Plant based “vegan” eating has made big waves in recent years.
However, a plant based diet alone—even in carefully measured amounts with some health improvement noticed--isn’t going to stop one’s runaway appetite for food (food addiction).
When food addiction is halted, it can then be possible for many to succeed at radically reversing chronic diseases and achieve optimal health. (Emotional eating and eating disorders will still need to be addressed for some people.)
The only way to stop food addiction in it’s tracks—and this is the hidden treasure—is to pay attention to the dietary quality of food.
Eating low-nutrient food, even food that is currently trending as so-called “health food” such as granola, gluten-free bread, or date-sweetened pie, will still create food addictions that drive overeating. (Dr. Fuhrman has stated many times that addiction to sweets can be as addictive as cocaine or drug addiction for some people.)
Only when we eat sufficient amounts of nutrient-dense and plant-rich food—and abstain from addictive substances--will the cravings and overeating be resolved.
Those who eat meat and dairy always ask, “Where will I get my protein and calcium?”
As long as one is eating a variety of high-nutrient plant food, the body will get plenty of essential amino acids and calcium to sustain life and thrive effectively. Green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans are rich in protein.
Green vegetables have the most protein per calories of all. For instance, broccoli has about twice as much protein as steak! (1)
In addition, all green vegetable are high in calcium. Plus, they have higher absorption rates than dairy products—not to mention they actually inhibit the growth of cancer cells and induce cancer cell death. (2)
The primary reason why some people don’t succeed on a plant based diet is they don’t understand the importance of making it through toxic withdrawal without quitting. Some may feel worse, not better, when they suddenly stop eating low-nutrient food and animal/dairy products.
A few of the detox symptoms may include shakiness, growling stomach, nausea, gas, loose stools, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, bad breath, crying and/or irritability.
These benign symptoms vary from person to person. They are nothing to be afraid of; they are the body’s way of cleaning out all the health-harming substances that have been ingested throughout the years. Many may have only mid symptoms, or none at all—if their diet has been relatively healthy.
The only way to stop unpleasant symptoms is to:
1) eat the unhealthy food again, or
2) continue to abstain from the low-nutrient food and continue to fill the body with nutrient-dense and plant-rich food, and the symptoms will dissipate in a few days
Unfortunately, many people quit before they ever make it over the threshold of toxic withdrawal. Today, they are more addicted to low-nutrient food than ever--simply because addiction is a progressive illness. It has the potential to get worse, not better, if one doesn't reverse it.
Whoever you are, whether you are struggling to hold life together in the midst of food addiction and/or emotional eating, or you just need encouragement along the way, let's walk this journey together. Feel free to share in the comments below. Believe me, I know what it’s like to be addicted to food—and I’m here to walk alongside you and help you escape it!
1) Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Eat to Live, (New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company; Revised edition, 2011), 311.
2) Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Super Immunity, (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers 2011), 251