Although he is not an advocate of a strict vegan diet, I am a huge fan of Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I truly believe that Dr. Fuhrman is one of the most experienced doctors out there when it comes to nutritional expertise and guiding his patients towards health using the latest nutritional science.
In his very useful book “Eat Right America” (ie. a “Nutritarian Handbook”), Dr. Fuhrman expounds upon the principles previously set forth in his book “Eat To Live.” More specifically, Dr. Fuhrman describes a simple yet powerful principle: H=N/C which means that your health is dependent on the nutrient-per-calorie density of your diet. He talks about the hundreds of research studies proving that a high-nutrient diet would both prevent and reverse chronic diseases, while enabling the body to lose weight and keep it off. He refers to this simple way of eating as a “Nutritarian Diet.”
I love “Eat Right America” because Dr. Fuhrman provides an extensive list of nutrient density scores for various foods which he refers to as AND1 scores (ie. Aggregate Nutrient Density). The higher the number, the more nutrient dense the food. The highest scores are attributed to leafy green vegetables, and the lowest scores to highly processed “foods.” I believe that Dr. Fuhrman’s food scoring guide is quite practical and that if people were to familiarize themselves with the nutritional values of as many foods as possible, then optimal health would be much easier to achieve and sustain. In this regard, the following chart may be useful to you.
Please note that the traditional food pyramid has been re-arranged with vegetables to be the mainstay of one’s diet and meat to be eaten rarely. Based on this Nutritarian food pyramid and the accompanying AND1 scores, I think it is safe to say that “kale is the new beef.” For health purposes, I believe that Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian Diet is a great way to go for people who do not want to be completely vegan. Of course, this diet is not for you if you prefer to abstain from eating meat (as I do) for reasons other than health; however, I believe it would be beneficial for anyone to become familiar with the nutritional density of as many foods as possible.
I have often heard Dr. Fuhrman recommend eating 5 superfoods every day which he refers to as “GOMBS.” These superfoods are greens, onions, mushrooms, beans and seeds. Although I don’t recall the reasons why these 5 foods in particular were nominated for daily consumption, I really like mnemonics (the word “mnemonic” needs a mnemonic!) and that is reason enough for me to strive to eat “GOMBS” every day. As you know, I’m a big fan of Marilu Henner. I thought you might enjoy this short video clip of Marilu and Dr. Fuhrman entitled “Kale Is The New Beef” made to introduce Dr. Fuhrman’s 5th Annual Health Getaway in Park City, Utah in 2011.