It's Not About Deprivation

Are you stuck in the dieting rut that says, “I have to give up this or that; I can’t have this; I can’t have that?” or  “My New Year’s resolution will be to restrict calories to lose fifty pounds by summer.” 


If you are, you are one of millions held captive in the American dieting prison system.   

Nutritarin eating is about . . . . eating.

I can eat this. I can eat that.

It’s not about deprivation, because when the body gets the nutrients it so desperately needs, over time, the taste and desire for junk and unhealthy food choices naturally diminish.  Food preferences change and the body seeks out excellent nutrition instead.    

As we choose to eat foods that have high amounts of nutrients:  unlimited amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits, unlimited amounts of beans/ legumes, limited amounts of unsalted nuts, seeds and grains, a bit of fish and poultry (if desired); we no longer are controlled by unnatural cravings for junk. 

Just like the body doesn’t naturally crave nicotine unless it repeatedly smokes cigarettes; likewise, it doesn’t naturally desire artificial, processed food unless it is repeatedly fed the junk.  When you are healthy, you don’t want junk.

If you are overweight or obese, you got there by starving yourself from high nutrient, natural foods.  Most likely your body has been fed unhealthy, chemically sweetened and flavored processed foods.  Your body size is the by-product of being chronically deprived of excellent nutrition. 

You need a paradigm shift.  A permanently transformed body is the result of a changed mind.  Focus your thoughts on putting nutrient dense foods into your body.  Fill your nutritional needs. 

  fruits and vegetables

I challenge you this New Year to forget about the all-consuming drive to lose weight by deprivation (which, by the way, takes a lot of psychological effort to get psyched up for and is never permanent), and focus instead on putting lots of nutrient dense foods into your body.  Fill your nutritional needs and your body will naturally decrease its drive to overeat calories.  

Do you make the salad the main dish?; including lots of raw vegetables such as shredded cabbage, carrots, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and beets?  Are you using Dr. Fuhrman’s healthy salad dressing recipes?  Don’t forget the central core of nutritarianism is eating large raw salads; including greens such as lettuce, kale or spinach in a fruit smoothie once a day, if desired.  Without the salads, it's likely that you're not interpreting Dr. Fuhrman’s guidelines accurately.  


“By teaching you how to achieve superior health, your ideal weight will follow naturally.”  -Dr. Fuhrman

Let's dialogue.  Do you focus on deprivation, or do you focus on eating a sufficient amount of high nutrient vegetation to achieve optimal health?



Image credits:;;

Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (21) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
kookachuke - December 16, 2009 7:39 AM

I have lost almost 25 lbs by eating much more healthily, inspired by the book Eat To Live by Dr. Fuhrman. But...

As a struggling binge eater, I personally DO believe in forbidden foods. Like an addict, I think I must forbid the foods I binge on to get high. An alcoholic doesn't have to stop drinking orange juice, she just has to stop drinking alcohol.

I'm not eating an entire jar of nutella (pint of ice cream, box of cookies...) because I'm hungry, I'm eating it to get high. I find it almost impossible to eat "just one bite" of these foods.

To be healthy and to try to rein in my weight I need to forbid the foods I eat for the high--these are inevitably highly refined, high sugar foods, and I use them like drugs.

To support my health, I eat 2 huge green salads almost every day, lots of fruits, vegetables, beans and a bit of whole grains and raw nuts. I've seen great results, but I still struggle many days against the urge to binge.

Kimba - December 16, 2009 9:28 AM

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Emily. EXCELLENT ARTIClE! I always look so forward to your posts- I check everyday!! You are right on the money. I adopted Dr. Furhman's plan in May of 2009, after owning his book "Eat To Live" since it was published. It finally sunk in only after reading it several times (I didn't want to eat good, I wanted my junk). I feel great and I crave vegetables and fruit. Junk food was my staple and now it just turns me off. Once in a blue moon I'll try the junk because I am at a party and that is all there is- I usually then get sick after only a couple bites. My body is telling me, "I Don't Want This"! If I am in this situation I eat before I go or I would much rather starve and eat good food when I get home. Everybody tells me how good I look and what is my secret. They all want that magic pill- I know I use to be there and it has taken me 6 years to figure it out and adopt "Eat to LIVE"! I tell people it is NOT a diet, but it is a Lifestyle Change and it is worth it everyday. And it is so easy to do. When they find out how I eat and I run 1.5 miles everyday- they say "OH, I could never do that"! YES, YOU CAN! It's the least you can do for your body.

Emily Boller - December 16, 2009 12:11 PM

Kookachuka and Kimba -

Your successes are wonderful ~ congratulations! Keep up the great job!

Yes, we always need to be intentionally aware of safe boundaries to remain both psychologically and physiologically free from food addiction. Wisdom and prudence is necessary at all times.

The Powerful Freedom of Abstinence:

Freedom to all!

Kinzie - December 16, 2009 3:01 PM

I loved this post! I actually feel deprived if I have gone through most of the day and I haven't had enough fruits and veggies. I LIVE for my "green smoothies" in the morning and make sure my meals are centered around NUTRITION... not "food."

Wild4Stars - December 16, 2009 4:37 PM

I use to have the deprivation mentality, but now I Eat To Live! I'm not perfect at it, I have some splurges now and then, but I don't eat the quantities of low nutrient foods that I use to. Amazing thing is that once I started eating high nutrient many of my cravings for low nutrient foods have gone away.

slk - December 17, 2009 12:57 AM

I am in a rut, I have read Eat to Live, The China Study, Quantum Wellness and still can not find it in me to eat well. I absolutely love fast food and to top it off soda. I know that it is not good for me, but as soon as I am determine that I will eat better, I catch myself driving through the drive-thru of McDonald's for some fries and an ice cold soda. This is driving me crazy, I am in a vicious cycle and can't seem to get out of it. I just crave so badly junk food and I love to eat it.

Sally - December 17, 2009 7:44 AM

It truly is a wonderful sense of freedom to not be in the grips of food addiction! I decided on November 30th after too much indulging over Thanksgiving that I didn't want to go through the holidays "out of control" with weight gain. It is day # 17 with NO CHEATS...sugar and the glass or two of wine out to dinner being my weakness.I'm not even tempted!

Emily Boller - December 17, 2009 11:34 AM

Kinze, I love your mindset of centering foods around nutrition and not "food." You've nailed it!

Great work everyone on getting free from the culture's grip of death. Sally, that is so great that you are establishing new patterns over the holidays. Keep it up!

slk - As long as you are strongly addicted; you will continue to be strongly addicted. To break the cycle, you MUST get radical. That means, you must do what it takes, you must pay the price to get free. You must renew your mind continually. Read. Re-read. Eat those greens whether you like them in the beginning or not. Go for that walk whether you feel like it or not. Download the teleconferences and tutorials and listen to them often. Talk to others on the Tuesday night phone chats. Post your temptations and struggles. Ask Dr. Fuhrman questions. Ask for help from others. In other words, get radically aggressive in fighting the addiction. Don't be a passive by-stander. Roll up your sleeves and get in there and fight. Fight hard. You MUST master food addiction or it will master you. Guaranteed. No shortcuts. No magic pills. No easy way out. BUT, it is sooooo worth it to be free! You will never regret any effort you put forth!

Go for it! You CAN do it. You CAN conquer food addiction. Rise up and be the conqueror!

Cheering for you!

Cheering for all to be free!

Emily Boller - December 18, 2009 5:27 AM

slk (and all others who are stuck in the rut of overpowering food addiction) . . . .

Dr. Fuhrman suggests linking together one week of healthy eating first. No matter what, just do one week.

Because you have to start somewhere, he advises that you ANNOUNCE your intentions to do one week of perfectly healthy eating, no matter what, to at least 4 people. (AND that means if "something" comes up - you stick with it, no matter what! No excuses!)

To all,

If you want to see radical results (getting completely free from this culture's magnetic pull of eating for death) . . . it's going to require radical effort!

Get radical and get free!

Nate - December 21, 2009 2:55 PM

I read Eat to Live after Thanksgiving 2009. It sure changed my life! I lost 20 lbs in 20 days! My blog can prove it!

Trust me. If I can do it, anyone can do it. I love unhealthy foods, but got out of the habit with a little motivation. And you can still have the occasional fast food fix. Just go strong for a week, and see how different you feel about unhealthy foods. I was tempted to eat McDonalds with friends and decided to just get the snack wrap. Got a quick fix and went back on the diet. Just don't do it too often.
With the holiday foods coming up, I enjoy them, but I don't go overboard like I used to. I recommend this new life style to everyone!

Arlene - December 21, 2009 5:25 PM

I am afraid I cannot yet agree with the above commentators though I wish I could in my own life. I have got the books of Dr Fuhrman and tried the dietary guidelines but I am really getting so tired of seeing salads I dread mealtimes now. Also when I eat fruit my blood sugars go up as I am type 2 diabetic. I just cannot see this working for me though in my heart I would love it to work.

Any suggestions?
Living in the UK I don't have access to many of the dressings etc mentioned in the books

maya - December 22, 2009 9:33 AM

my problem is the cost. for six months i followed ETL and i was spending $250 a week for a family of 3. after that, we just couldn't do it anymore. and now money has gotten even tighter and i just feel stuck. i regained all the weight i lost and my health is worse than ever.


Deana Ferreri - December 22, 2009 11:13 AM

Arlene, Dr. Fuhrman has specific recommendations for diabetics in his books (for example, limiting the amount of fruit) - are you following those?

I find that getting creative with making homemade dressings makes salad more exciting - there are also plenty of great dressing recipes in the books.

Emily Boller - December 22, 2009 3:52 PM

Maya - Spending $250/week for a family of three is incredible! Do you live in NYC? I feed a family of five on soooo much less than SAD food. I've SAVED money this past year as compared to our eating for disease expenses. I no longer purchase meat, cheese, pizzas, ice cream, etc. that racked up the cost of groceries, big time. Check out the comments in the post, "Nutritarian Eating Costs Too Much?" You may find some cost saving tips from others that will help reduce your expenditures.

Nate - Congratulations! I tried leaving a comment on your blog, but it wouldn't post. Anyway, my brother used to live near Green Bay, so my son is a huge Packer fan also (along with his uncle). Keep up the great work!

Arlene - Remember, a salad does not have to be cut up and eaten with a fork. Sometimes when I'm on the run, a chunk of cabbage, cucumber, green and red peppers, a tomato and carrot are my "salad." Many times, several leaves of romaine lettue with homemade hummus spread rolled up inside is my "salad." Have you tried the smoothies? Those are great and delicious ways to get in the greens also. There are lots of creative ways to eat vegetables. Keep at it! One of my children has type I diabetes, and one piece of fruit with a nutritarian meal does not affect his blood sugars. Are you eating a lot of fruit? or are you eating just a bit of fruit as your "dessert"? Are you regularly exercising? A bit of fresh fruit shouldn't affect your blood sugars that much if you are including exercise on a daily basis also. All the best to you.

aunt cia - December 22, 2009 5:38 PM

I can say that A)ETL is cost effective for us, a family of 5 because we are not spending money for meds, doctor bills, junk foods (what a waste!), and B) I have felt better in this style of eating than anything else I've ever tried, and believe me, I've tried alot! I haven't seen signifigant changes in weightloss for me, but I am feeling so much better. I am on my way home from a 2 wk vacation and, for the first time in my adult years, I have felt really well on a vacation. I was able to keep up "my" kind of eating pretty well, altho not totally. It's possible, and I really believe that this truly is the greatest diet on earth. Thank you, Dr Joel Fuhrman. You are a Godsend to me and my family.

Arlene - December 23, 2009 8:42 AM

Thanks Emily and Deana for your comments I am at my wits end with my health to be honest. Having ME, Fibromyalgia and diabetes and a cough and phlegm that have lingered now for the best part of a year I just feel like sitting down and giving up.

Where would you suggest I start. I tried the ETL for a week and I imagine I didn't cough as much but i am terrible at self discipline and I craved my old junk food again. I pray every night that my health will improve but I know I need to really get serious about my diet. I don't exercise much but on the days I walk my blood sugars do come down often quite dramatically.

I just want to feel well again, days I sit and cry I cannot remember the last time I had decent health.

Thanks for listening to my pity party and well done to you all who have succeeded on the ETL diet.

Michael - December 23, 2009 11:16 AM

Hi Arlene!

I can totally relate to the lack of self-discipline. All I can say is that you can become more self-disciplined. It takes determination, practice and patience. I have been eating closer and closer to the ETL guidelines over the years and it is definitely worth it! No more depression and low energy. I feel so much better and more alive! Just keep working at it and don't beat yourself up if you fall off on occasion. Just analyze the reason why you failed and plan to not let yourself get derailed under those circumstances again.

Emily Boller - December 23, 2009 4:49 PM


It takes most people at least several weeks to get past the overwhelming cravings for toxic foods. Following ETL for one week to undo years of unhealthy eating is not being fair to yourself.

It sounds to me like you have conditioned your mind to accept failure in this area of your life.

Don't believe the lie.

You can get out of food addiction! Most definitely you can! Read the many stories in Dr. Fuhrman's books and literature, including his web site, of those who have overcome food addiction and got their health completely restored.

Go for it Arlene! You can do it!

Renew your mind and your body will transform as a result!

Arlene - December 29, 2009 11:32 AM

Thanks so much Emily I really appreciate your encouragement. You are right I have resigned myself to illness and obesity over the years and I really want to be free now and get to grips with my health issues.

Have you any suggestions where I should start as regards a simple daily meal plan? I struggle to know what to eat and portion size for my diabetes.

Some of the recipes in the ETL book are not available here in the UK.

I am just so weary, my blood sugar readings over the xmas period have gone up as high as 13

Your success is amazing and I lift my hat to you for all you have achieved! If only I could do the same.

Emily Boller - December 31, 2009 3:08 AM

Follow the 6 week plan on page 179 of ETL for starters. You don't need to concern yourself with portion sizes as long as you are filling up primarily on lots of green vegetation; fresh and steamed.

Make sure you are having a doctor supervise your diabetes as nutritarian eating will lower your insulin requirements.

Your blood sugars will come down as you continue with ETL and maintain your ideal weight.

You can do it also, but it does require concentrated study and commitment. Study Eat for Health also and listen to the teleconferences and read the newsletters. In other words, study, study, study. The more knowledge you gain, the more successful you will be at overcoming food addiction. Knowledge; not willpower, my friend.

Arlene - December 31, 2009 4:37 PM

Many thanks Emily

You are a true inspiration, I cannot help looking back at your before and after pictures and marvelling at what you have achieved in such a short time. Well done to you again and a very happy and healthy new year to you.

I am not on insulin just diet controlled type 2 diabetic at the minute and trying very hard to stay that way if at all possible. I will try and follow your instructions and keep you posted on my progress. I want this new year to be a turning point for me. I will be 50 in 8mths time and would like to celebrate it with a new body and new health!

God bless

Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.

Remember personal info?