Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Women, Food and Desire -15 Minutes to Feeling like a Super Hero!

Women, Food and Desire-15 Minutes to Feeling like a Super Hero!

Give me 15 minutes (including the time to read this blog post!) and I’ll give you back a super hero – YOU!

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Bet that headline got your attention, huh?! The new book, “Women, Food and Desire,” by Alexandra Jamieson arrived (I think End of Dieting by Dr. Joel Fuhrman is the only other book I’ve ever pre-ordered!) two days ago. The only time I’ve been taking to “read” lately is listening to audio books while I do dishes – which is great – because it’s better than nothing. However, at the end of the day, there’s almost nothing in the world that decompresses me like reading. And we all know how much better we sleep when we read for an hour before bed vs watching TV.  The point is – apropos to this book – I couldn’t wait to sit down and savor it. So I did. In a couple of hours (with a few kid interruptions) I was at page 88. And I hope to finish it tonight! I can’t put it down.

If you don’t know who Alex Jamieson is, you may remember her as the (then) wife of the Supersize Me guy, Morgan Spurlock. She made the movie with him and is in it. At the time she was a vegan chef. She’s no longer vegan, but she is a holistic health coach, with a lot of experience and wisdom. This book seems to bring together so much of what I’ve been reading (um…I mean…listening to) about forming and breaking habits, such as The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

In my upcoming Healthy Family Healthy You book, I say, “Substitution is your strategy.” So far, Alex’s tips, along with the social science information I’ve studied, back that up. Most of what we do every day is pure habit. There are three aspects to a habit, which can be called by different names. This is what Jamieson writes: “Urge felt, action taken, need met. Impulse. Action. Satisfaction. Where we have a choice is at that middle place, the place of action.”


I love this and suggest you read the book as I am only giving you a tiny tidbit of its fantastic revelations. My point is this: Don’t make yourself wrong for choices you don’t love. When you beat yourself up you think you’re not good enough or don’t deserve to change.  Most choices are actually habits, not choices. Most of our habitual choices don’t actually help us, at least not for long. We eat the cookie to reward ourselves at the end of a tough day and, after the 5 minute sugar high, all it does is contribute to more stress.

Jamieson suggests that when those types of urges hit, instead of doing what we always do, we sit with our feelings and write them down. First, you’ll find out what you are really feeling so you can figure out a way to actually address those feelings, rather than stuffing them down with food. Second, you’ll see that the feeling will pass, even without the cookie. And finally, you’ll feel so good about yourself when you resist your usual impulse. You don’t even have to grin and bare it. You can simply make a new choice, and, with playful curiosity, see what happens. The next day you can choose something else and figure out what will work best. If you miss lots of sugar and cream in your morning coffee, maybe there’s a specific smoothie or tea that will replace the feelings you’re looking for from the coffee. You won’t know unless you try!

That’s what I mean by 15 minutes to feeling like a super hero. You don’t have to lose 50 lbs in the next two weeks to make yourself feel good. You will feel mentally and physically fantastic, literally in 15 minutes, by changing what you do in that middle place of action.

What habits make you feel like you’re always making the wrong decision? Maybe it has the opposite effect of your intention? She suggests starting there.

So, where does the sex come in? Come on, I know that’s what you were waiting for! Well, I’m not quite up to that chapter, but I would imagine from I’ve read so far, that a woman who feels terrible in her own body won’t feel a great connection to her partner, or feel confidence in or ownership over her body (and its desires). But we’ll see what she says in the second half of the book. Maybe I’ll tell you. Maybe I won’t!


Call me a lunatic…or call me for help! Part II!

Call me a lunatic…or call me for help! Part II!

And now…the fun part! Just say you believe me about all this vegan stuff. What are you supposed to eat?! It’s actually not that hard. I have so many resources. For Part II of the Call me a lunatic…or call me for help! series, I’m going to share some of my favorite cookbooks with you. In Part III I’ll provide online resources.

Almost all of the books mentioned in Part I include a number of recipes in them. Also, some of the authors have created an accompanying cookbook.

Rip Esselstyn is vegan royalty, being the son of Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., a former cardiac rock star at the Cleveland Clinic, who has his own books and worked with T. Colin Campbell of The China Study on Forks over Knives (which we will get to in a minute…). His focus on tough-guy fitness has influenced many a beef-eating man. He also created a line of food products carried at Whole Foods.

Product DetailsI love this book. It is quick and clear, with easy recipes. Definitely a good intro for guys or those who don’t always relish cooking. (I’m sorry if that sounded sexist. It’s not that woman are naturally better at cooking. It’s just that most of the time they work at it. And some don’t. And some guys are great multi-taskers and very detail-oriented. Just usually not when it comes to cooking.) I just have this ongoing joke with so many of my girlfriends about how painful it is to watch men make one thing at a time in the kitchen… It’s kind of sad.

T. Colin Campbell of The China Study also came out with an accompanying cookbook. Actually, he only wrote the Foreword. His daughter Leanne Campbell, PhD, (mother of two hungry teenage boys!) wrote the cookbook.

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One cookbook that I don’t have, and looks like it is from back in the day…1999!…looks good.

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How can you not try a cookbook that promises 15 minutes or less for meal prep? The McDougall’s are also long-time rockstars in the vegan doctor arena. Lots of the doctors’ wives partner with them for cookbooks and/or cooking classes around the country. I’m just realizing that most women who are big in this community are educated in nutrition and not medicine. Interesting… And just fyi, all of these doctors talk about how they were not taught anything about nutrition in medical school. They had to figure it all out themselves.

Dr. McDougall and his wife wrote a more recent cookbook together:

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Forks over Knives is a movie profiling some of the doctors trying to heal their patients through diet. There is an accompanying cookbook to it. Although I have not seen it myself, I learned a lot from the movie. There is also a book version, apparently. Click on the picture below to see all the bonus material (including success stories and recipes) included in the print version.

Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to HealthProduct Details

Nava Atlas was a successful vegetarian cookbook author before she turned Vegan and transformed her cookbooks too.

These are the ones I have:

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I like the greens cookbook because she doesn’t just give her readers recipes, she gives you the information you need to improvise on your own. The holiday kitchen book is genius. She covers Jewish, Christian and secular American holidays – plus brunch! This book was covered a lot in the Jewish press – on and off line – before last year’s Jewish holidays. I am still fielding requests for dishes I made last Rosh Hashanah from this book. I use them for everyday, Shabbat and holidays. I cannot recommend this enough!

I also rely on recipes from many of the books I mentioned in Part I, such as:

Product DetailsDisease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right

If you look under Dr. Fuhrman on Amazon you’ll find many more resources, like DVDs focused on cooking.

If you’re concerned about diabetes, I’m told Dr. Barnard’s diabetes book has great recipes.

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This is older but I’ve also heard good things about it:

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I haven’t read these, but they look helpful (Come on, I can’t buy ALL the vegan books out there! Although, after researching this blog post, I’m going to have to buy a few more!):

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Stay tuned for Part III of my Call me a lunatic…or call me for help! series, where I will provide you with online resources.

In Part IV I will introduce you to several brand new and upcoming books by some of the aforementioned authors. Finally, in Part V…well, you’ll just have to read to find out! Coming Soon….

Happy eating!


Call me a lunatic…or call me for help! Part I

Call me a lunatic…or call me for help! Part I


I admit that sometimes I know I sound like a crazy person. Who says dairy products are unhealthy for kids or unnecessary for someone with osteoporosis? Who says (in front of their friend the butcher) that lean turkey is unhealthy? Well…I do! The question is why. Enough people have asked me that I thought I would explain. Not because you should care about what I think, but because I do want to spread healthy nutrition information around and share my resources with others. And, again…because you keep asking!

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I’m flattered, that even though people are puzzled by my conclusions, they still ask me for resources and advice for making healthy meals for their families.

First, some nutritional information and resources…

My belief in a vegan diet began with reading Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and then solidified by The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-term Health by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II. The latter will also answer the common questions I get about why the government would tell us to eat food that isn’t good for us.

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Then I moved on to Eat for Health and Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right by Dr. Fuhrman. Dr. Fuhrman’s website has a number of resources, like daily recipes and articles about various ailments and how they can be helped with a superior diet. I haven’t yet read his new books, Super Immunity and The End of Diabetes. Thank goodness I only need the immunity book!

Speaking of diabetes, I recently gave a friend Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven Recipe for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs. I’m also currently involved in a Migraine study at Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (of which Dr. Neil Barnard is the head) and I was so pleased to bring my friend to an educational night there. Right now I’m in the first portion of the study where we receive a supplement. In the next portion, starting June 12, I’ll be 100% vegan, instead of the 75% or so I currently am. I can’t wait. Nothing like making a promise to someone else to succeed in the commitment you’re trying to make to yourself!

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They encourage participants to bring friends and family who are interested to the vegan classes. Judging by the interest so far, we may need to caravan!

As I said, my vegan portion of the study begins June 12. More importantly, it ends the first or second week of October. That includes all the fall holidays! For Rosh Hashanah I will be eating eating vegan. For break fast (usually a very dairy-filled meal) I will be eating vegan. For Succot, I will be eating vegan. And I thought it was a challenge to go through the holidays vegetarian!

That’s okay, if I have to I’ll just bring my own food everywhere! Or offer to make a one pot dish that I can also eat. And I have already perfected a few vegan desserts that have passed the test of some serious meat eaters! (Not that they usually have meat in their desserts, but you know what I mean…) So I will be happy to bring those too, everywhere I go. And if I have you over, I promise to provide you with the animal products you find necessary to celebrate a holiday.  I’m sure many vegetarians/vegans would not agree with that approach. However, I do recognize that many Jews legitimately believe that eating meat and fish is necessary to celebrate a holiday and I don’t feel like it’s my place to refuse that request (especially because I can always just purchase the meat and don’t have to cook it myself!).

Stay tuned for plenty of healthy (and probably vegan) recipes and resources!

21-Day Vegan Kickstart