This month we are profiling Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He is a medical doctor with a thriving private practice where he and his associates focus on prevention and treatment of disease primarily thru lifestyle changes and nutrition. You may be familiar with him from his books such as Eat To Live, The End of Dieting and The End Of Diabetes or one of his many appearances on a host of TV and radio shows, including The Dr Oz Show.
Why Dr. Joel Fuhrman?
You may be wondering why I’m focusing on Dr. Fuhrman when he is NOT a vegan advocate. In fact, to the best of my knowledge he has never stated whether he is even vegan or not. Add to that the fact that his nutritional guidelines allow for some animal products to be reintroduced to the diet after 6 weeks of abstinence and it may leaving you scratching your head at my choice.
The simple truth is Dr. Fuhrman is one of the main reasons “I” am vegan today and I’m so grateful to him and his message of nutritional excellence that I just have to share with you.
Especially in light of all the hubbub lately on “true veganism” because as those of you who follow the Vegan Banana know, the last few months I’ve been thinking, talking and writing a lot about peoples journey to veganism and what it means to BE vegan.
My personal journey to veganism started in my early 40’s as a quest to find a way to stay fit, healthy and drug free for the last two thirds of my life. I began by looking into natural remedies for healing.
It quickly became obvious that prevention rather than response or “remedies” was a far superior way to go and that proper nutrition is the key to the castle of lasting good health.
I was first introduced to Dr. Fuhrman by the film “Forks Over Knives” (an enlightening film btw and if you haven’t watched it I highly recommend that you do) where he speaks quite eloquently about how your body needs nutrient dense foods for optimal health and healing. Turns out it is his mission in life to educate you on how your diet is slowly killing you and what you need to do to break this vicious cycle and reclaim your health and vitality.
Sure, you can be 100% vegan and have a shitty diet, but why would you want to? After all YOU are an animal too aren’t you? And if you care so much about animals and their rights that you are willing to swim upstream in today’s Carnist society and proclaim yourself to be vegan why wouldn’t you take the last few steps and make sure YOU are as well tended as the animals you advocate for?
What Is Dr. Fuhrman’s Message? Nutritional Excellence!
According to Dr. Fuhrman, it is thru nutritional excellence that you can heal your body and keep it in tip-top shape well into your 90’s. This is his message plain and simple. And it just so happens that plant-based whole foods, NOT ANIMAL PRODUCTS, contain the highest ratio of nutrition per calorie. So the doctors message dovetails nicely with veganism.
In a nutshell, each day you should be eating a pound of raw veggies, a pound of cooked veggies (high in steamed greens), a cup of beans and 3-4 fresh fruits. Sprinkle in some seeds for good measure and… POOF! A cruelty free vegan diet that’s dense in nutrients and light on calories.
Dr. Fuhrman talks a great deal about G-BOMBS (his acronym for remembering what’s best to eat):
Seeds & nuts
It’s no secret that I had a HUGE issue visualizing what a “proper meal” would look like if you can’t put meat or dairy onto the plate. The recipes in Dr. Fuhrman’s books gave me ideas to springboard off of and his GBOMBS really helped me pull it together in my mind when shopping so I could put together healthy meals and stop myself when I was falling back into hold habits. Basically, he made vegan cooking easier for me both with and without a recipe.
Another reason to love Dr. Fuhrman is that he never expects you to take his word for things like so many other health “guru’s” do. His books contain more references than any other book I have read outside of college text books. And they are not just hidden away at the end of chapters either. He sites, then discusses in detail, the studies from which he has drawn his conclusions. First and foremost a scientist, he backs up his conclusions with numerous studies.
The drawback to Dr. Fuhrman’s books is the flip side to their strength. The science behind the theory. Though he speaks plain English his explanations do get a tad technical and long winded at times. Though, it is possible they seem that way to me because by the time I was reading most of them I was already convinced he knew what he was talking about. By then, I wasn’t looking to be convinced so much as told what to do.
Thank You Dr. Fuhrman!
To sum up, I never planned to become vegan. But my quest for health lead me here. Dr. Fuhrman was a HUGE part of that journey. Because of him (and a few others we’ll be talking about soon) I finally “got it” and understood that meat, dairy and eggs were killing me no matter how “ethically” they were sourced. Once I’d transitioned to a vegan diet it was a very short and logical hop to a full-fledged vegan lifestyle. Perhaps Dr. Fuhrman can do the same for you.
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