This week I started following Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat To Live” program, in order to clean up my diet, shed a few pounds before summer but more importantly; increase my energy as I’ve got a lot on my plate these next few months with setting up my new business, studying for continuing education courses and wanting to feel better all around. The concept of Dr. Fuhrman’s ‘diet’ (I hate using that word) is in essence, that when the ratio of nutrients to calories in the food you eat is high, you lose weight. The more nutrient dense food you eat, the less you will crave fat, sweets and high calorie (and less nutrient dense) foods. It’s essentially about maximizing the macronutrients per calorie. His formula goes like this: health = nutrients / calories.
I love this way of eating because there is no need to weigh or measure the food. You get a list of foods you can eat as much as you want of (basically all raw vegetables, leafy greens, crucifierous vegetables, beans, legumes and all fruits), some to eat in moderation (raw nuts and seeds, avocado, plant based milks, and starchy vegetables such as butternut squash and sweet potatoes, brown rice and whole grain breads), and foods that are OFF limits include dairy, all animal products, in between meal snacks, fruit juice and dried fruit as well as all oils, salt and sugar. Now I will tell you I am not perfect, and will still be salting my food! It’s the last “vice” I have from my chef’ing days, I still think vegetables taste bland if not salted. I managed to compete in bodybuilding and get shredded and down to below 10% body fat while still eating salt, and although I am not as heavy handed with the salt shaker anymore – I am picking my battles here…
The five “rules” are:
- Consume a large green salad every day, and put some raw onion and shredded cruciferous veggies on top.
- Eat at least a 1/2 cup of beans or lentils each day, in a soup, stew, or top of a salad or in another dish.
- Eat at least 3 fresh fruits a day, especially berries, pomegranate, cherries, plums, and oranges.
- Eat at least 1 ounce of raw seeds and nuts daily, utilizing some chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts. Limit to 1 oz if you are trying to lose weight.
- Consume a double-sized serving of steamed greens daily, and utilize mushrooms and onions in your dishes.
There are endless ways of preparing these foods, while you might think the list looks restrictive, it certainly isn’t – just think of how many varieties of green vegetables there are out there! As a chef, I am challenged to come up with different ways of eating my food, and how to enjoy them. I am using my spice rack frequently and utilizing herbs and spices I haven’t in a while, which have been delighting my taste buds. I’ve had not felt hungry all week and have had surprisingly few cravings, with the exception of last night, when I was craving something sweet (I ended up chewing on a date and going to bed). I am sure there will be days when I want to run to the store and buy the entire shelf of chocolate, breads and crackers, but will then take a moment to reflect on my goal and why I want to do this. Eating crappy foods always make me feel crappy – it only gives me pleasure for a couple of minutes. Mindful eating is about paying attention to every bite, reflecting on how it nourishes your body and how you will feel eating it as a result. Try it!
I will continue to post about my experience with this way of eating. I’ve added some photos below of meals I’ve prepared this week… If you are curious about the Eat To Live program or have any questions at all about plant based eating, as always- please don’t hesitate to ask me anything, I love to hear from you! Wishing you all a happy and healthy weekend filled with delicious, mindful eating! 🙂
Breakfast 1: Oatmeal with cinnamon, currants, blueberries, strawberries, 1/2 a mashed banana sprinkled with 1 tbsp of walnuts:
Breakfast 2: Green smoothie with lots of kale, 1/2 banana, 2 dates, water and ice:
Dr. Fuhrman’s Anti-Cancer Veggie Soup, with lentils, chickpeas and adzuki beans sprinkled with some nutritional yeast:
My daily green salad for lunch with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and some type of beans will go on top. Dressing is always oil free, sometimes with some nut butter (cashews) to make it creamy:
A flax roll up (which is awesome, low calories- around 135 cal, and 12 grams of protein, only 24g of carbs, 9 grams of fiber) spread with a ginger-garlic-tahini sauce, stuffed with grilled portobello mushrooms, roasted peppers, arugula and cucumbers, SO good!: