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Why a Plant Based Diet Doesn’t Work for Some People

Posted on Aug 19, 2017 by in Food addiction recovery | 12 comments

Why a Plant Based Diet Doesn’t Work for Some People

(c) by Emily Boller


Plant based eating has made big waves in recent years.

The popular trend today is “going meatless.”

  • Going meatless for health.
  • Going meatless on Mondays.
  • Going meatless for a Lenten season.
  • Going meatless to lose weight quickly.
  • Going meatless to save the animals and the planet.


However, a bowl of cornflakes with soy milk, or a croissant with honey and coffee for breakfast; a veggie burger, chips, and diet soda for lunch; a couple slices of vegan pizza, side salad with fat-free dressing, and diet jello for dinner; and veggie chips, fruit roll ups, soy latte, and/or granola bars for snacks–even in carefully measured amounts with some health improvements noticed–isn’t going to stop one’s runaway appetite for food (food addiction).

When food addiction is halted, it can then be possible for many to succeed at long term, sustainable weight loss, radically reverse chronic diseases, and achieve optimal health. (Emotional eating and eating disorders will still need to be addressed for some people, and I’ll be publishing a post on those topics in the near future.)

The only way to stop food addiction in it’s tracks—and this is the hidden treasure—is to pay attention to the dietary quality of food.

Eating low-nutrient foods, even foods that are currently trending as so-called “health foods,” will still create food addictions that drive overeating. (Addiction to sweets and unhealthy foods can be as addicting as cocaine or drug addiction for some people.) Only when we eat a sufficient amount of nutrient-dense and plant-rich foods will food addictions, cravings, and overeating be resolved.

[The meat-eaters and dairy-lovers all ask, “Where do I get my protein and calcium?!” As long as one is eating a variety of high-nutrient plant foods, the body will get plenty of essential amino acids and calcium to sustain life and thrive effectively. Green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans are rich in protein. Green vegetables have the most protein per calories of all. For instance, broccoli has about twice as much protein as steak! (1) In addition, all green vegetables are high in calcium. Plus, they have higher-absorption rates than dairy products—not to mention they actually inhibit the growth of cancer cells and induce cancer cell death! (2)]

And, the primary reason why some people don’t succeed on a plant based diet is they don’t understand the importance of making it through detox (toxic withdrawal) without quitting. Some may feel worse, not better, when they suddenly stop eating low-nutrient foods and animal/dairy products.

A few of the detox symptoms may include shakiness, growling stomach, nausea, gas, loose stools, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, bad breath, crying and/or irritability. (These benign symptoms vary from person to person. They are nothing to be afraid of; they are body’s way of cleaning out all the health-harming substances that have been ingested throughout the years. Many may have only mild symptoms, or none at all, if their diet has been relatively healthy.)

The only way to stop these unpleasant symptoms is to:

1) eat the unhealthy foods again (quickly devour that piece of fried chicken and bag full of chips)

or . . .

2) continue to abstain from the toxic foods and continue to fill the body with nutrient-dense and plant-rich foods and the symptoms will dissipate in a few days—four-five days seems to be an average for a lot of people.

Unfortunately, I’ve met hundreds of people who have quit before they ever made it over the hump of toxic withdrawal, and today they are more addicted to unhealthy foods than they were eight years ago . . . simply because addiction is a progressive illness. It gets worse over time, not better; but the good news is one can start today and permanently reverse it!

Whoever you are, if you are struggling to hold life together in the midst of food addiction and/or emotional eating, or you just need encouragement along your journey to optimal health, let me offer my experience, guidance, hope, and motivation in the weeks and months to come.

It’s time to walk in freedom!

  1. 1.  Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Eat to Live, (New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, Revised edition, 2011), 311.
  2. 2.  Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Super Immunity, (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers; 2011), 251.


 Disclaimer: A physician should be consulted if you are requiring medical attention.


  1. Emily,
    I think this is a very significant distinction to make. Being vegan is trendy, but very misunderstood. As you say, what you add to your diet (high nutrient food) is as important as what you take out.
    A well explained and timely messsge. Thank you!

    • Thank you, Lisa. We certainly aren’t going for the latest fad diet or trend, but lasting results that we will be able sustain for the rest of our lives.

  2. Beautifully said! What people often don’t fully realize at first is the truth that NOTHING tastes as good as feeling wonderful. Feeding the enemy (health problems) is never the answer, and the things we used to think were food were truly feeding our enemy, not our best possible health.

    • Thank you, Linda. I like your “feeling our best possible health” mindset. Keep up the great job!

  3. What is this food a picture of? I want to make this also.

    • Emily’s Key Lime Sorbet Sandwiches:

      I just take 4-5 green apples (and remove stems first) and put them in the VitaMix–seeds and all. I blend them up until smooth. Then I add a 6-8 pitted dates, 1/2 cup of raw sunflower kernels, and 2 T. raw peanut butter. Blend until creamy.

      In a very large mixing bowl, I toss together: 5-6 cups of rolled oats and 2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut. I add the above “date paste” to it and with clean hands massage it into the dry mixture until it is thoroughly moistened. Roll into balls and flatten on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned. (about 20 min.) Let cool.

      Key Lime Sorbet filling: In Vitamix blend 5-6 frozen ripe bananas, the juice of 2-3 limes, a pinch of green food coloring (only if you want it green), 2 dates. Blend until creamy and thick. Put in between two oat patties and then each one in wax paper and freeze. Allow to thaw for 5-10 minutes before serving.


      • About how many servings would that make, Emily? The recipe sounds wonderful!

        • Those “key-lime sorbet sandwiches” are really good! It’s been a while since I’ve made them, and I can’t remember how many they made.

          Be careful with desserts–even desserts that don’t have sugar or flour in them. They are perfectly fine for special occasions, but if you eat them on a regular basis, they will not be beneficial to achieving optimal health goals. And, for some people, they may trigger a sweet tooth for more health-damaging desserts.

  4. Do you have any vegetable soup recipes that help us stay satiated on a plant based diet?

    • I’ll write a post in the near future to include my favorite vegetable soup recipe.

  5. I am really enjoying and appreciating your blog Emily. Also a very beautiful presentation. Thanks.

    • Thank you, Cheryl, for the kind comment. I’m pleased to hear you are enjoying my blog!

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