You are excited?
Don't know where to begin?
I received the following message just a few days ago, "HELP, Just starting today. I just finished reading Dr. Fuhrman's book, Eat to Live. Kind of overwhelmed! :( I want o be healthy and lose all my weight! Ugh."
Stop. Take a deep breath. The worst thing anyone can do is to let their feelings of being overwhelmed (which are real and totally legitimate) prevent them from making positive changes in their diet.
Know that real change does not happen in a day. It is a process, one that will take years to go through, if you are successful.
The unsuccessful ones give up and go back to their old diet somewhere along the way. The successful ones are always learning, always tweaking, always changing. You know that cliche "It's a journey, not a destination?" Well, that applies very well here.
It seems like you are very much into learning, as evidenced by how much you have already read. (I went on to find out that our questioner also wrote this, "I have been on a reading everything I can get my hands on journey. Just finished Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live. I have read Engine 2 and The China Study (well, most of it) I have also seen multiple documentaries. I have tried so many diets, and I never stay committed. I am sure this is the healthie…") I commend you on that, because not everyone is willing to put in the time to educate themselves about the health effects of diet. So give yourself a whole lotta credit!
You will be healthy and achieve a healthy weight. It isn't going to happen quickly. You could go on any one of a gazillion fad diets and lose weight quickly. There is no secret to fast weight loss. Just starve yourself (essentially) and drink SlimFast for two meals a day. I guarantee you will get thinner fast.
But could you drink SlimFast shakes for the rest of your life? Would you maintain your weight loss when you went back to eating your regular old diet?
Would you have boundless energy every day?
Would you be healthy?
I hope you are still reading. The following is a list of steps that you can take in this journey. You do not need to take them all today. Pick one. Follow through with it, then pick another. Pretty soon you will be comfortable in your new and improved lifestyle.
1. Give yourself credit for each and every thing that you do "right" from here forward. Say to yourself, "Self, you are fabulous for reading Eat to Live and understanding that diet has a major effect on health. Most people either don't know that or don't want to know that. You are now way ahead of the game!" There is no undervaluing the feeling of positive emotion and energy. Happiness will take you a long way.
2. Collect and read books on this subject. I see you are already doing that. I know the way you feel-that Eat to Live is the healthiest of all of the related diets. But I want to impress upon you that many other doctors and whole-food diet proponents have a lot to add to this conversation. For example, I learned how to really read a nutrition label on packaged food from Rip Esselstyn's Engine 2 Diet. I didn't get that from Eat to Live. Every one of these great people has a lot to teach us. Plus, each book has a variety of recipes in the back which will be very helpful as you change you way of eating.
Here is a list of books that I highly recommend:
The Beck Diet Solution by Dr. Judith S. Beck
Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
Breaking the Food Seduction by Dr. Neal Barnard
The Idiot's Guide to Plant Based Nutrition by Julieanna Hever
And that doesn't include all of the cookbooks that I love! Want to shop for books and help support this blog? Click here.
3. Start thinking about what you are going to eat in terms of what vegetables are going to be the stars of your meal. I'm pretty sure that the typical American thinks, "I'm going to have chicken tonight, what will I make to go with that?" Instead, we Nutritarians think of all meals this way, "I'm going to have Swiss Chard for dinner. How will I prepare it?" Makes a big difference!
4. All of the new recipes overwhelming you? Just focus on salads! Dr. Fuhrman has this expression, "The salad is the meal." And that's great, because I'm sure you know how to make a salad. You just need a bunch of no-oil dressing recipes, right? Well, the community at Healthy Girl's Kitchen has that all set for you right here in our Big List of No-oil Salad Dressings.
5. Save the heavier, more creative cooking for the weekend. That's when most of us have the time to prepare really great tasting stuff. I recommend making at least one big pot of soup or stew every weekend that you can enjoy all week. You will have incredible soups, stews and plant-strong side dishes to go with your main course (the salad). You can even freeze portions of soup and over time you will be able to eat a variety of soups and stews throughout the week.
Need plenty of soup options? Look no further than here. My personal favorite to start out with is this recipe for Energy Soup. It's a magical weight loss tool.
6. Clean our your fridge, freezer and pantry. Take a day to really clean our your kitchen. You may have to do this more than once over many, many months. Junk has a way of creeping back in. Read more about this process here.
7. Plan a trip to your local farmer's market. If you haven't been to a Farmer's Market before, you have a lot of fun in store for you. I try to go once a week. It's not necessary to shop for vegetables this way, but it's a pleasure.
There is a lot more I could say on this topic, so I just might have to write a Part II.
What are your suggestions for overwhelmed newcomers to a Nutritarian/ Plant-strong diet? Please share them in the comments section.