Exposing the High Cost of Food Addiction

For over twenty years I was addicted to the Standard America Diet, and as a result I overate and became 100 lbs overweight. Consequently, I developed several nutritional diseases: heart disease, pre diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, chronic bronchitis, and boils; just to name a few. And to maintain that obese state I had to consume at least 3700 calories a day.  

Last year I calculated the average food expenses of my indulgent eating habit and was nearly shocked at what I discovered. 

Basically, I was eating in excess of $4,500 / year than I am now as a Nutritarian. My entanglement with the Standard America Diet drained at least $90,000 from the family budget over a 20 year period of time! 

Numbers don’t lie. The following is the cost comparison of weekly food expenses for one person, Yours truly, Emily Boller:

 

THEN

 

 

NOW

 

 1 loaf of bread

3.90

 

 lettuce

10.00

 ½ lb of butter

2.00

 

 kale, collards, spinach

10.00

 honey

2.00

 

 colorful vegetables

10.00

 peanut butter

3.50

 

 fresh fruit

20.00

 2 bottles of dressing

5.00

 

 frozen fruit

 7.00

 1 lb cheese

5.00

 

 nuts/seeds/flax

 7.00

 32 oz. yogurt

7.00

 

 oats (on occasion)

 3.00

 32 oz. cottage cheese

6.00

 

 mushrooms

 7.00

 microwave popcorn

7.00

 

 onions

 3.00

 1 gallon of milk

3.50

 

 beans (dry / bulk)

 5.00

 2 quarts ice cream

7.00

 

 tomato paste

 5.00

 candy

7.00

 

 TOTAL

87.00

 processed cereal

7.00

     

 mixed vegetables

5.00

     

 lettuce

7.00

     

 carrots

2.00

     

 chips & crackers

7.00

     

 fruit

7.00

     

 cookies

5.00

     

 frozen pizza

5.00

     

 lasagna

3.00

     

 meatloaf

3.00

     

 chicken breasts

6.00

     

 roast beef

3.00

     

 deli meats

5.00

     

 mayonnaise

2.00

     

 macaroni and cheese

3.00

     

 garlic bread

3.00

     

 rolls and biscuits

3.00

     

 Subway meal

7.00

     

 diet sodas

14.00

     

 Dairy Queen

5.00

     

 chewing gum

2.00

     

 ice cream novelties

4.00

     

 TOTAL

166.90

 

 

 

 

THEN: $166.90* / week = $8,678.80 / year

*This amount excludes coffee and alcohol addiction; this number would've been much higher with daily stops at Starbucks or alcohol purchases.  Also, I was "only" 100 lbs. overweight so this amount would've been much higher if I would've been heavier as well.

 

NOW:   $ 87.00* / week = $4,524.00 / year

*This amount excludes backyard gardening; this number can be significantly reduced with homegrown produce.

 

 

 

Add to my former expenses a quarterly visit to an endocrinologist and a cardiologist, lab tests, surgical procedures, hospitalizations, and the various prescription and over-the-counter drugs that I had to take . . . .gluttony not only robbed me and my family of a quality life, it drained the budget as well, big time!

None of us can afford being addicted to the Standard American Diet. Food addiction is nothing to joke about. It robs and destroys health, relationships, careers, dreams, and financial resources. Instead, making the commitment to Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian approach is not only health promoting, it is cost effective as well. 

 

Here’s to great health, a quality life, and money in the bank to all!

The 90 Percent Rule

One of the most popular and misunderstood  topics in Dr. Fuhrman’s book, Eat to Live, is the famous 90 Percent Rule for adopting the nutritarian eating-style for life, and every person has his / her own interpretation of it:

“I eat healthy for a week, and then I celebrate.”

“I try to eat healthy, but I know I have that 10% to fall back on if I want to.”

“I use that 10% for when I eat out, because I know I’ll have salty foods and dessert.” 

“I’m not that hardcore following Eat to Live, after all, Dr. Fuhrman even said that we can cheat 10% of the time.”  

 

For those unfamiliar with the 90 Percent Rule, starting on page 223 of Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman wrote about it, and I’ll highlight below a few points that many misuse as a free-for-all license to go back to the standard American diet at liberty.  

 

  • For longevity and weight loss, the Life Plan diet should aim to be made up of at least 90 percent unrefined plant foods. My most successful patients treat processed foods and animal foods as condiments, constituting no more than 10 percent of their total caloric intake.

  • To hold to the 90 percent rule, I recommend women consume no more than 150 calories per day of low-nutrient food, or about 1,000 calories weekly. Men should not consume more than 200 calories of low-nutrient food daily, or about 1,400 calories weekly.

  • Using the 90 percent rule, you are allowed to eat almost any kind of food, even a small cookie or candy bar, as long as all your other calories that day are from nutrient-dense vegetation.    

     

 

Let’s set the record straight. The 90 Percent Rule is not the excuse to intentionally cheat. There is no valid reason to consume the worst foods that we can get our hands on, because junk food kills and perpetuates more food addiction.

The 10 percent allowance of low-nutrient foods is permissible; however, Dr. Fuhrman never intended for that to be the license for cheating, or anything close to that mindset.  He would prefer that everyone eat 100% of high-nutrient foods for the best health that’s possible. However, he also realizes that optimal health is not everyone’s priority, and everyone has that right to choose their own health destiny by the foods they select. 

Eating 100% high-nutrient foods is most beneficial for breaking food addictions, and eradicating obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and a myriad of other diseases. 

Most of us have been consuming fake foods our entire lives so consuming 100% high-nutrient foods is especially crucial for us to reverse years of damage already done within our bodies. Dr. Fuhrman has stated that we may “look healthy” on the outside when we are close to an ideal weight, but we still have much damage on the cellular level to heal and restore due to years and years of conventional eating abuse. 

It’s not a matter of how far one can push a boundary line and get by with it, but how much one desires to heal damaged cells and feel alive and well; excited to be alive! 

Scrupulous, yes.

Sensible, absolutely.

Who in their right mind would want obesity, cancer, heart disease, depression, dementia, arthritis, or diabetes at retirement age?

With that being said, living in the best health that’s possible is totally one’s personal choice. If one wants to repeatedly eat traditional holiday meals; or pizza, chips and cake at parties; or ice cream blizzards on the way home from work; or glazed donuts at Sunday School; or buckets of buttered popcorn and boxes of candy at the movies; and then feel crappy, crabby and bloated; plus feed cancer cells and blow out precious beta cells in the process, no one is going to care. It’s one’s personal choice. Each person is in control of his or her own health destiny. 

 

So does Dr. Fuhrman himself follow the 90 Percent Rule?

 

 “What do you think I’m crazy?! My father had leukemia, why would I want to put 10 percent low quality food in my body? That is just for people who can’t yet grasp that nutritarian food tastes better and is more enjoyable to eat, and is the food we actually prefer to eat. Nevertheless, this is not a religion, and if on a rare occasion I want to have something conventional that is delicious, I can.”  

 

Be wise. Use good judgment and always be in control of your health destiny, 100% of the time!

 

[The obese belly above was mine a few years ago when I was in my 40's.  Now I'm 51-years-old and feeling younger & healthier than twenty years ago!]

Got color?

 

A while back I was looking through some old picture files and found these two images; both were taken on a hot, July day about a year a part. I really had no idea how pale my skin had become from years of stuffing my body with mashed potatoes, cereal, milk, pasta, dinner rolls, butter, cheese, chicken, beef 'n noodles, pizza, etc. . . . until I saw these pictures. 

About six months into consistently eating high-nutrient foods, I clearly remember the day that I looked “tan” in the dead of winter in Indiana. I was recovering from major surgery in a hospital room; in fact, it was two days post surgery, and I had managed to stand up long enough to capture a glimpse of myself in a mirror. My body felt like it had just been plowed under by a bulldozer, but my skin looked alive, refreshed and glowing! Instead of an expected paleness, it had color! Surprisingly, with each shift of new nurses that were caring for me, the first question was always, “Where did you get your tan?”  

For many of us who live in the northern states, winter can be sort of colorless. Blahh. Leafless trees silhouetted against bleak, gray skies. Dead branches. Dark mornings and evenings. Brown grass peaking through melted, dirty snow. Dreary blahh.  

However, our food and our skin can be beaming with bright color! Not only do those plates of colorful vegetables and fruits nourish our bodies to optimal health and longevity, they add visual beauty to our otherwise, potentially colorless environment. They brighten up our kitchens and dining tables, and our skin even reflects the beauty of those colors. 

 

 

How about you? Got color?   

    

 

Related post by Dr. Fuhrman: The human mind prefers a healthy carotenoid glow over a suntan

 

 

Image credit:  vegetables by Esther Boller

But it would cost

I got thinking the other day how different my life would’ve been if, as a toddler, beer would’ve been repeatedly put into my sippy cup. . . .and fake food & cigarettes would’ve been a negative stigma to even be around or touch.

And later on, as I got older, beer would’ve been served with my high-nutrient meals, including school lunches.   

Most likely I would’ve grown up not eating pizza, cheeseburgers, spaghetti, fried chicken, beef ‘n noodles, cheese, ice-cream cones, donuts, and chips. In fact, most likely, I would’ve probably thought they were disgusting. . . . just as disgusting to me as the lingering smoke and smell of cigarettes.

However, I’d probably be totally addicted to alcohol and not be able to function without it. Possibly even totally dependant upon the stuff to get me through each day. 

I’d seek friends who also liked to drink. 

I’d seek activities where drinking was encouraged. 

I’d even possibly seek religious and social affiliations where drinking was condoned.

I’d most definitely turn to alcohol to calm my nerves, celebrate victories, cheer sadness, cope with stress, overcome insecurities, escape pain and responsibilities, and soothe a bleeding heart.

However, if, on down the road, I realized the damaging affects of alcohol on my body; including my inability to think clearly, hold down a job, raise a family, and have healthy interpersonal relationships, I may decide to get rid of the stuff. Once and for all.

But it would cost.

It would cost abstinence for rest of my life.

It may possibly require developing new friends and activities. 

And it may even cost finding different religious and social affiliations that would support my decision to remain sober.  

Addiction is addiction. When one is addicted to any health damaging substance, whether it is the standard American diet, sugar, “healthy” sweets, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, heroine, or meth; to live in freedom from the addiction will require a radical commitment to abstinence. Including possibly finding new friends, activities, religious and social affiliations that support the decision to remain free . . . for life!

 

According to Dr. Fuhrman, “The facts are that fast food and junk foods cause a thousand times as many premature deaths compared to cocaine; and it’s condoned.”

 

Are you committed to abstinence?

Think about it.  

 

image:  Emily Boller circa 1964

Extinguish the pilot light; part 2

gas flame

Recently, in a post titled, “Extinguish the pilot light,” I explained how crucial it is to keep the pilot light of addiction, those seemingly insignificant-at-the-time compromises, extinguished at all times. 

I want to devote this post to clarifying the difference between an occasional slip-up and ongoing compromises. 

Slip-ups happen from time to time - they just do – it’s a part of transitioning into a whole new way of eating and living for the rest of one’s life. There’s a learning curve, especially in the beginning, to understanding the science behind Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations. 

For instance, I committed to Eat to Live in July 2008, and by that first Thanksgiving I thought it would be perfectly fine to eat the traditional feast. It never occurred to me that I’d get violently sick so I enjoyed the feasting and merriment with gusto. I quickly learned just how TERRIBLY toxic the standard American diet was ~ even though I knew from my studying that it was poisonous to the body.

And I've had plenty of slip-ups since then. I wish I could say that I've been perfect at all times, but I haven't.

Even with eating only high-nutrient foods and having cravings for fake food gone as a result, I've eaten beyond "before full." I've eaten as a result of being frustrated. I've eaten for stimulation because I was tired. And I've eaten for recreation with others when I wasn't a bit hungry. However, and a big however, each time I quickly realized my error and moved on quickly; contending with all strength to keep going!

I want to make clear that the pilot light that I'm referring to is the intentional decision to choose compromises, aka “cheats”, on a regular basis. These habitual choices, even if they are seemingly insignificant at the time, are the pilot light.

 

The willful decision to see how much one can cheat and get by; how much one can straddle the fence, or how much one can habitually overeat . . . . and still keep the addiction eradicated . . . . that’s what I'm referring to as being the next-to-impossible feat to accomplish.

 

It can't be done!

 

I repeat ~ it can't be done.

 

With repetitive compromises, the addictive cravings are rumbling beneath the surface, and it just takes a tiny spark to ignite them to full strength and power!

For one to be truly free, the pilot light needs to be extinguished and remain that way . . . .for life.

AND to live in denial of food addiction's power is to remain its prisoner, or worse yet, the path right back to captivity.

Choose the easy way and keep the pilot light extinguished at all times.  

Continual freedom and excellent health to all!

 

celebration

 

Image credits: gas flame: flickr by stevendepolo; celebration: by Elijah Lynn

Food addiction is just as serious as drug addiction

Emily Boller before pic

 

If we feed addiction, it grows.

If we abstain, it dies.

 

If we give in an inch, food addiction will capture and drag us for miles; literally strangling the very life out of us.

It's mean.

It's ruthless.

It clothes one in rags.

It destroys families and homes.

It robs romantic intimacy between husband and wife.

It eats up finances and drowns its victims in dire poverty.

It’s no respecter of persons; socioeconomic, educational, or professional.

It doesn't care who it maims and disables in its path of destruction, including those the addict loves and cares about.  It's never solitary; it affects everyone surrounding the captive.

Don't give food addiction the opportunity to suck the life out of you. Contend for your freedom if it costs you everything you’ve got. Some may call you neurotic. Others may avoid your company. Still others may ridicule your commitment and entice you to consider moderation, but don't give into the voice of the enemy.
 


If you give in, you are undone. If you “wait until tomorrow” . . . . the truth is tomorrow never comes, because food addiction grows stronger with each compromise.   

I'm a bit passionate, I know. But in order to give food addiction black ‘n blue eyes, and ruthlessly disable it from ever coming after me again, I've had to be.

One day I hit a wall. I saw the seriousness of what the addiction was doing to my marriage and family, my health, my sanity, and my talents; and knew that I had no other option but to radically commit to Eat to Live to stop its destruction. I was willing to pay any price to get free. 

 

Willingness to commit to carefully following the plan in Eat to Live (aka total abstinence) is the key to long-term success. Once one is willing, no obstacle will be in the way as obstacles are just the welcome excuse to continue in addiction.

Emily Boller afterI'll never give up the fight. I'll never quit contending for my own freedom and health, and the freedom and health of my fellow man, no matter what, for life.

 

 

The image at the top of this post is a picture of me the day before I committed to abstinence from the standard America diet.