My Get-Healthy Plan to KISSS in the New Year

by on December 31, 2011
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Get-Healthy Plan to KISSS in the New Year
I seem to have started eating for the holidays sometime back in September. Though I had spent much of the early part of the year watching what I ate, exercising regularly, and losing around 25 pounds, a sinus infection in late August coupled with a quick trip to Portland (vegan Mecca) threw me off balance. Maybe I thought I needed comfort food, maybe I was just looking for an excuse. Whatever. Today I sit here having regained 5 of those hard-lost pounds and, even more troubling, a couple of food addictions I thought I’d put behind me–sugar and its partner in crime, flour. Both drive me crazy with cravings but make me feel bloated, lethargic, and queasy when I give in to them; of course, by the time the cravings hit again, I’ve managed to forget the effects indulging will have on me, so the cycle repeats.

I know from experience that the only way for me to get control over my eating is the tough love approach. Like any addiction, a compulsive desire to eat sugar and starch won’t go away if I string it along with small doses. For me it’s all or nothing. But just as important as getting rid of the anti-nutrients (which is what I consider sugar and flour to be) is filling my body with nutritious plant foods. I’m talking vegetables, beans, and fruit. A few raw nuts. A couple servings of whole grains. Simple whole foods.

Black Bean and Vegetable Soup

Changing What You Crave

I know that at this time of year, a lot of people are taking stock of their health and committing (or recommitting) to healthy eating plans. Some are doing cleanses or detoxes, which, for the record, I don’t believe in. I think that you should start in the way you hope to continue, and short-term, stringent detoxes, which often are downright dangerous, don’t do the body any long-term good or lead to healthy eating practices. My goals are to make vegetables the center of my diet, loosen the grip that sugary foods have on me, and change my habits so that I’m not reaching for a gooey granola bar or bowl of vegan ice cream every night after dinner. I know from experience that with time and effort I can change what I crave. It’s been a long time since I’ve really craved a big honkin’ salad, but I will get back there!

This is not about weight loss, though I could stand to lose quite a few pounds and expect that I will. It’s about eating the way I know is healthiest for me. It’s about feeling better, more energetic, more focused, more alive.

I would love for you to join me on this journey, even if you just try it for a week or two. But I have to point out that I have absolutely no nutritional training (B.A. in English, M.A. in English, and 1/2 of a Ph.D. in–you guessed it–English). If you have health issues and decide to follow my plan, please okay it with your doctor or at least let her know so she can monitor your need for medication. If you’re coming to this from the Standard American Diet and are taking medication for blood pressure, cholesterol, or high blood sugar, your need for it may decrease after you start eating this way, so get check-ups at regular intervals.

Keep It Simple, Soups and Salads

KISSSI have a tendency to make things overly complex, so while I was figuring out exactly what my healthy meal plan would be and what I wanted to say to you about it, I kept telling myself, “Keep It Simple, Soups and Salads.” Abbreviated, that’s KISSAS, which I shortened to KISSS because, well, think about it.

My plan looks a lot like Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live 6-Week plan, and I’ve adopted his mantra, “The salad is the Main Dish,” though I often stretch my definition of salads to include cooked ones. I’m a little less rigid about amounts and tend to eat more grains and starchy vegetables and fewer nuts and seeds than he advocates, but overall, if you’re strictly following the 6-week plan, you’re basically doing what I’m doing. I also tend to view salt as a necessary evil–a little bit helps me enjoy my meals so much more than without it, helping me stick to my vegetable-centric diet–though hard-core ETLers would tell me (and you) to cut it out.

I concentrate on soups and stews, in addition to the salads, because it’s possible to pack a lot of vegetables into a soup, eliminating the need for vegetable side dishes. When the soup contains plenty of veggies, all I need to add is a starter salad and perhaps a serving of whole grain or potato to have a filling dinner.

So Here are the Details

(Click “Print” to print this section.)

Soups and Stews for the Week

Having a nutritious meal already made can mean the difference between staying on-track and reaching for some processed junk. I usually start every week by making a big pot of my “Dirty Little Secret Soup,” which I keep on-hand for lunch when I don’t feel like a salad or for dinner when my family is eating something else. I always plan for at least 4 different dinners during the week and count on a combination of leftovers and the secret soup to feed us the other nights.

Here are my dinner soups and stews for this week:

For lots of choices for soups and stews, check my recipe index pages.

Eat a bigger lunch salad than the one in this photo!

Eat a bigger lunch salad than the one in this photo!

About the Salads

Eating a big enough salad is essential to both feeling full and taking in enough nutrients on this plan. When I talk about Mega-Huge, ginormous, or big honkin’salads, I mean a salad that fills a serving bowl. Start with greens–lettuce and spinach are my base–and add tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli slaw (basically shredded broccoli stems, which you can make or buy), and any other vegetables you like. Toss it with an oil-free dressing (I have a new ranch dressing that I will be sharing soon), add a heaping serving of beans (hot or cold) or hummus and, if your dressing doesn’t contain nuts, a tablespoon of raw walnuts or other nuts. (Walnuts have the most Omega 3’s, so I tend to stick with them.) Add some ground flax seeds if your dressing doesn’t contain any. Even this small amount of nuts and seeds helps the absorption of nutrients, provides essential fatty acids, and makes us feel full longer.

My two favorite salads are Taco Salad (made with canned chili beans for the sake of time) and Hummus Salad. Other times I top my salad with my vegan buttermilk dressing along with chickpeas and slices of apple or pear. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your salads and your salad dressings. See this post for some tips on removing the oil from your favorite dressing recipes.

More Resources

If you decide to join me, I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments below. Feel free to post here or on my Facebook wall and tell me how you’re doing.

If you need more support, please join my Facebook Group or Eat-2-Live Yahoogroup, two great groups of people who love to share their knowledge and enthusiasm.

For much more nutritional information than I can supply, be sure to read Eat to Live.

For more recipes, be sure to check out my Eat to Live archives both here and on the website.

A few other sites that support this way of eating (though possibly more or less strict in some of the details) are

Happy, Healthy New Year!


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{ 175 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Fiona December 31, 2011 at 6:11 pm

I like your signature!


2 Gina December 31, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Yup, I struggle to stick with E2L and plan on starting again tomorrow. Let’s do this! Thank you!


3 Lynn December 31, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Great post, Susan. Count me in! I’ve been following Eat to Live since September and have lost 20 lbs. I discovered the plan from your site – it’s INCREDIBLY effective. Starting tomorrow I’m peeling off the last 15 lbs. Let’s do this!!


4 Lydia December 31, 2011 at 6:28 pm

I am sooo doing this!!


5 Nicole December 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Great information and links, too! Two days ago I made your black-bean and pineapple stew – am loving it! I’ll be linking to it on my new blog!! Good luck with your plan.


6 Marissa C. January 2, 2012 at 6:26 pm

LOVE the black bean and pineapple combo. Every time I eat it I can’t believe I am not eating it at every meal. ๐Ÿ™‚


7 Wendy December 31, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Count me in! I have wanted to change my eating lifestyle for a long time and I think 2012 is it!! I love your tips and recipes!


8 Wendy (healthy girl's kitchen) December 31, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Love it! Committing with you Susan. And many, many thanks for the shout out. Xoxo and a great new year for all!


9 Wendy (Healthy GIrl's Kitchen) January 1, 2012 at 7:46 am
10 Susan Voisin January 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm

What a wonderful post, Wendy! I admire you so much and thank you for all you do to support people in their quests for healthy eating!


11 Kaz December 31, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I may not be Vegan but love your recipes !
I too seem to have slipped off the healthy bandwagon and need to climb back on….the pounds seem to be gaining ground(darn them!!)
Look forward to seeing – and trying- some new recipes in the New Year.


12 Claire December 31, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I’m doing ETL too, I’m sure you’ll feel better in no time ๐Ÿ™‚
I loved this post- especially the salad part, no one seems to understand when I say I eat monster salads. I may feel like a brontosaurus but it’s working like a charm!
All the best with your dietary changes & Happy New Year! xxx


13 Debbie December 31, 2011 at 7:31 pm

This looks great and healthy. No diet is easy but at least the food will be great LOL.

Glad you are on Facebook too.


14 sheree December 31, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I just posted a big thank you on FB, but this post deserves another so THANK YOU!!!


15 aquamoonmaiden December 31, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I love this plan! One reason being that it’s pretty much the same plan I have been using for the past year and a half that helped me lose about 60 pounds. However, that being said, I have gained back quite a bit over the past six months. I blame the emotional toll my divorce took, coupled with relocating to a new state that I do not really care for. Those are excuses, though, and I take full responsibility, but I do intend to drop that weight again.

Susan, your incredible recipes helped me the first time and they will do so again. You have been an inspiration to me for quite a few years now, and I truly appreciate all that you do. May you, your family and all your wonderful readers have a most prosperous 2012. Cheers!


16 Andrea December 31, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Your post hit the nail on the head with me!! As I live in Australia, I noticed that some of your ingredients are different, i.e. collards. I think that when a recipe appeals to me, I’ll have to find an alternative. Also measurements …… so sometimes it might be a bit of a guessing game.

Watch this space…….wishing you a wonderful 2012, all the way from Western Australia.

Cheers – Andrea


17 Jude December 31, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Susan- Genius! I love soup this time of year and even find it hard to eat the one big salad I should. I’m in! I’m eating week old remnants of mix bean soup tonight. Hopefully it doesn’t hurt me ๐Ÿ˜‰


18 Debbie C December 31, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I’ve been working on developing a similar plan for the last week or so, I’m definitely in! I’m more of a McDougaller and my blood sugar can’t handle so much fruit, but your plan is definitely workable. Especially the “simple” part.


19 Sadie December 31, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I love you blog and your recipes! Our family has been vegetarian for 5 yrs. My husband and I have decided to commit to being vegan the year. This post is perfect for us. Count us in!! Thanks for the support.


20 Lily December 31, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I also have an awful sweet tooth. I am okay for a few weeks and then I go on a binge eating sugar every day. I am 68 yrs old a senior. I am going to review this Six Week eating plan and decide if I can do this. I have done so good in the past when I have been part of a group.


21 Nathalie December 31, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Count me in!


22 Shannon December 31, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I too have once again fallen to my addiction to sugar and carbs. A rough 2nd half to 2011 has led me astray (broken bones, death the family, etc., etc.). I know I need an intervention. I love ETL and have tried to follow his plan. Perhaps with your guidance, I too can break my addiction to the oh so yummy carb and sugar. I think giving up my agave nectar on my oatmeal may be one of the hardest things I will ever do. ๐Ÿ™
Thanks for sharing, I’m right where you are.
My one new years resolution will be to learn how to mono-task, which truly goes against my nature.
Thanks again for this post. I’m loving the having a huge pot of soup for the week.
Happy new years!


23 Melody December 31, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Thanks for the great post! I’ve been planning on cleaning up my diet for the new year and your plan outlines exactly what I want to do. It’s nice to know others will be doing the same. I really struggle with giving up sugar and will refer to your site for recipe inspiration.


24 Amy December 31, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I love this post – and need it. I’m making a list of both snack ideas and meal ideas to keep myself on track, but can always use more ideas and would love to see more of them here! Thanks for this post!


25 Michรจle Yarmus December 31, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I am a fan. I should have written to you long ago to thank you for your wonderful recipes and your witty comments. I always mention your name and website to anyone interested in tasty and healthy nutrition. Your New Year post pushed me to finally write to you and express my thanks for the past and the future. I needed to read your post to motivate me to get back with the program: After reading the China Study I decided to change my diet to a plant-food diet. I expanded my knowledge to reading books by Drs McDougall and Esselstyn. I completed the certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell. I lost 25 pounds when I switched to “no added fat”. I can relate to your sugar and flour addiction. I have gained back 3 pounds lately and I know why…I need to remove the sugar and flour which have found their way back into my diet. I agree with you when you emphasize the need for salads and veggies and soups and a repetitive pattern for breakfast and lunch. It did work for me in the past. But based on Dr McDougall’s and Esselstyn’s research, unprocessed starch (i.e potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice,beans) needs to be part of our diet so that we don’t feel hungry. I lost weight when I stopped using olive oil,eating nuts and avocados and ate starch. Dr McDougall recommends only 2 fruit per day to lose weight because of the high sugar content of fruit . Have you listened to the debate between Dr McDougall and Dr Fuhrman (“the food fight of the century” on his website)? It would be great to read your comments about starch versus food density…
Happy and healthy New Year to you and your family . I wish you success in achieving your healthy nutritional goals and I know that your recipes and thoughtful comments will keep me on the right path. Michรจle


26 MaryEllen December 31, 2011 at 9:26 pm

YES!! Love this post!! Thankyou… just what I need for January 1, 2012!


27 Cat December 31, 2011 at 9:33 pm

I started a vegan diet “cold tofurky” about 4 months ago for health reasons and my kidney function has improved dramatically since then (woohoo!). I am just getting to the point, though, that I’m running out of ideas for meals that sound inviting to me. I’m finding it difficult to crave a cold salad when it’s below freezing outside right now – unless maybe I could go out to eat every day! (Which isn’t in my budget… ) I don’t want to classify myself in that group of people who start something for the new year and don’t finish it. Since I’m already in this for the long haul, I need to learn to live with this on a daily basis. Looking forward to seeing your ideas and hearing your thoughts. Thanks for your blog and website – I’ve used many of your recipes already and have referred others to it who are trying to have a meatless meal at least once a week.


28 Tom December 31, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Thank you for your blog. I discovered it through the E2L Yahoo group. I’m just starting the Six Week Holiday Challenge and you have given me a lot of great tips.
Keep up the good work.


29 Kris December 31, 2011 at 10:00 pm

I’ve had a vegetable craving for a week now, but with all the cookies laying about, they’ve been so much easier to eat! So I have a pot of your bean and veg soup on the stove right now. I cleared out little bits of frozen veg that weren’t enough to do much with, and it smells AMAZING!

It’s made a huge pot, though, so I think I’ll be freezing 2-cup portions to have at lunch.

Thanks so much!


30 Karen Harris December 31, 2011 at 10:19 pm

I’m a definite believer in ETL, but like some others, I need some support to keep the program up. I would love to see more posts like this one and will check out the 6 week group on the web site.


31 alicia December 31, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Thank you for this post! it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, i’ve veered from my usual vegan/veggie diet the past month and eaten way too many sweets and pasta dishes. I plan on getting back to the basics starting tomorrow. i’ve always loved ur blog/recipes (the mexican lasagna being one of my favs) and am excited for the upcoming posts on your process. Have a Happy and Healthy New Year


32 Suzi December 31, 2011 at 10:26 pm

I was planning to start E2L when I return from my holiday travels this week- it’s great to see you are starting too! I need to lose some baby weight, and end a recently acquired sugar addiction! It’s great to see ideas on your blog.


33 Lily December 31, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Happy New Year. This veggie eating plan could not have come at a better time. I love veggies, but yet I find myself craving the darn sugar which I think of in forms of cookies, cakes, and pies. They say you eat what you think of all the time. I am cleaning house and getting rid of my trigger foods. I am making myself a pot of your soup. I found me a healthy “eating plan” and walking buddy. Also looking forward to getting suppost from all that are going to make this committment along with you. Susan, thank you for your help and I am looking forward to using your recipes to stay on track! The best to you and your family in the coming New Year


34 Dhyan Atkinson December 31, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Me too, Susan! I was looking up more salad recipes just today so I don’t get into a green salad, “I’m only eating rabbit food” rut! Found a great grapefruit/fennel salad for tomorrow! I’d be happy to join you on a 6 week quest for health! I look forward to more posts! Happy New Year! Dhyan in Boulder, CO


35 Zoa December 31, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Please *do* continue with this series! I’m doing something quite similar (ginormous salads and all but not following a set plan, even a rough one, at the moment), and look forward to your future posts. You are so right, sugar and simple starches are the push down that slippery slope…


36 Suzie Russell December 31, 2011 at 11:43 pm

I think you’re wonderful. I love your recipes – every single one I have tried over the last year has been fabulous. I am joining you in your cold-turkey sugar and flour addiction recovery. Soups rule!


37 Elisabetta January 1, 2012 at 1:58 am

Count me in, Susan! In this period I feel exactly the same, and it’s so reassuring I’m not the only one who exceed with sugar and carb… Thanks for sharing your thoughts. All the best for you and your family for 2012!


38 Annie January 1, 2012 at 2:58 am

Just looking at the remains of the Christmas/New Year festivities and thinking I really have to get a grip because some of those remains are hanging on to my hips right now! I have such a terrible bread addiction, and even though I eat a healthy vegan diet and work out at my gym regularly, the bread is doing me in. I swear it calls to me from the cupboards, and it’s made me gain close to 10lbs since around November. I over-eat it like mad when I start. I can’t even have rye crackers in the house – I will eat the whole box in one sitting if I put one in my mouth. If I didn’t work out I’d be even fatter, so I’m in! It’s nice to have the support. Here’s to 2012 – we can do it!!!


39 crabbylove January 1, 2012 at 5:12 am

Sounds like a great plan to start the new year off right. We follow a modified version of Dr. Fuhrman’s plan, too. Thanks so much for your blog and recipes, they have helped so much!


40 Debbie January 1, 2012 at 5:43 am

All I can say is thank you!!! My story sounds like yours-I started so well in October trying a plant based diet. It started as a 28 day experiment, however, I felt so much better that I decided to keep eating that way. I have definitely allowed sugar, flour and dairy to creep back in and am paying the price! I’ve been telling myself it’s time to get back on board and make the effort to eat right. So thank you, this is the jump start I needed!! I will be joining you on your journey!
Happy New Year, Susan!


41 Ilene January 1, 2012 at 6:37 am

Great first post for the New Year! I will enjoy following your plan because I love salads, soups and veggies and am always on the lookout for new, interesting and easy recipes.

In your plan, why do you say the veggies should be cooked? I don’t even like cooked cauliflower, and much prefer all my veggies uncooked, except the eggplant and maybe zukes.

I have no doubt you will succeed, and thanks for taking the rest of us on this new, exciting and healthy trip with you!


42 Shirley Peter January 1, 2012 at 7:07 am

Thanks, I am going to try this, with the exception of giving up olive oil.


43 gigi January 1, 2012 at 7:23 am

OK, I’m in! This is going to be a great way to start the year and to tackle those holiday pounds…ok, and a couple of “regular” pounds too! Good luck to everyone!


44 Alexandra January 1, 2012 at 7:24 am

I am in too; The last week of uncontrolled cookies and chocolate, is evidence that I must make amends. I like your listing of your weekly plan, and hope to try it too. Your other tips are also much appreciated.


45 Cindy January 1, 2012 at 7:54 am

Happy New Year ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been a fan & vegan for over a year now — my doc recommended your site to me. At dinner last night I was sharing with my sister and husband – I need to cut out the fat, sugar & starch and load up on my salads and veggies. My goal is to loose the 10 pounds I gained these last months. Reading your post confirms exactly what I need to do. Many thanks!


46 lea January 1, 2012 at 8:04 am

This is perfect! I was just reading about sugar and flour addictions and it describes me exactly. No more baking for a while ~ count me in!


47 Mari January 1, 2012 at 8:37 am

Perfect! I’m going for this diet in the forthcoming months! Thanks for sharing great recipes and inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚


48 Gena January 1, 2012 at 9:00 am

Susan, in spite of the fact that this is a resolution post, I want to personally thank you for discouraging “cleanses” and “detoxes,” and encouraging volume eating. The prevailing theme at this time of year is restriction, and it is so defeatist and so counter-productive. I wish you great luck as you battle your sugar and flour adversaries, but I also wish you heaps and loads of good food!


49 Susan Voisin January 1, 2012 at 9:53 am

Thanks, Gena! You make a good point about restrictions. As I wrote this, I concentrated on minimum amounts rather than maximums because i want to encourage eating an abundance of good foods without setting limits. I probably should include a note that if you are hungry, eat more of any of the foods on the Do Eat list. I don’t want people to feel they are depriving themselves, rather filling themselves with good, nutritious food.


50 Gena January 3, 2012 at 5:53 am

Agreed! The nice thing about the ETL style of weight loss/maintenance (or simple health improvement) is that it does tell you to eat as much of certain things as you can; no other plan to get fitter gives advice like that. Again, I appreciate that that is the message you’re sharing with readers!


51 Liz Ellis January 1, 2012 at 9:08 am

How do you feel about using spray oils in VERY controlled quantities?

I also follow a plant-based diet and am always looking for ways to make it healthier. Right now I use a little coconut oil spray in pans when I stir fry veggies. What do you think? Good? Bad? Neutral?

P.S. I LOVE your blog. I have been vegan for over a year now because of you! Thanks for your posts. I am always excited for the next one. May you have a blessed 2012 and may all your diet dreams and wishes come true ๐Ÿ™‚


52 Susan Voisin January 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

Liz, when I do use oil on a pan, I use a quick spray of pure olive or canola oil and then I wipe it off with a paper towel. That way the oil gets in the pores of the pan but doesn’t get into me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not a fan of coconut oil and have never used it.


53 Angela January 1, 2012 at 9:36 am

Thanks, Susan, for these inspiring tips and suggestions!! I did want to say that for me, these meal plans would not include enough protein to keep me satisfied. Don’t get me wrong–I think the average American consumes way more protein than needed, and I have been a vegan for 15+ years. But especially when trying to cut down on what I am eating, I need to include more protein in my vegan menus in order to feel satisfied. For example, if you just ate some oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, that would give you at most 10 grams of protein for the meal, depending on the serving size. I eat oatmeal every morning, but add 1-2 tablespoons of rice protein powder to boost the protein. I love the Ridiculously Easy Lentil and Vegetable Recipe, but a single serving of that just gives you (by your calculations) about 10 grams of protein. I think if you total up the total grams of protein in the menus you outline, the protein might come out to be 30-40 grams of protein. IMHO, that is just too little to keep your appetite under control and keep cravings at bay.

I’d be interested to hear if people have a different experience. I also find I need to add a potato or rice to a meal to feel full only when it contains a smaller (10-15 grams) amount of protein. I know when President Clinton was recently inteviewed about his new vegan eating, he said he started his day with a protein shake made from almond milk and 30+ grams of rice protein. Is it wrong to be relying on protein powder to boost protein? How to get more protein without eating too many servings then?

Thanks again for a great, blog, Susan, and Happy New Year also!


54 danielle January 1, 2012 at 10:15 am

I found this extremely helpful – thank you for this. I am really trying to change up my eating habits this year.


55 Jane January 1, 2012 at 10:22 am

I love this, and thank you for sharing your plan!


56 Lani Muelrath January 1, 2012 at 10:30 am

Michele, great timing on your reference to the ‘debate’ video clip between Drs. Fuhrman and McDougall. In February at the McDougall Advanced Study Weekend, these 2 are slated for an ‘official’ debate with none other than John Mackey (CEO WFM) moderating! I’ll be reporting in on same for those who can’t make it, so you can watch for that.

I think – and I also think they would agree – these guys are on the same page. Eliminate so many of the poisons and fat-promoting foods from our diets that are so unnecessary. Find the balance of green and yellow vegetables and starches, fruits and seeds that match your own health and body composition goals. 99% of the way there’s a match.

Congratulations on your progress and fresh starts for the new year!

Lani Muelrath


57 Ginger January 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I agree. They are on the same page. It’s apples and oranges or maybe beans and rice.


58 Michรจle January 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Hi Lani,
I can’t wait to read your report on “The Debate” since unfortunately I live too far to attend.
You are right in pointing out that they both agree on the main tenets of a plant-food diet. What I wanted to point out is that based on the research presented by Drs McDougall and Esselstyn I was convinced that starch (and no added fat) needs to be part of our daily diets so that after a meal we don’t feel hungry or deprived. Susan’s plan is great because it stresses that to be successful we need to be vigilant with the processed or high fat foods which find a way back on our plates and cause us to gain weight back. I also joined a Pilates studio 3 times a week and jogging twice a week. I hope this website and the readers’ comments will keep me motivated and that 2012 will be my healthiest….Michรจle


59 janet @ the taste space January 1, 2012 at 10:42 am

Hey Susan, I really think it is important that everyone figures out what works for them.. and obviously to keep those changes long-term! Kudos for talking about your struggles and sharing how you plan to tackle them.

Btw, I found the recent NY Times article really interesting when they talk about post-diet metabolism changes. Maintenance can be just as challenging as the initial weight loss.


60 Marilou Garon January 1, 2012 at 11:41 am

Yes, love this post! As everything else on this blog ๐Ÿ™‚ I do have a hard time with oil-free salads myself, and that is for me the biggest challenge. So I would personally love to have good fat-free salad dressings recipes, if anyone wants to share! Happy New Year to all.


61 Lani Muelrath January 1, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Marilou, what I’ve found to be a great salad dressing is either a really good balsamic vinegar or one that is infused with some ‘extras’. For example, I just picked up a good balsamic at a winery that is infused with fig concentrate, so it adds a little sweet.

You can also take lemon or lime juice and blend it up with a little bit of soaked dates which makes it very sweet. I find that I don’t get around to making more complex ‘fat free’ dressings so these are my go-tos! I’ve also got a fat-free viniagrette from Trader Joe’s that I use in a pinch.

You’ll also find that you can de-flavor yourself from oil on salads. I agree with you that that was one of the more challenging taste switches to make! But once you do it, and give it some time, when on some occasion you end up with some bites of salad with oil on it, it tastes greasy and you will have a special appreciation for the change that you’ve made.

Another trick is to roast a tiny amount of sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top. Honestly, a little goes a long way and gives you a deeeluxe flavor!

Your question is a good one – I may just utilize it as a quick blog post if you don’t mind!

Lani Muelrath


62 janet @ the taste space January 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I personally don’t like oily dressings, and this is my go-to fat-free dressing:


63 Susan Voisin January 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Marilou, check my salad dressings archives both here and at my website for some good oil-free dressings. Right now, I prefer dressings with either cashews or tahini in them, so they’re not really fat-free, but I use the least amount possible to flavor and thicken the dressing. But over on my main site, there are some good truly fat-free dressings. Please check them out!


64 Marilou Garon January 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Thank you, everyone! I now have lots of inspiring recipes that I will definitely try, although I still fear foregoing the fat! ๐Ÿ™‚


65 The Healthy Librarian January 1, 2012 at 11:47 am

Fantastic post, Susan!
The plan you’ve laid out works! Looking forward to your updates.

Thank you so much for included my blog as a resource in your post–I’m beyond flattered! You are the Fat-Free Diva/Maven!!

Best snack tip: as the popcorn comes out of the Hot-Air Popper, spray it with a fine mist of water & then sprinkle on the nutritional yeast, or whatever spice you like. That way it sticks & doesn’t get soggy.

My personal favorite is Bone-Sucking Sauce Seasoning & Rub–like eating Barbecue Potato Chips.

I swear I lose weight after a bowl of this stuff.

For more inspiration, follow the link to Dr. Esselstyn’s Medina, Ohio lecture (fabulous) & other interesting links in my New Year’s post:

The Sunday New York Times “Fat Trap” & “Why Lost Pounds Come Back”- It Misses the Mark! Forget the Genetic, Hormone, & Metabolic Excuses – Just Give Esselstyn Plant-Perfect a Try!

You rock, Susan!!!


66 Susan Voisin January 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Wow, what a great post, HL! Thanks for sharing it. I think you hit the nail on the head about the 500-calorie Optifast study that the article cited. That’s clearly unsustainable and a recipe for what I call “rebound weight”–you lose it only to regain it and more.

About the popcorn, this may sound weird but I like to spray mine with balsamic vinegar before sprinkling it with nutritional yeast. It makes it tangy and slightly salty and would probably go well with that bone-sucking seasoning.


67 The Healthy Librarian January 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Not weird at all! I’m going to try the balsamic spray–plus you get the extra anti-oxidant kick! You’re so smart, lady!!


68 Emily Soleil January 7, 2012 at 2:32 am

I was just going to post and ask how you get your nooch to stick to the popcorn, as that has been the one food that I have had trouble giving up the fat on (earth balance and salt) but the misting sounds like it’s worth a try. Do you mist and sprinkle as it pops out of the air popper, or wait until it’s all popped and spray and sprinkle?


69 Susan Voisin January 7, 2012 at 9:02 am

Yes, though I have to admit that I have a microwave popper, not an actual air popper. I pour it into a bowl, misting and sprinkling a bit at a time so it all gets covered.


70 janey January 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I just checked out your post on the hummus salad (which I’m going to make right away, well after I make the Spicy Collards and Black-eyed Pea Soup) and was delighted to see you used a Corelle 2 qt. serving bowl. I’ve been using one for a few months now and find it’s the perfect size for a big main dish salad, the big honkin’ kind! I’m always on the lookout for a prettier dish just for a change of scenery, but they’re all either too heavy or too small or just not shaped right for a salad, but the Corelle is perfect. By the way, I’ve been following Dr. Fuhrman’s eating plan since his Holiday Challenge in Nov. 2010 and I’ve never felt better in my life (and lost a ‘ton’ of weight so far). It’s literally given me my life back. I’ve never been more satisfied with the food I eat, and I actually crave salads now which is amazing to me. I hope many of your readers give it a try and get to experience the benefits of a high nutrient diet for themselves.


71 Susan Voisin January 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I still use that Corelle bowl! Like you said, it’s just the right size, shape, and weight. Congrats on regaining your health on Dr. Fuhrman’s plan. I remember that craving for salad and look forward to getting back to it!


72 Ginger January 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Funny…I use that size for my salads, too.


73 ermom January 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Thank you, Susan, for the inspiration! My husband and I are 60 and 57, and followed Dr. Ornish’s diet for the week after Thanksgiving to help us eliminate some of our blood pressure and cholesterol medications. If I hadn’t stumbled upon your site, we would certainly have given up and headed back into our old eating habits. You make this new lifestyle a fun and interesting change, without feeling isolated and deprived! I love reading your posts and those of your readers. Keep experimenting for those of us new to it all!!


74 Izzy January 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm

To some people, I know that Salads seem so basic… but to me, they’re so difficult to figure out.

People say, “add whatever vegetables you’d like,” but I’d love more salad “recipes.” I’d also love to see more “meal” ideas. You’ve got breakfast recipes, but most of them include grains and I’m trying to move away from them as much as possible. ๐Ÿ™‚


75 Jennifer January 1, 2012 at 1:06 pm

What a great way to start off the new year, bright & healthy! I’d definitely like to use your plan as a base, because I think it’s a very good summary of how we should be eating. I have ~35 lbs I’d like to lose (have lost 13 already) and I think this will be great! Looking forward to your upcoming posts.


76 Diane January 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Yes I can and will join you in the 6 week plan. I can do it except my downfall in the salad dressing…..I dislike most all tofu dressings. Can I use the dressing you have listed on your salad dressing site like the tahini and the others since tahini is considered fat, or is the idea just to drop the oil like evoo and canole and such? If so, I can probably do that but I do love oil dressings. Please come up with great tasting salad dressings that aren’t made with fruit as I dislike fruity dressings….I like the kind that clings to the leaves and has FLAVOR or am I just kidding myself with that? Thanks so much. Diane


77 Susan Voisin January 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Diane, you can definitely use the tahini and cashew dressings–I do! I’m going to be posting a recipe in a few days for my thick, creamy ranch-like dressing made with cashews (not too many) and non-dairy milk. In the meantime, check out my Low-Fat Tahini and Chickpea Dressing which contains no tofu.


78 Ann January 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I had devised this exact plan in my mind as my approach for the new year. I have done well on the ETL program in the past, but wanted to tweak it some to reduce the nuts a bit and increase the whole grains just a little. I thank you for summarizing it so well and I am thankful to have some support on this journey.



79 Paula January 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I loved this post. I want to eat healthy, but need really simple one pot dinners. I’ve borrowed a few recipes from the McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook. I would love to see more simple recipes that are super short on time since I seem to have less and less of that. I am looking to kick the sugar/flour habit too as I share the exact issues you have with them. With my all or nothing attitude I’ve got to handle it accordingly. My husband will often ask how can I consume something that will make be over-indulge and ill over and over again? I have no answer. Please keep us posted on how this KISSS challenge goes.


80 Hannah January 1, 2012 at 3:16 pm


I first found your blog when I became vegan on the Eat-to-Live diet, going cold-turkey (soon to be Tofurkey) from a sickly omni diet. Your blog saved me in a lot of ways; through it, you’ve taught me not only how to cook but also how to enjoy being vegan and healthy. That was nearly four years ago, and I’m still a healthy veg, and you’re still my all-time favorite blogger.

I just want you to know how much you’ve influenced my life; though I rarely comment on posts, I check your blog almost daily, and have cooked (and been inspired by) more of your recipes than anyone else’s. You might not know it, but you’ve really supported me over these years, and I can’t express enough appreciation for that.

Good luck with your whole food renewal–I’ll be reading and cooking along with you!

Happy 2012, and cheers.


81 Susan Voisin January 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Hannah, your comment brought tears to my eyes. Thank you! I’m so happy to have been a help to you! I wish you continued health and success in the new year.


82 Anna January 1, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I’m trying to figure out a better and healthier way to eat as well. The trouble I have with salads is that I believe in seasonal and local eating and living in England that means that traditional salad ingredients are only available about 3 months of the year. I could use cabbage (I get a ton of it in the organic vegetable box we get) but I think it would be incredibly boring and besides cabbage and kale every few weeks we don’t see a lot of other greens all winter as they don’t grow here (our vegetables are grown about 10 miles from where we live!).

I tried ETL years ago and it did work for me but I am now feeding an 8 year old and a 4 year old and they won’t get enough calories eating that way (or be willing to eat that way for long!) so I am trying to figure out how to make nutritious meals that give them all the calories they need, less calories for me and the nutrition we all need, I feel a headache coming on!

I’m looking forward to seeing how you get on and the ideas you post, best of luck!


83 Renee HN January 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm

I’m in, all in. Perfect timing and I won’t be a silent partner.


84 Beth January 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Thanks for putting this up. We all can use more help to get healthy. I know for me I blew it over the holidays. And I did so well last holiday season. I guess you can never let your guard down. It helps me to stay on track of my own vegan diet. I only started 1 year ago. I have messed up a few times but I keep on picking myself up and starting all over again. I love your site and it helps me to eat vegan when I didn’t even have a clue how to do this a year ago – Thank you!


85 sandy January 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Sounds like you’ve been reading up on Dr Fuhrman! EAT TO LIVE!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚


86 Erin January 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm

What a great post! I have also decided to eat healthier after a several-month-long Holiday indulgence. Although I plan on eating more starch and less nuts and seeds (a la McDougall), I love your idea of eating more, bigger salads. For me, I think this will be a chopped up head of romaine every day, along with lots of veggies and balsamic vinegar! I like that your plan also has a healthy balance of raw and cooked foods! Excellent. This is going to be a great year!


87 Carrie (Carrie on Vegan) January 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm

So glad you’ve re-committed to health, Susan, and you’re doing it the right way! I’m a fellow “Fuhrmanite” and I’m also on a journey to take charge of my health, one day, one salad, one bean at a time. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve already made a lot of progress and now I’m in the fine-tuning stages. I’m also a former English major with an MBA but now I’m pursuing a graduate degree in public health nutrition and finishing up the coursework to be an RD. I love nutrition that much. Good luck and best wishes for a healthy, happy new year!


88 Meridith January 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Awesome post Susan! I’m looking forward to following you on your journey. I eat my salads out of a medium mixing bowl. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like to eat heated beans and brown rice on my salad – so filling and delicious with a simple salsa for dressing. I must say, though, I’m REALLY looking forward to your ranch dressing recipe! Thank you, as always, for everything you do. It is very much appreciated.


89 Teresa January 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I am a recovering compulsive eater, recovering in Overeaters Anonymous. I have been abstinent from compulsive eating since 7/19/1990. I am also vegan since 4/9/2007. I enjoy everything I eat, but don’t eat everything I like. I abstain from those foods that I can’t or don’t want to eat in moderation. But as a result, I am free from the physical craving for and mental obsession with those foods. That freedom is priceless. I encourage people to check out OA’s website at I am always happy to share my experience, strength and hope with anyone who would like to find that same freedom.


90 Tamara January 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Thank-you for this post. Exactly what I was looking for.


91 Audrey Q January 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Susan, what a great post for the start of a new year! I love your soup and salad suggestions and I’ll be joining you in KISSS this winter. I’m also sure that I can adapt a lot of these recipes for the slow cooker, which will take the stress out of meal prep in the evening/afternoon when the little guy is home from school.

Your website is my favorite resource to give out.


92 moonwatcher January 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Bravo for keeping it whole and simple, Susan, and spelling it out here the way you do, and for all the great references, which I mine regularly. I’m on the same general page. I support you all the way!!

Happy New Year!!




93 Elizabeth @ January 2, 2012 at 6:22 am

I’m with you on this but one question about oils. I love the taste of roasted veggies and I’m used to drizzling a little olive oil on them before roasting in my oven. Do you roast veggies without oil? Just plain? Or do you use something else?


94 Susan Voisin January 2, 2012 at 8:46 am

I give vegetables a quick spray of olive oil when I roast them because I think it helps them cook. But I know others who roast them completely oil-free, which is what I would do if I had heart disease or some other medical reason not to eat any oil.


95 Lori January 2, 2012 at 8:18 am

I’m right there with you, Susan. I’ll join the yahoo group. I use your recipes routinely to help me stay plant strong. I fell off track in Oct., and sugar and flour have crept back into my diet. Now, I’m back to basis, using Fuhrman’s plan and your recipes:)


96 Janel January 2, 2012 at 9:12 am

I’m totally with you on the KISSS plan for 2012! When I get away from the dirty duo (sugar and flour), I just feel cleaner inside and out. My goals this year are to get totally off sugar including my recent relapse into cola, and get moving again.

Happy, Healthy 2012!


97 Francesca January 2, 2012 at 10:27 am

I am in. ๐Ÿ™‚


98 Robyn January 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Thank you so much for posting this to remind me of my own goals. I have very similar issues with flour and sugar and recently decided to to recommit to ETL. I have successfully used it in the past along with the great recipes from your blog to eat well. I’m looking forward to getting back on track! Thanks again!


99 VeganFaery January 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Hey Susan! Glad to see you’re ready to improve your health and not just the health of your many readers.

I’ll join you!


100 Jared January 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Hi Susan, these are some really great tips. I am excited about taking control over my eating habits and embracing more green choices for the future. I love the idea of bulking up a salad with beans and seeds as well as a great dressing — it makes a salad truly versatile and enjoyable!


101 Sue January 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I just finished reading Eat to Live and am excited to see how your plan is aligned to Dr. Fuhrman’s program. I am trying to change our diet over to this plan since my husband’s heart attack in November. Having others working toward the same goal is encouraging. I look forward to following your blog!


102 Vickie January 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Just made your Spicy Collards and Black-eyed Pea Soup, delicious! My husband said this is definitely a keeper. The spice was great . We’ve made the eat the Rainbow Black Bean Soup also, another keeper. Thank you for all the tasty recipes you post.


103 Mark January 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Sure hope this works out for you, it seems like a reasonable and healthy diet, although personally, I’d have trouble doing no grains! I’m also a “generally fruit” in the morning person and try to have a major salad with raw veggies every couple of days.

I’ve lost some 22 lbs. over the past few months. First 7 from stress in July over my cookbook, the next 15 from using a treadmill periodically.

Finally broke down and bought one (weather get’s pretty bad here so walking isn’t always a viable option). I don’t run on it, but I do a brisk walk and have it setup so I can watch stuff on TeeVee or one of my computers while I work out.

Side benefit is that it does help reduce some stress.

Hang in there! As always, best regards…. Mark


104 Susan Voisin January 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Thanks, Mark! I’m not doing without grains, though. My body likes its daily servings of rice and quinoa.

Good luck with the book. I can’t wait to see it!


105 Marie January 2, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Hi! I am new to your site and thoroughly enjoy it and thank you for all it contains. I have used it for recipe ideas. I have been doing fat free plant based nutrition now for a year , not good on consistent cooking as I live by myself, but have been getting some good ideas from your content and posts. Just appreciate the work this must be for you!!!


106 Janet H January 2, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I’m in. Love eating this way!!!


107 neca January 3, 2012 at 9:09 am

Awesome ideas and a great way to jog my memory on some of the terrific recipes on your site!


108 Jan T January 3, 2012 at 10:54 am

Hi Susan,

First, thanks for doing all the experimenting for me…lol. I love to cook, tweak recipes and have been following Esselstyn’s plan for the better part of the last year.

Regarding your struggle with salt: I sub with the sea vegie Dulse (tremendous iodine supplement ) and sometimes No Salt when I need larger amounts such as in stews etc. Have you tried either?

Also….I use Stevia for all baking and sweetening in general…can’t remember the last time I used real sugar!

Thanks again for your great blog (and photos)…it’s inspired some great meals that help to satisfy my stubborn ominvore partner!


109 Mandy January 3, 2012 at 11:27 am

I like eat to live a lot, and while I don’t follow it exactly, most of my meals do. But I think dates are actually allowed. You shouldn’t go crazy on them, but Dr. Furhman uses them in the recipes in his book.


110 Bill Kranker January 3, 2012 at 11:55 am


I saw many of the posts that requested some good salad dressing recipes. I recently purchased an e-book that had many healthy salad dressing recipes in it. It was from Frederic Patenaude who is big in the low fat raw food movement. the site is at:
They looked pretty good and were mostly very low in fat.

Also, I really love beans but have given them up as they have been causing me some digestive problems. I ran across this article from Swayze Foster that explains why:

Beans, beans, avoid them for good!

Beans and other legumes are usually viewed as a “good for
you” food.

Kidney beans, black beans pinto beans, lima beans, lentils,
chickpeas, split peas, black-eyed peas and other legumes are
praised for being good sources of protein, low in fat and
calories, and cholesterol-free.

But…all of these foods are eaten cooked, usually baked or

So then what about RAW beans? Can they be consumed when raw?
Should they be?

Beans, Beans, The Musical Fruit

There are many versions of this schoolyard rhyme, but
here’s the one I remember…

“Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So eat your beans with every meal!”

Poetry. Sheer poetry!

In all seriousness, this silly song speaks the toot…I
mean, truth. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Back when I ate a cooked vegan diet high in grains and
legumes (hummus and falafel were two of my favorite snacks),
I was pootin’ and tootin’ up a storm. And it definitely
wasn’t music to my ears nor did it smell like roses!

But the big question is why? Why do beans and other legumes
make us so gassy?

Many legumes contain oligosaccharides, a complex sugar.
Because humans do not posses the enzymes necessary to break
down this sugar, these large molecules are able to pass
through your digestive system mostly intact.

Once the sugars reach your large intestine, they ferment in
the presence of bacteria there and cause gas.

Another reason beans are associated with tummy upset is
actually not because of the beans themselves. Since beans
are so bland and unappealing on their own, they are
typically accompanied by condiments, oils, and other foods
to add flavor and texture.

For instance, chili, hummus, and falafel all contain beans,
but they are also high in fat (e.g. oils, meat, and cheese).
In addition, these foods are typically consumed with high
carbohydrate foods like bread, corn chips, crackers, etc.

This meal of cooked fat and sugar makes for a very poor food
combination that will likely cause gas and bloating.

Finally, the presence of lectins in legumes results in
serious intestinal upset. But we’ll get to that in a

Phytohemagglutinin, Linamarin, and Hydrocyanic Acid! Oh My!

In addition to being difficult to digest, beans and many
other legumes are also quite toxic.

For instance, kidney beans (particularly the red variety)
contain phytohemagglutinin (PHA). PHA is an incredibly
harmful lectin, a class of proteins that bind to certain
sugars. Like all lectins, PHA is a naturally-occurring
pesticide that protects the seed of the plant (i.e. the
bean) from being eaten by predators.

So what does PHA do to you? It damages the lining of the
intestinal tract. Your body’s response? Prolonged vomiting
and diarrhea.


As a result, kidney beans MUST be boiled (which reduces the
level of PHA they contain) to make them edible. And
actually, many other commonly consumed beans also contain
this lectin, just in smaller amounts. Green beans and fava
beans are two examples.

Lima beans, especially the darker varieties, are another
particularly poisonous legume. They contain linamarin, a
cyanogenic glucoside.

So what’s so bad about this cyanogenic
whatever-you-call-it? According to Wikipedia:

“Upon exposure to enzymes and gut flora in the human
intestine, linamarin and its methylated relative
lotaustralin can decompose to the toxic chemical hydrogen

What’s hydrogen cyanide? It’s an extremely poisonous
chemical compound!

Finally, ALL legumes (like grains) contain lots of lectin.
While not all lectins are as harmful as PHA, they do bind to
the lining of your intestines and cause intestinal damage
when consumed in high amounts.

This results in compromised absorption of any and all
nutrients that pass through your intestines and can even
lead to leaky gut syndrome.

Beans, Beans, They’re Yucky to Boot!

Imagine, if you will, a plate of cooked kidney beans.
That’s it, just beans. No salt. No spices. Nothing but

Um, eww?

There’s a reason no one sits down to a bowl of beans. Just
like grains, beans are bland and unappetizing unless mixed
with condiments or other flavorful foods.

And what about raw beans? Even worse, right?! Not only are
they bland, but they’re tough and virtually impossible to
digest when raw.

There’s a reason that the few raw foodists who do consume
raw beans only do so after soaking them for several hours in

The Bottom Line on Beans

Raw beans are not a health food. They are hard to digest,
toxic, and completely unpleasant in their whole, raw state.

The simple fact that beans and other legumes must be soaked,
cooked, and covered in condiments to be enjoyed is a sure
sign that they are not an optimal food for humans.

Go raw and be bean-less,



111 Barb January 3, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I’m in! I’ve been sidelined with a bone bruise on my foot, and being unable to exercise has allowed that sneaky holiday weight gain to, well… sneak up on me. This will be my way of fighting back!


112 Darby January 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Awsome – Late to the game, but count me in ! Been vegan since November 1, 2011 and it has made all the difference. This is for me – for life. Peace to all.


113 Carolyn Burnoski January 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I am so grateful for your website! I have been to the McDougall program and am grateful that there are so many more recipes and cookbooks. I have , however also gained weight and love the idea of as much support as I can get. Love the addition of other websites. I do have a problem though–menu planning. Any suggestions? I put together a menu, buy the stuff (which is not cheap) and then I’m out or get home late etc, etc, etc. A lot goes to waste. Help!!!


114 liz January 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm

thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this! I have complete faith in the ETL approach, but it can be difficult to maintain without support. i appreciate all the recipes, salad ideas, etc. it’s go time!


115 Deborah Harvey January 4, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I’ve been looking for some great recipes, and your do look great, so I can’t wait to them. I have changed my eating habits over the last 4 years and have lost 70 lbs., but I’ve been stuck at the same weight for about a year now, and I need to lose 50 more lbs. My husband and I just watched Forks Over Knives, and we are now convinced to rid our diet entirely of animal foods. The people in the video lost weight and improved their health in such a short amount of time–it is really inspiring. Thanks for the recipes to help us get started!


116 Randy January 5, 2012 at 6:22 am

Great vegan blog!


117 Jess January 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Super excited to start eating gigantic salads! Can’t wait for the new ranch dressing you’ll be putting out soon–hint, hint ๐Ÿ™‚


118 Katrina January 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm

I’m starting a modified Eat 2 Live 6 week plan for the new year. (I’m keeping salt and one cup of coffee a day.) So, I’m totally going to do this with you!


119 Lex January 6, 2012 at 12:56 am

Your blog is my favorite in the world, but our brain, most organs, all muscles only run on starch and any attempt to limit is the vegan atkins diet and it never works long term. Cravings for sugar/vegan ice cream after meals means our body’s hunger receptors were never switched off by starch. Try to overeat a plain bowl of rice or baked potatoes to witness it firsthand.


120 Michรจle January 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I totally agree with you. I love Susan’s blog, recipes and plan for the New Year but as a true McDougaller I am convinced that starch must be part of our diet if we are to be successful . Susan’s plan helped me to refocus on having big salads everyday with no oil dressing. I always cook vegetables with dinner but in the past I got lazy about making a salad every day. The stress on salads is what I needed to make 2012 my healthiest year by having the right balance between starch, raw and cooked foods.Wishing you, Susan and all the readers success in improving our health in the new year.


121 Orsolya January 6, 2012 at 10:19 am

Great post Susan! I believe in this plan and am joining you in eating for better health. I have the same sugar/flour addiction as you mention and have tried so many things to get over it. I am hoping this plan will help change what I crave the most:) Thanks!


122 Mia J January 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I hope this means more soup recipes. I can never have too many soup recipes ๐Ÿ˜‰ Loved the post, I’m going to try KISSS for sure!


123 Me January 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Hmmm…It says Get Healthy but it seem like a waste of vital nutrients. Most of it sounded good then I got to the No oils. I’m not eating salad without olive oil.

Consider this:
“A study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that dietary fat is necessary for the absorption of nutrients from fruits and vegetables. In the study, people who consumed salads with fat-free salad dressing absorbed far less of the helpful phytonutrients and vitamins from spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and carrots than those who consumed their salads with a salad dressing containing fat.”


124 Susan Voisin January 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I would comment, but you obviously didn’t read the post.


125 Izzy January 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm

This cracked me up.


126 js January 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Me too. ๐Ÿ™‚


127 SherryM January 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Thank you so much Susan! I am definitely going to give this a try and I have loved every single one of your recipes I have cooked for my family. Any thoughts on how to deal with bread cravings?


128 Susan Voisin January 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Bread cravings are tough, as I’m finding. My best suggestion is to keep any bread out of sight. Whenever I see it, it sets off my cravings, but so far I’ve managed to stay on-track by grabbing a piece of fruit or a bowl of seasoned chickpeas.


129 Teresa Shields January 6, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Dear Susan,
Just love your site and have used many of your recipes the last 6 weeks. My husband and I started following Dr. Esselstyn’s vegan eating plan just after Thanksgiving and we both are loving the vegan life style.
Many people think that this way of eating is such a restriction but to me it is a freedom and the door is open to the most wonderful and delicious foods imaginable.
For us it was all or nothing and when we started this we went through our fridge and cupboards and gave everything away and started fresh. We do not eat meat, fish, eggs, dairy, oils or nuts except a few walnuts occasionally. Your site I found when searching for vegan soups and I so appreciate your creativity… Thank you and I look forward to a new year with healthy and happy eating… Sincerely, Teresa Shields


130 Julee January 8, 2012 at 11:31 am

I tried the Hummus Salad last night…so good! I can’t believe I didn’t think of putting Hummus on my salads a long time ago! I’m going to try the Black Bean Pineapple Soup this week…that sounds really good to me!


131 Danielle January 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Oh Susan!! How on earth did you know exactly what I needed! I too struggle with a sugar and flour addiction and have finally decided that I need to stop giving in and get it under control (again). I’m about a week late in joining the party, but I think following along will help me out tremendously rather than just telling myself I need to juice more (which, I do regardless). Looking forward to this adventure with you!


132 wen January 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm

no dates??? how to prepare dessert???


133 Susan Voisin January 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm

I’m eating only unsweetened fruit for dessert during this first 6 weeks. Later, there will be dates. ๐Ÿ™‚


134 Joyce January 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I have been eating fat-free vegan for months, until my son came home from college for Christmas break and just HAD to go to all of his favorite restaurants. I completely fell off the wagon and feel so much worse — physically; I’m trying very hard not to get into a guilt spiral as well — that I plan on following the plan you laid out to help me get back on track.

A question about bread: this is not a deal-breaker for me, thank goodness, but what about breads and tortillas made with sprouted grains?


135 Susan Voisin January 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Sprouted grain products are definitely a better choice than regular ones. I think that if they don’t cause cravings or overeating, they should be fine. Good luck!


136 Nora January 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm


Sorry if this is long, but I had two questions for you. I’m starting again on E2L after a brief fast and wondered if you usually use the boxed veg broth b/c of the high sodium content, or if it would be better to just slowly cook some raw veggies (carrot/onion/celery, etc) in spring water, then immersion blend them up and let that suffice for the broth? I personally love how the packaged organic broth enhances veg/bean soups, but feel guilty about the salt :*) Should I?

Secondly, while fasting and changing my cravings more toward healthier foods I am absolutely obsessed with finding a healthy, E2L-friendly version of Thai Fresh Spring Rolls and a healthy dipping sauce. Would those even work b/c of the rice paper used? Or is that still too processed? I love the idea of having a portable salad with these, but would need them to be sugar, salt, fat, and gluten-free. Impossible? Any ideas? Thanks so much for your help. I LOVE your blog and all the work you’ve done. Be blessed!


137 Susan Voisin January 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Nora, I think that making your own broth is always a healthier option. The reason those broths in boxes taste so good is that they’re loaded with salt and sometimes even MSG. Now, having said that, I do still use them and veggie bouillon at times. It’s one of the compromises that I make to get dinner on the table every night of a busy life. ๐Ÿ™‚

The rice paper is processed, but to me it’s not an unhealthy food, especially since you can fill it with lots of fresh veggies. I would just count them into your daily grain/starch allowance and not rely on them too often. I have a recipe for some on the blog that isn’t salt or sugar-free, but you could use it as a base to make your own: . Good luck!


138 js January 15, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I have found a couple of brands of salt-free vegan broth cubes that I always keep in my cabinet for emergencies of the I-have-to-make-soup-out-of-whatever-the-heck-is-in-the-fridge variety.


139 Pam Fulton January 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Susan….I’m in!! I am going to start this tomorrow!! We also will start walking too. Love your site…thanks for the recipes.


140 LaShanna B January 9, 2012 at 9:09 am


My husband and I want to start this plan today.
I’m wondering if this is written more towards women? Should I double some of the amounts for my husband such as amounts of nuts and beans? It just seems a little light for a man.




141 Susan Voisin January 9, 2012 at 9:17 am

The beans amount is just a minimum, so everyone, men and women, should eat as much as needed to satisfy hunger. A man could probably double the amount of nuts and seeds, and could go even higher than that if he doesn’t need to lose weight and doesn’t have heart problems.


142 patti January 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I have been reading your blog and using your recipies for a few years now and love it. I have gotten off track the last 3 months and am ready to get back on. I have felt a huge difference in my energy and overall general health. Looking forward to new recipies and a healthy 2012! Thanks for all the great tips ๐Ÿ™‚


143 jls43 January 10, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Missed this post first time, but it came along just in time to get me back on the bandwagon. I only gained 2 lbs over the holiday (after losing almost 12) but they are not coming off as easily as I would like. I am also straying a bit from what I know what works – lowfat vegan – so this is just what I need. Time to get cooking again!!


144 Juanita January 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Just wanted you to know we have thoroughly enjoyed your Hidden Cashew Valley Ranch. I put chili powder, cumin and red pepper chili flakes for a southwest flair and we put it on our hamburger buns with your fantastic Red Bean burgers. Can’t rave enough about how satisfying this was.
Thank you!


145 Annie January 17, 2012 at 12:48 am

I just want to tell you that I love what you write and I love the recipes you share. I’m with you all the way on eating KISSS. I really appreciate your leadership.


146 Robin Reagler January 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I’m trying this with you. Also just wanted to say thank you. Your blog is wonderful. I’ve been following for years and never showed my appreciation. I kinda think of you as a supportive friend! Robin


147 vittoria January 22, 2012 at 3:45 am

I like this post, thank you!!!


148 Linda Ross January 22, 2012 at 7:04 pm

My husband and I just started this health journey after prostate cancer. Thank you for this web sight.


149 Holly @ My Plant Based Family January 23, 2012 at 10:11 am

I’m not following the KISS plan but I am eating a vegan diet that excludes a lot of the same things. I just posted my Meal Plan for the week. Like I said not KISS approved but maybe some ideas.


150 sage January 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Hey Susan!
Congratulations and I commend you for setting your intentions for yourself and acting upon what you’d like your life to look like. Beautiful!
I can so relate, and I’ve made the same changes in my life as well – all the good natural stuff, to keep me in balance. I just wanted to share with you that the one thing I’ve discovered that has helped me kick my cravings for sugar (says the QUEEN of sugar addiction) and lose weight (I was stuck at the same weight for 2 years even with trying everything) was to incorporate more healthy fats in my diet. I had it in my head from my dieting days that fat was bad. Strangely enough, making sure that I have plenty of nuts, almond butter, olive oil, flaxseed oil, flaxseed, and avocados, in combination with lots of greens, vegetables, and legumes, has kicked my sugar cravings out the window the way I never could before. Just wanted to share my experience, wishing you best of luck on your journey!


151 Tash February 14, 2012 at 4:20 am

when i was growing up, in summer when mum and me made the salads we always added pineapple, apple, orange to our summer salads (mainly because australia is so hot so this keep us hydrated along with eating lots of watermelon during the day) for a really yummy dressing we would mix apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, fresh squeezed lemon and just the tiniest bit of salt and pepper (really not needed though) this is the best salad vinegarette and all the flavours are so good together, …. another favourite is cutting come cucumber adding a little hommus and some pineapple (so i use the cucumber lil little crackers) yummy ๐Ÿ˜€

As for salt in gerneral, i only use a lil in my cooking to get the right flavours, but nothing more, i don’t actually like the taste of salt myself, and it dehydrates me to quickly.


152 Shirley February 22, 2012 at 9:13 am

How would you define a starter salad? same contents as the mega salad just smaller? Do you include avocados and or olives in either the mega or starter salad.


153 Susan Voisin February 22, 2012 at 9:23 am

Yes, the starter salad is just a smaller version of the mega salad (I usually made a big salad to share with my family). About avocadoes, I try to use one form of fat in a salad, either nuts, avocado, or a nut-based dressing. So if I use a cashew dressing, I don’t include nuts or avocado. I don’t use olives because they’re so salty.


154 Shirley February 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Do you omit the beans in the starter salad? I am trying to gauge portion size to aim for would you say about half the size of the mega salad?


155 Susan Voisin February 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Yes, if I’m eating it as part of a meal that contains protein, I leave the beans off the salad. I would guess that it would be about 2-3 cups of lettuce and then add to that tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. I usually fill up about 1/3 of my plate with salad, 1/3 with whatever main dish (often beans and rice), and 1/3 with a cooked vegetable like asparagus or broccoli. Then I feel free to go back for a second helping of everything.


156 Shirley February 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

157 Lara March 3, 2012 at 10:03 am

Hello All! I’m making a commitment to follow this program starting today! Thank you Susan for you that you do for us! Bless you!

Lara in CA


158 debbie January 1, 2013 at 10:39 am

This sounds great. I’ve been a healthy eater for many, many years and have adopted the low fat vegan approach for about the past year. I have lost weight and feel great! I am not hungry and not often tempted by unhealthy foods although I have had some over the holidays. I am probably somewhere in between Fuhrman and McDougall. I eat less salad and in the winter I only eat one piece of fruit a day in the winter as this works for me. Thanks for your wealth of info and support!!!


159 Andrea January 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Great plan!!! I recently started a fb page to give super simple ideas to eat more fruits and vegetables. For me fruits, and specially dates helped me to overcome my chocolate addiction. And gluten has this thing that makes us eat about 500 cals more per day, it makes us hungrier among many other side effects. So, definitively going gluten free is one of the best things to do, but gluten free doesn’t mean I’m going to start replacing flour with gluten free flour or I’m going to start buying all this processed stuff, no it means replacing it with more fruits and vegetables ๐Ÿ™‚


160 Lisa January 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I am starting a 21 day cleanse tomorrow and this plan will be a good support with the soup recipes you have! So happy to have seen this today on Facebook! Love your recipes.

I too have been eating well and lost a lot of weight but once the Holidays hit in November I got into some old, bad habits such as sugar, bread and coffee. I am actually looking forward to eliminating them again. Luckily, I did not give up exercising or the pounds would have really piled on!


161 Ainsley January 8, 2013 at 7:54 am

I swear, finding your blog has been the BEST thing I’ve found in a long, long time. I never use recipe books anymore, since everything I make from your site has been freakishly delicious! Now, this eating plan is going to be part of my life. I honestly cannot thank you enough.


162 Katharine in Brussels January 26, 2013 at 6:28 am

Hi Susan! Thanks for this. I just kept KISSS in mind as my central portion of calories but allowed myself to veer from it daily, yet I’ve lost 2kg out of 10 in two weeks since beginning my NYR ๐Ÿ™‚ + kettlebells 25″ x 3/wk + my usual bike commuting which was not taking off the baby weight. I eat chocolate every day (this is Belgium). When I tried a diet to take off a kilo/week it was too restrictive and I was ready to quit. Shooting for just under a pound/week and I’m alright, so the diet plan is working. Just finished my big lunch salad of tempeh bac’n over a standard salad. Tonight it’s lentil soup with winter veg. Thanks so much for your tips.


163 Susan Voisin January 26, 2013 at 9:19 am

That’s so terrific, Katharine! Congratulations! ๐Ÿ˜€


164 mabatmaroochy September 17, 2013 at 6:01 pm

This is an amazing site, and you are incredibly giving. Thank you so much. 6 days ago I decided enough was enough – even though I am already Vegan and don’t drink coffee, I am still overweight. I started just eating fruit, vegies, whole grains and cold-turkey gave up wheat, sugar and oil and tea. I didn’t even know about this post, was looking for ‘fat-free vegan’ recipes and remembered about your site. That you had already done the same thing was so helpful! After excrutiating headaches for 3 days, I now feel so much better. Again, thank you for all the time and effort you put into giving so much information to people. We are the same age (I think), on different sides of the planet, and I don’t know how you do it.


165 Ainsley November 14, 2013 at 8:30 am

Hi Susan!! Can you PLEASE do a KISSS challenge again? I love your site and make almost all my meals from here, it would be so amazing if I could use the recipes and be a part of the FFV community to do this eating plan.

Your devoted fan,


166 Jos December 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm

I love your newsletter. Count me in – I don’t want to lose weight, but I love to follow you in this easy KISSS plan. Sounds easy and very feasible as I cook only for myself. A little bit of exercise added in and I will be the New Fit Queen for the new year. Thanks Susan. Best Wishes for a Happy New Year for you and your family.


167 Cara O'Sullivan December 29, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I like your plan and it’s very timely. It dovetails with my plan to do the ETL 6-week challenge. I find I “behave” if I can have some sort of healthy starch besides beans to help me feel satisfied. Your plan strikes me as a smart blend of Dr. McDougal (starchivore) and Dr. Fuhrman (nutritarian). Thanks for posting this.


168 Theresa R. December 30, 2013 at 10:22 am

Thanks for posting this! I’m a newer visitor to your site and love everything about it. Your information, philosophy and recipes will go a long way toward helping me with my commitment to a healthier life. Happy New Year!!


169 Alison January 2, 2014 at 12:14 pm

SO excited to start this with you!!!!!
Thank you so much for doing all the prep work.
I follow you on FB and have always enjoyed your recipes and insight.
OK……here we go!!!!!


170 susan beterbide January 3, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Would pasta made from other than wheat flour be OK?


171 Carol U January 3, 2015 at 9:58 pm

I’m ready. This past year has been awful for me, eating wise. My husband is fighting a blood disorder that caused liver cirrhosis. He doesn’t eat vegan. Cooking 3 meals a day for him, plus care, left me exhausted and I totally fell off the ETL Fuhrman program.
I have loved your blog for years and follow it on FB too. But hearing that you also struggle with sugar and simple carbs helps me so much. I know now I can get back on program.
I need your ridiculously simple recipes to help me, since I don’t have the time I used to have to cook ETL recipes much.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your time to cook, test, write up, photograph and publish these recipes. And just managing your blog.
I know you have had your own health challenges, and your time and efforts are so very appreciated.


172 Pam January 6, 2015 at 4:02 pm

I love your site and make many of your recipes!! I will follow along (and do it too) with your journey and love it that you are posting what you will be eating. That is the hardest thing for me to decide is what to eat. I am in trouble if I don’t plan ahead. So I hope you will continue to let us know your menu. That would help me so much. Thank you for all you do to inspire and help all of us doing the ETL plan.


173 Christine February 3, 2015 at 9:18 am

This is exactly what I was looking for that follows my eating beliefs and keeps it as simple as possible! Thank you!


174 Donna Barker January 3, 2016 at 12:09 pm

I am in! I have been struggling to get back on track for almost 2 years! Starting my own business has been stressful and I gained 15 pounds. I want to get it off and fatfreevegan and many other plant strong blogs have helped in the past. I am committing to starting as of right now!



175 Ann Charpentier January 4, 2016 at 8:49 am

Thank you so much for all your wisdom and simplicity with your meal plan. It sounds like Dr. Fuhrman’s plan.
Have you thought of putting your plan and recipes in a book? That would be amazing.
Thanks again!


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