Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustain Weight Loss, by Joel Fuhrman, MD

After my posting on the book Keto Clarity I received a note from a friend (actually two, one on Messenger and the other on Facebook) suggesting/urging that I read a book that he uses as a nutritional guide called Eat to Live. As we’ve known each other for nearly 40 years I saw it as a kindness with my health in mind. Because of that I bought and read it, trying to keep an open mind. This is a book with nearly a 180 degree eating approach from Ketogenics and it brought up many ideas and issues for me. I’ll try to deal with some here and may even do another post to discuss things further.

In this post I’d like to start by getting a little personal and making some confessions that may make you a little uncomfortable. That’s okay. They’ll make me a little uncomfortable, too. These are the things that build friendships.

I was an only child raised mostly by my mother (my father was an executive for a large corporation and traveled  for several weeks out of every month. Other family was often hundreds of miles away. Mom was a compulsive reader, too. She taught me to read when I was four, mostly so that she wouldn’t have to read to me and distract her from her own reading. When I went to first grade I could read well above my grade but didn’t know my ABCs. I had no idea that letters came in any particular order or that there was an associated song.

Somewhere along the way mom picked up information on nutritionist Adele Davis, who for some of you, if you know of her at all, may be as distant a figure as John Harvey Kellogg who at least had a book and movie written about him. I would contend that it’s largely because of Davis that we have a vitamin section in nearly every store and she was a pioneer in best-selling books on nutrition. And we know publishing well enough to know that book success breeds imitation faster than an outhouse breeds flies, with about as much public benefit.

Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit came out in its first edition a year before I was born and reached my mother a short way into the Kennedy administration. As mom and I largely lived in isolation I was her laboratory. We learned the importance of greens, we learned to open all the windows to cook beef liver (high in B vitamins), we drank some really obnoxious stuff called Tiger’s Milk Powder that was mixed with milk and mom would drop a raw egg into it for extra protein.

I was a skinny kid. I was skinny until we moved to California when my pictures start to show a double-chin. California seemed foreign, the schools and their kids were different, sunshine at Christmas was different. Even though we had a pool I started gaining weight. Mom panicked and started taking me to doctors. I was put on several diets. The last I remember was the Grapefruit diet, which involved mostly eating grapefruit, coffee, and tiny thin steaks for several meals. On the third day after eating lunch I threw up in the kitchen sink. I was 11. I have not eaten a grapefruit since.

I didn’t get skinny again until high school when my diet consisted mostly of Coca-Cola, cigarettes, and illegal amphetamines. (See also the post on Kerouac’s Big Sur.) I left high school weighing 175 at 6 feet tall and with a 32″ waist. I still felt fat and body image had become a serious issue.

Since, as I aged, I found a talent for various kinds of office work, sit-down jobs rather than jobs that required exertion, my weight often fluctuated. I was probably at my healthiest (low fat high muscle mass) when I was doing Nautilus for three days a week. But jobs changed, schedules altered, weight came and went.

So I bring you here, dear reader (assuming you made it this far with me), mostly to let you know that when it comes to dieting, dieting books, books on nutrition, nutrition ideas, nutrition science, nutrition zealotry of all stripes this is not, I guarantee, my first rodeo. That is not to say, while the bull is spinning fresh out of the chute, hearing a friend or stranger in the stand yell encouragement or advice isn’t appreciated. It’s just that I’m on the bull and you’re not. But objective advice and coaching is welcome and accepted.

So the next edition on this book and how it compares to the other book I review and my thoughts relative to both will come in the next post. Thanks for sticking with me this far.