Interview with a Nutritarian: Ruthlette

Ruth always took good care of her body, but right along with middle-age birthdays came increasing weight gain. She was feeling the heaviness and burden of the scales climbing higher each year .  Thankfully, at age 44 she discovered a new book that changed her life in the aisle of a Whole Foods Market. Welcome to Disease Proof, Ruth.     


fit nutritarianWhat was your life like before discovering Eat to Live?

I’ve always been into health and exercise, but when I turned 40 it became harder to keep weight off and look toned; even with the daily cardio exercise and weight training.  Although I was still able to fit into most of my clothing, some were snug and I would no longer wear them. The numbers on the scale were creeping up and I felt heavy and sluggish.  

I had been mainly a vegetarian. I ate lots of fruits and vegetables, but I did eat cheese, yogurt and salmon.  I tried The Zone Diet but gained 10 lbs. after a year of sticking with Dr. Sears' terribly unappetizing recipes.  At 5’7” I topped the scales at 140 lbs. I was open to becoming vegan, but afraid to take the plunge, because I wasn’t convinced that it was healthy. 


How did you find out Dr. Fuhrman high nutrient eating style?

 I went to Whole Foods and saw a display of health books.  One was Eat to Live, and I noted that the book quoted from The China Study, which I had read and greatly respected. I decided to commit to nutritarian eating.


 What happened and how do you feel now?

Within three months I lost 15 pounds, dropped two to three dress sizes, and reduced my body fat from 33% to 24%. I feel younger and sexy, and I now have more energy and feel rested each morning.  My workouts are stronger and I’m finally toned again ~ my husband says that my body looks like a teenager’s! (By the way, my husband also lost 15 lbs!) 


portrait of RuthDo you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

  •  It’s important to understand that you can’t eat all-you-want of “healthy” foods like nuts, seeds and whole grains.   When I first started Eat to Live, I wrote to Dr. Fuhrman on Ask the Doctor and told him that I couldn’t believe how much food I could eat and still drop 4 lbs. in the first couple of weeks.  He warned me not to "pig out" and to only eat until I was full.  I was initially put off, but eventually learned that he was right.  I learned to listen to my body and stop eating when I was full.  After that, I dropped even more weight rapidly. 
  • I eat greens with every meal: spinach in my morning smoothie, a large salad with soup for lunch, and a large salad with dinner.  By loading up on salads first, my “hunger” is largely quenched.  I’m amazed at how much more energy I have by eating less!

In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for you? 

It has made me able to be more in tune with my body.  Fueling my body with nutrient rich foods helps me have more energy and look and feel great!


Congratulations Ruth for taking the plunge into nutritarian eating! 

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Comments (17) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Bill - October 19, 2010 4:31 PM

I too, bought Dr Furhlman's book Eat to Live and withi the first 4 weeks I lost 20 lbs! I had been exercising and eating as healhy as I could. I feel so much better, yes I have more energy. It's wonderful the changes in my body. I can not say enough about the book and the plan. It is the best life style for losing weight and keeping it off. Thanks Dr Furhlman.

Molly - October 19, 2010 11:11 PM

It's great to see people of all body sizes represented here. While the huge weight loss stories are always impressive, seeing someone like Ruth is also good, because it shows other people that just because you're within the "normal" weight range, doesn't mean you're as healthy as you could be. Ruth is a great example of what can be achieved if one strives for greatness!

KitKat - October 20, 2010 9:38 AM

Do you have to take a vitamin D supplement? I went on Eat to Live about 2 years ago, and lost weight nearly all the weight I wanted to in the first 5 months or so, then started eating more grains and less veggies and gained it all back. I was still not eating meat or dairy. I did not feel well, caught every and any cold that came along, and even caught H1N1 in 2009. I have been so unlike myself that my doctor ran full blood tests and discovered my Vitamin D was very low at 13. I am now on a prescription strength until my levels rise. My doctor is suggesting I follow the Paleo Diet which is fruits, veggies, eggs and wild caught meats but no grains, nuts or beans at all. I can't imagine eating meat and not beans. I want to go back on Eat to Live 100% but wonder if there are any other nutrients I will lack. I am so confused about the conflicting information and also about my very low vitamin D levels....

mefbiz - October 20, 2010 10:56 AM

Are you a member of Dr. Fuhrman's site? If you were, and read and/or listened to his lectures and responses in the member center, you would known that one of the most important points he hammers is to have adequate and correct supplementation, specially Vitamin D. He even has a newsletter devoted to this entire topic! If you really want to take control of your health, I recommend that you become a member (it costs $159 a year, I think) and learn the ins and outs of implementing the ETL strategy. You have to arm yourself with knowledge - there's a lot to learn beyond the ETL and Ear for Health books. I am a member of the site myself, and I've picked up a lot of helpful advice and information that I wouldn't have picked up from the book itself - both from other members, and from Fuhrman himself.

Also, I wouldn't touch Paleo with a ten-foot pole. It's dangerous. (You could read Dr. Fuhrman's arguments against the Paleo approach right in this in this blog.) I actually find it incredulous that your doctor would suggest Paleo, in this day and age. If I was in your position, I'd fire him/her. Looks like he/she doesn't even keep up with the basic nutritional literature.

What I'm saying is that pay attention to Fuhrman's teachings - he's a science/evidence based clinician who (a) knows what he's talking about - his expertise is nutritional medicine, and (b) he doesn't have a "philosophical" bias to protect, unlike the other "gurus" who intentionally or unintentionally obfuscate the issues around nutrition, either because they don't keep up with he field or they have another agenda or point of view they have to protect.

Deana Ferreri, Ph.D. - October 20, 2010 11:02 AM

Yes, the vast majority of people need to take a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is close to impossible to get from your diet - sunlight is the major source, but getting sufficient sun exposure is impossible without increasing your risk of skin cancer. Following a Paleo diet will not give you sufficient vitamin D levels. It will only increase your risk of chronic disease because of the increase in animal products and lack of beans and nuts.
Here is some more info on the importance of supplementing with vitamin D:

A good quality multivitamin and DHA are also advisable. Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations for supplements can be found here:

nora manwiller - October 20, 2010 8:24 PM

I don't think there's any harm in not eating the grains. You may have a gluten sensitivity or just some trouble with insulin levels. I follow a lower carb version of the the general Dr. Fuhrman diet--basically what he recommends to diabetics. This works for me. Grain have to be very limited, fruits are low GI and only a couple a day. I would stick with Dr. Fuhrman, do the Vit D supp. and get rid of the grains at least temporarily, then try sticking with brown rice/ whole kernel corn added to some soups.

mike rubino - October 21, 2010 10:26 AM

Fantastic, keep up the great lifestyle.

Amy - October 21, 2010 11:53 AM

Congrads Ruth! Keep up the good work!

Ruth - October 24, 2010 8:45 PM

Thanks for the nice comments. Everyone is so positive and encouraging.

Madeleine - October 24, 2010 10:51 PM


There is very little vitamin D in any food (other than in some of the deepwater oily) fish. So limiting animal foods in you diet should not make you D deficient. Meat contains hardly any. The best source of vitamin D is sunshine. Also how do you know that you were not deficient prior to changing your diet.

According to Dr Michael Holick, an expert in vitamin D, adequate vitamin D protects against skin cancer so I don't agree that "getting sufficient sun exposure is impossible without increasing your risk of skin cancer" is correct as suggested previously. This is not just my opinion but based on research by Dr Holick and other research. No one is suggesting that one needs to roast in the sun for hours on end but 10 -20 minutes a day depending on the latitude of where one lives, the time of day and one's skin type is usually sufficient. I highly recommend Dr Holick's book: The Vitamin D Solution. Really excellent information and easy to read. Best wishes

Daniel - October 25, 2010 3:39 PM

I'm not sure what the anti-grain talk is about. For me, there would be great harm in not having grains. I have at least 1,000 calories worth of whole grains daily and I am only about 126 pounds. As long as you have plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, etc, I think anyone can have as much whole grain or starch as one feels like having until satiety. They are nutrient dense, are high in fiber, and are an imporant part of a healthy diet. For me and many people, a diet without any grains is not a nutritarian diet, it is a famine diet. I know many people don't need as much as I do, but please don't tell me I only need 1 or 2 srvings. It's white flour and sugar you want to avoid or limit.

Madeleine - October 25, 2010 8:32 PM

Daniel, I agree completely. I eat a lot of grains and am also slim and healthy. I certainly won't be going without my organic oats. One of my life's small pleasures.

anonymous - November 18, 2010 10:34 PM

My body loves oats, so I'll continue to eat oats for dinner. I can't eat fruit, since fruit spikes my blood sugar too much.

Julie - November 23, 2010 5:00 PM

Hi Ruth your story is so inspiring to me as I am 43 vegetarian and have about as much weight to loose as you have lost. (30 pound or so). I am having trouble implementing properly the etl program could you give me an idea what you ate in your evening meal please. I keep slipping up on extra carbs and nuts/nut butter, or occaisionally one of my daughters healthy cookies or some juice etc and am not budging the weight. also what kind of excercise did you do and how much? Thanks I am discouraged at present.

Julie - November 23, 2010 5:01 PM

Hi Ruth your story is so inspiring to me as I am 43 vegetarian and have about as much weight to loose as you have lost. (30 pound or so). I am having trouble implementing properly the etl program could you give me an idea what you ate in your evening meal please. I keep slipping up on extra carbs and nuts/nut butter, or occaisionally one of my daughters healthy cookies or some juice etc and am not budging the weight. also what kind of excercise did you do and how much? Thanks I am discouraged at present.

Ruth - November 23, 2010 9:09 PM

Hi Julie: Try not to be discouraged. You are doing a wonderful thing for your health and well being by eating the ETL way. You just need to adjust your meals and figure out what works best for you.

You asked me about my dinners, but I am going to give you a run down of a day of meals for me as I think it is important to learn to balance all of your meals so that you are not hungry throughout the day and night.

I start the day with a delicious smoothie. It consists of 1/4c. Unsweetened Vanilla Soymilk (Westsoy) 1 Medjool date, cinnamon to taste, 1/2 frozen banana, 1T. ground flaxseed, 5-6 oz. fresh spinach and 1/2 bag of blueberries. On the weekends I treat myself to a 1/2 T. of Raw Cocoa added to the smoothie.

For lunch I have 8 oz. of mixed greens with berries or other fruit on top with 1 hearty T. of nuts sprinkled on. I usually eat walnuts, but also use cashews, almonds or whatever sounds good that day. I use an Orange Champagne vinegar from Trader Joe's as the dressing or Balsamic. I also have a big bowl of Dr. Fuhrman's Anti Cancer Soup. It is delicious. I make a huge pot of the soup each week. I never get sick of it. YUM! I usually end with a grapefruit or orange.

For dinner I eat 8 oz. of mixed greens or arugula topped with shredded carrots, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, 1/2 avocado, cucumbers, peppers and 1T. of seeds - sesame, sunflower or pepitas. I used a vinegar as the dressing. I also make a huge pot of soup each week for dinners. They are always from the ETL book. I have a large bowl of whatever soup or stew I have made for the week. I like to end the meal with frozen fruit. I put 1/4 c. vanilla soymilk in the blender along with a dash of vanilla extract, 1 medjool date and half bag of frozen berries.

On the weekend I will make something with grains for a treat, but because I have Thyroid Disease and am hypothyroid I have to watch eating a lot of grains. Eating a lot of grains puts weight on me quicker than anything.

As far as exercise, I have Labs and a Golden, so I walk them 2x a day - 40 min. each time. I do the eliptical machine MWF for 40 min. at a 20 resistance. I do free weights T and TH. Saturday is errand day and Sunday is a 2-3 hour hike in the woods with hubby and the doggies.

Eating this way has given me so much energy that I just want to be active.

My husband eats the same way that I do and has also lost 15 lbs. He looks great.

This way of eating really does work. Keep asking questions and figure out what works best for you. Every body type is so different.

Good luck!

Julie - November 23, 2010 11:45 PM

Thanks heaps Ruth, I so appreciate that information. I am sure I will nut it out eventually if i stick with it, and i plan to. I can see i need to adhere a bit more carefully to the program and also bump up the excercise quite a bit. i havent really been doing any.

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