What is a Nutritarian?

The word comes from a book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman called “Eat to Live“. I highly recommend reading that book in its entirety — or one of his other books on the same theme. There is so much in it and it is all important. That being said … the basic idea of being a “nutritarian” is that you are trying to eat foods that give you the most nutrition per calorie. It is not about being a vegetarian — potato chips, candy, and soda are all vegetarian! It is about eating the most nutritious foods possible so you will not only achieve and maintain a healthy weight, you will also arm yourself against diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and so on.

The Six-Week-Plan outlined in the book Eat to Live is basically an immersion into a nutritarian diet. The rules are:

The Six-Week Plan

Eat as much as you want:

  • all raw vegetables (goal: 1 lb daily)
  • cooked green and non-green nutrient-rich vegetables (goal: 1 lb daily); non-green nutrient rich vegetables are eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower)
  • beans, legumes, bean sprouts, and tofu (goal: 1 cup daily)
  • fresh fruits (at least 4 daily)


  • cooked starchy vegetables or whole grains: this includes butternut and acorn squash, corn, white potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes, bread, cereal (not more than one serving, or 1 cup, per day)
  • raw nuts and seeds (1 oz. max. per day)
  • avocado (2 oz. max. per day)
  • dried fruit (2 tablespoons max. per day)
  • ground flaxseeds (1 tablespoon max. per day)


  • dairy products
  • animal products
  • between-meal snacks
  • fruit juice
  • oils

A simple way to achieve this in daily life: two pieces of fruit for breakfast, a big salad with some beans on it for lunch, two cooked vegetables and a small salad for supper, more fruit for dessert. Easy! Decide when you want to have your starchy food serving — maybe it will be oatmeal for breakfast, or bread with your salad, or some potatoes with dinner. But just choose one of those things. To avoid oil try dressing your salad with just lemon juice or some balsamic vinegar. If you really need salad dressing (I do!) use a limited amount and supplement it with lemon or vinegar.

That’s it. It is really very simple. It takes some planning, but it is doable.

After the six week plan it is of course up to you what you want to do. He suggests trying a 1-in-20 rule, which is that if you have one “cheat” meal a week, but your other 20 meals  follow the nutritarian plan, you are still doing really great.

Again — read the book. It covers so much more, and answers so many questions that you probably have if you are hearing about this for the first time.