Guest Post Healthy Eating Healthy Habits Healthy Living

The Foods We Eat

A couple of weeks ago, I shared guest posts by some of my favorite bloggers, and Ryan has been among my favorites since he first appeared in the comment section of my blog about 12 weeks ago.  He’s smart, friendly and determined to change his life, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.  I’ve talked about him on my blog several times so you may already know him, but if you don’t, read his post then head over to his blog to experience it for yourself.  You won’t regret it.


Hi all. I’m Ryan from I’m relatively new to

health blogging, as I just started my own site a few months ago, but
my personal site,, has been up and running for a couple years.

For a little background about me, I’m currently in the process of
losing 100 pounds over the course of a year. My journey started on
Aug. 8, 2011, and shortly after that date I drastically changed the
kinds of food I was eating. The result has been 50 pounds lost (so
far) in just over 11 weeks.

The drastic change in the food I am now eating came from reading a
book called “Eat To Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. If you’re at all
interested, you can read my thoughts on the book here

This book gave me several “aha” moments, and I’d like to share a few
of them.

The first thing I learned is why food manufacturers use weight/volume
as a way of measuring fat content. If you are curious, I actually made
a demonstration,  a quick 2 minute video on how sneaky this
technique is!

It’s cool (and scary) to see how you can take a 100% fat product, and
call it 98% fat free.

Another thing I learned is that vegetables have more fat and protein
in them than you might think. For example, broccoli is about 20%
protein, 9% fat, and 71% carbs. Romaine lettuce is around 18% protein,
15% fat, and 67% carbs. The other interesting thing is that these (and
many other vegetables) contain all 9 essential amino acids, which
means your body can get all the essential protein building blocks it
needs from these plant foods.

Now, I know there are SO MANY studies that come out, this one saying
eat this, the next one saying don’t eat that same thing, one touting
the benefits of a food, the other touting the harmful effects of that
same food. It’s a crazy mixed up world.

However, I do think it’s important to try and sift through things as
best as we can, so that we are getting to the facts, rather than the

For example, did you know the “8 glasses of water a day” mantra has
been proven false many times over? This misinformation started in 1945
when the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council
made recommendations that people needed roughly between 64 and 80
ounces of water per day. However, they also stated at the same time
that “most of this quantity comes from prepared foods”, but that fact
seems to have been lost in the interpretation. That initial
recommendation has turned into the “drink 8 glasses of water everyday”
that so many people think is common knowledge, which in fact it’s just
simply not true. Much of the food we eat, especially unprocessed plant
food, has a lot of water in it. We still need to drink water, of
course, but it’s not as much as most people think.

Another interesting thing to note is that much of the “complete
protein” facts we assume is common knowledge (i.e. eggs/meat/etc. are
the best sources of protein) are not necessarily true. A lot of this
information was initially concluded from studies using rats, which
have different nutritional needs than humans. When scientists
reproduced these same studies with humans, they found that meat
sources didn’t score as highly, and they also found that many
vegetables are actually a great source of protein for humans.

At any rate, this is all rather abstract, so here’s the nitty gritty
of why I choose to eat the way I do.

I now eat unprocessed plant food 99% of the time (much of it raw)

– It is the most nutrient dense food I can eat
– I get to eat as much as I want, whenever I want
– I don’t count calories

I’ve learned that honoring my hunger is more important to me than how
many calories I consume. When I make a salad-as-a-meal (6 to 10 or
more ingredients), I don’t need to worry about eating too much, if I’m
hungry, I’ll eat until I’m full. When I make a smoothie, if I’m still
hungry after, I’ll grab a piece of fruit, or some seeds, or some nuts.
I eat beans with my soups/stir-frys/salads and I’m satisfied for
hours. I snack on fruits, seeds, and nuts. If I eat too much, it’s no
big deal (the exception is nuts, eating too many nuts can pack on the
pounds pretty easily. Also, I use very little oil when I cook.).

The biggest change for me with this new way of eating is that I no
longer worry about food. If I’m hungry, I eat, and I don’t measure or
count anything. And I have no fear or worries or stresses. This works
for me, and I know it will work for the rest of my life.

I want to leave you with an introduction to an entertaining and eye-
opening documentary series called “The Truth About Food” that was done
by the BBC. One of the things they did was they took a small group of people
with dangerously high levels of cholesterol, and had them eat mostly
raw plant food for just 12 days. In that short period of time, the
group of volunteers lowered their cholesterol by an average 23%. Also,
salt, insulin, and blood pressure tests all came back as vastly
improved. This was the result of eating differently for just 12 days.

The food we eat plays a critical role in our health! I know when
people hear the word “vegetarian” or “vegan”, there is the real
potential for defenses go up. It’s interesting how the most nutritious
foods on the planet (unprocessed plant foods) get lumped into such a
negative context.

For anyone eating and moving towards a healthier body, I hope that you
are benefitting from the immense wisdom/power that nature provides in
the produce section of your supermarket! 🙂


Related Posts


  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Well Ryan, My eating habits have evolved quite a bit since knowing you…And today, you’d be really proud of the choices I’ve made in the kitchen and in the gym over the last few days.

    I’ve struggled with consistency a lot lately, but I’m determined to eat more unprocessed foods and less garbage that leaves me feeling bloated/groggy?unsatisfied.

    Thanks for the awesome post. You’re right on the mark…and 50 pounds? Whoa…

  • Reply
    Ryan Yewell
    November 10, 2011 at 4:21 am

    I’m focusing on consistency, myself, and keeping an even keel. Glad to hear you’re feeling great about your food/activity choices! And as far as the weight loss, it’s amazing what the body does to balance itself, whether it be adapting to daily $30 drive thus or 2 pounds of veggies each and every day day. Exercise helps, too! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Interesting post, Ryan. I’m a big fan of your blog as well. My husband and I have been trying to eat less meat, somewhat successfully, for several months now. Since I had gastric bypass and my stomach has limited space now, I need to make sure that what I’m eating is the most protein packed food I can find. This was another reminder to refocus on the veggies and legumes.

    Thanks Kenlie. Love the guest posters you’ve introduced us to!

    • Reply
      Ryan Yewell
      November 10, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks for reading my blog! 🙂 One thing is, I do have to eat quite a lot (in weight/volume) because veggies are not that high in calories. Since you have less space in your stomach, I can see how it may be critical to eat higher calorie foods. No doubt you/your doctor are on top of this, I’m curious what kinds of foods are best when your intake is changed due to the surgery, I’m guessing more calorie packed foods are needed, but of course the body still needs its nutrition! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I’ve read that book and it was enlightening. I have a friend that is a Vegan and she suggested that I read it to help me lose weight. I believe in the information of the book, but it is hard to quit foods cold turkey. Plus I find that when I go from one end of the spectrum to the other, it is a set up for failure. Right now I am trying to slowly move that direction by eliminating certain foods one at a time.
    After documenting what I was eating, i found I was having cheese with almost EVERY meal! Also I was eating meat (or “protein products”) up to 3 times a day. I was at risk for a lot of different diseases. After reading the post, it may be time to revisit this book! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Reply
      Ryan Yewell
      November 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm

      I agree, quitting cold turkey, or swinging the pendulum, increases the risks of doing something unsustainable. I am still trying to find my balance, and when I said 99% unprocessed plant food, it might be closer to something like 90%. I do still eat meat every couple weeks, and I will have something like bread, or pasta, or cake, etc. every once in a while. I am learning that if I’m truly craving something, it’s important to give myself permission to have it or I’ll end up exploding into a eat-fest. I now look at certain foods as a way of showing how we are supposed to enjoy life, and yet at the same time I see how those same tasty foods (often eaten with caring company) are not foods that help make me physically feel healthier/better/stronger. Life is a balance, perhaps my pendulum will swing back a bit in the future, I’m just finding my way! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 11:21 am

    YES! i love spreading these type of messages!! people need to cut out crap and guess what? you will lose weight!! I also recommend reading “skinny bitch”- it is very very well written and esp for women very relate-able.

    people think that if we cut out meat/dairy products we will lack protein which is just crap to me. tons of plant based food have juts as much protein and soy substitutes actually have MORE protein with much less calories and fat. I’m by far not perfect and im a sucker for baked goods, but once i learned the truth about my food i will never ingest a deal animal every again (and I hardly ever eat dairy as well). if you eat as much vegetable/plant based foods you WILL NOT BE FAT. its so simple yet people think its so hard!

    • Reply
      Ryan Yewell
      November 10, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      I must say, and without trying to get too “conspiracy theory” here… I wonder how much people appreciate that certain aspects of modern society, including capitalism, marketing, media, etc. create an environment that is full of half-truths and even blatant lies. Personally, I think the USDA is more about trying to keep their meat/dairy industry afloat (through taxpayer subsidies) than it is about trying to make people healthy. The world is IMMENSE, with so many things that could be done better… When it comes to our food, though, I just wish we could all see (including myself) who has invested interests where, and why…. Because we might then truly see that most of the information that exists in the public’s mind has been brought to us by organizations that profit from those messages.

      • Reply
        November 10, 2011 at 3:05 pm

        Ryan, I like the way you think 🙂 Call me a new follower dude!!! Checking out your blog (and bookmarking it for sure) right now.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I’m glad that Ryan is having success in losing weight and becoming healthier.
    While it is up to the individual to eat whatever he/she wants to eat, I’d jlike to suggest that Ryan and the above commenters read Lierre Keith’s book, which is also very enlightening.

    • Reply
      Ryan Yewell
      November 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion, Vicki! I checked out that link, any worthwhile discussion needs all angles! 🙂

      To be clear, I’m not saying that meat is a “bad” choice. I AM saying that the vast majority of processed foods we eat are sadly so low on nutrition when they are compared to just the stuff that comes from the ground and is grown by the sun.

      I agree with the concept that our bodies are designed to eat meat, but how much meat, and what quality of meat… Meat that we eat these days, compared to what meat was when our bodies adapted to eat, I think these are the things that need discussing, as we humans have created a world of what I would almost call “Frankenfood”.

      I think sometimes we humans (myself included) are too clever, and not wise enough…

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