Here is the full transcript of Dr. Joel Fuhrman on I Love Nutritional Science at TEDxCharlottesville 2013
Dr. Joel Fuhrman – Author, Physician, Speaker
Thank you. I love nutritional science. I’ve had a passion about nutrition since I was young.
I remember that my father suffered with medical problems and pains, conditions that medical profession couldn’t help him with. And he searched for answers.
Finally, he changed his diet, lost 50 pounds and got well. And in the process of seeing him suffering and searching, I found excitement and developed interest in the subject. He brought 15 nutritional books into the home. And I read them all.
Then in the early 1970s, I was on the United States World Figure Skating team and I got hurt. And I couldn’t walk for over a year. And I spent some time in natural health – kind of natural health retreat, watching people get well who changed their diet styles. And I got excited about what I saw.
I remember at my sister’s graduation party from college. I met an attractive young woman who told me she applied to go to medical school. And I debated with her. I said, “What do you want to go to medical school for?” Doctors mostly prescribe medications for conditions that are a result of the toxic diet Americans are eating. It’s like hitting yourself with a hammer every day and giving your hand a big smash and you get swollen full of pain. And you go to a doctor and get pain medications for it. And the next day you take a big hammer and smack it again.
It’s the toxic American lifestyle that’s resulting in all these diseases, driving peoples into doctors’ offices. The toxic foods we’re eating are the hammer. You don’t go to a doctor if you have breathing problems from smoking cigarettes and gives you a drug to help you breathe better, and you still continue to smoke. That’s what Americans are doing.
So this young woman said to me, “If you’re so passionate about this subject, why don’t you go to medical school? Why don’t you change things? Why don’t you help people?”
You know, I obviously thought about that and said, “You know, I got to do that”.
I quit my job as an executive in my family’s chain of shoe stores. I went back to the post-graduate pre-medical program at Columbia after college. I went to medical school. And I am here to tell you about the excitement, the rewarding experience and to give you a taste of the things I’ve seen in this and the fun I’ve had. And I want to show you six representative cases of people who changed their life, to show you the power of a Nutritarian diet.
But before I do, let me give you, maybe a two-minute overview of what a Nutritarian diet is. Okay, because a Nutritarian diet is a diet style that’s designed to be rich in nutrients and full of antioxidants and phytochemicals. It’s a diet style with a high nutrient per calorie density. Your healthy life expectancy is determined on the foods you choose to eat. You have to get sufficient nutrient bang for each caloric buck. But you know when you do so, when you flood your body with the nutrients it needs, it doesn’t just make you healthy and live long and prevent disease, it stops food addictions and food cravings and normalizes your appetite and makes you body gravitate towards your ideal weight effortlessly. It’s the secret for most of what ails us.
Nutritarian diet, sure, it’s rich in nutrients with an adequate amount of what we need nutrient wise. But it also is very different from the style Americans are eating right now. Americans are eating a diet that’s really dramatically nutritionally deficient. Americans are eating a diet with 55% of calories in processed and refined foods that don’t contain vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, and 30% of animal products – a diet with less than 5% of calories from fruits and vegetables and natural produce, nutrient rich produce.
Aside from white potato, most of what we eat, we’re only about 5% of vegetation and produce. It couldn’t be better designed to create a nation with full of diseases, like heart attacks and strokes and dementias and cancer, had to be designed by al Qaeda.
Besides the fact of what it’s lacking, a Nutritarian diet is also designed to be low in those hormones that promote cancer and aging. Hormones like excessive amounts of insulin and excess amounts of IGF-1, that’s insulin-like growth factor 1, the primary hormone that promotes cancers, like breast cancer and prostate cancer.
I say, the whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead, because the more if you eat sus, like sugar and white flour, the more it promotes weight gain and cancer.
And I say, the more you we green, the more you get lean. Because you eat more greens and beans and less meat, it lowers IGF-1, which stops cancer in its tracks and doesn’t promote the progression of fat on your body and cancer for self liberation.
We have a unique opportunity in human history today with the exponential advances in nutritional science that has given us the power — the power of GBOMBS – G-B-O-M-B-S — these foods, I call our Immune System Special Forces: greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds. These foods that inhibit fat storage on the body, foods that prevent cancer, foods that prolong our life span. The details of that is not my message for the purpose of this presentation. These people are. Let me show you the power of what a Nutritarian diet can do.
Here’s Robert. I never met Robert. He just read one of my books. Robert was in a wheelchair. Today he can — not in a wheelchair, he can walk all day on his feet. Robert had rheumatoid arthritis and was on four-highly toxic drugs to reduce his pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Today he has no rheumatoid arthritis. He’s off all his toxic medications. He no longer has diabetes. He no longer has heart disease and high blood pressure. He’s off those medications too.
The main story here is not merely that he lost 200 pounds. The story is that Robert no longer has medical conditions. He no longer has rheumatoid arthritis, like millions of Americans do. The point here is you don’t have to be sick and be suffering and be tied to medications for the rest of your life.
Take Heather. Heather is another person who suffered most of her life. She suffered with terrible headaches — horrible headaches and migraines most of her life. She even took pills that cost $100 a pill for each single individual pill. And she still had headaches all day long, and she suffered, of course, with allergies and insomnia and anxiety and also on multiple medications. And Heather had lost 75 pounds but she wrote me and she said, you know — she wrote me a letter, an e-mail. And she said, “You know, I am all better, I know it’s the greatest feeling in the world, never to suffer headaches any more. I don’t have insomnia. I don’t need pills for depression and anxiety more. I’m well. I don’t have menstrual pain”. She said, “The wonderful thing is when you fix the whole body everything gets taken care of simultaneously”. It makes you think of all the people that are suffering and have been told they have to be on medication for the rest of their life with no way out.
And then there is Donna. Donna from Kentucky. Donna’s like people I have stories like this, I hear 100 times a month. She was in so much pain. She couldn’t get out of bed or off the couch. When she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a rheumatologist told her that she’d have to take these medications for pain for the rest of her life.
Of course, Donna got well. She lost 62 pounds in the process. She’s feeling well. And she took – made the effort to take the drive from Kentucky up to New Jersey when I was having one of my weekend immersion programs. She came up specifically to meet me and to talk to me and tell me about to thank me. So rewarding and wonderful and warm to meet these people recover their health.
She said to me, “I was a food addict for 20 years. I tried one diet after another. And I knew I was in a downward spiral I couldn’t get out of”. Her life was unhappy. And she felt completely hopeless with it. And she said, she felt like she was a failure.
And I said, “Donna, you weren’t a failure. It’s the information you were given failed you. With the right information, you have the ability to be set free to take control of your life, to get rid of your food addictions”. It’s wonderful to meet these people. You almost want to — You know, you see their happiness and their gratitude and sometimes you can almost feel like your tears come to the eyes when you hear some of these stories.
And here is Ronnie from Texas. A perfect example. Ronnie had a heart disease and had a bypass surgery about six years ago. Within four years after his bypass surgery, his vessels clogged up again and got fully occluded with the plaque. And then he proceeded to have angioplasty. Within a few months after angioplasty, he developed restenosis and now he couldn’t walk, had tremendous chest pain, was on multiple medications. He was literally sent home to die.
I never met Ronnie either. He read my books and he communicated with me through the website. And Ronnie lost 140 pounds in one year, which isn’t the story. The story is that his chest pains went away. He’s now fit, healthy, has no heart disease. He doesn’t have high cholesterol. He has great cholesterol and no cholesterol drugs, he has normal blood pressure, not on three blood pressure medications he used to be but on no blood pressure medications. His weight is normal. He’s feeling well. He achieved these numbers to protect himself without the use of medications. That’s how we know now he’s protected. He truly reversed his condition and he knows he’s protected for his future.
The message here is that scientific studies show that angioplasty and bypass surgery don’t enable people to live longer. Those who go for those procedures don’t live longer than those who don’t have those procedures with the same degree of disease. They don’t prevent future heart attacks. They’re just a temporary band-aid to make people feel better for a temporary period of time. Why aren’t people told this? Why don’t people know? Why doesn’t everyone know that they don’t have to have heart attacks, they don’t have to have strokes, that these diseases are reversible relatively easily? Ronnie was set free.
And Jody from nearby here, right, North Carolina. Jody suffered with psoriasis for many years. Actually she suffered from psoriatic arthritis, which is like a mixture of psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, and it involves the itchy rash over the whole body, plus joint pains. By the time Jody was 50 years old, she had the rash over her whole body, including itchy rash inside her ears, from head to toe and she was on multiple medications between Prednisone and Plaquenil-methotrexate to try to suppress the auto-immune conditions. Auto immune diseases like this affect 24 million Americans. The most prevalent one is Psoriasis which affects more than 7.5 million Americans.
Jody has been well for the last 12 years. She doesn’t have psoriatic arthritis any more. She doesn’t have psoriasis any more. Her skin is clear. By the time she first got diagnosed with psoriasis, when she was a teenager. Soon after she got diagnosed with lupus Sjogren’s syndrome, and eventually the joint pain of psoriatic arthritis. After lying – after being in pain for more than 25 years, being on medications that hardly gave her any relief, she found out how she could finally get well. And she did.
I remember we have these health getaways where I take a lot of people on these vacations. And we eat healthily and teach them about nutrition and Jody came with us to Utah to climb the Red Mountains. And we took a bunch of people. And we walked up this huge mountain and we got to the top and it was like a thrill to climb to see the countryside, the beautiful countryside on top of this mountain. And Jody got to the highest point of that peak. And she put her arms up in the eye like a V for victory. And she said, “Look at me, I am a medical miracle”.
And I said to Jody, “You know, Jody, I’m so proud of you. But it’s not a medical miracle. It’s the inherent self-repairing miraculous protective, self-healing machine the human body is already when it’s fed optimally. Your body takes care of itself, just like you cut yourself. It’s the health that you always had the right to, that was taken away from you”.
And number six, you see, the last person to talk about is John Polakowski. And I bring him up John from New Jersey is because my office is in New Jersey and I saw him as a patient more than 20 years ago when he was 72 years old. And he too had triple-vessel disease in his heart and had chest pain or he couldn’t walk without significant pain. He actually had worked with a cardiologist and the cardiologist set him up for a stress test, a cardiac catheterization. And he was scheduled for angioplasty and stent placement. And I pleaded with him, and I convinced him. I said, “John, give me 12 weeks of your life to show you that you can get back in good health again. Because once you put those stents in, you’re never going to be the same. It’s going to be a source of inflammation. It’s going to promote more stenosis and more plaque in your heart. Let’s get rid of it. Here’s our chance. Give me 12 weeks”.
In 12 weeks time, his chest pains were gone. He lost 40 pounds. He didn’t have high blood pressure, he was on three medications of blood pressure that had dropped too. He went back to see his cardiologist. The cardiologist says to him, “Oh, my goodness, John, I’ve never seen anybody reverse heart disease nutritionally. I have never seen anybody have it melt away like this. This is amazing”.
Can you imagine a cardiologist who does nothing except see patients with heart conditions, never once ever saw a patient reverse heart disease with nutrition? And that’s all I see, is every patient get better relatively quickly. You know, the story here with John — what’s the story? The story is, now it’s 20 years later. John is 92 years old. Over the years he’s gotten healthier and healthier. He doesn’t have heart disease now. He shops, he climbs up and fixes his roof. He enjoys his life. He doesn’t take medications in his 90s that he needed when he was in his 60s and 70s. He has normal blood pressure now. He has normal cholesterol now. He’s earned these things. He’s been well for 90 years.
My point is that water runs off the waterfall and hits a rock. And after 20,000 years the rock breaks into but the rock didn’t age. It got hit by water day after day for 20,000 years. When you develop the problems that most Americans get, they get those problems because day after day you put stresses on your tissues, from eating the wrong foods that we shouldn’t be eating, from living a diet style and a lifestyle of stresses that impact you negatively day after day, year after year. This is not the natural consequence of aging. Heart attacks and strokes and dementia doesn’t have to happen. We don’t have to have heart disease. All of us could be free of that, if we so choose. Matter of fact, most cardiologists can then become lawyers and electricians and plumbers.
Nevertheless, here’s the point is my message to you today, is that, sure, nutritional science has made exponential advances in recent years. I love nutritional science. It’s not just — but the point is it’s not just preventative. Sure, we don’t have to have heart attacks, we don’t have to have strokes. We don’t have to get demented. And yes, we can win the war on cancer. We have the information right now in the studies that show that we can get a body that’s protective against cancer. We can make these choices and have better health than ever before possible in human history.
And my point for today is, is that nutritional excellence, a new Nutritarian is therapeutically more effective than medications, for most every medical condition, and the results can literally touch your heart. And that’s my message for today.
And you know, that woman, that young pretty young woman who spurred me on to go to medical school, back 35 years ago, well, I married her. And now I am married for 32 years. I have four wonderful children and I’m on a mission to share the power of nutritional excellence.
So wishing you all, you reach your dreams and pursue your passions and a much happiness and great health always. Because it can be yours.