Interview with a Nutritarian: Sue

As a Grandma to three energetic grandsons, Sue is thankful to have lost the 117 pounds that she was carrying around on her small, 5’ 2-1/2” frame. She’s your typical American woman who was caught in the downward spiral of yo-yo dieting, malnutrition and poor health as a result of the dieting industry; that is, until she was introduced to eating for health. Welcome to Disease Proof, Sue.   


before and after weight lossWhat was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style?

When I was 28-years-old I weighed 245 pounds and wore a size 22.  Climbing the stairs caused me to be out of breath, and leisurely walks and bike rides were tiring. In our house we ate a steady diet of McDonalds, pizza, roast beef with mashed potatoes, and we didn’t eat fruits and vegetables except for some occasional sweet corn. Needless to say, my body was starving for nutrition and I didn't even know it.

When my son started school, I decided that I would lose some weight, so I started the cycle of yo-yo dieting.  I tried many different diets: Weight Watchers, Protein Power, Atkins, The Carbohydrate Addicts’ Diet, and Pure Weight Loss...these diets worked temporarily, but I always gained the weight back. Nothing made me healthy, and I was always on a continual search for a quick fix to lose unwanted pounds.

However, at the end of my 89-year-old mother’s life, I spent time assisting her in a nursing home. Watching her in physical therapy trying to do simple tasks like lifting her hands above her head made me realize that I needed to take care of myself NOW! That was my “wake-up call.” 


How did you feel then?

I didn’t feel well.  I was pre-diabetic, lethargic, and my legs, feet and back hurt.  I intentionally stayed away from my doctor, because I was afraid of what he might find. 


How did you find out about ETL?

I joined a 12-week weight loss program, led and taught by Dr. Kachmann, a neurosurgeon in Fort Wayne who introduced me to a healthy lifestyle. At one of the sessions, Emily Boller shared her story of how she became healthy as a result of following Dr. Fuhrman’s books, Eat to Live and Eat for Health. I bought Eat to Live and couldn’t put it down. 


How do you feel now?

I’m totally energized and no longer pre-diabetic.  I walk for exercise; plus, I take yoga classes 5 days / week.  I have three grandsons and I can keep up with them; even from opening to closing at Disney World for five days in a row!






245 lbs

128 lbs

Waist Circumference









Fasting blood sugar

120 (at age 16)



      before and after weight loss portraits

Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

  • Put your health first.

  • Read "Eat to Live." Mark it up and know what it says. 

  • Eat high nutrient foods, and don’t worry about weight loss as you’ll naturally become thin, healthy and happy as a result.

  • Take your time and get used to eating correctly.  Your body will love you for it!


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

At age 61, I’m now healthy and eat lots of fruits, vegetables and beans, and very little meat; plus, I’m no longer bound by counting calories and points, and the downward cycle of yo-yo dieting.  Eat to Live has changed my life!  

Congratulations to a healthy and energetic Grandma . . . for years to come!

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Comments (14) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
deb brown - September 28, 2010 9:22 AM

I would like to see your diet for a day or two. I've read the book but still have trouble putting three meals a day together based on its principles.

Daisy - September 28, 2010 9:42 AM

What an inspiration you are Sue! I have been struggling with my weight ever since I started having children. I now have five kids and need to loose fifty pounds! I have known about eat to live for a while and have changed part of my and my family's eating habits but it is just not enough. Reading about your story inspires me to do better and just Eat to Live! I want to have more energy for my kids and I want to be around for my grandkids! Thanks.


DebbieSLP - September 28, 2010 10:33 AM

Great story Sue!!

deb brown, here's an example of what I ate yesterday.

Breakfast: 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 whole wheat tortilla spread with generous amount of home made hummus and raw spinach, 1 cup decaf with 1/4 cup soy milk.

Lunch: salad with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, red pepper, 1/2 avocado, sliced almonds; a generous amount of home made dressing made with almond butter, sweetened vinegar and herbs/spices; leftover cooked corn-broccoli mix with same dressing; handful of raisins.

Dinner: Ratatouille stew made with eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, onion, garlic, tomatoes, jalapenos, herbs, broccoli stems, green swiss chard, and a little organic Italian sausage for seasoning; poured over about half a cup of brown rice and half a cup of cooked black eyed peas; sorbet made with raw cashews, soy milk, frozen bananas and strawberries for dessert.

This is for someone at goal weight -- I've been following the ETL principles for over six years now, and while my meals vary a lot in terms of variety, I now find it easy to shop and cook without much thought or fuss, and still eat a health promoting, nutritarian diet. Not one of the 50 lbs I lost has come back. My husband still eats a SAD diet, but that hasn't stopped me from taking care of my own health and future the best I can.

Lynn - September 28, 2010 11:32 AM

I could really use some help getting started. I am 65 and at least 80lbs overweight. Like Sue, I feel short of breath, frail, off balance, aching all over, not any energy. When I'm stressed about something I go right for the sugar stuff - ice cream, soda, candy, cakes.

I would love to have simple recipes for 2 weeks that will be filling - just to get started. Please help me to do this. My finances are limited. Thanks so much. Lynn

Emily Boller - September 28, 2010 1:39 PM


Follow the six week eating plan as outlined on p. 179 of Eat to Live and you will notice a HUGE improvement in your shortness of breath, achiness and lack of energy in just six weeks. Once you start feeling better it will highly motivate you to keep going and that 80 lbs will come off in no time! By next spring or summer you won't believe the renewed vitality you will experience with all that excess weight off and your body well-nourished.

Feeling terrible is not the natural progression of old age; chronic malnutrition is the culprit of maladies, fatigue and disease. Once your body is well-nourished and you start feeling better, you won't desire that junk stuff that makes your body feel so miserable.

There are many great recipes in both Eat to Live and Eat for Health. I listed some favorites from this past summer's health getaway in a recent post. You'll enjoy ALL of them!

Sue Henry - September 28, 2010 3:17 PM


Here's my My typical day -

BREAKFAST (90%) of the time is a smoothie...satisfies and fills me up. I crush ice, add at least 2 fruits, a dash or two of cinnamon, light vanilla soy milk, 5 oz frozen spinach and usually a small scoop of protein powder. The other 10% I have oatmeal with fruit. I also have a mid-morning fruit.

LUNCH is usually some type of bean soup ( wonderful, low-cost food!) favorite is to soak 15 bean soup beans (without the mix!) overnight...then place on low in the crockpot. When they are about ready, I add 4 cups of salsa and a little cilantro and let them simmer. This is a very filling lunch especially if you put it over romaine/kale. Tastes very much like a taco salad.

I also really love the Eggplant Roulades in Dr. Fuhrman's "Eat for Health" book. I make it in layers and alternate that with the bean soups. I've come to crave eggplant this way.

DINNER - I usually have a large green salad with several different colors of fresh veggies...tomatoes, beets, onion, strawberries or blueberries...I am a huge salad eater. To this, depending on what I had for lunch,I also add some edamame, chickpeas or black beans. I make my own salad dressing with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and seasonings.

Another favorite is salmon and fresh steamed veggies.

One thing to know and remember is that when you start eating this way...the cravings go away. There was a point in my life that I could sit down and eat a whole 1/2 gallon of ice cream...and wonder why I felt so SICK! I don't get those feelings anymore!

Hope this is helpful to you all.

Beverly Alexander - September 28, 2010 3:36 PM

I have been interested in improving my diet for a long time, but many of the recipes I found required shopping at a specialty store for ingredients; or complex cooking methods and long lists of ingredients; or were just a bit boring. ;)

Serendipitously, I chanced upon Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn. He proposes a diet that is very similar to that of Dr. Fuhrman, from the perspective of heart disease. The second half (approximately) of the book contains wonderful recipes by Dr. Esselstyn's wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn. They are tempting, easy to make, interesting, and delicious. They made it easy for me to go vegan. I had had a lot of trouble tearing myself away from cheese! Dr. Fuhrman's recipes are good too and I use them frequently, but the Esselstyn recipes really helped me get started. Her writing style adds to the pleasure.

My best wishes to everyone who is willing to choose health. Two years ago, I was over 180 and couldn't walk around the block. I was in dire pain with an arthritic knee, but when we started planning my mother's 90th birthday (and she is overweight with arthritic knees), I realized that I might live another 25 plus years, and the thought of being that incapacitated for so long was terrifying. So I used a combination of both Dr. Furhman's and Dr. Esselstyn's wisdom. I feel great and getting better yet.

Hang in there - it is SO WORTH IT!

Deana Ferreri, Ph.D. - September 28, 2010 4:08 PM

Just a note that Dr. Fuhrman generally does not recommend using protein powders due to their lack of nutrient density and their tendency to raise IGF-1 levels (which are associated with cancer).

Lynn - September 28, 2010 4:09 PM

Thanks for everyone's kind advice. Lynn

MIke Rubino - September 28, 2010 5:44 PM

This is another grat ETL story. Congratulations!

Daniel - September 28, 2010 7:11 PM

Does anyone know if canned beans without salt or any other ingredients are just as healthy as dried beans?

Vickie Griffin - September 29, 2010 7:00 AM

Way to go Sue! I to am a grandmother and love to play with my grandchildren but before Eat for Health I couldn't get up and down off the floor or barely pick them up. I lost 35 lbs in less than 6 mos and I feel wonderful. My life has been so impacted by Dr. Fuhrman's health plan that I started 2 Eat for Health Connect Groups in my church to spread the good news that we don't have to die of diseases and spend the latter part of our life sick!
As far as the daily plan goes, start off by keeping it simple; add 3+ fruits and 1 large salad to your diet each day as you read through book 2 of Eat for Health-phase 1 and just follow the suggestions in there. Eat for Health 2 book series is so much easier to follow than Eat to Live (I call it the "diet for dummies"). I tell my members that it's not what you remove from your diet it's what you add to it.
Don't stop reading the books, it will get easier I promise!

teri - September 29, 2010 11:21 AM

Congratulations Sue! You look marvelously healthy!!! I appreciate your tips!!!
Here's what I do on a "grab and run day"....
Bfast: a couple low cal fruits, 1 oz flax & 1 oz nuts as I run out the door.
Lunch: this is when I do my soup or beans... I always have a couple cans of beans on hand in an emergency- you can wash /strain the salt n junk out and throw in a couple tablespoons of homemade salsa. I also try to have a salad or green smoothie if I have time, but if I am running or at work, I try to add a bottle of carrot juice.
Dinner on the run (usually for work when I didn't plan...) I always have a few bags of steamables in the freezer just in case. Hey.... a bag of brussel sprouts, limas, cauliflower or peas is great when you are hungry and there isn't anything remotely edible in the vending machines.
We had a family emergency last month and I filled a cooler with fresh fruits, canned beans, raw veggies, my Dr. Fuhrman vitamins,a bag of walnuts, diet green tea and (yes, I am weird) a package of Nori/seaweed. Trader Joes can't keep the little packages stocked...kinda like chips, only-not! Obviously, you can have as much fun, or as little effort... I keeps it simple and cook on the days off for fun trying something new. Have fun, don't stres... just do it to live and enjoy your wonderful life! I know you can :0)

Diane - December 10, 2010 8:37 AM

I want to go buy book and hope this helps meright now Im worried that I have parkinsons desiese

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