Congratulations Julie ~ Winner of this Year's Holiday Challenge Contest!

On June 26th over 250 guests convened at the beautiful and luxurious Loew’s Coronado Bay Resort near San Diego, California for Dr. Fuhrman’s 7th Annual Health Getaway. It was a week set aside for renewal from the hectic pace of life; combined with informative and life-changing lectures by Dr. Fuhrman; delicious nutritarian foods prepared by world class chefs; and fun activities such as zumba, yoga, power walks, exercise classes led by Dr. Fuhrman, country line dancing, a patriotic dinner with live music, beach fun and games, and a highly entertaining talent show.

For Julie and her husband, Kip, it was the ultimate health getaway. They were this year’s recipients of the all-expense paid trip for two as a result of Julie winning the 2012 Holiday Challenge contest. One evening I asked Julie about her newfound health and was excited to learn about her journey. Welcome to Onlyourhealth, Julie!


How did you discover Dr. Fuhrman? 

One day I was sick and lying on the couch and decided to watch a movie that was on Netflix titled, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”. (Because that described how I was feeling that day!). The movie inspired me, but I instinctively knew that juice fasting wasn’t a lifestyle that I could sustain long term. Since Dr. Fuhrman was in the movie as a supervising physician, I researched him and discovered his book, Eat to Live. I bought the book that day, because his food pyramid looked logical to me. 


How did you feel then?

At 215 lbs I felt miserable. I suffered from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), chronic sinusitis, debilitating migraine headaches, asthma, allergies, chronic bronchitis, sleep apnea, pneumonia, endometriosis, and loss of energy. Everything combined cause me to be a non-functioning wife and mother many days of the year.


How do you feel now?  

I’ve lost 65 lbs., and all symptoms of my past illnesses are completely gone. I’m able to be a full-time mother, and my children are proud of me now. I’ve also influenced them to eat for health, as well as my husband, parents, and friends, because they’ve all witnessed my health improvements. 


What are your success tips?

  • Keep it simple. Stick to the basics of the program. If necessary, buy bags of lettuce and cut-up vegetables for quick meals.
  • Ignore the critics. Ignore those who aren’t informed but criticize what you are doing anyway ~ realize they just don’t know any better. 
  • Join Dr. Fuhrman’s Member Center. Ask questions, interact, and get support from veteran, successful Nutritarians; ask the doctors questions in Ask the Doctor; listen to the library of teleconference calls, and download favorite recipes from the Recipe Guide.  


Congratulations Julie for winning this year’s Holiday Challenge contest! If anyone is interested in the opportunity to win next year’s contest, stay tuned to the Holiday Challenge kick-off coming up again in November.  It's an exciting adventure you won't want to miss! 



The 2012 Holiday Challenge summary

fireworksThe change of one is a transformation; the change of many is a revolution.

While most of the nation indulged on disease promoting foods over the holidays and became sicker, more bloated, and feeling more blah; many experienced exciting health improvements during the past several weeks thanks to the support of Dr. Fuhrman’s 2012 Holiday Challenge. 

Any change, whether big or small, is an awesome celebration, and we can honestly proclaim that a health revolution happened once again this year as a result of the challenge.  Congratulations to all who participated and contributed to this nation’s health revolution!


 Below are just a few of the testimonials:


  • I lost five pounds. My blood pressure dropped from 118/80 to 104/72. I have more energy in the afternoons, I’m no longer hungry between meals., I was able to drop my daily migraine medicine, my IBS symptoms are reduced, and I have less trouble with asthma, I’m also in a better mood, and I don’t have that tired, funky feeling anymore. I look forward to continual healing. Thanks so much for the challenge; I wouldn’t have tried Eat to Live over the holidays without it.
  • I lost eight pounds and yesterday I went shopping for new clothes. Last time I went shopping I was a size 8; now I’m a size 4! I can hardly believer it! My skin is clearer, I have more energy, I have more stamina when exercising, I have a positive attitude, and about ninety percent of my depression/anxiety symptoms have gone away! I still have some weight to lose and more muscle toning to do, but I’m so excited to start 2013 as a size 4!
  • I started the Holiday Challenge at 218 and now I weight 204! Yeah! I’ve been able to cut back on my reflux meds and my mood and energy levels are elevated. 
  • My fasting blood glucose is now down to 125 mg/dl, and I started at 237 mg/dl. I’ve lost 20.2 lbs and my waist is down 5 ¾”. I’m no longer a couch potato, and I’m up to working out 90 minutes every day. I’m also no longer depressed and anxious. (I was so anxious prior to starting Eat to Live that I rarely left the house, except to go to the doctor or dentist one or two times a year.) Now I’ve been out of the house several times. I still have a lot of weight to lose, but I feel great!
  • I lost 31 lbs and feel really good and motivated. I can’t wait to see what 2013 holds!
  •  I lost 12 lbs and feel in control, and I’m excited about losing more!
  • I lost 15 lbs. I have more to lose, but I’m really happy with the changes so far. I don’t feel bloated, I crave green smoothies, I no longer reach for food when I’m upset or stressed, because I know it will make me feel worse and not help solve my problems, thanks to Dr. Fuhrman’s Motivational Outreach Program. I just started exercising again, and I feel lighter and finally have the energy required to even think about exercising. During the holidays, the standard American diet foods started to look really unappetizing to me! After years of yo-yo dieting, this is the first time I’ve lost weight without feeling hungry. I’m looking forward to feeling even healthier and getting to my goal weight.
  • I lost 12 lbs, but more than that I feel so much more alive and full of energy. In fact, I feel so much better than I have in many years. And guess what, I’ve discovered a new addiction; it’s Eat to Live! I can’t wait to see how I’ll feel after the next six weeks, and the next. On New Year’s Eve I went out to eat and none of the food tasted good to me while everyone else was raving about it and going nuts over the desserts. I’m thrilled at the change in my taste and appetite. All of this reinforces my commitment and conviction about this program. I am so grateful to Dr. Fuhrman and everyone on the Member Center for the support. 
  • Before Thanksgiving I weighed around 220 lbs and now I weigh 203 lbs. Needless to say I’m overjoyed! It has been very easy, and I haven’t been hungry. 
  • I started the Holiday Challenge two weeks late, but I still lost 24 lbs. Previously, I had constant cravings and an overwhelming desire to eat horribly unhealthy foods. That is gone! My heartburn has disappeared, and I’m now “regular”. I no longer have blood sugar swings, and this was the first time in my life that I was able to handle social situations without overeating. This holiday season was my healthiest ever! I’m really looking forward to more health benefits in the upcoming days, months, and years! 


Image credits: flickr, fireworks by bryasaa / flickr, produce by nutrilover

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

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 -



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.




1. Kloner RA. The "Merry Christmas Coronary" and "Happy New Year Heart Attack" phenomenon. Circulation 2004;110:3744-3745.
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.


Let's Bust Lies this Holiday Season!


Here at the beginning of the Holiday Challenge is a great time to expose the lies that you’ll most likely be hearing from friends, family, and co-workers over the next few weeks.

They’ll be saying stuff like: “Oh come on, just one bite won’t hurt; or it’s the holidays, it’s time to indulge ~ everyone’s doing it! You can start over in January.”

Or worse yet, “I made your favorite cheese ball, just for you.” 

The truth is, processed fake food will hurt you; and hurt you in a big way! Fat, sugar, flour, greasy meats and cheeses, processed foods, salt, etc., are addictive and deadly.

ADDICTIVE.  Even with the best intentions, one bite always turns into two, three, four . . . .the whole pan. 

DEADLY.   More heart attacks occur after the holidays than any other time of the year; not to mention the prolific fueling of cancer cell growth, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, etc.   


  • The truth is food addiction is worse than any drug addiction because it is socially acceptable, and the foods are so easily available; plus, their consumption is promoted by dear Grandma, sweet Aunt Betty, and even clergy, teachers, and medical professionals (gasp!) In fact, not only are addictive foods served at most all holiday events and gatherings, one can be ridiculed, or made to feel guilty if he/she doesn’t participate in the addiction.

  • Time to burst the bubble: your loved one, co-worker, or friend didn’t make that favorite cheese ball just for you. For whatever reason, that person has a dysfunctional desire to sabotage your goal to be healthy. If they really cared about you, and they really had goodwill towards you, they would support your wishes. If you let them know your food needs beforehand, but they disregard your preferences anyway; forcing you to decline their unhealthy offers, that is their problem, not yours. False guilt proves to be a snare each time. Don’t get caught in the deadly trap.    

  • Starting over on January 1st is a big, fat lie. 

  • Repeat, starting over on January 1st is a big, fat lie. Because then you’ll have the Super Bowl party to contend with, then Valentine chocolates, followed by birthday parties, Easter candies, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation open houses, wedding receptions, more birthday parties, summer picnics & cookouts, fall festivals, Halloween, and then back to the holidays all over again.

  • Keep in mind the average American will consume the equivalent of over 50 cups of sugar and 42 sticks of butter during the six week period of time between Thanksgiving and New Years.  Yikes!  That's a lot of disease promoting stuff!  [click here]  If one doesn’t draw the line, and declare a solid commitment to abstinence, food addiction and the resulting “blahhhs” will take over holiday fun and festivities. One will become a captive to weight gain, tight fitting clothes, puffiness & bloating, fatigue, stomach aches, headaches, and a general malaise feeling all over the body. And as Dr. Benson wrote in his kick-off post “There are medical studies that document the fact that every year there is a surge in the number of heart attack deaths that occur in the winter after the holidays when people eat poorly and stop exercising.”

  • Last but not least, as happy and festive as the holidays can be, many may be experiencing deep sadness this time of year. Perhaps you are facing a first Christmas or Hanukah without a precious family member, or are in the midst of a bitter divorce and child custody battle, or lost a job, or lost a home and belongings in the wake of hurricane Sandy. The holidays can magnify the grief and sadness. It will be especially important to pamper yourself with the best health that’s possible. Even though it may take all you have to muster up the strength to shop for, and make nutritious food, it has to take precedence over all activities this holiday season. Don’t allow anything, even the anguish of profound grief, get in the way of eating for health and self-care. 



So what about you ~ what lies do you need to bust this holiday season?

Remember, in just five more weeks you’ll be waking up on January 1st feeling renewed, rejuvenated, vibrant, and healthy; ready to start the New Year in the best health that’s possible!

Here’s to great health to all!


Giving Thanks for Freedom from Food Addiction and Resulting Diseases
















Over the past six months, Kathleen has been working with Randi Carbone, R.N. and Food Addictions Counselor with Dr. Fuhrman’s Motivational Outreach Program to get free from emotional eating and food addiction; and she’s now 55 lbs lighter and counting!   You’ll be inspired by what she has written below to help you successfully navigate the holiday challenges ahead. Welcome to Onlyourhealth Kathleen!


Giving Thanks for Freedom from Food Addiction and Resulting Diseases


by Kathleen Callahan


There is something about the holiday season that seems to make dysfunctional relationships stand out more than they normally would. I imagine at one time or another, most of us have gathered at a holiday table with people we felt were toxic to us. We may have spent months (or even years), learning to build healthy relationships with the important people in our lives, so that holiday gatherings became joyful events, rather than occasions fraught with anxiety and pain.

The phenomenon of the dysfunctional family holiday gathering is well-known. A lesser known, though certainly more pervasive phenomenon is that of the severely dysfunctional relationship that far too many of us have to food, in particular, the Standard American Diet.

Ours is a culture of addiction. We expect food to be our savior. I know I did. For me, food was the perfect friend. This friend never, ever let me down. If I was sad, she was there for me. If I wanted to celebrate, my friend lifted me up and celebrated with me. If I was bored, she filled my time. If life was too painful to contemplate, my friend distracted me and eased my pain. Truly, this felt like the best friend I'd ever had.

The SAD (Standard American Diet) brought me solace, comfort, celebration, and was always present when I was lonely. However, it also brought pain and despair. This relationship caused me to gain an enormous amount of unhealthy weight. It exacerbated a genetic condition I have, causing me to end up with such severe osteoarthritis, that I had to have a total knee replacement at age 47. It chipped away at my self-esteem and self-care. Clearly, the sensible thing to do was to end this unhealthy relationship. But, as with all dysfunctional relationships, ending this one also meant giving up the good parts that I desperately needed. How does one do that?

I suspect that the answer to this question is deeply personal and different for all of us. For me, it took watching my dad slowly die as every one of his body systems fell to the Standard American Diet. I remember sitting in my bed, hugging myself and crying. Not only did I miss him terribly, but I saw my own future, and it mirrored his. My addiction to the Standard American Diet was no less powerful than my dad's, and I was terrified.

Days before my dad's death, he had watched Dr. Fuhrman on PBS and ordered the books and DVDs. He was excited and motivated for the first time in years. He told us he was going to follow this plan and regain his health. He never got the chance to try, as he passed away before the materials ever reached him, but I hold in my heart his excitement and hope. When I came across a posting on Facebook for the Motivational Outreach Program offered by Dr. Fuhrman, I knew I had to do this for my dad.

I have spent thirty years dieting myself up and down the numbers on the scale. I am an intelligent woman who understands the scientific research, but was never able to make it work for me. The reason is that despite all I'd read about diet, obesity, weight loss, and nutrition, I never came across anything on food addiction. The Motivational Outreach Program directly addresses this deadly and little-researched problem.

For six months, I worked with Randi Carbone, a registered nurse who specializes in addiction. She helped me to recognize the dysfunctional relationship I had with food. I came to understand that if you are running with a crowd that causes you trouble, that causes you to make poor decisions, that doesn't respect you and hurts you, it's time to cut those friends loose no matter what positive aspects the relationship brings to you. I had to say goodbye to artery-clogging pizza, to greasy Thai food, to chemical-laden Dunkin' Donuts bagels, and to dysrhythmia-producing Diet Coke. As so often happens when you remove dysfunctional relationships from your life, you open up space to form new healthy connections. I now have gorgeous, fresh, crisp vegetables. I have decadently sweet, juicy fruit. I have happy belly-fulfilling beans, hearty whole grains, and luscious nuts and seeds. My new friends nourish me, and never hurt me the way the SAD did. They bring me fun and joy and comfort without the devastating cost of obesity and disease.

I am 55 pounds lighter than I was when I started the Motivational Outreach Program and still losing. I have a much healthier relationship with food. This Thanksgiving, I will share a healthy nutritarian table with my healthy nutritarian family, and I will give thanks for Randi Carbone, Dr. Fuhrman, and the Motivational Outreach Program.

Embrace your true friends this holiday season, and ask them to support you on your journey to health. Who knows, they might even join you for this year’s Holiday Challenge!  Breaking free from any toxic relationship, especially one that makes you sick and unhappy, is priceless. Please join me!














Today is the Kick-Off!

Today is the official kick-off for Dr. Fuhrman’s 2012 Holiday Challenge! Hopefully you’ve already committed to the challenge and have prepared your kitchen and schedule to begin. 

Here are a few expectations while you go through the next six weeks:


You may experience what we call, “detox” or “toxic hunger”.

Depending on how dramatic of a shift you are making from what you were eating prior to this challenge and how many addictive foods you may have been eating, or if you had been drinking caffeinated drinks or using tobacco, you may experience symptoms that are unpleasant; related mostly to the withdrawal effect of discontinuing them. You may even think the best way to take away these symptoms is to go back to what you had eaten before to feel better, but don’t let yourself! That will only prolong the detoxification phase. Don’t let these unpleasant symptoms stop you from pushing through! Some of these symptoms are listed below and may last up to 2 weeks for some, but most will only feel them for 3-5 days.

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Mental confusion
  • Irritability
  • Stomach and/or intestinal fluttering or cramping

You will feel much better once this initial phase is over, and most likely much better than how you felt prior to the challenge.

[Important Note: These dietary changes may quickly drop your blood sugar and/or your blood pressure lower than is safe if taking medications that lower blood sugar or blood pressure, so be aware. If you are taking any medications that would be affected by a dramatic shift in your diet (diabetes medications, blood pressure medications, Coumadin, and others), then use careful daily monitoring and stay in close contact with your doctor so that adjustments can be made to match your body’s response to the dietary changes.]


The taste of food will change over time.

Your taste buds may be used to a high sodium (high salt) diet and so dropping this excess sodium out of the equation can create a feeling that this new eating routine is a little bland. This also will improve over a few weeks, but you should learn as quickly as possible how to flavor your food without using salt, oils, sweeteners, or cheeses. Use lemon or lime juice, flavored vinegars, herbs and spices, whole-food based dressings and sauces made from avocado, nuts or seeds, etc.) so that from day #1 you will have flavorful, healthy food each day.

Also, if after the challenge you find yourself trying some of your old unhealthy food choices again, they may actually taste very different, even unpleasant, and possibly cause discomfort. But with delicious healthy foods in your routine, you’ll be fine without the need for those foods anyway. You’ll see. Just give it some time.


People may say that you are losing too much weight or getting too thin.

First of all, as long as you are following the challenge the way we describe it, losing weight quickly and reaching your ideal weight will be a good thing as well as safe. This comment may come from those who are used to seeing an overweight population (perhaps even themselves included) and this contrast of being thinner and fit may be misjudged as being unhealthy, but it is just the opposite, so don’t be swayed by this mentality (plus, they may be just jealous anyway). But just to know if you are in the healthy range for weight, you can measure your body mass index (BMI) which is a rough estimate of a healthy weight. A healthy BMI for most people is between 19 and 22, from my experience, so if your BMI is greater than 22, you likely have more weight to lose.

BMI = (weight in pounds X 703) ÷ (height in inches X height in inches)


Expect to improve your health!

I want you to know that this time of year, around the holidays, is a particularly risky time for many. There are medical studies that document the fact that every year there is a surge in the number of heart attack deaths that occur in the winter after the holidays when people eat poorly and stop exercising. Here is one of those studies where researchers saw this trend.

But, with each day you practice healthy eating, especially during the holidays, you are reducing your overall risk of future disease instead of increasing it, and you’ll be forming habits that will continue to help you for years to come, so expect to be proud of yourself each day you are successful with this challenge.

Please let us know how you did after the challenge so we can congratulate you on your success!

Ok, are you ready?

Get set……..



Dr. Benson sees the majority of patients at Dr. Fuhrman’s office in 19126, and is well versed in modern high-tech medicine and the nutritional and natural methods utilized by Dr. Fuhrman. He also works side-by-side with Dr. Fuhrman on nutritional research, gives lectures, and answers questions on Dr. Fuhrman’s Ask the Doctor forums.




image credit:  flickr by terren in Virginia

The 3rd Annual Holiday Challenge is About to Begin!

The holiday season is just around the corner which means the kick-off to the 3rd annual Holiday Challenge is about to begin! The holidays can be a joyous time when we celebrate with our family and friends. However, with unhealthy foods everywhere, I take bad nutrition seriously because people die from it. I am sick of seeing people injured and dead, especially when they learned about the power of superior nutrition and did not take advantage of it.

Food addiction is powerful for sure, but think about if that junk food (white flour, white rice and white sugar are dangerous junk) is worth a cancer diagnosis or open heart surgery. When junk food is eaten, including the traditional, disease-promoting foods served at the holidays, you may get momentary pleasure as it passes the lips, but the results continue on to compromise your health now, and many years in the future. For some reason people do not realize that they aren’t granted a new body after they harm the one they have. We pay a price, usually later in life for our dietary indiscretions. As we get older, the more years one remains overweight and the more times you indulge in cancer-causing foods, the more difficult it becomes to assure protection against a tragic life-threatening cancer when you finally do decide to eat healthfully. Now is the time to throw your cigarettes away, not next year. Now is the time to get off your soft drinks and sugar addiction, not after the holidays.

Since everyone can use great recipes (and I supply many of them) to make delicious desserts and main dishes, I do not see the reason to eat white flour and sugar-filled garbage that creates cancer. Just because the world has gone crazy, and has become addicted to dangerous refined foods and factory farmed junk-food chicken and meats (factory-farmed meats are junk-food too) doesn’t mean you should join the self-destructive insanity.

Remember how eating unhealthful and overeating while celebrating the holidays left you feeling ill and regretful in the past? (And it wasn’t likely that pleasurable either.) I doubt pigging out on junk is that pleasurable compared to cocaine or heroin. Not that I would know that, but I do know that food addiction kills a thousand times more people each year than cocaine addiction. Plus, not having good health magnifies every emotional problem plaguing your life and is a contributory cause of depression. Now is the time to change things. Make the effort, set the example and do not let the holidays derail your commitment. Giving up addictive and harmful habits is tough, but you have to be tough on yourself to succeed. Accept no excuses. It will be well worth it. Do it now. Make the commitment.

Don’t know where to start? Try these simple guidelines taken from my book Eat to Live:

  • Eat at least one large salad each day.

  • Enjoy generous amounts of cooked green vegetables with mushrooms and onions.

  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with at least three fresh fruits each day.

  • Eat at least one-half cup of beans each day.

  • Remember the acronym G-BOMBS. Greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds. These are the most health-promoting foods.

  • Avoid completely these disease-promoting foods: white flour, sugars, artificial sweeteners, oils, and factory farmed animal products. Unhealthy food is designed to be addictive – keep it out of your home.

  • Retrain your taste buds to prefer healthy foods. Staying away from sugar and salt is the secret to a heightened sense of taste and enjoyment of natural flavors.



Here are some tips for staying on track:

  • Always keep your kitchen stocked with fresh and frozen produce.
  • Budget time: plan out when you will shop for groceries, cook, exercise, relax, and spend time with friends and family.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time and make a detailed grocery list before you go shopping.
  • Cook vegetable bean soups in large batches, and store leftovers in the refrigerator so you can quickly heat some up for lunch or dinner later in the week.
  • Stay focused on your health – eating right is self-care. Do not allow the unhealthy influences around you to derail you from your health goals.
  • My 90 percent rule does not mean that you can eat 10 percent of anything. It means the 10 percent of animal products or flour products or sweet desserts can still be made from whole grains, natural fruit and dried fruit sweeteners, and more naturally raised and cleaner animal products. In other words, I see no reason for people to continue to consume the worst foods on the planet. Junk food kills and just perpetuates food addictions.


Fast forward to next holiday season: you will make the best choices; the ones that will allow you to achieve overall health and quality of life. You'll be celebrating your health instead of simply indulging in the “traditional” destructive foods. As you eat for optimal health and vitality, you’ll be able to more fully enjoy the special times with family and friends. You will flourish and it will be the most enjoyable holiday season you've ever had. There will be no need to “start over” next January 1st. You will already be committed to your health, and feel pleased with yourself for maintaining your healthy habits over the holidays. So are you going to take my holiday challenge?

The official kick-off begins on Monday, November 19th. Click here to read the official rules and to make my Holiday Challenge Promise.




food image credits: Esther Boller