Beginner's Guide to the Nutritarian Diet

March 24, 2021 by Joel Fuhrman, MD

One of the most powerful steps you can take to improve your health, boost energy levels, and prevent chronic diseases is to move to a plant-based, nutrient-dense Nutritarian diet. If you’ve read the New York Times bestseller, Eat to Live or Eat for Life, you know that the scientific evidence is clear: This eating style is a powerful way to lose weight, reverse chronic disease, live better, strengthen your immune defenses and slow the aging process.


Getting started is easy (and delicious!)

1. Read Eat for Life

If you haven't done so already, read my latest book Eat for Life. I will guide you through the science and show you the incredible power of nutritional excellence to prevent and reverse disease. The knowledge in this book will change your life forever and set you on the path to great health. On this website, you’ll find further tools, insight, and expertise to make the change easy and enjoyable. We’ve created products and strategies to help you, no matter what level of support you need. We’ll answer your questions, provide helpful advice, and empower you with proven strategies to embrace this healthy lifestyle.

On the website, you’ll find plenty of information, including our Success Stories and Health Concerns section which provides action plans and insights for a variety of health concerns. For a deeper dive, explore our membership options.

2. Keep learning and get support with membership

Membership gives you access to 1900+ recipes

Membership to will give you access to recipes, meal plans, grocery lists, group support, and education that will answer your questions and help you on your journey to superior health.

Let’s get down to the basics.

Can a plant-based diet, with no S.O.S. boost your health? YES!

There’s excellent scientific evidence that most chronic diseases can be reversed by a Nutritarian diet. Scientific research highlighted in Eat for Life, shows that a this nutrient-rich, plant-based diet can dramatically reduce the risk, and in many cases resolve type 2 diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, certain types of cancer, and other major illnesses.

What is a Nutritarian diet?

This nutrient-rich, plant-based diet is based on the following principles:

  • This eating style focuses on the nutrient-rich foods that unleash the body’s tremendous ability to heal, achieve optimal weight, and slow the aging process.
  • Eat mostly plants means only eat animal products in small amounts, if any, such as meat, fish, dairy, and eggs
  • Whole food describes natural foods that are not heavily processed. Basically, the majority of our diet is made up of fresh and clean produce rather than food that comes out of a package.
  • No S.O.S. When we eat the whole nut over just the processed oil, we are eating the fiber and protective nutrients too!

Visit our recipe database to start eating like a nutritarian!

Illustration comparing 400 calories of oil, chicken, and vegetables

A Nutritarian diet meets your nutritional needs by focusing on natural, minimally processed plant foods and turning up the G-BOMBS! Nutritional research demonstrates these foods give us the greatest protection against cancer and other diseases.

What are G-BOMBS?

G-BOMBS is an acronym for Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds. These are the most health-promoting, anti-cancer superfoods on the planet. Make sure that you include some or all of them in your diet every day.

Picture of G-BOMBS

Greens: Greater consumption of these vegetables is linked to reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and a longer life.

Beans: Beans and legumes are rich in fiber and resistant starch, which help keep blood glucose, blood pressure and LDL cholesterol down, and nourish the microbiome.

Onions: Onions and garlic are linked to a reduction in the risk of several cancers, and their distinctive sulfur-containing phytochemicals have a number of actions that benefit the cardiovascular system.

Mushrooms: Mushroom phytochemicals are unique in their promotion of immune system function with powerful anti-cancer benefits.

Berries: Berry phytochemicals have anti-cancer and blood pressure-lowering effects, and are linked to a reduced risk of heart attack.

Seeds: Eating raw seeds and nuts regularly is associated with longevity, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, common cancers, and a healthy body weight.

You’ll love the benefits of a Nutritarian diet

3. Eat to Live with Dr. Fuhrman's famous Nutritarian recipes

The scientific evidence is clear. There are major benefits to moving to a Nutritarian diet.

  • Optimal weight: People who eat a plant-based diet tend to be leaner than those who don’t, but a Nutritarian diet is undoubtedly the safest, healthiest and most effective way to do so. This diet makes it easy to lose weight and keep it off–without counting calories.
  • Disease reversal and prevention: Whole-food, plant-based eating can prevent, halt, or even reverse chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and autoimmune diseases.
  • Immune Support: This eating style supplies the vital micronutrients and phytochemicals that help prevent inflammation and support normal immune function.
  • Eco-friendly and sustainable: A plant-based diet places much less stress on the environment and can have a significant and positive impact on preventing climate change.

To compliment the Nutritarian diet, I have created a line of supplements to fill any nutritional gaps. It is imporant to supplement wisely. Your goal is to get adequate amounts of the nutritents not foundoptimally in a plant-based diet – such as vitamins B12 and D, plus the omega-3 fatty acids DHA/EPA – while avoiding potentially harmful ingredients, such as folic acid.

You’ll love the recipes!

Everyone puts their own twist on their favorite Nutritarian recipes, but here are some staples for your daily line up. 

Breakfast:       Berry Bowl or Chia Seed Pudding

Lunch:            Big Salad & Red Lentil Chili & Navel Orange

Dinner:            Queso Dip with Carrots and Celery & Thai Curry

Dessert:          Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Looking for quick and easy recipes? Search our quick & easy tag in the recipe database.

4. Feel healthy, energetic and more vibrant as you lose excess weight


"I will guide you to superior health. Get started right now by signing up for my 5-Day Nutritarian Challenge! Enter your name and email below for daily tips and education."

-Dr. Fuhrman


At we are wishing you the best of health!

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Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, seven-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his longevity-promoting, nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.
For over 30 years, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and reverse heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses using smart nutrition. In his medical practice, and through his books and PBS television specials, he continues to bring this life-saving message to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.


Comments (0):



03/26/2021 12:20 AM

I'm currently reading Eat for Life, browsing recipes from Eat To Live, and from Transformation 20 - Diabetes.  I am planning to really get into the nutritarian eating/lifestyle plan after I see my new primary care physician on April 19th.  I don't want to do anything too radical in the meantime...but am working on stocking my pantry and shopping for organic produce and canned goods, since I am just getting started.  I just made the Apple Bok Choy Salad today, and it is delicious!  Would you believe I had never tried Bok Choy before?  I ate Blueberry Nut Steel-Cut Oats for breakfast this morning, and will try the No-Cook Strawberry Oatmeal tomorrow.  It is fun to find recipes on your website, and I am looking forward to making the Lemon Lentil Soup, Super Simple Creamy Mushroom Soup and Bean Burgers soon.  Can you tell that I'm enthused?  I certainly hope that I will continue with this healthy style of eating -- it makes perfect sense to me. I'm so glad, Dr. Fuhrman, that I caught your program on PBS!

Kellie52 replies:

06/05/2022 08:46 PM

I will be starting the 5 day challenge on Tuesday since I have already committed myself to a one day fast before I begin.

I do have a question though - I was hoping there might be a Q & A section and wondered if it is possible to ask questions as we proceed?

Many thanks

Lisa Fuhrman replies:

06/11/2022 07:22 PM

Hi Kellie, you can become a gold member and post questions in the Nutritarian network (forum), where other Nutritarians can help you. They are very supportive. However, if you want to pose any questions to Dr. Fuhrman, you would need to join the Platinum membership and post your questions in the Ask the Doctor forum. I hope you are doing well with the 5 day challenge! 


03/28/2021 02:07 AM

I got your program from PBS, but I  didn't use as I was caring for a sick husband.  Since then, he has died. I had covid 19 where I stayed at home eating homemade vegestable soup. I am 78 and in very poor healthwith fiybermialgia, diebetes, high blood pressure, cancer, wheat intolerance, lungs problems.  After one day my lungs returned to normal. Of course my blood sugar went down. I am praying I can do this. It is so much work in my health. I am lucky I have super Juicer and vita mix. I will be traveling soon. Is there a blog article on traveling? I have no support person to help. I lost my thyroid to cancer. I became healthy using medical medium diet at one time 10 years ago. 

Lana Heaney.

This comment was last edited on 08/23/2022 11:25 AM

thewateringmouth replies:

04/08/2021 08:12 PM

I'm so sorry for your loss, Lana. 

Carolyn007 replies:

04/23/2021 12:13 PM

I too am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like it's time for you to help yourself with your health issues. I hope you find this program helpful. I'm a new member and haven't started yet. What you have had to deal with is an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing. And all best wishes for improved health with the program. Let us know how you are doing. My thoughts are with you, sending you love and energy.

cid4houses replies:

04/17/2022 09:43 PM

@2023lana I'd just start out small, and work your way up. I lost my husband to Pancreatic Cancer, but of course, he liked to drink alcohol and eat lots of pastas and "junk foods", too. I have a Breiville Juicer, which helps, because cooking can be troublesome for just one person, but juicing fresh veggies and drinking them is less prep-work and my goat enjoys the beet peels or carrot tops etc. I was on this food plan before, and made plenty of soups and salads, but now, being 70, I have less energy to put towards food preparation, so for now,  it's juicing , until I get my energy back. Good luck!

Cid Young in Moss Beach, CA

vaporz replies:

09/18/2022 06:07 PM

Hello Lana, Sorry I didn't see your comment sooner, but here is the blog article on traveling:


07/03/2021 05:40 PM

Hi my name is Shirley Jacobs. I just started your ETL lifestyle change today. I'm 53 years old. Weigh 364lbs and obese plus have several health issues.

I am and need to lose weight to improve my health and lose weight. I want to eat healthier so I can feel better about myself, my health and the foods I put in to my body.

I just ordered ur book and joined ETL membership. Lately the foods I've been putting into my body isn't good or health. I do try to eat healthier but some of the foods I've been putting into my body has been making me sick so I saw ur pbs special and thought this is a healthy way to eat, improve my health, and lose weight. 

I want to live a longer happier healthier life. My birthday is on July 27 and I'll be 54 so I'm going to ETL lifestyle change so I can lose weight and improve my health so I can live a longer happier healthier life.

Thanks for sharing with all of us ur ETL lifestyle change.


Shirley Jacobs

crjpilotswife replies:

10/09/2021 05:16 PM

Hi Shirley,

I am 53 also and, have multiple sclerosis. I just started my EFL journey today. I am hoping to stabilize my health, that is slowly sliding away from me. I hope you are doing well.




07/07/2021 11:26 AM

I just joined. I was purusing "The end of Heart Disease" and started following the guidelines. I cook what ever is available, on sale, and easy as I still have to prepare "meat and potatoes" for another. I have lost 25 pounds. I am unable to excercise at the moment. I look forward to inspiration, recipes and to achieving great results.


07/17/2021 06:06 PM

I purchased Dr Furhmans book The end of Heart Disease about 18 months ago.  At the time I had just had a check up with my cardiologist who told me that despite my doing extremely well for my age 65 on the stress calcium cardiac score was bad and my ldl cholesterol was over 120...I am very active and watch my diet and was at 6 2 and 195 lbs running regularly 9 + minutes miles...he recommended statins...instead after reading Dr Furmans book above and a similar one written by Dr Caldwell Esselstyn from the mayo clinic...both Drs have had extensive experience treating and reversing heart disease using a  strict plant based diet protocol.  I went on the nutritarian diet in May of last 3 weeks I lost 20 lbs before my weight started to running 🏃‍♂️  times dropped dramatically ....dropped over 1 minute a jogging times in 25 years...cardiovascular endurance at all things improved dramatically..especially big mountain gut health which was terrible...improved dramatically as the book said it would in 2 autoimmune disease issue...ITP a blood platelet condition I have struggled with for 10 years total cholesterol dropped to 160...ldl of 75 and hdl went part is I feel great..don't get sore from exersize...I highly recommend Dr Furhmans books...his case studies are can do will never look at a steak or fried eggs in the same way again!

Mrs. G replies:

09/19/2022 05:32 PM

Why did you go with Fuhrmans diet instead of Esselstyn's? Just curious. or do you incorporate both? I know there are no nuts on Esselstyn's diet. Do you actually have any confirned CAD?


07/26/2021 06:02 PM

I want to join just because I know this is healthy eating and helps with longevity but I sure don't need to loose weight!

I also would like to help others.


09/05/2021 03:40 PM

I recently purchased Eat to Live and very happy to find guidance on eating a healthy diet. I love Dr Furhman's version of the Food Pyramid. It makes total sense. After three weeks of eating salad as my main dish, I have lost about 10 pounds and my weekly average blood glucose number has dropped 16 points.

This comment was last edited on 09/05/2021 05:07 PM


09/10/2021 01:18 PM

I want to begin educating my 9 year old son to this new style of eating.  With my older children, mostly married or living on their own, I thought I was teaching them about proper, healthy nutrition....but, alas, I was not!  I have read your book Disease-Proof Your Child.  I want to show him some videos on healthy eating that will appeal to a child.  Any suggestions?



10/06/2021 04:26 AM

What happened to information for the five day challenge?

Jenna F. replies:

10/06/2021 05:05 PM

Hi! You can sign up for the challenge on the homepage here


11/20/2021 05:26 PM

I am plant-based, wheelchair bonded diagnosed with ARSACS so what could help me?




02/14/2022 01:53 PM

I started this a week ago for health and weight loss. I feel better but no weight loss. I am currently 168 pounds, 5' 5" and it went down to 166 and back up. I am not cheating, so I guess I want to know if anyone experience this the first week? I have Hoshimoto Thyroiditist. 

ChristineDahl replies:

02/25/2022 01:22 PM

I am having close to the same issue and feel discouraged. I am starting week 8 no cheats and follow the Aggressive Menu Plan very strict. The first two weeks I lost 8 pounds. The last 5 weeks I have lost no weight and just stay at 195lbs. I am 5'5 and I am 54yrs old. I need to lose weight but I am getting very discouraged. I make everything as the book says and make all the salad dressings etc.

I wonder if vinegar or something I am eating in this plan is causing inflammation or irritation to my body. I have arthritis in my knees and feet and eating this way has helped my pain a small amount. I don't overeat. I also document my foods (vegetables, oatmeal, fruit, nuts and salad dressings) in Weight Watchers and I don't even come close to eating my daily points. I am happy for everyone here losing weight but I am feeling sorry for myself. I don't know what to do or who to talk too. I can't afford the more costly membership.


02/21/2022 11:16 PM

Hi, I am just starting the 5 day challenge. I heard Dr. Fuhrman on the "Truth About Weight Loss Masterclass with Chef AJ.  I have GERD and want to get off my Pantoprazole 40mg daily, I have tried stopping it before but the acid reflux is horrible. I have a hiatal hernia so I have to eat at least 3 hours before I lay down at night. I also take NP Thyroid15mg because my level was suboptimal per my NP and my PCP has me on Boniva once monthly for my osteoporosis.  I purchased a vibration plate and hope to get to use it soon. I am healing from a fracuture of my L-1 caused by a medical practionner who was doing an adjustment on me.  I really want to get off all RX's including my Boniva that I was given 4 months ago due to my dexascan results of osteoporosis. I have also purchased some 3 pound weights and a Resistance Tube hoping to getting some bone growth with the plate, tube and weights. I will be 65 in April and I have never been this tight in my muscles. I used to do Yoga 5 days a week and now I have a hard time getting up off the floor.

Is there something I can substitute Advocado for?  I can't eat those. They don't stay down.

Thank you and happy to be here on this challenge.

jkbentley4 replies:

06/23/2022 10:54 AM

Hi Terry, For GERD: avoid foods that cause symptoms like tomatoes and coffee, do not eat or drink for several hours before bed time, try herbal medication for GERD like Maty's Acid and Indigestion Relief. These helped me.  I hope they help you too.


03/14/2022 03:39 PM

Dr. Fuhrman's Nutritarian way of eating is legit.

This comment was last edited on 05/10/2022 06:23 PM


05/10/2022 02:21 PM

Hello!  I have been doing the ETL diet for a week and although my blood sugar has decreased it's still high.  Am i eating too often?  Is this suposed to be just 3 meals a day with no snacking in between?


Lisa Fuhrman replies:

06/11/2022 07:28 PM

Yes, eat only 3 meals with no snacking.


06/13/2022 03:08 PM

I just wrapped up the 5 day challenge.  I did not make all of the recipes because I'm on my own, and some of the recipes are too much for just me.  All were good and I will make them again.  I also joined (gold) membership Dr. Fuhrman so that I might get a few more recipes and learn more about how to continue on my journey to excellent health.  I have been whole food plant based for a long time and have all of Dr. Fuhrman's books with the exception of the one on diabetes as it's not a concern of mine.  Thanks to the Fuhrman family for all you do!

Jenna F. replies:

08/23/2022 11:20 AM

So happy you are enjoying the recipes! There are some great quick and easy recipes. Check them out by clicking here. Happy to have you in the community!

This reply was last edited on 08/23/2022 11:20 AM


06/20/2022 12:52 PM

Is whole wheat bread okay? Is it okay the same day I have oatmeal or only one starch? Also how about rice?  I know snacking is discouraged, does that include non- starchy vegetables or can I have them for snacks?  Thank you!


08/26/2022 11:21 AM

I have not seen this addressed anywhere.  What if you are allergic to mushrooms?


10/25/2022 10:00 AM

I have, unfortunately, gotten away from this wonderful way to eat and live but am looking forward to reintroducing it back into my life. I am 77 and my grandson has said I need to live to 103😂😂


11/10/2022 10:15 AM

A patient of mine pointed out that this article doesn't say what S.O.S. stands for. Can this be updated to specify? Thanks in advance!