Dr. Fuhrman: Sure. Well the basis of all my work has at its base that we have to eat a diet that’s rich in micronutrients. In 1930 scientists discovered vitamins and minerals, 14 vitamins to 16 minerals necessary for humans, and it wasn’t until about 20 years ago when scientists finally recognized that vitamins and minerals ere not the major micronutrient load that was in food. They were actually a minor portion of the whole load and they classified all those other new discovered vital chemicals that are so important for human immune function as phytochemicals of vital nutrients.
So now we know the three basic classes of micronutrients are vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. And of course we can only get the full compliment, the full symphony of all the necessary phytochemicals for good immune function if we eat a large amount of high nutrient produce. The diseases that afflict most people are the results of a combination of excess calories and deficiency in micronutrients. And that subscribing to eat a diet richer in micronutrients, while not exceeding requirements to calories, is the goal to have a healthy diet, and that could prevent us against heart disease and cancer and strokes and actually is the fountain of youth.
In other words, my formula called The Health Equation, which I’ve actually been discussing for almost 20 years, well 15 years now I think, is H equals N over C where H is the healthy life expectancy how long you live, the quality of your life in your later years, your overall resistance to disease as you get older. So that’s your H is your health equals N over C, which means the micronutrient procal density of your diet which essentially defines that for great health. We have to strive to eat a diet higher in micronutrients in lowering calories.
So a Nutritarian is a person who recognizes that what we eat matters in regard to our health and by choosing better food choices and the quality of what we eat we can have the opportunity, a blessing in human history, to live longer and healthier than ever before.
SPP: Now you mentioned that a change to diet, and Americans have become accustomed to process and easily accessible foods, which you lead to it it’s called Toxic Hunger. What is toxic hunger and how does it wreak havoc?
Dr. Fuhrman: Well right. Well first of all what you are recounting on is that the American diet is now up to an unbelievably 62% of calories and processed foods, which don’t contain antioxidants and phytochemicals. And then another 27% of the diet is animal products which don’t contain any significant amount of phytochemicals or antioxidants. We’re only eating 5% of the diets white potato products. We’re only eating about 5% of calories from fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds and all types of plant foods that are rich in these nutrients that we need.
So the point is that the American diet is toxic. It’s toxic because when we don’t meet our micronutrient needs and we eat things like white flour and sugar and oil and animal products without the necessary phytochemicals and antitoxins we build up waste products in our own tissues because the body can’t control its production of free radicals when we don’t have antioxidants and phytochemicals that we’re being fed with that would normally be in our tissues had we been eating a nutrition rich diet.
So we have at various types of toxins that build up in our tissues besides free radicals we build up advance [07:03] in products and [07:06] in aldehyde, and all types of things that irritate and inflame tissues. And because of that scientists use a term called Oxidative Stress to represent a high degree of information in the body when we’re not eating an adequate amount of these protective micronutrients. So the point here is that we cycle out of phases, a digestive phase and a phase where we’re living off of what’s stored, and then we get hungry again and we eat again and we’re in the digestive phase.
The digestive phase is called an anabolic phase, that means we’re utilizing what we’re eating and storing those calories in our tissues. Then we go into a catabolic phase where we utilize the stored material. It’s like filling your car up with gasoline it’s the anabolic phase and then you’re going to drive around and use up that gasoline that’s the catabolic phase. As we fill up our tank with food and as we don’t eat but can we burn off what’s stored in the catabolic phase. That’s the phase when we’re not eating and not digesting when the body can most effectively heal and detoxify and repair, and devote its energies towards self-cleansings so to speak.
People feel so ill when they hit the catabolic phase because their body’s so toxic. They feel so ill when the body goes into this detox mode. So instead of burning off their stored reserve of calories they start to feel shaky, they feel weak, they feel headachy, they feel fatigued, mental confusion, stomach cramping, mental fogginess, whatever it is they don’t feel well when the body starts circulating toxins. So they eat again because it relieves it. It’s like filling your car with gas again when the tank is already full. Well eventually people are becoming overweight, they become obese.
So the more toxins you built, and it’s already shown in medical studies that people who have a tendency to become obese, build up more toxins in their tissues and have more of these systems and have more toxic byproducts in their urine like the aldahydes are high in their urine. I’ve essentially one of my main contributions to the science here. One of my main discoveries is this concept of true hunger and toxic hunger. It’s the quality of what you eat that matters because when you eat a diet with nutritional quality your perception of hunger changes you don’t get these strong ill feelings of toxic hunger. They lessen, eventually disappear, and it’s replaced by what I call True Hunger, which occurs right after you’re in the catabolic phase for hours and you’ve utilized all your glycogen reserves and it’s time for your body to restore and fill the tank again.
So essentially true hunger becomes a precise computer that directs you to the exact amount of calories you need to maintain your perfect weight, whereas the toxic hunger which is something like an addiction, and I’m claiming that is what an addiction is. Addiction means it drives you to do things that are not healthy for you. Feeling better isn’t getting better. When you’re withdrawing from caffeine or smoking cigarettes or cocaine you sure you want to snort more cocaine or eat more toxic stuff or drink more soda to feel better, but feeling better is getting worse. Feeling worse is getting better. The trick is to eat healthy or to stop combining with harmful substances so you can feel good and be back in touch with true hunger again. This is so critical, so important for people who want to be healthy and want to achieve an ideal weight.
SPP: We had talked to a doctor earlier who I specifically asked about antioxidants because I’m interested in them they’re all over the news. His response was that the body has many natural I guess antioxidant properties, things that deal with the oxidative stress. Do you agree with that?
Dr. Furhman: Well the statement is true but he’s not really explaining it well. You see when you take an antioxidant like Vitamin E or Vitamin C it may reduce free radicals for a couple of hours, but when you eat green vegetables that don’t just have Vitamin C and Vitamin E in, but have aesa thyroid cyanides and glutathione. They are systems in the body that keep radicals in check and act as a free radical scavenger that lasts for 20 hours or 36 hours. In other words, we get ongoing long term antioxidant [10:50] and oxidative stress defenses from eating a full complement of phytochemicals and nutrients. The idea that one antitoxin by taking a high dose Vitamin C is going to protect us, I mean that’s the notion that doesn’t show to be true. I think what he’s saying wasn’t false it just wasn’t expressed rightly. Your body’s free radical control mechanisms and long term control events of free radical production can’t function normally unless we eat these phytonutrients and eat a good amount of these healthy grain substances.
SPP: That’s a great explanation.
Dr. Fuhrman: It’s not nearly just antioxidant it’s also these phytochemicals.
SPP: Right. Well I guess the obvious next question then would be could you help explain to our audience and myself the best types of foods to eat, how they can get these foods? Are you talking whole grain or strictly vegetables? And in what amount you kind of recommend them?
Dr. Furhman: Right. And your question says, what is the best? What foods are the most powerfully fight cancer? What foods will reverse your heart disease and diabetes most effectively? What do you give a person that’s 400 pounds and needs to lose weight? What do you do with a person who has a blockage in their heart or who has a high family history of cancer?
Dr. Furhman: And the answer to that question is green vegetables have more than not just 10 times as must nutrients as a piece of bread or pasta or a piece of meat, but they had a 100 times as much of the antioxidants and phytochemicals as micronutrients then does. Those are foods that most Americans eat. So Americans have a tremendous green vegetable efficiency and the blood level of gluten and the blood level of alpha carotene these green vegetable markers, these nutrients that more green vegetable intakes correlates best with longevity decreased mortality, protects against heart attack and cancer.
The other thing is that onions and mushrooms are also powerfully protective. It’s important they’re very excellent. They have very powerful effects against protecting you have cancer. Also I recommend people eat beans on a regular basis for other reasons and seeds on their diet for a source of whole food fats that have protective affects against cancer and heart disease. So just remember the foods with the most protective affects. We talk about the word gombs like a comb, combing your hair, you use a comb to comb your hair with a ‘g’ in front of it, and so it’s gombs.
Dr. Furhman: Greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, seeds are the most powerful anticancer foods that we can try to utilize in our diet in large amounts each day. How much do you see in adults, is that what your next question was?
SPP: Yeah I guess what kind of mixture you recommend because that’s great. I mean I like that acronym just because it keeps it simple and I think we need more of that these days because we’re caught up in so many different theories. So yeah how much do you recommend?
Dr. Furhman: I recommend everybody eat a big salad. Raw vegetables are incredibly protective and produce long life in protecting against cancer. So we’re talking about shredding raw vegetables into a salad, lettuce, rogale or watercress, cabbage, kale, collards, different raw vegetables. Of course tomatoes, shredded carrots, shredded beets, anything you want. A big serving of either two small salads a day or one large salad a day, a very important part of a healthy diet that everybody has to eat each day.
We usually recommend a delicious dressing made from healthy whole foods ingredients like planting tomatoes, dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, almonds and sunflower seeds with fig vinegar or balsamic vinegar. The dressing itself is so healthy you can eat it with a spoon or an orange blended with cashews, sesame seeds, lemon and blood orange vinegar or something. Make it delicious healthy dressing for it.
Then secondly in addition to having a salad everyday they want people to have some beans every day. The beans could be on a salad or we could make a bean mushroom soup or we could put beans in a bean burger with mushroom, bean burger or something. So we want people to eat beans every day, three pieces of fresh fruit every day. So the point is that a bowl of vegetable soup, serving of cooked green vegetables, a big salad every day, fresh fruit, and of course all these trying to create these delicious gourmet nutritarian recipes in appetizers, deserts, main dishes and soups to taste, so that we can show people that healthy food can taste better than or as delicious as an even better than conventional food that people are eating. And realize why not get great pleasure and get great health at the same time?
SPP: Now all these foods that you mentioned appear on the food pyramid that you created, which differs from the USDA food pyramid. Why do you think the government recommended food pyramid is so off base?
Dr. Furhman: Well because when conventional authority gives advice they base their concerns based on, not just politics and what’s socially acceptable, but also who has the economic strength to affect the laws and recommendations. In other words, how it affects the food industry, the various participants at the stores or the food producers across America. They don’t want to exclude anybody from being part of the plan. So there’s a lot of social, political economic and – how should I say it – it’s not based on science. It’s just not. So if we move all those factors and just basing on science we can just go with the healthiest who food debasing and have the highest nutrients and the most anticancer foods to be the base of the pyramid and we can construct the diet by amounts to make the diet extend human lifespan by 25 or more a year. Win the war on cancer. Stop everybody from having heart attacks and strokes and literally take care of America’s healthcare issues, if we could get a nutritional pyramid put out there based on science and not political concerns.
That’s what I do. I say forget about what people want to eat, forget about who’s going to be offended by it, and forget it and just give people the straight science not based on any prejudice or biases. Then let them people decide what they want to do. That’s the way we have to be otherwise you’re selling people out by assuming they can’t accept it, they can’t hear the truth, people will lose their jobs, they have too much power in the advertisers. You know that advertisers and magazines and on television shows can’t promote information based on science because they got to promote what’s good for their advertisers. So the power of our processed food and fast food and food industry is very powerful, and of course the drug industry is very powerful because of all their economic power.
SPP: Yeah. I don’t know it’s just so sad to hear but I definitely agree with it. Actually going along with that I wanted to ask you how would you compare the nutrition value of juice to that of the actual vegetable or fruit. Because obviously juice is another thing that big business can push with things like V8 and all that, does that actually strip out a lot of the nutrients when you juice something?
Dr. Furhman: Well I certainly think that with regard to fruit that fruit juices aren’t generally a great idea because you extract all the sugar and the sweet part but you remove the fiber the things that take it into your system more gradually and you remove some of those beneficial antecedents and beneficial factors tied to the fiber. As far as vegetables are concerned I mean you’re removing the fiber and much of the amino acids down to the fiber, but you’re still getting a lot of, especially if it’s fresh squeezed juice, you’re still getting a lot of otherwise the soluble compounds that have beneficial effects. So I think that vegetable juice like green juice or carrot juice or beet juice in a glass, sometimes it’s still a good thing to do, a nice complement to a healthy diet if people like that.
SPP: The other thing I was wondering is do you recommend organic produce over regular produce? Because I know you hear a lot about how say the tomatoes we eat are actually ripen on the way over here through the use of chemicals. So do you have a take on organic versus nonorganic?
Dr. Fuhrman: Yeah they might be gassed or they might be picked more green but certainly organic produce taste a lot better. Also local produce you can buy from your local area farm and certainly taste a lot better. It’s fresher and better quality as well. When you eat organic food you’re supporting a movement that’s protecting our lands, it’s protecting the bees and the environment, its protecting the farm workers and the people that work with chemicals. Those farm workers that work with these pesticides at a higher rate of lymphoma, leukemia and soft tissue lymphomas and other things like that.
Certainly there are some foods that have a particularly high residue on them, chemical residue like strawberries and spinach and celery that we should avoid. So I do think the organic movement is something very beneficial and we should try to eat organic if we can afford it. And we should try to eat organic for our health as much as possible too. It’s not the major factor causing cancers and heart attacks, that’s the quality of the diet, but still organic places a much smaller role but it’s still good to get organic if you can.
SPP: What are some tips that you have for our listeners to make this way of eating easier, as well as cost and time effective? You know everybody’s always in a rush.
Dr. Fuhrman: Well one tip we have, which we recommend strongly, is making a giant pot of soup on the weekend. I’ll make a big pot of soup and put all the anticancer, put tomato juice and carrot juice and celery juice in there. I’ll put fresh herbs like basil and dill and oregano. I’ll put spices in and I’ll put the onions and leaks in there. I’ll put some green cruciferous in there like kale or bok choy. I’ll put a bunch of beans, split peas or adzuki beans or red beans or navy beans. I’ll put different spices in there to flavor it of course I’ll throw some onions in there and mushrooms.
So I’ll make this giant pot of food and then I’ll put that big bowl, once it cools down and maybe we eat that dinner on the weekend, I’ll put the whole giant pot in the shelf in the refrigerator so the next morning it’s cold and I can very easily allocate it out into different containers. So now I have eight different containers of soup for the whole week already made and I can just grab one to run to work for me for lunch or maybe a salad and a little thing of dressing or something and a piece of fruit.
So I think lunch is most important meals, you’re out of the house, you’re exposed to other foods in the environment that may not be as healthy as you have at home, and preparing your food in advance you just grab it to take it to lunch to make it really easily. It’s hearty and filling where you can eat a salad or a bowl of vegetable lean soup and a piece of fruit for lunch is the important cornerstone of a healthy diet.
SPP: What is your take on the recent, sort of recent trend, of trying to eat numerous small meals a day versus three square meals a day?
Dr. Fuhrman: Well I think that makes sense when you’re a food addict, because first of all when you eat frequently you eat more calories, and if you’re eating as frequently you’re not in touch with hunger and you have no connectivity. You’re not listening to your instinctive messenger tell you how much calories you should eat. So the point here is that the body can most effectively repair and detoxify in the catabolic phase of digestion. I mean you always go from the anabolic phase to anabolic phase, you inhibit catabolism and you don’t just overeat then but you age the body, you don’t allow the body to detoxify and repair as much as it could.
So I’m saying when you wake up in the morning and you’re not hungry don’t eat breakfast. Wait until you’re hungry, go exercise. That’s been shown to reduce that people who eat a big breakfast wind up eating more calories the day as well, and we should be listening to our body.
SPP: I’m glad that you said that. I’m not a big breakfast eater and I always hear eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper, or something like that. So I had forced breakfast and finally I just said “If I’m not hungry obviously I’m fine”, and it’s really has never affected me. So I kind of go with what you’re saying.
Dr. Fuhrman: Well we certainly. The point is that we shouldn’t eat a large meal at nighttime either. You shouldn’t actually ever eat until you’re full. You should never eat until your stomach’s extended and you’re uncomfortable. But of course when people really understand this, obviously my most popular book is called “Eat to Live”, and when people understand these principles and start eating properly, and understand how the body works and the signals and the sensations that happens when you eat right, and they see it happen to them, it solves all these issues for them. It puts all the pieces of the puzzles together and it all kind of makes sense to them. They realize they’ve just been struggling because they’ve been bombarded with all these false information and myths over the years like what we’re talking about now.
SPP: I had a quick question. You’ve mentioned that your body needs to detoxify and there’s a bunch of cleanses that people try to push out there. What is your take on those cleanses and what is the actual best way to detoxify your body? So if one of our listeners wanted to start today what could they do?
Dr. Fuhrman: Well cleansing in most cases means those powders and cans you take and they’re really just a fancy word for laxative. They’re just laxatives. Like they put sienna cascara, some other good stuff in it, and it’s harmful, it’s an irritant to digestive track wall because people think they’re having a lot of bowel movements. It’s cleansing them and no more cleansing them and washing them out that with soap with cleansing them or taking an enema cleanse of the toxins that are in your fatty tissues, they’re in the colon or the digestive tract is essentially outside of the body and it’s a myth to think that’s where all toxins are being stored or they’re being stored at all.
So in any case if you eat right, eat a lot of raw vegetables, and the raw vegetables and the healthy foods are your cleanse because they are your natural GI cleanse they wash out things in you and feel the growth of good bacteria. But to really detox you have to not overeat and you have to eat high nutritionally in food so the body cells has the nutrients it needs to utilize its cellular machinery, your liver and your kidney and your cellular machinery is where detox occurs and it actively removes toxins from your tissues. If you can eat properly you can also very rapidly get to an ideal weight.
Funny this weekend at one of our, we have our weekend emergence this last weekend where about 270 people came to hear lectures and have us make the food for a little training session. One woman told me I think she said she lost about 13 pounds in two days. You can’t lose that much fat that means she was on a high salt and she just ate healthy food with no salt. She dropped so much water weight it’s just showing how toxic she was from all the crap she was eating. So there’s a lot of fluid being retained in people’s tissues too that can jump out of their tissues was a result of healthy because the body’s cleansing, it’s cleansing away toxins. When it does that it dumps a lot of extra fluid it was holding to dilute those toxins.
SPP: Well Dr. Fuhrman I’d personally like to if I had the opportunity to talk to you for hours. I know that we don’t but I guess that the next best thing would be to go ahead and start looking into your literature and the books you’ve written, and things like that. I know you mentioned your newest book “Eat to Live”. I believe you recently released a newer version. Could you just tell our listeners where they can find that and anything else you want to let them know about your practice or your books?
Dr. Fuhrman: Well “Eat to Live” came about out in 2003 and it’s done so well over the years with such a large following and translated into so many different languages that Little Brown wanted to make a new revised version, which we just came out this January which can be purchased anywhere. And of course our Web site at www.DrFuhrman.com my personal Web site we have a lot of information for people. I also have a member center where people can ask me questions personally where we can actually have tutorials and member teleconferences and forums that people can communicate to get people extra support and information they need if they’re looking to, not just get ideal health, but also some people have particular medical problems they need help with.
I’m claiming here that nutritional excellence is the most effective therapeutic intervention for most chronic diseases not medications. It’s not just a healthy diet to live longer but also to reverse and prevent disease, but also to reverse disease. I think that’s also important to realize that people have diabetes, heart disease, headaches, migraines, asthma, and all these conditions that they can make total recoveries through nutrition as opposed to taking drugs the rest of your life.
SPP: Wow! Well it’s great stuff and I’m anxious to read it. We really want to thank you for being on the show. We appreciate your advice and I’m sure our listeners will too.
Dr. Fuhrman: Oh terrific. Good talking to you guys.
SPP: All right Dr. Fuhrman, thank you so much.