Disclaimer: I have been hesitant to share this publicly because: 1. I am not a health expert (please ask your doctor before drastically changing your diet). 2. I don’t want to cause anyone to feel shame or guilt because of their choice of diet. But, I decided to share because I honestly believe in the dietary choices I (and my wife) have made. We are healthier than ever before and hope that my story will encourage others.
We have all heard the jokes about the “quarantine 15” in 2020. To be honest, in the first half of 2020 I experienced something like that, with my weight peaking at 225 pounds at the end of June. I’m 5’8” and technically my ideal weight should be closer to 160 pounds. Not only was I overweight, but I was constantly struggling with other health issues affected by poor diet and lack of physical activity.
At the start of July, I shifted my diet. To be clear, I didn’t go on a diet. I have tried that many times before, most recently trying Keto. Instead, I learned more about nutrition and how food affects our health. In July 2020, I began eating in a way that is both sustainable and affordable.
The information I gathered was based on a simple formula: nutrition divided by calories equals your health. In other words, if the food you’re eating is high in calories and low in nutrition, your body will suffer.
I read about a way of eating referred to as nutritarian. This is a term used to describe a diet that emphasizes eating primarily high nutrition food such as leafy greens and other protein-rich vegetables, as well as plenty of whole fruit.
Prior to learning this simple principle, I never would have understood that my weight and health issues were directly related to the ratio of nutrition to calories in the food I eat. For example, filling up on meat and grains as my primary source of calories (which most of Western Civilization does) means my body will be lacking in the essential nutrients that only come from vegetables.
Rather than go into all the technical details, I’d rather tell you about my experience. If you are interested in the details of the nutritarian way of eating, I encourage you to read books written by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. While I do not follow his recommendations perfectly, his research and advice have been invaluable on my journey to increased health.
The way of eating I have been adhering to in the last six months definitely required a shift in thinking about food and a dedication to not just a short-term diet. The key for me was to commit to a life-long pursuit of health rather than a quick diet to lose weight.
I do not believe that diets such as Keto, Paleo, low-carb, or calorie counting work for long-term health improvement. I also do not believe that we will experience excellent health without understanding the impact of our dietary decisions. I now know this not only theoretically, but also personally after going from 150 pounds at age 20, to 225 pounds at age 36, to now 180 pounds. In addition to losing weight, my joints no longer ache and I have not experienced severe headaches as I was before, among other improvements to my overall health.
My journey began on July 1, when I decided to adhere strictly to Dr. Fuhrman’s six-week plan to kick off this new way of eating. Complete transparency: it was the hardest eating plan I’ve ever done. But, by the end of the six weeks, I had lost 20 pounds! The following three months, I made a few adjustments, such as eating small amounts of meat for some meals and the occasional treat. But, I mostly stuck with the nutritarian diet, and I plan to continue in this way of eating my entire life (in short: vegetables are the main course for every meal). Between September and the end of December, I lost another 20 pounds.
After eating more-than-usual non-nutritarian meals during the Christmas holidays (which I only partially regret), I decided to scale back my indulgences so that I can make further progress toward my ultimate goal of reaching 160 pounds or less this year. Over the last two weeks I have lost an additional five pounds.
If you are overweight or want to enjoy more energy and a healthier lifestyle, I can say with certainty and without exception, that you will benefit from this way of eating. There are honestly too many benefits to list here, but if you visit Dr. Fuhrman’s website, you will read testimonies that are similar to mine.
My favourite part of this way of eating is that it doesn’t require buying special foods or supplements. The only supplements I take daily (when I’m not eating meat), are Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. We also enjoy a reduced grocery budget due to buying less meat and packaged foods. We eat mainly leafy greens and seasonal vegetables at our local farmers’ market, organic whenever possible.
Interested in discussing this with me? Send me an email. My only desire is to help others experience the sort of renewed health as I have.