I first met Claudia on the member center of DrFuhrman.com when I was a rookie at learning the ropes of eating for health. Claudia is a veteran nutritarian and always had something helpful to recommend; supporting me through bumps in the journey, including an unexpected surgery. She’s one of those steadfast encouragers that we all need from time to time. Welcome to Disease Proof, Claudia!
Tell us about your life prior to discovering Eat to Live.
I’ve been a vegetarian since the age of 15; however, I didn’t become one for health reasons. I was taught in school that there were four food groups, two of which were meat and dairy. Since I wasn't eating any meat, I was made to feel that this was cause for great concern. In fact, I had an aunt who pleaded with me to at least eat a little bit of meat, so that I wouldn't “get sick and die.”
My vegetarian diet was similar to the disease-promoting diet that most Americans eat, minus the meat. I didn't care for vegetables at all. Instead, I was addicted to junk foods like pizza, French fries, grilled cheese, and vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. As a result of my food addictions, I had a problem with overeating and struggled with my weight. By the time I was a senior in college, I knew I had a problem because friends and family were commenting that I had put on too much weight. I was always struggling to either lose weight or keep it off. I didn't have a diet-style which was sustainable or would satisfy me long enough to maintain a healthy weight. Eventually, I eliminated all dairy products which brought my cholesterol down to a healthy level. However, I was still a food addict and eating disease-promoting foods.
How did you feel before eating nutrient dense foods?
I was always a low energy person and didn’t like to exercise. Deprivation dieting and exercise were both burdens to me; therefore, I didn’t stick to either of them on a consistent basis. I also developed a large fibroid uterus which placed limitations on my ability to be physically active.
Just prior to Eat to Live, I’d been following a cooked-starch-based vegan (McDougall) program. I was losing weight, but I always felt hungry on the starch-based diet. I was always thinking about the next meal, and had to carefully count calories in order to avoid overeating. My food tended to be colorless due to the emphasis on grains and potatoes. My skin looked pale and became extremely dry.
What's different about you now?
I’m now vibrant, colorful, and alive, and functioning everyday at my very best; enjoying life to the fullest! I now enjoy an active life and have the energy to do so much more than I ever did before. I feel very blessed to have stumbled across this way of eating, because it has freed me from food addiction, and from the constant cycle of yo-yo dieting. It still amazes me that after failing so many times, that I was finally able to find a diet-style that would be sustainable for a lifetime. I absolutely enjoy the food that I eat now, and I love the fact that I can eat this way, feel great, and stay at an ideal weight.
I’m also amazed how much my tastes have changed as a result of sticking to this way of eating. I’ve turned into a person who now likes just about every vegetable under the sun. It’s so true that tastes do change. I love knowing that I’m in control of my health destiny, and that I’m not doomed to suffer and die from chronic diseases that plague so many Americans.
Since I was a vegan before becoming a nutritarian, my cholesterol and blood pressure were already good. My triglycerides, which weren't terribly high in the first place, were cut in half when I switched from the cooked-starch-based diet over to ETL; and my HDL (good cholesterol) increased significantly.
My highest weight in my mid-20’s was 145 lbs. (I’m only 4’11”.) In the before picture above, I’m 31-years-old and weigh 120 lbs. Now, at age 52, I weight 90 lbs; which is less than I weighed in high school!
After many years of following ETL, Dr. Fuhrman stated that I’ve achieved the parameters associated with dramatic enhancements in life extension. He also pointed out that symptoms of longevity are often considered abnormal and treatable offenses by conventional doctors who do not recognize cases of extreme good health.
Do you have any success tips that you'd like to share with others in their journeys to health?
Yes, success happens. It is only a matter of time. It doesn't matter how many times you have tried and failed in the past. There are so many of us who have experienced a lifetime of yo-yo dieting before discovering nutritarian eating, which has changed us forever. Anyone can do this. Just know that, and make it so!
Thank you Claudia for being a forerunner nutritarian, and for inspiring and encouraging many along the path of eating for health!