Starting Eat to Live and don’t know where to start? You’re in the right place. This page is devoted to answering the most common questions about our favorite diet, Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian lifetsyle. What can you eat on Eat to Live? Where do vegans get their protein? Why no salt on Eat to Live? How do I get started on Eat to Live? What are some good resources for Eat to Live? And the most common of all… when will my food cravings go away?
Just scroll through the questions below and we’ll do our best to get you on the right path.
Eat to Live is a book written by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. And, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s our favorite whole-food, plant-based program around. Dr. Fuhrman refers to this lifestyle as NUTRITARIAN. It differentiates from the term “Vegan” because it’s not just about eliminating animal products from the diet, rather, it is centered on the principle of a nutrient-density. There’s no junk food on the Eat to Live program. No salt, no oil, no processed foods, no preservatives, and no animal products. While eliminating these foods, you will instead eat 2 pounds of vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, whole food fats, and as much fresh fruit as you’d like. Here’s the basis: when you eliminate toxic foods and flood the body with nutrients, the body will begin to heal itself and unwanted fat will disappear.
My number one tip for starting Eat to Live is FOOD PREP!
As you begin this journey, you may feel compelled to try every nutritarian recipe you can get your hands on. But this is not necessarily a wise approach. Believe me, I’ve seen THOUSANDS of people through the years start… and fall off. Many people get burned out right away due to recipe overwhelm.
I don’t recommend trying 5 new soups in a week. Just prep one or two and keep them stored in the fridge for a quick dinner! If you want to eat different salads every day, just start off by making 2-3 different dressings and use your on-hand vegetables to mix it up. You’ve got to streamline this process by prepping the commonly used foods. This will make meal time a cinch.
Here are things that I recommend prepping weekly:
The effects of living a whole-food, plant-based diet are remarkable. Here are a few of outstanding benefits of living this way:
- The end of food addiction – Within the first few weeks, toxic food cravings that keep us wanting more processed, sugary, salty, and processed junk food diminish, and eventually, they disappear. After a few months, they completely disappear.
- Weight Loss – Dr. Fuhrman explains that weight loss is just a side effect – which is kind of funny since the majority of people that start this diet DO IT to lose weight. But it’s true! Losing weight is really just a side effect. Eating a nutrient-dense diet changes the body on every level. From skin to hair to every vital organ in the body. When you experience these changes you realize that weight loss really is just a side effect.
- Health Benefits – Many members of our community experience a relief in symptoms from autoimmune disease. Many have reported lowered blood pressure, increased energy, and again (of course) weight loss.
- Breaking free of food addiction – Dr. Fuhrman explains that most of the “hunger” that we experience is actually not hunger at all. In most cases, it’s a component of food addiction and a result of eating a low-nutrient diet. Symptoms of this “toxic hunger,” as he describes it, are headaches, fatigue, nausea, weakness, mental confusion, and stomach cramping. After several weeks on a high-nutrient diet, this toxic hunger disappears.
- No giving up carbs – Surprise, surprise. You don’t have to cut out carbs to lose weight. In fact, unrefined carbs ENCOURAGE weight loss. On the Eat to Live 6 week plan, you’ll enjoy whole grains, potatoes, fruits, and many more delicious, nutrient-dense “carbs.”
- Acne Treatment – Dr. Fuhrman explains that a Nutritarian diet can be the primary strategy to resolve acne and keep it from coming back. Along with every other system in the body, the skin benefits from a high nutrient, no-junk diet.
- Longevity – A nutrient-dense diet has not only been proven to extend life-span, it also greatly increases the quality of life. Again, as Dr. Fuhrman puts it, weight loss is just one of the side effects.
As you start Eat to Live, you may feel compelled to try every nutritarian recipe you can get your hands on. But this is not necessarily a wise approach. Many people get burned out right away due to recipe overwhelm.
The Meal Sample sheet is laid out so that you can get a quick glance of a nutritarian week. I don’t recommend trying 5 new soups in a week. Just prep one or two and keep them stored in the fridge for a quick dinner! If you want to eat different salads every day, just start off by making 2-3 different dressings and use your on-hand vegetables to mix it up. You’ve got to streamline this process by prepping the commonly used foods. Will make your meal prep process a cinch.
Here are things that I recommend prepping weekly:
Animal products are not allowed on Eat to live. That includes meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, and eggs. That being said, Dr. Fuhrman refers a lot to his “90% rule”. This works best if applied once you’ve achieved your health and weight loss goals. It generally means that 90% of your calories are from compliant foods (foods that are on the program)
If you choose to make eggs or meat, or any other non Eat to Live compliant food part of your 10%, then that’s your call! Just realize that in terms of calorie percentage, eggs are much higher when compared to your plant-based food sources. So you won’t be eating much of it.
As you start a nutritarian lifestyle, it’s helpful to have the following items on hand at all times:
Dr. Fuhrman encourages those who are on his Eat to Live 6 week plan to eat as many vegetables and fruits as they can. The driving principle here is nutrient density. The more nutrients you can eat, the better. That being said, there are a few foods that should be limited. Nuts, starchy vegetables, whole grains, soy milk, avocado, and ground flax. When using Nutritarian recipes, those are the only foods that should be portioned out. Your cooked and raw vegetables should be eaten without restriction – with 2 pounds being your minimum. Here’s the breakdown for your “Limited Foods”
Starchy Veggies/whole grains – max 1 cup daily
Raw nuts and seeds – max 1oz daily
Soy milk (no sugar added): max 1 oz daily
Avocado: max 2 oz. daily
Ground Flax: max 1 Tablespoon Daily
Learn more about what you can eat on Eat to Live here
This is a great question, and probably the most common. Transitioning into this lifestyle can be difficult physically and psychologically. Food addiction is real and there are many components involved. One HUGE component is the food itself. In the early 2000’s, a group of scientists at UC Irvine discovered that certain chemicals found in foods that we eat have an effect on our satiety and our hunger. When you’ve been on Eat to Live for several weeks, the effects of these “obesogenic” toxins diminishes, and so does your appetite. Dr. Fuhrman explains that there is a difference between true hunger and what he calls “toxic hunger.” Symptoms of toxic hunger include headaches, fatigue, nausea, weakness, mental confusion, and cramping in the stomach. When we feel these symptoms, our inclination is to eat so these symptoms go away. But over time, as that detoxification process advances, TRUE hunger will be experienced, rather than the uncomfortable symptoms of toxic hunger. Dr. Fuhrman explains that a high nutrient diet will blunt our hunger cravings. So once the body is well-nourished and junk food is eliminated, the body will regain it’s hunger function, experiencing a desire for food in order to maintain muscle mass, and not going into a fatigued, sick state in the process.
In the book, Dr. Fuhrman addresses this question by first clarifying that this is a program designed for weight loss and those who want to achieve great health. To do that, it’s important that we don’t use excess salt, beyond what is contained in our foods naturally. Numerous studies have connected excess salt use to heart attacks, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease. He explains that if you really desire salt on your food, wait until your plate is full and salt your food at the table, rather than cooking with salt OR using high-sodium ingredients like ketchup and soy sauce. This is absolutely my recommendation as well for the recipes found here! If you can’t live without it, add a little. None of the recipes here include salt as an ingredient. I, for one, am not 100% and do include a little himalayan salt in some of my meals.
There are many diets that will make you lose weight. Paleo is one of them. The difference between Paleo and Nutritarian is the science behind them. When we’re talking about diet, the measure of efficacy should not be based on weight loss results alone. After decades of research, this is no longer much of a controversy. In terms of heart health, cancer prevention, BMI, and over-all longevity, a nutrient-dense vegan diet is unquestionably superior.
Salads are the staple of this diet. But don’t worry, if you’re a little sick of eating them, I’ve got a few recommendations to get you through.
- Blend your salads. That probably sounds a little icky at first glance. But there are quite a few ways to make a delicious green drink smoothie. Use at least 2 handfuls of kale and spinach. Add shredded carrot, cucumber, 1/2 banana, a few nuts, and almond or soy milk. Sweeten with stevia or 2 dates. You can play with this mix, throwing in some berries, or adding other veggies. It’s a great way to get your greens in when you can’t think about chewing down another salad.
- Make a veggie dip platter. HUMMUS RECIPES are THE BEST when you’re on Eat to Live and eating a pound of veggies is definitely doable when you’ve got a great dip. Slice up at entire cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, anything that you can think of to dip.
- Experiment with DRESSINGS. If you hate salads, your taste buds may still be acclimating. KEEEEEP GOOOOOING. I promise this will get easier. Test out some different recipes and find at least one or two salad dressings or dips that you love. Prep them and keep them in the fridge at ALL TIMES. Get my favorite nutritarian salad dressing HERE!
Start by reading the book, Eat to Live, by Dr. Fuhrman or his other books, The End of Dieting, Eat for Health, or Super Immunity. Then here are a few tips for starting and maintaining a Nutritarian Diet:
- Make salad your main dish.
- Your food should be colorful. Use a large variation of colorful fruits and vegetables at each meal.
- Eliminate processed foods, salt, oils, and junk food from your diet. Start by cleaning out your cupboards! This process will be 100 times easier if your kitchen is prepped with the foods you need.
- Start by prepping great recipes. Prepare one or two of your favorite soups and keep at least 2 of them in your fridge at all times. Then, you’ll always have at least one meal prepped and ready to go.
- Understand food addiction and realize that cravings and toxic food withdrawal is part of the process. The first 2 weeks may be quite uncomfortable but eventually these cravings will subside.
- Keep a few nutritarian treats in the fridge as your go-to during rough moments. I recommend Chia Seed Pudding and Carob Fruit Dip. They’re both wonderful paired with fruit and nuts.
If you’ve just started reading Eat to Live or joined our Support Group on Facebook, you’ve likely heard our members talk about GBOMBS. You’ve probably heard that they’re important, that you should have them every day… so what exactly are they?
GBOMB is an acronym to remind us about these important foods: Greens, Berries, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, Beans, Seeds. It’s important to eat these vegetables every day, if not at every meal. They prevent chronic disease and promote health and longevity!
The reason that my recipe book does not include portion sizes is because you’re free to eat as MANY vegetables and fruits as you can. The more you eat high-nutrient foods, the faster your body will accumulate the nutrients that it needs to overcome toxic food cravings and the faster you’ll lose weight. The only foods that you should limit in portion are listed here.
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