There is No Greater Joy

"The most effective treatment for breaking any bad habit or addiction is abstinence."    -Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

I've never been drunk, in fact, I don't drink alcohol. I grew up in a home where alcohol wasn’t consumed, so therefore, I didn't acquire a taste for it. However, during college I lived in a house with 28 other girls, and most Saturday and Sunday mornings I witnessed the various hangovers from the drinking parties the night before. I felt so sorry for them. I couldn't understand why they would do such a thing to torture their poor bodies so much.

Well, just a couple of years later when I was in the midst of my own hangovers from toxic food addiction, I could finally understand. When a poisonous addiction takes over, it tortures both body and mind. After a toxic food binge I would feel bloated, painfully miserable, and disoriented for several hours until the foods got out of my system; only to eat them all over again.

For me, being free from toxic food hangovers has been even more exciting than losing weight or getting health restored. To anyone who doesn't understand that concept, be thankful. Be very thankful. To be imprisoned to habitual bingeing hangovers is a terrible captivity, and I was in the dark abyss for over 20 years.

  • I dreaded birthday parties and holiday feasts, yet craved them at the same time.
  • I dreaded the way I'd feel after eating fake stuff, yet couldn't live without it.
  • I even dreaded getting up many mornings to face another day of bingeing; dreading it, yet craving it. What insanity.

Perhaps that's why I'm so staunch about abstinence to the point others may think I'm extreme and crazy. I know how deep one can dig into the pit of food addiction. I've seen what it can do to my body and sanity, and I’ve seen what it can do to others as well . . . and I don't give a rip what anyone thinks about my decision to be abstinent.

Have you ever experienced food binge hangovers, and are you free from them?

If not, you can be starting right now.


Freedom is two-fold:

1) One must eat for health by carefully following the nutritional guidelines in Eat to Live; flooding the body with comprehensive micronutrient adequacy to meet the biological needs of the body.

2) And abstain from those foods and situations that trigger addictive binges. Abstinence is a self-enforced restraint from indulging that usually causes one to feel worse for the first several days before feeling better. The key to successfully overcoming an addiction is to never give into the impulse to indulge, no matter what. There is no other way out.


Once you cross the threshold where toxic food binges no longer overpower you, you will be free for the rest of your life! You’ll naturally prefer eating less when you consume high-nutrient foods instead of fake foods; you’ll naturally get more pleasure out of eating and living; and you’ll enjoy a healthy body and sane mind that is free from the physical and mental torment of the addiction.

Contend for your freedom today. Eat for health and remain abstinent from triggers. 

There is no greater joy!


[The pictures are of yours truly. The image at the top was taken on July 10, 2008, the day I committed to follow Eat to Live; and the image on the left was taken this past summer, four years later. This coming July I will celebrate my fifth year anniversary of being free from food addiction! Click here to view my journey to freedom.]

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Comments (54) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Betty - January 22, 2013 12:48 PM

So true, Emily. I was wondering exactly when that "before" picture was taken, so you answered that in the article. You look like you are making a decision and so I guess you were. Did you have doubts or were you not sure you really wanted to forget the past and take on this challenge? I ask because I feel somewhat the same way and still I am miserable wanting no more of this food addiction but still afraid I will fail again. I seem to do worse when I am up against a challenge so I have to work it out -- soon!

Thanks for revealing so much about your former self which does help those of us out here in the same mess.

addictedguy - January 22, 2013 1:13 PM

I know I'm addicted but feel powerless. I can't figure out why, though I have many possibilities but free standing food waiting for someone to eat it is my addiction. At work EVERY day there's a bowl right near my cube with free snacks. Peanuts one day, M&M's the next, reese's pieces the next. It never ends. We had to purge my cabinets and fridge at home and still I find myself multiple times a day opening them hoping to find a sugary or chocolatey or salty snack. When they do pop up, they're gone so fast. When at a party I can start strong by going for the veggies if there are any, but pretty soon I'm onto the dips, cheeses, meats, chips, etc. Even a party I went to recently there was TONS of healthy options and still I 'taste tested' the unhealthy ones, only I did it about 10 times. I don't want to have to be at the place where I can't go out, have to sit far away from coworkers, can't have parties, etc. I want to be at a place where I can say NO to FREE junk food sitting right in front of me, and say it for hours straight while it sits there near me. Maybe an intentional fast is what I need. Not a "challenge" or a "committment to a life of excellence" but a temporary fast. I say temporary because as soon as I say it's lifelong and I screw up later, I feel defeated and it's no use making those committments. But if I say it's for a shorter period, maybe I can get through it and then see the hope that can exist. I don't know.

Emily Boller - January 22, 2013 1:15 PM


I was so ready on July 10, 2008 to break from of my past food addictions and poor health. I lived in the pit of despair & obesity for over twenty years, and I knew that Eat to Live was my only way out.

Keep contending for your freedom. Never give up and quit.

All the best to you!

Rebecca Lemke - January 22, 2013 1:17 PM

Emily's story, the photos of her and her art is completely EMPOWERING. This woman in a true inspiration. I myself am a "Wellness Chef". People hire me to cook good food for them so they can eat better. I see people with food addictions and it is heartbreaking. (I myself eat nutrient dense foods and follow Dr. Fuhrman's philosphy. My weight is perfect and my health across the board is optimum because I have eaten "green" all my life.) I try to help others eat "green" but some folks are either in serious denial and/or serious addiction. My purpose in life is too spread the word of eating nutrient dense foods and getting REGULAR exercise. Blessings to all.

Emily Boller - January 22, 2013 1:30 PM

Addicted Guy,

For starters, change your name to "Nutritarian", if that is your goal.

You are not powerless, but you do need to implement some wise and practical changes. Just like a seedling needs to be in a protected environment, away from harsh elements until the roots are strong enough to withstand the weather, you may need to temporarily stay away from those social situations that tempt you and trip you up until you get stronger. And politely tell your co-workers that you are eating to improve your health; stating that will also keep you accountable.

Once you cross the threshold where your tastebuds change, and the toxic cravings are gone, it may be easier for you to gradually transition back into the standard American diet culture again without a problem.

Your health may require some radical lifestyle changes, but you won't even care, because you will love the freedom too much to go back!

You can do it ~ cheering for you! :)

James - January 22, 2013 1:44 PM

Congrats on such a dramatic change. You're inspiring! I too suffer from the insanity of binge eating. Not to the extent that it sounds like you did, but enough to have that feeling of dread. I've been slowly altering my food intake for over a year. I quit eating fast foods like McDonalds and Taco Bell, and started eating a more whole foods plant-based diet. Although I still suffered from Mexican restaurant binges and late night "treats". I'm now committed to reducing those as much as possible and focusing on healthier vegan alternatives to my favorite meals. I guess you could say I'm now in Phase II. Phase III will/would be total vegan, but I'm not sure if I want/need to get there.

Teresa - January 22, 2013 1:47 PM

Wow! Congratulations! You look AMAZING! Way to go. Enjoy Life!

Tina - January 22, 2013 1:54 PM

I went Vegan about 7 years ago and never felt better. My blood tests restored themselves to normal and I lost 10 pounds. However, I still have a few health problems such as low throid out put so I hope that normalizes itself also with my sustaining mostly green plant veggies.

Roxanne - January 22, 2013 2:06 PM

Wait, you're not saying the woman above and the woman below are both you, are you?

Are you? I'm a great believer in the power of a nutritarian lifestyle, but... WOW.

Nutritarian-ish - January 22, 2013 2:19 PM

Hmmmm.... interesting. When I read your comment, Addicted Guy, something came clear to me.

Like you, I keep my household free of "bad food" 99% of the time, but whenever I leave the house (not terribly often since I'm a SAHM), I'll stop at Wendy's, buy a candy bar at whatever store I go into (why do they have them even at Home Depot???? for people like us!!!), and eat WHATEVER food is presented at parties I go to. But I hadn't compared that behavior to alcoholism.

Isn't part of the problem with alcoholism that you *can't* be around alcohol *at all* at first? Meaning, you do have to decline party invitations and dinner invitations where alcohol will be served?

I guess it is the same for us.

I like what Emily posted in response about seeing it as a short-term solution, though. Eventually we will be able to go back to the parties and dinners out and not partake.

Of course, I'm writing this knowing perfectly well I'm not ready to take this step yet (declining invitations)... I guess I feel like I go to such events rarely enough that pigging out on those occasions doesn't do me TOO much harm... but I may be kidding myself!

Raven - January 22, 2013 2:40 PM

WOW, Emily, you are truly an inpiration for me. I've been vascillating for a few years with nutritarian eating, thinking I could eat as a nutritarian most of the time and occasionally eat chips, cookies, etc. and it wouldn't be a big deal for my health, but what I've noticed and you've solidified is that inevitably I spiral out of control particularly during stressful, busy times. Obviously for me, I need to cut those bad foods out altogether in order to break the cycle and get past the addiction. I have also noticed how much better I feel when I stick with the nutritarian eating and how horrible I feel when going back. Lately there are more and more SAD food items I can no longer eat without actually getting sick. If that isn't a clear indicator, I don't know what is. Thanks for sharing your personal journey, I appreciate your inspiration and courage. To your good health.

freckles 47 - January 22, 2013 3:28 PM

I am on day 4 of the eat to live life style, while I have been very very good sticking to the life style , I have gained a pound and I feel bloated and headachy, why did I gain? I have been following the plan, I have not been able to eat the whole two pounds of food yet. So why am I not losing weight. I have not even eaten the yellow veggies like butter nut yet.
any advice?

Lisa - January 22, 2013 3:51 PM

Congratulations to all! Including me and my husband who, last week decided to do this Eat to Live diet. In one week we have been in the kitchen most days prepping for the following day. It is a lot of work. But I can see a difference in the way we eat, and our attitudes. He has lost 8 pounds, and I have lost 5. Yay us! I have a question though, how long will the headaches from the detox last? I have had one every day since the beginning of this journey last monday (7 days) and I am about OVER IT! Any bit of information is helpful.

Also, am looking forward to the black forest mushroom soup for tonight. It looks amazing!

Rocannon MacGregor - January 22, 2013 4:03 PM

Thanks for sharing. A powerful story. I too used to be a junk-food junkie. Used to weigh 250 pounds and now I weigh 144 pounds. It was a long process because when I did it there was not much available to use as a guide. How fortunate that now there is Eat to Live that is so available and filled with the information and how-to that a person needs to get started.

I have been a vegetarian (by that I mean, no flesh of any kind and no dairy or eggs) for 36 years. I don't use the word vegan because so many do who consume all manner of nutrientless food products.

I dropped off the final 44 pounds of excess fat during the last 5 months. It was a snap and so easy to do by just cutting out ALL PROCESSED FOODs and focusing on GBOMBS! Even though I am a primal athlete I was still carrying around that extra 44 pounds! Yikes!

After reading Eat to Live I realized that I had let myself go astray. That was all it took for me to get started. My two training partners joined me on the Path and have been loving it. We eat huge raw salads, loaded with kale and collards and napa cabbage and topped with lightly water sauteed mushrooms, eggplant, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and such. Plus we put raspberries and blue berries on the salad as well. Add a few beans, plus seeds and nuts and we dig in.

Now I am in the process of relearning all my primal athlete skills while weighing so much less.

Good fortune to everyone still struggling with the shift over to healthy eating.
Just remember that it is possible. Many of my clients are reaping the benefits, just as I have. Never give up on yourself!

Chris - January 22, 2013 4:17 PM

I eat dark chocolate (85%) with low sugar. Over the holidays, I had a different brand given to me than what I normally buy. I ate the whole, large bar in less than an hour! Afterwards, I read the label and it had liquid cane sugar as the first ingredient. I definately won't deviate from my "safe" brand anymore because I can nibble a small piece and leave it.

Emily, you are truly a champion and inspiration for all of us. There is always a cost to freedom, no matter what kind it is. Without it, we are in bondage.

Mac - January 22, 2013 4:28 PM

Beyond inspiring. Thanks for posting this! Agree with Raven that when SAD food actually makes us sick, well... what a great reinforcement. I actually believe that my mistakes on the road to health were part of the reason I was able to get here, if that makes any sense. Not that I was delighted about them at the time, but they really showed me what wasn't going to work any more. Thanks Emily, and thanks Dr. Fuhrman.

Barb - January 22, 2013 4:36 PM

Your article is excellent, and the photos powerfully make their point! I struggle with food addiction and vacillate back and forth between eating well and giving in to the addictions. The main physical symptom I have is that my abdomen bloats out as if I were pregnant and I constantly feel bloated/heavy in that area, fatigued and lacking energy. Your article reminds & encourages me that pushing through it and going all the way to wellness is worth the work and self-denial that it will take.

sheron - January 22, 2013 5:05 PM

I have been on a whole plants food diet for almost 31 years. I have been able to stay off of SAD food and snacks merely by seeing it as poison. I would not eat rat poison, so I don't want to eat any other type of poison either. I have had difficulty with natural snacks, though, because they are made with healthy ingredients, even though I don't feel well after eating them. But, what has helped me with those is the flour and oil content. I have been on a flour-free and oil-free program since the beginning of Dec. 2012, and I look at the number of days that I have not eaten flour and oil. I do not want to waste all those days of becoming healthier by eating flour and oil again and having to start all over. I want to progress. So, in that way, I manage to help myself say no to unhealthy substances; I don't even like to refer to them as foods. And also, I read blogs and other materials that support my choice to be healthier. I hope that helps.

Jen - January 22, 2013 5:07 PM

This is right on target. I cannot portion control and often lose willpower when temptation is nearby so abstinence is the only method that works for me. Abstinence can be practiced in a number of ways. I've abstained from parties that I know will have loads of sugar and high fat foods. I abstain from entering most restaurants and only frequent places that have great salads and side vegetables. I abstain from eating what will trigger addictive eating by making sure all 3 meals have a large serving of greens. Whenever I cut back on kale and add in processed starches or sugar, my cravings return. The annual Superbowl party is coming up so I will abstain from eating most of what is offered by bringing several potluck items so I will have variety. I will also bring alternative drinks for myself so I can abstain from alcohol. I don't need the calories and when I drink, I further lose control and eat more.

Rebecca - January 22, 2013 6:46 PM

Emily, you make a great point about abstinence. All food is not a drug, but most of the products readily available to us in the West are just about as bad as any street drug. I found out the hard way that the only way for me to succeed is to truly abstain from any SAD foods. I was following ETL wholeheartedly for over 2 months, fighting off cravings as I slowly detoxed, and then a trip back to my home town presented the opportunity for me to easily eat SAD comfort foods. Unfortunately I gave in, thinking "just a little won't hurt". I hate to bum everyone out, but that little bit does hurt. Just like an alcoholic having "only one drink". Because those foods will immediately hook you back in, and in my case, it destroyed my progress. It has now been about 6 months and I still have not made it back to my ETL lifestyle. I am hoping this downfall gives me a better perspective about how serious sugar and other poisonous foods are, and I need to treat them accordingly going forward. I am trying to baby step my way back onto the path. Thanks Emily for the reminder and for inspiration as always!

Emily Boller - January 22, 2013 6:47 PM

Bravo to everyone! You guys rock for making the smart decision to eat for health, and abstain from disease promoting foods and situations that are just plain damaging to one's health.

Freckles, most everyone feels crappy before feeling better; it's the natural progression of withdrawal & detoxing toxins out of the body. Hang in there. Make sure you are eating slowly and thoroughly chewing your food, and stop eating before full.

Kudos to all and keep up the great work!

Lilly - January 22, 2013 6:48 PM

Emily, thank you so much for this article among the many other inspirational article and posts you write.

I have slipped down that slippery slope you've talked about and how quickly the old binge eating and cravings returned. I know I can do this and I will never give up but I am screwing up right now.

I don't drink alcohol and I don't eat animals products - by choice. I want to find that kind of soul commitment to eating ETL instead of processed and SOS foods. I know I can do this and I know how to do this but I've lost that focus or view of myself as a healing, firm nutritarian eating woman and am hiding from the truth in these foods.

How did you pick your date? I originally picked the 4th of July and it was such a powerful date and one I could hold onto, but any date really can be the date. I know you got a physical and blood work and really started out cold turkey and it wasn't easy but you did it. I can do this.

In a few short months I've regained 45 pounds and that is NOT who I am meant to be.

Thank you for sharing your experience, wisdom and support.


Rick - January 22, 2013 7:20 PM

Emily, My wife introduced me to "Eat To Live" today and I am 60 pages in, constantly nodding my head in agreement. Then she showed me how you were featured in the book and that you are from our town. Everything you have revealed on the Internet has been so positive and motivational. Thanks for sharing your very inspirational story. You did it, and you aren't superwoman. I bet I could do it too! I will continue to follow your blog posts and I will finish the book. It is time for a major change in my life. Thank you.

Meg Worcester - January 22, 2013 7:37 PM

What a transformation! I AM IMPRESSED!!!

freckles 47 - January 22, 2013 7:45 PM

thank you Emily, for responding to my concern about bloating, and feeling like Yuk. I will not give up, you are a example to all of us, that we will recover, and become healthy, and weigh less... I will keep the faith that I will lose weight instead of gain ,like I did this week, I was really surprised I had gained , I have not had one mouth full of SAD food, kept to the plan. How long will I feel yucky?
you look really happy , I hope one day I will br able to be healthy again too.
I always have eaten meat and sugar and drank coffee and Green and Black tea, as I heard they were healthy.I have been a chocolate holic . for a week I have had no sugar or coffee or tea, this is my 4th day on ETL, thanks to you I will stick it out.

Sarah - January 23, 2013 12:30 AM

I used to be addicted too! I took a 28 day challenge to ETL, and while I suffered and craved along the way, it got easier and easier, starting at about the 2-3 week mark. Then I truly got to that place where I just don't crave the junk anymore. I tried it, got addicted again, and then went back to ETL.

Emily told me to read "Drunkard" and if you are not intimately familiar with addictive behaviors, you may be stunned at how the author's binges will parallel your own. For example, his son was in a recital at his school one night, and during the intermission, the author ran to Rite Aid and bought those single shot bottles of vodka or something and raced back to the school for the 2nd half of the program. Hmm - replace vodka with chocolate, and that was ME!! Emily is amazing all around...

Irma - January 23, 2013 3:47 AM

Wow, what an inspiration! I am at the beginning of my journey as a Nutritarian and breaking the junk food addictions. It's hard, but already I'm feeling worlds better.Thank you Emily for your words of wisdom!

Laura - January 23, 2013 6:21 AM

I had been toying with this lifestyle this past year, thinking I could slowly incorporate it into my life, watching Dr. Fuhrman, the documentary Forks Over Knives, Reading The China Study, etc. But with a food addict (hate that label!) I have come to realize it's all or nothing. I am all the shades of gray in life, which has helped in many situations to see both sides of things and not be extreme, but with this I finally came to the realization it had to be pretty much all or nothing. Emily, you are right!

Something Emily wrote last year, about someone playing with the diet and couldn't lose weight (I have over 100 pounds to lose), and that she advised her to be all in for it to work. I now completely agree. On January 1st I decided to make the complete change. I know it's early on but I am feeling great and have lost 10.8 lbs (gotta add that .8!). I know this is how God intended for me to eat.

Originally I said I would do this for 40 days (I called it my 40 Day Vegan Fast) and then hoped it would turn into more. Half way through I know this is the way to live and to see the pounds come off when I have struggled so much is amazing. I dieted my way up to 300 lbs. Now I am losing the weight eating well. Good luck to all of us.

Emily Boller - January 23, 2013 6:56 AM


Congratulations on the wonderful success ~ keep it up!

The nutritarian eating-style is not an all or nothing plan. Instead, it is a "both feet in" plan; both feet in eating high-nutrient foods. One can't straddle the fence of eating for health and at the same time resisting by eating highly addictive foods; because the tastebuds will never change, and the addiction to the highly toxic, standard American diet will never die out that way. [Here's a Onlyourhealth post from July 2010 on the topic of straddling the fence. ]

Yes, someone I know started off on the journey to get health restored and lose weight at the same time that I did, but only followed Eat to Live during the week. The weekends were for celebrating SAD foods at restaurants and parties with her husband; starting over each Monday morning. Today this person is still obese and suffering from poor health; in fact, worse off than five years ago.

Mediocre commitment produces no results. Both-feet-in commitment produces great results!

And even almost five years later, I'm still tweaking my eating plan as Dr. Fuhrman discovers new scientific information. It's a knowledge-based program that one can keep improving upon for the rest of life.

Darius Wright - January 23, 2013 7:52 AM

I was cursed with life-altering addictions from the earliest age! My first addiction was, bad foods. You know candy, chips, sodas, fried foods, NO fruits, NO vegetables, nothing of nutritional value. I was sick throughout my childhood with stomachaches everyday, headaches everyday, frequent stomach viruses, colds 6 months of the year, atrocious coughs, horrible skin ailments, numerous cavities, behavioral problems, etc., yet we frequented doctors, and dentists. In my teenage years, I began to experiment with alcohol/marijuana, while continuing the atrocious diet. That eventually evolved into pills, coke, speed, LSD, and other experimental drugs. Alcohol was always an integral part of the equation, and I drank everyday, for over 20yrs. Soon the crack epidemic happened, and I was a full fledged member, by the time I was 26. I have been homeless, I have lived in crack houses, crack hotels, and been in situations that now, seem only like a nightmare. Furthermore, I was a total sex addict, and a compulsive gambler, with depression from childhood, turning into suicidal depression in adulthood! Today that is all a part of the past. I have eliminated those conditions, and mentalities by dedicating my life to Natural living, and all things Natural. I have gone from believing I wouldn't make it to 40, to believing(seriously) that, I will live to almost 150. That is how greatly my health/life have changed, from doing the wrong things, to embracing all that Nature has to offer, and I can assure you that, you all have the same ability. You've just got to have the knowledge, the pride, and the commitment to make it happen!

Helyn Dunn - January 23, 2013 8:02 AM

Way to go Emily! I'm about 10 months into Fuhrman eating and also realized that 100% is the ONLY way to do this program. Even the simplest cheats can and do stimulate the desire for SAD foods. Old habits are hard to break. For me it was bread and butter. And especially butter. Thankfully ALL of those old cravings are gone. GONE! Thanks so much for sharing your story, Emily. You are truly an inspiration to all.

earthmom - January 23, 2013 8:24 AM

This topic was written for me it seems! This is what I do, eat perfectly for a few days, and then something happens that is stressful, and wham, I'm back into eating moldy chocolate chips from the freezer, or whatever I can find or I'll drive to the store and get some "healthy junk food". I have struggled for years and am beginning to believe I'll never be able to do this. I try to not let myself think that because I know I can never never give up. Reading these posts has helped. Perhaps today is the day it truly begins for me. I always feel bad saying no to SAD when out and about. I feel emabarrassed, as these other people know and have watched me eat crap before. Like they are thinking "there she goes again, trying to be all smug, we know what will happen". And at home, when I'm alone, it is so likes me! I've been in counseling, I've read all the books. It still gets me. I HAVE done it before, it just didn't last. When you fail so many times, can you REALLY do it?

Pam - January 23, 2013 8:46 AM

At my last job, I was making an effort to eat better. I hadn't yet discovered Dr. Fuhrman, but I was making some positive changes and avoiding junk. One of my heavier co-workers used to bring in a huge bunch of Munchkins every Friday. This was a temptation that I couldn't resist. Every time I walked by, I would take several. In a very short time, I had eaten 15 of them. Was I hungry? Nope. Did I keep shoving them in my mouth? Yup. Did I feel sick? Yup. Did I keep eating them? Yup. Now, people in the office knew that I was trying not to eat junk, but they were pretty poor eaters and every day someone would bring in either cookies, or cake, or muffins. I was learning to resist those things, but Munchkins called to me and I found it nearly impossible to resist. One Friday morning I made a very conscious decision to not eat them. I was struggling. I knew that if I had one, I'd be on my way to eating 15. I decided to put a post-it on the box, something that would help me to resist them. The post-it said "Donuts are evil!". And guess what? I was able to resist them that day. Did my coworkers think I was a nutcase? Yup. I didn't care. It worked for me. I was able to internalize that message, and pass by the Munchkins on subsequent weeks. Thankfully, I have a new job and am in new surroundings where people know that I only eat healthy foods. One day, I walked into the accounting office and they had donuts. I had a weak moment and asked, "Can I have a donut?" and one of my friends said, "Pam, you don't eat those types of foods." After hearing that, I was reminded that I didn't want it and so I didn't take one. It really does help to be in a supportive environment where people understand and respect your healthy ways. The temptations lesson but never truly go away. Stay vigilant! It's sooo worth it.

Tina Lemna - January 23, 2013 8:50 AM

How long until the extreme cravings for sugar go away? I eat 95% plant based but cannot seem to give up the sugar. My cravings are relentless until I cave in and eat cake or chocolate. This is the only thing standing in the way between me and reversing my diabetes. Thoughts please! Thank you.

Emily Boller - January 23, 2013 8:54 AM


Getting out of food addiction is like learning to ride a bike. In the beginning there may be many spills, but with practice, and getting right back up on that bike again, one eventually masters the skill. When the skill is mastered, that's when one finally enjoys the scenery along the way, and is no longer constantly consumed with the learning process.

AND even with the most seasoned cyclists that have been riding for years, an unexpected patch of loose gravel, or a careless driver may cause an unplanned spill and crash. However, just like riding a bike, once the skill is learned, one usually doesn't need to re-learn how to ride all over again. Perhaps fear needs to be overcome, naturally, but nonetheless, the skill is there.

The following post from last May will encourage you to keep getting back up on that bike!

There is no magic pill. AND no one is powerless. Only when one gives into the denial of addiction's power is one powerless.

Getting out, and staying out of toxic food addiction is a learned skill; and the only way it can be mastered is with with practice, persistence, and perseverence! It can be done!

Never give up. Never quit. Ever.

Emily Boller - January 23, 2013 9:19 AM

To Everyone,

The dynamic synergy of everyone's stories and comments above has such a powerful affect ~ thank you for courageously sharing!

The Titanic is sinking, and it will literally take ALL OF US banning together, sharing our stories and encouraging one another to keep from going down with it!

Toxic food addiction is taking not only America's health and sanity under, but also countries that have adopted our terrible eating habits as well. The time has come for all of us to ban together and declare, "No more!"

We must ALL put a stop to this insanity.

Jen - January 23, 2013 10:52 AM

Hi Emily- your story is truly inspirational! I have a few questions though- when is it OK to add in more high carb foods like potatoes and brown rice? I am getting closer to my goal (about 10 lbs away) and it is getting harder and harder to lose and plus I am getting bored with greens and lower carb veggies all day. Yesterday I had some cravings for carbs and had a bowl of soup with rice and got on the scale this morning and gained a lb. Do you think this is going to send me back to addictions or is it OK to add in some carbs?

Runner's11 - January 23, 2013 10:57 AM

Tina, one thing that really helps me with craving sweet, especially after dinner is herbal tea. There are so many available now and because the cup of tea is warm and tastes good, it makes you forget about wanting chocolate. Without tea, I would have a hard time giving up chocolate. Hang in there! :-)

Ann - January 23, 2013 11:14 AM

Dear Emily-- Congratulations on your victory and for fighting the ongoing battle! Thank you for putting into words the exact way I feel every morning... I am a binge and stress eater and raging foodaholic, too. I'm technically a vegetarian, but a poor representative, since I subsist mostly on junk food and am about 100 pounds overweight. The funny thing is that I kicked a 25 year long smoking habit (smoke-free 8 years), quit drinking 4 years ago, and gave up meat 5 years ago, yet still cannot get past the food cravings. Earthmom mirrors my sentiments exactly, " And at home, when I'm alone, it is so likes me!"

Emily, thank you for sharing your story. It made today's food torment-- at least for the moment-- a little easier to bear.

freckles 47 - January 23, 2013 11:27 AM

I am so happy for you Darius, you have come a long way.

I am on day 5 of ETL plan, have not lost any weight. But I am staying on the plan for health, if nothing else.
I have not had the bloating I had yesterday, I added some fennel seed to my salad, I think it is helping, I was never much for salad or raw veggies, I did eat a fruit salad every day. but loved my sweets, I made some of the oatmeal bars in the 7 day plan, and was happy with them ,I do not have any cravings yet.
I think it is so wonderful you all are doing so well. I am inspired.

earthmom - January 23, 2013 12:01 PM

Perhaps that is where the issue lies..."food likes me". Just sharing all this is most helpful. My new mantra? The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret". Thank you all for being here. I needed you.

Sharon - January 23, 2013 12:03 PM

Emily, thanks for bringing this topic into Dr. Furhman's work. In my opinion his repeated emphasis on losing weight can trigger unhealthy behaviors and poor self esteem. It's about abstinence. I agree.

jacknbean - January 23, 2013 12:38 PM

Emily, I've read about you in the ETL book and was inspired, and have been"trying" to eat for health but I keep coming back to the same crappy eating downfalls... I am the mom of two kids ages 7 & 8, and a husband who is supportive yet not following the plan. So I'm the meal planner & preparer. We try to eat "healthy" according to who I don't know after reading ETL. BUT, and that's a BIG BUT... The food addict in me still craves and caves into the junk food and the frustration of the repeating cycle of failure is weighing me down mentally and physically!!! Do you have any suggestions on what to do when you are the only person in your home changing (of course I'm intergrating my new healthier choices for the kiddos... they love several of my soups that are loading with GBOMBS and that makes me very happy) and ideas on how to change the mental craziness of getting OFF of the Fence once and for all!!! I'm a breast cancer survivor and NEED to eat to stay healthy yet continue to beat myself up for not being perfect and then spiral down the depression eat more crap which makes the cycle worse and makes me feel worse. Breast cancer did not kill me and I don't want my food addiction to be the thing that does...

Tina Lemna - January 23, 2013 12:43 PM

Thank you runner's 11 for your positive comment! I will go out and buy some herb tea today and give it a try.

Emily Boller - January 23, 2013 1:05 PM


You must get a support system - that's the only way to succeed in a situation like yours.

Support. Support. Support.

Four & 1/2 years ago I was about the only one in my hometown following Eat to Live, and I was the only one in my family completely following to ETL . . . just like you.

I joined Dr. Fuhrman's Member Center and that was sincerely one of the best decisions and investments that I have ever made in my life.

When I was struggling at 2am . . . there was always someone to respond to my cry for help.

When I needed ideas for new recipes, the members had recommendations.

When I needed to successfully navigate a birthday party, veteran members were there to guide me through the maze.

When I was tempted to throw in the towel and quit, members were there to cheer me on.

When I was rejoicing over a huge victory like not craving salt anymore, members were there to rejoice with me.

When I underwent a major surgery, Dr. Fuhrman was there to instruct me how to navigate the recovery period.

Etc., etc.

You can't do this alone. No one can.

Now, in my hometown, there are over five, active Eat to Live support groups; my entire family are Nutritarians; and I have plenty of support and comraderie . . . but I still receive my greatest support and encouragement from my dear friends at Dr. Fuhrman's member center.

If you wait around until the day family and friends support you, it may be too late.

Seek out those who will understand and support you today in the journey to freedom.

Ruth - January 23, 2013 3:51 PM

This is a very good post with so much truth in it! I am Emily Boller's daughter and I have seen first hand that food addiction is a real thing. It has been so great to see her come so far with overcoming her once food addiction and I am so proud of her!

Marsha - January 23, 2013 8:27 PM

Wow Emily! Wow! I read about you in "Eat to Live" but I just went through your whole art gallery journey and it was so inspiring. I have been eating plant-based vegan since the first of the year, working hard to get in the greens and beans, but I've stil been allowing some refined stuff and salt. I have felt great because it is a major improvement over the SAD diet I was eating, but reading about your journey inspires me to take it further. I'm curious, do you eat grains and starchy veggies? Now that you are at your ideal weight, do you have to watch the nuts, olives, avacados, and such? Thanks again for sharing your wonderful journey with the world. You are such an inspiration!

Neil Butterfield - January 24, 2013 3:40 AM

Congratulations Emily, that is one heck of a transformation. Well done.

hana - January 24, 2013 7:41 AM

I was once very fat. I lost 35 Kg and keep the new weight for many years.
Whenever I try to become vegetarian, I always find myself craving for more and more food. I tried it many times and always gained back 3-5 kg Which I always lost again when returning to eat chicken and fish (and some dairy).
Is it possible that there are people who being a vegetarian makes them fat? I must say 3 of my children are like me (one is different). We all do not eat grains, otherwise we gain weight. When I eat only legumes and vegetables (and some nuts and fruit)- according to Dr Fuhrman's book I feel hungry and nerves.
Can you help me find the right way for becoming a vegetarian?

Hilary - January 24, 2013 10:31 AM

This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story. It's especially helpful for me, whose therapist has denied the hangover-like effects of binge eating (I'm on the mend now, but once was completely addicted to toxic food). She told me it was in my head!

John - January 24, 2013 11:21 AM

Thank you Emily!

What did that exactly feel like, or in other words, how did you know that you finally overcame cravings for salt?

Describe the emotional and physical characteristics of that moment(s) please? Would be kind of inspirational to know what to expect. Thank you.

Emily Boller - January 24, 2013 12:38 PM


The purpose of Dr. Fuhrman’s member center and especially his “Ask The Doctor” forum is to help those with individual concerns. All people are not identical, and you might need his specific advice. You have to be overeating if not losing. However, using more beans, lentils, split peas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and hemp seeds typically solves this issue with cravings more food. If you are still using animal products in your diet, limit it to one small serving a day, even for people who do better with a little animal products, not much is needed.

All the best.

Esther - February 14, 2013 11:39 AM

As I've done for the last three years, last night I made seven dozens of a variety of brownies (traditional, filled with butter, eggs, cream cheese, loads of sugar, etc). for a Valentine's Day fundraising dinner. As I was making them, I, like the self-conscious baker I am, tasted the batters and frosting as I went. Bad idea! When I went to bed, I felt sick, sick. sick! Terribly sore throat, drippy nose. I couldn't believe it! I've been on this plant-based diet/nutritarian journey for a little over a year and could not believe just those tastes could make me feel so very ill. I could not WAIT to get back to my oatmeal, salad, and beans today. I think I dreamt of them!

I had no idea that would happen. It just goes to show how truly toxic that food is. (And just two years ago, those were the treats I enjoyed and enjoyed baking--that's why, in fact, I have been asked to make them each year.)

It goes to show that once you go nutritarian, you can't go back. (You could, but then, why would you want to?)

addicted to food - April 29, 2013 12:37 PM

I like this blog.

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