Now Is Not the Time to Slack Off

Okay, you’ve successfully navigated Thanksgiving feasts, holiday work parties & break room treats, and the many social events laden with rich hors d’oeuvres and desserts that beckoned your name over the past several weeks. You’ve dodged cheese balls, praline candies, iced cookies, and bowls of peppermint ice cream. The numbers on the scale are down. Your pants are loose. Your skin is clearer. The holiday blahhhs and grumpiness are moods of the past. And most likely the cravings for fake foods are behind you, and you are thoroughly enjoying the pleasure & tastes of high-nutrient foods now.    

Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming what Dr. Fuhrman calls a “Black Belt Nutritarian”! 

However, now is not the time to kick back in your easy chair, rest on your laurels and slack off. 

In fact, now is the time to push through to another level of determination and commitment, because tomorrow you’ll be facing a brand new year. Not only do you want to wake up feeling vibrant and well, but more importantly you want to continue to improve your health in January, February, and for the rest of your life

You need to continue to fortify your mind with correct information that will empower you to overcome the many temptations that will bombard you in the days, months, and years to come. 

When you made the Holiday Challenge promise, you may not have realized at the time that it would not only help you develop “muscles” necessary to successfully navigate the holidays, but also successfully navigate 2013 and beyond. 

Muscles are developed by pushing through resistance, and every time you overcame a temptation; whether it is Aunt Millie’s fudge, or your co-worker’s platter of homemade cookies, or the boss’s gift basket of wine and cheese . . . you built muscles. Nutritarian muscles. You not only earned a healthier body, but stronger “nutritarian muscles” to resist temptations on down the road. 

To help you successfully continue on your journey, below are some posts from years past to arm yourself with correct information for the days and months ahead. Even though many of these topics are focused on the holidays, they are universal truths, and can be applied to any time of year.     

From all of us at and ~ here’s to a happy and healthy New Year to all! 


Are you in denial that you may be a food addict? The truth will set you free!

Are You a Food Addict? by Dr. Fuhrman


Are you perhaps addicted to emotional eating?

Dangerous Emotional Addictions to Food  by Dr. Fuhrman


Earning health back takes commitment. Why “trying” is deciding beforehand to fail. 

Make the Commitment  by Dr. Fuhrman


What happens to the body the minute sugar is ingested. 

Slaying the Sugary Beast  by Dr. Klaper


The science behind the moderation myth. 

Dopamine: Why “Just One Bite” Doesn’t Work  by Dr. Ferreri


Why exercise is so important to both physical and mental health. 

Your Body Loves to Exercise . . . and So Does Your Mind  by Dr. Ferreri


Health promoting tips for any challenges ahead. 

Helpful Tips for the Challenges Ahead  by Dr. Benson


The importance of always being prepared.

Today is the Kick-Off   by Dr. Benson


Do you like blemish-free skin all year long?

Healthy Inside and Out  by Talia Fuhrman


Do you have a food bully in your life?

Food Bullies  by Emily Boller


Are you a people pleaser?

Is Pleasing Grandma Ruining Your Health?  by Emily Boller


Awesome motivational comments from Onlyourhealth readers.

I Could Never do That!  by Emily Boller



image credit:  flickr by woolennium

Tomatoes protect against heart attack and stroke

Tomatoes. Flickr: MaplessInSeattle

Carotenoids are a family of over six hundred phytochemicals, including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are abundant in green and yellow-orange vegetables and fruits and help to defend the body’s tissues against oxidative damage, which is a natural byproduct of our metabolic processes; oxidative damage from free radicals contributes to chronic diseases and aging.1

The levels of carotenoids in your skin are a good indicator of your overall health because the levels parallel the levels of plant-derived phytochemicals in general. In fact, I use a carotenoid skin testing method to non-invasively track my patients’ progress as they adopt a nutritarian diet. In a study of over 13,000 American adults, low blood levels of carotenoids were found to be a predictor of earlier death. Lower total carotenoids, alpha-carotene, and lycopene in the blood were all linked to increased risk of death from all causes; of all the carotenoids, very low blood lycopene was the strongest predictor of mortality.2

Lycopene is the signature carotenoid of the tomato. The lycopene in the American diet is 85 percent derived from tomatoes.3 Lycopene is found circulating in the blood and also concentrates in the male reproductive system, hence its protective effects against prostate cancer.4 In the skin, lycopene helps to prevent UV damage from the sun, protecting against skin cancer.5 Lycopene is known for its anti-cancer properties, but did you know that lycopene has also been intensively studied for its beneficial cardiovascular effects?

Links between blood lycopene and cardiovascular diseases

Many observational studies have made a connection between higher blood lycopene and lower risk of heart attack. For example, a study in men found that low serum lycopene was associated with increased plaque in the carotid artery and triple the risk of cardiovascular events compared to higher levels. Triple!6-8 In a separate study, women were split into four groups (quartiles) according to their blood lycopene levels; women in the top three quartiles were 50% less likely to have cardiovascular disease compared to the lowest quartile.9

A 2004 analysis from the Physicians’ Health Study data found a 39% decrease in stroke risk in men with the highest blood levels of lycopene.10 Newer data from an ongoing study in Finland has strengthened these findings with similar results. One-thousand men had their blood carotenoid levels tested and were followed for 12 years. Those with the highest lycopene levels had the lowest risk of stroke – they were 55% less likely to have a stroke than those with the lowest lycopene levels.11 Previous data from this same group of men found that higher lycopene levels were associated with lower risk of heart attack as well.12

How does lycopene work?

Lycopene is an extremely potent antioxidant; several studies that gave supplemental tomato products to volunteers found that their LDL particles were more resistant to oxidation – LDL oxidation is an early event in atherosclerotic plaque formation, and lycopene helps to prevent this.13-15 Another study found improved endothelial function after just two weeks of a tomato-rich diet; endothelial function refers to the ability of the endothelium (the inner lining of blood vessels) to properly regulate blood pressure, and oxidative damage can impair endothelial function.16

Lycopene also has non-antioxidant actions that may protect against cardiovascular disease. First, there is evidence that lycopene may inhibit HMG-CoA reductase, the enzyme responsible for making cholesterol (also the enzyme that is inhibited by cholesterol-lowering statin drugs).17 So as you might expect, trials that added extra tomato products to subjects’ diets reduced their blood cholesterol levels. A meta-analysis of 12 trials found that daily supplemental tomato products (approximately 1 cup of tomato juice or 3-4 tbsp. of tomato paste) reduced LDL cholesterol by 10% - this effect is comparable to low doses of statin drugs (with no risk of side effects, of course).18 Lycopene also has several anti-inflammatory actions and may prevent excessive proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells, which is a contributor to atherosclerotic plaque development.19,20

Enjoy your tomatoes!

Of course, lycopene is not the only nutrient in tomatoes – tomatoes are also rich in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and flavonol antioxidants just to name a few.3 Single antioxidants usually don’t exert their protective effects alone; we learned this lesson from clinical trials of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E supplements, which did not reduce cardiovascular disease risk.21 It is the interactions between phytochemicals in the complex synergistic network contained in plant foods that is responsible for their health effects, and this is something that we cannot replicate in a pill. Out of all the common dietary carotenoids, lycopene has the most potent antioxidant power, but combinations of carotenoids are even more effective than any single carotenoid – they work synergistically.22 Blood lycopene, as used in many of these studies, is simply a marker for high tomato product intake; similarly high alpha-carotene and beta-carotene levels are markers of high green and yellow-orange fruit and vegetable intake. Colorful fruits and vegetables provide significant protection.

In a given year, a typical American will eat about 92 pounds of tomatoes.23 Enjoy those 92 pounds and even add some more! Add fresh, juicy raw tomatoes to your salad, diced or unsulphured sun-dried tomatoes to soups, and enjoy homemade tomato sauces and soups. Be mindful of the sodium content of ketchup and other tomato products – choose the low sodium or no salt added versions. No salt added, unsulphured dried tomatoes are also great. Also keep in mind that carotenoids are absorbed best when accompanied by healthy fats – for example, in a salad with a seed or nut-based dressing.24,25 Lycopene is also more absorbable when tomatoes are cooked, so enjoy a variety of both raw and cooked tomatoes in your daily diet.26


Image credit: Flickr - MaplessInSeattle

1. Krinsky NI, Johnson EJ. Carotenoid actions and their relation to health and disease. Mol Aspects Med 2005;26:459-516.
2. Shardell MD, Alley DE, Hicks GE, et al. Low-serum carotenoid concentrations and carotenoid interactions predict mortality in US adults: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Nutr Res 2011;31:178-189.
3. Canene-Adams K, Campbell JK, Zaripheh S, et al. The tomato as a functional food. J Nutr 2005;135:1226-1230.
4. van Breemen RB, Pajkovic N. Multitargeted therapy of cancer by lycopene. Cancer Lett 2008;269:339-351.
5. Rizwan M, Rodriguez-Blanco I, Harbottle A, et al. Tomato paste rich in lycopene protects against cutaneous photodamage in humans in vivo. Br J Dermatol 2010.
6. Rissanen TH, Voutilainen S, Nyyssonen K, et al. Low serum lycopene concentration is associated with an excess incidence of acute coronary events and stroke: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Br J Nutr 2001;85:749-754.
7. Rissanen T, Voutilainen S, Nyyssonen K, et al. Lycopene, atherosclerosis, and coronary heart disease. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2002;227:900-907.
8. Rissanen TH, Voutilainen S, Nyyssonen K, et al. Serum lycopene concentrations and carotid atherosclerosis: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77:133-138.
9. Sesso HD, Buring JE, Norkus EP, et al. Plasma lycopene, other carotenoids, and retinol and the risk of cardiovascular disease in women. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;79:47-53.
10. Hak AE, Ma J, Powell CB, et al. Prospective study of plasma carotenoids and tocopherols in relation to risk of ischemic stroke. Stroke 2004;35:1584-1588.
11. Karppi J, Laukkanen JA, Sivenius J, et al. Serum lycopene decreases the risk of stroke in men: A population-based follow-up study. Neurology 2012;79:1540-1547.
12. Karppi J, Laukkanen JA, Makikallio TH, et al. Low serum lycopene and beta-carotene increase risk of acute myocardial infarction in men. Eur J Public Health 2011.
13. Silaste ML, Alfthan G, Aro A, et al. Tomato juice decreases LDL cholesterol levels and increases LDL resistance to oxidation. Br J Nutr 2007;98:1251-1258.
14. Burton-Freeman B, Talbot J, Park E, et al. Protective activity of processed tomato products on postprandial oxidation and inflammation: a clinical trial in healthy weight men and women. Molecular nutrition & food research 2012;56:622-631.
15. Hadley CW, Clinton SK, Schwartz SJ. The consumption of processed tomato products enhances plasma lycopene concentrations in association with a reduced lipoprotein sensitivity to oxidative damage. J Nutr 2003;133:727-732.
16. Xaplanteris P, Vlachopoulos C, Pietri P, et al. Tomato paste supplementation improves endothelial dynamics and reduces plasma total oxidative status in healthy subjects. Nutr Res 2012;32:390-394.
17. Lycopene. Monograph. Altern Med Rev 2003;8:336-342.
18. Ried K, Fakler P. Protective effect of lycopene on serum cholesterol and blood pressure: Meta-analyses of intervention trials. Maturitas 2011;68:299-310.
19. Palozza P, Parrone N, Catalano A, et al. Tomato lycopene and inflammatory cascade: basic interactions and clinical implications. Curr Med Chem 2010;17:2547-2563.
20. Palozza P, Parrone N, Simone RE, et al. Lycopene in atherosclerosis prevention: an integrated scheme of the potential mechanisms of action from cell culture studies. Arch Biochem Biophys 2010;504:26-33.
21. Kris-Etherton PM, Lichtenstein AH, Howard BV, et al. Antioxidant vitamin supplements and cardiovascular disease. Circulation 2004;110:637-641.
22. Heber D, Lu QY. Overview of mechanisms of action of lycopene. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2002;227:920-923.
23. United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System. []
24. Brown MJ, Ferruzzi MG, Nguyen ML, et al. Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad dressings as measured with electrochemical detection. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:396-403.
25. Goltz SR, Campbell WW, Chitchumroonchokchai C, et al. Meal triacylglycerol profile modulates postprandial absorption of carotenoids in humans. Molecular nutrition & food research 2012;56:866-877.
26. van het Hof KH, de Boer BC, Tijburg LB, et al. Carotenoid bioavailability in humans from tomatoes processed in different ways determined from the carotenoid response in the triglyceride-rich lipoprotein fraction of plasma after a single consumption and in plasma after four days of consumption. J Nutr 2000;130:1189-1196.


New clinical study confirms that beans are the preferred starch source for diabetics

I have taught for years that beans are nutritionally superior to whole grains, and should be the preferred starch source for diabetics – I often call my dietary recommendations for diabetics “the greens and beans diet” (learn more in my new book The End of Diabetes) A study published by the research group of Dr. David Jenkins (who originally developed the concept of the glycemic index) has confirmed the advantages of beans over whole grains, especially for diabetics.1

Beans. Flickr: cookbookman 17

One-hundred twenty-one type 2 diabetics were split into two groups; a “low-glycemic index legume diet,” which emphasized beans and other legumes, and a “high wheat fiber diet,” which emphasized whole wheat foods and other whole grains. The bean group was instructed to consume 1 cup/day of beans, lentils, or other legumes and the grain group was instructed to consume an equivalent amount of a cooked whole grain or whole wheat bread, pasta or cereal daily for three months.

The table below summarizes the changes that occurred over the three-month period in each group, and whether the improvement in the bean group was significantly greater than that in the grain group:

  Grain Group Bean Group Greater improvement in bean group?
Fiber intake (g/1000 calories) +1.9  +10  Yes 
Glycemic load of overall diet -5  -48  Yes 
HbA1c  -0.3% -0.5%  Yes 
Body weight (lbs.) -4.4  -5.7  Yes 
Fasting blood glucose (mg/dl) -7  -9  Yes 
Triglycerides (mg/dl) -9  -21  Yes 
Total cholesterol (mg/dl) -2  -9  Yes
Systolic blood pressure (top number, mmHg) No change -4  Yes 
Diastolic blood pressure (bottom number, mmHg)  No change -3 Yes 
Heart rate (beats/minute) -0.6  -3.4  Yes 
10-year Framingham coronary heart disease risk score  -0.5 -1.1  Yes 


Fiber and Glycemic load (GL)
As you can see from the table, the bean group’s fiber intake increased more and GL decreased dramatically more compared to the grain group. This highlights important nutritional differences between beans and whole grains. When it comes to fiber content, even intact whole grains don’t even come close to beans. Plus, much of the starch in beans is resistant starch and slowly digestible starch, which limits the overall glycemic effect of the carbohydrate in beans and are fermented into anti-cancer compounds in the colon. Beans are also higher in resistant starch than most grains.

Glycemic control
Hemoglobin A1c, or HbA1c is a measure of the percentage of the hemoglobin in the blood that has been glycated (has had a sugar molecule added to it); the higher your blood glucose, the more glycation occurs. The HbA1C result is an indicator of blood glucose levels over the previous three months. After three months on the bean-enriched or grain-enriched diets, this measure of long-term glycemic control was improved in both groups, but a greater improvement was seen in the bean group.

Although it may seem small, a 0.5% decrease in HbA1C is actually quite large, considering that a “healthy” (nondiabetic) A1C is below 6.0%, and a poorly controlled diabetic level is 8.0% or higher. The authors note that A1C reductions in the range of 0.5-1% translate into significant risk reductions for complications such as kidney damage.3,4 A small improvement in HbA1c (like the half-point improvement here) is very significant, as it could represent years of lifespan gained or lost. Beans as the major starch source in the diet have the potential to make a huge positive impact on the long-term health of diabetics.

These improvements in health are cumulative with other dietary changes that improve HbA1c. So a small improvement from more beans and squashes, comes with a small improvement from berries and greens, and an small improvements from using nuts and seeds, and a small improvement from not snacking and so on, and all these small improvements which at first may seem like just a few tenths in HbA1c cumulatively result in massive benefits and for most, the end of diabetes.

Blood pressure and heart disease risk
People who eat more beans tend to have lower blood pressure (not to mention greater fiber and mineral intake, lower body weight, and smaller waist circumference).5 Beans are rich in fiber (especially soluble fiber) and minerals, and low in GL – characteristics that have anti-hypertensive effects.1,6-10

The decrease in blood pressure in the bean group significantly improved their calculated Framingham risk score, an estimate of heart disease risk over the next ten years. This is an extremely important point, since most diabetics die of heart disease or stroke.11

Comparing two healthful food groups: grains are good, beans are better.
When diabetics switch from white flour, sugar and white rice to whole grains, they get significant health benefits. Plus, even when they switch from white potato to whole grains they get significant glycemic and other benefits, since whole grains have a comparatively lower glycemic index and more fiber than white potato.12

This study shows that when diabetics rely on beans as their primary carbohydrate source, they get even more benefits than with whole grains; more evidence of how special beans are – their nutritional superiority as a carbohydrate source.

In the End of Diabetes reversal program, when choosing carbohydrate sources I recommend:

  • No white flour, white rice or white potato
  • Small amounts of whole grains
  • More kiwi, berries, pomegranate, squash and beans

Of course, these carbohydrate sources are consumed in conjunction with plentiful low-calorie vegetables – greens, eggplant, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. , plus nuts and seeds daily for a phytochemical-rich, low-glycemic dietary profile with substantial anti-cancer and cardiovascular benefits.


1. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Augustin LS, et al: Effect of Legumes as Part of a Low Glycemic Index Diet on Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Arch Intern Med 2012:1-8.
2. Sievenpiper JL, Kendall CW, Esfahani A, et al: Effect of non-oil-seed pulses on glycaemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled experimental trials in people with and without diabetes. Diab tologia 2009;52:1479-1495.
3. Patel A, MacMahon S, Chalmers J, et al: Intensive blood glucose control and vascular outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes. N Engl J Med 2008;358:2560-2572.
4. Stratton IM, Adler AI, Neil HA, et al: Association of glycaemia with macrovascular and microvascular complications of type 2 diabetes (UKPDS 35): prospective observational study. BMJ 2000;321:405-412.
5. Papanikolaou Y, Fulgoni VL, 3rd: Bean consumption is associated with greater nutrient intake, reduced systolic blood pressure, lower body weight, and a smaller waist circumference in adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2002. J Am Coll Nutr 2008;27:569-576.
6. Streppel MT, Arends LR, van 't Veer P, et al: Dietary fiber and blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Arch Intern Med 2005;165:150-156.
7. Houston MC: The importance of potassium in managing hypertension. Curr Hypertens Rep 2011;13:309-317.
8. Houston M: The role of magnesium in hypertension and cardiovascular disease. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich) 2011;13:843-847.
9. DeFronzo RA, Cooke CR, Andres R, et al: The effect of insulin on renal handling of sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphate in man. J Clin Invest 1975;55:845-855.
10. Chiasson JL, Josse RG, Gomis R, et al: Acarbose treatment and the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension in patients with impaired glucose tolerance: the STOP-NIDDM trial. JAMA 2003;290:486-494.
11. American Diabetes Association: Diabetes statistics []
12. Halton TL, Willett WC, Liu S, et al: Potato and french fry consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83:284-290.




Directing Stress of the Holiday Season into Health Promoting Behaviors

Snowman. Flickr:  Robert Snache - Spirithands.netGoodness knows we all have stresses to contend with in our lives and the holiday season, despite all of the joys it can bring, often accompanies additional opportunities to feel overwhelmed or harassed.  As fallible humans, we need some means to vent and a weapon to battle the tornado of chaos that frequently sets in this time of year. Self-destructive behaviors such as overeating, addictions to unhealthy foods, body disorders, and alcoholism, are common ways that people have found solace when life brings out its monster claws of anxiety or sadness. 

However, what if we used the anxiety or stress in our most positive way possible instead of hurtful ways? The best gift we can give to ourselves when we are not feeling our best is to take a moment and think about joyful activities that can make our lives richer and our bodies healthier. Instead of seeking comfort in sugar laden or processed foods, why not go to the gym and feed yourself a nice helping of endorphins? You will definitely feel better, and I dare say empowered, because there really is nothing more rewarding than setting positive goals for yourself and achieving them. Instead of feeling even worse after doing something to harm yourself, you will feel better that you did something to put another foot in the door to finding optimal health, wellness and emotional satisfaction.

“Tis the season to be jolly,” the song says, so let’s walk the talk, urr, lyrics. In addition to saying no to the standard American holiday fare of cookies, pies, cheeses and other decadent disease promoters, let’s strive to take out all of our daily, weekly and even chronic stressors in as healthy a manner as possible. Meditation, appreciating art, books and movies, preparing nutritarian meals, any form of physical activity and socializing with the people we care about- these are all wonderful ways to give ourselves the biggest gift of all. Mental health is just as important as physical health and there is no denying that the two are intertwined and can travel downhill or uphill together.  Yes, even sports, television, movies, music and books are positive for your health.  Play games, tell jokes, share fun activities; enjoying life is health supporting. 

The empowerment we obtain from seeking positive behaviors to battle life’s hardships reinforce even more positive behaviors.  To continue with the example of going to the gym, if we begin to experience the joys of a feel-good workout, those feelings can motivate us to go to the gym even more and achieve fitness goals previously unprecedented in our lives.  I cannot think of a better way to fight stress than by telling it that it doesn’t have any power over us. Taking care of our health is one of the best, most rewarding ways to do this. Pop those blueberries, eat those mushrooms, and say yes to kale as you say hello to more “jolliness” this holiday season.  

Following through with the Holiday Challenge is a way of showing gratitude for the beauty of our lives. Although nobody’s life is perfect and stressful events will never completely cease to exist, we all have so much to be grateful for too. By seeking health-promoting behaviors, we are expressing thanks for the present that is our lives and for the ability to maintain good health.

I wish you continued success on the Holiday Challenge and as many relaxing, stress-free days as possible!   


Image credit: Flickr -  Robert Snache -


Interview with the Mother of a Young Nutritarian: Gabriela

At one point Gabriela had almost come to the end of her rope trying to figure out a solution to her six-year-old son’s ongoing illnesses. She was tired of the repetitive trips to the emergency room and doctors treating his symptoms with inhalers and medications, all to no avail.  However, today she is one happy mother as her son now has his health and life back by following Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritional recommendations that she discovered on PBS last year. Welcome to Onlyourhealth, Gabriela.


What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style?

My husband and I were at a breaking point! Our son, Kevin, was at the emergency room nearly every month, and we couldn’t take the stress any longer.

Everything we had to go through took a toll on our relationship, and it also affected Kevin’s childhood. He missed school often, and we didn’t take him anywhere, because we were afraid that he would get worse. It was hard to see our son suffer and not be able to do anything about it.


How did Kevin feel then?

I lost count of how many times we took him to the doctor, but he was ill all the time. The longest he went without getting sick was 5 days. He got ear infections, bad colds, reoccurring episodes of croup, and a cough that wouldn’t go away.  

One time Kevin had an episode in which he was coughing nonstop for weeks. It got to be so bad that his stomach would hurt from coughing so much.

He couldn’t run because he’d start coughing and have difficulty breathing whenever he got agitated. Therefore, he couldn’t play like the other kids when we went to the park.


How does Kevin feel now?

Many kids in Kevin’s class have been sick, but he is not affected anymore. He only had a runny nose that lasted for less than two days, and a mild cough that went away overnight. He hasn’t been sick or taken any medication since June of this year.



Do you have any success tips to share with others?

I wanted Kevin to eat more fruits and vegetables so I started to decorate his plates to make them look fun. One day I posted a picture on Facebook and everyone loved it so much that I created a special page where I post what I give to him every day for breakfast. [Click here]

Kevin loves the dishes I make for him, and this helped me turn mealtime frustration into happy memories. Now, he eats all the fruits and veggies he needs for the day.


In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for Kevin and your family?

At last, Kevin can play and run as much as he wants; he can finally enjoy his childhood and be a normal kid, and we don’t have to worry about him getting sick anymore!


To read Kevin’s Success Story on click here.


Thank you Gabriela and Kevin for inspiring all of us to better health ~ keep up the great job!



History is being made as many are now turning disease promoting traditions at the holidays into health promoting habits for life! Plus, the nutritarian eating-style is spreading all over the globe as a result of the excitement of so many getting their health and lives back all year long; Eat to Live alone has sold over one million copies!    


Three weeks into this year’s Holiday Challenge and I'm flabbergasted, along with my teams at and, that 3236 people (over twice as many since the first one in 2010), most of whom were on the fence for years, have joined us in jumping on board this year’s challenge. I’m thrilled by the success of this outreach and the many hundreds of supportive e-mails and posts that we've received from those, who for the first time in their lives, are getting their health back over the holidays instead of watching it deteriorate further. This challenge has even helped motivate thousands more, who were already eating healthfully, to do even better. We’ve all come together in solidarity to eat healthfully throughout the holiday season.

For those of you who are now half-way through the challenge, I’m so proud of you that you are sticking to the promise; staying away from fast food and junk food, and adding high nutrient foods and exercise instead. Can you imagine only three weeks left and then you can go back to eating junk again?! (just kidding!) And that’s the exciting part also; with all the delicious, healthy recipes, many have found the holiday challenge much easier and more enjoyable than they could’ve ever imagined. They now know that they can stay on the road to wellness long after the holidays are over. I’m looking forward to hearing more of your success stories after the New Year. 


Congratulations to all of you! 

Being a shining example of excellent health is an exciting personal victory and one that will also enable you to help others in need. Keep up the great work. 

Your health is your greatest wealth. 

It's just one meal. How bad could it be?

Whether you are taking the Holiday Challenge for the first time or you are a veteran nutritarian, rich holiday foods packed with oils, animal products, white flour, and sugar may look tempting to you. Maybe tempting enough for you to say to yourself “It’s just for today, just this one meal. I’ll go back to my healthy nutritarian diet tomorrow – one unhealthy meal can’t possibly harm me.” Is that true?

Aside from the fact that a single low-nutrient meal may awaken old addictive drives that could then lead to many more low-nutrient meals, a single meal is enough to cause damage to your cardiovascular system. As Dr. Fuhrman mentioned in his recent Twitter chat, there are more cardiac deaths on December 25, 26, and January 1 than any other days of the year.1 This sobering observation suggests that overindulging at a holiday meal can be extremely hazardous to your heart.

First, I’d like to define the phrase “endothelial function,” which will be used frequently in this post: The endothelium is a specialized layer of cells that forms the inner lining of all blood vessels. Endothelial cells produce nitric oxide and other substances that regulate blood pressure, maintain balance between pro-thrombotic (blood clotting) and anti-thrombotic mechanisms, and act as a selective barrier between the blood and surrounding tissues. The functions of the endothelium are crucial; endothelial dysfunction is an early event in atherosclerotic plaque development and cardiovascular disease.2

Now let’s take a look at the traditional components of a holiday meal, and how they affect our cardiovascular system…

Meat, cheese, and oils. Fifteen years ago, a study reported that eating a high saturated fat, high animal product meal impaired endothelial function for four hours following the meal, and this effect has been confirmed in the literature over and over.3,4 For example, a study presented earlier this year reported the detrimental effects of a sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on endothelial function.5 In addition to impaired endothelial function, single low-nutrient, high fat meals have been reported to induce insulin resistance, increase circulating adhesion molecules (which allows excess LDL and inflammatory cells to enter the vessel wall – a contributor to atherosclerosis), induce oxidative stress, and deplete the body’s circulating antioxidants.6-8  The detrimental effects of a high saturated fat meal on endothelial function are believed to occur via oxidative stress and activation of pro-inflammatory pathways.4,9 Although most of the studies have focused on high saturated fat meals, there is also evidence that animal protein and excess oils (high in omega-6 fatty acids) may also negatively affect the endothelium and induce oxidative stress.10,11

Bread, pasta, and sugary desserts. For a refresher on some of the harms of added sugar, revisit Dr. Klaper’s post from last year’s Holiday Challenge. In addition to those effects, refined carbohydrate is just as harmful to endothelial function as saturated fat. Refined carbohydrates cause dangerous spikes in blood glucose – repeated spikes over time promote diabetes and other chronic diseases, but what about a single high glycemic meal? Acute hyperglycemia (short term elevated blood glucose after a single refined carbohydrate-rich meal) has been shown to impair endothelial function, promote blood clotting (which increases heart attack risk), induce oxidative stress and deplete circulating antioxidants, increase blood pressure, increase circulating adhesion molecules, impair the body’s ability to fight infection, and decrease blood flow to the heart.7,12-17

Salty snacks, beer, and wine. A single high salt meal impairs endothelial function, just like high saturated fat or high sugar meals, and alcohol magnifies the increase in blood glucose from a refined carbohydrate-rich meal.18,19

The point: A SINGLE unhealthy holiday meal inflicts damage on the cardiovascular system, contributes to atherosclerotic plaque development, and in susceptible individuals may even provoke a cardiac event.

When I see a fatty, sugary dessert, I try to think up some scary images to deter myself from indulging – here are some examples:

  • Sugar crystals floating around in my bloodstream, scratching up the delicate surface of my endothelium.
  • All the circulating antioxidants from my previous nutritarian meals being used up and destroyed.
  • My vessels constricting, failing to deliver adequate blood to my heart muscle.
  • My blood pressure rising, and my heart becoming fatigued from pumping against that extra pressure.
  • LDL cholesterol and inflammatory cells pouring through the gaps in my compromised endothelial barrier and building the beginnings of atherosclerotic plaque.

…and I stick with my G-BOMBS. But that doesn’t mean that I have to choose between excellent health and tasty food. I get the best of both worlds - I enjoy preparing and serving a special dish for the holidays, while sharing health-promoting foods with my friends and family.  And if I bring a nutritarian dessert, I don’t have to conjure up scary images of what an unhealthy dessert will do to my body; the nutritarian option is always far more appetizing! For the past few family holidays, I’ve made apple pie, key lime pie, raw chocolate pudding pie, and pumpkin chai ice cream. Trust me – no one missed the sugar, oil, or white flour!

This year I’m excited to share a new main dish recipe I created: Layered Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary Cream Sauce. Seasonal winter squash and rosemary make it perfect for the holidays!

Layered Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary Cream Sauce

Layered Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary Cream Sauce

(Serves 6)


1 medium sweet potato

1 small winter squash, such as butternut or dumpling

1 large red onion

16 ounces cremini mushrooms

1.5 cups cooked white beans

2 tablespoons raw tahini or cashew butter

5 cloves garlic

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 cup water

2 teaspoons dried rosemary (or 1-2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary)

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/4 teaspoon black pepper



1. Preheat oven to 350 F

2. Slice the sweet potato, squash, red onion, and mushrooms thinly (preferably with a mandoline).

3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a high-power blender and blend until creamy.

4. Spread a thin layer of rosemary cream sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

5. Layer one-third of each ingredient, and repeat to make three layers.

6. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, then turn down heat to 300 and bake an additional 30 minutes.




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2. Higashi Y, Noma K, Yoshizumi M, et al. Endothelial function and oxidative stress in cardiovascular diseases. Circ J 2009;73:411-418.
3. Vogel RA, Corretti MC, Plotnick GD. Effect of a single high-fat meal on endothelial function in healthy subjects. Am J Cardiol 1997;79:350-354.
4. Hall WL. Dietary saturated and unsaturated fats as determinants of blood pressure and vascular function. Nutr Res Rev 2009;22:18-38.
5. Lacroix S, Des Rosiers C, Gayda M, et al: Abstract 752: Baseline Triglyceridemia Influences Postprandial Endothelial Response to a Single Mixed Mediterranean-type Meal Compared to a High-saturated fat meal. In Canadian Cardiovascular Congress. Toronto, Canada; 2012.
6. Ramirez-Velez R. [Postprandial lipemia induces endothelial dysfunction and higher insulin resistance in healthy subjects]. Endocrinol Nutr 2011;58:529-535.
7. Ceriello A, Quagliaro L, Piconi L, et al. Effect of postprandial hypertriglyceridemia and hyperglycemia on circulating adhesion molecules and oxidative stress generation and the possible role of simvastatin treatment. Diabetes 2004;53:701-710.
8. Tsai WC, Li YH, Lin CC, et al. Effects of oxidative stress on endothelial function after a high-fat meal. Clin Sci (Lond) 2004;106:315-319.
9. Lacroix S, Rosiers CD, Tardif JC, et al. The role of oxidative stress in postprandial endothelial dysfunction. Nutr Res Rev 2012;25:288-301.
10. Mohanty P, Ghanim H, Hamouda W, et al. Both lipid and protein intakes stimulate increased generation of reactive oxygen species by polymorphonuclear leukocytes and mononuclear cells. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:767-772.
11. Hennig B, Toborek M, McClain CJ. High-energy diets, fatty acids and endothelial cell function: implications for atherosclerosis. J Am Coll Nutr 2001;20:97-105.
12. Lemkes BA, Hermanides J, Devries JH, et al. Hyperglycemia: a prothrombotic factor? J Thromb Haemost 2010;8:1663-1669.
13. Mohanty P, Hamouda W, Garg R, et al. Glucose challenge stimulates reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation by leucocytes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000;85:2970-2973.
14. Turina M, Fry DE, Polk HC, Jr. Acute hyperglycemia and the innate immune system: clinical, cellular, and molecular aspects. Crit Care Med 2005;33:1624-1633.
15. Fujimoto K, Hozumi T, Watanabe H, et al. Acute hyperglycemia induced by oral glucose loading suppresses coronary microcirculation on transthoracic Doppler echocardiography in healthy young adults. Echocardiography 2006;23:829-834.
16. Rammos G, Peppes V, Zakopoulos N. Transient insulin resistance in normal subjects: acute hyperglycemia inhibits endothelial-dependent vasodilatation in normal subjects. Metab Syndr Relat Disord 2008;6:159-170.
17. Lee IK, Kim HS, Bae JH. Endothelial dysfunction: its relationship with acute hyperglycaemia and hyperlipidemia. Int J Clin Pract Suppl 2002:59-64.
18. Hatonen KA, Virtamo J, Eriksson JG, et al. Modifying effects of alcohol on the postprandial glucose and insulin responses in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96:44-49.
19. Dickinson KM, Clifton PM, Keogh JB. Endothelial function is impaired after a high-salt meal in healthy subjects. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2011.


Dr. Fuhrman discusses nutritional research with Dr. Dean Ornish

 by Jerry Deutsch
Executive Director,Nutritional Research Foundation


A meeting of two of the most respected leaders in the field of nutrition and nutritional research took place last week when Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Ornish met in California. 

Dr. Ornish and Dr. Fuhrman


As the Executive Director of the Nutritional Research Foundation I was very fortunate to attend this meeting and now write about it.  

As there are not many physicians and clinical nutrition researchers with their common interests and expertise, Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Ornish had been communicating by phone and email.  It is hard to believe that it has taken this long for them to meet in person and become friends.  Last week Dr. Fuhrman visited Dr. Ornish’ s research facility in Sausalito,  California and discussed mutual research interests, and areas of agreement and those nutritional issues still in question.  Dr. Fuhrman presented and explained some new findings and research in this field as well as his vast clinical experience over 20 years and his findings. 

Dr. Ornish was enthusiastic about his own new areas of research and shared interesting findings in his ongoing and upcoming studies about cancer prevention and reversal, brain messaging and longevity that he is working on.  It was fascinating, promising and important work.  Dr. Fuhrman’s eyes lit up as he listened intently. Dr. Fuhrman shared his findings on nutritional density, fatty acids, the aging brain and maximizing disease reversal in various conditions and individuals with varying metabolic tendencies.  

They also talked about their families, personal interests and prior shared experiences; the good and the bad.  The time flew by and soon Dr. Fuhrman and I had to leave for some other meetings.  But before we left they both expressed a very strong desire to meet again soon.

Dr. Fuhrman and I then headed out to meet with other leading nutritional researchers in the Bay Area, including at CHORI (Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute) and the BUCK institute. Dr. Fuhrman lectured, presented his findings to the scientists at CHORI and we had private meetings with many scientists doing cutting edge research in the health and nutrition fields.  We discussed a potential ground-breaking joint research project with Dr. Brian Kennedy (CEO of the Buck institute) and had more exciting and productive meetings with some of the country’s top scientists there.  What a great week of fun, sharing, learning and collaborating.  I must also say ‘thank you’ to Howard and Ellen Weiss for arranging these meetings.

The Nutritional Research Foundation is committed to supporting and funding research in the effects of a high nutrient dense style of eating.   We are currently raising funds for a Dr. Fuhrman inspired Breast Cancer Prevention Study.  Information about this and other studies is available at