Interview with a Nutritarian: Claudia

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!   

before and after photo of a female nutritarian

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!

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Comments (23) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Stephanie - May 3, 2010 9:30 AM

Just out of curiosity--what "symptoms of longevity" do doctors find abnormal?

Claudia - May 3, 2010 10:10 AM

Hi Stephanie,

Those 'symptoms' would include the following: mild lowering of thyroid function, lower body fat, mild cold intolerance, lower sex hormones, and lowering of WBC counts.

Shauna - May 3, 2010 12:45 PM

I appreciate this so much. Thank you Emily and Claudia for sharing this. It really helps me to see people who have been doing this for a long time and all the wonderful changes that have happened in their lives.

LaurieInOklahoma - May 3, 2010 1:15 PM

Claudia, you are an inspiration to all of us.
Great interview!

As you know, I, too, was a lifetime yo-yo dieter before discovering this wonderful, sustainable-for-a-lifetime way of eating. It's so great that your husband and mine both love this way of eating!

I'm very proud to call you my friend. You're a symbol of what this way of life can do. Consuming abundant micronutrients leads to healthy people, who enjoy their food and don't feel deprived.

Laurie

Claudia - May 3, 2010 1:58 PM

Awww shucks! You all say such nice things.

Laurie, the feeling is mutual. I feel very lucky to have you for a friend.

Very nice summation of what this way of life leads to. Well put as always!

Claudia

Kris - May 3, 2010 2:50 PM

So great to see you, Claudia, and be able to put a face with the name. I follow along on the forums and you are just a wellspring of support and information. Congrats on your success!

Paul - May 3, 2010 4:13 PM

Thank you to Claudia for the example you set and to Emily for helping to showcase that example. And to Dr. Fuhrman looking ahead when the price for the Member Center becomes affordable for working people.

Paul

Denise D'Agostino - May 3, 2010 6:35 PM

Was very inspirational Claudia and Emily! It's so true that with this nutritarian lifestyle it only gets better with time! :)

Jodi - May 3, 2010 6:43 PM

Hey, Claudia! Super interview and amazing photos. Since I've only known you as a nutritarian, your before picture is totally unrecognizable to me! Keep up the great work and the inspiration you provide to all.

David Bullock - May 3, 2010 7:01 PM

Claudia is my favorite whale! She is beautiful and graceful in the water, and if you look closely, you'll see that her outfit even labels her as a member of the dreaded "Orca" clan, probably the most powerful gang in the oceans! (Very intelligent too!). ; ).
For those of you wondering, she is only 90lbs in the picture on the right. And as you can see, that's just perfect for someone who is only 4 ft 11 in tall.
I'm very proud of my wonderful wife, and she is an inspiration for me also!!!
David

Emily Boller - May 3, 2010 11:12 PM

Considering insulin is now $109/vial.

Considering heart bypass surgery (with no complications) is $169,000 - $135,000 (Medicare coverage) = $34,000 out-of-pocket expense.

Condsidering days/weeks/months of lost work.

Considering post bypass surgery = $600/month of meds

Considering how much an average doctor visit is . . . .

I'd say the Member Center is very affordable.

It's a miniscule drop in the bucket compared to the alternative.

susan - May 4, 2010 7:14 AM

hi claudia, what a great story about your eat to live experience!do you follow the 6 week plan as outlined in eat to live with the 1 cup maximum of starchy vegetable /grain ?is your meal plan like the basic skeleton on page 184 B:fruit,L:salad ,beans and fruit Dsalad,steamed vegetables,fruit.?

Barbara - May 4, 2010 9:04 AM

Hey Paul,

I have the complete opposite perspective from you. Thanks to Dr. Fuhrman's program, I have changed from an unhealthy 45 year old to a perfectly healthy 50 year old over the last 5 years. This has changed my life and I am planning a completely different future for myself now because of it. I am now planning to quit my rat-race career job and take a part-time low-paying job of my choosing. This will allow me more time to mountain bike and play hockey (which I've never done until now!). I will pay for the most high-deductible cheap health insurance plan I can find, out of my pocket, and I hope that I never have the need to use it. I will continue paying for membership with Dr. Fuhrman as that will be my real health plan. So Dr. Fuhrman's plan is allowing me to experience the ultimate in freedom--less work and less need for money. I couldn't do this if I needed to support a traditional health care plan with all its attendent medications for someone of my age (medications for cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, etc.).

-barb

Claudia - May 4, 2010 12:58 PM

Hi Paul,

I think that most of us who belong to the member center are just regular working people who find the price to be quite affordable and reasonable for all that what we are getting. There is such a wealth of information and support available, and you just can't get direct access to expert medical advice from a physician any cheaper than this.

In any case, as long as we follow Dr. Fuhrman's advice and it keeps us out of doctor's offices, he will be saving us all a lot of money!

Claudia

Claudia - May 4, 2010 1:31 PM

Hi Susan,

The ETL 6 week plan is a great weight loss plan, and I followed it to a tee in order to lose the weight I needed to, however, once the weight had been lost I found that I needed to eat a bit more food in order to stop losing weight, and maintain my new healthy weight. The restrictions on the amount of nuts and starches really are only intended to apply to people who need to lose weight, and not to people who are trying to maintain. That said, my diet today really is remarkably close to the 6 week plan, just because I'm a small person and the amount of extra food that I need isn't really that big of a difference from what the 6 week plan allows. As far as the basic skeleton goes, it is a great reference for those who are trying to learn the ropes without getting things to confused or complicated, however, my meals probably have a little more complexity these days. Here is what I ate yesterday:

B:
2 ounce serving of manna bread with 2 tsp of almond butter, and 1 pink lady apple

L:
Green salad with 1/2 ounce walnuts and raspberry vinagrette, Black Bean Soup, and 1 pink lady apple

D:
Mixed Baby Greens with Spicy Pecan Vinegar, 2 bowls of Creamy Asparagus Soup (recipe from Health Times Newsletter, but with corn added), and 1 pound of strawberries for dessert.

What I ate yesterday had the equivalent of 1 1/3 ounces of nuts (1/3 ounce almond butter, 1/2 ounce walnuts, plus 1/2 ounce cashews from the soup), 2 servings of starches (manna bread, plus 1 cup of corn), and about 5 servings of fruit. Also, the black bean soup gave me my cup of beans.

Before my recent discovery of manna bread, I had tended to only eat 1 starch per day, but to consume a greater quantity of fruit. Does that give you a pretty good picture of how I eat?

Claudia

kat - May 4, 2010 3:38 PM

Wow, Claudia.

You're 21 years older in the second photo and you look maybe 5 or 7 years older.

Well done!!

Horsecrazy - May 5, 2010 9:02 PM

Great interview Claudia and Emily!! What great pictures you picked to post! Since I have only known Claudia at her healthy weight it is interesting to see the "before" picture! Just amazing what nutritarian eating can do for us. Very sorry I won't be able to be at the Getaway this year to see you both!

Harvey - May 12, 2010 6:16 PM

Great Work Claudia! Keep it up. How many total calories do you think you take in per day? Any idea of the protein/Carb/fat breakdown?

Stay Well

Harvey

Claudia - May 14, 2010 8:13 AM

Harvey:

As close as I can figure, its about 1300 calories a day, with 15% from protein, 20% from fat, and 65% carbs.

All: Thanks again for all the nice compliments. It sure feels great to have everyone saying how young I look. But, that is what happens when you eat this nutritarian diet. We all start to look and feel younger. You see this over and over again in all the success stories, and there are so many of them.

Emily: Thanks for all the great work you have done, and continue to do, to showcase the many inspiring success stories of nutritarians.

Claudia

Emily Boller - May 14, 2010 6:17 PM

Thanks, Claudia.

It's been a pleasure to interview so many inspiring people!

Keep up the great job everyone!

Emily

anne - December 21, 2011 11:39 PM

I was reading through this old post and was struck by the following comments because I have all the symptoms you described. Can you clear up what you mean by all of these things be "abnormal" and what I am supposed to do to fix these things.


Stephanie - May 3, 2010 9:30 AM
Just out of curiosity--what "symptoms of longevity" do doctors find abnormal?

Claudia - May 3, 2010 10:10 AM
Hi Stephanie,
Those 'symptoms' would include the following: mild lowering of thyroid function, lower body fat, mild cold intolerance, lower sex hormones, and lowering of WBC counts.

I have all of these things. ---except I dont know what WBC counts is.
I am on a low dose thyroid for low thyroid, I never get a period and my hormones are unregisterably low on blood tests, my hands and feet get freezing easily, by Body fat is around 14%! What should I be doing? My weight is great--103 or 104 and I'm 5'2"

I would like to maintain or loose a little
what should I do.
thanks
anne

B.J. - August 25, 2012 12:36 PM

Thanks, Claudia, and to all who commented. I've been trying to follow the ETL 6 week plan for a few months now but can never seem to get through a week without cheating, if only to eat more nuts than I should. Consequently, I'm not losing weight. Reading this blog has been an encouragement to just DO IT for 6 weeks, to get the weight down. Once I've been on this plan for 6 weeks, I know I'll be addicted to it, as I've been addicted to sugar/carbs over the years. I've lost 20 lbs in the last 8 months, trying to eat healthy and then finding Dr. Fuhrman's book and website, with 20 or 25 more to lose. I'm 66 yrs old and have been feeling the affects of years of less than perfect eating habits and sporadic exercise. I want the remainder of my life to be full of energy, if at all possible. I want to feel like doing the things I did 20 years ago. I would LOVE to become a hiker! Those are my dreams, and I know that committing to 6 weeks, without ANY cheating, will set me on the right path. Thanks for letting me share, this is my very first comment on any blog!

Nell - March 22, 2013 2:23 PM

Well, I'm with Paul about the cost of the member center. I just can't afford it. I also can't afford health insurance, and cancelled it about 10-12 years ago.

By 'can't afford' I mean that I take home about $450 a month. I'm lucky that my apartment is thrown in with my job and I don't have to have a car as I can walk downstairs to work and to most places I need to go on a weekly basis.

I think it's wrong always to throw the 'disease is more expensive' argument at people who say that the member center is expensive. Those people are looking at their actual budgets - as I have done - and finding that they simply can't squeeze out that much money and meet their monthly expenses.

That said, I believe - based on experience - that we can do a lot of things on the cheap. Join the free six-week holiday challenge and immerse yourself in the website, for one thing. Download every Newsletter that's available while you're on the six-week challenge and then READ them - every last one of them. Buy 'Eat to Live' and READ it - more than once.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who are able to figure out how to 'eat to live' the Fuhrman way without joining the member centre or buying a single product (apart from the book or books).

I've noticed that by making DiseaseProof one of my homepages, I tend to click on it every day and read lots of articles, and for me, that's been inspiring. I definitely am more likely to get my 'G-BOMBS' every day when Dr Fuhrman's message is 'in my face' every time I turn on my computer. I probably spend more time reading this website than any other, and it's a constant source of encouragement and reinforcement. Every time I read the story of this or that nutritarian and how well he or she feels, I'm am inspired and encouraged to one day be one of those people.

So yes, let's be realistic: Some of us simply cannot afford the member center - period. It's not in our budgets. But let's be fair as well as realistic: There is enough information online and in Dr Furhman's books to follow the plan. Just search for it and start making changes, and if you really think you need the member center, take advantage of six free weeks when the holiday challenge rolls around.

If that's still not enough, here's an idea: find Furhman-following nutritarians somewhere else, like on Facebook or in your neighborhood or at your church, and get together with them for encouragement, information and support. You may not be able to consult Dr. Fuhrman with some personal question, but there's really enough information online to adopt the lifestyle without that.

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