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Eat to Live | The Book That Inspired a Family’s Transformation

Sick of being overweight and caffeine-dependent, Peter Rubi customer Nicole Sartori was ready to make some big changes in her lifestyle. In October of 2016, a neighbor recommended that Nicole read the book, “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Reading this book allowed Nicole to completely reexamine the role that food was playing in her life, ultimately inspiring her to make the changes she was so ready for.

Dr. Fuhrman encourages people to try the Eat to Live diet for a minimum of six weeks. The Eat to Live diet recommends folks eliminate meat, dairy, and processed foods while increasing the quantity and diversity of vegetables and other plant-based foods. Some foods like starchy vegetables, nuts, and dried fruit he advises eating in limited quantities. 

Nicole knew that if the changes were going to last she would need to take small steps. She started her journey by reversing her morning drive-thru habit. This eliminated iced caramel lattes topped with whipped cream and the occasional bagel or donut from Dunkin Donuts. Instead, Nicole would whip up a spinach based fruit smoothie to slurp on her way to work.   

Two months later, Nicole was eating healthier than ever; yet still hadn’t kicked her afternoon Coke Zero habit. Despite the zero calories and zero sugar, she knew it couldn’t be helping her health if some of the ingredients on the back of the can were unpronounceable. Nicole slowly weaned herself off the afternoon sodas, and has since switched to drinking only water throughout the day. When she’s looking for a boost of flavor, she’ll infuse her water with cucumber, mint, watermelon, or any other creative combination she can come up with! 

As time went on, Nicole realized that she was feeling so much better than she had been before. She had more energy and was in a better mood more often - no longer falling victim to the highs and lows of sugar. Her everyday choices were having an impact!

Nicole knew that if she pushed her family too hard to join her in changing habits, they might not ever get on board. She simply continued to lead by example and invited her husband and three children to try her recipes if they were interested. If on any particular day they weren’t, she chose not to allow it to bother her and continued seeking out delicious plant-based recipes. 

Because of her commitment and consistency to transforming her lifestyle, the entire family slowly but surely followed in her footsteps. Nicole’s son now joins her for workouts at the local YMCA and her daughter participated in Girls on the Run in May.

Nicole makes food preparation a regular part of her routine. She likes to design her meal plans in cultural themes, like Italian, Mexican, or Mediterranean.

If it’s Italian night, she might do eggplant roll ups, or pesto pasta salad. For Mexican night, she’ll do jack fruit “pulled pork” or a cauliflower/quinoa based “ground beef”. She also has a lot of fun adding different toppings to a romaine salad. A Mediterranean salad might have chickpeas, black olives, red peppers, red onions and tofu feta. She even makes her own dressings!

Nicole’s advice to others looking to make a change to a healthier lifestyle? Try new things! It’s not about taking away everything you enjoy, but substituting it with something else and finding a way to make it taste delicious! Before making these lifestyle shifts Nicole had never tried quinoa, black beans, Brussel sprouts or many other foods. Now she has fun getting creative with her food. If going completely plant-based right off the bat is too extreme, she recommends making small changes one at a time; like Meatless Monday or using almond milk instead of cow's milk. 

The resources that Nicole has found helpful throughout her journey are: 

Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman 

A documentary titled “What the Health

A documentary titled, “Forks over Knives” 

Vegan Avocado Pesto recipe by Code Green Wellness


Do you have a lifestyle transformation, plant-based recipe, or other uplifting story you’d like to share with the Peter Rubi Community? Please email us at to be considered for a feature article on our blog, What’s New at Peter Rubi!