Book Review: Eat to Live

This book, written by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, is highly recommended for anyone interested in health and fitness — although this review contains a couple of caveats worth noting.

Originally published 2007

book coverI just finished Eat to Live, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I was excited to read it because:

  1. He wrote the definitive book on fasting, with lots of science and practical experience.
  2. It’s very close to the diet I naturally gravitated to when I discover I was gluten intolerant, and gave up wheat, rye, and barley. (Something that is very prevalent.)
  3. A friend I know dropped 40 lbs on the plan. When I saw her, I asked where the rest of her was!

Dr. Fuhrman’s book is weak in only two areas:

  1. He lumps coconut oil in with other saturated fats, when in reality it is metabolized quite differently.
    (See Coconut Oil: Miracle Medicine and Diet Pill)
  2. He underestimates the effects and prevalence of gluten sensitivity, recommending whole wheat and
    including
    it in many recipes, when as much as half the population needs to avoid it.
    (See What’s Wrong with Wheat?)

With those two caveats, however, I regard the book as excellent. His suggestions improved my dietary choices and he provides a ton of references to back up his claims.

In a nutshell, his program looks like this:

  • A pound of raw green vegetables a day
  • A pound of cooked green vegetables a day
  • A tablespoon of flax seed a day
  • Fat from seeds and whole olives, not oils
  • Plenty of legumes
  • Plenty of fruit
  • Meat in very small quantities, if used (mostly for taste)

I’m nowhere nearclose to following that plan exactly, but the closer I get, the
better I do. What I’ve noticed is this:

  • A green salad all by itself is healthy, but I’m never quite satisfied.
  • Add some fat, and I’m satisfied for a while — but I’ll still be hungry in a hour.
  • Add legumes (beans and peas), and I’m good for several hours.
    (They take longer to digest, but provide long-term energy.)

So these days, my ideal salad has greens for health, seeds and olives so I’m satisfied, legumes for long-term energy, and a bit of meat or fish for flavor (but that’s optional). It’s a great mix that is working well.

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