(Please note I am not a doctor; the information below is from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book “Eat to Live”.)
How do you get enough protein?
Vegetables actually have lots of protein. 100 calories of broccoli has more protein than 100 calories of steak. But that 100 calories of steak is only 1 ounce of steak, and includes elements that are linked to cancer and heart disease. 100 calories of broccoli is a nice big 2-cup serving, and it comes with calcium (118 mg), iron (more than the steak!), 11 grams of fiber, cancer-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E, and lots more.
In addition to protein from the vegetables you are eating, you are also eating beans, legumes and nuts — all good sources of protein.
What if you want to eat meat?
You don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to do this – some meat is okay. But meat really just does not have that much nutrition per calorie. Dr. Fuhrman recommends no meat at all for the first six weeks.
Aren’t you hungry?
Not in the slightest! In fact I feel less hungry than I ever have in my whole life. In “Eat to Live” Dr. Fuhrman says that part of the hunger that people feel is because the food they are eating has so few nutrients and their body keeps telling them to eat because it is trying to get those nutrients. Since I started doing this diet — I don’t have that desperate feeling of hunger. When I do feel hungry there is plenty to eat — fruit, veggies, soups, stews, nuts, beans, whole grains, smoothies, etc.
How do you get calcium without dairy?
Vegetables have calcium, and like the broccoli/steak comparison above, when you get calcium from vegetables you also get all the other good things in those vegetables. Dairy products also have calcium and other nutrients, but when you look at nutrients per calorie, they just aren’t as good as vegetables.
The other thing to keep in mind is that calcium does no good if your body doesn’t absorb it. According to “Eat to Live” one reason people get osteoporosis is because they are loosing the calcium they eat when the pee. Dr. Fuhrman includes a list of the factors that contribute to excessive calcium in your urine:
- animal protein, salt, caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, nicotine, aluminum-containing antiacids, drugs such as antibiotics, steroids and thyroid hormone, vitamin A supplements
People who are avoiding the above items don’t need to eat as much calcium because they are absorbing the calcium they do eat. For more about this issue — read Eat to Live.
Why no oil?
Again, you can get the fat you need from foods that have more nutrition than oil does, such as nuts and seeds, so why eat the empty calories of oil? Vegetables also have essential fats in them. And if you are overweight, you have a good store of fat on your body. As you are loosing weight you will actually be on a “high-fat” diet since you will be using your own fat to provide energy.
Will I loose weight on this diet?
Dr. Fuhrman says that people typically loose 20 pounds doing the six-week plan, and that if they stick with it afterwards they generally continue to loose weight until they reach their natural, healthy weight. One way to calculate a healthy weight is:
- Women: 95 lbs for the first five feet of height, and four pounds for every inch thereafter.
- Men: 105 for the first five feet of height, and five pounds for every inch thereafter.
Since I’m 5′-8″ based on this my ideal weight is 95 + (8*4) = 127 pounds.
Dr. Fuhrman says he prefers to use waist circumference and abdominal fat measurements rather than the pounds weighed, since that is really where the risk lies. As a rule of thumb women should be able to pinch no more than one inch near your belly button, for men it should be 1/2 inch.
What is the health risk of being overweight?
“Almost any fat on the body over the minimum is a health risk. If you have gained even as little as 10 pounds since the age of 18 or 20, then you could be at a significant risk for health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.” — Eat to Live