Recommended Reading: Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss

 

I love love love books. Reading has been one of my favorite pastimes since I was a kid. If I could do anything in the world forever I would read. The feeling I get when I walk into a library is indescribable. The amount of knowledge and information available at my fingertips and the fact that I know I will learn something new from my next book gets me so excited.

Therefore beginning today and on certain Fridays thereafter I will be starting a “Recommended Readings” series where I share with you books that I have enjoyed and that I believe you will also get something out of. Although I enjoy fiction books, my time is limited and so I am almost always reading or listening to a non-fiction book and those are what you’ll find here on Fridays.

Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss

Today’s book is Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. In Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman discusses how the Standard American Diet (SAD) is killing the country. In order to combat the damage being done by the SAD, Eat to Live begins to educate the reader on what nutrition truly is and turns out that it is nothing like what we’ve been told growing up. The book also provides case studies, sample menus and recipes to help you achieve and sustain weight-loss in six-weeks by following Dr. Fuhrman’s prescription for obtaining optimum health.

Format I read: Paperback

The Good

If you’ve been led to believe the lies of the SAD including things like meat is required in order to get your protein, or you must drink milk to get the calcium required to build strong bones, this book will open your eyes to the real world of nutrition and what is actually required in order to become the healthiest you can be.

The case studies provided demonstrate that individuals who follow Dr. Fuhrman’s instructions were able to lose weight and reverse their illnesses. These stories are very inspiring as they show that diseases and ill health are not a result of genes and bad luck, but that most of the time illnesses are a result of the food we use to nourish our bodies.

The Not So Good

The menu plans and sample recipes are not the most appealing. I don’t think I attempted to make any of them and some were just a little too complicated. I’m definitely not a professional in the kitchen but I do think I have taught myself to learn my way around pretty well. Therefore, when I come across recipes that have way too many ingredients or way too many steps I usually bypass them.

With that said, there are a few recipes in the book that are easy and probably worth trying and the guidelines that Dr. Fuhrman provide really do help you come up with your own ideas for creating healthy dishes that are fit for you and your family.

Conclusion

If you are sick of diets, still believe that dairy and meat are essential to a nutritious diet or have never questioned the nutritional advice given by your doctor I would highly recommend reading Eat to Live. It will help you discover what true nutrition really consists of and if you follow the eating guidelines provided you will no doubt see your body and health transform before your eyes.

Why I Juice

Juicing is the new health craze and I have jumped all over it. Not because it is the current fad, but because I have experienced firsthand the benefits that come from juicing. Last year as I began to eat more whole foods, I also began to try juicing and discovered that it was the perfect addition to my new lifestyle.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead a documentary about a man named Joe Cross can be credited as one of the sources of the juice trend. If you have not yet watched the film I would highly recommend it. Joe was overweight and suffering from an autoimmune disease. Under the supervision of a physician he completed a 60-day juice fast. As a result of the fast Joe lost 100 pounds and cured himself of his illness..

If you are curious about juicing but aren’t too sure what all the hype is about the following are five reasons why I juice and why you may want to consider it:

  1. Absorb a ton of nutrients without the need to digest a ton of food

Juicing allows me to get nutrients from a large amount of vegetables at one time. I would not be able to absorb the same amount of nutrients by drinking a smoothie or eating a salad. Both of the latter options require you to actually chew or digest the food in its entirety making you full after eating a large plate of salad or drinking one smoothie.

When you juice you are literally just pulling the nutrients out of the vegetables and discarding the other stuff such as fiber. This means you can drink the nutrients equivalent to two or more plates of salad or three smoothies without becoming full. Everyone knows that vegetables are one of the healthiest foods for our bodies, yet most of us don’t eat enough of them. Juicing is a great way to make sure you get your fill of vegetables in.

  1. Gives Your Body A Break

When you juice your body does not have to digest the actual vegetables. Therefore, the nutrients from the plants go directly to your cells. This also gives your body a break from having to do the work of digesting and allows the body to rest and recharge.

Think of your body as a car. Constantly eating is the equivalent to continuously driving your car. If you keep driving without giving your car a break eventually it is going to break down. This is part of the reason why juice fasts and intermittent fasting are so beneficial to the body. It allows the body to rest, recharge and focus on healing itself and working properly for you.

  1. Cures Your Ailments

Around 2006 I started developing really bad cystic acne. It was extremely disheartening and made me very self-conscious. I tried every cream and product I could get my hands on and spent so much money doing it. I never considered that the food I was putting into my body could have been the cause of my acne.

Through my health journey I have learned that things like extra weight, acne or skin conditions like eczema is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right on the inside. Once I completely changed my diet and started getting the nutrients I needed through eating and juicing my acne completely cleared. I still have scars, however I no longer break out the way that I used to and I am so much more comfortable in my skin.

  1. It’s Quick and Easy

I am somewhat of a lazy person. The older I get however the less lazy I am becoming (I think). One of the reasons I love to juice is because you only need to wash the vegetables, maybe chop them in half if they don’t fit in the chute and in a matter of minutes your have yourself fresh juice.

The clean up is another story. However, after washing your juicer a couple of times you get used to it and the clean up is worth benefits you reap from juicing.

  1. It Tastes Good

If you have never tried fresh pressed juice you don’t know what you’re missing. It is one of the purest, cleanest and most refreshing things you can feed your body.

Most people including myself are surprised at how tasty juices can be. There are so many combinations of juice that you can make you can’t really ever get tired of juicing. I have also found that once you start drinking juice on a daily basis you really feel off on the days you may not have the time or the vegetables to make and drink a juice.
Have you tried juicing? What do you like or dislike about it? If you’re curious to see some juicing in action the following is a video I made. Click here.

My Whole-Food Plant-Based Journey


I have been a parent for three years. This seems like a long time, but in reality I am still a “baby parent”. I’ve gained a lot of experience in my three years but I am the first to admit that I don’t know all that there is to know about parenting (and probably never will). Some days I just wing it, other days I hunger to learn new tips, but everyday I always make what I feel are the best decisions for my kids.

Growing up in Minnesota or what I sometimes refer to as “the processed food capital of the world” – General Mills, Pillsbury, Cargill and a number of other food manufacturers are based here – I ate the Standard American Diet. Pizza pockets, lunchables, Little Debbie’s and fast food. These were mostly treats, however and not consumed on an everyday basis. However, as I got older these convenience foods became more and more a part of my daily diet.

When I got pregnant with Kuya I was elated. Filled with joy that I was going to be a mother and almost equally as joyful that I could now eat whatever I pleased in whatever quantities would satisfy me and my growing baby. The freezer was always stocked with two different flavors of ice cream, I made sure to fill my work drawer with chocolates and anything that would gratify my sweet tooth, and when those late night cravings hit Nic and I would make a nightly run to In-N-Out, Taco Bell or whatever “Kuya” was craving.

Gestational Diabetes

Given everything that I was eating during my pregnancy I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to find out that I had borderline gestational diabetes. I didn’t quite make the full-on diabetes group, however because of my numbers my doctor still suggested that I see a nutritionist and have myself monitored. To be honest, I was a bit annoyed because I was young and felt that I was perfectly “healthy”. However, when I look back now I truly believe this was a blessing in disguise.

As my pregnancy went on my blood sugar levels got worse. I learned so much from my nutritionist about food and how it works with the body. However, once Kuya was born and I no longer had signs of insulin resistance I went back to eating the way I had prior to my pregnancy.

When Kuya was able to eat solids we fed him what we were told to feed him and what most kids in America ate – purees as a baby, whole milk after 12 months, yogurt, frozen pizzas,  processed cereals, cookies and crackers. As I write this I feel a sense of embarrassment and regret at what I put into his little body at such a young age. I have to continually tell myself that I did not know better then and that at least he is eating real food now.

When I got pregnant with Sissy Boo I started to think more about nutrition and did not want to have the same experience I did with Kuya. I watched what I ate while still having the occasional treat and this time around I did not have gestational diabetes. I had an extremely easy labor and delivery and definitely credit these differences to my diet.

Sugar Addict

In order to lose the baby weight after Sissy Boo I decided to go on a sugar detox. In addition to the baby weight, I am and maybe always will be a sugar addict. Put a piece of cake or ice cream in front of me and it will likely be gone in a matter of seconds. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone by going on this three-week detox.

During my detox I started binge watching Netflix documentaries about food and the processed food industry. Because of this my life completely changed. I wondered how I did not know all that I was learning during this time and why that information was not made more public. I started the sugar detox as a normal meat eating 30-something and by the end of the detox I decided to try a more vegetarian whole-food plant-based diet. Since then our entire family has been eating almost exclusively this way.

Our Plant-Based Life

The way we now eat is very different from the way Nic and I were raised. With that said, our families don’t always understand our new lifestyle. We both have lost a lot of weight from not eating meat and to some it may look like we are starving ourselves. Despite the misunderstandings we both eat as much as we want and are the happiest and healthiest we have ever been in our lives.

Two weeks ago, Kuya had a febrile seizure. It was the most traumatic experience a parent could go through and I wish it on no one. I have to admit that I wondered myself at the time whether it was the our diet that caused the seizure. Once at the hospital the doctor and nurses stated that febrile seizures are extremely common among young children and happen when kids have a fever that spikes really fast. When this occurs the brain cannot communicate to the body quick enough what is going on and therefore the child goes into a seizure. I was relieved to learn that the seizure had nothing to do with Kuya’s diet.

When I told my family about the seizure most of them just wished him well. However, one of my them had mentioned that I needed to feed him and that he’s too young to be on a diet. Of course my mama claws wanted to come out and lash back with how horrible this person ate and that this person has no idea what real food is. However, I took a second to be mindful and realized that I thought the same way just three years ago. I couldn’t be mad at someone who didn’t know what they don’t know.

A Continuous Journey

I don’t know all there is to know about food and nutrition, but I do know that processed foods are bad for you, factory farm meat is equally inferior and that sugar in excess can literally kill you. I know that our new way of eating has cured a number of our illnesses and ailments including acne, eczema and even behavioral issues.

I understand that becoming plant-based and now mostly vegan is a choice that Nic and I made for ourselves but it is a choice that affects our entire family. While Kuya and Sissy Boo are young they will also eat this way. However, we do not hold them back if they want to try meat or eat treats that we may not otherwise give them when we go out. When they are older and if they decide to follow a different diet we will accept that. Our hope is that even if they choose something different the core of their diet will still be whole foods.

I never intended to start on this path and this lifestyle. I honestly believe that this journey found me. As the poet Prince Ea says in one of my favorite videos, “Everybody Dies, But Not Everybody Lives”, “Martin Luther King never had a dream – that dream had him. People don’t choose dreams, dreams choose them…so do you have the courage to grab the dream that picked you?” I guess I did and I will never stop dreaming.