This post is WAY overdue. My apologies to those readers who visit this blog looking for information about my experience with Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat To Live program. You’re probably wondering whether I gave up on the program since I haven’t mentioned it pretty much all year.
Well, let me tell you what’s been going on. In my last report (Eat To Live Q1 2015), I said that I was going to do something a bit different – rather than just report how I was doing on Dr. Fuhrman’s program, I would try out some other diets and compare them to the Eat To Live plan.
The Search For Alternatives Begins
So I started researching what I wanted to try out, bought some books (like TONS of them), then started reading and reading and reading and reading and researching and researching and researching and…. I started getting really confused.
Eat fat! No don’t eat fat!
Eat carbs! No don’t eat carbs!
Eat beans! No don’t eat beans!
Eat salt! No don’t eat salt!
Eat meat! No don’t eat meat! Well, maybe just a little!
STOP! BRAIN CRAMP! ANALYSIS PARALYSIS IS SETTING IN!
I wanted to start out with the Forks Over Knives diet because it appears very similar to Dr. Fuhrman’s plan – all plants, no meat, no oil. One area where they seem to differ is in the amount of carb intake. So I started reading about how many carbs to eat (Dr. John McDougall’s, The Starch Solution). Then I researched the ketogenic and paleo diets which take the polar opposite approach to carbs – as in hardly any – plus they include meat (no thanks, I’ve gone 100% vegan – more on that in a later post) and encourage consumption of saturated fats. Given that the Food & Drug Administration just reversed its long-standing recommendation against eating saturated fat, I decided to look more into that issue.
Checking Out Dr. Hyman’s Eat Fat Get Thin Plan
Along those lines, I read Dr. Mark Hyman’s new book, Eat Fat Get Thin. His plan advocates eating 4 – 5 servings of fat per day, eggs, fatty fish, organic meats, limited fruit, no beans, no grains. I won’t delve into his rationale here, but I was kind of intrigued about the eating fat thing (“healthy” fats like coconut oil, olive oil, etc.). But considering that 1 serving/tablespoon of oil has 120 calories, and he recommends eating up to 5 per day, that’s 600 calories of fat. On average I eat about 1800 calories a day, so Dr. Hyman’s plan would have me consume 1/3 of my calories from fat. Seems like a lot!
Then I thought, do I really want to swap out 600 calories of leafy green, high fiber, nutrient-dense foods on Dr. Fuhrman’s program, for 600 calories of zero fiber, minimal nutrient, high calorie – but yummydelicious – oil on Dr. Hyman’s program? And won’t all of that fat destroy my currently awesome cholesterol numbers?
Dr. Hyman uses blood tests to show that his plan maintains proper levels of things such as blood sugar, homocysteine (folate), C-reactive protein (inflammation marker), etc. To prove that consumption of higher amounts of fat, including saturated fat, on his program does not lead to heart disease, he suggests a special blood test called NMR Lipid Profile which measures the SIZE of your LDL cholesterol particles. Apparently, having too many small, dense LDL particles is what leads to hardening of the arteries. Instead, you want to have large, fluffy cholesterol particles.
I’ve discussed my last 2 annual blood test results on this blog (see Eat To Live Q4 2015 Report and July 2014 Eat To Live Report) and my numbers are pretty darn good. Because I’ve been following Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat To Live program during that time, his plan seems to be working quite well for me.
But what about Dr. Hyman’s big fluffy cholesterol theory? I’ve never had that NMR test. What if I’m not as healthy as I think – what if I have those small, dense undesirable cholesterol particles?
Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m following Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat To Live plan as strictly as I can until the end of year. Then I’ll go in for my annual check-up and blood test – this time including the NMR Lipid Profile. In January, I’ll start Dr. Hyman’s Eat Fat Get Thin program (or my vegan version of it). I don’t know exactly how long I’ll stay on it, but at least for 3 months. Then I’ll get another blood test to see what happens to all of my numbers as well as the cholesterol particle size.
So that’s why there’s been radio silence from me on the Eat To Live reports. I’ve been doing an exhaustive amount of reading and spinning my wheels trying to figure out how best to present all of this information in a cohesive way here on the blog. And now that I’ve decided the approach I want to take, I’ll get busy working on it.
Look for my next Eat To Live report at the end of December. I’ll report the results of my annual blood test, which will be the benchmark for going forward with Dr. Hyman’s plan, and how I plan to proceed with the Eat Fat Get Thin plan.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions – I’m happy to answer them!
In the meantime, eat well – be happy!