Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live program is a six week rapid weight loss program designed to change your eating habits for life. I added two more weeks of a mono-diet as a way to kick-start my journey.
The Fuhrman program is an undeniably superior program for healthy eating. Its only problem is the difficulty in sticking with it, which of course, is not a small problem. One is not aware of the extent of their food addictions till they move to a whole food plant based diet like Eat To Live.
In order to move into the diet and get past the withdrawals from the transition, I spent the first two weeks following a seemingly radical, but very doable mono-diet as a means to reboot the food brain. Doing this resets how you think about food. It helps purge the dependency on the three main flavors that make up the SAD (Standard American Diet).
Details on both the Fuhrman plan and the mono diet will be presented in their proper time. Before the six week Fuhrman plan, and before the two week mono-diet, I made mental preparations based primarily on Eat To Live. Additional material came from Michael Pollan and Ray Cronise. Those preparations are detailed below.
Accept The Harsh Truth About What You Should Not Eat (Sugar, Oil, Salt, Processed Foods)
This is the hard step. The step you must understand to really get it right. Because the sad truth is, most diet recommendations don’t get it right. From the now debunked USDA Food Pyramid, to the future USDA recommendations that will be debunked, to atkins, to paleo, and vegan. You are never being told to remove all four of these items.
These fatal four items are sugar, oil (fat), salt, and processed foods. Very often only the first three are included. Salt, oil, and sugar (SOS) are the three main flavors of the standard American diet (SAD). Processed food is added here because too many people think processed food can be part of a long term diet plan. It cannot.
Processed food removes phytonutrients. Only some get returned through artificially added means. Processed food is the biggest reason we consume so much SOS. Therefore it is added here to make sure there is no lack of clarity. This is a pursuit of a whole food plant based (WFPB) lifestyle free from the added SOS.
No Sugar. This includes cane sugar, corn syrup, and vegan sugar. Sugar is sugar. It includes honey and agave which may have other benefits, but not enough to warrant the sugar content. Sugar goes by many names like sucrose, dextrose, maltodextrin, glucose, molasses, natural sweetners, and so on. Most of these are found as ingredients in processed foods. Add to this artificial sweeteners like saccharin, Nutra Sweet, and Splenda.
No Fats or oils. Animal product is fatty. Meat, dairy, eggs in all their varieties have too much fat. They are out. This includes fish. Plant oils are no better. Olive, safflower, canola, peanut, etc. is fat without nutrition regardless of its source. Healthy eating does not include animal produce or processed oils.
No added salt. The Sodium content in real food is enough. Added salt is not needed or helpful. Sea salt, is not healthier than rock salt either. Himalyan rock salt does not improve matters. Avoid canned goods. almost every canned food is packed with added salt. Buy frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables or better yet, use fresh.
Learn What To Eat
Joel Fuhrman’s book, Eat To Live is the bible for nutritarian eating. I have it; I read it over and over to better understand it. Many of the concerns raised while on this diet are also answered in this book, including questions on protein, calcium, vitamin D and omega 3. What I have written below is a cursory summation of Eat To Live and the six week program. Do not replace this for the depth of material in Fuhrman’s work.
In addition, multiple cookbooks have been written and Dr. Fuhrman’s website includes material and recipes for premium subscribers.
Greens: Place a large emphasis on vegetables. You can eat all the vegetables you want in unlimited quantities. Recommendation is a pound of raw and a pound of cooked vegetables. However, eat to your needs. If two pounds it too much, eat less. If not enough, eat more. Don’t get too hung up on the 50/50 ratio either. Just try to get adequate amounts of both. This is your first priority in your diet.
There are starchy exceptions. Potatoes, particularly white potatoes, should be avoided. Whole grains are considered starchy and used cautiously if needed. Some folks can lose weight while eating grains, others can not. If you eat grains, eat the whole grain. All refined grains like flour, white rice, bread, pasta, rolled oats, quick oats should be restricted.
Beans. Beans are nutrition bombs. On top of that, they carry resistant starches the trigger satisfaction sooner and longer. Eat at least a cup of beans a day. Eat more if you wish.
Fruit. All fruit is good. Eat four servings a day. Often it is good to eat these in the evening as a reward for taming your sweet tooth. Do not let fruit exceed your intake of greens. Make sure your greens are first. You can eat all you want, but if you want to accelerate your weight loss, keep to the four servings.
Seeds: Eat flaxseed and chia seeds as they contain Omega3. A tablespoon a day is recommended.
Spices: All spices are allowed. Get to know them and how to use them. Beware of things labeled as seasoning. Most seasonings are spices mixed with salt or sugar. Garlic is great; so is garlic powder. Garlic salt, or garlic seasoning is not.
Vinegars: Oils are not acceptable, but vinegars are and are especially great on salads. Some vinegars mixed with concentrated fruit juice which is pretty much sugar. Check labels if uncertain. Vinegars made out of various sweet fruits are acceptable. Balsamic and apple cider vinegars are the most common and best tasting according to most.
Tobasco sauce: We are talking only the original sauce. It is low in sodium and adds a lot of heat to foods. Tobasco makes other types of sauces for things like for buffalo wings. These are not included.
Nutritional yeast: A personal favorite topping of mine. Great for salads. This is not the same as bread yeast.
Liquid Aminos: Similar to Soy Sauce with a fraction of the sodium. Some say no to it; I don’t.
If You Do Not Cook, Learn How To Steam
While not specifically mentioned in Eat To Live steaming vegetables will help you cook quantities quickly while keeping spices and flavorings in tact on the food. I recommend it over boiling. If you don’t cook, this is the easiest and most versatile path. Even if someone else does most the cooking in your home, learn how to steam.
An alternative is an electric pressure cooker. Many former steamers switched to products like the Instant Pot. They claim it saves time and makes food come out perfect.
Read the material understand the message, prepare yourself.