This book focuses on consuming foods high in nutrient density which is more satisfying than foods high in calories. The premise is that diets are doomed to fail as they are based on nonsustaining methods and short term fixes. Dr. Fuhrman promotes nutrient dense foods such as vegetables, beans, nuts, fruit and seeds. He calls it a nutritarian program. Eat these foods and less bread, potato, and rice.
The core concept is that health equals nutrients divided by calories. Calories come from three things - protein, fat and carbohydrates. But there are also noncaloric nutrients found in plants that are beneficial and important to your health. Noncaloric nutrients include vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. The doctor emphasizes that a high nutrient diet reduces one's need for high calorie, low nutrient foods. You don't need to count calories. People who are overweight struggle with sugar and fat cravings and physically feel the need for food. But to beat food addiction you also have to beat emotional eating. Dr. Fuhrman says that ice cream can be addictive but a peach is not. The sugar and fat in ice cream makes you give up control. Emotional eating is when you eat for comfort during moments of high stress or great difficulty. Three essentials habits of health are nutrition, exercise and a positive mind set.
Dr. Fuhrman evaluates five popular diets - the standard american diet, the paleo diet, the mediterranean diet, the wheat belly diet and low-fat veganism. You will have to read the book to get his thoughts and criticisms on each of these diets. It is quite fascinating.
Dr. Fuhrman says we should stop looking for diets and just eat as healthy as possible. Eat only for health. His nutritarian diet plan has six basic guidelines:
1. Eat a large salad every day as your main dish.
2. Eat 1/2 a cup to one cup of beans a day.
3. Eat one large serving of steamed green vegetables a day.
4. Eat at least one ounce of nuts and seeds each day.
5. Eat mushrooms and onions every day.
6. Eat three fresh fruits a day.
This style of eating does promote a limited or non consumption of animal products. So could I follow it? I do like eating some animal products including eggs and cheese. There are days when I can be vegan and other days when I am an omnivore. I do eat vegetables every day, but I don't think I want to eat mushrooms and onions every day. The hypothesis set out in the book about how to eat healthy makes sense. It is all a matter of doing it.