Okay, here we are…I made it through the first week on Dr. Fuhrman’s six week long Eat to Live plan. And I didn’t die. Actually, I didn’t even feel like I might die, but more on that later.
If you want to catch up on what brought me to this place to begin with, you can get the whole story over here.
Two weeks ago, I had never even heard of Eat to Live or the “Nutritarian” lifestyle, which apparently means that I have been living under a rock. This book was first published 15 years ago and spent something like 90 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. So yeah, I may have missed the memo.
The subtitle of the book is: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know. The point is to eat a low-calorie, high-nutrient diet that fills you up but also helps you lose weight relatively quickly. Like, 20 pounds in six weeks quickly. So that got my attention.
As a side note, I’m not one for crazy crash diets or short-term fixes. If I’m going to make changes to my diet, I want it to be sustainable. I tried Paleo a few years ago for the better part of a year and really liked it and also lost weight, but honestly, it was more meat than I wanted to eat anymore, which is why this plan was more appealing to me.
Here are the basic parameters of the daily plan:
- Unlimited amounts of raw and cooked vegetables, fruit and beans
- No more than one cup of starchy vegetables or whole grains
- 1 ounce of raw nuts or seeds
- 2 ounces of avocado
- No more than 2 tablespoons of dried fruit
- 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds
If it’s not on the list above, you’re not eating it. That includes salt, oils of any kind, coffee or alcohol for the first six weeks. Yes, this is vegan. No, I didn’t think I would ever eat a vegan meal plan, and yet here I am.
The idea is to eat like this for six weeks, after which you can add in small amounts of meat, oils and dairy if you choose. And apparently most people are so excited with their results during this six week period, that they’re motivated to stick with the plan going forward.
That totally makes sense to me. When you’re eating a modified or restricted diet and losing a pound or two a week and have 50 to lose, it can get very tedious and it’s easy to give up or slowly slide back into bad habits. So I’m not going to lie…the prospect of losing 20 pounds in a relatively short period of time is already motivating me to stay true to the program.
So what did my first week on the plan look like? I kept it pretty simple while I was getting used to how it all works:
Breakfast: Smoothie with frozen berries, almond milk, Young Living’s Slique Shake protein powder (this stuff is the bomb…I hate protein powder but this is delicious!) and one drop each of YL Basil and Spearmint Vitality Oils. I also take my daily supplements in the morning, all from Young Living.
Lunch: Large green salad with lots of veggies (carrots, celery, radish, zucchini, cucumber, etc), garbanzo beans, 1/4 of an avocado and vinegar for dressing (I’ve been alternating between a pear and cranberry vinegar that’s really yummy and balsamic).
Dinner: This is where I’ve experimented a bit more but more or less have been eating wild or brown rice with steamed veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, snap peas and carrots with a bit of Coconut Aminos and a salt free seasoning on top. Kind of like a stir fry. I’ve also made some veggie soups and cooked tofu a few times, although I haven’t hit on a recipe I really like yet.
Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t advocate snacking between meals, but I’ve always been one that eats smaller portions, multiple times a day. I just can’t eat that much in one sitting so I’ve found that I’m getting my fruit servings in whenever I feel a little hungry. Mostly apples and oranges and bananas. I also skip putting nuts or seeds on my midday salad and instead have been putting just a little bit of almond butter on a stalk of celery at some point after dinner in the evenings.
And I’ve lost five pounds in the first week. Yep. And it was surprisingly easy. In fact, the funny thing is that I have had absolutely no detox symptoms. None.
This is strange. I really should have had headaches and lethargy and cravings simply between cutting out the sugar and alcohol. Sometimes you’ll even have a bit of “detox flu” where you legit feel like you’re coming down with a cold. I expected to feel all of it, especially after the excess eating and drinking around the holidays.
But I have a theory.
I’ve never gone through a full detox like this since I’ve been using essential oils. And while EOs are known to help support our bodies with detoxing, I didn’t think they would help like this. I mean, I know I tell you how amazing they are all the time, but I’m still surprised by the power of the plants on occasion!
Here’s what I’ve been doing:
Hot water with a couple of drops of Lemon Vitality oil as soon as I get up in the morning. This helps flush toxins out of our bodies that our liver processed overnight before we put more food in.
Reminder: Never ingest essential oils unless you’re 100% sure that it’s a pure and therapeutic oil in the bottle. There are no labeling requirements for EOs in the United States and many are diluted or have added ingredients. I trust Young Living because of their Seed to Seal process where they control the product from planting all the way to bottling.
Supplements from Young Living as I already mentioned including Omegagize (omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D3 and CoQ10), Super B (B vitamins including a big dose of B-12 which you need if you’re not eating meat), Immupro for immunity support and Sulfurzyme which supports our connective tissue, liver, and scavenges for free radicals. Awesome, right?!
And then there’s the big guns. I think this is what’s really been doing the trick. Young Living’s Ningxia Red supplement drink.
Here’s the deal. I’m accustomed to sipping on wine in the evenings. So I was trying to come up with something to replace that habit that I could drink over a few hours time. So I’m using a large mason jar, squeezing a couple of wedges of blood orange in, adding two ounces of Ningxia and topping it with sparkling water from my SodaStream. It’s perfect. And I think it’s seriously helping me avoid the dreaded detox symptoms.
The Ningxia berry is a species of goji berry – a super high antioxidant fruit from China. Drinking an ounce of this amazing juice is the equivalent of eating 100 blueberries or 59 broccoli florets. And as much as I love blueberries and broccoli (although not at the same time, ick!), there’s just no way I can eat that much in one day.
All of the Young Living products that I’m using fit into the Eat to Live plan (well, okay…there’s a little coconut sugar in the protein shake mixture but that’s not going to kill me) so I’m pretty excited that they’re helping me to make these changes without much pain or suffering (and yes, I know I’m being dramatic, but detox sucks). So it’s been a happy accident on my part!
One week in is pretty early to make any grand statements about the plan, but what I do like is that there is very minimal meal planning, which I despise. I’m stocking my fridge with lots of fruits and veggies, chopping them up ahead of time so I can grab what I’m in the mood for and throw something together relatively quickly.
Will daily salads get boring at some point? Probably. And then I’ll have to get a little more creative with my meals, but at this point I’m looking forward to the next five weeks and hopefully to losing 15 more pounds.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Eat to Live plan, read the book as it answers tons of questions about why he’s specifically created and advocates for this plan. If you want to learn more about Young Living’s amazing oils, supplements or Ningxia Red, check out The Basics or shoot me an email with your questions. I’ll be back next week to share my thoughts about week two on the plan!