Week 1 of ETL 6-Week Challenge

So, last Monday I started Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live 6-Week Aggressive Weight Loss Program.  I talk more about specifics of how and what I eat on this page here.  Back when I first read Eat to Live in January 2011, I went through this 6-week program... for 4 weeks, and then I met Kevin (my now husband) and gave a little here and there tweaking the program to fit with my life better at that point.

In the years since then I have had ups and downs of following a Nutritarian lifestyle through huge changes in my life including moves, marriage, new jobs, etc.  I have gone through a personal struggle with weight following hormonal complications with birth control I took when Kevin and I first got married.  I don't believe I've mentioned this much on the blog, mostly because I would start to write a post and delete it thinking it wasn't right or good enough.

Long story but, when we first got married in 2012 I went on a pill for birth control.  Several months later I was noticing that I was having extreme fatigue issues (my iron, Vitamin D, and B-12 levels were fine).  One day I went home from work with what I thought was the start of an ear infection.  While driving one side of my face went partially numb and I had a panic attack before making it to a health clinic.  It was probably the worst day of my life.

The clinic doctor attributed the pain and part of the numbness to a migraine onset by TMJ muscle issues, which were aggravated by excessive caffeine from coffee I had that day.  He suggested I go home and relax the rest of the day, and take ibuprofen daily for my TMJ issues whether I was feeling pain or not. (Thanks doc... super helpful.  I didn't follow this advice with the medication BTW.)

If you have ever had a panic attack, you will understand how helpless and out of control I felt.  After this incident I continued to feel an awful overhanging feeling that something was about to go wrong... all the time.  When you have had one panic attack, your "emergency" hormones and chemicals in your body are going crazy, and your body reacts to those regardless of what the mind tries telling the body.  Because of that and an incessant fear of having another panic attack, it took me over a year to feel normal again.

After the panic attack, I went off of my birth control pills and went with something that did not mess with the hormones in my body.  During this time of feeling unlike myself and constantly anxious, I gained close to 20 lbs.  Since then I have slowly released some of those pounds while practicing a very loose nutritarian diet.  Now that I feel like my mental and hormonal health are under control, I wanted to complete what I didn't quite do over four years ago: the 6-week ETL challenge.  Last week was my first week and here is how it went (These pictures are from a great food tracking app that I use called Two Grand.  If you'd like to join me on there, the app is free and you can search for my username, "amynutritarian".):

Monday Dinner: Sauteed Asian Veggies with Butter Lettuce
(I used the lettuce as little wraps to eat the bowl of veggies with...
yep I ate that whole head of lettuce!)
  • Monday
    • Breakfast: banana and strawberries
    • Lunch: Large green salad and 1/2 bowl homemade bean chili
    • Dinner: Lettuce wraps with water sauteed Asian veggies
    • Dessert: watermelon
    • Exercise: Actively walking around work, first day at our new gym with a 1 mile walk, stretching, and arm lifting exercises
Tuesday Lunch: Large Green salad topped with hemp hearts and ground flaxseed,
along with leftover chili and two golden beets that were sliced and steamed.
  • Tuesday: 
    • Breakfast: apple and peach slices
    • Lunch: Large green salad, 1/2 homemade bean chili, 2 sliced steamed golden beets
    • Dinner: Steamed kale with water sauteed Asian veggies
    • Dessert: watermelon
    • Exercise: This day I went home early from work because I tripped up on the treadmill the day before and badly strained my hip, so no exercise this day.
Dinner Wednesday: Water sauteed onions, garlic, mushrooms, and kale
with a peanut sweet and sour sauce, topped with hemp hearts.
  • Wednesday:
    • Breakfast: apple and peach slices
    • Lunch: Large green salad and an apple
    • Dinner: water sauteed garlic, onion, mushrooms, and kale
    • Dessert: watermelon
    • Extras: 1 beer at weekly trivia
    • Exercise: Again, my hip was injured and I was unable to exercise this day.
Thursday Dinner: Lightly steamed collard green leaves wrapped up with hummus,
cilantro, red onion, carrot, mushroom, and celery.
Steamed green beans with cilantro hemp dressing topped with raw sunflower seeds.
This was by far my favorite meal of the week!
  • Thursday:
    • Breakfast: apple and peach slices
    • Lunch: Large green salad and two red plums
    • Dinner: Collard green veggie wraps, steamed green beans with hemp seed dressing
    • Dessert: watermelon
    • Exercise: I went home early from work again this day from an onset of nausea and just feeling unwell.  I thought the nausea might be from detoxing.  That evening, my sinuses stuffed up with what I think is a reaction to some chemicals they sprayed in my work building due to some flooding of a water fountain (I have to remember, this is just my body protecting me, but I sure felt miserable.)
Friday Lunch: Large green leaf lettuce salad (lettuce from my neighbor's garden)
with chickpeas, red onion, carrot, ground flaxseed, hemp hearts,
sundried tomatoes, and cilantro hemp dressing.
  • Friday:
    • Breakfast: banana
    • Exercise: Mid morning I met with a trainer at my new gym.  She kept it very easy on my hip that was healing and stuck to arm exercises.
    • Lunch: Large green salad
    • Dinner: Small green salad out at a restaurant (I ordered tomato soup, but it was far to salty and I didn't eat more than a few bites)
    • Extras: sampling beer at a brewery
Saturday Lunch and Later Dinner: Collard green vegetable soup flavored with
black pepper and Mrs. Dash no-salt seasoning.
This was the day that I was feeling the worst,
so a nice mild bowl or two of soup was just what I needed.
  • Saturday:
    • Breakfast: Skipped, did not feel well from my sinuses and cough
    • Lunch: Plain vegetable soup
    • Dinner: Indian chickpeas and brown rice while out running errands with my husband
    • Extras: more vegetable soup later at night
    • Exercise: Walking around running errands
Sunday After Lunch: A big bowl of delicious red raspberries!
  • Sunday:
    • Breakfast: Skipped, did not feel hungry in the morning
    • Lunch: Lettuce wrapped bean burger with sugar snap peas, bowl of raspberries
    • Dinner: Grilled potatoes and whole wheat toast with preserves while out with my husband at a breakfast food place
    • Dessert: homemade chocolate peanut butter banana nice cream

Summary:  I feel like I had a good rhythm to the week despite generally falling apart from an injured hip and having respiratory issues.  Places I'm looking to improve on this week are increasing my exercise now that my hip is feeling better, making dinner a smaller meal so that I am truly hungry for breakfast the next morning, and limiting my consumption of beer to one on Wednesday and one on Friday or Saturday.  Overall, I am down 3 lbs, and am hoping to progress more this week without as many hurdles as last week.

Health and Happiness,



  1. I have read his book too and have been applying some of his recommendation but not totally emerge. You are giving reason to, thank you. I'll have to check that app. I have Lose it hooked up to my Fitbit. I have a question, I have not heard of hemp hearts. And are you using the recipes from his book and website? Thanks for your honesty

    1. Glad that my post could encourage you to take the plunge! I know that I've done better in the past with my health goals when I fully commit and don't let myself have any excuses to fib. Personally, that's what needs to happen for me so that I get over some of the toxic cravings I have for certain foods like sweets, chips, and cheese.
      Hemp hearts are little shelled hemp seeds that come from a commercial hemp plant (in the same family as marijuana but with none of the naughty qualities). Hemp hearts/seeds are packed with protein and add a nice nutty/crunchiness to lots of recipes. I like it best on salads or in place of sesame seeds in sauteed Asian veggie dishes.
      I'm using a few recipes from his book here and there, but most things are just me throwing things together out of convenience. I generally start my recipes around a leafy green (crisp greens for salads or dark greens for cooked dishes) and add other veggies and healthy nut based sauces/dressings as I go.

  2. Love this, you are inspiring me to get my act together and get back on the wagon. I was wondering about those recipes too, they look so yummy. I didn't know he had a new book, or are these your recipes. Where can i find them

    1. You can do it! The book is Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live book, so not super new. It has always been my eating "bible". The majority of these are my recipes that I've put together. The only one actually published on my blog is the three bean chili I ate early last week (http://amysnutritariankitchen.blogspot.com/2014/10/three-bean-chili-pressure-cooker.html).
      Perhaps I'll have to post a few new recipes soon! :)

  3. Hi. I just would like to butt in :) My friend used to have panic attacks like you, until late last year when I bought her a gift for her birthday and to my delight, it really improved her condition.The product is "panic away" and I found a good review of the product here.http://annsbox.com/self-help/how-to-stop-a-panic-attack-panic-away-review/ hope this helps. Thanks :)

    1. Thanks for your advise! Thankfully, I haven't had any panic attacks or major anxiety issues for over a year now. I'm thinking (hoping) it is because my hormones have normalized since the first incident. Glad to hear that helped your friend though! A panic attack is something I hope no one ever has to experience.

  4. OH yes panic attacks are definitely not fun at all.
    I came off birth control just over 2 years ago now and it was the best decision I ever made. I definitely have felt more like myself :-)

    1. Glad to hear that. It is amazing what just a bit of a change in hormones from the pill can change your whole feeling. It's so hard to describe because for the majority of the time I acted like my usual self, but inside I had a completely different mind-set and inner dialogue. I'm happy we are both in a better place after going off!

  5. Hi I'm Karen and glad to see this blog! Congrats on your progress and I am starting this program. Thanks for sharing!