248 of 271 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2011
What an exciting premise! Nutrition and exercise not only can stave off deadly diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, but irritants such as colds and flu.
The scientific explanations for this were clear and persuasive - and consistent with real life. I liked the refutation of America's obsession with medicines and medical treatments for everything - while medicine has its place, pharmaceuticals come with frightening risks, and lifestyle changes are definitely preferable.
Dr. Fuhrman does not mince words - the life expectancy increases in the past 100 years, he explains convincingly, are due much more to improvements in plumbing and sanitation, and decreases in child and childbirth mortality rather than the new blood pressure/cholesterol/heart and cancer drugs and surgeries. Who knew? I guess rather than my doctor I have my counsin Joe, a retired plumber, to thank for my longevity. Actually this, like the other explanations, is quite original but makes a lot of sense.
I also really liked the specific and original instructions for dietary changes needed - you should chew cruciferous vegetables very thoroughly to release their minerals (ok, it kind of makes you feel like an idiot to sit there and chew and chew and chew, but hey, its for your health). Mushrooms, green vegetables, black rice and onions are powerhouses of nutrients, to be included almost every day. Red wine has resveritral, which is good for your health (Cheers! I like this health advice. Nuts and seeds are critical to health, and do not increase obesity (I loved that! I always felt guilty eating tasty nuts because I kept hearing they were fattening, so this is good news!) A low fat diet is actually very unhealthy, and the reason many people give up on vegetarian/vegan diets. (Yeah! Love this insight! I've found myself feeling worn down when I try to follow a low fat vegetarian/mostly vegan diet, but thought it was due to lack of discipline. I'm a vegetarian, and will try to incorporate more tasty nuts and seeds in my diet - I want to be successful for ethical reason, so this is a great tip to help me succeed as a vegetarian/ mostly vegan. The book is bursting with little tidbits and tips like this, which are a wonderful addition to the general premise of an eating pattern to stay healthy.
The recipes looked very tasty, and I'm psyched to try some.
As for the daily menu plans, I am humbled. Are there really people out there in this day and age who are so disciplined and organized as to cook a full original breakfast, lunch and dinner every day? They have my unstinting admiration. In the morning after fighting with the snooze alarm, playing with the cats, and exercising (as the book suggests!) I barely have time to pee, let alone cook a full unique breakfast, and still get to work by eight. Dr. Fuhrman said cold cereals were bad but hey...its better than nothing. And this was the one thing about the book that confused me = are whole grain breads and cold cereals (bran flakes, fiber one, etc) bad or good? Good, I hope. But from reading the book, I couldn't figure it out.
Overall this is an excellent book, and I would highly recommend it.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2011
All the information in this book is well-researched and the book has excellent footnoted references. If you've read Fuhrman's other books and/or explored the benefits of CR and nutrient dense eating, you won't get much new information, but I certainly wouldn't complain about this book on the basis of my own little obsessions. The only fault I find is that there is no index. A book containing a lot of detailed information about something as complex as nutrients and their effects on health and disease process really needs to have an index. Other than that this is a good resource with plenty of compelling information and all those inspiring anecdotal stories...the thread running through these stories (and you know those are going to be in there) isn't so much the amazing healing, which is great and much more predictable than we usually would expect, but the facts that most physicians are so averse to the idea that what we eat makes or breaks our overall health. I think this is a complicated issue, and I don't think most docs are bad people, but the system within which they work and are educated, the fact that many physicians, just like many non-physicians, have lousy eating habits which they really want to think are just fine, and not least that there is really no income or incentive to advise people to do something that is free and which will keep them healthy and out of their office, conspire to make this an unfriendly topic in your doctor's office. I think that's just fine - it will force us to seek out doctors like Joel Fuhrman (and they are out there!), and besides, we won't be needing to visit a doctor's office very often at all. If you follow these guidelines you WILL, absolutely, have the healthiest, most energized life full of glow and goodness that you can get. Have fun with it!
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2012
After my annual physical this year, the doctor told me I need to loose ten pounds because my blood sugar was starting to go up and my cholesterol was higher than usual after gaining those ten pounds over the past year. That got me searching the internet for healthier ways to live and eat because there was no way I was going to take prescription medication for health issues if changing my diet and exercising would do the same thing. Of course, my search let me to quite a bit of information on vegetarian and vegan diets, and how many people who have adopted this way of eating have reversed their medical issues to the point where they have completely gone away. I don't know if I agree with the ratings this author gives each food regarding their value to our body but, as I said, it was a good book to start learning about this way of living/eating. After three weeks, I have lost nine pounds and don't feel deprived at all. After the first week of adjusting to this new way of eating, I lost my cravings for meat and processed foods and always being hungry. I think what surprised me most was that I wasn't constantly thinking about food and wanting to see what was in the refrigerator to eat. Was it a challenge since my husband didn't want to eat this way? Yes, it was. But, he was so surprised at my weight loss and determination to eat healthy and be healthy that he volunteered to help by cleaning up after dinner and doing other evening chores that I usually do because it takes me longer to cook our meals (because he still wants meat). After the first week of smelling what I was cooking for myself, he readily agreed to try whatever I was eating as a side dish for his meals. He is constantly surprised at how good my meals are and how filling because he thought it would be raw carrots and celery every day. He hasn't even noticed that there is no meat, eggs, butter or dairy in them because the flavor is so good with the nuts, herbs, seeds, etc. If you've tried every diet out there and it hasn't worked or it worked for a little while and then you gained the weight back, give this way of living and eating a try.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2011
I was very intrigued by this book and kept wanting to read more. I felt the science was easy to understand and the book definitely opened my eyes regarding diet. After reading this book I realized there's more to just eating healthy. That it's the combination of specific foods together that makes our bodies perform the way they should. Super Immunity is all about making food work toward health. But it doesn't leave you hanging and wondering how to put the program to work. There are 85 immune-boosting recipes and a two-week eating plan included in the book. Some of the recipes are: Very Berry Smoothie, Spinach Salad with Strawberry Sesame Vinaigrette, and Acorn Squash Supreme. I found this book to be both educational and practical. I learned a lot from this book and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to live a healthy lifestyle and be well. It's totally worth the read.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2013
I've read dozens of books, mostly by physicians, on what to eat. Dr. Fuhrman's books are sensible and specific, recommending not only what to eat but also how much and how to prepare. His prescription even describes how much and what kinds of foods are best to eat if not following the recommendations and having a little cheat. While he is by no means alone in recommending a similar diet, plant based and avoiding refined, processed ingredients, his specific suggestions seem easiest to follow and most healthy.
As a physician myself, I've found Dr. Fuhrman's eating style to be closest to the one I've come to follow after years of experimenting. I've tried the range from Atkins style to the 10% fat vegan style eating. I feel best with more fat, mostly from raw or dry roasted nuts and seeds, avocado, and some olives. And I feel best when I get a small portion of daily calories (10-15% of daily total) from animal products, mostly non-fat yogurt but also limited fowl and fish. I lost weight on Atkins but after two years of following, I was short of breath with exertion and finding my exercise tolerance decreased. This is no longer an issue since stopping Atkins.
Super Immunity has a number of delicious recipes, though more sweets (fruit based) than I eat, I suppose to help those who could not follow such a diet without sweets. I mostly eat my fruit plain or mix it in a fruit salad, or salad mixed with cucumber and celery.
Over many years, I've gradually transitioned to simpler, more whole food meals, fewer ingredients and less processed (I strive to use whole, minimally processed foods and to prudently use grinding, blending, pressing, and prolonged cooking with high heat.) These foods are delicious and and have helped me to lose weight and feel better even as I am becoming a senior citizen.
I've also found this has decreased inflammation in my body (previously had arthritis symptoms as young as 35, which has since resolved and mild rosacia, also resolved. I rarely get sick with any kind of illness and have minimal need for medication. So I suspect Dr. Fuhrman's claims regarding super immunity stand to be substantiated.
I would caution that some physicians claim one can prevent chronic disease with the right eating plan. I think it better to say you can decrease the likelihood or extend the time before developing disease. In my experience, many people will live about the same life span regardless of lifestyle. The difference is how they will live, debilitated on multiple medications for the last 20-30 years of life, or healthy and active with minimal health problems.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2012
Just what I was hoping for; really scratched my itch. Should be required reading for our young people to hopefully get them out of the junk food and fast food mind set and give them a chance to LIVE life instead of endure it.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2013
I read this book in Danish since I got hold of it by mistake in this language.
I found the book to be somewhat scientifically formulated and to contain many unexplained abbreviations, or perhaps explained when first introduced but not subsequently, all of which did not make it an easy read.
(So it wasn't just the Danish.) There was no index, at least not in the Danish edition.
There is so much information in this book, that I will just indicate here those aspects of it that I found most interesting/valuable.
The catastrophic state of health among Americans is due to their atrocious diet - Americans suffer from a critical lack of phytochemicals (obtained from plants) and this has had extensive and serious consequences.
60% of the American diet consists of ready-made foodstuffs. These include foodstuffs containing white flour, added sugar/sweeteners and fats. These foodstuffs are generally filled with additives, colouring agents and preservatives and packed in plastic bags and cardboard containers. More than 25% of calories are derived from animal products, and Americans derive under 10% of their calories from unrefined plant foods such as fruit, beans, nuts, seeds and vegetables. This indication of 10% is misleading, however, since about half the vegetables consumed in the US are products made from potatoes, including chips (French fries) and crisps. The true number is 5%.
Dr. Fuhrman explains to us about macro- and micronutrients, Macronutrients are fats, carbohydrates, protein and water, while micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and enzymes. Eating habits comprising "superfoods" with their high content of micronutrients are the secret behind excellent health.
There has been an explosive growth of cancer in the modern world as the consumption of ready-made foods and fast food spread both in the U.S. and in developing countries. It is the combination of overweight and malnutrition that is responsible for this life-threatening epidemic in the modern world.
The author's thesis is that when the body lacks micronutrients from plants, the immune system is weakened, and we become open to various infections and forms of cancer.
Green vegetables contain the most micronutrients that build up the immune system. It is also these that are most strongly involved in prevention of heart disease and cancer.
Green vegetables like cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli together with non-green vegetables like cauliflower are termed "cruciferous" vegetables. These contain isothiocyanates which remove cancerous substances and destroy cancer cells.
Increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables results in a corresponding reduction in breast, lung, prostate, colonic and rectal cancer. A 20% increase in consumption of vegetable foods generally corresponds to a 20% fall in the incidence of cancer, while a 20% increase in consumption of cruciferous vegetables corresponds to a 40% fall in the incidence of cancer!
28 portions of vegetables a week reduces the risk of prostate cancer by 33%, while only 3 portions of cruciferous vegetables a week reduces the risk of prostate cancer by 41%.
One or more portions of cabbage a week reduce/s the incidence of pancreatic cancer by 38%.
Moreover, cruciferous vegetables have an antiviral and antibacterial effect.
Cruciferous vegetables should be chewed well so every cell is crushed. They should preferably be puréed, blended or chopped.
Cruciferous vegetables are the strongest cancer-preventing foods to be found and also contain most micronutrients.
Mushrooms contain a large number of substances that support the immune system by protecting us from viruses and bacteria. They can even be effective against autoimmune illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus due to their ability to combat inflammation and strengthen the immune system.
Onions and garlic are also invaluable in the prevention of cancer and fortification of the immune system.
In a study to ascertain the connection between onion consumption and cancer incidence, it was shown that among those who frequently ate onions there was:
- a reduction of colonic cancer by 56%
- a reduction of ovarian cancer by 88%
- a reduction in oesophageal cancer by 56%
- a reduction of prostate cancer by 71%
- a reduction in stomach cancer by 50%.
Moreover, eating pomegranates prevents breast, prostate and colonic cancer as well as leukemia and this fruit has many other important health-giving qualities.
All berries also have strong cancer-preventing qualities. They are superfoods. It is also extremely important to eat nuts and seeds, which contain invaluable nutrients.
To summarize, the superfoods stated by the author to provide optimal immunity are as follows:
Kale/green cabbage leaves/mustard greens
Rucola (is that an English word?), watercress
Lettuce and common cabbage
Broccoli and Brussels sprouts
Onions and garlic
All types of berries
Seeds (flax, chia, sesame and sunflower).
This book provides a wealth of absolutely essential information, most of which I have not touched upon.
However, I do not agree with the author in everything. For instance, he does not believe in the value of taking Vitamin C supplements. Personally, I have in my youth experienced amazing cures of whooping cough (when I was really ill) and mumps by means of large doses of Vitamin C. My little daughter overcame mumps in 24 hours. I haven't had the flu for 36 years since beginning to take Vitamin C regularly and only in a moderate dose (2 g.), neither have I had a cold for about 30 years.
Dr. Fuhrman has successfully treated patients with autoimmune disorders by his nutritional advice. A plant-based or vegan diet is often effective against autoimmune disorders. The inclusion of a large amount of green cruciferous vegetables is a key factor.
The book provides a few accounts by patients of Dr. Fuhrman that have healed themselves by adopting his nutritional advice, one of them from lupus.
There is a valuable section on the dangers and inefficacy of vaccinations, including vaccinations against the flu.
At the end of the book you will find some attractive recipes, including "Dr. Fuhrman's famous cancer-preventing soup".
I do not concur with the author in his recommendation of use of microwave ovens, and fail to understand how such a health-conscious person can recommend such a dangerous apparatus that deprives food of its life energy.
In conclusion, despite its faults, this is a valuable, informative book that can be life-saving to its readers, if they follow his advice. Read the book!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2012
I am still reading this book but so far it is really interesting. I am learning a lot of facts about my health and how to stay healthy, like keeping my body healthy so there is no room for viruses to survive. Also the things you may think are good for you are really not good for you for example: boxed cereals. Just because is says "natural" on the front, deosn't mean it is good for you.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2013
First, I do not understand a previous reviewer's complaint regarding lack of an index. My book has an excellent index. Perhaps he is referring to a previous edition or the electronic version.
Dr. Fuhrman's 293-page book is divided into three sections: 1) a compelling argument for healthy eating (60%), 2) a cookbook within the book (25%), 3) the citations, glossary, and index (15%).
I can't even boil water, so the cookbook part is almost worthless to me. That said, the first section is well worth the price of the entire book.
In a highly readable form, Dr. Fuhrman offers evidence -- no, alarming PROOF, that our processed food diet is killing us. But the good news is, he offers equally compelling proof that we can turn our lives around and add years of quality life through dietary changes. Personal stories of cancer survival, weight loss, and recovery from any manner of serious chronic diseases makes for riveting reading.
I have absolutely no background in nutrition and dietetics, so I feel almost foolish to criticize a man who has successfully treated thousands of patients with extraordinary success. That said, I disagree with his assessment of the healthy oils. I think it's fair to say he believes that even "healthy eaters" put too much emphasis on good fat oils such as olive oil. He thinks that the price of healthy oils in terms of fat grams and calories is such that pure oil additions should be minimized, and their consumption largely confined to their natural occurrence within the fruits and vegetables from which they are derived. I profoundly disagree. My personal experience with these oils (especially coconut oil) is such that I simply refuse to reduce my consumption to the relatively miniscule amounts Dr. Fuhrman recommends.
You can add my story to those in the book who have turned their lives around through healthy eating. I have lost 120 lbs, and for the first time in 25 years I am on NO prescription medication. I just received results of my extensive blood tests covering a long list of measurements ranging from blood sugars to sodium. In EVERY SINGLE CATEGORY, I am in the "normal range", and my HDL (good cholesterol) is in the normal range for the first time in my adult life. My LDL cholesterol rating is optimal. My blood pressure is 115/75. The very thought of a Big Mac and super-sized order of fries with a milkshake nauseates me.
Gotta go. It's Sunday, and I'm off to a vegetarian restaurant for my favorite dish: hearty lentil soup with mushrooms!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
Really good info but I like the Eat To Live book better. Both books are a little hard to read as the info is so detailed. I like detail to some degree but I tend to gloss over some of it when it gets a little repetitive. I will probably read again to get the detail but a bit overwhelming. I am very interested in the subject however.