It’s been a privilege to interview such a variety of nutritarians of all ages, from all walks of life; and especially fun to meet young adults who have embraced the healthy eating style. Natalie is a junior in college and has learned the art of eating high nutrient foods while living in a dorm on campus - it can be done! Welcome to Disease Proof, Natalie.
What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman's nutritarian eating-style?
I ate like a typical “healthy” college student. While I had vegetables and salad every day, I also had my fair share of dairy, meat, and occasional desserts. I usually had three servings of dairy a day, cereal with lots of milk in the morning, yogurt with lunch, and a glass of milk with dinner. After every exam my friends and I would eat ice-cream, cookies, or some other treat to celebrate. Although my friends considered me a healthy eater in general, I was far from healthy. I often got really tired in the afternoons around “nap-time” and would need something to pick me up and keep me going until dinner. I also had exercise induced asthma that I controlled by inhalers, and I had eczema on my upper arms.
How did you find out about Eat to Live?
I initially read The China Study and it fascinated me. A friend gave me a CD copy Eat for Health, narrated by Dr. Fuhrman, and my mom and I listened to it while driving over spring break. We were so absorbed in it that we didn’t want to get out of the car.
How do you feel now?
I feel fantastic! I have a ton of energy and no longer get sleepy in the afternoons. I also don’t need inhalers any more, and my running times have dropped dramatically. I am on the Endurance Racing Team at school and last spring we ran a relay race across New Hampshire, and I also placed 3rd overall in a ½ marathon in the fall. The eczema on my upper arms is improving as well.
Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others?
Go all the way. If you try to limit yourself to one non-nutritarian treat a week or so it won’t work. Certain foods are addictive and once you have them you want more and more. Simply set boundaries for yourself and stick to them. Also, if others know you stick to your boundaries they won’t push you as much to eat unhealthy foods.
What is it like being a nutritarian in college?
It’s hard but far from impossible. My dining hall has a good variety of beans and vegetables in their salad bar. Most of the time I can also get a side of steamed vegetables or a sweet potato. The more challenging aspect is trying to get a variety of foods. Having the same vegetables available day after day can get tiring, and I always look forward to going home where I can cook delicious meals. On the weekends when there are not as many options available in the dining hall I often bike to the grocery store. I get food for the weekend as well as nuts and seeds for the week. This year I invested in an electric rice cooker that I can use in my own room and I use it every morning to make breakfast. I also often use it to steam vegetables. Next year I am hoping to be out of the dorms and live in an apartment with my friends so it will be much easier. I’m looking forward to sharing healthy recipes and meals with my friends!
While none of my friends are fully nutritarians, they support and respect my decision to be one. I’ve also been able to encourage many of them to eat healthier, and they often come to me for healthy recipe ideas. They’ve dramatically increased their fruit and vegetable consumption and don’t eat as much dairy. I was talking about the benefits of kale once, and a friend tried it the next day and said it was one of her new favorite foods. On my birthday my friends surprised me with a delicious, nutritarian, zucchini muffin!
In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for you?
Nutritarian eating has provided me with the nutrients for my body to optimally function as it was created!
Congratulations Natalie on making wise food choices early in life! We applaud your commitment to health - you are truly a role model to many!