Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The McDougall Diet

The McDougall Diet is based on unrefined starches - this means these are the foods you consume mostly. To this starch centerpiece you add fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Simplicity has great value and makes the diet easy to prepare - there is no requirement for great variety to assure nutritional adequacy. The foods were designed complete long before they reached the dinner table.

Starch Staples

The following starchy foods are high enough in calories that they can serve as the center of a meal:

Whole Grains

* barley
* oats
* brown rice
* quinoa (pronounced "keen-wa")
* buckwheat
* rye
* bulgur (cracked wheat)
* triticale
* couscous (refined wheat)
* wheat berries
* corn
* wild rice
* millet

Unrefined flours

* barley
* rice
* buckwheat
* rye
* corn
* soy
* garbanzo beans
* triticale
* lima bean
* wheat
* oat
* whole wheat pastry
* potato

Egg-Free Pastas
Pastas come in many shapes including spaghetti, macaroni, lasagna noodles, flat noodles, spirals, wheels, alphabet noodles. Most of these are made from highly refined flours and therefore should play a small role in your diet.

* artichoke pasta
* tomato pasta
* corn pasta (no wheat)
* whole wheat pasta
* spinach pasta
* rice pasta (no wheat)

Oriental Noodles
Most of these are made from highly refined flours and therefore should play a small role in your diet.

* bean threads
* somen
* buckwheat soba
* udon
* rice noodles


* burdock
* sweet potatoes
* celeriac (celery root)
* tapioca
* Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke)
* taro root
* jicama
* water chestnuts
* parsnips
* white potatoes
* rutabaga
* yams

(Carrots, beets, turnips, daikon, and salsify are low in carbohydrates and calories and so are not considered starch staples.)

Winter Squashes

* butternut
* acorn
* Hubbard
* banana
* pumpkin
* buttercup
* turban squash

(Summer squashes usually cannot serve as the center of a meal because of their low calorie content. They are also lower in carbohydrates than winter squashes.)


* aduki (azuki)
* red kidney
* black
* mung
* fava (broad)
* navy
* garbanzo (chick-peas)
* pink
* great northern
* pinto
* limas
* white kidney (cannellini)

(Soybeans cannot be considered a starch staple because they are too high in fat to be allowed on the diet regularily.)


* brown
* red
* green


* black-eyed
* split yellow
* split green
* whole green

Fruits and Vegetables

Green and yellow vegetables are too low in calories to serve as the center of your meals, but can be added without restriction to your meals, particularly if you wish to lose more weight, faster. In general fruits should be limited to 3 servings a day. They are tasty, high in simple sugars and easy to over consume. The sugar in fruit is fructose, which causes triglycerides and cholesterol to rise too high in sensitive people. People with these concerns should limit fruits even more.

Familiar Fruits and Vegetables are too numerous to list. Try some of these unfamiliar ones.


* carambola
* papaya
* cherimoya
* persimmon
* guava
* pomegranate
* kiwifruit
* passion fruit
* kumquat
* pummelo
* loquat
* quince
* lychee
* soursop
* mango


* aduki beans
* jicama
* arugula
* kale
* bok choy
* kohlrabi
* broccoli de rabe
* radicchio
* burdock
* salsify
* celeriac (celery root)
* sprouts (alfalfa, lentil, mung bean, wheat)
* chicory (curly endive)
* Swiss chard
* cocozelle
* taro root
* collard greens
* turban squash
* daikon
* water chestnuts
* endive
* watercress
* garbanzo beans (chick-peas)
* Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke)

Foods Not Allowed

The following is a list of the foods that are not allowed on my diet, with ideas for possible substitutions.

Don't Eat:
Possible substitutes:
Cow's Milk (for cereal or cooking)
Lowfat soy milk, rice milk, fruit juice, water, use extra when cooking hot cereal or pour over cold cereal
Cow's Milk (as beverage)
None; drink water, juice, herb tea, or cereal beverages
None; after 12 days you may substitute soy- and nut-based cheeses
Cottage cheese
None; after 12 days you may substitute crumbled tofu
Sour cream
Ice cream
Pure fruit sorbet, frozen juice bars; after 12 days you may substitute Lite Tofutti
Eggs (in cooking)
Ener-G Egg Replacer
Eggs (for eating)
Meat, poultry, fish
Starchy vegetables, whole grains, pastas, and beans; after 12 days you may substitute tofu "meat" recipes
Tofu mayonnaise
Vegetable oils (for pans)
None; use Teflon, Silverstone, or silicone-coated (Baker's Secret) pot and pans
Vegetable oils (in recipes)
None; omit oil or replace with water, mashed banana, or applesauce for moisture
White rice (refined)
Whole grain (brown) rice or other whole grains
White flour (refined)
Whole grain flours
Refined and sugar-coated cereals
Any acceptable hot or cold cereal
Carob powder
Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and black teas
Non-caffeinated herb tea, cereal beverages, hot water with lemon
Colas and un-colas
Mineral water or seltzer (flavored or plain)

Achieve 100% Health with Exercise

Although dietary changes will take you a long way to being completely healthy, you will need some exercise to improve your fitness and well being. Exercise, as simple as a daily walk, can benefit you. You will experience:

* More appropriate appetite
* An increase in muscle tissues, and thus a better ratio of lean body tissue to fat
* Loss of excess weight
* Improved muscle tone and flexibility
* More energy, less fatigue
* Some improvement in circulatory system
* Improved digestion
* Better mood - including less depression and anxiety
* A fall in blood pressure
* Lower triglyceride and blood sugar levels
* Higher HDL ("good") cholesterol level

Track Your Progress

It is useful to track your meals, exercise, physical status (include symptoms that have disappeared), mental status, test results, and medications. I always advise my patients to take as many body measurements as they can on the first day of the program, and then to take the measurements again on the last day. These measurements are necessary for health reasons, but even perfectly healthy people like to do it so they can track their progress. I recommend the following:

* Weighing yourself
* Having your blood pressure taken (or, if you wish to buy an inexpensive blood pressure cuff, doing it yourself)
* Getting blood tests to determine your levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, BUN, uric acid, and everything else your doctor may deem important

The most significant findings from your blood tests will be:

* Cholesterol level: If your level is above 180 mg/dl, you should consider this a warning sign of potential circulatory problems. Ideal is below 150 mg/dl. Sometimes the findings are broken down into HDL ["good"] and LDL ["bad"] cholesterol levels, but I feel the total cholesterol is the most significant.
* Triglyceride level: This measures the amount of fats floating along in your blood. Probably it will be between 50 and 200 mg/dl. Higher levels sludge the blood, cause resistance to insulin activity, and are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
* Glucose (blood sugar) level: Normal level is between 70 and 120 mg/dl. Higher levels indicate diabetes.
* BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen): This level reflects the amount of protein you eat and the function of your kidneys. Normal is less than 15 mg/dl.
* Uric acid level: Normal is less than 7 mg/dl. A higher figure indicates a risk of developing gout and/or kidney stones.

The McDougall All-You-Can-Eat Cookbook

Starches are the key to discovering health

The secret of the McDougall Program is in making starches the centerpiece of your diet and to this you add fruits and green and yellow vegetables. To make these meals taste great add your favorite sauces, seasonings, and dressings. Choose recipes that contain your favorite spices and whenever possible adjust the spicing to your liking. There are over 2000 recipes published in the McDougall books and newsletters; finding new favorites will be an enjoyable adventure.

Below, you will find a 12-day menu plan with recipes. You do not have to follow it exactly. When you find favorite meals, feel free to repeat them over and over again. You can have the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.

You can also visit the McDougall forums for recipes and support.

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Come on in for a nice cup of coffee and a chat about my weight loss journey as well as all the healthy recipes I have found, including WW points and/or nutritional information if available. I am eating a vegetarian diet and concentrating on getting healthy and hopefully weight loss will follow. Thank to all my readers for their ongoing support.