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The Complete Beginner's Guide to the Nutritarian Diet


The Promise
What is a Nutritarian diet? What are G-BOMBS?
What Your Diet Will Look Like
Level of Effort: Medium to Hard
Benefits of a Nutritarian diet
Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?
Daily Guidelines
Cost of the Nutritarian Diet
How Often Should You Clean the Fridge?
Can it help you lose weight?
Add mood-boosting food to your diet
Additional Benefits Of The Nutritarian Diet
The final say


“You are what you eat.” If you’ve tried all the weight loss programs the internet has to offer to no avail, the Nutritarian diet just may be for you. This lifestyle change offers benefits far beyond weight loss, and will leave you feeling better than ever before. 

The Eat to Live diet starts as a six-week healthy eating plan, and evolves into a holistic lifestyle. Keep reading to find out more about this diet that’s ideal for anyone looking to improve their health with optimal nutrition.

The promise

Eat to Live was created by Dr. Joel Fuhrman in 2003. Many doctors rely on the nutritional guidance provided by the Eat to Live diet for patients whose lives rely on rapid weight loss. The Nutritarian diet is based on years of intensive research and is expressed by the formula, health = nutrition/calories. In his book “Eat to Live,” Fuhrman guides readers through the science behind nutrition and demonstrates its incredible power.

The aim of this diet isn’t only aimed at weight loss, but overall health. Dr. Fuhrman’s research has shown that you can use the Nutritarian diet to boost energy, slow aging, and prevent chronic disease, while improving health, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

What is a Nutritarian diet? What are G-BOMBS?

A Nutritarian is defined as a person who bases their dietary decisions on foods with the most micro-nutrients per calorie. Macronutrients provide our bodies with the energy required to function, such as fats and carbohydrates. Micronutrients, on the other hand, are the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that have favorable effects on human health. Our cells need phytochemicals just as much as fats and proteins to perform key functions. These nutrients drive us to eat, which means if your body has a deprivation of them, you’ll compensate by overeating. By this logic, if you eat fruits and veggies packed with phytochemicals, you’ll stay fuller for longer and won’t eat as much.

When following the Eat to Live diet, you’ll be hearing a lot about the superfoods, G-BOMBS — an acronym for Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds. These help the body burn fat, reduce cholesterol, decrease cancer risks, and much more.

  • Greens. These are by far one of the most beneficial foods in this diet. Not only is increasing your consumption of green vegetables well known to reduce the risk of both cancer and cardiovascular disease, greens have also been proven to protect blood vessels and improve vision. 
  • Beans. Beans and legumes are high in fiber and resistant starch, which aren’t broken down by the digestive system and help improve gut function. Beans also assist in leveling out cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure.
  • Onions. When adding onions to your diet, you can expect a wide range of cardiovascular benefits, as well as anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects. High levels of flavonoid antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components in the onion family are to thank for their anti-cancer properties.
  • Mushrooms. Mushrooms are an impressive anti-cancer vegetable with their unique immune-boosting phytochemicals. 
  • Berries. The phytochemicals and antioxidants contained in berries help reduce inflammation and fight cancer.
  • Seeds. Seeds not only add a source of healthy fats and protein to your diet, but also contain beneficial micronutrients. 

What your diet will look like

The Nutritarian diet is mostly a plant-based, gluten-free diet. You can expect to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole foods in unlimited amounts as you follow this plan. In general, we don’t eat between meals and of course, stop eating before feeling too full.

Nutritarians also don’t eat large amounts of animal products. The Eat to Live diet consists strictly of a vegetarian way of life for at least the first six weeks, with a maximum of 5% animal products added. You’ll be cutting out processed foods and what Fuhrman refers to as S.O.S (salt, oils, sugar). Nutritarians are invited to eat just three meals per day, removing the need to manage snacking.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman advises you to replace at least one of your daily meals with a vegetable salad topped with either nuts or seeds. The idea is to substitute empty calories with nutrient-dense ones that’ll keep you fuller for longer, while nourishing your body.

Foods that you’ll eat in minimal quantities include healthy fats such as avocado, walnuts, and flaxseeds. These decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, and promote brain function.

Is eating Nutritarian hard?

Making any dietary change takes effort, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard. “Hard” is an idea you have in your mind, and a big part of what we offer at Nourish Your Lifestyle is to help you understand that you can hold whatever ideas you want in your mind. It can be “hard” or it can be “easy”, depending on your mindset. 

According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, it is possible to have a detox period when you first change to eating Nutritarian. It generally only lasts a few days, and after that, you’ll find yourself feeling more energetic and vibrant.

When you’re first starting out, you can make it easier on yourself by restocking your fridge with Nutritarian-friendly foods, and getting rid of foods that you don’t want to eat. (No need to throw it away and worry about wasting it! Pass it on to your neighbors or list it in your local Buy Nothing group.)

Deciding what to eat and when may be one of the easiest things to do on the Nutritarian diet. Thanks to hundreds of recipes easily accessible online, you can make meal prepping both fun and delicious. The Eat to Live cookbook also has over 200 nutrient-rich recipes to ensure you never get bored eating the same thing over and over. Plus our Youtube Channel has a lifetime supply of delicious Nutritarian recipes. 

Benefits of a nutritarian diet

According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, followers of his Eat to Live diet can expect a wide range of medical benefits. 

Here’s what you can look forward to when following a Nutritarian diet.

  • Ideal BMI. It’s been discovered that people who consume plant-based diets have lower BMIs than those who eat a more standard western diet. The Eat to Live diet is an effective way of maintaining a healthy weight without the annoyance of having to count calories.
  • Reduced risk of disease. Chronic diseases such as heart disease and autoimmune diseases can not only be prevented but reversed with a plant-based, whole food diet.
  • Immune Boost. We’re all about building our immune systems and creating a strong defense against disease in the current day and age. A Nutritarian diet improves immune function and ensures your body is ready to fight any pathogens that may come along.
  • Reduces environmental impacts. Following the Nutritarian lifestyle helps to sustainably reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Reduced health risks linked to obesity. Fatty tissues make cells insulin resistant and may lead to diabetes. Plant-based diets are low in saturated fats and reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 34%.
  • Increased life expectancy. According to the American Heart Association, diets such as the Eat to Live diet lower the risk of all causes of mortality by an impressive 25%.

Does the Nutritarian diet allow for dietary restrictions or preferences?

Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s diet is made up of vegan, vegetarian, low salt, low fat, and gluten-free ingredients —  the majority of which are not allergens. After six weeks on a strict program, you can add small amounts of animal products to your diet if you’d like. 

Within the guidelines of the program, there’s TONS of room for substituting and experimenting. Don’t like chard? No problem! Use kale or cabbage or another leafy green instead. 

Daily guidelines:

The Nutritarian Diet comprises mainly vegetables, fruits, whole foods, and beans, divided into daily portions. The daily guidelines are as follows:

In unlimited amounts:

  • Raw vegetables. There are no limits to the amount of fresh greens (and reds and yellows, etc.) you can consume here, but the goal is 1 lbs. You can also include salads, which are to be seen as a main meal.
  • Steamed or cooked green vegetables. This includes eggplant, peppers, onions, cauliflower, etc.
  • Beans, bean sprouts, legumes, and tofu. The goal is at least one cup per day. These are classified as fiber and resistant starch — which makes you feel fuller — and pass through your intestines without being fully digested.

In limited amounts:

  • Raw nuts. A maximum of 1 oz per day of nuts is advised.
  • Avocado. Try keeping it to 2 oz per day.
  • Ground flaxseed. Keep these seeds under a tablespoon daily.
  • Cooked starchy vegetables or whole grains. One cup per day of your favorite starchy vegetables.
  • Dried fruit. Two tablespoons per day.
  • Animal products. Less than 5% of the food you consume should be from animals.
  • Minimal alcohol. It’s advised to stay away from alcohol, but one drink a day is acceptable.
  • Minimal caffeine. Due to its effects on eating and sleeping patterns, it’s preferred if you stay away from caffeine completely. 

Not advised

  • Processed foods. Anything that’s packaged and contains significant amounts of added sugar or sodium, including canned fruit.
  • Dairy products. Dairy products increase LDL (bad cholesterol) levels which escalate the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Animal products. These include poultry, beef, seafood, and pork.
  • Fruit juice. Packed with added sugars, you’ll want to steer clear of all juices.
  • Oils. It’s advised to stay away from oils altogether.
  • Snacks between meals. It’s important for your body to have time between meals to take a break from digestion.
  • Added salt. Salts are high in sodium, which may increase insulin resistance and raise LDL levels.
  • Refined sugars. Refined sugars increase chronic inflammation in the body which can lead to a wide range of diseases.

Cost of the Nutritarian diet

The cost of replacing sugary snacks, dairy products, and meat with healthy eating alternatives shouldn’t differ much from what you currently spend on groceries. The main difference will be that you might find yourself making more frequent trips to the market for fresh produce, but most people are able to limit shopping trips to once or twice a week.

Prolong the life of your veggies

When storing fresh fruits and veggies for your Nutritarian diet, it can help a lot to keep the fridge clean. This habit will help prevent bacteria from breeding in the fridge and affecting your fresh produce. Between the clean storage space and making sure you buy veggies in good shape, most veggies will last at least a week.

Deep clean seasonally. At the start of each new season, you can give your fridge a deep clean. This involves removing all its contents and giving it a good ol’ scrub. Take out all shelves and drawers and soak them in a bath with dish soap while you use a disinfectant to wipe down the inside of the fridge. Make sure you rinse everything off well before putting it all back.

Can eating Nutritarian help you lose weight?

According to the Obesity Society, plant-based diets have more success when it comes to weight loss than diets that include animal products. A survey conducted on 2,275 Nutritarian diet participants concluded that those who stuck closely to the diet lost a minimum of 30 lbs over three years. 

Whole grains and vegetables have a relatively low glycemic index and are digested more slowly. On the other hand, fruits contain both antioxidants and fiber, which keep you full for longer. Some Eat to Live dieters have boasted 20 lbs of weight loss in only six weeks while following the Nutritarian diet.

When participating in this healthy eating plan, you’ll soon find that because your body craves nutrient-rich foods — your palate will change, and you’ll find yourself reaching for a nutrient-dense meal option instead of junk food.

By increasing your nutrient intake, you allow your body to release water weight while boosting thyroid function. A Nutritarian diet also brings optimal cell function. This, in turn, allows your body to break down fat, expel toxins, and repair damaged DNA much more efficiently.

Add mood-boosting foods to your diet

If you indulge in sweet things to combat stress and depression, you’ll generally receive a short-lived burst of happiness followed by a sugar crash. These sugar crashes often lead to mood swings that can leave you feeling pretty unstable. The Eat to Live diet provides you with all the mood-boosting foods you need to keep your blood sugar level steady and keep you smiling throughout the day. 

Nutritarian diets are rich in mood-enhancing Omega 3’s and B-vitamins. Vitamin B6 converts the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, while B12 is responsible for the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, all of which help regulate moods. 

When including leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli in your diet, you provide your body with much-needed folate. The folate in those delicious leafy greens reduces depression by boosting the metabolism of serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline, all of which lead to an increase in positive moods.

Additional Benefits Of The Nutritarian Diet

Benefits to heart health

Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s diet boasts many health benefits, of which one of the most attractive may very well be a boost in heart health. Plant-based diets show a major reduction in heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure. 

The Eat to Live Diet regulates LDL (bad cholesterol) by 11 – 13%. High cholesterol levels cause fatty deposits in your blood, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. Strict vegan diets have been shown to lower overall cholesterol levels by up to 25%. 

During a seven-month trial conducted on 10 adult patients, it was discovered that Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s healthy eating diet could help to stabilize blood sugar levels and drop diabetic sugar levels back to normal in the participants.

Anti-inflammatory Benefits

The Nutritarian diet combats all forms of inflammation with its plant-based approach. 

When we are injured, short-term inflammation is induced in the area affected. This is vital for healing. When chronic or long-term inflammation takes hold, however, it can lead to heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. 

Western diets consisting of large quantities of highly processed and deep-fried food are known to generate inflammation. When you choose to rather flood your body with nutrients, you enable it to fight off the inflammation.  

Here are some of the anti-inflammatory foods you can expect to nibble on when following a Nutritarian diet.

  • Cherries. With pain-relieving properties comparable to ibuprofen and exceptional anti-inflammatory properties, it’s easy to foresee a wide range of benefits from these fruits.
  • Broccoli. Broccoli provides the body with a healthy dose of phytochemicals, enabling it to fight off inflammation more effectively.
  • Mushrooms. This fungi improves immune function and ensures that you’ll be free of irritation.
  • Avocado. Excess amounts of avocado aren’t recommended in the Eat to Live diet, but you’ll get in enough to enjoy the perks of the mono-saturated fats and antioxidants it has to offer.
  • Spinach. Spinach is a leafy green that offers a burst of antioxidants to your body, assisting in destroying all bodily discomforts. 

Blood Sugar Stabilization

Consuming processed, sugary foods create spikes in blood sugar levels, causing sugar crashes. Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s regime is low in added sugars and high in fiber. These foods are digested more slowly, preventing blood sugar spikes. 

This healthy eating plan also cuts out processed foods, replacing them with whole foods, lowering blood sugar levels, all while helping prevent and treat diabetes.

Immune Boosting

Your immune system is your number one defense against disease and illness. White blood cells act as bodyguards, clearing out any signs of intruders such as bacteria and pathogens before they can create issues.

We’re always looking for new ways to keep our immune systems strong. It’s important to remember, though, that immunity isn’t built up  in a day. It takes time and consistency to develop and maintain a strong, healthy immune system. 

Research has shown that 70 – 80% of your immune system depends on how well your gastrointestinal tract functions. Your immune system and gut microbes work very closely together to contribute to your body’s overall health. In essence, a healthy gut means strong immunity. 

So how does the Nutritarian diet fit into all of this? High-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and seeds all work to aid in the health of your tummy. In addition, the abundance of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and phytochemicals offered by Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s lifestyle change makes it that much easier for your body to fight off infection. 

Decreased Risk of Cancer 

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S, leaving us all scrambling to avoid it in any manner possible. Numerous studies have proven that antioxidant-packed foods are the way to go when it comes to reducing your chances of cancer. 

The nutrient-dense foods in the Eat to Live diet are proven to reduce several cancer types. As little as 6 oz of whole-grain foods each day can decrease the chances of colorectal cancer. Young women who eat diets high in fiber have also been shown to be up to 25% less likely to develop breast cancer.

Obesity is a known risk factor for certain cancers. Maintaining your weight with healthy eating not only makes you feel better overall, but decreases your odds of developing weight-related cancer cells.

Assists in brain function 

The human brain comprises nearly 60% fat. Foods such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts found in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s diet are high in Omega 3s — fatty acids that are key to maintaining optimal brain function and vitality. 

An extra 3.5 oz. of fruits and vegetables each day can lead to a 13% reduction in cognitive impairment and dementia. The polyphenols found in these products also show a slowed progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The final say

The Eat to Live diet created by Dr.Joel Fuhrman proves not only to be an effective diet for weight loss, but one that offers a wide array of further health benefits. When following this healthy eating plan, you can expect to improve your immune system, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduced risk of cancer, decreased chance of heart disease, lessen the risk of diabetes, increased longevity, and much more.