Doctor’s Tip: ‘Eat to Live’ author Fuhrman to speak in Aspen |

Doctor’s Tip: ‘Eat to Live’ author Fuhrman to speak in Aspen

Dr. Greg Feinsinger
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Joel Fuhrman, M.D., is one of the giants in the plant-based nutrition field. He has written several books: “Eat to Live Cookbook,” “The End of Diabetes,” “Super Immunity,” “Eat for Health,” “Disease-Proof Your Child,” “Fasting and Eating for Health,” “Eat to Live” and most recently “The End of Heart Disease.”

Every spring he puts on a ski conference in Aspen for lay people and health-care providers. This year the conference is called Nutritional Science: Protect Yourself From Cancer, Heart Disease and Dementia, and it will take place from April 3-9. If you want to attend the whole conference, go to or call 888-511-4443. In addition to the conference, he is giving a talk that is open to the public at the Aspen Meadows from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, April 8, which costs $25 and is tax deductible.

Fuhrman promotes what he calls “nutritarian eating.” The idea is that every calorie you put in your mouth should have the most nutrients possible. He developed the ANDI score (aggregate nutrient density index) for various foods, with the highest score possible being 1,000. Foods that score 1,000 include collard greens, kale, mustard greens and watercress. Swiss chard, Bok choy, spinach and arugula are close behind.

Eggs and salmon have a score of 34, 1 percent milk 31, apple juice and cheese 11, corn chips 7, cola 1. So basically he recommends a plant-based, unprocessed food diet with no added oil and avoidance of sugar and salt. And of course exercise is part of his program.

In his books, Fuhrman presents case histories from some of his patients, and here’s an example: Charlene Vanderveen had a family history of obesity, heart disease and diabetes on both sides. She was 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 263 pounds. At age 56 she had a stroke and spent a month in the hospital and in rehab. At that point she was diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and coronary atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries, the cause of heart attacks and strokes).

She was treated with multiple medications, but a year later had a serious cardiac arrhythmia and ended up with two coronary artery stents. She started Fuhrman’s program and 1½ years later was down to 130 pounds. Her diabetes and high cholesterol resolved, and she was able to stop the medications given for those two conditions (her total cholesterol with no statin therapy is 147). She has now been on the nutritarian diet for several years and her weight remains stable. She notes that “I still have a hearty appetite, but I’m no longer addicted to food.”

My only problem with Dr. Fuhrman is that he sells some health products on his website, and obviously providers’ objectivity can be affected when they have a product to sell. However, I do get my vegan, algae-derived omega-3 from his website (it is advisable for people on a plant-based diet to take 250 mg a day, also available at Vitamin Cottage).

Of interest is that Dr. Fuhrman has two connections to the Western Slope. One is that he considers Martin Oswald, chef-owner of the Pyramid Bistro in Aspen (above the Explore Bookstore) to be the “first nutritarian chef,” and he talks about Martin in some of his books. The other is that Laurie Marbas, M.D., who was a plant-based family physician in Rifle for several years, is now the medical director of Fuhrman’s new nutritarian Health Oasis in Coral Gables, Florida.

Dr. Feinsinger, who retired from Glenwood Medical Associates after 42 years as a family physician, now has a nonprofit Center For Prevention and Treatment of Disease Through Nutrition. He is available for free consultations about heart attack prevention and any other medical concerns. Call 970-379-5718 for an appointment. For questions about his columns, email him at

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