Raising a Quasi Nutritarian Teenager

June 01, 2016 by Lisa Fuhrman

Our son Sean was raised  completely Nutritarian. I was the strictest with him as I knew a lot more about nutrition than I did with my three older children.  Since I was home with the children, I had control over what foods were available to them. The following incident shows just how strict I was with Sean.

When  he was three years old, we went to a fun outing at my daughter’s elementary school. We were in the cafeteria and I was talking to my girlfriend when my son, who was the same height as the table, took a huge chocolate chip cookie from it. I stopped in my tracks and said to my friend, “Sean has never had a cookie in his life.” She wasn’t surprised as she knew how we ate. Sean then took a whopping bite out of the cookie and as soon as it went in, he spit it out and said, “Yuk!” and handed it over to me.

You see, Sean had never tasted any processed food or any highly sweetened food. The chocolate chip cookie was way too sweet for him.

Now let’s fast-forward eleven years. Sean has become a philosophic and somewhat practicing Nutritarian. Interesting things occur in the life of a public school educated Nutritarian child. By the way, I fully believe in sending my child to public school.  We have a fantastic school system; one of the reasons why we moved into the town that we did. One of the best things about our school system is that it doesn’t allow any food in which the first ingredient is sugar to be brought in for parties.

However, it is also the place that Sean first learned about pizza and cheese. Sean fell in love with both and has even given himself the nickname Pizza Master; hence my calling him a quasi Nutritarian. If Sean had his way, he’d be eating pizza and cheese whenever he could.

This year Sean is in eighth grade and has cooking class. It is there that he has tasted conventional food entrees and has thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them.  His cooking class made him a chef, as he thoroughly enjoys cooking. One day he said to me that he wants to make one of the dishes in our home.  It was at that point that I had an eye-opening discussion with him. I told him, “Yes, conventional food can taste delicious. Unfortunately, it also causes a slew of diseases, like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It is our mission to make nearly identical meals that are healthy by adding/removing certain ingredients.”

You would think he would know this by now, but I don’t think it really ever sank in. It finally did, when he was exposed to all of the unhealthy dishes/desserts that were made in his cooking class. He finally really understood it and now enjoys making unhealthy dishes healthier. 

So, how easy/hard is it to raise a Nutritarian child? It isn’t very hard. You just have to let them experience life, with all its realities. In our home, of course, we have only Nutritarian foods. However, children are going to be exposed to pizza and cheese one day as well as ice cream (which we all love, not only Sean) and it is those times that are opportunities to teach our children. Instead of ice cream, we make frozen banana treats. Instead of regular pizza, we use healthier ingredients, whole-wheat dough and vegan cheese and our homemade tomato sauce. We don’t have it often, but we do indulge. Mostly for Sean.

By the way, to this day, Sean doesn’t like chocolate. It’s funny what happens when you raise a child Nutritarian.


Lisa Robyn Walfield Fuhrman is COO and CFO of DrFuhrman.com. She and her husband, Joel Fuhrman, M.D. have been married for thirty- four years and have four children. Lisa has a B.A. in chemistry and attended Rutgers Medical School for almost three years. After leaving medical school Lisa started both a family and a successful tutoring business where she tutored college Calculus, Biology, Chemistry Physics and high school Sat prep.

Juggling both motherhood and work, Lisa was highly involved with her husband in building DrFuhrman.com which started out in the basement of their home. Lisa continues to make sure she is an involved mom along with her important role in the growth of DrFuhrman.com.  She says, “I am blessed to work with my husband to promote the important message of the effects of superior nutrition worldwide.”


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06/02/2016 02:13 PM

This was very interesting to read and thank you so much for sharing your experiences. My grandson has autism and had been on a strict wheat, dairy, gluten and casein free diet since he was 2 1/2 years old. We noticed the reaction in him when he ate foods like pizza, cow's milk and bread. It was like he was on a drug. No eye contact and little verbal speech. After modifying his diet the remarkable exchange in him was very apparent. He is now 19 years old and is an amazing young man.

Lisa Fuhrman replies:

06/02/2016 03:33 PM

Wow, that's a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing! By the way, other people have come up to me and told me similar stories. I'm so happy to hear that he is an amazing young man.


06/02/2016 02:23 PM

I think this is awesome! It's important to eat healthy at any age!

Lisa Fuhrman replies:

06/02/2016 03:33 PM

I totally agree!


06/02/2016 05:44 PM

He is so lucky to be raised Nutritarian. I wish I had and I would not have had a life long struggle with my weight.


06/08/2016 05:05 AM

You are very fortunate to have been able to share this with him from a young age. My children are all grown and in their 30s. I did not find Dr. Fuhrman until the last few years. I have read just about everything I could find about nutritarian eating, but it is more difficult to convince my adult children. I keep a healthy weight and exercise daily and realize they have observed that over the years. They also maintain healthy weights and are all very active, even run marathons etc. However;


06/08/2016 05:07 AM

However, I am concerned about the toxicity of the foods they eat and the addictions to these foods. I of course will keep trying to convince them. But again I wish I could have taught them this as young children. Thanks for sharing!

Lisa Fuhrman replies:

06/08/2016 11:22 AM

I agree with you. I feel very lucky to have been exposed to this at a relatively young age and to have my children raised this way! Good luck to you with your endeavor to get your family on board!


06/05/2017 07:47 PM

Thank you for this post! My little ones are not letting go of cheese so easily so I'm trying to find a vegan imitation product but they all seem to have a host of bad ingredients.. What vegan cheese do you use?


10/07/2017 02:17 PM

I appreciate this post, as my 5-year-old son has been through feeding therapy at Children's Hospital for being "under weight and malnourished" which was very alarming to hear. About two years ago I removed all processed foods from our home, quit my job as a teacher, and made it my full-time job to better our family health. We are runners and cyclists, and I thought we were already "healthy," but we had a lot to learn.

Our son is still slim, but by removing processed and sweet food, he began eating larger portions, more varieties, and toileting much, much more easily and routinely. He stopped gaging on his food and vomiting, due to better digestion and more frequent elimination. It has been a game changer. His fats are from nuts and seeds, avocados, and smoothies. He takes DHA EPA and Pixie Vites daily. I truly believe he can be a successful, healthier version of himself eating this way -- he's learning to believe this, too. Thank you, Lisa!

This comment was last edited on 10/07/2017 02:21 PM


12/25/2017 10:25 PM

I live very close to a high school, and walk my dogs by and invariably there are discarded half plates of food which contain the remnants of cheeses dip with corn chips and greasy ground beef, oh and lots of chocolate milk cartons.  Of course my dogs go for those plates and I have to trick them out of it because I don’t want them eating that crap either.

The schools here (Oregon) serve fast food garbage.  


01/18/2018 09:22 PM

Your article is very inspiring! I was raised on junk and was raising my children on junk. I am paying the price now with diabetes, obesity, IBS, and a whole slew of other health problems. Most of my children are grown but I still have an 8 year old and a 14 year old at home. They are learning to eat healthier! Thank you and Dr. Fuhrman for all you do!

Judith g foglia

02/26/2019 05:01 PM

Hi Lisa and Joel, A lot of courage and work has gone into your plan to educate the world to feed the body for best health.  Education of truth brings with it the best knowledge known, uncensured and coated with love.  I knew Dr. Fuhrman 40 years ago.  His sincerity and quest for the truth has been rewarded.  called Flem. office ...Nancy was patient, helpful and very effiecient.  Thank you and the world will thank you.


12/10/2019 10:13 AM

I would love to have my 14 year old daughter get a book/cookbook that helps her identify nutrarian foods she would like us to buy/make. Is there a teen geard book anyone can reccomend? Thanks!!!!