What works for you?


Periodically we feature interviews with successful nutritarians here on Disease Proof. I thought it’d be helpful, insightful and fun to devote a post for you, the reader, to write success tips in the comments section below to encourage and help others. In other words, what works for you?

To get the ball rolling, the following are a few tips that have worked / continue to work for me:

  • It took an unwavering commitment to the Eat to Live eating plan, even when I gagged on greens those first attempts at eating them. (Now I’m addicted to greens!)
  • I devoted the better part of a year to focus on the mechanics of making Eat to Live an integral part of my life. I reprioritized my schedule. I excluded many social events that were centered around the standard American diet that year. I cut out extra activities to make time to study and understand Dr. Fuhrman’s materials. I surrounded myself with upbeat and positive people on the member center who continually supported and encouraged me.  I did whatever I needed to do to keep focused; and now eating for health is an engrained habit ~ a lifestyle.   
  • To this day I keep nut butters out of the house because I can easily overeat on them. 
  • To this day I limit eating dried fruits and banana ice creams to only special occasions, because they rev up my sweet tooth for more sweets.
  • I’ve learned to be content with boundaries as they keep me out of food addiction and unnecessary weight gain. Some may view boundaries as restrictive deprivation, but I view them as a small price to pay for the enjoyment of ongoing freedom and health.


What about you? What are some success tips that you’ve discovered in your journey to health?  Your tip(s) just may be the key that unlocks someone else's prison door!



image credit: flickr by aMichiganMom

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Comments (44) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Jennifer Ringewald - April 4, 2011 2:21 PM

Great post -- especially because Emily talks about how she restructured her life to include time for study and lifestyle change. This is what I am also trying to do now after having, for years, tried a new diet without study and without fundamentally changing my day. Thanks Emily!

Jennifer Ringewald - April 4, 2011 2:23 PM

Also forgot: I'm reading The Beck Diet Solution in conjunction with Eat To Live and I'm finding it invaluable. If you are someone whose weight has fluctuated for years and have a tough time, mentally, with diets or lifestyle changes I think it's very helpful.

Susan - April 4, 2011 2:32 PM

I drink a full pitcher of green smoothie every day without fail. It's the foundation upon which all the other meals are built, so that if I don't get the chance to cook a full meal or I have something unexpected come up, I have an easily absorbed source of nutrients in the smoothie.

Cindy Marsch - April 4, 2011 2:50 PM

First thing: I want that salad!

Speaking of salads, I think that is one of my main priorities--making sure I always have good salad ingredients around, and having a big mixing-bowl-sized salad with beans almost every single lunch.

The same goes for other produce--excellent fresh fruits, high-qualify frozen fruits, a good supply of kale for my smoothies, and enough "special" nutritarian food items that I feel well cared for.

StephenMarkTurner - April 4, 2011 3:11 PM

Emily, for me it was the HUGE green salad with tomato and onion and seeds and peppers and....

When I fell off the wagon briefly in the winter, I kept eating the dinner salad. One day at the end of February I felt stressed and hungry and wanted junk food, yet my hands just would not steer the car into the fast food joint.

I have not been to one since. In fact I have not had any meat or cheese or doritos or cookies or anything like that since that day.

Now it is not that I am white knuckled, resisting the temptation to eat this stuff, the desire has vanished. Get your 'foot in the door' with the monster salad.


Nikk - April 4, 2011 3:30 PM

ONLY thing that's ever helped me lose weight is Dr Joel's EAT TO LIVE. It's for life.

Chuck - April 4, 2011 4:07 PM

There are too many "I do.." and "I don't do..." to list. So here's just one. I've eaten raw red onions for years and years. I can always find something to put them on. They are a true superfood.

Lindsay - April 4, 2011 4:18 PM

Thanks for the advice! I'm on day 4 of ETL. It's tough seeing my family eat things like breads and pasta, but I watched the trailer for "Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead" and the trailer was so inspiring that I said, "I have to do this." I can't wait to watch the actual movie!

CJ - April 4, 2011 4:27 PM

Food preparation ahead of time is essential for me. At all times I try to have soups, beans and greens prepared and ready to go.

With nuts, I measure out my allotment for the day and put the rest away and out of sight.

NutriDude - April 4, 2011 4:33 PM

I make dinner for the week on Sunday so that I don't end up relying on a convenience food when I get busy or don't feel like cooking. Then all I have to do is put a salad together and heat up what I made on Sunday.

Jennifer - April 4, 2011 4:36 PM

First off, that salad looks Delish!
Waking up to room temperature water with lemon is a great way to start my day!
A fruit smoothie with greens!
And Apple Cider Vinegar, boiling water, lemon, and raw honey when I am feeling sick.

DebbieSLP - April 4, 2011 4:57 PM

When shopping, I just don't put anything in the cart that is nutrient poor. If I don't have it handy, I can't make a bad decision and eat it or make something out of it. After a few months of ETL, the desire to put processed, disease-causing things in my mouth just went away. If I do have some kind of food that's on the "rarely or never" part of Dr. Fuhrman's food pyramid, I always have a physical reaction later that reminds me why those things are not worth eating regularly. I'm deep into my 7th year of ETL. Eating and health are such non-issues in my life. Now THAT's liberating!

Annette Chambers - April 4, 2011 5:00 PM

As I have read each post and Emily's ideas,I am so grateful. These are all great ideas. I read Dr. Fuhrman's ETL book several years ago, but recently I re-read it. It has again inspired me to follow the ETL plan exactly! Now I am getting the results I have always wanted. Re-read the book. It is a motivator!

Charlotte - April 4, 2011 5:07 PM

In addition to reading Dr. Fuhrman’s and other, particularly raw-foodists’ books, it took perseverance in trying new foods. I kept buying and trying avocados for weeks until I finally learned how to tell when they were just right to use.
I try to eat a lot of raw foods, as I can easily eat way too much of the cooked.
As well as from Dr. Fuhrman I found great recipes and encouragement from Hallelujah Acres (www.hacres.com).
Emily and Dr. Fuhrman, I really appreciate this (entire Disease Proof) blog. Thank you so much! It is always so helpful.

Peachy - April 4, 2011 6:10 PM

The banana-based ice creams, nut butters, dried fruits, and nuts seem healthy, but they are a continual pitfall for me. They are in the recipe books, so I thought all those succeeding were eating them regularly. Thanks for clarifying. Is there a list so I can differentiate between an occasional indulgences and a daily meal/treat? I don't want to set myself up for failure again.

Nancy - April 4, 2011 6:14 PM

Roasted red pepper hummus (just add roasted red peppers and their juice to your favorite hummus recipe). I use it as a dressing on my steamed veggies or salad and love it as a dip!

MIke Rubino - April 4, 2011 6:36 PM

I always make sure that I have plenty of greens in the house ready to go, both raw and steamed . Along with that I want beans around too and find that as long as there are plenty of beans and greens to be had then its easy for me to stay on the straight and narrow.

I also have to watch the nut butters and nuts in general. I can have tahini around as I dont go gor it like almond and cashew butter which I seek out. In addition I only treat myself with a half of pound of nuts per week, as I find the Ill eat them for a snack.

Emily Boller - April 4, 2011 6:37 PM


The key to health is Dr. Fuhrman's health equation HEALTH = nutrients / calories. (H = N/C)

In other words, optimal health and longevity success is to eat meals that are high in nutrients and less in calories.

Remember the salad IS the main dish.

Choose foods that score high in nutrient-per-calorie density: leafy greens and colorful vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers (1/2 raw and 1/2 steamed), onions, mushrooms, colorful beans, fresh fruits including berries, 1 oz of nuts or seeds (if one needs to lose weight; more nuts or seeds is okay ONLY IF one is thin and exercises vigorously and is physically active)

Use much wisdom in recipes using high calorie foods such as dried fruits, grains, lots of starchy vegetables, etc. Use caution in eating the ice-creams because it's easy to over-eat and eat 2-3 times (or more!) the amount of fruit. It's best to keep these foods limited to occasional treats if you are prone to easily overeat on them.

[When I do eat the ice-creams and sorbets, I put them in 5 oz waxed paper kitchen cups which is about the equivalent to one serving of fruit. I freeze them and the wax paper makes the cup easy to peel away and eat the frozen dessert without overeating. Sometimes I need to defrost it for 10 seconds first.]

susan - April 4, 2011 6:38 PM

I find it helps to "automate" and rotate the same meals regularly. For breakfast, it's always a green smoothie...for lunch big salad with beans...then for dinner big salad and usually one of the delicious soups in the ETL book......Keeping things simple really has been a huge help for me.

nora manwiller - April 4, 2011 6:44 PM

I've been following ETL for about 6 years now and still feel tempted to overeat on healthy food! So, I follow the advice shared above. I have to measure fruits/nuts/hummus/baba gannoush out ahead of time or I will be tempted to eat too much. I have green juice for breakfast and a green blended salad (with fruit in it) for lunch. This help "awaken" my sweet tooth too much. Then beans/cooked veggies/cut up crudite for dinner. I read from Dr. Fuhrman's blog or web site every day to stay motivated. I teach my children and my friends so that I will feel guilty for failing to "walk the talk." This all helps!

Emily Boller - April 4, 2011 6:49 PM


Success for my family has been to have a Vita-Mix. For 2.5 years I "got by" with a food processor . . . but oh my, there is no substitute for POWER! That appliance is now a necessity in my kitchen. They absolutely LOVE the ice-creams, sorbets and smoothies a Vita Mix can make. It's opened up a whole new world of favorite recipes for my family.

Julia - April 4, 2011 7:40 PM

Green Smoothies

Blended Salads/Stews

Always keep a Salad Box in Frig: This is a tub that holds glass pt mason jars with the white plastic screw lids or pyrex glass bowls. These are filled with salad toppings all cut up. Lettuce is cleaned and bagged every 4 days. It is so easy to just take out the box and bag of greens.

Sometimes I fill my Salad Box, all at once but most of the time when I cut up things for the salad I just cut up double or triple the amount and then vary the ingredients every day. This fills your Salad Box but with small amounts of time rather than a large chunk all at once.

Hawar - April 4, 2011 9:39 PM

(1) Eating 2 meals a day has been key for me. I eat breakfast later (3 hours after I wake up) and then have dinner about 5 or 6 hours after breakfast. When I eat 3 meals I find my body is more in digestive mode and my cravings for food never end.
(2) educating other people about healthy eating. I find that when I educate my close friends about the benefits of healthy eating it motivates me to eat better and better.
(3) My wife, she makes tasty healthy foods. She is an amazing cook, and that makes healthy eating easy because it's so delicious.
(4) Drinking tea. Maybe it's not so nutritious but I find it takes away cravings from chocolate, candy or other snacks.
(5) only eat nuts and seeds to help absorb the nutrients from greens, as suggested by Dr.Fuhrman. :)

Con Ochsner - April 4, 2011 9:52 PM

I have a few that make healthy eating actually very easy:
1. Buy bulk beans, grains, condiments, spices, etc once a month and the produce weekly (at a farmer's market!!)
2. Keep cut up fruits and veggies in glass containers in the fridge for a fast snack and to add to meals.
3. Have green smoothies and nuts most mornings - quick, nutritious no-brainer. Then something different on weekends for variety.
4. Make a weekly menu and stick to it - saves money and waste.
5 My best tip is to make an extra serving at dinner for lunch the next day, and pack it up right when I'm serving up dinner. It's such a time saver and guarantees I have a healthy lunch. My coworkers are always curious about the meals I bring. I've told them all about ETL.

Gina - April 4, 2011 10:05 PM

I was on again off again E2L for years, mostly off after a short run on. About 4 weeks ago, I went back on, and this time, I paid attention and really have been getting in lots of greens and beans. (Before, it would be anything whole foods without worrying about how much of what I was eating. This was the only way I could handle it.)

Maybe it's too early to say, but I feel like this is a revelation. I have little to no desire to eat anything off plan. The very strong craving for a dessert after a meal went away.

I'm going to partially credit Dr. Fuhrman's video with Marilu Henner where he makes up the acronym GOMBS (Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Beans, and Seeds). I thought it was pretty silly but it stuck with me. I wrote it on my fridge white board. Now I make a giant pot of GOMBS every week and eat it almost every day (along with green smoothies, salads, and lentil soups). GOMBS did it for me!

Michelle - April 5, 2011 5:51 AM

I used to be a compulsive overeater and never really learned how to eat normally (to appetite), so I eat the same basic menu every day. I know exactly what I'm supposed to eat, and I still have lots of variety because there are so many delicious fruits, veggies, & bean recipes out there. I am 10 lbs below what I thought was my goal weight, and I feel fantastic!

This is my basic menu every day: an apple & raw veggies for breakfast; cooked veggies, a green smoothie & fresh fruit for lunch; and a huge salad & bean dish for dinner. I divide an ounce of seeds/nuts & eat some with two of those meals. When I exercise hard or am hungrier than usual, I add more nuts, beans, or a sweet potato or oatmeal once in a while. I am so satisfied eating this way!

Christy - April 5, 2011 7:11 AM

I love to make green smoothies! The problem is that my blender (I would love to have a VitaMix..saving for this!) is sooo loud it wakes everyone else up too early :( Could I make it the night before?

Sara - April 5, 2011 8:43 AM

Christy- You can make the smoothie the night before if necessary. I am planning on doing just that when I return to work on Friday. Now all I need is a good container that won't leak. I always bring a salad with beans for lunch and some fruit. I also make some food and soup on the weekend for late evenings when I don't have time to cook.

Brendan Kehde - April 5, 2011 1:16 PM

My wife, daughter, and I have been nutritarian for two years now. At home we have settled on a core menu of big green smoothies for breakfast, huge salads for lunch, and cooked vegetable based dishes or soups for dinner. We eat out at Chipolte occasionally and the salad bar chain restaurant "Sweet Tomatoes" is a favorite. The hardest part is minimizing intake of all the low nutrient and salty foods presented too us when we eat away from home.

Audrey - April 5, 2011 6:47 PM

Beans are the new black! :-)

Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) - April 5, 2011 8:00 PM

Believe it or not, writing my own blog about healthy eating really helps me to stay accountable. I can't very well talk the talk if I don't walk the walk. I recommend it to anyone who has the time and the motivations to get serious about getting or staying healthy. There's nothing like putting yourself out there publically as a uber-healthy person!

Shels - April 5, 2011 8:44 PM

Advice please...I am really good about having a green smoothie and a piece of whole grain bread with a small amount of almond butter for breakfast everyday. The problem is lunch. I bring a huge salad and always have some sort of beans in it. The issue is that I really want something warm at lunch time and I can only handle so many days of having beans that are warmed. I have soup every now and then, but I am really not into soup. I find that I feel pretty unsatisfied when just having the salad and beans and I am really wanting some food that is warm other than beans. Any suggestions?

Ginger - April 5, 2011 10:08 PM

love the salad kit idea

grow my own greens

green smoothies keep me feeling great

don't eat breakfast till after nine, lunch around one or two, and dinner at six or not at all

mega huge salads with beans for lunch and fruit dessert

cooked veggie dish and/or salad with beans for dinner and fruit dessert

gave up all gluten grains and all animal products and all oils

limit nuts, seeds, and avocados but have some every day

drink lots of water when I feel toxic hunger or go for a walk

don't apologize for my lifestyle just live it with joy

don't eat out

keep busy with meaningful activities

stick to the plan

vita - April 6, 2011 5:17 AM

this is exactly what i needed to read,thank you!!!

Bert - April 6, 2011 8:23 AM


I just purchased two individual sized microwave steamers from Amazon ($8/ea). You can heat up some mixed veggies in about 5 minutes, then add seasoning or sauce and have a stirfry (sans frying). Also, you can make soup over the weekend and freeze it in individual size containers. By lunch it is mostly thawed, then just heat and enjoy.

Joyce - April 6, 2011 12:32 PM

Basic Daily Meals:
Breakfast: Green smoothie with crudiferous greens, berries, beans, nuts, seeds
Supper: Cruciferous Green Juice, Large chopped salad with nuts, seeds, flavored vinegar, bowl of veggie-bean soup, dessrt: fresh fruit (emphasis on berries).
Banana ice creams, sorbets, nut butters, manna bread (as well as other E2L treats) restricted to special, "holiday" treats, not consumed on a daily basis.
I would have to be force fed any food other than nutrient-dense---and then I would put up a gallant battle! I have reached a point where my body would rebel violently if I fed it SAD garbage. Dr. Fuhrman describes this as reaching 'Black Belt" status. The food is incredibly delicious. I choose to eat no other way!...and my body responds with vibrant health!

RICK KELLER - April 6, 2011 12:38 PM





Karen - April 7, 2011 3:12 PM

Shels - I understand completely. Lunch is my most difficult meal. I pack lunch to be eaten out so it needs to be compact. What I really want is a hot sandwich of some kind. Veggie sandwiches do not keep me filled. This week I made a recipe from the back of the Lundberg Wild Rice Blend. I added a small head of broccoli, bok choy and nuts. It can be eaten anywhere from cold to hot and is not as hard to transport as soup or salad. I finally felt satisfied at lunch. Good luck to you in your search!

Andrea - April 8, 2011 12:07 PM

I have learned that I can go out with a group of girlfriends to a restaurant and not need to eat. Last night, I ate dinner at home, took a bottle of water, and just enjoyed their company. Great conversation and no regrets. I went with this intention several times over the past couple of years, but somehow thought it would be a bigger deal than it actually was when I did it.

Jennifer B - April 10, 2011 12:23 PM

It takes about 15-20 hrs a week of study and support to keep me on track. I don't know how long I'll need to do this but I am determined to give my body everything it needs for good health. What do i do with those hours you ask? I attend free meetings for food addiction; I am choosey, the meetings must have people with experience, strength and hope to share. I write. I talk to other people every day who are doing what I am doing. I read and listen to materials and seminars about overcoming food addiction (how others have done it) and following a nutrirarian lifestyle (including Dr. Fuhrman's books and recordings). I weigh my food, that way I know exactly what I ate, it is very freeing. I bring my food to restaurants ( and a scale) in case they do not have what I need. I have a good food recording program that I enter my food into and it shows how I've met or exceeded all the USRDA's which is satisfying to me. I know to tell you all this because I've been writing down what works for me so I remember. I make a point to be ready and willing to share this with whoever asks me so they can be free too.

bpa free baby bottles - April 11, 2011 8:59 PM

People argue much about healthy habits of eating and I can learn much for good menus.In fact, I see you suggest food with vegetables, beans, nuts and reducing of meat and fat.Besides, I suggest regular exercises is one of a key for healthy body.Thanks so much

Bert - April 13, 2011 12:26 PM


Good point. I had seen some of this info on microwaves but hadn't give it much thought lately as I just changed my eating habits in the last 7 - 8 weeks. So, what I did was heat just the bottom container with water to boiling in the microwave then place then steamer basket with chopped veggies over it for about 10 minutes. They were just lightly warmed and very good.

Jennifer B,

I'm with you. The more time I spend studying each week the better my eating is for that week. I hope eventually I don't require that much time to keep me focused.

StephenMarkTurner - April 13, 2011 3:08 PM

I have read, and been thoroughly confused by, some of the info on microwave cooking. Some info is definitely out on the fringe.

I don't know if this blog's researcher extraordinaire Deana has ever looked into this topic, but I would certainly be interested.

"Don't watch the food cook!"
- The Tubes (What Do You Want From Life?)


Julia - April 19, 2011 12:38 AM

This is my first encounter with this interesting blog and people caring about what they eat. My husband Ed and I converted to vegan lifestyle two months ago attempting to reverse Ed's diabetes. We yet to study this ETL plan and adopt its concepts. But what I found amazing that people are talking here about food addiction. When we excluded animal products, we forgot about food addiction at all. Maybe it will come later?

I cook and post my recipes on our blog. We avoid buying any prepared food, sugar, dry fruits, and I hate that many products (like bread and nut milks) contain added synthetic vitamins. I freak out by vitamins, minerals and especially herbs, since they never have been properly tested. All people conscious about healthy eating should start a campaign against adding vitamins and minerals in at least organic products. We can count them and watch what we eat!

About warm lunches. I usually cook beans or grains with vegetables in the morning and take it with me for lunch. Variations are endless, and such a lunch is compact in size. I usually don't salt my lunch because I keep tomato source at work and use it with grains or beans (my favorites are green pea, green french lentils and quinoa - fast to cook and they go well with any vegetables and in any style).

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