If you are looking for a reason to eat better, lose weight, and maximize your health then I recommend reading Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman. I initially decided to read this because ever since I can remember, I have struggled with my weight. It feels like I have tried every diet under the sun, and while i’ve lost weight in the past I began to realize that things still weren’t right. I would starve myself skinny, and then years later realize that I had not only put the weight back on, but I was heavier then when I started! I was the classic case of a yo-yo dieter. I was really getting sick of it, I truly wanted something simple that would provide long lasting results. I knew I was doing something wrong, and I just wanted someone to give it to me straight.
I believe this book does just that. Eat to Live, is written by a doctor named James Furhman and it was published back in 2003. Even though it’s been a few years, I felt that the information in it is still relevant, as the notions in the book stand the test of time.
This book is actually one of the reasons I ultimately decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle. It is pretty simple what Dr. Furhman suggests that we do. In order to have long lasting weight loss, fight disease and live longer we just need to eat a nutrient dense diet. The formula he references a lot and asks his readers to use as a guide is H = N/C or Health = Nutrients/Calories. Through referencing countless studies, offering testimonials from people that have tried it, and offering his own knowledge as a practicing doctor, he paints a pretty convincing argument that this formula is our holy grail. We need to eat foods that are high in nutrients but low in calories, of course these are things like fruits and vegetables. In addition to that, he is recommending beans, grains, healthy fats etc.
He argues that in order to really take advantage of our health, this is the way we should eat. With the majority of our calories coming from fruits and vegetables. He even offers a pretty straight forward six week plan that he strongly believes will help us shed the excess weight and get back on the right track to better health. It includes recipes and everything. It is also important to note, that you do not have to become vegan to follow his plan. He does explain and offer a meal plan that includes meat dairy, and other animal products.
Before I began reading this book, I was working really hard to lose weight, and I had been relatively successful. I had lost about 15 lbs following a “traditional” diet. Just to give you an idea of what I was doing, it was the typical high protein low carb diet. My meals often consisted of grilled or baked Chicken or Fish, a little vegetables and very rarely a carb like brown rice. I shied away from eating anything outside of that, and I was pretty unhappy with it. I’m not sure about you, but when I followed this plan I was always hungry, never had much energy and I was also breaking out consistently (more on that later). I also felt deprived from things like fruit. I was avoiding it because I had read that the sugar in fruits was “bad” for you and hindered weight loss. Even though I knew this inherently didn’t make sense I still followed this plan.
When I found this book, I had just finished reading “Women, Food, and Desire” by Alexandria Jamison. As a result of what I learned there, I had adapted my eating patterns to include more vegetables, fruits, bread, rice, etc. I was trying to be “kinder” to myself, I didn’t want to be so unhappy with what I was eating everyday (the same bland meals with no real variety). So I was eating better but not 100%. I was still eating meat and dairy too but I was beginning to limit that. During the course of this reading, I began to adapt very early on. I started adding even more fruits and vegetables to my diet. This is because he illustrates so well why we have to eat this way and why we have to do it now!
I did feel a sense of urgency, because I do really care about my overall well-being…that is almost more important then the weight loss. Dr. Furhman does make a point to say, that we should concentrate on our health first and the weight will naturally follow suit. Honestly, what he proposed just made total sense to me, and the more fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains I ate…the better I felt and the better I looked! In addition to struggling with weight loss, I have also struggled with acne! When I was eating a diet heavy in meat and diary I would have weekly breakouts, but the more I limited those products, the more my acne diminished.
So ultimately, I became vegan and now I follow it wholeheartedly. I have continued to lose weight and my skin has continued to clear up. I still have the occasional break out, but it’s no where near as bad as before. My digestion is great (much MUCH better then when I was eating a meat heavy diet) and I am overall just thrilled with the results I have seen so far.
The only “negative” I can say about this book, is that because he is a a doctor, some of the reading is much like a text book. It can be a little boring especially in the beginning as he goes though all of the evidence and studies. But it is valuable information so I pushed through it.
I also noticed that he seemed to repeat himself quite a lot, saying the same information over and over again throughout the chapter. Perhaps it is because he knows how attached we can be to our eating patterns, and so he feels he has to reiterate himself to push the point home. Despite this, It is highly recommended on my end! If you want to learn more about eating the nutritarian way, learning how to live longer, healthier and better, grab a copy of this book!