“nutritarian hotline.” that’s how my friend, Aaron, answered his phone when I called him last Saturday night. little did he know that I was standing in Bed Bath & Beyond with my wife, looking at blenders, and really did need the nutritarian hotline. I got straight to the point:
“do I really need a Vitamix?”
“not the Bullet?”
“I love the Nutribullet! but I know you. you’ll break it. you’ll use it to death.”
“how about the ninja? it’s a whole system thing.”
“tried it. doesn’t get the consistency you’re going to want. dude: Vi. ta. mix.”
“which one do you have?”
“don’t get the one I have.” that was code for, “I own the top of the line model.”
“do you ever use the programs?”
“the dial in the middle?”
“maybe sometimes. hang on… are you at the store?”
“yes. Bed Bath & Beyond.”
“371, but we have a 20% off coupon from 2009, if they’ll accept it.”
“that’s a great deal either way. Donna wants to know if Vanessa’s with you.”
“she’s right here.”
“tell her Donna says ‘sorry.’”
Donna, my wife, and I all went to high school together. once, I single-handedly brought a party to a screeching halt after following Donna’s advice to ‘do something rash.’ (a story for another day.) and here I was, 23 years later, about to follow her husband’s advice to do something even more dramatic.
I was about to change my entire diet.
for the last 5 days, I’ve been following a nutritarian diet. (more information here) the model is simple: eat massive—MASSIVE—amounts of vegetables, tons of fruit, beans, and legumes, round it out with whole grains, seeds, nuts, and avocados. eat refined grains, sugars, and animal protein sparingly. I’m not even sure dairy even classifies as a food. and eat vegetables until you’re full. no calorie counting. (not that I would; I fortunately don’t have weight to lose.)
the guy who put the diet together, Dr. Fuhrman, wrote a book called Eat to Live. I’ve experienced a bunch of food media (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, An Unhealthy Truth, Forks Over Knives, Supersize Me…) but this is the book that made it all click. omg, the science. turns out, all the conflicting health studies come from the fact that the changes they’re looking at aren’t dramatic enough—he likens one study to asking smokers to cut back from 3 packs a day to 2 and expecting to see an improvement in lung cancer rates.
Eat to Live highlights:
- this isn’t a diet. this is evidence-based best practice for your body.
- 90% of your calories should come from unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods (veggies, fruits, grains, seeds, nuts…).
- vegetables are everything. and because we measure serving sizes in terms of weight, we don’t ever come close to eating enough of them.
- being a vegetarian isn’t necessarily helpful—processing foods removes too many nutrients that we haven’t even figured out yet. so fortifying apple juice, e.g., adds back maybe 2-3 nutrients out of about the 10,000 that a raw apple contains. you’re better off eating a little meat and a ton of veggies than a bunch of bread and pasta.
- EAT MORE VEGETABLES. seriously, live like a prince, but eat like a pauper.
none of this was shocking. but the impact of seeing all of it together, condensed and footnoted, made it’s impact.
5 day update
so for the past week I’ve been blending kale and fruit into breakfast smoothies (which, unlike juice, still has all the plant’s fiber and goodness.)
impact so far?
food and medicine suddenly occupy the same place in my brain. if I could take a pill that would extend my life by 5 years, would I? yes! I’m taking the pill. it’s called “eat more plants.” and it’s that simple.
changes I’ve noticed this week
- Vitamix smoothies are incredible. kale, frozen blueberries, a mango, and almond milk. an apple, orange, and banana mixed in with a handful of almonds and a splash of water. it’s all good.
- my energy has been up this week.
- I’m sleeping well.
- all internal systems are working like well-oiled machines—digestive, circadian, etc.
- I stay out of the kitchen more.
- retraining my body on how to snack has been a non-issue. I grab an orange or some almonds. sometimes chocolate-covered ones. don’t judge.
- TV sucks. every other commercial is for food or a pill to fix some problem our lousy diet creates.
- my complexion is perfect, my hair is growing back, and my sweat now smells like fresh-baked cookies.
- I’m thin, so I’m not attempting weight loss. but if I notice a change, I’ll report it.
(I may have made up the penultimate point.)
I’ll post updates on my new eating habits.
meanwhile, read the book.