Al-Qaeda couldn’t figure out a more ingenious attack on Americans.
That’s how Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live, put it. The standard American diet (or SAD for short) is ravaging our country. Today, more than one third of US adults are obese, and in 2008, medical costs associated with obesity (for such diseases as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain kinds of cancer) were estimated at $147 billion.
For many years, I was a junk food vegetarian who regularly nuked Amy’s burritos and zoned out on Soy Dream frozen dessert. After all, I didn’t eat animal products for moral reasons. The diet I followed was a plant-based diet, only I was eating mostly low-nutrient, refined foods. Just the kind of empty fare that never truly satisfied my body‘s needs.
Today, over fifty pounds lighter, I follow the “nutritarian” diet Fuhrman espouses: one based on vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds. The rationale behind it is that calorie-for-calorie, foods such as broccoli have more nutrients (and twice as much protein!) as the same amount of meat.
I choose to fill up on food that doesn’t give me brain fog and fatigue. And though I buy all organic produce, I’ve found ways to make this an affordable diet. (It certainly saves on medical bills!)
The only major drawback is that I can’t break bread with my carnivorous companions, and when I eat out at a restaurant or at someone’s home, there is a little embarrassment about my grand “dietary needs.” (I’m so high maintenance!)
Often people say, “No animal products, no sugar, no flour, no alcohol…are you a complete imbecile?” No, they’re not that harsh, but it’s hard for them to imagine what I eat. It’s amazing how after a few weeks on this diet, your taste buds come alive and fruits and vegetables explode in Technicolor.
Other people say, “You must have a lot of willpower!” That’s not the case. Part of me is in love with discipline when it comes to other things (studies, work, sometimes–increasingly these days–spending), but I have historically had little self-control over sweets and bread. However, thanks once again to Dr. Fuhrman, I finally can pass a glass case of confections by without any effort. For one, nutritarian food is much more appealing. Secondly, I know that if I eat something with sugar in it, I’ll feel like hell.
The next frontier is getting my certificate to become an educational trainer in Fuhrman’s Eat to Live program. I’m doing this for two reasons: to solidify my commitment to the diet and to expose others to the joys of nutritarian living. Also, I would like to finally learn how to cook! There are hundreds of recipes on Dr. Fuhrman’s site that require more than boiling water for pasta.
Let me leave you with an easy introduction to the diet: “Think G-BOMBS.”