My Vegan Summer Health Getaway

Collage from Dr. Fuhrman's Getaway in San Diego.

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, then you know that I’m a loyal follower of Dr. Fuhrman’s high-nutrient, plant-based program.

I had been vegan for about three months back in 2010 when I was referred to his book Eat to Live to address my chronic migraines and other health issues (you can read more about my story here).

It was nothing short of a miracle for me that when I cut out the processed foods from my diet and greatly increased my intake of vegetables and other healthy, whole vegan foods, my migraines, allergies, and anxiety disappeared.

For those reasons, I am truly grateful to Dr. Fuhrman and many of the other plant-based advocates for spreading the message about the relationship between nutrition and health.

Dr. Fuhrman’s Annual Health Getaway:

I was lucky enough to attend Dr. Fuhrman’s Annual Health Getaway last week where nearly 300 attendees including my husband and I were treated to inspiring lectures, gourmet food, and camaraderie, all in a beautiful environment on Coronado Island near San Diego, California. (Note: I just wanted to mention that I have no financial interest or agreements with Dr. Fuhrman or his company. I paid for my trip to the event and all of my opinions are my own).

I took a lot of pictures so I could share what the experience was like. Here is a sample collage of some of the breakfasts I enjoyed and the beautiful fruits available. The food items that appear on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list were even organic.

My typical breakfast included romaine lettuce with fruit and sliced sweet vegetables, topped with a nut-based sauce like a Lemon Poppyseed Dressing. I also usually had a glass of green smoothie with almond-hemp milk. Talk about starting off your day right (and always after an early morning hour of group exercise including Zumba, strength training, yoga, or walking on the beach).

Breakfast collage from Dr. Fuhrman's Getaway.

We ate every meal on the gorgeous patio overlooking Coronado harbor and the spreads were incredible. A beautiful salad bar was at the beginning of the buffet line, with a better variety of sliced vegetables, greens, nuts, seeds, and beans than you could ever imagine. Then, there were usually at least two hot dishes plus a soup to go along with the salad. My plates were always overflowing as these pictures show:

Main meal collage from Dr. Fuhrman's Getaway.

We were also treated to sweet treats after each meal including fruit and some type of date-sweetened dessert like the vanilla sabayon in the top right picture or the thumbprint oat cookies hiding under the fruit in the bottom right picture:

Dessert collage from Dr. Fuhrman's Getaway.

I thought the overall schedule was nice because we exercised in the early mornings (you can see one of the group activity classes in the top left picture), ate all meals on the outdoor patio, had lectures in the mornings, and then usually had free time in the afternoons for adventuring and socializing:

Activity collage from Dr. Fuhrman's Getaway.

Notes on Food Addiction:

Since I’ve been home now for almost a week, I wanted to share with you the targeted information I gathered on food addiction and how to manage overeating. This is an area that I have struggled with for many, many years, and I got some really good tips from Randi who works in Dr. Fuhrman’s office and manages the Motivational Outreach Program for food addiction.

These are my notes combined from Randi and Dr. Fuhrman. I wrote similar notes from Dr. Fuhrman’s Immersion last December in San Francisco here.

  • Don’t be afraid of hunger. Food tastes a lot better if you are hungry. Take a note from babies and kids who refuse to eat when they’re not hungry.
  • If you have to ask yourself if you’re hungry or not, then you’re not hungry.
  • Stop eating before full or at a hint of fullness.
  • Occupy your life with other pursuits other than eating.
  • Watch out for trigger foods that lead to overeating including: dried fruits, nuts, breads, and sweet liquids.
  • Sweetened drinks are the worst way to consume sweeteners because it goes into your bloodstream the fastest and causes a fast insulin response.
  • Food is meant for fuel, not as the primary source of happiness or comfort in our lives. The dopamine response we get from certain foods is fleeting.
  • Addiction is a con artist. If you think you can have just a little bit, it can be a slippery slope. Abstinence is best when it comes to trigger foods or food addiction.
  • Treat food addiction like alcoholism and abstain completely.
  • Consider how long you get pleasure from eating an addictive food (temporary) compared to how long it makes you feel bad about your choice (often days or longer).
  • The addictive drive to certain foods will lessen after 12 weeks of abstinence. After that, a date sweetened dessert (average one Medjool date per serving) is appropriate 1-2 days per week if it’s no longer a trigger to overeat.

My Healthy Meals:

My motivation for eating healthfully has been incredible since I got home. Here’s a sampler of some of the salads and dishes I’ve prepared recently including the Zesty Watermelon Gazpacho from the Purely Nourished blog that was featured on Healthy Vegan Fridays recently (top right photo):

A collage of my healthy meals.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that I’ve had more energy in months since I’ve been home from the Getaway. I am already looking forward to next year’s Getaway! If you want to read more about this year’s event, I wrote two other posts here and here. You can also see a list of posts related to all of the Dr. Fuhrman events I’ve attended here.

I have a feeling that this trip is going to be the highlight of my summer and a turning point in my commitment to healthy eating. Thank you for reading and thank you to Dr. Fuhrman and everyone in the nutritarian and plant-based community for inspiring me.

Dr. Fuhrman and Carrie.

Conclusion:

I’ll be back here on Friday with a brand new post. Until then, please do connect with me on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, or Google+ and don’t forget to help keep my blog going by downloading my recipe app, Vegan Delish, on the iTunes store here.

Comments

  1. Wendy says

    Thanks Carrie for the review of the Getaway. I had been looking forward to it. Your summary on Food Addiction is just what I needed to read today. Your photos are mouth watering and your journey is an inspiration.

    • says

      Thanks for the note, Wendy! I’m fascinated by the topic of food addiction and hope to do more research on it. Have you found in your work or readings that abstinence is the best strategy? I would love to hear your input as an experienced health professional.

  2. says

    What a wonderful write-up on the Getaway! And your pictures are gorgeous–very inspiring. Thank you especially for sharing your notes on food addiction. I’m trying to give up refined sugar, and the idea of looking at it like alcoholism is brilliant. I have stopped in the past for a month or two-detox, but always went right back to my old ways. Gotta stop for good, now.

    • says

      Thank you for your kind words, Amanda! I’m glad the notes on food addiction are helping you. Viewing food addiction like alcoholism has helped me so much and realize that I can’t have just one bite of something that triggers me to overeat. Abstinence is so much easier than battling over that “one more” bite. Sugar has been my nemesis for 30+ years; I’m on day 7 of complete abstinence today and my cravings have already diminished significantly. Sending you strength and hope on your journey.

  3. Kara says

    I just love reading your blog. I look forward to it every other day! It inspires me to keep eating healthy and to keep on track!! My husband and son even love the dishes I prepare, even though I am asked to cook meat at times!! Just wanted to thank you for writing your blog and inspiring all of us who read it!

    • says

      Thank you, Kara, I can’t tell you how much your kind words mean to me. I’ve had to cut back my blogging schedule this summer because of my academic demands, but I plan to keep up with the twice weekly blogging for sure. I love doing it!

  4. Gina says

    What a fantastic review, Carrie! And what a great experience you had! Thanks for the info on food addiction………it’s timely for me. :)

    • says

      Thanks, Gina, I’m glad you liked the post. I can’t tell you how significant this information on food addiction was for me. I’ve been struggling these past several months as I’ve been under a lot of stress with my master’s degree project. What I now realize is that my addiction is something true that needs to be taken seriously and with a lot of care and compassion. I’m on day 7 of abstinence from trigger foods and that has helped me a lot. I wish you the best in your journey. :)

  5. says

    Hi I just found your blog. It feels like fate that I would find it when you write about DR. Fuhrman. I’ve read the Eat tio Live book. It was inspiring, but I find it so hard to make all the changes needed to eat right. Especially with a husband who hates vegetables. As I was reading the list of tips for food addiction one really spoke to me “Occupy your life with other pursuits other than eating.” I’m finding the more I make time to do the things I love, read, write, be crafty the less I want to eat. But it’s a struggle, I’ll keep coming back to see all your wonderful recipes, and to be insipred to be healthy.

    • says

      Hi Rachel! I’m so glad you found my blog! If it helps at all, I HATED vegetables when I went vegan and when I discovered Dr. Fuhrman. I’m a “super taster” so a lot of veggies taste bitter to me. I get around it by making delicious sauces that cover up the flavor. I also find that vinegar or lemon juice helps mask the bitterness. Thanks for the note and I hope you continue to find inspiration from my blog. :)

  6. Patty says

    Carrie, I am so very happy that you had such a nice, and inspiring, time! You totally deserve it! It looks gorgeous there and the food…….ooooh the food……looks so delicious and healthy. I appreciate you sharing your notes, and sharing your past experience with food addiction and overeating, as I struggle with that myself. I just may have to go to next year’s event!! :)

    • says

      Thanks for the kind words, Patty. You should definitely try to come to the Getaway next year, it is such a special, special experience. I’m glad the notes on food addiction helped you. I am convinced that it is equally as harmful and painful of an addiction as alcoholism, and should be treated seriously and with love and care. I now realize that it’s one of my biggest challenges to stay away from “trigger foods” that cause me to overeat, and I feel that the input I got at the Getaway helped me tremendously.

  7. Lilly says

    Thank you so much, Carrie, for sharing your Getaway experiences here. Your photos and words are so motivating. I especially appreciate what you shared about addictive eating and what you learned from Randi. She’s so wonderful and correct!

    • says

      Thank you for the feedback, Lilly. I really enjoyed putting together this wrap-up post, although it made me sad that it’s over. :) I’m glad you appreciated the info on food addiction, it was a topic I really needed to learn more about for my own wellbeing.

  8. Diane says

    I am G-R-E-E-N with envy! The images of the meals look sooooooooo good. What do you think the chances are of the next event (or some future event) being held in Pittsburgh?!! I wish!

    • says

      I wish you could have been there, Diane. I believe the week-long Getaways are always held in a different location each year, so I suppose there is always a chance it could come to your area. Do you have any resorts nearby? :) You might want to consider one of the weekend Immersions in NJ at some point; those really awesome, too, although the Getaway is in a class of its own.

  9. says

    HI Carrie, I love your blog too! I often refer my clients here for your recipes and your keen insight. Thank you for summarizing much of what I said on food addiction. It is so misunderstood. Thank you are sharing your experiences so openly, you inspire many!
    Randi

    • says

      Hi Randi! Thank you for the kind words and the referrals, that means a lot to me. I find it so helpful to talk about the issue of food addiction and gather strength from others. I agree, it’s misunderstood, not discussed enough, and the source of great pain for many.

  10. says

    Hi Carrie,
    Your blog is great! I loved reading about your trip and about food addiction. I really liked Dr. Fuhrman’s books and take a lot of what he says into my daily life. I would have loved to go to the getaway – maybe next year!

  11. says

    Wow – the getaway sounds amazing!
    I’m having a bit of a hard time with overeating and overindulging right now. I’m hoping to get back on track. I know it’s a process – and your posts are always so inspiring!
    Btw – you look FANTASTIC!

  12. says

    Great minds think alike. I just wrote a post about food addiction and the problem I have also been having overeating refined sugar. It really is a slippery slope for a lot of us just having a pinch of this addictive stuff! I have linked my blog back to yours as you have some great suggestions for overcoming this addiction, thank you! I’m now in the process of weaning myself off it again! http://www.greenthickies.com/perfectionist-healthy-eater-smoothies-for-weight-loss-2/

    • says

      Thanks for the note and the linkup, Katherine. I’ve been sugar-free for about 10 days now and it’s working out really well for me. I’m enjoying the natural sugars in fruit now and having a lot fewer cravings. It’s hard to take the initial step to get away from sugar, but I think it’s worth it to be free of the cravings and addictive drive. Hugs!

  13. Phyllis says

    I was delighted to read about the Health Getaway as I have been aware of Dr. Fuhrman for a while, and try to follow his principles (trying to get better at it). I have been unsuccessful in finding any info about the 2014 getaway. Is this available only to ones who register for membership on his website, or is it open to the public? The only thing I could find on his site was a link to the 2013 event. Any suggestions? Thanks for sharing your healthy journey with the masses.

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