While dealing with this issue, I was reading a post from Diseaseproof.com about Dr. Torres (ironic because I'm going to be Mrs. Torres) from a Colorado News station misrepresenting the Eat to Live lifestyle (video of newscast, skip to 2:15). This got my nutritarian-preaching wheels turning! Here is his answer to the question: "Are you familiar with Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and what do you think of his diet?"
Dr. Torres' Answer:
"This diet is known as the " to Live" diet. It mostly focuses on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables with limited amounts of whole grain products. It avoids animal products. Like most diet plans, it can help you lose weight and in some cases the results have been dramatic. But this is a very strict diet plan that will prove hard to maintain for most of us. As humans we tend to crave variety and if we try to stick to a restrictive plan it doesn't work. This is part of what accounts for the "Yo-Yo" diet phenomenon people experience with most diet plans. Your best bet, for not only losing weight but also in keeping it off, is to make sure you incorporate healthy lifestyle changes you can sustain for years on end. This means eating better, eating less and exercising more."
My first response to this terrible explanation is to criticize him for the use of the word "diet." As defined biologically, a diet is merely the foods and liquids consumed by an organism on a regular basis that are used to perform its daily functions and for growth and development (my written definition). The word "diet", in pop culture, often means to change your diet, usually by restricting calories or some type of food, with the usual goal of losing weight. Because diet is defined as such by most Americans and can conjure up many negative emotions of deprivation and failed will-power, I like to avoid this word completely.
That is why I like to call the nutritarian way of eating a lifestyle, because that is exactly what it is. It is not merely changing what goes in your mouth, it is also changing how those foods taste, it gets rid of your food addictions and toxic hunger, it gives you energy and encourages you to be active, AND provides with the nutrients your body needs to heal and prevent diseases. Oh, and some nice perks to all of those benefits is that you will lose fat from your body, lose weight if you need to, and maintain a weight that your body says is healthy. Who doesn't want all of those things from a wonderful lifestyle change?
Yes, the nutritarian lifestyle focuses on eating an abundance of vegetables and fruits, which are high in micronutrients that help prevent illnesses. They also have a very high nutrient density, which means that there are large quantities of nutrients per calorie of food. This means that you will become satisfied sooner with less calories consumed.
The nutritarian lifestyle does not restrict whole grain products, but the Eat to Live 6-week kickstart plan does suggest that you minimize your whole grain and starchy vegetable intake to 1 cup a day. Whole grains, especially in their original forms such as quinoa, oats, barley, etc. are a great source of fiber and are very filling. However, the majority of your fiber and nutrients should come from fruits and vegetables; so Dr. Fuhrman would suggest not focusing your eating plan around grains, unlike the old American Nutritional Pyramid suggested.
On the E2L plan, you can completely avoid animal products as a vegan nutritarian, or you can make animal products up to 10% of your eating plan. Animal products would include meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs. The reasons for limiting animal products, as Dr. Fuhrman suggests, is because they are high in saturated fat, as well as high in cholesterol and calories with little to no vitamins, micronutrients, and fiber.
This is not a "strict diet plan that will prove hard to maintain for most of us," this is a lifestyle change that is satisfactory, delicious, and sustainable for anyone who wants good health. First of all, it is not a strict plan because it doesn't require any measuring or counting, it only requires that you make fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, and nuts and seeds the majority of your diet. This focus of this lifestyle is that you give your body the nutrients it needs to flourish and keep your body disease free!
The main battle of the lifestyle change, at first, is to battle your food addiction and toxic hunger. Most Americans are addicted to a diet, the Standard American Diet (SAD) of highly processed, salty, sugary, and fatty foods whose properties create a sensation in the brain similar to a drug addiction. Most Americans also experience toxic hunger. This happens when your stomach is finished digesting your last meal and your body works on ridding your body of toxins that have built up in your body. If you are eating a diet full of toxic processed foods and little whole plant foods, your body is full of toxins. When most Americans eating the SAD get to the toxin-breakdown stage, they feel uncomfortable, usually in the form of headaches, stomach cramps, anxiety, etc. This is very similar to a drug addict coming down from their drug high. SAD Americans identify this as hunger, and eat to eliminate these symptoms. This causes them to go back into the digesting period and abandon ridding the body of toxins. It is a viscous cycle that causes SAD Americans to overeat calorie-wise, and to build up a lifetime of toxins in the body.
Dr. Torres also claims that "As humans we tend to crave variety and if we try to stick to a restrictive plan it doesn't work." Again, the Eat to Live way of eating is not restrictive. But as for the variety, really? There are more edible plants on earth than I'm sure any human will ever try, how could anyone eating this diet ever run out of variety?! On top of many different types of vegetables, fruits, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds, there are also tons of different spices and herbs to use to flavor any nutritarian dish that you make. Compare this to the SAD, there can be variety, but all foods are mostly made up of sugar, salt, fat, and animal protein.... Yum?
His advice for watchers was very vague and not helpful: Americans need to be "eating better, eating less, and exercising more." I'm sure every overweight person has never heard those statements! How about instead hearing that you get to eat nutrient-rich, delicious foods, eat as much of those foods as you want, and you will lose weight and gain the energy to feel like and enjoying exercising!
Ah, I feel better now that I got my Nutritarian ranting out of the way. For those of you who would like to voice your opinion on this misrepresentation of E2L, comment on this page why you think the E2L way is great and voice that you would like to see Dr. Fuhrman on the show to set the record straight. Now to try to eat healthy around Kevin's family without being rude....
Do you have any suggestions on how to approach non-nutritarian people about how you eat, so that they will accommodate you without sounding overbearing, judgmental, or rude?