Are You a Food Addict?

  • Do you enjoy eating a fresh mango or juicy slice of cantaloupe?
  • Do you get excited over the taste of seasoned bok choy with roasted garlic and shiitake mushrooms simmered in carrot juice?
  • Do you look forward to some steamed greens, zucchini, beets, and onions poured over a bowl of warm lentils, currants and sun dried tomatoes?
  • Do you enjoy sweet peppers, red onions, sliced plantain, and shredded carrots in your salads?  Doesn’t a dressing made from blueberries, cashews and a little blueberry vinegar poured over sound good?

  • When cherry tomatoes have ripened on the vine, do you pop the delicious  morsels into your mouth like you used to pop in junk food?  And, feel good that you enjoy the health giving sustenance from nature? 


If you don’t genuinely enjoy eating nutrient rich foods, it’s a telltale sign that you have not broken free from toxic food addiction.

If eating for health is a burden, but you force yourself to do it anyway to lose weight or survive; or because you know it’s better than the alternative of premature death, then you are still held captive to the standard American diet.  You are a food addict.  Most likely, when no one is around, or when the food is right there in your vicinity, you make excuses to yourself and eat toxic foods at almost every opportunity.

Many people have trouble breaking free.  For them they need a prolonged period of abstinence to conquer their perverted cravings for destructive food.  Like any drug addiction, in order to be free from food addiction and its all-consuming cravings, you have to abstain from the toxic American diet for a full 8 – 12 weeks, no matter what. 

If you do not strictly follow nutritarian eating for at least that amount of time, your taste buds will never adapt, and consequently you’ll never get to the point that you prefer eating natural, healthy food.   

You have to put in the time of abstinence up front to get the results.  If you’re always jumping back and forth due to toxic cravings, you won’t build the strength and sensitivity in the taste buds that make natural foods so delicious.

In other words, just do it!

You can’t live with one leg in nutritarian eating and one leg in standard American (self-destructive) eating.  It just won’t work, and you’ll miss the wonderful privilege of living in freedom from food addiction and enjoying optimal health.  Yes, there’s a seemingly sacrificial price to pay up front because cravings can be strong and withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, but these disappear shortly and the results will pay you back a hundred fold for the rest of your life!  

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Comments (33) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Alicia - February 15, 2010 11:55 AM

I think you are absolutely right. I have found that I needed to commit to very strict nutritarian eating for at least 6 weeks to lose my cravings for starch and sugar. The benefits of nutritarian eating go far beyond weight loss. I wish people would embrace this style of eating for health, but as long as they do it I suppose the original motivation doesn't matter.

Elisa Rodriguez - February 15, 2010 1:11 PM

The first five bullets sounded so good that I was beginning to think maybe I AM a food addict! Wheeeew... it was reassuring to read the remainder of the post, because I have developed an incredible appetite for vegetable-based whole foods that simply amazes me at times.

Kathy - February 15, 2010 1:27 PM

I had to go strict over two years ago. Oh, it was worth it! I love the article above because that is exactly how I feel now. The junk food just makes me sick and I can walk right by it. I am constantly having friends ask me how I can be at a gathering and not be tempted by the junk. They claim they just could not do it! They tell me how strong I am! And I tell them how incredibly good the food is. There has been no denial or compromise for me. I just love the veggies, beans, greens, nuts and whole grain foods. No hunger here!

Maura - February 15, 2010 1:58 PM

I've just discovered the site and the book a couple of weeks ago, and this post describes exactly the trap I'm in. I do enjoy the healthy food, always have, but I still crave the junk. I thought I could do this the way I quit smoking - gradually taper off until stopping entirely isn't such a gigantic leap. But like quitting smoking, you haven't really accomplished the goal if you're still allowing the 'occasional' cheat - and every little cheat carries with it the risk of complete relapse. Like quitting smoking, it will take a few months of zero tolerance before the cravings truly subside. Now, 3 years later, I hate the smell of cigarrettes and know I'll never go back. Thank you for this post - it really helped thinks click for me!

Betty - February 15, 2010 2:48 PM

I bought "Eat to Live" in early January. I have tried many diets to gain health, and energy. Autoimmune issues plague me, as does IBS. I have been eating "Nutritarian" well
over 4 weeks. I am excited, I wish I could have found you
years ago! My life is changing, I have hope of eventually being free. :) I wish to say thank you!

Maia - February 15, 2010 3:15 PM

Talk about traps. That is exactly what i am in. Trying real hard to get past the cravings. Need all the help I can get.

Jill - February 15, 2010 8:38 PM

I've been a vegetarian since December of 2008 and a vegan since September - October, 2009. I have lost almost 100 pounds. I am 52 years old and I feel better than I have ever felt in my life!

I don't eat "mock meat" dishes. I will sometimes have tofu, but usually only eat whole grains, brown rice, beans, veggies of all kinds, fruits, nutritional yeast, walnuts, etc. I always stir ground flaxseed in my morning oatmeal!

This is absolutely the best way to live!

Greg - February 15, 2010 8:59 PM

It's like you read my mind. I just bought out of season cherry tomatoes yesterday because I couldn't help myself! I tried to save them, but they are almost all gone! My grocery store kills me with 7 dallor strawberries every time I go in!

mrfreddy - February 16, 2010 9:40 AM

My only problem with this is that you define as destructive and addictive the very same foods that humans evolved on over 2 plus millions years.

Deana Ferreri - February 16, 2010 11:27 AM

I don't think that humans evolved for 2 million years on burgers, fries, chips, white flour pasta, candy, and cookies.

Betty - February 16, 2010 12:46 PM

I LOVE everything in that first paragraph! I have been a member here since 2004, living with a SAD eating husband so my diet is mostly very healthy as I try to balance and cook to please both of us. After this period of time and what I just said, I do feel brain-washed but it is wonderful! In the past I would be around the sweets that would call my name and I answered. I have actually stood in the store looking at those foods and thinking how odd I felt. Now, I absolutely cannot make myself eat those things. I am not where I want to be but I find it shocking to see the sweets and not want them. I am so pleased about it but it is hard to believe. It must be what Dr. F says about the education of it all. I "know" these things will hurt me so I have a barrior there.

David - February 16, 2010 1:13 PM

The way this is written, I thought at first that if the foods described in the bullets sounded delicious (and they do) that I was a food addict! Relief to read on! I've lived this experience of it taking between 8 to 12 weeks to re-boot my taste buds and purge the hunger for a diet of typical american crap foods (sugar, salt, oil, meats, etc). It took longer to make a permanent habit out of the new eating patterns. A year and a half later I've lost more than a 150 lbs. I'm me again. It honestly doesn't occur to me to eat meat, bread, cheese or anything from the old ways. My guess: you do what you like and you like what you do. So, the new stuff becomes what you like. After a while, it has NOTHING to do with mental discipline. That's what so many people don't realize. After 8 to 12 weeks of healthy eating and internalizing new habits and introducing new food preferences, you simply feel better, you like the new tastes better, and it all becomes a positive self-reinforcing snowball. Put more simply, pizza no longer tastes as good as other more healthy stuff - - believe it. And the freedom from self-loathing and upset about being caught in a negative eating cycle is beyond liberating. Most days, I wake up and look in the mirror and say "OMG. I really did it. And I did it the healthy way." Yes, you have to shop more often and learn some new ways of cooking. Yes, eating out is more challenging. But, you get the hang of all this. And, even these challenges become positives. In the end, these are small prices to pay for release from shame, return to health, and a happier longer life.

Kathie - February 16, 2010 1:24 PM

And there are some of us who do not believe humans evolved at all but rather were created to eat a vegetarian diet! Thanks for the info on food addictions.

Jennifer McCay - February 16, 2010 3:30 PM

I find that this fact is about the hardest for people to believe when they start thinking about going the route of healthy eating, which is the absolute best platform for losing weight sustainably. I came to Dr. F's program several years ago as a veggie-hating vegetarian, and now I don't even consider what I used to eat food! (Food = true nourishment for the body, not empty calories!)

The one thing I will say is this, though -- I personally *had* to gradually ease out of my unhealthy eating habits as I eased into the healthy ones because the addiction was too strong. It required far too much willpower for me at first to do the "cold turkey" approach across the board.

So while I totally agree that it takes some time eating healthful foods, I often counsel my own coaching clients to take a slower approach if the total-immersion-healthy-eating kind of plan hasn't worked for them before. A lifetime of poor habits and addictive eating can't be solved in all cases by ripping the bandaid off -- sometimes you need to ease it off a little at a time, eliminating one cravings-inducing food at a time rather than tackling each and every one at once.

And even if it's a little work initially to get things rolling, it is absolutely, totally, utterly worth all the trouble in the end to change your lifestyle so that you can be healthy, free from the trappings of SAD eating and thin too!

Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

Jennifer McCay

Sam - February 16, 2010 5:17 PM

Read Dr Fuhrman's first book: Fasting And Eating For Health.

Though it may be a bit intimidating for most people, fasting (even for a relatively short period like 7-10 days) allows the body to perform a significant amount of healing, throwing off addictions, resetting of taste, and an overall health reset. It will dramatically shorten the 8-12 week transition. The topic should be mentioned once in a while because it is so extremely beneficial and this site has access to an expert in the field: Dr Fuhrman!! The more it is covered, the less extreme it will begin to sound. For some reading this board it may just a perfect fit for them and for others, the boost needed to get through the transitional struggles.

Sam - February 16, 2010 5:44 PM

Hey MrFreddy. I see you admire Margaret Thatcher and her Atkins-style nutrition (

Sorry to rain on your low-carb parade but you could have spent at least 30 seconds checking out her Wikipedia entry on Health:

Thatcher suffered strokes, dementia, loss of all short-term memory, etc. Sounds like humans haven't evolved much to your style of nutrition... even after your supposed millions of years.

Jennifer McCay - February 16, 2010 11:22 PM

Sam, I think the good doctor's fasting book is great, but one thing to keep in mind is that while it is really beneficial to fast for many different health problems, fasting also can cause the metabolism to lower greatly (Dr. F mentions this, I'm almost certain, but I haven't read Fasting and Eating for Health in a while to remember this exactly), which would impact the rate of weight loss achieved after a fast.

Also, fasting *prior* to having eaten healthfully for a while taxes your (malnourished) body, which might have a negative overall impact on an already weakened body, whereas fasting after you've eaten healthfully for a while helps your body continue to clean house, while relying on the nutrient stores from all the great food you eat normally.

Jennifer McCay

Emily Boller - February 17, 2010 5:49 AM

Sam - However, Dr. Fuhrman doesn't recommend fasting to someone who has been malnourished on a steady diet of standard American junk food. The body needs to be well nourished state before undergoing a fast.

Maia - When you get those cravings, have plenty of green vegetation on hand to eat. The overwhelmiing cravings eventually do pass. They don't last forever. Make sure you establish an accountability partner or support system like the member center of to encourage you through withdrawal. Freedom to you!

Sam - February 17, 2010 10:33 AM

The book addresses the issues you bring up which is why I say to everyone: read the book!

mrfreddy - February 18, 2010 8:36 AM

@ Deana, re: "I don't think that humans evolved for 2 million years on burgers, fries, chips, white flour pasta, candy, and cookies."

I don't think so either. But anthropologist pretty much all agree that we did develop the way we did due to a diet of mostly meat.

@Sam, that post about Margaret Thatcher was of course made with my tongue firmly in cheek. Didn't know about her health problems. If she had avoided starch and sugars full time she most likely would not have these problems.

Michael - February 19, 2010 8:30 AM

I don't believe it's accurate to say we ate a diet of mostly meat. From what I've read, there's a wide variation on the amount of meat eaten in our past, depending on geography and weather. To me the question is: what diets were associated with the greatest long-term health and longevity? Eating meat and other foods may have been necessary for survival, but that doesn't mean it's best for our species. From what I've read the Okinawans and other plant-based diet-eating populations have the greatest health and longevity.

Steve - February 19, 2010 12:27 PM

Just a vague perception of mine that the stronger the case for eating a lot of animal foods, the further back in time the evidence seems to be.

If I had to pick a winner, I'd be more inclined to go with Dr F's more recent information, as well as overviews like The China Study, Healthy at 100, that Jungle Diet book and so on. These all seem to indicate greatly reducing (but not completely eliminating) animal foods

I am still an omnivore, but I am not going to any web site named "beef and whiskey" for info to help me shape my opinions.

Cheers, Steve

Cynthia Fancher - February 22, 2010 12:09 PM

I read your book several years ago but didn't do anything about it because my husband wasn't really interested at the time. Through our son's urging (heis a chiropractor)my husband read the book and we are beginning today. My husband even said yesterday how amazed he was that he felt so much better even with the little bit that we had been practicing healthy eating and how awful everything else made him feel.

Kristen - March 23, 2010 6:32 PM

While it is getting better, I am definitly not craving the good food yet. And I pretty much live for my cheats!

Thanks for the recommendation, Sam - I am having Dr. Fuhrman's "Fasting and Eating for Health" sent to me to see if that can help speed things up. I have been on the program for eight weeks, and while I am making progress in my enjoyment of healthy food, I have found that it is taking a long time to get over not having caffeine, diet cokes, salt, sugar and junk food.

But I am determined to get there!

becca - February 18, 2011 1:28 AM

I'm sorry, but those foods you described at the top sound DISGUSTING. I like lentil soup. I like carrots. I like blue berries. But blue berries WITH cashews in a salad dressing - gross! I like my veggies plain with nothing on them. And currants with sun dried tomatoes? Ew ew ew. I like sun dried tomatoes, I like other dried fruit, but together - heck no! Do I need to like these foods together to be healthy? I'm guessing a lot of people would be turned off by those combinations. Does that really mean they eat poorly? I kinda doubt it...

Rachel - February 19, 2011 7:32 PM

I have come to realize since reading Dr. Fuhrman's book "Eat to Live" that I am totally a food addict. I have been trying to ditch the junk food since November and I have been unsuccessful. I am reading Eat to Live for the second time and I have decided that I am going to commit to 12 weeks (doing the 6-week plan twice) on Monday. My weight and addiction to food have gotten out of control. I just turned 26 and weigh 203 pounds (I'm 5'4).

Sandi B. - March 1, 2011 8:07 AM

I have read Eat To Live, The China Study, and other vegan books. After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, food addiction, and obesity, I feel I am finally on the right track. I have been vegan now for about 4 months. I am losing weight very very slowly because I've had trouble breaking away totally from junk food, sweets, etc. I love fruit,veg,and whole grains, but the sweet/salty/fat cravings take over at times. I know this is self destructive behavior. Sometimes I cry from the frustration of living in a body that feels like a prison. I'm 56 and feel like I'm 66 with all the aches and pains that go with old age. I know it will only get worse if I don't succeed in getting the weight off. I need to lose about 100 lbs. After reading all of your inspiring comments, I'm going to have another look at Eat To Live. Thank you Dr. Furhman and all!

Frank - April 1, 2011 8:21 PM

Wonder how many of these issues are due to seductive advertising and a big part of the battle is just ignoring the brain washing thrown at us every day? Having said that, there's a lot we can do to resist and take ownership of the problem. It's brutal but kind of summed it up for me.

Shelmax - September 19, 2011 9:01 PM

I ordered the introductory membership which included Eat to Live, a menu/recipe DVD, and a three-month membership. I am praying this will help. I have been reading for six days. Planning to buy the foods recommended. Hoping I will overcome this addiction. I am hoping you hear from me again after six weeks and I have adopted the nutritarian lifestyle. I am 5'7 and weigh 420 pounds. I can barely move anymore. I must take control now before it is too late. I love reading everyone's comments. Thank you Dr. Fuhrman and your lovely wife for being so upbeat on the DVD.

Linda5sons - October 2, 2011 2:10 PM

Shelmax, I would greatly encourage you to spend time at the Member Center boards of You are very much not alone in this! Several actively posting members are in the process of losing hundreds of pounds.

It's very nice to become part of a group of people who are all learning/practicing eating for their best possible haelth. Welcome to the Nutritarian family!

Tamera - October 4, 2011 1:31 PM

I have been following Dr. Fruhmans "Prescription" for the past three weeks, and this is the best, and most guilt free I have felt in my entire life. I no longer need food to be my best friend. With this program, I have become my own best friend, and this friendship is amazing. Hang in there Shelmax, it will work for you.

Lise - October 24, 2011 11:37 AM

My husband and I have been amazed at the results of following a nutrient-rich diet as recommended by Dr. Fuhrman. We started Sept 14 and we have no food cravings. My husband has lost 18 lbs and I have lost 10. We feel great. Soups, stews, stirfries, smoothies and salads are fun to make and eat. We are enjoying the taste of food without added salt. Sometimes just a sprinkle of low-sodium soya sauce is all you need if you crave salt. Using dates in baking and smoothies has removed the need for sugar. I am using the "Disease-Proof Your Child" book by Dr. Fuhrman to make healthy snacks and meals for my home daycare and grandchildren. This is a new way of life for us and we are spreading the word. Thank you, Dr. Fuhrman

Robert Hanisits - January 13, 2013 3:12 PM

I am 83 male. I feel I am between a rock and a hard place. I am on aspirin therapy to keep my blood thin. Most green vegitables have vitamin K. If I eat as lot of green vegitables, the vitamin K negates my aspirin therapy. Right?

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