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my full review of this total game changer
on May 10, 2010
So, six weeks later and I'm done the first stage of Dr. Fuhrman's "Eat to Live" diet. I'm really excited about this diet and thought I'd spread the word. This looks a bit like some sort of infomercial but I promise you I'm not getting paid for this, and these questions are a big summary of the ones I've been getting for the past 6 weeks.
What is this diet?
In short, it is six weeks of vegan food with no booze, caffeine, salt, or fat. That means no olive oil, nuts, or fatty things that are still good for you like avocados. After 6 weeks you transition to a diet that can include meat and alcohol plus days where you can eat whatever the heck you want. That's where I'm going now.
Why did you go on it?
My cholesterol was too high. I was slowly putting on weight and not liking the way I looked. I was sick of pretending that doing nothing was going to work.
Does it work?
In short, yes. I lost a total of 24 pounds in 6 weeks. It kind of blows my mind that I still don't look the way I want and I had 24 pounds on TOP of that. That's what years of gradual weight gain will do to someone I guess.
Do you get hungry?
Actually, no. This one surprised me the most. The basic premise is that you should eat 1 pound of raw vegetables, 1 pound of cooked vegetables, and 1 cup of beans a day. Think about that, it is a lot of food (you can also add more to that as long as it is healthy stuff). I often had trouble finishing the meals I was supposed to eat.
What do you eat?
Breakfast consisted of a bunch of fruit or some oatmeal a few times a week. Lunch was pretty much always an enormous salad. Dinner varied and I learned to cook a lot of different things and make extra for leftovers. I'd usually have a small(er) side salad, some sort of main entree (beans, mushrooms, some sort of fat free sauce), and some more veggies. You're allowed a little bit of bread now and then (as well as some starchy vegetables) so I never got massive carb cravings or anything.
Do you get enough nutrients?
Yes. This was a big eye opener for me, but I never realized how much protein is actually in vegetables. Calorie for calorie, vegetables have WAY more protein than meat. That is why you have to eat huge salads though, you need to eat more to get the same amount of protein in chicken or steak, for instance.
What would you change about the diet?
Some of the recipes in the book are rather ridiculous. I spent 4 hours cooking his "famous" anti-cancer soup and if I never have that crap again I'll be a happy man. Also, he kept wanting me to have simple green salads that I would soak in orange juice. Um...no thanks, I'll pass. So I bought the fat free balsamic vinagrette at Trader Joe's ate that with all of my salads (only 25 calories per serving). I probably had a pinch more salad and fat because of it but it was worth it to me to have food that tasted normal. I ended up getting a lot of my recipes online through google searches for "eat to live recipes".
Can you go out to eat?
Basically no. I did a few times and it was always depressing as the options were basically crappy salads with no dressing. I can get that at home. Some Ethiopian and Indian places had barely passable options but that was mainly with my eyes closed pretending that there was only a bit of oil in them. Stay home if you can manage. He mentions that some people live on this strict diet the rest of their life. Personally, that seems insane and I could NOT do that. I really miss going out to eat.
What was the hardest part?
Going out with friends. Life is based around food and alcohol. I figured I could plow through 6 weeks of it, and I did, but it was NOT easy. Not eating wasn't a big deal, and not eating most of the food was OK too, but not doing both was basically torture.
Well, I move into the "rest of my life" diet. That means eating basically what I've been eating the last 6 weeks for the majority of my meals (especially easy for breakfast and lunch by myself at my desk at work). The rest of my meals I can eat a healthy non-vegan meal or splurge and get what I want. My weight should drop a little more, just more slowly, and then level off. You can also drink at this point. That will be a welcome relief. I'm also really glad I learned how to cook really healthy food. I actually learned to love to cook which was a lot of fun.
Why do you recommend this diet?
1) it works.
2) the books is really good and educational. I would recommend it even if you don't go on the diet. It really breaks down why it works and the science behind it. It also takes a really objective look at other diets which, in the end, made me not want to try them.
3) I was never hungry
4) It gave me a lot of tools I can use the rest of my life to make better and more informed decisions.
So, that's it. I know this whole things sounds ridiculous and corny, but I've really never felt so damn awesome and enthusiastic before. It was hard in some ways, as people really do want to find reasons to get you off a diet. The temptation to cheat can be intense, but I stuck to it, and feel great. Mind you, I'm dying for a martini, but in the end six weeks wasn't the worst thing in the world.