Review: Dr Fuhrman’s Weight Loss Starter Kit

Dr Joel Fuhrman is a best-selling author, board-certified physician, plant-based nutrition expert and creator of the Nutritarian way of eating and healthy weight loss. One of his popular products is The Weight Loss Starter Kit, which I have purchased and used myself.

The Weight Loss Starter Kit is a multimedia program. It consists of a suite of books and DVDs:

  1. The End of Dieting book (hardcover, signed by Joel Fuhrman)
  2. Nutritarian Planner & Journal (spiral-bound)
  3. Secrets to Healthy Cooking DVD
  4. Eating Like a Nutritarian DVD
  5. 1 FREE month of GoldPLUS Membership for new members

The program centres around nutrition and healthy eating and offers solutions to people who are:

  1. Trying to lose weight and keep it off
  2. Hoping to get off the endless fad diet money-go-round that never seems to achieve lasting results
  3. Looking for a weight loss solution that not only is sustainable, but will deliver excellent nutrition to help combat high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other common ailments

In this review I will summarise each of the component of Dr Fuhrman’s Weight Loss Starter Kit based on my own personal experience and break it down to help you understand how the program works.


Key Principles

Central to Dr Fuhrman’s philosophy, as explained in his other, highly-recommended and best-selling book The End of Dieting, is his simple health equation:

Health = Nutrients / Calories

In other words, your health is predicted by your nutrient intake divided by your calorie intake. This means that you are advised to consume foods that have the highest nutrient value, with the lowest calories available. Essentially, this means natural high-fibre low-calorie whole plant foods.

A key part of Dr Fuhrman’s Weight Loss Starter Kit is The End of Dieting book. It shows how to break the cycle of endless fad or restrictive diets, and protect yourself with all the dietary and nutritional advice you need. In The End of Dieting Dr Fuhrman catalogues many case studies where people have broken free of their food addictions, dramatically improved chronic health conditions, and lost huge amounts of weight (from 50 to 100kg weight loss) and experienced transformations in their physical and mental health through embracing an exercise routine and a plant-based diet filled with vegetables, fruit, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.


The End of Dieting also explores a number of topical issues:

  1. The effects of ‘toxic hunger’ and food addictions, caused by eating unhealthy, low nutrient, addictive foods
  2. The Three Habits of Health – eating high-nutrient low-calorie foods, exercise and positive mindset.
  3. Debunking diet myths, including:
    • The Standard American Diet (SAD) which is centered on chicken, red meat, cheese, processed grains and sweets;
    • The Mediterranean Diet, with its over-emphasis on unhealthy olive oil and pasta;
    • The Paleo Diet (and all its high-protein-low-carb predecessors), which, as Dr Fuhrman says, leaves you “dead – like a caveman”;
    • The ‘Wheat Belly’, and various versions of calorie and portion-controlled diets.

Dr Fuhrman urges us to ditch all these diets. He calls for an end to fad diet extremism in all its forms, and instead focuses on health first, by maximizing consumption of crucial micronutrients, and weight second.

Dr Fuhrman’s key message is that in order to have a balanced diet, we should be eating lots of vegetables, especially green vegetables, fruits (including berries), beans, legumes, whole grains, mushrooms, seeds and nuts. His advice is to stop looking for diets and just eat as healthfully as possible.


To obtain the best possible concentration of healthy plant foods, Dr Fuhrman employs a simple acronym: G-BOMBS, which stands for:

  • Greens
  • Beans
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Berries and
  • Seeds & nuts

Dr Fuhrman promotes G-BOMBS as foods with the most powerful immune-boosting and anti-cancer effects, and raw salad vegetables to help you lose and control your weight. He goes deep into all the benefits of whole plant foods to support weight control and protection for chronic disease.


The Nutritarian Program

The Nutritarian program is designed to help you make a start on a wholefood plant-based diet-style.

According to Dr Fuhrman’s, the Nutritarian diet style “enables you to lose weight and keep it off permanently, without experiencing hunger or depriving yourself of food.”

Not only does counting calories and eating less not work for long-term weight loss, Dr Fuhrman explains, it isn’t supported by advances in nutritional science or clinical evidence. A low-calorie diet that is nutritionally unsound is doomed to fail because it “increases your cravings and hunger signals.”

Included in the book also a healthy eating plan, weekly meal ideas, and recipes.


Rather than focusing on the foods you can’t eat, Dr Fuhrman inspires you to enjoy the kaleidoscope of plant foods that you can eat in abundance.

Six basic guidelines to Dr Furhman healthy eating plan

The plan in the End of Dieting is boiled down to six basic guidelines for everyday eating;

  1. Eat a large salad as your main dish
  2. Eat half a cup to a full cup of beans
  3. Eat one large serving of lightly steamed green vegetables
  4. Eat at least one ounce of raw nuts and seeds
  5. Eat mushrooms and onions, and
  6. Eat at least three fresh fruits a day

And if you find it too hard to remember, don’t worry – you don’t need to. Dr Fuhrman also provided an online daily checklist to help remind you of these guidelines. And to help you even further we have created a Quick Start Guide based on Dr Fuhrman’s guidelines (refer to the bottom of this post for more info).


DVD guides

The two DVDs provide a visual demonstration on how you can implement the Nutritarian lifestyle and create delicious healthy meals.

Eating Like a Nutritarian

Recorded at Whole Foods Market (but could be set at any green grocers, organic store, or produce section of your local supermarket) Dr Fuhrman takes you through the high nutrient (plant) food aisles to show you what to buy and how to prepare all the super-foods that your body needs: vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, and the right fats and proteins.

Here, Dr Fuhrman also addresses the biggest dietary myths we have been told, ranging from misconceptions about olive oil to the truth about snacking. You’ll learn about the science behind why whole plant foods help you to burn fat and achieve optimum health, and why it’s important to limit, or avoid animal products in your diet.

Secrets to Healthy Cooking

This video features Dr Fuhrman and his wife, Lisa. They take you into their kitchen to demonstrate the techniques and principles behind preparing delicious super-plant-foods. You’ll learn how to prepare delicious high nutrient recipes, as well as Dr Fuhrman favourite recipes and his general formulas for making:

  • Salad Dressings & Dips
  • Soups & Stews
  • Main Dishes
  • Vegetable Smoothies
  • Ice Cream & Sorbets

As an added bonus, a recipe booklet also is included with this DVD to help you get started.


The Weight Loss Starter Kit also includes an attractive spiral-bound Nutritarian Planner and Journal.

The Nutritarian Planner & Journal encourages you to:

  • Keep track of your progress
  • Commit to your dietary and exercise goals
  • Document your feelings, both the triumphs and the difficulties

A daily journal is a useful tool to help you change your current diet and lifestyle. If you keep a food diary and record your health and weight loss goals, this will assist you to take control over your lifestyle choices.

If you buy the The Weight Loss Starter Kit you can choose this as a ‘stand-alone’ item, or you can elect to sign up (as I have done) for a monthly membership (for new members you’ll receive a free month’s Gold Plus membership). The benefits of being a member of Dr Fuhrman’s online community include:

  • Nutritarian recipes and menus – view, search and print over 1,500 recipes, rated and reviewed by other members
  • Recipe of the Day email – recipe suggestions delivered to you daily via email
  • Healthy Times Newsletters and Position papers – browse a library of previously published newsletters and papers on various topics in nutrition and science
  • The Health Tracker – an easy way to track your progress
  • Webinars and Teleconferences – access to an archive of recorded webinars and teleconferences on a variety of topics in science, nutrition, and health


The Downside

The downside of Dr Fuhrman’s Weight Loss Starter Kit is that it requires you to invest significant time and effort in reading, planning, and preparing for transitioning to a healthy plant-based diet. If you’re looking for a ‘quick-fix’ diet, like, say, the 5:2 diet, where you eat normally for 5 days and ‘fast’ for 2 days on only 500 calories a day, or a restrictive regime like Paleo diet, where you can’t eat dairy products, grains, or legumes, but eat lots of meat, you will be disappointed with Dr Fuhrman’s Nutritarian eating plan.

Although all the foods Dr Fuhrman promotes are plant-based, it is not strictly speaking a low-fat vegan diet, such as Dr Barnard’s 21-day Vegan Kickstart (which I have also done, bought and read the book, and personally endorse).

As Nutritarian, you don’t have to follow this 100% of the time – if you don’t want to. I eat healthy plant-based foods every day as a vegan, and I advocate this diet for optimal health, for animals, and the environment. If you want to incorporate a small quantity of animal products in your diet, that’s up to you. Obviously, though, the more you follow this diet the more likely you will see positive results. According to Dr Fuhrman, “at least 90% of calories” should come “from unrefined plant foods”.

What I think

By adopting and adapting Dr Fuhrman’s Nutritarian eating and weight loss plan I have experienced some weight loss (about 7-8 kilograms/15 pounds so far), and, most importantly to me, this has helped me to bring my cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure levels down from dangerously high to well-within safe levels.

I have a family history of vascular disease and stroke, and my doctor has diagnosed me with ‘familial hypercholesterolaemia’, which is a fancy term for a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol levels. Despite this, with medication and dietary changes to a healthy low-fat vegan ‘Nutritarian’ style diet, I have defied my genes and gone from a high-risk to low-risk of dying from heart disease. Not only do I feel lighter and fitter, I am less worried about being around to look after my family and kids as I grow older. Is that worth the US$57.91 for The Weight Loss Starter Kit? I say yes, every penny of it.

The Nutritarian diet style requires a lot of time, commitment and immersion into the program. This might put you off, but I can guarantee it’s worth it.

I don’t follow the Nutritarian guidelines 100% of the time, and occasionally I’ll consume a bit of refined or junk food, or even a glass of red wine (or two)! So don’t worry if you think you can’t follow this always: I don’t. I’m not perfect, and that’s fine. I still want you to enjoy life, but I also know that to see permanent improvements to your weight and health, you have to be prepared to make significant changes to your diet and lifestyle. This program provides a clear and comprehensive roadmap to achieving your weight and health goals for (potentially) the rest of your life.

If you really want to lose weight and keep it off, and improve your health at the same time, I highly recommend Dr Fuhrman’s weight loss program. It’s super comprehensive, educational and quite an investment for your future health and longevity.

Little Green Habits Readers’ Special Bonus Pack

We only promote products that we believe to have tremendous value and that we have used ourselves. I personally had a great experience with this program and I believe that it may help you too. To help you further along with your journey to healthy weight loss, when you purchase Dr Fuhrman’s Weight Loss Starter Kit through our special link (we earn a small commission on any orders made via our affiliate link, but this won’t cost you any extra), you will get a special bonus pack which consists of the following:

1.  Nutritarian Quick Start Guide

If you order Dr Furhman’s Weight Loss Starter Kit via Little Green Habits, you will receive, as an added bonus, a free 25-page Quick Start Guide on how to eat as a Nutritarian – including a shopping list, recipes, meal ideas, and several resource links to nutritional and health benefit information for a huge variety of plant foods.

2. Exclusive email Q&A session

Where you can ask me any questions about how I implemented the Nutritarian lifestyle, lost weight and lowered my cholesterol (I will respond to all emails on this subject for up to 3 months). (*Please note: I am not a medical health care professional and I advise anyone to seek appropriate medical advice before considering changing their diet, medication or exercise).

To get your Weight Loss Starter Kit, as well as your bonus FREE Nutritarian Quick Start Guide just click here and order yours today! Simply email me an electronic copy of your receipt, and I will reply with your Special Bonus Nutritarian Quick Start Guide PDF e-book and we can start planning for your Exclusive email Q&A session.

I hope you find this review useful. If you have any questions or comments about anything I mentioned here, feel free to leave a comment or reach me at:

To your health and happiness,

Tom Perry

7 Ways Whole Plant-Based Foods Help You Lose Weight Without Counting Calories

Most people who try to lose weight usually count calories and reduce portions. While this may work in the short term, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to sustain over time.

Can you really lose weight without counting calories? The answer is yes – if you eat the right foods.

Early this year, PCRM – Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine – published research showing that a healthy plant-based vegetarian diet helps you lose weight without counting calories.

This meta-analysis, conducted by PCRM, was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on Thursday, January 22, 2015. A total of 15 studies were reviewed, that were conducted with 755 participants in Finland, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. The studies, some short as four weeks, with others last as long as two years; showed an average weight loss of 10 pounds over a 44-week period.

Neal Barnard, M.D., lead author of the study, president of the Physicians Committee, and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, was quoted as saying:

“The take-home message is that a plant-based diet can help you lose weight without counting calories and without ramping up your exercise routine. We hope health care providers will take note and prescribe this approach to patients looking to manage their weight and health.”

Here’s the 7 ways whole plant-based diets work to help you lose weight without counting calories.

Green Nutrition News 25 Aug 15

1. The main ‘secret’ ingredient of whole plant based diets can be summed up in one important F word: FIBRE.

Or for those in the US – fiber. Fibre is a special type of carbohydrate found only in plants that cannot be digested by the body. It is naturally low in calories, yet it helps fill us up, and is critical in preventing or combating such conditions as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease.

2. Choosing whole plant foods means you avoid consuming foods made with white, refined flour and sugar, which tend to be calorie-dense but nutrient-poor.

This means consuming mostly whole vegetables (raw and cooked – especially dark leafy greens), whole fruit, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, such as oats, brown rice and protein-rich quinoa. Avoid foods that are processed to the point where they lose most of their fibre and other micro-nutrients (such as fruit juice). Choosing whole plantbased food means choosing plant food that is in, or close to, its natural state.

3. If you eat mostly, or all whole, natural foods, you don’t have to worry about getting too much (or not enough) fat, carbs, or protein.

The beauty of healthy, whole plant foods is that they are balanced in all the very best nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and phyto-chemicals, and, (not to mention; again) fibre.


4. Whole plant foods are mostly low in fat, which has more than double the calories of protein or carbohydrates.

With the exceptions such as raw nuts, seeds, avocado and whole olives (not oil) which are healthy sources of  good fats, essential omega 3, omega 6 and protein. Several studies have also shown that eating small amounts of nuts helps with weight loss because the fibre and protein help you feel full longer.

5. Whole plants foods are naturally low in salt and sugar.

Even the natural sugar in fruit is of the low GI variety, as the fibre in whole fruit ensures as low release of the energy.

2014-12-09 14.26.42

6. Plant foods provide a kaleidoscope of colours, tastes, and textures that add interest, flavour and variety to food – without piling on the pounds!

Instead of mixing fatty, creamy sauces and dressings, or adding lots of butter, cheese or refined oils, you can utilise the vast range of natural herbs, seasonings and spices that add both zest and healthy nutrients to your dishes – without adding extra calories.

7. Whole plant foods are non-addictive and health-promoting.

Foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar (think cheese, pastries, sweets, fried food, processed meats) tend to over-stimulate our palate, and can lead to food addiction, or at least over-consumption. Fast, or ‘junk’ food is a prime example of this. Sugary white buns, fatty meats and cheese, rich sauces and condiments, ice cream, fried chips – all these type of foods are loaded with calories, are not very filling, and can have a devastating effect on our health.


It turns out that the best diet to lose weight – and keep it off – is also the most protective against the main killer diseases that afflict so many people in our society; including cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The answer to the question, ‘what is the best diet to enable you to have and maintain a healthy weight and body?’ is simple: whole-foods, plant-based.

Let me know in the comments what you think is the best eating plan for you, or if you have any questions.

Tom Perry

Losing Weight On Plantbased Diet

This week my top 5 nutrition news items includes a study that showed people on a vegetarian diet lost more weight than omnivores (vegans lost the most!); a recent case study of a doctor who lost 75 pounds (34 kg) simply by switching to a plant-based diet; research showing that healthy vegan diets can ease the pain and other symptoms of diabetes; further proof that plant-based vegetarian diets boost metabolism (independent of exercise), and evidence that phytates in pulses and beans protect against colon cancer.

Green Nutrition News Aug 17

Shed Pounds – Go Veg!

A recent study published online showed that people on a vegetarian diet overall lost more weight than people on an average American diet.

Vegetarian, or plant-based diets have been linked to a decreased risk of type-2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. Recent studies have also showed people can lose weight if they cut out meat.

Researchers affiliated with Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health analysed published clinical trials that looked at the effects of vegetarian diets on weight loss.

The research team focused on lacto-ovo vegetarian diets that allow milk and eggs as well as vegan diets with no animal products, and compared them with non-vegetarian diets. Results of the meta-analysis, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that those on vegetarian diets lost around 4.4 pounds more than the control group, while those on a vegan diet lost 5.5 pounds.

More Fruit & Veg = Less Calories

One possible reason for the weight loss may be the large amount of fruit, vegetables and whole grains consumed by people on the vegetarian/vegan diets, and the fact the plant-based foods usually have fewer calories than animal-based foods, according to the researchers.

It has been established that whole plant foods like vegetables, fruit and beans have the highest density of nutrients and the lowest calories; not to mention plenty of zero-calorie fibre that helps fill you up without putting on weight. This meta-analysis is yet more proof of what we already know!


How a family doctor lost 75 pounds without portion control

The Forks Over Knives website recently featured another ‘good-news’ plant-based diet story about a family doctor who rediscovered good health and learned how to get off the ‘weight-loss roller-coaster’.

This 6’2″ (188 cm) doctor, Dr Steve Lawenda, weighed up to 255 lbs (115 kg) at his peak, qualifying him as obese.

Steve only knew of 2 strategies for weight loss: eating less and/or exercising more. Steve found that eating less, namely calorie counting or portion control, repeatedly failed, leaving him hungry and craving more of his favorite foods.

Diets Don’t Work

He found that his weight continually fluctuated over years of intermittent portion control and periods of exercise. As Steve notes, he wasn’t alone following this familiar cycle. Statistics show that calorie-restricted diets fail 95% of the time. In other words, dieting doesn’t work!

Steve found out about the science and logic of a whole-foods, plant-based diet from the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman; watching the inspirational Forks Over Knives documentary; and later reading books from Drs. Caldwell Esselstyn (Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease), T. Colin Campbell (The China Study), and John McDougall (The Starch Solution).

Eat More (Plants) – Weigh Less

For the first time Steve was aware of a weight-loss strategy that involved eating MORE of something (whole plant foods), not less, and where portion control and calorie counting were not only unnecessary, but discouraged.

Steve was amazed to realize that he could eat as much as he wanted, feel full every day, and yet see his weight drop at such a steady pace. As Steve puts it, this seemed to defy some law of physics; and it felt great!

The end result was that Steve lost 75 pounds (34 kg) with relative ease over eight months, and he has maintained this loss for over a year and a half. Steve now realizes that he wasn’t a failure; the food he was eating failed him.

Steve found that he enjoyed eating vegetables in soups and salads, and came to realize that many of his favorite cuisines, including Italian, Mexican, Chinese, and Thai, had many delicious plant-based dishes. Steve found he could make relatively simple modifications to favorite dishes that still preserved their taste and essence. He even found ways to continue enjoying ice cream and chocolate – with delicious whole-food, plant-based versions of these treats.

As Dr Steve says, “Not only does this lifestyle consistently improve the lives of those making the change, but it also has the potential, over time, to transform healthcare as we know it—reversing obesity and related chronic diseases, and reducing skyrocketing healthcare costs”.


Are Vegan Diets Effective Against Diabetes?

A May 2015 article on the Gazette Review reported on a small pilot study suggesting that switching to a plant-based diet helps ease diabetic neuropathy, which refers to nerve damage and pain caused by the effects of diabetes.

Over half of adults with type-2 diabetes may develop diabetic neuropathy, which occurs when your blood is not circulating normally and has high levels of glucose. This can lead to ulcers and all kinds of infections on the legs and feet, and is the leading cause of limb amputation for those who suffer from the disease.

In this study, featured in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes, and led by doctors and nutritionists at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), researchers chose 17 overweight adults with diabetic neuropathy on a low-fat, high fibre vegan diet for 20 weeks. The group of adults attended nutrition classes every week and took a vitamin B12 supplement, a very important nutrient that is good for the nerves (I take a daily supplement with B12, and encourage other vegans to do the same).

Going Vegan Improves Diabetic Symptoms

The study participants were compared with 17 other adults, who received vitamin B12 but were not on the vegan diet. People on the plant-based diet said they felt better and had less pain. Tests done to these people also showed better blood circulation, improved nerve function, and ability to control their levels of glucose, which helped them to lower the dose of their medication. As an added bonus, the participants lost an average of 14 pounds.

A dietary intervention reduces the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy, apparently by improving insulin resistance” notes Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee. “The same diet also improves body weight and reduces cholesterol and blood pressure.”

According to PCRM, 60% percent of diabetes patients suffer from peripheral neuropathy, which is associated with hypertension, obesity, gait disturbances, amputations, anxiety, depression, and reduced quality of life.

The dietary intervention is easy to prescribe and easy to follow,” says Cameron Wells, M.P.H., R.D., acting director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee. “Steel-cut oats, leafy greens, and lentils are widely available at most food markets and fit well into most budgets.”

steelcut oats

Vegetarian Diets Increase Metabolism

According to a study published in Nutrients in July and reported on PCRM Breaking News online, vegetarian diets are associated with higher metabolic rates. A total of 24 vegetarian and 26 non-vegetarian participants had their diets; metabolic rates; biochemical analyses and inflammatory markers monitored.

Eat Plant-based and Boost your Metabolism by 16%

The study also showed that vegetarians lowered their cholesterol levels and had higher levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines compared with non-vegetarians, and complements other research that shows vegetarian/plant-based diets increase metabolism. Studies carried out by Dr Neal Barnard and the Physicians Committee, and detailed in the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart program, found a 16 percent increase in after-meal metabolism that lasts for about three hours after each meal.

Preventing Colon Cancer – is it Fibre or Phytates?

As Dr Michael Greger of Nutrition Facts advises, the most important environmental risk factor for cancer is diet.

Studies have highlighted the health-promoting plant-based substances known as phytonutrients, which have proven beneficial effects on certain cancers.

Pulses and beans, including chickpeas, split peas and lentils are packed with nutrients, but how do they protect against degenerative disease such as cancer? The reason may be due to non-nutritive compounds, or even so-called “antinutrient” compounds like phytates.


Fight Cancer with Phytates

Previously phytates have been criticized for binding to certain minerals like iron, zinc and manganese and slowing their absorption. However, this dietary feature of phytates may be more of a boon than a burden.

In the US and Australia colon, or bowel/colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. This is not the case in parts of world where a predominantly whole-food plant-based diet is consumed.

The famous surgeon Denis Burkitt spent 24 years in Uganda and most of the hospitals he contacted there had never seen a case of colon cancer. Dr Burkitt thought that it was the fibre in the Ugandan’s whole plant foods diet that was so protective.

Some studies have since questioned Dr Burkitt’s theory. For example, Danes appear to have more colon cancer than Finns, yet Danes consume almost twice the dietary fibre.

An Adventist study highlighted in Dr Greger’s video Phytates for the Prevention of Cancer found “excess risk of cancer for higher intakes of both red meat and white meat, suggesting all meats contribute to colon cancer formation — about twice the risk for red meat eaters, and three times the risk for those eating chicken and fish”.

As Dr Greger explains, “phytate is known to be a powerful inhibitor of the iron-mediated production of hydroxyl radicals, a particularly dangerous type of free radical. So the standard American diet may be a double whammy, the heme iron in muscle meat plus the lack of phytate in refined plant foods to extinguish the iron radicals”.

People who eat meat can reduce their risk of colon cancer in two ways: by cutting down on meat; or by eating more beans, which are an excellent source of phytates. To improve your chance of avoiding colon cancer even further, why not do both?


Tom Perry