Well, the holidays are here again. The time we pack on the pounds. Then comes January; the time of reckoning. That is the time when most people decide to diet. That’s why I have decided to review a new way of eating called, “Eat to Live” that was devised by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. You may have seen him on TV promoting his book and the many health benefits associated with this manner of eating.
I tried this diet myself about a year ago and I did lose weight. I can attest from first hand experience that it does work when used as directed. However my question for you is:
Do you eat to live or live to eat?
If you are in the first category (eat to live), this diet is for you. There is no denying the health benefits of eating in the fashion Dr. Furhman recommends. It will pull the pounds off, if you follow his instructions and are determined to be in it for the long haul. You should start noticing health changes for the better as you pursue these new eating habits.
If, however you are in the second category (live to eat), you may find this way of eating rather restrictive and possibly difficult to maintain. While he does allow a variety of different foods; there are a lot of foods that are restricted or very limited. I’m sorry to say, I may be in this category myself. Though I was losing weight and enjoying this way of eating; with time I began to miss some of the foods I love to eat. Truthfully I’m not even sure I made it through the six weeks of restricted eating; so I don’t feel that I gave the diet a thorough test.
That being said; I didn’t have diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease. These factors would, most likely, have strengthened my resolve to continue. If this eating regime becomes a way of life, then it is my belief that the health benefits will follow.
Dr Fuhrman takes exception to the USDA food guide pyramid. He criticizes it for not promoting the eating of more plant based nutrient rich foods; and for promoting the eating of refined grains (breads, cereal and pasta). He says this diet will not achieve weight loss or healthy eating. He has included a revised pyramid called The Life Plan Food Pyramid.
What can I eat, and not eat on the Eat to Live Diet Plan?
The first six weeks is more or less vegan.
Lots of salads, green vegetables and fresh or frozen fruits. Beans, legumes and bean sprouts are also recommended.
Foods to be limited are starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds and whole grains. Dr. Fuhrman recommends only one serving daily of these.
Off limits are dairy products, animal products, fruit juice and dried fruit, and between meal snacks. (I am a dairy lover; so being restricted to none was hard for me).
The next phase of the program is called “The Life Plan”
The Life Plan diet should be made up of 90% unrefined plant food. Dr. Fuhrman says the salad should be the main dish at lunch and dinner. His premise is:
If you consume a large quantity of nutrient dense foods; then you will consume smaller quantities of low nutrient foods.
The salad is the main dish
The life plan allows for very small amounts of animal foods, dairy and processed foods. He doesn’t recommend a grain based diet. And puts limits on starchy vegetables like potatoes.
Seven day meal plans are included for both the vegan and the life plan.
A weekly shopping list is included to make sure you have the required foods on hand.
Recipes are included:
In the back of the “Eat to Live” book, Dr. Fuhrman has included recipes for soups, salads, dressings, vegetable dishes and desserts. I made some of these and they were very palatable. It was helpful to have yummy ways to prepare the food you were allowed.
Are we food addicts?
Dr. Furhman says most people are addicted to the foods they grew up eating; and feel deprived if their diet denies them the food they love. (Guilty as charged) The life plan allows these foods in very small quantities and for flavoring or rewards. The life plan does seem more manageable, doesn’t it?
He further states that many of the foods we are addicted to are foods we are either allergic or sensitive too. This causes bloating, gas, headaches, inflamation, and steals our energy. It can also cause much more serious health problems if left unchecked.
How much weight can one expect to lose in the first 6 week phase?
On the front of the Eat to Live book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, the sub title is “The Revolutionary Formula for fast and sustained weight loss”. Under that is a caption that says, “Lose 20 lbs. or more in 6 weeks. The premise is that even after the six week plan, you will still continue to lose on the life plan; but at a slower rate.
How many calories should I consume to lose weight?
Dr. Fuhrman says don’t worry about the calories. If you follow his plan the weight should start to fall off because of the new way of eating. He does give a guidline from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health for those desiring to lose weight. Women should choose a diet with fewer than 1,200 a day, and men with fewer than 1,600.
Can this diet cure diabetes, heart disease, lower cholestrol and prevent cancer?
The Eat to Live plan claims to have beneficial effects on these and numerous other health conditions. People who have adopted this style of eating, have reported that they have realized these benefits in their health. Some claimed they have been able to go off of prescription medications; because of the improvements in their health. Others stated that they had more energy and felt better than they had in years. Judging from the reviews, the weight loss does seem to be around twenty pounds in six weeks(or more), for those who follow the plan as outlined in the Eat to Live Book.
Do people who try this diet recommend it to others?
The people who stick with this diet for the entire six weeks are able to see the weight loss and feel the benefits to their health. These people are more likely to adopt the life plan for eating, or something near to it, long term. Because they have experienced the benefits, they would say it is worth the sacrifice. These people would recommend this diet to others whole heartedly and without reservation.
There are people who haven’t tried the diet for themselves. And ones who were not able to stick with the plan. Some of them have a great deal of negative comments about this way of eating. I think it is worthwhile to note that Dr. Fuhrman is a medical doctor; and most of the naysayers are not. Also, in my humble opinion, if someone has not adopted this style of eating for at least the six weeks recommended in the book; they cannot comment from a personal perspective on what the benefits are, or are not for this particular eating plan.
There is an old saying that says “the proof is in the pudding”. If you haven’t eaten the pudding, you don’t know if it is good or not. It can look good and smell good but it is the tasting that will tell the complete story of the quality of the pudding.
The proof is in the pudding.
This reminds me of a time when my niece and I were eating at a restaurant. We noticed that they were offering chocolate meringue pudding pie. We were both drooling at the prospect; but I decided to abstain. My niece ordered the coveted pie. When they brought it to the table, it looked so good, I was regretting my decision to abstain.
I watched as she took a bite. She said nothing; and she offered me a bite, which I refused. I noticed she was sort of picking at her plate, instead of eating it right down, as I assumed I would have. I asked her if it was good. I was expecting her to say yes; but she said “No”! She put the plate aside, after having eaten only a bite or two.
The pie looked delicious. It smelled good like pudding should. But it had a bitter chocolate taste; not the creamy chocolate deliciousness she was anticipating. My point is, if you haven’t tried something or haven’t given it your all, then you haven’t tasted the pudding yet.
Without actually consuming the pudding; you are not a good judge of the taste.
My recommendation for you is: Try the diet for yourself.
Only you will be able to decide what benefits it will have on your weight and health.
You are the only one who will be able to decide if the benefits outweigh the sacrifices, in your opinion.
Experience is the best teacher.
I hope this review of the book, Eat to Live, by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. has helped you understand the diet plan more thoroughly; and given you more information about what is contained in the book. You decide.
Will you eat to live, or live to eat?
If you would like to obtain copy of this book; you can decide for yourself if this diet is for you.
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Thank you for reading. If you have any comments or questions concerning this review, please feel free to use the comment section below. I love comments! And I will do my best to answer any questions you have concerning this post.
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I would be pleased to have you take advantage of this resource. I am determined to build a site where retirees, and others, can come for helpful articles on how to improve their health in these three vital areas.
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While you are here, you may be interested in reading my other health related posts: