Alanis Morissette talks eating disorders & losing over 20 lbs on a vegan diet

Alanis Morissette’s weight loss is featured in People Magazine this week. The 35 year-old Canadian singer lost over 20 pounds through a primarily plant and fruit-based vegan diet and just completed her first marathon. She speaks candidly about her eating disorder as a teen and how she finally broke the yo-yo cycle. Alanis credits a book called Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman as helping her turn her health around and lose the weight.

Morissette is proud of her new, fit body – because, for the first time, she achieved it in a healthy manner. In addition to her workout regiment, Morissette, 35, follows a mostly vegan diet inspired by Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live. “I’m eating like an adult rather than like a 7-year-old at a candy store,” she says. “Now, around food, I can be trusted.”

The star’s eating issues began in her early teens, when the budding singer was told by a music exec that she had to lose weight if she wanted to succeed. She quickly took the criticism to an extreme, turning to anorexia and bulimia. “I’d go up and down at least 20 lbs. fast – sometimes in two weeks,” says Morissette, who became “covert, lonely and isolated.” After years of feeling helpless, she reached a turning point at age 17 when a friend “followed me to the bathroom,” she says. “I just started sobbing. She held me, and that was the beginning of the end. I took myself to therapy.”

But Morissette insists there was no heavy emotional issue behind her weight gain last year – not even her highly publicized 2007 split from fiance Ryan Reynolds… “Any breakup I’ve been through, the weeks following are fragile,” she admits. “But when I go through emotional shifts in life, I actually don’t eat as much.” So what was the cause behind the curves? Simply having fun on the road. “I was eating Italian food at two in the morning, drinking wine and margaritas,” says Morissette, who dubbed this period her “Indulgence Tour.” “It was the most fun I’ve ever had! But I didn’t want to stay there…”

[Inset information] The Book. Morrissette’s “redefining moment” came when she discovered Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s diet, which stresses nutrient-dense foods such as cucumbers and collards. “It was a big lifestyle change for me.”

Her Meals. The singer starts out with a spinach banana smoothie and then digs into a kale salad for lunch. For a snack, she’ll have her favorite grapefruit.

Mini indulgences. “If I’m PMSing and I really need chocolate, I’ll eat the chocolate.”

[From People Magazine, print edition, November 9, 2009 via PDF on Dr.]

Dr. Fuhrman has more details on his website, and I’ve read the first few chapters of Eat to Live and have to say I’m convinced that my family needs to eat more fruits and vegetables and cut out some of the meat in our diet. Dr. Fuhrman backs up all of his recommendations with studies and pretty compelling evidence that eating a high-fat high-processed food diet is bad for us. This is stuff we already know, but the way he presents it is very factual and convincing and helps clear up some of the conflicting information we’ve received about health and nutrition. If you’d like to lose weight and are open to radically changing your diet, it’s worth reading.

You may want to leaf through it at the bookstore first and/or read through Dr. Fuhrman’s website before you buy it, though. Eat to Live recommends what most of us consider a very strict diet. You basically eat as much fruits, vegetables and beans as you want and a minimal amount of whole grain pasta, rice and carbs. You can still eat meat, bread, and dairy in small amounts, but he makes it clear that you really need to eat a ton of fruits and vegetables. The weight loss is supposed to be astounding, though. Fuhrman has clients who have lost 20 pounds in six weeks, and he claims this is both safe and effective. He also addresses possible vitamin and mineral deficiencies on the diet and how you can ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need.

Good for Alanis for losing weight the right way and for being so open and honest about what she went through. After seeing her dramatic weight loss, I wondered how she lost it. Ellen Degeneres also said that she lost weight through a vegan diet recommended by her wife, Portia. People sometimes scoff at vegans and the diet seems very restrictive, but they’re definitely on to something. I find this health-based approach a lot more convincing than the guilt and scare tactics some organizations use to try and convince us to go vegetarian.

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41 Responses to “Alanis Morissette talks eating disorders & losing over 20 lbs on a vegan diet”

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  1. crash2GO2 says:

    The problem I have with veganism being so-called ‘scientific’ is that we are clearly physically omnivores. We have the teeth, digestive tract, and nutritional needs of omnivores. It’s like taking your pet dog, and making him live off of fruits, vegetables, and grains. He might survive, but not thrive.

  2. Mon says:

    this weightloss looks closer to 40 pounds to me… but good for her!! And great that she was able to cope with the eating disorder

  3. DD says:

    I’m sorry did you write spinach-banana smoothie? This diet will be an epic fail if that isn’t a TYPO.

  4. ela says:

    IMHO Alanis is not aging well.

    She looks fit but i dont like her face, she has a very manly muscular-face.

  5. Praise St. Angie! says:

    yeah, the spinach-banana smoothie got me too, but I’m betting all you taste is the banana…sort of like those V8 drinks that are fruit/veggie but you only taste the fruit.

    nothing new about fruit/veggies being good for you. most docs have been saying “eat as much of them as you can” for decades.

    but sorry, I like a good cheeseburger now and then. you can lead a very healthy life while eating meat and carbs…it all depends on HOW MUCH of these things you eat.

  6. birdie says:

    uhm Crash bad metaphor… Dogs are carnivores.

    The point of being an omnivore is that you can survive on any combination of foods. Vegans/Vegetarians actually live healthier and longer lives than meat eaters. So they survive, and thrive.

  7. Bella says:

    I think that vegetarianism has clear benefits but all vegetables and fruit are NOT created equal. The cost of healthy, fresh, organic food is triple that of regular produce and therefore not a viable option for all. Eating meat and dairy is better for you than consuming all the processed, packaged, artificial, quick & easy, chemical-laden crap that fill the food aisles in supermarkets.

  8. QB says:

    I have never heard of any statistic that say vegans and vegetarians live healthier and longer lifes. Being Vegan or Vegetarion does not equal being healthy. There are a lot of food that will qualify as Vegetarian that are not healthy for you one of those things being Sodas , candys….. Vegans use a lot of soy based producst ,the problem with this is that most of the soy they use is made in the USA and is horrible it haves a lot of chemicals.The crops are genetically modified unlike , the soy in asia whose crop only get the basic fermentation.

    Is not about being vegan or vegetarian is about making smart choices , a balance diet that works for your body is the key for being healthy.

  9. Gladdy says:

    North Americans need to realize that meat should be eaten as a “condiment”, not as big slabs of food twice a day. I’ve started cutting way back on meat, I use a bit of chicken or turkey in veggie-based dishes with brown rice or whole grain pasta. I eat fish a couple of times a week, and once in a blue moon I’ll have a bit of beef but once your body becomes acclimatized to the new way of eating, you really fill up quickly on a small amount of animal protien. I lost weight too!

  10. crash2GO2 says:


    Cats are true carnivores, with the short digestive tract of a carnivore. While dogs have carnivorous teeth, their digestive tract is longer, and in the wild they eat a lot of vegetable matter. The domestic dog evolved along with human settlements, basically eating what we eat. They are omnivores.

    (I’m having trouble posting – don’t know why)

  11. waldemar says:

    Eating a ton of fruit? The acid and sugars will ruin your teeth. Just because it is in an orange doesn’t mean that it is a different sugar. Sugar is sugar!

    You can eat almost everything, but just NORMAL amounts. With moderation. To much of anything is always bad for you.

    That is my mantra and I never been on a diet up to this day and still as slim when I was 18.

  12. Fire says:

    for some reason i craving a nice big steak for lunch :o P

  13. Praise St. Angie! says:

    “Vegans/Vegetarians actually live healthier and longer lives than meat eaters.”

    actually, studies have shown this to be false.

    when comparing meat eaters and vegetarians who are of the same build/weight and have the same lifestyle habits (amount that they smoke/drink), are of the same socio-economic class, have the same level of education and are of the same gender, the vegetarians didn’t live any longer than the meat eaters.

    it’s much more about your lifestyle (smoking, drinking, exercising) than it is your diet.

    the thing is, people who eat meat (generally) also tend to have unhealthier lifestyles in other areas…that is, they smoke more, drink more and exercise less.

    but, when those criteria are not factors, and diet alone is the issue, neither diet makes you live longer.

  14. Cathy says:

    Spinach smoothies are actually good – if you can get pass the bright green colour! Look up green monster recipes. You CANNOT taste the spinach!

  15. Kevin says:

    Now if you want to talk longevity look into the people who live on calorie restriction. These people eat only enough to stay alive basically. They don’t look healthy at all but the bitches will definitely out live your garden variety vegan. Also, have you ever seen a vegan who didn’t know what they were doing as far as nutrients and such? That is one miserable sick puppy.

  16. dizzybenny says:

    you know i prefer her more in the 2008 pic then today.but then again i’m a curve man,i love women with meat on them.;)

  17. mollination says:

    Kale salad and her “favorite” grapefruit?

    Still sounds like anorexia if you ask me!

    But otherwise, this diet sounds much better than say atkins. I’ve always been a firm believer that you should be able to eat fruits and vegetables without counting them or portioning them. That’s why I knew Atkins was no good from the start. Never restrict fruits and veggies!!

  18. MymaJane says:

    This doesn’t sound so bad, and it’s not completely vegan (which is something I could never do). It says you can still eat meat, bread, and dairy in small amounts.

    But the spinach and banana smoothie sounds a little odd.

  19. stellab. says:

    I’m vegan. I think it’s important, though, to take the stress off of the not-eating-meat part, and focus on the whole foods part. Many vegans aren’t healthy because it’s still possible to eat junk and processed food, and not eat any meat or dairy. All the meat substitutes are full of sodium and are basically processed. If you eat junk, you’re not going to be healthy, regardless of whether or not you eat meat and cheese. I try to steer clear of anything overly-processed. That’s a lot harder to do than it is to avoid meat, though, trust me. I notice everyone jumps on the meat thing, but often that’s just one of the benefits- not hurting animals. I actually became vegan in the hope that it would balance my hormones, because my PMS was intolerable. But I see no reason to go back to eating meat. I do eat dairy occasionally and sparingly, but the hormones in the dairy aren’t worth it.

  20. sg says:

    This isn’t a vegan diet. It just says to eat meat and dairy in small amounts which sounds practical and sensible. Unlimited fruits and vegetables and small amounts of grains. It sounds reasonable and healthy.

  21. pixiegirl says:

    Yes because I don’t want to ‘feel guilty’ about supporting an industry that abuses, contains, and eventually murders innocent animals by the millions.

  22. AC says:

    QB: the book stresses eating non processed foods that are nutrient dense. Candy, sodas, white bread and white pasta are not any of those things.

  23. may says:

    I juice everyday using kale, carrots spinach ginger apples broccoli it’s very healthful

  24. QB says:

    @AC , I did not read the book and I was not talking about it. I was refering to the post that say that Vegan and Vegetarians are healthier.

  25. Juice In LA says:

    I’m with Birdie and Belle on this matter. With respect to Crash2go2′s carnivore versus omnivore diet, An omnivore eats both plant and animal.

    So if a dog is an ominvore as you maintain, then your premise that a dog will merely survive and not thrive on aplant diet is flimsy at best.

    Unless you are willing to concede that a dog would barely survive if all you fed him was meat, your argument is without merit.

    Also, most commercial pet food- scratch that, almost all commercial pet foods are mainly composed of rices and by product, very little meat. SO your dog isn;t eating that meat diet you are arguing for to begin with.

  26. crash2GO2 says:

    Your dog will not survive if you only feed it meat. It will eventually die of malnutrition. Cats will not. Wild dogs eat plant matter – did you read my link?

    Where was I arguing that domestic dogs eat a lot of meat anyway? And who is Belle?

  27. pixiegirl says:

    I’m so sick of the argument that healthy food is more expensive. Yes, organic is usually more expensive, so don’t buy organic. Anything that has a peel doesn’t need to be organic anyway. And I’m sorry, but eating meat is expensive. It’s pretty easy to take that money and put it towards beans (DIRT cheap, especially if bought in bulk), and large bags of frozen veggies which can be higher in nutrients and don’t go bad.
    Please get beyond the ‘healthy food is too expensive’ myth and think for yourself how you can eat healthy and save money.

  28. crash2GO2 says:

    Yabbut, do you know what happens to my stomach when I eat those veggies and beans? Major intestinal distress! I have tried from time to time to go that route, and finally gave up from sheer agony and bloating. What is the secret folks?

    And yes, meat is expensive. But you only have to eat a little to reap a huge nutritional value. Or eat eggs if you don’t want to spend money on meat.

  29. JaneL says:

    Mel- What a disgusting comment. I am a lesbian and I certainly don’t look like a man.

  30. lrm says:

    God,who gives a sh*t what dogs and cats eat???
    I hate those comparisons-humans are a species-and we are not animals. though we may have a limbic brain and a few similarities otherwise,we are a different species!

    You know what? You could also argue that our ‘teeth’ are not for meat eating,but for chewing off rough edges of sugarcane and other natural,’raw’ products.
    Just saying how trite these ubiquitous types of ‘responses’ to this argument have gotten.

    It’s obvious that eating fruits and vegetables with some grain is healthy. And yes,a little meat now and then or mixed in as a condiment,is perfectly fine and useful,even healthy. And it’s known that dairy causes mucous and phlegm build up in the body and intestines,so laying off it now and then,or eating the ‘right’ kinds of dairy for the season ‘ie,soft cheeses andyogurts in summer,hard,ripe cheeses in winter,which create warmth in the body] is better for the body.

    But you know what? those who want to sit around arguing about what’s healthier on their computer,to justify how and what they eat,can do so!
    Free country!

    Meanwhile,I’ll actually be living my life in a healthy body,and enjoying it! Rather than waiting for more western/US based scientific ‘evidence’ to tell me what to do.

    Whatever floats your boat!

  31. jaundicemachine says:

    I think the major take-home message of this article is “EAT MORE PRODUCE!!”

    And really, how can you disagree with that?

  32. sonny says:

    re: crash2go2

    is it really hard to pop a pill known as “bean-o” or something similar? all your GI distress will go away. or you could continue going to mcdonalds and avoid veggies and spend $$$ on cholesterol lowering drugs for the rest of your life.

  33. Kathie says:

    Again people are arguing with each other about something that is clearly a personal choice. I am vegan because I CHOOSE TO BE VEGAN! Other people eat meat and dairy for the same reason, choice! My parents led long healthy lives because of a balanced diet of nutrient dense foods with small amounts of meat, fish and eggs with the fruits and veggies from our little garden, yum! I have never been a person who thought one size fit all of anything!
    I think if everyone sat down, did their own research then all could find a way to eat healthily or not as they choose!

  34. KPC says:

    Wow, I love how many “health experts” read this site.

    Read any of Michael Polland’s books and then decide. “In Defense of Food” and the “Ominore’s Dilemna” to start.

  35. crash2GO2 says:

    Wow, people certainly got touchy fast on this one. Animals are a very good way to make comparisons when you are talking about these types of issues. I don’t know about anyone else, but I like to know the facts, not wishful thinking when I make dietary and other types of major decisions about what I am going to put into my body. So you all will just have to forgive the scientist in your midst for bringing some facts to the table. And I’m not going anywhere any time soon, so get used to it and quit whining.

    Thanks for the Beano idea. I could have done without the snot though, since I was asking a perfectly reasonable legitimate question. I seem to remember it is kind of pricey and you need to use a lot of it (at least I did). I was more hoping for advice along the lines of ‘it takes X amount of time usually for your system to get used the new food’. But I guess that was asking too much!

  36. WTF?!? says:

    Praise St Angie:
    “people who eat meat (generally) also tend to have unhealthier lifestyles in other areas…that is, they smoke more, drink more and exercise less.”

    Generalize much? Education is a bigger factor in smoking or not than vegetarianism.
    Please link to the [legitimate] study by an impartial third party that states this as a worldwide conclusion.

  37. Praise St. Angie! says:

    To WTF…I NEVER said that smoking had anything to do with vegetarianism, just that people who are vegetarians TEND to be more healthy in other aspects of their lives BESIDES JUST THEIR DIET. Yes, there are some vegetarians who smoke, and yes, I generalized…hence my disclaimer of “generally”.

    If you want info on that, just do what I did. I googled “Vegans/Vegetarians actually live healthier and longer lives than meat eaters.” and came up with information on all sorts of studies, done in the US and in Europe.

    What I wrote, and you quoted, were the findings of the studies, not MY claim.

    you DO know what google is, don’t you?

  38. fizXgirl314 says:

    dogs are actually omnivores… have you ever read what’s in the list of ingredients in your dog’s food?

    Anyway, processed food usually means highly refined carbs… I don’t see how “highly processed” inclused meat… you can’t highly process meat…

    quite frankly, I can’t stand when people criticize meat… guess what, we’re made of it… it’s the basic foundation of life… protein… and in the most digestible form it comes in for humans is meat…

    I assure you the weight loss she achieved is due to eating fewer calories and has very little to do with restricting any particular food group…

    any restrictions people make to food groups just result in fewer calories consumed…

  39. Morgs says:


    You can start with the Bean-o, but your gastric system can take anywhere up to 6-8 weeks to become used to something. I switched my diet to Paleolithic, which is a lot of veggies, protein, and fruit and my system was out of whack for a good few weeks, gassy etc, but now its all good. Maybe you just need to slowly add more veggies into your diet until your system can handle it better. Make sure you drink at least 64 oz. of water a day. that will help as well.

  40. Morgs says:

    and banana-spinach smoothies are good! Spinach is extremely sweet when you add it to a fruit smoothie. You don’t have to add a lot to get its health benefits.