Thursday, October 10, 2013

Q and A re: the new Eat to Live Cookbook Project

I'm stunned. Overwhelmed. Your response on Facebook and the blog to my announcement that I was going to cook my way through Dr. Fuhrman's new Eat to Live Cookbook was nothing short of amazing. THANK YOU ALL. (The only time I get response to a blog posting like this is when I host a giveaway!)

Many of you have questions. Really good questions. You brought up a lot of things that I had considered, and many that weren't even on my radar. In an attempt to let everyone know what the plans are, I am going to answer most of the questions that have come up so far right here in this blog posting.

This is going to be one of my longer blog postings, so if you are interested, please grab a cuppa decaf tea and get comfy!

Many readers offered up help for this project. Sharon Klupt McRae said, "I love that you are doing this, Wendy! I would love to help. Hope you had a great birthday! Tonight I plan to make the Cremini Ratatouille." 

Suzanne added, "If you get tired we can make a recipe and share,"and Tami from Nutmeg Notebook said "I would love to cook my way through this book with you! This could be a community project with lots of people making the same recipes each week and posting about it on their blogs or giving a review here." 

Kristin suggested, "Maybe once a week you could announce in advance a recipe and a day and we could all cook it and post here."

And Luce said, "Thanks for doing this. If you know which recipes you will do in advance, please post and some of us can try and make them too."

Helyn posted, "Sounds FABULOUS! And if you get overwhelmed you can call on some of us other nutritarian bloggers to contribute recipes as guest posts! Count me in if you do that!!"  Helyn's Healthy Kitchen

I hadn't considered this in advance, but now that so many of you are interested in participating on some level, here is what I will attempt to do:

(1) On Friday, I will write a short blog posting listing the recipes that I plan to make during the coming weekend and beginning of the following week. That way, if you want to follow along by cooking together and brainstorming how to make the recipes the best they can be, that will be an option.

(2) Anyone with a blog, or just a desire to participate, can submit a recipe review with original photos and I will most likely post the review. Reviews and photos can be sent to me at I would certainly welcome the help! I only ask that you answer the questions (or versions of them that apply to your household situation) that I have developed for the reviews (you can see a version of them here.) I can even remind everyone that I am open to that in a lot of the blog postings, that way, when the inspiration strikes, you can participate in the fun!

Lani asked if I could share the recipes from the book.

The short answer is no.

But here's the longer answer:

(1) Some of the recipes in the Eat to Live Cookbook are already out there for public consumption just by doing a simple Google search for the title of the recipe. Whether it's a recipe that the Fuhrman camp has legally agreed to release or a renegade blogger who doesn't understand or respect the laws of copyright--it's a hard thing for any author to have total control over. So if you really do not want to own this cookbook and you see a recipe that I rave about, do a Google search to see if that recipe is already somewhere out there on the net.

(2) It is possible that the Fuhrman camp will allow certain recipes from the new cookbook to be published online by bloggers. They have been very generous in the past with my blog and allowed me to publish some of there recipes right here. If that occurs, I will be sure to post the recipe right there with my review. But the vast majority of recipes will not be available here on HGK.

(3) I believe that most of the recipes are already on Dr. Fuhrman's Member site. If you would rather get them from the website than a cookbook, you can pay a very small monthly fee and have access to all of the recipes and a whole lot more great material.

(4) You may decide, after reading my experience over the next few weeks, that it is totally worth every penny to invest in this cookbook (I paid a little over $17.00 for the book on Amazon Prime, it's about $12 for the Kindle version). For my sake and yours, I sure hope that is true!

If you purchase the book through this link (or anything, really, from my "Shop Healthy" link up there, I receive a 5% royalty (that's about 85 cents on a $17.00 book). The money goes to support the upkeep of this website, which is greatly appreciated by me!

Claudia asked, "One thing I'm wondering about though is how you will decide what order to do the recipes in, or if there even needs to be an order. Personally, I would be interested in hearing about some of the Brussels sprouts recipes while the Brussels sprouts are actually available fresh and in season."

I hadn't thought about that until you asked. I will probably just start by making the recipes that appeal most to me, with an eye toward seasonality in my location (Cleveland, OH, USA). I will need to get going on some breakfast recipes and salad dressings a.s.a.p. because those are things that I will need to repeat daily. After I tackle some of those I will dive into soups (at the rate of one new one per week, I imagine) and other main courses (also at the rate of one per week). Desserts, well, I doubt there are too many recipes for those, and I will make the easy ones first and save the harder ones for parties and get-togethers.

Brongjoyj wondered, "I applaud you for even thinking about doing it. Would this mean you would only ever eat strict nutritarian as well? I would last about 3 days eating at that level of strictness, all the time &/or go batty (& drive my family up the wall) over such a regimen."

My plan right now is to eat Nutritarian every day. As long as I am making these recipes, and I will double or triple batch as I need to, I should have enough to last for a few days or even a week in some cases, so it should be much easier for me to actually be a Nutritarian as I focus down on only cooking from this one cookbook.

"I bought the cookbook, but I'm not 100% on board with Dr Fuhrman. I'm more in the Dr McDougall/Engine 2 camp. For some reason, I always get the feeling that Dr Fuhrman is trying to sell me something and that kind of turns me off to him. I also find that some of the recipes seem a bit heavy on nuts."

In general, I also dislike doctors who try to sell me things, especially things like supplements! But, in Dr. Fuhrman's defense, most of his products are either books (which are well worth it IMHO), food products (which I never buy because I can source everything locally--but if you are unable to do that, I would buy his food products in a heartbeat!), or his member center privileges. Complicated websites and customer service outfits are very expensive to build and maintain, so I don't begrudge anybody for charging for those services.

And now, my opinion on the nuts. And this is just my opinion:

You have to figure out if nuts are an issue for you--both from an emotional eating angle and also from a health perspective. Because I have no known heart condition and I do not enjoy snacking on nuts, I personally do not have a problem with a reasonable amount of nuts in, let's say, a salad dressing or other recipe.

In fact, the closer I eat to Nutritarian, the more I really value those nuts! They are the only calorie dense food in the plan and gosh, I just get so darned hungry when I eat Nutritarian style. Is it only me? So the nuts are a welcome inclusion in my diet.

It's so different when you are eating a McDougall or Esselstyn style. There are far more whole grains and starchy squashes and sweet potatoes in those plans. So if you add nuts to those plans, it's so easy for your calories to get out of control because nuts are so calorically dense.

But Nutritarianism is so NOT calorically dense that I feel without the nuts, I would just be painfully hungry most of the time.

It is up to each and every one of us to decide which plan works for us at any particular phase of our lives--they are all amazing if they work for you!

Maya wonders about the "fake cheese (like Fuhrman's eggplant lasagna things.) Can you leave it out? Why does he put it in there? What is that stuff made of anyway?!"

Well Maya, it's mostly made of oil, so it's not doing anyone any favors! You can definitely leave the fake cheese out of any recipe. I'm sort of surprised that faux cheese has made it into some Nutritarian recipe, but as far as I know, Dr. Fuhrman maintains that 10% of your calories can come from animal products, oils and processed foods with no ill effect on your health, as long as 90% of your calories are coming from nutrient dense foods like vegetables, fruits and beans.

If you think about it, 10% is really very, very little animal or processed food, because those foods are so totally calorie dense. So if someone chooses to include a little of this or a little of that every day, it would easily add up to a problem. My feeling is that if every once in a while you indulged in non-nutritive food (like once a week or once every 10 days), that would probably be more what Dr. Fuhrman is talking about.

And if a little faux cheese is going to get someone to eat that Nutritarian lasagna . . . well, I'm okay with that!

Along those same lines, Vikki asked, "I was disappointed to hear that some of the recipes use animal products. Will you be cooking them also? I haven't purchased the book for that reason."

No, I will not be preparing the recipes from the very short chapter that includes recipes with chicken and fish.

Linda asked, "Not sure why you are going totally salt free. That can also be detrimental."

I'm certainly not a doctor or a nutritionist, but what I am certain of is this--there is salt everywhere, naturally occurring in food and in anything and everything I would ever eat in a restaurant, no matter how hard I tried to order a Nutritarian style meal. So I'm not at all worried that I will have no salt in my diet. I simply won't be adding it to the food that I cook myself, at home, from this particular cookbook--that way, I can give an honest review of the food, as it is intended to be eaten. Anything can taste great if you put salt on it!

I might, however, use a lot of salt free seasonings as I cook these dishes. I have a bag of dried celery in my pantry (thank you Chef Aj) that has been waiting for just the right time for me to pulverize it into a powder. Chef Aj says it's a great salt substituted, because there is a lot of salt that occurs naturally in celery. Taste a fresh stalk after you haven't eaten for a few hours--you will not believe how salty it tastes!

Kit "Thanks, I will look forward to these reviews. Especially interested in what an eight year old will eat."

Me too, Kit! Right now my five year old won't go near these recipes and my eight year old will only try one bite, but I am hoping to engage my children in the process of making and blogging about these recipes. I am hoping that some of my passion for this subject and this project will rub off on them.

Gayle responded, "Love that you are doing this. It will be helpful in determining those recipes I want to try and those that just look daunting with 15 or more ingredients and steps."

And PMH who added "I've made some progress - but I'm nowhere close to true nutritarian (black belt? level. My real 'handicap' is fatigue and a small kitchen (cooking in my kitchen is like trying to waltz in a broom closet :) and I'll be watching for the easiest prep/prepare - most satisfying - recipes you try. (Some of Fuhrman's on-line recipes have 28+ ingredients; will expire of hunger before one of those ever sees in the inside of my kitchen!)"

Yes, I imagine that most of the recipes will range from mildly time consuming to wildly time consuming (as Debby from Happy Healthy Long Life says, "pitchky potshky recipes"). It is for that reason that I plan on doing most of the cooking on weekends and preparing enough to last for the week. I'm tired too at 5 pm and have very little energy to dive into a complicated recipe when I am already hungry and fatigued! So I won't put that kind of pressure on myself--I will develop a routine that makes this much more doable and pleasant.

Cat from "I've considered doing this with other books but always thought there were too many ingredients or recipes I didn't like. Maybe this would be different?"

This book may or may not be different. I'm willing to make food that I may not love at first bite, in the hopes that after a while, all of the recipes may begin to taste wonderful to me. I'll never know until I try, right? Plus, we never overeat on food that we don't go goo-goo ga-ga over. And I could use a lot of help in that department!

Mary "Just a helpful hint when you get to the recipes that call for carrot juice, I buy organic carrot juice (just carrots and water) instead of juicing those large amount of carrots. Any left overs can be frozen for the next soup. Usually I buy it at Costco if you have one near you. I often thought of just putting whole carrots and water in my Vitamix to use but never did try it, I would also try this for the celery juice."

I'm actually looking forward to making use of the Champion Juicer that is collecting dust on my kitchen counter, but if I tire of it, I will certainly use your suggestion!

AnnaleighBelle wanted to know "Is there a lot of "upselling" in the book? Some reviewers on Amazon were complaining about it."

I don't know yet, because I haven't actually received my copy. LOL! But you have me really curious. What upselling could be done in a cookbook?

Edited to add: I received my copy last night. From my first look, it seems AMAZING!!!!! I am thrilled so far. There is a tiny bit of promotion of seasonings and vinegars sold at but really, very little. There were a few recipes in there that I recognize from other books, and those were things that I had made before and absolutely LOVED, so I already feel like they have chosen well for this book. The limited number of photos that are included are quality photos taken by a professional photographer and the food looks very appealing.

Maya asked "Is it possible? Really possible to eat that way forever? I don't know. But I want to try."

I'm done promising myself forever, all I can do is do my best today.

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Got more questions? Ask 'em here in the comments section!

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