Food For Thought

Close up of an array of colorful vegetables

How to Follow a Nutritarian Diet

Coach Ida, 08/27/2015

You might be wondering what is a nutritarian diet, and why would anyone want to follow it? Well, how is this for starts: Becoming a nutritarian could possibly save your life. Let me tell you more good news.

Let’s start with an understanding of the word “nutritarian”.

Nutritarian is a word coined by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., the author of many bestselling books including Eat to Live, The End of Diabetes, Super Immunity, and the star of a number of PBS programs such as Three Steps to Incredible Health and Dr. Fuhrman’s End Dieting Forever.

A nutritarian diet style focuses on health-promoting ingredients that minimize or eliminate health compromising elements. This way of eating is micronutrient and antioxidant rich, calorie sufficient, and disease protecting.

A healthy diet offers the highest concentration of nutrients per calorie, and a nutritarian diet does just that. A nutritarian diet style feeds the cells with micronutrients for proper functioning and doesn’t burden the body with excess calories.

The foods with the highest micronutrients per calorie are leafy greens, colorful vegetables, and fresh fruits. Dr. Fuhrman has a formula on which his nutritarian diet recommendations are based. It is: H=N/C or Health=Nutrients/Calories. This health formula is related to “nutrient density”. The healthfulness of your diet is related to the amount of nutrient dense and lower calorie foods you eat. High micronutrient and low calorie foods are greens, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals (to name a few). They contain no calories. Micronutrients are required by the body for proper functioning of the cells. The increase of these elements in your diet can radically improve your level of general health. A great way to add more micronutrients to your diet is to consume more vegetables, because they are higher in micronutrients than any other foods. Dr. Fuhrman states, “Micronutrients fuel proper functioning of the immune system and enable the detoxification and cellular repair mechanisms that protect us from chronic diseases.”  

Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and they contain calories. The goal of a nutritarian diet is to maximize micronutrient intake from the fewest amount of calories. Eating a micronutrient rich diet style with a lower amount of macronutrients and calories leads to better overall health, and it transforms many chronic diseases such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Don’t worry about your protein, though. The good news is that the best foods for you (greens, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds) contain sufficient protein for even the most active athletes. A whole food, plant-based, nutrient-dense diet is great for everyone.

Dr. Fuhrman recommends a daily nutritarian diet style of at least 90% whole, unprocessed plant-based foods for optimal health. There are many delicious ways to incorporate high micronutrient eating and become a healthy and happy nutritarian. Try a few recipes from the Healthy Food Now recipe database like: White Bean/Vegetable Sauté, Veggie and Wild Rice Stuffed Cabbage, or Savory Sweet Peach Crunch.

Becoming a nutritarian is easier than you think, and it could transform your health and your weight. Try out a few new vegetables each week, and enjoy some new recipes for your favorite plant based foods.


Do you have any favorite nutritarian dishes? Please let us know in the comments below!

Want to learn more about being a nutritarian? Contact one of our coaches! All Healthy Food Now coaches follow a nutritarian diet. 



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