that I'm a happier mommy now. :-)

Lately people I know, whom I see only once in a while, tell me I look very healthy and ask me what my secret is. I tell them about the ETL book and the High Nutrient Density per Calorie philosophy. I am hoping that I can help as many people as I can discover Dr. Fuhrman's extremely valuable information. It feels wonderful to lead by example and have the evidence of health with me at all times.

My family and I are deeply grateful for the information and resources provided here and in the books. I think not only have we begun to prevent some pretty terrible diseases, but we have found true joy and contentment with our lives through excellent nutrition.

Emily Boller - October 13, 2010 1:04 PM

"I've even been told by my 9 year old daughter that I'm a happier mommy now." -Eileen

That's what it's all about . . . feeling our best! That's great Eileen. Keep up the great job!

Don Stewart - October 13, 2010 1:25 PM

Cradling or hugging the warm bowl of oatmeal because you are cold is comforting but adds calories, as you note. A cup of warm but non-caloric beverage can fulfill the same function. Invest in a mug or cup which is designed to let you get your whole hand around it. Frequently this will be a concave shape--the base and the top opening are larger than the middle part where you hold the mug. You thumb will be on the side opposite the handle with your palm and fingers wrapping around the concave middle and into the handle opening. Do not buy a dainty tea cup made to be held by the handle. Try before you buy, and don't use a bad design for sentimental reasons. Also, if you have made a boiling water herbal tea, let it cool until the cradling feels good and comforting.

Don Stewart

Beverly Alexander - October 13, 2010 4:51 PM

Thank you for that wise reminder. My biggest challenge is my non-hunger urges to eat. I am going to remind myself that choosing to eat when I am not hungry or choosing to eat a food that is not highly nourishing is self defeating. More positively put, I will pay attention to hunger and nutritious choices!

Emily Boller - October 14, 2010 6:10 AM

Yes, there's definitely a "re-training" aspect to only eat when truly hungry. Here in America, for many of us, we've been conditioned since infancy to eat for every reason, BUT nutrition.

Because we live in a culture of excess (many of us own more than two pair of shoes), and a culture that eats for disease, we all need to be continually reminded of Dr. Fuhrman's equation for optimal health . . . . Health = Nutrients/Calories; plus, his instruction to eat only when truly hungry, and to stop when satisfied.

Jessie aka Jemoiselle - October 14, 2010 6:47 AM

Hi Emily!

Another wonderful post. I always wondered why our metabolism went down with this way of living when the world always to equate high metabolisms with good health. Check this out, for a change of thought.

Take my Husband, my sweetheart. He is a WILLING volunteer for comparison here, please don't take this is me talking badly of him! I love him to bits. He has a HIGH metabolism, always has. He can eat anything he wants and barely gain an ounce. Though he eats better now that I am a nutritarian, he is not a nutritarian by a long shot. He calls himself a meat-a-tarian hehe. He has watched me read ETL and ALL Dr. F's books, watched me go through classes at cornell about plant-based nutrition, heard all my lectures, helped me with homework (presentations hehe) and listened to countless hours (over a year's worth) of ramblings about Dr. Fuhrman. He has seen my medical problems melt away, the weight shed. STILL he will not change. Why?

Because he believes his high metabolism and good genes (rarely gets sick etc nevermind his naturally thin family is plagued with heart disease and diabetes) prevents him from needing to Eat to Live. He believes since his metabolism is so high, his body is healthy; Handling all the fat intake as fuel, and that it won't cause cancer/disease etc, because of that and because he rarely gets sick. It is a very good example of how much trouble the metabolis nuts out there have caused preaching high metabolism equals health. I am reminded that in my third class at cornell in my plant-based nutrition course, as we were talking about heart disease three runners died during the Boston Marathon (I hope that was the one) whom were all "healthy" in shape with high metabolisms and athletic endurance. Goes to show, health is so much more than metabolic rate and body composition. So, so much more.

I have a lot of friends who are on Atkins and South Beach right now who balk at the effort and "deprivation" I go through, to be my weight when they are losing theirs eating nothing but bacon and cheese. Eww. Shudder. It's just a confused world we live in! Thank goodness there are people like Emily posting regularly, the truth. I wish I were disciplined enough to get my own nutritarian blog up and running =) I should be doing more, myself. Emily, you are an inspiration in so many ways.

Emily Boller - October 14, 2010 1:24 PM


Thank you for the thoughtful statements. Although I thoroughly appreciate the kind words, please keep in mind that Dr. Fuhrman is the one who has worked so hard to discover the truth about foods that promote optimal health and foods that destroy health. I just happen to be one of many, like yourself, who "bumped into" his information and experienced first-hand that what he says is true. I can't help myself but to share it somehow with others; and it sounds like you are doing the same in your own way! Keep up the great job. :)

Diane - October 17, 2010 9:07 PM

What an interesting post Emily! I joined the member center about 1 month ago and am just easing into ETL since I'm nursing our 7 week old daughter. After reading your post, I am curious as to what people eat in their day-to-day "normal" lives after being on ETL for quite some time and after achieving their ideal weight. I guess I was surprised that you can gain weight from eating a bowl of oatmeal and it made me curious about the post-ETL diet. Is there anything else you can't eat? Can you still have four or more fruits each day?

Jessie aka Jemoiselle - October 18, 2010 11:26 AM

Thanks for the reality check Emily, hehe. Sorry! Yes, not a day goes by that I am not somehow reminded of Dr. Fuhrman's hard work for the betterment of society. I will always be grateful to him ;)

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