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Jan 20, 2011 04:09 PM

Eat Right America. Anyone attempting this?

I get emails from Whole Foods normally about their specials, but last week I got an email about Eat Right America. Apparently, WF is giving out a code allowing people a free personalized nutritional profile and a 28 day membership.

The premise of the site is that they are educating people about our true nutritional needs and are pushing a "lifestyle" that includes a focus on greens and other vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts while challenging conventional "myths" about the healthfulness of milk, meat, eggs, and even olive oil. Essentially it is an almost vegetarian way of eating but they push more of the "eat this too" instead of "don't eat that."

After doing the profile, I was told my risk for certain diseases, like diabetes or heart disease, as well as given a nutritional outline or what I should include.change about my diet. (Example, at least 1 servings of beans/legumes daily, a salad daily, more fresh fruit in the morning, more nuts, less salt) I agree with the advice given to me and I don't see anything wrong with including these foods more prominently in my diet but due to a picky husband, I will not be removing meat and dairy from my diet as much as they advise.

I guess I was wondering if anyone else was going to look into this or has? What are your thoughts on it. Good advice or just another healthy fad?Any recipes that you have that would work within their limits? I am just curious to hear from other foodies on this.

(For those of you interested, the code is makeover.)

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  1. Eat Right America was developed by a family physician named Joel Fuhrman - if you haven't seen his website it might give you a bit of insight about him:

    if you were to follow his book to the letter, you'd have to give up ALL cooking oils - he doesn't believe in them. not olive oil, not coconut oil, not butter...none.

    no sugar either - not maple syrup, not agave nectar, not coconut sugar.

    no dairy. period.

    no toasted nuts or seeds, only raw.

    eat fish very infrequently, or not at all.

    and no salt except for an occasional dash of tamari or Bragg's aminos.

    i worked for Whole Paycheck briefly and had to attend one of his seminars - they're mandatory for employees - and in fact, as part of my job i was supposed to promote the program and educate customers and employees about it. in fact, when someone from the audience asked him a question and didn't get a satisfactory answer, i piped up and gave her advice...and man did he get PISSED. glared at me, said we were wasting time because her question hadn't been important in the first place, dismissed us both with a wave of his hand, and went off on a totally unrelated random tangent about something funny his son did. the guy's a pompous, narrow-minded ass who thinks every person in America is an ignorant fool, and he's convinced that our only hope for survival is to follow his gospel.

    now, having said all that, if you just want to take a few pointers from it to improve the healthfulness of your overall diet, do the free trial just to see what you can get from it. at the very least it should give you access to the Members' area on the site to see the recipes that other people have come up with while following the plan. i'll definitely be curious to hear what you think if you decide to do it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      He does say you can have fat free dairy on the website, actually But, frankly I would rather be dead than eat this way. really. And anyone who would so diss GHG is a fool!

      1. re: magiesmom

        aww, thanks! he was pissed because he knew i was right :)

        he must have tweaked the website guidelines in an attempt not to alienate everyone, because in the book he's totally anti-dairy. believe me, formulating recipes for WF that adhered to his stupid guidelines was no picnic.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          what a job! of course he was pissed because he knew you were right :)

    2. "... anyone else was going to look into this or has? "
      I looked into it, had a good laugh, and wrote it off as poppycock.
      Every one of these guys has a product to sell - I ain't buyin' it.

      1. In my wildest dreams I cannot imagine any normal person even considering buying into this kind of tripe. The man is a crackpot, pure and simple.

        The recommended "diet" is way off the charts nutritionally. For starters, it's hopelessly deficient in carbs, fats and animal proteins.

        No way I can see a person sticking to it for more than, oh, maybe a week or so. Then the normal body requirements for nourishment would kick in and they would start to eat normally again.


        4 Replies
        1. re: I used to know how to cook...

          all the vegetables and legumes he recommends provide plenty of carbs; he does encourage fat intake in the form of nuts, seeds & avocado; and the human body doesn't specifically require *animal* protein for nourishment & survival...HOWEVER, it's still a crappy plan, and he's still a quack.

          1. re: I used to know how to cook...

            People will buy into it, since many have bought into sillier programs.

            The program is bad/biased science at its finest. It revolves around the food rating system, which selectively chooses nutrients and overemphasizes the ORAC value. In good science, you can't pick and choose or put double emphasis on something without merit/proof. In addition, their disclaimer is incorrect. Some nutrients they included, like Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Lycopene are not among the nutrients listed in the official recommended daily intake. Yet, they only claim that Carotenoids, Glucosinolates and ORAC don't have an official RDI. You can see the RDI values here:

            1. re: I used to know how to cook...

              I recommend at least reading Dr. Fuhrman's book "Eat To Live" as he covers your three alleged deficiencies ... Although I do not take everything Dr. Fuhrman says as gospel, I know that one can be perfectly healthy on a largely plant-based diet and limiting the consumption of processed carbs, fat, and animal proteins.

            2. I believe this is the fool who suggested that you "sautee" onions and garlic in water. (Complete lack of basic cooking knowledge, anyone?) My feelings are similar to GHG's. Although it sounds like the Whole Foods suggestions are a less crazy version, and I'm sure eating more vegetables and beans is good advice for most people.

              22 Replies
              1. re: jvanderh

                LOL! the whole stewing onions & garlic in water without sauteing first was how my confrontation with him started!!

                and to be clear, the WF program is even MORE stringent than his if you go into the store and talk to someone about their "Health Starts Here"'s the guidelines on Fuhrman's website that are a bit more relaxed.

                but yes, as much as i can't stand the guy, it's true that most Americans would benefit from following *some* of his advice.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  What a jerkwad. Worse, this kind of malarkey stigmatizes decent people making common sense efforts to get folks to eat more fruits and veggies and whole grains.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Our local WF doesn't offer it; manager refuses.

                    1. re: magiesmom

                      that's awesome, but pretty ballsy because the program is John Mackey's baby. he may not really be running the show there anymore, but the Exec board is still trying to keep him happy with this so they've really been pushing it...even though the majority of them think it's quackery.

                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      HA! Well, you have my blessing for setting him straight.

                      I haven't looked into the whole foods thingie at all, but most of the suggestions the OP mentioned didn't sound too crazy (although most people who shop at whole foods probably already know salad is healthy). It's amazing how many diet programs take a little bit of good sound advice and then add a heaping scoop of crazy.

                      1. re: jvanderh

                        It's amazing how many diet programs take a little bit of good sound advice and then add a heaping scoop of crazy.
                        LOL! love that :)

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Because a heaping scoop of crazy is what sells books, magazines and gets you on talk shows -- everyone wants a cheap, magic fix instead of plain old moderation of calories and exercise .. because that's work.

                          1. re: Firegoat

                            Right. The laws of science are such a bummer sometimes. :-P

                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        That is definitely one piece of Dr. Fuhrman's cooking advise that I find silly. The author/chef of the newly printed Forks Over Knives Cookbook is a water saute fiend too ....

                        1. re: hawkeyeui93

                          *Water* sautéing? Well, there's a book I'll never read. Ha.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            Water sauteing blows my little mind as well ....

                            1. re: hawkeyeui93

                              No, water sauteing has been around a really long time - I think it might be one of the first ways food was cooked - but back then they called it "boiling"... HA!!! :)

                            2. re: hawkeyeui93

                              Fat avoidance leads to nutritional deficiencies. Not only do you need significant dietery fat to survive, but you need it to absorb many plant based nutrients that are otherwise lost.

                              1. re: mcf

                                mcf: And the last I heard, there is ample dietary fat in the plant/legume world .... and unlike what others have been stating, Dr. Fuhrman and others do not advocate a "fat-free diet," but instead focuses on limiting processed sources of it. Most Americans have an ample source of fat already on store.

                                1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                  What possible benefit could come from water saute? I mean besides avoiding any pesky flavors or vitamin absorption? There is not adequate fat in a mostly plant food diet, unless you think 30% or under is adequate. Lipids researchers don't.

                                  There are only two essential macronutrients in human biology: fat and protein. Limits on those as % of diet isn't the recipe for eating right, IMO. I don't think anyone would disagree that polluted or hydrogenated fats are to be avoided, but animal fats from healthy, grass fed critters are life sustaining.

                                  1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                    I've been trying to eat an avocado a day. Lucky for me I think they are yummy. It is fun to be on another thread with mcf. We agree on a lot of things, most importantly the key role of diet in our health and well-being.
                                    I first came across mcf on a long deleted fasting thread where many rabid hounds dogpiled on a few of us. That thread caused quite a stir! I wonder if I can still acess it, mcf had some very insightful comments.

                                    1. re: givemecarbs

                                      I love avocados... I keep meaning to try a brownie recipe I found using them for the fat and moisture. Only Hass for moi. I'd forgotten about that fasting thread... long ago!

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        The raw chef at the local cafe makes a killer chocolate mousse using raw chocolate and avocado. Very rich and creamy and you would never guess the secret ingredient. Hass for me too.

                                      2. re: givemecarbs

                                        I first came across mcf on a long deleted fasting thread where many rabid hounds dogpiled on a few of us. That thread caused quite a stir! I wonder if I can still acess it, mcf had some very insightful comments.
                                        this one?

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Lots of belief and so little real understanding on so many nutrition and metabolism discussion boards here and elsewhere. Thanks for finding it.

                              2. UPDATE: I've decided to go forward with the 28 day program only. It consists of 4 weeks with each week you focus on one change. Weeks one is committing to eat one green salad everyday. So it could bu lunch, it could be before dinner, it could be with dinner. There are no rules about what you can put on it either. I have to say that this seems like sound advice. It certainly won't hurt me and since I am trying to lose a little baby weight anyway, there isn't any negatives.

                                After reading more on the site, he is basically pushing a vegan lifestyle and I don't know why he doesn't just say everyone should go vegan (perhaps marketing?). I am relieved to hear though that his theories are not totally sound. Sometimes when you go to these sites, they use some serious scare tactics and I admit I can be susceptible to them. Having an almost toddler I also really want to be sure my son is getting his nutrients.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: AmandaCA

                                  he is basically pushing a vegan lifestyle and I don't know why he doesn't just say everyone should go vegan (perhaps marketing?)
                                  bingo. too easy to scare off paying customers that way...which i believe is why the guidelines on his website aren't as stringent as the ones in the book.

                                  anyway, as i said above, you can absolutely glean some useful information from it...which you can apply to your current lifestyle to make small but significant healthful changes. i'm just glad you've chosen the sensible approach to it!

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    But vegans don't only eat raw nuts in my experience eat olive oil, coconut milk, maple syrup. I wouldn't choose to be vegan but I get why people do.
                                    But certainly more veggies, non animal proteins, mindful attention to what goes in the body, these are good things. I am just very reactive to the doctrinaire in any form. I'm done now. please forgive the rant.

                                    1. re: magiesmom

                                      Exactly magiesmom. This sounds MORE stringent, at least in some regards, to a vegan diet. I had to blanch those almonds to press my almond milk back in the 90s, dangit! And olive oil? What's the problem with olive oil?

                                      1. re: debbiel

                                        According to Dr. Fuhrman, it's benefits are a modern "myth." He says that an oil is still an oil and that the caloric content outweighs any benefits it may have.

                                        This was one of his points that made me question this in the first place.

                                        1. re: AmandaCA

                                          Wow. So does he see the benefits of oil as a modern "myth", or the benefits of any fat at all?

                                          1. re: debbiel

                                            he acknowledges the benefits of small amounts of fats in their whole-food forms - avocado, nuts & seeds, coconut *meat* - but insists that any fat extracted or processed from these foods is dangerous to your health...except, of course, for the "purified" fatty acid supplements he sells on his website :)

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              Well thank goodness he's purifying them for us! What would we do without him? :)