So you’ve heard about the Eat to Live program created by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and wonder what it’s all about – if it’s really as good as promoted. In a word – YES. I personally believe it’s the best way on the planet to eat. It’s a great way to lose weight – AND a whole lot of major and minor health problems – making your life a whole lot better and much more enjoyable no matter what age you’re at! It will also save you a pile of grocery money and money for medicines in the long term. That said, it’s not for everyone. Let me tell you what it’s about and you can see if it’s for you.
The Eat to Live program is actually pretty simple. Health equals nutrients divided by calories. If nutrients (nutrient-rich foods) are higher than calories you’re doing it correctly! What it boils down to is a focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables with limited amounts of whole grain foods. It does not include animal products like butter and meat – well, there is an option to include some lean fish and an egg white omelet, but it’s preferred that you don’t – and suggests you avoid caffeine and alcohol as well. The easiest part of all is that there are no complicated calculations or calorie counting – what you eat and can’t eat are clearly laid out.
Still sounds tough, considering that we’re enmeshed in a ‘take-out’ and ‘packaged up’ society of calorie-filled, salt and sugar saturated food. Just think about what you’ve eaten in the past week! It’s actually rather shocking when you see how badly we fuel our bodies. What you need to do with this way of eating is make yourself important enough to take the time to prepare your own food – from food that you can actually grow, or at least pick up in the fresh fruit and vegetable section of your grocery store.
The ‘Eat to Live’ Plan
Fuhrman pulls no punches. With an internet full of incentives for people to tell us what we want to hear — that some hot new study shows that salt, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, saturated fat, etc. are somehow good for us — Fuhrman recommends only what his years of intense research and medical practice have taught him.
And those recommendations, predictably, aren’t quite so much fun to eat (or tweet).
The diet he believes to be the healthiest possible for achieving your ideal weight and maximizing longevity and resistance to disease, and the one I’ve been eating for the last 10 days, includes:
- Less than 5 percent animal products*
- No added salt (not even the unprocessed kind)
- No added oil (not even unheated olive oil)
- No refined sugar of any kind, and no syrups, nectars, or juices
- Minimal alcohol
- Minimal caffeine
- Fewer grains (even whole), more raw vegetables, more beans, and more raw nuts than I’ve ever eaten for any length of time
In unlimited quantities, you may eat:
- Raw veggies
- Steamed or cooked green vegetables, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and more
- Beans and other legumes. Fuhrman suggests eating 1 cup daily to benefit fully from the fiber and resistant starch, which helps you feel full and passes through the intestine without being digested.
- At least four fresh fruits per day, but no juice. You can have frozen fruit, but not canned. You can use dried fruit sparingly, as a sweet accent.
In limited quantities, you may eat:
- 1 cup per day of cooked starchy vegetables or whole grains (winter squash, corn, potatoes, rice, bread, cereal)
- 1 ounce per day of raw nuts and seeds
- 2 ounces per day of avocado (1/5 of a medium avocado is 1 ounce)
- 2 tablespoons per day of dried fruit
- 1 tablespoon per day of ground flaxseed
- Dairy products
- Animal products
- Snacks between meals
- Fruit juice
- Processed foods