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  What’s your favorite food? The one you adore so much that you savor it like a kiss from a lover when you’ve been apart too long. Describe your ideal meal featuring this wonder food. For most of my life, mine was lobster. Warm on a roll with melted butter. Served with a steamed ear of yellow corn. Eaten for lunch outdoors on a picnic table by the ocean. For dinner, I’d add candles, cloth napkins and sunset view of ocean. Start with a salad or cup of clam chowder. Feast on lobster tail, squeezed with lemon and dipped in butter. Add a baked potato, ear of yellow corn and broccoli with Parmesan fritelle. Accompanied by a glass of Dijon clones chardonnay. For desert, a slice of warm blueberry crumb pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoyed with a cup of decaf coffee or espresso.

 Then I became a nutritarian.

  Which means I maximize the micronutrient density of my diet. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Most diets focus on tinkering with macronutrients—fat, protein and carbohydrates. But the magic wands are the micros. And those are found most abundantly in green vegetables, other colorful vegetables, and fresh fruits. Nutritarianism and other plant-based eating have the power to prevent most leading causes of death. And even reverse heart disease, cancer, diabetes and respiratory problems.  After I changed my diet, asthma I had for two years disappeared in ten days. When I enthusiastically shared my ‘fountain of youth’ discovery with my public health class one astute student asked:  “What’s the catch?"" Avoiding ‘foods’ that harm and minimizing those that have little nutritional value. Applying Dr. Fuhrman’s “Ten Best and Worst Foods for Health and Longevity” to my favorite meal plate leaves salad, followed by broccoli finished with a bowl of blueberries. Butter and cheese were on his original 7 worst list, so they were off-limits. I could (and do) eat corn and potato, but they aren’t the most nutrient dense vegetables. Sadly, lobster isn’t safe for regular consumption because of mercury and other contaminants.

It's too hard. And restrictive.

  Many people say that nutritarianism is too radical, too hard or impossible to follow because it eliminates all their favorite foods. Relief from a specific health problem draws some, but even that isn’t enough for everyone. I keep trying to convince my mom who suffers from diabetes and muscle and joint pain her doctors can’t alleviate, but she says food is one of the few pleasures she has left. Dairy was tough for me to give up, but after reading The China Study for motivation I imagined it with a skull and cross bones because it’s toxic and addictive. My husband sometimes still eats dairy. After about six months of being a nutritarian, I took a bite of my husband’s pizza, another old favorite of mine. I was delighted to discover that I didn’t like it. It was too salty!

More pleasure!

  Eating a plant-based diet awakens the taste buds from their salt, sugar and saturated fat induced coma. They become so sensitive that the standard American diet becomes unpalatable. My mom tells me she doesn’t like vegetables enough to live on them. Yes, mom would feel worse for several days as her body detoxifies and food will taste bland while her taste buds recover. But then a surprising benefit becomes more pleasure rather than less. In season produce dances like fireworks on the tongue.   My current favorite food is Charentais melon (ie french cantaloupe) with black raspberries. Last week it was homemade marinara sauce made from first-of-the-season San Marzano tomatoes. A couple weeks ago blueberries were at their peak from my favorite farm. (Note to self:  next year ask what varietal it is.) Before that, it was Albion strawberry and cantaloupe breakfast smoothies. Next week it might be an heirloom tomato salad. Come August I’ll be savoring red Gravenstein apples and Frog Hollow Cal Red peaches. In Fall, I salivate when Kobocha squash and japanese yams appear in the market in anticipation of making a silky smooth soup spiked with cinnamon and ginger that makes an orgasmic pairing with velvety Pinot Noir. Winter brings the sweetest curly Kale. And juicy navel oranges.

Try it yourself.

Wake up your numb taste buds by avoid the worst foods from Fuhrman’s list and consume an abundance of the best for at least ten days, preferably six weeks. Then go on a tantalizing treasure hunt at your local farmer’s market. What makes your taste buds sing? Lisa Faulkner is the passionate + playful pole dancing professor. She also writes for PDBloggers and Bad Kitty. Come learn and play with her at poledancingprofessor.com.
February 27, 2020 — Dave Morreale