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.
on June 26, 2003
The reviewer from Philadelphia below misrepresents Eat To Live. As a physician myself, I am concerned that this misinformation may harm other people by preventing them from reading Dr. Fuhrman's important book - I am especially concerned about our American epidemic of obesity and diet-related diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Fuhrman presents the cure in his well-researched book. The reviewer (did this person read the book?) from Philadelphia states that Dr Fuhrman's recommendations allow no animal products when in fact Eat To Live is a diet-style, not a diet. It has no such rigid requirements. In his menu plans he gives 7 days of menu plans for those on a vegetarian version of the plan and 7 days on a non-vegetarian plan. Dr. Fuhrman also makes it clear that a diet rich in vegetables does not have to be all raw or exclude animal foods completely; it is flexible. As a physician, I have observed him in action with patients and he can modify recipes and menu plans to accommodate various tastes and food preferences. It is not an all or nothing plan. However, without reading Eat To Live, your future diet-style will be based on misinformation, not science. It takes experience, creativity and knowledge to make the healthiest way to eat taste favorable for many people. Some people will reject the idea of eating for health based on incomplete information and what they want to eat based on short term thinking (those french fries sound good), rather than enjoying truly more delicious foods that are actually healthful too. Just remember taste is learned and takes a few months to adjust and you can also learn to make healthy food taste great. I have observed that most people over time actually like the taste of this diet-style better then their prior one and love the fact they can eat as much as they want. You get to eat lots of food, not be hungry and get great results too. Get the book and see for yourself. I believe every person in America must read this information; it puts all controversy about diet to rest and may save your life.
on January 5, 2011
This is the first time I have ever been moved to write a review on Amazon - this is how strongly I feel about this book!
I found an article by Dr. Fuhrman on reversing and preventing heart disease, which led me to his book (the 2005 edition). My husband's father had a heart attack at age 39, so the topic is something that concerns me. We both read it this Thanksgiving (2010) and were immediately floored by it. My husband is a scientist and usually skeptical of any type of advice books, but Dr. Fuhrman presents a lot of peer-reviewed research and makes, at least what was to us, a very convincing case. Neither of us was overweight but, just in our 40s, we were getting soft.
It's been 6 weeks now and it has changed the way we eat and think (and hopefully, live). We have both lost enough weight that we need to buy some new clothes and we fit into things we haven't fit into for years. In short, we're starting to look again like our younger selves, like us back in our 20s. That is fun, no denying, but more importantly, we both feel better. I suffered headaches for years. I knew in the back of my mind they were food-related, but I was too lazy to take the time to figure out what it was. Fogginess and headaches are gone. I feel clear and present and energetic now, virtually all the time, as does my husband.
Some caveats that may not apply to everyone. First, we ate fairly healthy before reading this, so I think the transition wasn't too hard for us. Second, my husband's sister is a naturopath/nutritionist, so we'd been hearing these themes for years. The mind shift was not entirely radical either. We were primed.
The book is not entirely without flaws, but even so, I don't think we'll ever go back to eating the way we used to. One thing people should be prepared for that he does not discuss is that eating this way is expensive. Fruits, vegetables, lettuce add up very quickly. We go to the store a lot more often. One joke I have is that you lose weight from constantly having to put away all the food you're buying (all that bending down, picking up, rearranging the fridge). No joke - it's constant. Rationally, I understand that you are investing in your health for the long-term and avoiding (hopefully) healthcare costs, but the reality is that it is much more expensive, in the short term, to eat this way. We were not big meat eaters before. Maybe it's comparable if you were.
Another challenge for us has been feeding our kids. I read "Disease-Proof Your Children" and, while I believe in everything he's saying, I think it's more difficult to get your kids to eat this way. If you go cold turkey, perhaps you can do it, but for some reason I'm not willing to do that with them when they are so adamantly against it. Again, they never ate terribly, and we are working more fruits and veggies in their diet (and also bought them Mitch Spinach, which they like), but it is a challenge. Mealtimes are now more complicated because we have to prepare more dishes to satisfy everyone.
I do worry if I'm getting enough nutrition. Frankly, it's hard to keep up with what he recommends, and I wonder how many people actually do. There is slim chance I am eating a pound or two of lettuce and a pound of veggies a day. Maybe some days, but I'm not sure. And finding enough fruit to eat in the winter, and keeping pace with his recommendations are not that easy. The thing that consoles me, oddly, is that perhaps I was not getting enough nutrition before either, and I was just ignorant of it. In any case, I firmly believe that eating this way is vastly better.
Although we bought the 2005 edition just 7 weeks or so ago, we actually bought this updated edition last week for the additional recipes. My last comment is that I cannot believe that he or anyone he works with tested many of these recipes! Some seem downright ludicrous in either prep time or number of ingredients or lack of flavor. I'm hopeful this new edition will have better recipes. We also bought a vegan cookbook and have been amending those recipes to fit his guidelines.
I do see the world differently now, how "the system" conspires to get you to eat unhealthfully. The mantra out there is that we need more self-control, we need to eat less but, after reading Dr. Fuhrman I see how wrong that is. On the contrary, it's not at all about eating less. It's about eating more of the food we were meant to eat instead of the processed stuff that has taken over.
on April 12, 2012
The review right before me says that after the six week program you can return to alcohol and meats. Dr. Fuhrman does not say this or recommend this in his book. also, Dr. Fuhrman does not recommend a fat free diet, even those first six weeks, you have small amounts of raw nuts or other whole food fat sources, like avocado. Just a caveat.
Excellent book, full of information that will educate you and change your mind about the food you have been eating all your life. This is a life changing program.
I've started to follow the Eat to Live diet to lose weight and to avoid the diseases my parents had: diabetes, arthritis, heart problems. I have been following this healthy and easy way to eat for 12 days and have lost TEN pounds...TEN! I've tried every diet there is. I am no longer craving the foods I ate before AND I never feel like I'm super hungry or really depriving myself.
If you're looking for the final answer for losing weight and becoming healthy, this book is for you. My grown son has started the program, too, because he saw how much more energy I have. People are telling me I look radiant. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Update: six weeks later, I've lost 25 pounds and feel wonderful. Smaller clothes, tons of energy. Don't hesitate to order this book and give it in try.
Update: after six months I lost seventy pounds, after ten months, lost a total of 80 pounds. A real life changing book. I feel marvelous.
Update: one year and four months after starting this change of eating habits, I am still happy, still eating LOTS of food, still getting rave compliments, and have lost a total of 90 pounds. I started at 240 pounds and am now at 150. I'm 5'8" and this is perfect. I still want to have a woman's shape after all!
I can't say enough how life changing this method is. I feel great, and never feel deprived. I've lost the taste for all the old stuff and feel happy about the idea of living longer. Also, I ride a bicycle all over now. Never exercised during the weight loss, only after I lost 85 pounds. Now I have the excess energy to do so. I feel younger at 58 than I did at 40. Thank you Doctor Fuhrman!
on October 5, 2010
Suffering from high BP and cholesterol as well as diabetes. I found this book Eat To Live after a friend suggested it. I started at 238 pounds on my 6'3" frame. At 61 I needed to make a change I read the book in three days, tagging and marking about half the book . In two weeks I dropped 20 pounds. I am never hungry, I have a "normal Blood Sugar reading and BP is lower than it has been in 30 years. I have Diabetes from my exposure to Agent Orange while in Viet Nam...so that part was not my diet or lifestyle. But having the Blood Sugar in the normal levels is indeed new to me.
I am totally committed to Eat To Live and Dr Fuhrman. I have not felt this good is so long. Both Mental and Physical states are altered and will stay that way.
The ETL diet is NORMAL the American Diet is ABNORMAL. This is the easiest lifestyle to follow and ENJOY. Eat as much as you want, and I do, It satisfies in a way I have never experienced.
You may have tried many other so called diets, but if you commit to this lifestyle you WILL lose weight and regain your health.
I also urge you to learn to meditate and you can learn for free from Meditation society of Australia [...]
It will help you center and heal yourself, class 22 on Anger helped me deal with repressed anger I have held since Viet Nam. Again this site is 100% free.
The processed foods you eat are full of chemicals and as a result these chemicals are at fault for your thinking process maladies and for the eating disorder most Americans suffer from.
All the above is my personal opinion and belief.
I sincerely hope you will try AND succeed in your quest for you own health. Eat To Live IS the way I assure you. YOU CAN DO THIS
on January 25, 2011
I bought this book when I was looking at reviews of raw cashews. Someone had mentioned this book in their review. I ordered the book sample to check it out. After reading that, I had to finish the book. I'm not a big reader and have a hard time completing any book I start because I lose interest. I had this book fully read in two days. I just found the information so compelling. I am not terribly overweight, but have packed on more pounds than I should have(about 30 pounds too much). I started following many of the principles cited in the book a week ago and have lost three pounds so far. Again, I don't follow the diet to a "T" but have tried to follow many of the food suggestions. I am amazed how full I am from a large salad. I don't miss the fat/oils and have switched from a piece of chocolate for something sweet to a piece of fruit. I like the results I am achieving, but wish someone would have prepared me for the gas!!! I hope my body adjusts to the new food plan. Can someone please tell me if the gas subsides over time or should I just adjust to being stinky?
Well it has now been just about 5 weeks since I started this diet. I have lost 12 pounds and feel great. It is amazing how the fat has melted off. I have not done one bit of excercise yet, but plan to as soon as the weather improves. I will likely get a physical at the doctor's office in about a month and have him run blood work. I will update with results.
I have completed the nine week program I set out on. I lost a total of 22 pounds in the nine weeks. I was bad and didn't really do much excercise. I went to the doctor right after my nine weeks were done to have my blood work done. I was amazed at the improvement in my cholesterol numbers. My last blood tests were done in 05/2010. The difference between the two results are great. My total cholesterol dropped from 192 to 143. My LDL(bad cholesterol) dropped from 143 to 91. I feel so much better and have received many comments from my neighbors that they didn't recognize me from afar. I will still follow this diet about 50% of the time and eat sensibly the other half of the time. That should help me to maintain this healthy weight. I can also look good in a bathing suit for our family cruise this summer.
on August 15, 2011
I have been buying stuff on amazon forever and this is my first review till date!
I am from India and moved to the US for graduate school 8 years back. I have been brought up vegetarian my entire life and continued to be vegetarian upon moving to the US. I have had issues with my weight from the time I realized it as a teenager. At the highest point in my life following my MS, i weighed 176 pounds. It was really hard for me to step on the scale and admit that i weighed that much. I decided that I will do something about it when I started my PhD. I started eating healthier and exercising regularly and lost 40 lbs bringing me to 137 lbs. I was so proud of my accomplishments until thesis time rolled around and for the past 1.5 years, i have been inhabiting a couch finding ways to cure cancer. I gained 20 of those 40 pounds lost back! Alarm in my head and I wanted to so badly do something about it. But i felt powerless against food, i had very little time, i checked my weight every day, i saw it creep up ever so slowly to the dreaded 155 lbs. I had previously read 'The China Study'- An extremely powerful book. If you are a cancer researcher, you dont want anybody to read this book, because you may lose your job! The cure to cancer is known and known well to all of us! We just need to minimize animal protein in our diet and you are good to go (make it less than 10%).
However, it confounded me following reading 'The china study' and my vegetarianism all my life as to why I had such a tendency to obesity. i felt so powerless with food and felt that it controlled me. I had constant creamy dessert cravings. I had been on weight watchers for the last 6 months with no decrease in my weight. I felt irritated, deprived and with no energy.
One such day, Amazon happened to recommend me this book and in the midst of all the dissertation writing, i read it right away. I realized the golden rule that i have NOT been following all my life even with the healthy Indian diet. I started with carbs with sides of vegetables and proteins (dal). A big no no.
Now, i start with a salad with beans as first course, eat boiled vegetables as my second course and finish it with dessert (fruit shavings or frozen banana 'ice'cream). I dont even want the 1 cup of carbs as allowed in this book. I dont feel 'controlled' by food. What Dr. Campbell puts forth in theory in the China study, Dr. Fuhrman shows you how to do it and do it right. I am not scared by food, i feel energetic like i have never before. I have been on this diet for only 3 days and unlike every other diet in the world i have tried, i dont feel deprived or scared that i cant keep up with this. i feel a zest for life that i havent felt before and i know i am changing my life in a good way! How can you be when you are always FULL! My focus on dissertation has also improved!
Having been a vegetarian and a good cook my entire life, i can whip up some amazing recipes (post 6 week period) following Dr. Fuhrman's guidelines. Given my schedule right now, i cant and i am happy throwing a bag of frozen veggies or a quick salad together for meals. Who said eating healthy has to be tough. Moreover, my spending has gone down due to healthy eating. And the white chocolate bread pudding that i usually crave when i start on a diet DOES NOT call out to me anymore!
The one star off is just because Dr. Fuhrman needs to limit fruits for diabetics, which can be potentially dangerous for them. They cant be eating too much mangoes like i do!
Live your life to the fullest!! Will keep everyone posted on the 6 week update! No doubt, i will be back with my 20 lbs gone along with my PhD! If I can do it in the most stressful time of my dissertation, so can you! It is probably the most important book you will have read and the biggest present you can give yourself and your family!
on June 20, 2012
After watching Dr. Furhman appear on Dr. Oz, I was completely motivated and immediately bought Eat to Live. One week later, and 5 pounds lighter, I am frustrated. Why, after losing 5 pounds in a week, you ask? Because no average working person has the amount of time it takes to do everything it takes to follow the menus and recipes to the letter. By the end of Day One, I counted up the hours I had spent slaving away in the kitchen, and it added up to over 3 hours!
Breakfast was easy--basically sliced up fruit. But lunch required the use of a food processor, for the making of a tahini spread, and took at least a half hour longer than I would normally have to devote to lunch. The kicker was dinner, which required using the food processor TWICE, for two different things (Tofu Ranch Dressing and Golden Cauliflower Soup) , and washing and dicing enough vegetables to wipe out a small garden. The soup was big enough to feed at least ten people (I'm not exaggerating), so now I've got more than a gallon of the dreadful stuff sitting in the fridge. From start to finish, it was over 2.5 hours before we could sit down to eat, and then we still had to wash all the dishes we used in the eating and preparation process.
Also, because of vast amounts of produce required, we had to utilize a second refrigerator which we normally only use for special occasions.
So, here's the thing. I agree with the basic premise of the high-nutrient density approach to eating, but honestly, some (not all) of the recipes are a disaster: way too much work that results in too little taste. The Tahini Spread was bitter, the Tofu Ranch Dressing was pure punishment, and the Cauliflower Soup was a tasteless glop.
There should be an easier way to follow this diet, and seriously, there's got to be some better recipes out there that adhere to Dr. Furhman's guidelines. For now, I'm continuing a modified version of the diet that keeps me sane, but will hopefully keep the pounds coming off.
2/2/13 UPDATE: In fairness to the author, and in response to all those people scolding me, I want to emphasize that I believe the principals of his recommend eating plan are sound, and very good. Rather, it's the recipes/meal plan I find fault with. They are designed for someone who is able to spend more time to the kitchen than I'm able to devote. For some like me who is often on the road, and when home overwhelmed with responsibilities, it would be nice to have a simpler recipe plan to follow for those times when time is scarce.
on February 26, 2011
In December, I got a diabetes diagnosis and started testing regularly. I also started to look for ways to drop some weight--exercising more, eating better. I was exploring a volumetric diet and fasting when I found Dr. Fuhrman's book 'Eat to Live' and everything clicked. This is the information I had been looking for--scientifically sound, easy to understand, neatly packaged, and compelling. I started the program a month ago (1/29) and have lost an additional 10 lbs (240 to 220 since Christmas). I'm off Metformin and my blood sugars have been normal for weeks. I go in for a blood lipid test next week and I'm expecting them to be dramatically improved (I'm also on 20 mg of Crestor)
I have no illusions that everyone will want to eat this way, but I've never had success dieting before and this works. I can see myself achieving a healthy weight and avoiding heart bypass and a lifetime of medications that mask the problems that my poor nutrition was causing. Highly recommended.
The test of any diet plan is whether you keep the weight off. Well, six months out and I'm below 200, down 45 lbs from my December weight. My intent is to lose another 35 lbs over the next 9 months and keep it off. BMI is now below 30, BP is normal, A1C is normal, triglycerides are below 100, I no longer need to use my CPAP machine for snoring, I run a mile + per day. I'm probably not as strict as Fuhrman would like me to be, but on the whole, nutrient-dense eating works and is my north star for regaining my health. It took me 30 years to get this sick. If it takes me a year to achieve middle age wellness it'll be a year well spent. Thanks, Dr. Fuhrman.
on August 31, 2011
I saw Dr. Fuhrman first on a video "Fat, Sick, and Almost Dead". My whole family found the movie very inspiring and I was particularly interested in the revised food pyramid that Dr. Fuhrman introduced there. I have always hated vegetables unless they were topped with lots of bacon and cheese and chopped egg. And leafy greens are the worst! But now after reading this book and a few others by Dr. Fuhrman--I'm committed to making this my lifestyle. Every year so much of my garden would just rot in its bounty but now my whole family consumes smoothies made from kale, collards, chard, dandelion, romaine, arugula, escarole, purslane, chicory, amaranth, calendula, borage, and many others (all hidden by delicious fruits). I had been forced to give up sugar a few years earlier because of my high blood sugar but instead I had turned to fake sugar alcohol cookies and candies and I was completely addicted to dairy for the lactose. I have spent 50 years battling compulsive eating and reading book after book, trying to figure out the psychological explanations for my addiction. But eating for micronutrients has completely removed those cravings that I thought would never give me peace. Yesterday I went to donate blood and was sure that because I had lost so much weight this month and because I wasn't eating meat and only a few grains--surely my iron levels would be insufficient for blood donation? But not so! I was well over the line for iron in my blood and my blood pressure had dropped 25 points! If you have been beating yourself up about your weakness, your lack of control--my heart goes out to you. This method of eating has worked for me and I would encourage other compulsive eaters to give it a try.