Four years ago I read Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD. Before I’d finished the book I committed to following his plant-based eating plan for six weeks because it is, hands down, the best book on nutrition I have ever read. An updated edition was released earlier this month. I figured I could do anything for that long. Four years later I’m not just a plant-based eater, but a nutritarian vegan.
Despite having been interested in health and nutrition since grade school and graduating from UC Berkeley, Public Health School with a PhD, I was flabbergasted by how mis-informed I’d been about nutrition. A few of the myths Dr. Fuhrman burst, convincing me to try it:
1) We need to eat meat to get enough protein.
Turns out not to be true. Greens like broccoli have more protein per calorie.
2) We need to drink milk to get enough calcium.
Also not true. Bok choy has more absorbable calcium.
3) Vegetarians need to combine proteins to eat a complete protein at each meal.
Again not true. Do I sound like a broken record. Our bodies don’t need the amino acids all in one meal, maybe not even all in one day. Most plant sources have most amino acids.
4) To lose one pound burn 3500 extra calories than you consume.
Everyone who has ever been on a diet knows this to be the gospel. Move more, eat less. Simple math, right? Burn more calories than you eat and you will lose weight. Dr. Fuhrman argues that the micro-nutrient-density of our food matters. If we eat 100 empty calories from white bread we will still be hungry because our bodies are still craving vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals.
But if we eat 100 calories of nutrient dense food, like Kale, we are going to be much more satisfied because our body’s needs are met.
I’ve found this to be true. The more vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables I eat, the less food I need and want.
My taste buds have changed so much and gotten so sensitive that my favorite food has become in season produce. Currently that would be oranges, kiwis and Kale. Did you know that there are different types of Kale? They each have unique flavor and texture. Why not try them all?
To help I’ll share some of my favorite recipes in the coming weeks.