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The Explosion of Nutritional Science: G-BOMBS

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Audrey Priscilla, a young traveller and writer, discusses six foods that you should implement into your diet that will make your body healthy and reduce your risk of cancer.

Image credit: Gareth Hubbard on Unsplash

I simply want to educate and motivate people to achieve superior health, whether they want to feel great, lose weight or reverse chronic disease.” – Dr. Joel Fuhrman


So much of the vocabulary around diet is about restriction but where’s the fun in that? I can’t lie, there are plenty of toxic foods out there that you should avoid, but instead of focusing on the lack, let’s focus on the gain. Pick Up Limes reinforces that plant-based eating is “not a deprivation diet, it’s an eat in abundance lifestyle.” Dr. Joel Fuhrman is a researcher and board-certified physician who has devoted over 20 years to the study of nutritional science within the realm of our current health crisis. Let’s unpack his findings to learn how we can all implement healthier foods, including G-BOMBS, in our diet…


Dr. Fuhrman was exposed to plant-based eating from a young age after his father fell ill and turned to food to cure him. Fuhrman saw first-hand the miraculous results of using nutrition as medicine and became increasingly fascinated with the power of healthy eating. In medical school, he was taught the reductionist framework of our healthcare system and continuously debated with professors and students. What do I mean by reductionist? In Fuhrman’s own words, he used an analogy alikening the modern American diet to a hammer. Each day more than 88% of the American population hit themselves with this hammer and then waltz on over to the doctor to get medication for it. The real issue is that the doctor will prescribe this medication rather than trying to change the patient from hitting themself with a hammer. They use a top-down approach rather than a bottom-up approach to treat the effect rather than addressing the cause.


After graduating medical school, Dr. Joel Fuhrman began putting his own opinions into scientific and empirical research. The data he found supported his hypothesis so he decided to share his findings. He has written seven New York Times best-selling novels, including ‘Eat to Live’, ‘Eat for Life’ and ‘Super Immunity’. He has also ran workshops and 12 week-long retreats, delivered Ted Talks and been involved in many podcasts, talk shows and interviews.


Fuhrman advocates for what he has called the Nutritarian diet. This diet maximises the amount of nutrients per caloric intake. It is a diet rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals which are the beneficial compounds to the human body. They help prevent disease and prolong life expectancy by keeping the body’s mechanisms healthy. The diet is low in hormones and processed calories that are essentially useless in what they can offer the body, that is why white bread is often referred to as ‘an empty carb’. Hormones and processed sugars negatively affect the body’s natural eating patterns and can give feelings of hunger more often. The nutritarian diet, however, is substantial and rich despite much fewer calories which helps to stop food cravings, normalise appetite and prevent excessive fat storage on the body.


The Nutritarian diet is similar to diets of centenarians from blue zones of regions around the world. From his correlational analysis on Blue Zones and other sample groups, Dr. Fuhrman has created an acronym: G-BOMBS, which he believes are the top 6 immune system special-force foods to prevent disease and promote longevity.


Greens

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“The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead…The more you eat green, the more you get lean.” – Dr. Joel Fuhrman


G stands for Greens, referring to green vegetables: broccoli, kale, green beans, cabbage among many more. Greens contain plant protein packaged with phytochemicals as well as beneficial substances that protect blood vessels. They are also the “most nutrient-dense of all foods”, rich in folate, calcium and antioxidants. The cruciferous family (broccoli, bok choy, brussels sprouts) contain a special chemical which converts to isothiocyanates when they are chewed – a compound that has many anti-cancer effects.


Beans

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Beans, as in legumes, are a highly nutrient-dense source of protein and carbohydrates. This is because they digest slowly in the body, helping to stabilise blood sugar and prolong satiety. They also contain soluble fibre and resistant starch which is broken down by enzymes into healthy fatty acids. This lowers cholesterol levels and can decrease colon cancer by up to 50%.


Onions

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Although the ‘o’ stands for onion, it encompasses the entire allium family (onions, leeks, garlic, chives, shallots, scallions). These foods have organosulfur compounds which have been proven by epidemiological studies to lower risk of cancer. Red onion, in particular, contains high concentrations of an antioxidant, quercetin, which slows tumour development by suppressing growth of cancer cells.


Mushrooms

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Mushrooms’ strongest anti-cancer effects are seen in studies on breast cancer. This is because they contain aromatase inhibitors that block the production of oestrogen. Note, that mushrooms should only be consumed after being cooked since raw mushrooms contain carcinogenic substances.


Berries

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The variety of vibrant colours that berries offer is a true indication of their superfood power. Although they are sweet, berries are low in sugar and high off-the-charts in antioxidants. In fact, they have some of the highest antioxidant concentrations in existence. For this reason, they help to reduce blood pressure, inflammation, DNA damage and they stimulate the body’s own production of antioxidant enzymes. Research also suggests they improve motor coordination and memory.


Seeds

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Lastly, we have the humble seed, though much of this information also applies for nuts too! Seeds and nuts contain an array of micronutrients and can be a rich source of omega 3 and 6 fats. They have cardiovascular benefits, for example the fibre and lignans in flax seeds help protect the body against heart disease. Sunflower seeds are rich in protein while pumpkin seeds are rich in iron, calcium and zinc.


Portions

Once I became aware of Fuhrman’s research, I was interested to know how much of each food I should be eating to reap the benefits of the Nutritarian diet? Dr. Fuhrman made a daily checklist to help guide us:


- One large salad served as a main dish

- ½ – 1 cup of beans

- One large serving of greens (steamed or raw)

- 1 – 1 ½ ounce of seeds and nuts

- Incorporate mushrooms and onions whenever possible

- Eat 2-3 fresh fruits


Recipe Inspiration

Now that we have unpacked which foods we should be incorporating into our diet and how much, we need to learn how to eat them!


Dr. Fuhrman recommends starting the day with a bowl of steel-cut oats, unsweetened, plant-based milk, a cup of berries, a spoonful of nut butter and a sprinkle of seeds. I like to make a big container of muesli every Sunday to last me the week. I put oats, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, currants and bran in it. Then, in the morning I scoop a cup full into a bowl and I add milk, frozen berries and some hemp seeds over top. This makes breakfast effortless, affordable and delicious!



✅B for berries

✅S for seeds


Next, for lunch, Fuhrman suggests a piece of fruit, a salad and a bean soup, making sure the salad contains greens and onion with nuts or seeds in the dressing. The bean soup can be batch made for the week and frozen. You can also use up leftovers to help reduce food waste!



✅G for greens

✅B for beans

✅O for onion

✅S for seeds


Finally, for dinner, the possibilities are endless! The study on breast cancer and mushrooms found that 10g of mushrooms daily (just one mushroom), reduced the women’s risk of breast cancer by 64%. Therefore, try to include mushrooms into your dinner menu every few days. Here are some ideas of recipes:


- Stir Fry Wok with Brown Rice Noodles

- Burrito Bowl with Lentils

- Tofu Poké Bowl

- Buddha Bowl with Chickpeas and Quinoa

- Thai Red Curry



✅G for greens

✅B for beans

✅O for onion

✅M for mushrooms


You can also check out his website: Dr. Fuhrman, which contains an array of recipes that highlight which G-BOMBS are being used.


Real-Life Example

Dr. Joel Fuhrman has many stories of people who have attended his workshops and retreats, or who simply read his novels, and turned their life around. Ronny had heart disease and restenosis, which meant he couldn’t walk. Four years after a bypass surgery his vessels clogged again and he was on track to die. Then, he bought Fuhrman’s ‘Eat to Live’ and decided to apply this theory into his lifestyle as his last hope to live. He lost 140 pounds and completely reversed his condition without the use of medication. Dr. Fuhrman explains these stories are neither random nor miracles, it is the “inherent, self-repairing, miraculous, protective, self-healing machine the human body is already when it is fed optimally.” He continues to say that disease is not the natural consequence of ageing, it’s the consequence of stress day-after-day for so many years. A rock that gets hit by water for 20,000 years may eventually break into two but the water was the cause, not the rock’s internal biology.

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This evidence shows that nutrition has the power to keep us healthy or kill us. We have so much control over our own health. This is a blessing because we can CHOOSE to eat food that loves us as much as we love it back (Pick Up Limes)!


About the Author: Audrey Priscilla is an environment enthusiast who has taken a gap year between high school and university. In an unexpected twist of fate, she found herself backpacking through Europe. When she isn’t exploring the rich European culture and history, you could find her writing poetry, hiking in Nature or cooking tasty plant-based food.

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