NOTE: This is my short interpretation of the book that has possibly changed my life forever, if you are interested in my brief understanding of the book, please do purchase it or loan it from your local library so that you may understand it for yourself. After reading all I have written it sounds much like a professional book review, and I must say that I am just your average life loving human being, so please do not think I am a paid promoter or what not, I just want to share with everyone a great find.
Quick fact! "Did you know that Americans currently consume about 42% of their calories from fiberless animal foods and another 51% from highly processed refined carbohydrates and extracted oils. Almost half of all vegetables consumed are potatoes, and half of the potatoes consumed are in the form of fries or chips?" Did you keep track of the percentages? Well, if you didn't that leaves 7%! Yea, that is right 7% to fruit and vegetable consumption.
Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a great read. It is not quite a diet book, but it could be for some, but the overall goal of Joel is to encourage people to "eat to live" rather than to diet, lose their weight, and go back to eating just as they did before they lost the weight.
Joel encourages a 90/10 diet (food consumption, not the fad term), and by that I mean 90% fruits and vegetables and 10% meat, bread, dairy, sweets, etc. Joel also encourages that you shy away from eating processed foods completely; no frozen meals, no canned food, no "artificial" anything; eat UNREFINED plant foods. You may be asking the question "why limit animal products and dairy to only 10%?" most can understand the bread, pasta and white rice because of the "simple" carbohydrates, but the reason to limit meat and dairy is for the reason at the nutrient to calorie ratio (this is also a big part of the book, nutrient to calorie ratio will give you an idea of what is best to eat over something else), they are MUCH MUCH lower than that of unrefined fruits and vegetables.
The main goal of eating this way is to eat as little fat, "simple" carbohydrates and sugar (excluding natural sugar from fruit) as you can; as they turn into fat once digested by the body. This way of eating allows the body to receive all of the nutrients needed, on VERY little fat, thus using the fat that is already on the body as energy, rather than using the food consumed; which is a common problem for people who try to diet. People think that eating smaller portions help (still eating, meat, dairy and pasta), when actually it hurts because the body still digests the food into fat instead of using the fat that is already on your body. Secondly, with the idea of smaller portioning, you are starving your body of all the vital nutrients that it needs to function because you are eating smaller portions of food, let alone the wrong food. At the beginning of eating you will see that you will lose quite a bit of weight, and then begin to slowly lose less and less weight until you come to your "natural" body weight; when you stop losing weight completely.
Here are the main points of eating in the first six weeks of the start to "eating to live". The restrictions on some foods are lifted later:
1. Salad is the main dish; eat it first at lunch and dinner - this is because you tend to eat more of whatever you consume first because at this time you are the hungriest
2. Eat as much fresh fruit as you wish, but at least four fresh fruit daily - four whole fruits will run an average of 250 calories
3. Variety is the spice of life, particularly when it comes to greens - eat as many vegetables as you like, the more the better though be sure to heed point #4
4. Beware of starchy vegetables - limit to one cup a day
5. Eat beans or legumes every day - eat an entire cup daily, or more if you chose and the best thing is that they help prevent food cravings
6. Eliminate animal and dairy products - no dairy for the first six weeks, limit meat to either fish (white) or egg whites once or twice a week
7. Have a tablespoon of ground flaxseed every day - daily dose of omega-3 which help prevent diabtetes, heart disease and cancer
8. Consume nuts and seeds in limited amounts, not more than an ounce per day
9. Eat lots of mushrooms all the time - mushrooms make a great replacement for meat
10. Keep it simple
Breakfast, lunch and dinner simplified:
Breakfast - Fresh fruit
Lunch - Salad, beans on top, and more fresh fruit
Dinner - Salad and two cooked vegetables (1lb.), fruit dessert
At this point you must think that Joel is either a radical vegetarian or a hardcore vegan, but he offers both vegetarian and non vegetarian options. There are also many chapters in this book about how to help/prevent a range of health problems, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, etc. I will also say, that I am not implying that people who eat meat, as well as dairy, bread, pasta and rice are bad for doing so. I have come to the understanding that there are better options/ways out there and eat accordingly. But, I will finsih with; that I HIGHLY recommend this book, if you plan to diet and lose weight, or to follow the book to "Eat to Live", please give it a read, it might change your life.