Excerpted and adapted from Fit Quickies; 5 Minute Targeted Body Shaping Workouts, by Lani Muelrath, Penguin/Alpha, 2013.
What? The Plant-Based Fitness Expert Advisor for the McDougall Health and Medical Center Discussion Boards is putting the words ‘failure’ and ‘McDougall Diet’ in the same sentence?
Settle down. And now that I’ve got your attention, let me explain. Because what I’m about to tell you may well change your life.
I now weigh 50 lbs less than I did 13 years ago at my top weight of 189.5. Yes, I know – “.5”. It’s been a journey perhaps not unlike your own. My story has a few interesting twists and I tell it in full transparency to offer hope.
Note: I could have just talked about the food and diet here and it would be of deep value, and perhaps all the information you need. Yet it wouldn’t be true to the full story of my success. So I color in the big picture for you if you, like me, have the experience that there is more than simply “Here’s the food problem: Here’s the food solution”. I hope that this is helpful to you.
The trail of my long and colorful diet history is littered with dog-eared diet books, stacks of journals, plenty of excess poundage and as those of us with a ‘weight’ problem well know, lots of white-knuckle hunger, tears, and hair-tearing.
I’ve been eating vegetarian for 38 years. Despite multiple attempts and a variety of vegetarian eating schemes for weight loss that gave me intermittent short – term success and frequent long-term failure, I kept trying. I dare you to top my listing of attempts. Important to the story, but beside the point.
Through all those years of hit and miss, there prevailed within me 2 underlying convictions:
#1) My hunger signals couldn’t be wrong or faulty.
I figured that something is wrong with the system – not my body – if I needed to count, weigh or measure everything.
Something’s wrong with the system if I have to addle my brain with counting 1.73 grams of protein to 2.426 grams of carbohydrate, or any other living-your-life-as-a-lab system. Wrong with the system – not my body.
#2) There must be a way to eat that would allow me to use hunger and fullness signals as my guide.
I’d see the squirrels and deer grazing in the woods outside our door and they weren’t counting or measuring anything. And they weren’t fat, either. And it’s not because they didn’t have enough to eat. Obesity is unknown in the wild. What had they figured out, without thinking, that I hadn’t? Sure, I knew about calories and most of my diet incarnations had some sort of calorie counting component. I could manage my weight with portions and counting. For awhile. But it was hard and I was hungry.
Major turn of events
Finally, my frustrating search brought me to an eating coach who helped me make a big leap forward in my quest. By this point in time, years of frustration had me wanting, more than anything, a healthy, happy relationship with food, eating and my body. What appealed to me about this coach’s work – she was also an RN and obesity specialist – was that the central theme to her approach dovetailed with my convictions about hunger, fullness, and appetite guides. All we had to do was tune in, listen to our fuel signals, and eat quality food until we had enough, she said. You can see why this appealed to me.
I threw all my eggs into this basket. The only rules were be sure to eat every time you get hungry and eat until full on quality, real food. It made sense, it satisfied hunger, and it broke me from the enervating cycle of dieting.
Eating this way was both a relief and very anxiety producing. Letting go of all of the ‘controls’ around food was a scary ride. Plus, at first, I gained weight. A LOT of weight. 40 lbs. This was not without its challenges since as a college professor, fitness trainer and physical educator I was in front of people teaching exercise classes and lecturing all the time. Once an aerobics student even asked if I was pregnant. Yikes. What kept me going? Intuitively I knew I was on the right track. Refer to “underlying convictions” #1 and #2 above.
Redefining ‘quality’ food
Yet knowing what I know now, all of that gain was not necessary. I know because I have coached thousands of others in eating according to appetite to steadily lose weight and become leaner with the same principles (and underlying convictions #1 and #2 above) as I implemented.
Now, I have a different view of what ‘quality’ food is. At the time, though a vegetarian and processed foods were not considered ‘quality’ according to the approach, dairy products, eggs and smaller amounts of oils were. Moderate fat intake at about 20% of daily calories was advised. Still, I gained that weight. I was eating according to hunger and fullness signals, true to my ideal. My coach said that even though I would gain initially, that eventually my weight would plateau and then slowly start to drop. This actually did happen to some extent.
Before going on, I do want to underscore that I am deeply grateful to this coach because she taught me a lot about listening to my body and that my body was not the enemy. That something is wrong with the food and the eating, not your body. The fact that my body stored fat more readily than someone else’s was not a design flaw, it was a genetic survival plus. I ‘got a good one’ she’d say. And the experience with this coach, though somewhat off the mark in these early stages, eventually resulted in my realizing that ideal that I was seeking in being well fed, slim and healthy and with a healthy, happy relationship with food, eating, and my body.
Eventually, though, I still found I was heavier than I wanted to be and began to implement some controls that would assist with weight loss. I tweaked down the calories with portions and was careful not to cut too dramatically because I knew too well the consequences associated with doing so – that I would become hungry, which would hook my survival instinct, and restart the terrible ordeal of hunger management. I was thus able to nudge my weight down a little bit more, yet without the serious dietary implementations or rebound hunger of the years when I was really cutting my dieting teeth. Still, I had faith that I would eventually find the solution that met my highest ideal of not having to ‘count’.
Critical to success: Assembling mindset tools
It was also during this time and through this process that I developed and deeply utilized the tools for that you now find in Woman’s Fitness Blueprint: An Action Plan for Success and Boot Camp Mind: My Top 10 Motivational Tools for Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness Success. When one goes through the tremendous transformation such as I am sharing with you, it is not without just as much attention to mindset and mastery of psychology as to food plan and exercise. Without the inner shifts the other 2 legs of what I call the 3 Pillars of Transformation – mindset, diet, and exercise – are temporary and at best superficial. You have to keep in mind what you are looking for. Yes, a slim and energetic, healthy body, yet also productivity, fulfillment, and happiness.
Our fitness and energy are a part of the bigger picture of our lives. Our bodies are the tools through which we experience our lives in fulfilling our passion of purpose, contribution, livelihood, avocations, and just plain joy of existence. We can all easily create a list of activities, contributions, and obligations, for which we are best equipped to fulfill when fit, healthy and energetic. Don’t discount the value of this, or excuse it away. ~ from Lani Muelrath’s Woman’s Fitness Blueprint, Module One
So where does the McDougall Plan part fit in?
Prior to this change of events those 13 years ago, I had purchased a copy of the McDougall Plan. This was at about the same time that it came out in 1983. It had appealed to my ‘eat when hungry until you’re not’ vision and I eagerly jumped in.
I lasted a few days, got hungry, and abandoned it. I tried the McDougall approach again a few years later, drawn by the sense and promise of it – eat according to appetite and be your natural thin weight – and ‘lasted’ only a few days once more.
[To fit this into the timeline, it was following these initial forays into the McDougall waters that I had the life-changing experience with my food and eating coach.]
What finally made it all come together for me was actually meeting and spending a day with Dr. McDougall.
Turning point: My day with Dr. John McDougall
I had been invited to attend an all-day physician’s seminar where Dr. McDougall took the stage for hours on end, presenting documentation, graphs, slides, images – you name it – in front of a roomful of cardiologists. Dr. McDougall’s patience, clarity, and ability to make everything seem so common sense had a disarming affect on the cardiologist crowd. And it drove home to me points I’d heard before. Yet I realized I hadn’t quite gotten the full message until that day.
I left that seminar with a deeper understanding of how oils and dairy were no doubt in the way of my progress. Yet the biggest moments of enlightenment had to do with the importance of starches.
I realized that as much as I was intellectually convinced about the wisdom of the McDougall Plan and what a good match it was for my ideals, the reason I failed initially is because I was holding back on the potatoes, yams, and brown rice in a way that was sabotaging my success. Though I professed to have given up carbophobia long before, there was still some residual influence that was hampering my progress.
I was doing great with the vegetables. Mountains of them. Belly full. But the persistent hunger that drove me to abandon the McDougall diet in my earlier attempts occurred because I wasn’t respecting enough the dietary bulk factor that would be necessary to realize my goal. Bulk is a huge part of satiety, and is a function of weight and fiber in the gut. It’s one of the big reasons that most diets fail.
In my previous McDougall diet incarnations, I did fine on the fiber with all the high water content vegetables. But that wasn’t giving my stretch and fullness receptors the right message to switch off the ‘hunger’ signal and switch on the ‘full’ switch. That takes a higher amount of calorie density teamed with bulk. That’s what the potatoes, brown rice, etc do. They affect the amount of calorie concentration, teamed with bulk and fiber, in any given food. Potatoes just happen to be the perfect combination of fiber, water, and calorie density to bring you into the ‘just right’ satiety zone. Starchy vegetables. Intact whole grains do it too. Paired up with the high water content vegetables and fruits, you have the recipe for weight-loss-without-hunger success.
My McDougall diet success: Freely eating creates eating freedom
With my very next meal after leaving that physician’s seminar, I piled on the brown rice and potatoes with my vegetables, and eliminated oils and dairy. The fanciest I got with portions was to fill half my dinner plate with rice or potatoes and the other half with steamed vegetables using the eyeball method. This allowed me to eat according to appetite.
My rules of eating, as had been my ideal, now allowed me to stay slim: Eat when hungry, ’til you’re not. I call it just being a good animal.
Every day, I am thrilled to walk into my kitchen with the happy knowledge that I have mountains of beautiful, delicious foods to choose from, and which I can eat to my heart’s content until I am full. I know now from years of experience now that this will keep me trim.
The confident joy of staying slim while eating this way never diminishes. I never get tired of being able to buy cartfuls of whole foods wherever we happen to be in the world on adventure and cook in the same way with the same result.
I never get tired of the fact that when you get the food right, the fitness is so much simpler, and I can easily keep my shape with the simple tools of Fit Quickies, hiking and walking, and other elements of play that are all part of being a good animal.
It is a wonderful way to live.
People ask me how they should eat to lose weight so I tell them exactly how I eat.
Usually they ask me more than once, because I don’t think they quite believe me. I look at it this way. By day’s end, if I were to take all of the food I ate that day and put it on a big tray, half of it would be piled with starchy veggies and whole grains and the other half with high water-content vegetables. There would be about a cup of beans and a couple of pieces of fruit on top. A sprinkling of seeds. Over the course of weeks, there would be some festive feast meals thrown in. It’s a good summation of my food each day, give or take. A no-brainer forks over knives. It’s not a religion, it’s a guiding set of simple principles.
Breakfast is usually whole grains and fruits with seeds or nuts. Lunch is a big bowl of soup with starchy vegetables, legumes, and dark greens or a salad, or both, often with a sandwich on wholegrain bread. Dinner is a mountain of rice or potatoes or pasta with another big pile of steamed veggies and or salad. I call it my big plate trick for staying trim. Somewhere along the course of the day I’ll have another fruit or two. If some days I’m hungrier, I don’t think twice about eating an extra big bowl of rice, second serving of potatoes, or grabbing a couple of chunks good grainy bread. That’s not what makes us fat But until we really get it about being well fed on those foods with the ability to ring our happy satiety bells, we’ll struggle with our hunger and quite likely our weight.
It’s that simple.
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THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
We became plant-based eaters last June after seeing Dr. Fuhrman on PBS, then reading Eat to Live, The China Study, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Engine 2 Diet…and the list goes on. I still believed I needed to portion control my starchy foods and was afraid to add brown rice, baked potatoes, etc because I didn’t want to add those less nutrient dense foods to meals even though I felt like I needed to eat more food. I will now add those into my diet and not feel guilty about putting potatoes in my soups or adding rice to veggie dishes.
Ah, feeling liberated – thanks again Lani!!
Dina, thank you SO so much for sharing your thoughts. I tell you, I struggled with all of it, even subconsciously, as I reveal in my article. And comments and feedback like yours are exactly why I put this article together and spilled all the beans. Stay connected and come by whenever you need a boost of confidence, OK?
Lani, You know I have read and heard your story several times, but thanks for sharing in such detail in this blog. You give such a clear picture of your various attempts and your determination to allow your body to “work”. Thanks for your support these couple of years and for always sharing of yourself. Couldn’t do this without you. Hugs!
Nancy, so great to see you stop in and thanks. And yes, you’ve heard details yet from my experience, hearing the stories of those who have gone before me is never tiresome and always inspires – and so glad this does the same for you. You are doing wonderfully!
Lani, again, may I say a HUGE THANK YOU~~ You surely have helped me NOT feel guilty about having a warm, steaming bowl of brown rice with veggies plopped on the top and some Braggs aminos, and calling it a meal. You truly are such an inspiration to me!! <3 thank you, from the bottom of my heart!
Grayce, so exclted to see how well things continue to go for you. Simple rocks! Thanks for sharing your wins – always!
Thanks for sharing your story in such great detail. I’ve been eating plant based for about 7 weeks now. I’ve been eating more fruits than grains ( more in the Fuhrman mindset). As much as the Mcdougall plan appeals to me, when I tried it for a few days, I found myself either gaining or not losing weight. Did you find yourself losing weight immediately, or did your body need some adjustment time? I lost about 10lbs the first month, but have been holding steady since. I can easily stand to lose another 20lbs.
I exercise five days a week. Usually about a half hour of intense cardio with some type of mat work (i.e. pushups) at the end. I would really appreciate any advice you might have. I have completely given up all animal products and oil. My only “cheat” is some occasional dried unsweetened fruit. Thanks so much.
Nicki, I’ve got the perfect read for you:
6 reasons you might have gained weight on a plant-based diet when your goal is to lose weight:
This explains how the UP in fiber can actually show up initially as a gain on the scale. That’s one of the things that scared me off initially but this time I had faith and persisted. Read the article and let me know if you have questions. Dried fruit slows me down, I’m better off not having it in the house except on occasion. I can eat 5 dates after every meal and won’t gain as if they were cookies, yet when trying to lose, if you’re stuck, it may well be an influencing factor.
Keep me posted. And thank you so much for YOUR post!
I am going to read this right now! Thank you do much for responding! I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to me. I’m making this life change by myself, and while my family is very supportive, it’s a little scary on my own. Having someone with your experience in my corner is amazing! I will keep you posted-thanks again!
Happy to help. Stay connected for support. It’s huge for success. Reach out, grab all the tools of motivation you can.
A friend recently challenged a bunch of us to do Dr. Furhman’s 6-week Challenge, which is what introduced me to plant-based eating. I did fine for the first couple of weeks, was enjoying the veggies & the increase in energy they gave me. But I kept having that hunger feeling. I was eating serving bowl sized salads with all kinds of veggies & beans but still experiencing what felt like hunger. I chalked it up to ‘toxic hunger’ as Dr. F. describes in his book. I found myself longing for meals that would allow brown rice or whole-grain pasta, but avoided them with the same reasoning that you and Dina describe. Needless to say, at about 3 1/2 weeks I was getting grouchy with my family and just didn’t feel like what I was doing was quite right for me. I abandoned ship. So glad I liked your FB page and saw this post! It sounds like something that would work better for me (& my family). Thanks so much for sharing your personal experiences!
Shelby, I know some people who swear by Eat To Live. My experience, however, was as yours – and if you look at my article, you will see it referred to.
We do live in a toxic food environment and it takes commitment and education to see beyond the lure of edibles that inspire our appetites. Yet I find the number one defense against eating junk food and pigging out on edible fluff is being well fed. It makes a big, changeable dent in ’emotional’ eating, too. Emotional eating can be a simple co-incidence of mounting stress with stored hunger. Eating as I have described to you in the article, along with mindset principles (part of which are being sure to eat enough on time- which is also a mindset tool, by the way) made the difference.
Keep me posted on your journey. You’ll find the balance best for you.
What a lovely post. I wish I could say I’ve had a similar experience, but unfortunately, after two months of McDougalling, I haven’t lost anything except my optimism. When I read things like this, I just feel so alone. Anyway, I’m genuinely glad it works for you and so many others.
A simple food diary may reveal the problem and quite often it is a simple fix. It depends on a lot of things: how much you have to lose, how accurate you really are about “McDougalling”, etc.
Track everything you eat for a week. See what it reveals. Get back to me if you’d like my assist.
You are not alone.
hi to you all from Australia, i to had the same mindset about carb foods although being a vegan i found them so hard to avoid, i was always hungry just eating veggies and fruit, i love brown rice and quinoa and i did read Mcdougalls plan but was way scared to try it, but now after reading your blogs i will give it another go. My favourite food are beans and lentils and oats and every time i added them into my diet the scales told me to next day, but now might just keep trying it again and see what happens, thanks so much .
Anna, I’m so glad you are encouraged! How did we meet? Please don’t hesitate to reach out as you progress – no need to go it alone! Did you read the article that I linked to Nicki’s post? It will help big time!
I agree with your recommendations, but work with many diabetics. What is the answer to maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels while including the starches?
Rhonda, I would recommend getting a copy of Dr. Neal Barnard’s Reversing Diabetes. In that book he describes and details how – in research conducted with the NIH – they discovered that the problem was fat (gumming up insulin transport) and of course processed foods are stricly advised against. More resources via McDougall here as well: http://www.drmcdougall.com/med_hot_diabetes.html
This should get many questions clarified. Are you a physician?
I’m a fan of McDougall and your site as well. however I cannot eat as much as I want (even if it is good carbs and plant strong) and lose weight. I’m sure this advice works for normal height people who can eat 1500-1600 calories/day, but I am only 4’10” and weigh 115 lbs. This may not seem overweight but for my height it is, according to height/weight charts I should weigh 90 – 95 lbs. The only way I can do that is through a very strict “starvation” type diet of 1000 -1200 calories and tons of excercise. I know because I have managed to get down to 105 lbs by doing this and it’s just not something I can maintain long term. I understand the calorie density thing and I do eat a big salad every day, but salad and veggies don’t really make me satiated. I need to eat a certain amount of grains and carbs daily or I feel very deprived. But the problem is, if I eat till I’m full I don’t lose any more weight. I would like your input on the special challenges of “short people” who can’t eat the same way you tall people can!!! I carry my weight around the hips and thighs. no matter how much I diet or excercise I cannot seem to fix this, I can lose weight but I only become a smaller “pear”!
I am 4 ‘ 10″ tall and I COMPLETELY understand where you are coming from. I should weigh around 91 pounds optimally and I was able to get down to 97 pounds but I had to eat 800-900 calories per day and exercise 30-60 minutes six days a week to do it. I am currently 104 pounds and have a high body fat percentage because I got so sick of having 3 bites of breakfast, 10 bites of salad at lunch and a tiny little dinner. In fact, when I was at a healthy normal weight for my height I would eat my soup in a tiny little ramikin because that was all I could eat or I would gain about .4 pounds every day or two. Being very short is HARD because you cannot eat like everyone else.
I will say that when I have been successful at losing weight I was having oatmeal or yams with fruit for breakfast, salad, pita sandwich or yam for lunch and a vegetable/grain dinner. The trick is that you can only eat until you are SATISFIED, not full!! If you eat until you feel full you will gain weight, I do every time. There is a big difference between satisfied and full for those of us who are very small and that difference can be huge when trying to lose weight. You don’t have to go hungry but you do need to eat VERY Slowly, that helps you feel more emotionally satisfied by the smaller amount of food, and you need to pay close attention to when you are satisfied but not full. I do know that the only way I feel satisfied is to have a whole grain/starch with every meal.
Hi Tandi! Just saw your second post here – in my reply to that one, I mentioned ‘full’ and ‘enough’ can be a semantics issue. To me ‘full’ means ‘enough’, and is not the same as ‘all you can eat’. So you are right about that.
Check to find my other reply, don’t want you to miss it!
Hey Veronica, sounds like a frustrating experience. And eating ‘as much as you want’ is not the same is ‘when hungry until satisfied’.
Have you had your body composition checked? This will give you more information than a BMI or weight chart.
There are lots of ways to tweak your eats for more on less. For example, prefacing each meal with soup and salad and of course be certain to include enough calories from starches. Another consideration is how often items not in your goal best interest find their way onto your plate. For those sensitive to gain, it can make a difference. A food diary would be the best way to get a closer look at what is going on. Usually this quickly finds what may be slowing you down. Keep one for 5 days, write everything down, and then look at it objectively.
I know some people who, because of their health, have to eat very strictly to specific guidelines. For example, Phylis – you see her story here on the Plant-based blog: http://www.lanimuelrath.com/inflammation/overcoming-rheumatoid-arthritis-with-diet-phyllis-heaphys-story/ Phyllis can only eat one fruit a day, very simple meals of wholegrains, veggies and beans. She has to or her RA flares up again. She is an amazing example of doing what needs to be done to enjoy the benefits and results.
Play around with order of meals and tune into your own satiety. Sometimes ‘just right’ is hit when you find comfortable full and then 20 minutes later, you’re glad you didn’t take any more bites.
I have been vegan for 7 years but I have battled food addiction and weight fluctuation for a long time! When having green smoothies in the mornings I end up craving sugar so bad in the evening I end up binging on desserts! I kept avoiding brown rice, potatoes and whole grain pastas and breads because it was hard to shake Dr. Furhman’s ideas that they are ‘low nutrient’ foods and because they are foods you are supposed to avoid with PCOS. Suffering with PCOS and strongly desiring to have another child I have tried to live on fruit, beans and vegetables but I inevitably fail and end up binging on sugar which I know is not healthy. I am wondering if this insatiable sugar addiction is due to my diet being too low in healthy whole grains and starches. When I add oatmeal, brown rice, lentils and potatoes to my diet I do lose weight easily because the cravings go away but I keep going back to the green smoothies and salads due to wanting high nutrient density. Thank you so much for this post, it has really helped me realize that I need to stop focusing so much on trying to get in so many vegetables at the expense of all the wonderful starchy foods I love! Thank you, thank you!!
Whew! Sounds like what must feel like quite a chaotic experience for you.
I figure our bodies do everything for a reason. You are craving sweet, and desire for sweet taste is natural to humans. For me, cravings vanished once I started eating enough in the form of wholesome whole food calories from starchy vegetables and grains along with the vegetables. I too tried greens, fruits, and smoothies, and eating mountains of veggies, but I’d always be on the hunt for bread or a potato. It did not help me reach my goal of weight loss and healthy, happy relationship with food eating and my body.
The idea of cramming in more nutrients seems to have an appeal that we don’t question. Can we get what we need from eating normally, chewing our food and according to appetite, like a good animal? Starch is a nutrient to – we have developed the enzyme amylase so that we can digest it, and it proliferated in the human digestive tract 50 – 100,000 years ago ( see http://www.lanimuelrath.com/diet-nutrition/vegetarian/plant-foods-starchy-vegetables-early-humans-and-the-human-diet/) I’m far more concerned with people getting off the harmful foods and upping their intake of whole, unprocessed foods than worrying about how many nutrients they can down in one sitting. It creates a different set of problems, as you note.
Relax, breathe, enjoy what you eat, and come by to tell me about it!
I use to be one of your night time exercise students and I remember how much I was firming up and feeling good about myself but things happened and I could not keep up with your exercise class. No matter how hard I tried.
In 2005 my husband and I moved to Tucson, AZ and things happened. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer; been cancer free now for six years. Then was diagnosed with Diabetes and now I have heart problems. I have tried to follow your success since I have moved here and was so happy to receive your emails and newsletters. I just have finished reading your success story and I remember what progress I was making when I was under your training. I have to get back on track and get things moving again. I have gained so much weight and I need to get it under control so I can manage my health problems. Thank you for your inspiring story and for the time I spend with your exercise group. You have inspired me to reach for my goal and lose the weight so I can get my diabetes and heart problems under control.
Hi Sandra! Yes, I remember our times so well! I think of you and miss that you are away in AZ.
You can start afresh with your next bite and your next step. Is your diabetes Type 2? Read Dr. Neal Barnard’s Reversing Diabetes for a real eye opener. Also, these files from our archives at the McDougall Health and Medical center: http://www.drmcdougall.com/med_hot_diabetes.html.
So glad you are coming by and enthused about making improvement. Seize the inspiration! Read, commit, do the mindset work (Boot Camp Mind is a great series of lessons that will assist).
Thanks for stopping in!
First off, you write well and certainly are knowledgeable about plant foods diet (McDougall). I attended the ten day program in Santa Rosa, California.
Dr McDougall is an inspirational figure who genuinely believes in his programs. I was not thrilled with the food because it was west coast based, predominately Mexican influenced with Cilantro as the main spice.
I’m from NYC and my food bias is east coast Italian. So I had to learn to adapt the McDougall program to my food preferences.
We understand that it’s not an easy conversion with the many pitfalls that you so descriptively write about. The success rate of people has to be low in changing. Of the three people that went with me to the ten day program, two completely failed so they are back to the SAD and remain obese. The third person has made some changes but is not fully compliant. I’m the only one who follows the program but that’s because I have been doing it for over thirty years.
I like so many others am anxiously waiting for McDougall’s new book to be released: The Starch Solution.”
You should make an east coast Italian McD cookbook!
I’m venturing that success rate with dietary compliance for just about any plan is challenging. If 4 of you went to the 10-day program, and one is still compliant, and one is semi, then you’ve got a 25% plus compliance rate with your team – not too shabby!
Won’t it be great to have the new book? I am eager too!
Thank you Lani and Tandi, great suggestions. I will be sure to try those tips. I’m sure I need to slow down and savor the food more, I’m always on the go so I tend to eat in a hurry. I will keep a food diary too, hopefully that will uncover some “hidden” problems (: Appreciate the blog, thanks so much for the great advice.
Great Veronica, please let me know how it goes and what you discover!
Hi Lani — thanks so much for posting this! I’d been on the verge of asking you if you’d be willing to write up a sort of “nutrition narrative” to accompany your 10-year photo journey, and this pre-emptively answers all my questions but one. Here’s what I’m still wondering: For a while a few years ago, you were involved with intermittent fasting. What were the benefits of and problems with that approach, and why don’t you advocate it now?
Hi Andi. I’m so glad to read your response, and actually you inspire me to think about this in a new light – the photo history. Until you mentioned it, I hadn’t really thought of connecting the two so specifically. You are so clever! I’m glad this has pre-emptively answered youour questions – really, all but one? Pointing out any more details you’d like will only improve the narrative.
As for the fasting, the benefits were that it did help with weight management, and I enjoyed the fast days for the most part. I actually did the intermittent fasts weekly, often twice a week, for a year. But i started to tire of it and once I got it together with eating as I do now and as I describe in my article, I was getting more benefits with health, energy, and weight management than with the IM. And it is a lot more fun to eat! The weekly fasts that I was doing were before I gave up dairy and oils.
I wouldn’t say that I ‘don’t advocate it’ now. It might be just the ticket for anyone at some point in time. Intermittent fasting can be a healthy practice. I’m just not currently practicing it. See the difference?
How are you? How are your studies going?
Hey, thanks, Lani. I do see the difference, and that makes perfect sense.
And as for more details: well, I’ve known you for long enough — and heard enough of your stories over the last 4-5 years — to have at least a vague idea of what kinds of activity accompanied which of your timeline pictures. But of course other people haven’t, and it would be interesting to read about it in more detail, along with the nutrition.
All’s well here. Studies, since you asked, are invigorating, occasionally infuriating or overwhelming, and fun, in quick alternation. 🙂 That’s probably a pretty fair description of everything else going on since I last talked to you, too.
And on another subject entirely: I’d like to add another vote for Salvatore’s “east coast Italian” McDougall-ish cookbook. What a great idea!
I keep reading your posts. There should be no doubt: You are a definite McDougaller, Your 38 years of experience should be the basis for you to be titled “Guru.”
I will be one of your disciples.
Hey sligg, high praise and I’m honored! Thanks for your kind words and for coming by to say hi. I appreciate!
SUCH a great story!! I’ve been struggling with the after-effects of a prolactinoma (benign pituitary tumor), and the physical and emotional aspects of the resulting recurrent miscarriages/infertility. I was told that I would likely NOT be able to take the weight off ever again, and that i would most likely end up insulin resistant, at the least. The docs all said to try to go low-carb, and to add meat back into my diet (after 16 years of vegetarianism! NOT happening!). Tried to do low-carb veg…good luck there!! I was STARVING, and you know what happened there. Finally found the McDougall plan about a year ago, and though I’ve had some trouble maintaining (again, emotional eating won out, many times), I have lost 15 of the extra 30 I packed on as a result of the tumor. I’m back full-bore now, and you have just given me the added encouragement I needed. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I know now that I can at least win the weight battle. Take THAT, doctors…
Em, thank you so much for sharing your story and congrats on the 15 lbs. It is very moving and it sounds like you have been through quite a dramatic experience. Honestly, this day and age for doctors to recommend eating meat and other animal products is such a throw-back to times when they didn’t know better. I’ll give them the wiggle room of lack of information, but truly, this has become a cornerstone to health. Good for you for sticking to your resolve about this one.
I am glad that you find my article helpful, it’s my dream for this to be of help to others as it has been to you. Cutting the satiety factor of the more calorie dense starchies backfires big time. You may find that you need to nudge them up a bit more which may play a surprising role in the ’emotional’ eating. And you can keep good starchies handy to use at such times and minimize the damage – it’s true! It won’t set you back like richer fare. Also, have you read my series on Willpower? As the day goes on, stress hammers at our pre-frontal cortex making us more vulnerable to seeking the comfort of stimulating foods. Even 5 minutes of activity and a few rounds of deep breathing can offset the stress and help you enormously. You’ll find the series here: http://www.lanimuelrath.com/stress-management/5-minute-anti-anxiety-paint-and-willpower-workout-how-to-meditate-in-5-simple-steps/
Thanks again for your note. Did we meet at McDougall?
Nope, never been to a McDougall….I’d love to, at some point, though! Thanks for the link, and for the validation. 🙂 I’m loving this blog!!
What is ur opinion on the 80-10-10 diet by dr douglas graham? It is essentially the same as mcdougall, except the starch is replaced by fruit and it is all raw (eat fruit during the day, veg at night, small amounts of nuts/seeds/avos if desired). It is a highly healing diet and great for athletes and those wishing to recover naturally from all sorts of health/weight ills.
I’m not uber-familiar with Graham’s dietary plan, though a raw food diet can have one chewing all day long. There are some long lived populations that consume a near 80 – 10 – 10 diet, though cooked starch place the predominant calorie role. Replacing the starches of the McDougall approach with raw fruit all day is a huge difference, so I don’t think it is accurate to say it is ‘essentially the same’.
What i meant by that was in regards to the ratios. Fruits are our species-specific diet, not cooked starches, which are hard to digest, gluey, and cant be eaten in their natural state. Why r we the only animals that cooks, combines, and flavors food? No other animal does that, so why should we?
Eating fruits does not require “chewing all day”. =P. I can finish a meal of fruit in the same time as someone eating cooked, yet i digest it much faster and easier
Cooking produces an inflammatory and immune response in the body, whereas raw doesn’t
I like ur blog and enjoy learning about ur journey to health. Ur transformation is very inspiring and amazing! So, im interested in ur thoughts on the different types of vegan diets…who knew there were so many ways to eat cruelty-free and healthfully? =)
Check out 80-10-10 if u can…id love ur opinion on it. I know many people who have completely healed chronic issues from that woe (myself included). If anything, i truly believe in the theory that we need no more than 10% fat/pro, and that animal-free is the way to be!
Hugs! And thanks for being an advocate to the vegan diet!
I think if you’ve found a variation of a vegan diet that works for you, then how sweet is that? Many people cannot tolerate high amounts of fruit due to triglycerides or other issues, another consideration.
This article about starch and humans that might interest you:
According to biological anthropology, there was a proliferation of copies of amylase in humans in the last 100,000 years. The amylase gene (our starch digestion connection) went from the pancrase to the mouth 80,000 years ago, greatly advancing our ability to digest starches of all kinds. The evolutionary advantage was that we could take more highly concentrated calories as found in tubers and take them with us, in contrast to the far more perishable fruits of the tropics. It advanced our abilities as omnivores.
I’m more interested in what creates health, compassion, and good environmental practices than what our ancestors may have done millions of years ago, so these advances interest me. A fruit only diet can be deficient in protein, though that is not what you are describing.
Another good resource on the starch and cooked food story is Catching Fire, which I have just started and had to lay aside with the book deadlines.
thanks so much for your positive comments on my site and work, I aim to be a positive force and advocate for healthy vegan living and I appreciate!
Thanks for the link…very interesting! It saddens me how humans are the only animals that dont know what in the world we are supposed to eat as our natural diet—one that we are made to eat and that produces optimum health. How have we grown so far from our instincts? There’s the paleo group on one side, the fruitarians on another, as well as vegans, starch-promoters, high fat, raw, cooked…etc….its insane and enough to leave one feel almost paralyzed when it comes to knowing how to be healthy
The reason why people cant tolerate fruit is because their body has a lot of healing to do, mostly stemming from lymph congestion and poorly filtering kidneys. But, a fruit diet is exactly what they need in order to heal their bodies, as fruit contains the highest energetics for healing and cleansing. Onced cleansed, then the body will tolerate fruits better and the person can be more lenient with their food, as long as they keep it sensible
What is ur opinion on why we are the only animals who cook and that cooking can produce inflammatory and immune responses, in addition to degrading enzymes, proteins, vit/min and other nutrients, as well as being an added burden on digestion?
Also, what is ur thought on food combining principles (not mixing fruit with other foods, not mixing pro+fat, pro+starch, etc)?
Thanks for the info and great work u do! =)
If you get a chance, check out Dr. McDougall’s new book coming out this month, The Starch Solution. “All large populations of trim, healthy people, throughout verifiable human history, have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch. Examples of once thriving people include Japanese, Chinese, and other Asians eating sweet potatoes, buckwheat, and/or rice; Incas in South America eating potatoes; Mayans and Aztecs in Central America eating corn; and Egyptians in the Middle East eating wheat.
My book, The Starch Solution, will serve as a manifesto to help reverse current health trends. Worldwide, people are fat and sick because of their dependency on meat, dairy, eggs, and oils for calories. The all-too-real changes we are presently experiencing in our climate are being fueled in large part by pollution from the livestock industry. An amazingly simple win-win opportunity stares us in the face: a global switch to a starch-based diet will solve the diseases of over-nutrition and put a big dent in global warming with one U-turn.”
I know of no studies of large population humans and an 80% fruit diet and implications over time. And as far as the wide arrange of arguments for seemingly opositional food plans, one thing many seem to have in common is eliminating the processed foods that are such a bane on our public health. And even if there are strong opinions and mini-studies of results from certain dietary plans, it is larger studies over the span of time that catch the attention more.
As for food combining, some people do do well with paying attention according to their specific sensitivities, but the science doesn’t stand up to making it a – well, science. Listen to your body and if trufulas don’t combine well with oompafruit, then keep them separate, yes?
It sounds like you’ve found a way of eating that is supporting you and the environment and respects other sentient beings, which are on my checklist!
Well, i havent found a diet that supports me and all my researching, trials, and errors only leave me frustrated and still dealing with the intense pains and limitations of fibromyalgia, colitis,, chronic fatigue, inability to put on wt and muscle, endocrine issues, and a whole host of other problems. There is so much conflicting info out there, even amoung the lowwfat vegan groups. All i know is that no matter what i eat and how much i try to heal my body, it only gets worse. Ive tried everything (allopathic to alternative), and i havent found a solution
Im doing the fruitarian thing right now (and have been for 6m) bc its supposed to be the most healing and detoxifying. Starches supposedly contribute to dysbiosis and gut irritation, inflammation, and acidosis, as well as supposedly not being our natural diet, as well as not being healthy bc they must be cooked. But, mcdougall and ornish and others say otherwise, thus my paralysis on what to eat
I know that meat is bad, as are all animal products. But, i cant gain muscle without protein….i was at my best wt when i was doing a “bodybuilding” diet, as wt lifting was my passion.
Even as a vegan before, i relied heavily on fake meats, soy, and other such stuff…not healthy
So, im stuck and sick of being sick
What is ur opinion on Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas? Are these healthy, or too processed? What processed foods do u eat (hummus? Soups? Breads?)? Whats ur opinion on gluten?
Do u ever do pro powders like sun warrior? How do u use these if u do?
Lastly, what r ur thoughts on algaes like spirulina, and seaweeds like nori and kelp? Some feel these r very beneficial and others think of them as waste absorbers for the ocean
Thanks for ur unbiased info!
Beep, sorry to hear of your challenges, it seems working with a plat-based dietician might be the best advice I could offer. I don’t use protein powders or algae and spirulina, though Jeff Novick has done some research on them and it might interest you, here posted in his facebook notes:
Love your website! Please subscribe me !
Hi Diane! Thanks so much for coming by. You’ll need to subscribe yourself, however. Would you like the blog broadcasts? Newsletters? Fitness Kit? All 3? Let me know if you haven’t found where to sign up.
I appreciate your kind words!
Hi Diane! Great story!!
What do you think about PCOS and acne?
Would appreciate some advice/input. I am getting ready to start Dr. McDougall’s diet plan or life style but am a little confused as to which book I should now follow, ”The Starch Solution” or ”The McDougall Program for Weight Loss.”
More about me I’m a quadreplegic [C-5 & 6] from college football. I’m not giving this as an excuse but mainly to give insight on me. In being a quad it is hard for me to exercise very much or w/ as much intensity as someone like you. My normal weight is 175 – 180 lb.’s, I am 6′-2” but over last 4/5 yr.’s I’ve gained some weight and am now at 230 lb.’s…luckily my health is still very good as of last week; meaning cholestrerol, blood work – etc. are still normal. Anyway I want and need to change my lifestyle which this is about. I hope with whichever book I go with the food preperation is easy, minimal since I will have to rely on another to do majority of cooking/food prep.
Do you know if Dr. McDougall is hard to contact since I would like to discuss my situation? He may advise me to go with another program.
Why did you go with Dr. McDougall instead of Dr. Fuhrman?
Look forward to your comments and reply.
Start with Starch Solution. Have you a copy? Did you sign up for the Teleclass yet?
Fuhrman-style kept me hungry. It’s right there in the article, if you think about it. I get comebacks about ‘toxic hunger’ but it shouldn’t be all that difficult. I like simple and well fed. I don’t like to spend time cooking either and it’s a perfect match. Actually, I’m thinking it might be a good idea for me to make a 3 day food guide straight from my journal to show just how simple and easy it is. What do you think?
You could ask Doc McD your question on the call. You can also write to the email addy on the McDougall website if you’d like to ask him about it right away.
Thank you for your response. Unfortunatly I will not be here for the tele-class, darn. No I do not have either book yet, I was waiting to see which you recommeded.
Yes I think that would be a great idea for making a three  day food guide from your journal, it would give people such as myself a glimpse of food intake.
If I wrote to Dr. McDougall on his website do you believe he would actually get it, I figured there was always a third party that read emails like this.
Again thank you for your quick response.
Greg, if you can’t make it to the call, no worries as if you sign up I’ll send you the recording.
Go to the About page at the McDougall website and there is a link to email him. He frequently responds to emails. Let me know what you find out.
Thanks also for the feedback on the food plan idea.
I’m all for starch. Whole food starch, not refined processed starch. I eat a lot of it; it may well be 50% of my diet. I eat a primarily vegan diet( tho do break down and eat icecream on occasion). I’ve been vegetarian for nearly 38 years.
I’ve tried low fat dietary approach many times. Alas, it leaves me very hungry and I start to overeat to compensate for my hunger.
Now, I eat fat. Plenty of plant based fats. I remain full for a much longer time, and, in turn, eat less. I eat nuts, nut butters, moderate amounts of olive oil on salads. I eat olives as well. I eat moderate fat soy products. No more fat free fare for me. I eat at least 9-10 servings of fruit and veg, most fresh or frozen. At least 1/2 of my intake is raw.
I’m overweight. I’d put on much of it in my mid 30’s. I was binging on potato chips, high butterfat icecream, candy. I eat no where near as much junk food as I used to. However, following a very low fat diet only helped me in its initial stages. I gained the weight back because I was carbo loading. I was so hungry!!!
I say: healthy plant fats for the win! I also take algae oil to obtain important omega 3 oils not found in flax or other oils.
Thanks for sharing your story Sue. I found that keeping the fats up always keeps my weight up, and once I freed up the whole starch foods, as I note in the article, the difference was made. Those of us with weight challenges need to find our way, depending on our goals and individual genetic predisposition. Congratulations on overcoming the junk food, a huge difference and not always an easy task.
Thankyou for replying…and right away. I’m impressed with that.
Well, as for starch, I eat a lot of it, as noted in my 1st reply. But, eating a high starch diet along WITH healthy plant based fats does help me stay full much much longer. Before, I was eating huge plates of 100% whole grain pasta, but topped with very low fat maranara sauce. I was hungry within 2 hours. Now, with added healthy fats, I can go hours with out being hungry.
I did lower total cholesterol years agowith a 10-20 percent fat intake. But, being so hungry proved to be too much. Lipids went up for a while since I’ve since eaten more plant based fats. But, within the last 1/2 year, I have brought it down slowly. I’m hoping the algae oil will help in that regard, too.
Lani, you’re very right about too much fat. Yes, it did cause satiety, but, alas, my recent lipid levels which were tested a week ago, we’re abysmal. Soooo, I’ve now gone back to eating low fat meals again…10-12% fat. I use a small amount of vegan smart balance light marg and potatoes and veg, and use low fat marinara sauce on pasta and low sodium soy sauce on brown rice. I eat different legumes, and do consume low fat soy. I still have a sweet tooth and will eat small amounts of fat free candy, but don’t gorge on it, either as it’s a lot of empty calories I certainly don’t need.
I believe that low fat eating is the way to go. I’m hoping to bring down my lipid levels, and, too, to avoid cancer. I also have been eating 9-10 servings of fruit and veg daily for at least 20 years. Though I’ve been heavy for 24 years, I believe that said fruit and veg have probably saved my life.
And, thank goodness for starch!! It’s always been my preferred food when very hungry…this from childhood. I’m so tired of starch being maligned. It’s now a goodly 75% of my food intake. Plus, it’s certainly cheap enough.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Sue. You may be interested to hear that at a recent Advanced Study Weekend Dr. McDougall said that some of his patients with ‘high’ numbers – no matter what they do – still have clear arterial readings, which trumps the numbers. It probably means that some of us have to be most prudent, and also rely on readings other than just ‘the numbers’ (which are, in fact, simply indicators) and in persisting in good diet and exercise form.
You say 9-10 servings of fruit and veggies daily – do you mean of each, or altogether? I’m assuming you mean total?
I eat a variety of fruit and veg daily, but many of the servings are often a cupful of a particular fruit or vegetable. For example, I adore any kind of winter squash and have at least 1 cup of it. I’ll eat huge salads, which perhaps account for 5-6 servings.
Thankyou very much for telling me about folks having clear arteries, despite having high lipid levels.
Another great health related fear of mine is cancer. My sister died 2 years ago from metastatic breast cancer. I truly resent it when I’m told that this puts me at high risk. My parents are alive and well at 87 and 81 respectively and have never had cancer. A dr even told me I should think about going on tomoxifn. Of course, I’d never do that. I’ve always been an advocate of healthy diet.
I get moderate exercise, btw. I have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis and am on ssdi for these. So, I’m not able to walk beyond a mile. I run many errands a number of days a week, and thus, get 20-35 minutes of exercise. Beyond that, I can’t go right now. I feel great fatigue and stiffness if I do. If I don’t walk, though, I feel very stiff and sore. I have to strike a balance. A rheumatologist told me that I was one of their most active fms patients…
Thankyou again for your reply. I’m sure you’re a very very busy person and for you to take the time to answer me here is significant! I’m most appreciative.
Is there a book or recipe I can find for this type of eating? Also I have celiac disease and avoid grains, what do you suggest for this as I cannot eat wheat, barley or malt products? What do you put on your salads? I am currently using olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Are any sweeteners allowed? I use maple syrup on my oats (the pure stuff) can you use seasonings? Potato plain sounds dry. Thanks!
Thank you for your note and I am so glad you posted because I have SO many resources for you – some of which you can immediately download!
Yes, there is a book – the Fit Quickies book is already shippping (even though ‘official’ release date is Feb 5) and the article you just read has been expanded to a full 30 pages in the book of details about this way of eating! PLUS when you buy the book you can enter your receipt info and IMMEDIATELY download my bonus gift, the Plant-Based Bluprint which goes through a full 16 days of my eats, including recipes, ideas of salad dressing – the works! It’s a great support for the book, which when you order today will probably arrive next week.
Go to: http://www.lanimuelrath.com/the-book
YES this can be done without eating a bite of grain! Starchy vegetables do wonderfully: sweet potatoes (several varieties), yams, potatoes, – but you eat oats so other grains – rice, quinoa, all will work for you. You’re all set!
And yes you can have maple syrup on your oats if your calorie load allows it. Seasonings? absolutely – you’ll see it all detailed in the Plant-Based Blueprint and then you can get back to me with any questions.
Hope this helps! I’m excited for you!
i am really interested in reading your work, but there is an annoying floating share widget that is permanently hovering over the text – i give up and move on
Can you give me more informatioN? Are you reading his on a tablet, smart phone, PC? Is it a facebook image you see? I need more information as I haven’t gotten this information from anyone else and would like to help out.
For what it’s worth, looking at it in Google Chrome on Mac OS X I see a widget for sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more hovering over the upper left, staying in the same position as I scroll. The problem is that it overlaps the first three or four characters of each line, making for an annoying read.
Dear Lani, thank you so much for writing this! I’ve successfully (finally, after terribly failing twice during the past two years) switched to a vegan diet (whole-faood plant-based) and have been on it for 3 months now. I want to make this work for me and do everything I can not to go back to eating chicken and fish (I’m allergic to dairy and never was really fond of red meat).
I’d read “Eat to Live” and started focusing on nutrient-dense foods, almost force-feeding myself with leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. I tried to eat as much raw foods as I could (green smoothies, salads, etc). The result was that I was constantly hungry and fatigued, irritable and obsessed with my eating across the day, freezing (in summer), and worst of all, I got terrible digestive issues (I have a sensitive stomach and gut anyway). When I was so sick recently for a whole week that I couldn’t work, I stayed in bed watching lectures on vegan nutrition I found on YouTube, and this way stumbled across Dr. McDougall’s dietary approach. It immediately appealed to me (like macrobiotics before) because I love brown rice, sweet potatoes, hot oatmeal, winter squash, root vegetables, etc, while thinking of a cold green smoothie or legumes or a big salad already turns me off. What I realized that I was obsessing about nutrients and much too focused on protein and “healthy” fats from nuts and seeds. My stomach can’t handle raw food and legumes so well and fruit tend to give me blood sugar swings due to their hugh sugar content, so by trying to optimize my diet, I actually pushed myself into a direction that wasn’t good for me, while depriving myself of what I actually wanted to eat.
I found Dr. McDougall very likeable in the lectures, and what he said convinced me, so I ordered his book and gave it a try. The result is amazing – I’m satisfied yet feel light, I have energy, my digestive problems have disappeared, and the best thing is that my obsessive tendencies are finally appeased (after about 15 years). However, what scared me a little was *the amount* of brown rice, porridge, or potatoes I had to stuff into my bowl until I felt satisfied – before I usually ate twice the amount of veggies than legumes (and put lots of tahini and seeds onto everything), and now I see there are less veggies than starches. But I feel better than I ever have before (I still can’t believe I don’t obsess over food anymore – there’s so much leftover energy and space in my mind now!), and I’ve decided to just trust in this approach and give it an honest try. Reading about your experiences helped me a lot because they validate what I’m currently experiencing. If this is really going to continue working for me (and so far I can’t see why not, as I feel better and better with trusting and following the program more and more), this will change my life for the good and probably save me forever. I eat the foods I love the most, as much as I want, and I finally don’t have to restrict myself anymore or have fear to let go of control. I just can’t express my happiness for finding a way to eat that works so well for me *and* is in congruence with my moral values.
Thank you for sharing your story in such great detail. It is incredibly helpful for those who may have struggled as you. This, as you know from what you read in my article, was a problem for me as well – I wasn’t eating enough of the ‘starchies’ to keep satisfied. Do you have a copy of my book Fit Quickies: 5 Minute Targeted Body Shaping Workouts? In the nutrition chapter – a full 30 pages – I paint the whole picture in much more detail – this article is just the jumping off point for the details you’ll find there.
Each person must find the quality of diet that they need to find their ideal weight and health. And obsessing over nutrients does not a healthy mindset make. I’m thrilled that you’ve found your way!
Thanks so much again,
This is critical as I also discovered when I was hungry all the time. Now I eat a ton of potatoes and the fat’s coming off!
Hi, this was a crucial blog for me today. I have run the gamut on health. I have tried everything from calorie restriction to paleo primal and high fat. I gained all that I lost flip flopping back and forth and reading all the papers and studies done with some sort of paid for or for profit agenda behind them. I have listened to fellas from all fields. Being the old hippie that I was I listened to so many slants on the subject that it all became quite confusing. I am a mix of 80/10/10 and raw and cooked and “low protein” kinda guy. “Save the planet, save the seals and save whats cute and squeals.” The concept of eating and being a “good animal” and eating enough to turn off the Need to Eat switch really struck home. Thanks so much….Rice and Noodles and Kimchi for me!!-Bob
Thank you so much for your note today. You are not alone if having run this gamut – there is a lot of bad information out there mixed up with the good and it can leave us feeling media whipped! Your experience has born out a good solution and I’m excited for you about your journey!
Thanks for sharing and please keep me posted.
I have been on this McDougall eating plan since June and only see a bit of health issue improvements. I was never overweight and now I look sickly from being under weight.100 pounds and a size 2 at 5 feet tall. Before this, I ate mostly vegetarian with wild salmon once a week and a little olive oil and egg whites for protein and when eating out.
My skin is so dry and everyone (except my hubby) is telling me I look so bad. They are scaring me.
Perhaps I do not diversify my foods enough. I eat mainly spinach and kale as my greens. Potatoes, gluten-free pasta and quinuoa, as my grains. Olives and avocados for my oils, and almond milk in place of cow’s milk. I do eat beans, lentils and fruits, mainly bananas, apples, dates, figs, frozen berries. Tonight I am making black beans and brown rice burritos wit guacamole.
Any input to help me look healthier and feel healthier while staying on this eating plan would be so much appreciated.I am on the borderline of going off this way of eating. Thanks. Linda-
Without a specific food diary it can be hard to clearly troubleshoot – it may be that you do need more of the whole food fats than you are eating, and more concentrated calories to keep your weight stable – but then again it’s hard to tell, and sometimes these changes and issues are simply happening concurrently!
You might do well to consult with a plant-based dietitian who could guide you. My friend Julieanna Hever offers consulting services, you can find her at . Tell her I sent you!
Another option would be Pam Popper at the Wellness Forum – we were just on the phone yesterday and she is an endless source of practical plant-based knowledge. If you call Pam, say hello for me!
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Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually know what you’re
talking about! Bookmarked. Please also consult with my website =).
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Your story is very like mine (the first part!) and your quest is like mine too. I’ve had thin times, but I had to be overly conscious about my food. I started McDougall and it was working well. I felt great. I felt balanced about the food I was eating. I lost 15 pounds in a couple months. I think it was the result of cutting out oil. Then, I stopped losing weight and haven’t lost any for three months. (And I have between 20 and 40 to lose.) Then, I started craving fat and sugar like crazy. And now I’ve had several days of over-eating and it feels like it used to feel when I ate too low of calories. But I think I was eating enough because I wasn’t losing any weight! Help! What do you suggest. I feel frustrated.
Thanks for finally talking about >My McDougall Diet Failure | Lani Muelrath <Liked it!
This site really has all the information I wanted concerning this
subject and didn’t know who to ask.
Dr. McDougall and his way of eating are awesome, but not eating any meat ever is not healthy for everyone on the planet. And I just wish the people on his message board were nice too. Reality is, they’re a bunch of anally-retentive, self-righteous, highly judgmental people so it makes that message board very unwelcoming and, quite frankly, boring.
If you look at all the “before” and “after” pictures of “star McDougallers”, the “before”, even when fat, look a hell of a lot healthier, and younger, than the “after”, and I’m talking about pictures taken within a year or two, not decades after starting to eat starch-based. Nobody has any muscle mass, they’re all literally skin on bones and very aged. That’s not the picture of health.
Paige, i’m sure not every one that mcDougall’s is on his forum!
My husband has put on over 9kg of muscle in the last 4 months!
He is fit and muscular and in shape and being strict mcDougall is the only thing that has helped him control his Crohn’s disease without drugs!
He is 43 and i am 41 and we have 4 young children who have been brought up on a plant based diet, and we constantly have people mistaking us for late 20’s/early 30’s!
Some people who look aged may have been extremely overweight at some stage!
Hi Lani! I just found this blog post, which I realize was written a while ago. I’m not sure you will check the comments anymore but I just stumbled upon this way of eating and, intrigued, I decided to jump right in. I’m currently experiencing hypothalamic amenorrhea so I’ve read carbs can help plus I would like to lose about 10ish lbs and with my hormones out of whack, removing meat is tops on my list. My question is, I have been more bloated than I’ve ever been in my entire life since adopting this plan (less than a week ago). I maintain a pretty healthy diet filled with veggies and have also recently (last month or so) been eating more fruits as well so I don’t think it’s a matter of more fiber. I thought maybe it could be the steel cut oats I’ve been having for breakfast or the lentils/beans (I have not consumed flour or gluten) so I removed them and used only sweet potato for starch but I am still SO SO bloated. Am I carb intolerant? Does this mean this way of eating won’t work for me? Aside from the bloating, I feel like this is the first time I’ve been truly satiated in so long. I really would like to make this work. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated!
Usually I receive a notification about a new reply on posts, so a notification on your comment just came in. Congratulations on taking charge of your health in this fashion – and it sounds like for the most part you are having a good time with it! Plant-based eating tends to make us all a little more ‘windy’ than usual but the extreme bloat and all you are experiencing is beyond the norm. A couple of things may be going on here. One may be simply your system getting used to the new fiber load, which can make it helpful to work your way in more slowly. If you can find which foods are more easily digested, you could focus on more of those initially while increasing content from the others. Carb intolerant I don’t think in actuality exists, because without carboyhdrate we would die, it’s our primary fuel! At the same time it may be a food sensitivity response to one or more particular items, which you may be able to figure out by isolating and experimenting with certain foods or doing an elimination type diet to figure it out.
How are you doing? Any ideas about what foods you might be sensitive to?
I’ve been struggling with weight issues.for the last two years I’ve over exercised ,followed low carb low caloric intake diets sometimes 800 calorie or so.keep jn mind that I’m 169 cm and I work out (hiit & strenght training) of course my hair thinned I lost weight dramatically my period stopped I was tired all the time . Now I’m plant based diet introducing potatoes and legumes and all the good stuff but I’m getting heavier like aloooot heavier that my mum commented on my weight gain although I almost hit the 2000 calorie .. So,,is it right that I’ll gain weight then I’ll plateau &then the weight will come off?? Plz respond cause it emotionally hurt & my mother keep saying of course because of the starches you eat 😞 Leaving me in doubts so please help me
Thanks for your note and sorry to hear about the stress with these challenges.
First, if you are coming off a history – either recent, long term or intermittent – of low carb and VLCD (very low calorie diet) there is bound to be some gain as your body seeks a homeostasis from the stress induced by same. This can be very disheartening, especially after the ‘thrill’ of weight loss – even if accompanied by white knuckles, low energy and hunger!
Here is a starter article for you right away:
Next, do you have a copy of The Plant-Based Journey? In Journey I go into great detail about how whole plant food nutrition assists you in finding your naturally healthy weight, and how to go about it – if you don’t have a copy grab one today and it will answer a lot of questions and get you moving forward right away.
Sorry for the delay in getting to your question – I understand the angst and hope this sets you at ease somewhat today!
Thinking of you,
I am so happy to read your article. It’s so sad to see the negative articles being written against a plant-based whole foods diet. Those who try it in the way it should be done, really discover great health for themselves. I see a lot of defensive posts by meat-eaters, and I wish them great health too, but if they could see what they were missing out on, they wouldn’t be spewing hate articles all over the web. I’m so glad that the title of your article was different from the message. Power to you, and the people you are influencing with your story. 🙂
Malvika, thanks for your kind words and thoughtful comments. I appreciate that you stopped by to share your thoughts with me!
Hi, I absolutely love the McDougall diet, however, I find myself having really strong fruit cravings. Any reason as to why this could be and how to solve it? Thank you!!
Hard to say without knowing more about your usual eating patterns and individual biochemistry. In my experience, it can be a sign of just not eating enough of the more substantial calorie dense foods such as legumes, beans, and whole grains, where there is an desire for quick energy from sugar to help make up the difference between calorie need and use more quickly. And there’s nothing wrong with fruit, so again I don’t have enough info to help you figure out – why not just eat more fruit?
In any case, key seems to be eating enough at your meals or whenever you eat. It may be in eliminating fats that you will simply need to eat more often. If you are eating some nuts and seeds, that will help with satiety but I also don’t have that info.
Hope this helps!
When I first went vegan (a little but of both ethical and health reasons), I found it really hard, because I didn’t know what to eat, but that was because I still though vegans ate just kale and peanut butter, and when I found out that I could eat granola and mylk for breakfast, a PB&J Sandwhich and carrots and hummus for lunch, bean and “cheese” burritos for dinner, and a pint of Vanilla Coconut Icecream for dessert, I would not hold back! Hence the 5 extra pounds in a week. Then, I found Raw Till 4, and I loved it! I wasn’t even focused on losing weight. I was on the newbie high of veganism. But, I eventually got obsessed with my diet and controlled EVERYTHING! Absolutely no oil what so ever, no nuts, no bread, no salt! I started over-exercising, under eating (even though I had been able to lose weight on 3,000 calories a day before my obsession), and I lost my period, as well as my sanity. My relationship with my family went downhill, my clothes were getting too baggy, and I was depressed. So, I quit RT4 six months later after joining it, binged on vegan junk food, gained 20-25 lbs, but was still sad and obsessed about food. A year in a half into veganism and I’m back on RT4, restricting again, training for a marathon, and I’ve been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, even though I think it’s something different. I’m suicidal, obsessed with calories, yet I’m trying to recover still. I eat 14300-16500 calories a week (I know, there’s a huge difference there, but it depends on my training), and I eat 5-8 potatoes and greens every night (2-4 cups of oatmeal if we run out). Reading this was super super helpful, because it reminded me of that newbie high, of not counting calories or caring about how much to eat for each meal and what I was allowed to eat the rest of the day if I ate too much for breakfast. I’m determined to get back on track, and I think working on my diet and relationship with food will help with my SAD and suicidal thoughts (I need you to note that I would never ever attempt suicide, but the thoughts about it are there).
…Thank you for this.
I have read your story with interest and a good deal of appreciation. By detailing the story of your relationship with food and eating – and the agony and suffering it has, indeed, brought you – you have made it possible for others to recognize themselves. The horrors of living life so obsessed with the ins and outs of eating while actually not enjoying what you eat – which one reads between your lines – are enormous. Yet so many persist in clinging to regimented, controlling food plans, thinking it will be their refuge and safe zone, when all it does is bring suffering.
My new book addresses this in a new fashion, based on my own experience of decades of disturbed relationship with food, eating, and my body, and the way I found to freedom. It was not with a new regimen, drawing strict lines around no speck of sugar or (fill in the blank). The Mindful Vegan will be coming out later this year and I can’t wait to get a copy into your hands.
thank you again for your notes and please keep me posted! And to be sure you get the news on when the new book is available, you can sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already.
Warmly and with appreciation,
I am a disabled veteran who has battled a lot of weird problems for a LONG time. Every time something happens the doctors say “In my 30 years of practice, I have never seen this or that”.
Over the past few years I have slowly changed my diet and still struggle with sugar. 7 months ago I stopped soda.
Lately my diet consist of mostly plants, fish, poultry. I exercise(within my means) 6 days a week and always check my blood sugar levels, blood pressure etc to see how things affect me. Recently I was checked for neck problems and they found some thyroid issues. Thats when I really went into overdrive with my diet and before they did a biopsy, the nodule had shrunk by 3/4 its original size. The doctor couldn’t believe it.
But even with all these positive changes, I still don’t *feel* a LOT better. Maybe its because my diet sometimes does slip?
One of my odd problems is eating certain foods will make my body ache and feel pressure on my joints. I know its inflammation, but how can it not be better after all these years.
Your site has opened my eyes and I am going to attempt to stay 100% with diet and track my results better.
I need help. I’ve been following the Dr. Mcdougall diet for 3 weeks now. I follow to the T and even do a half an hour of exercise each morning. The first week I lost about 8 pounds and the 2nd was a little over 2 but that was it. I weighed myself last weekend and I was up almost 3 pounds. I’m at a breaking point because everything I try doesn’t work. I need to lose weight and follow this way of eating for health reasons. Prior to Mcdougall, I was following since November of 2016 the Dr. Ornish way of eating. I lost nothing.
Can anybody tell me what is wrong?
Thanks for your note and I am sorry that you are feeling discouraged. We seem to want to lose 20 pounds yesterday, don’t we? You report an 8 pound loss – if weight loss was your primary objective, then that certainly happened the first week. Yet no way can the body keep up with that kind of demand – or should it. It is impossible to lose fat at that rate, though you probably already know that much of what the scale shows early on is loss of water weight.
Without knowing a whole lot more about you – diet history, health history, what you are eating, how you are moving, your stress management, your sleep patterns – it’s a whole package. Everyone is different. And I don’t even know if you are actually at or near your naturally healthy weight – we all seem to think we know better, yet sometimes our bodies do. And sometimes they take longer to shift than we desire – but this is something that cannot be rushed, with a lot of backlash from our dear bodies.
Here is an article you may find helpful:
6 reasons you might have gained weight on a plant-based diet when your goal is to lose weight
Focus on being well, eating and living mindfully – which includes continuing to make good choices at the market and at the table. Work with your body on exercise, and develop stress management and stress protection with activities that bring stress relief to you. It’s always best if we let the body take its time and finding its healthy sweet spot, without force or angst on our part.
Here is more on stress protection:
5 minute anti-anxiety paint and willpower workout: How to meditate in 5 simple steps
Hope this helps and keep me posted,
I too found Dr. McDougall in 1983/84. I started eating everything I wanted and proceeded to lose weight, have clear smooth skin and be at my healthiest. Somewhere along the way I reverted to eating meat. Now, 34 years later, I’m back on the high-starch-eat-all-I-want vegies meals. I’m not eating like that to lose weight, I’m eating like that to maintain my health. I’m very active, almost 67 years old, look like I’m about 50 (that’s what they tell me) and I want to stay that way! Hooray for vegies! I’m so glad I came across your blog!! Thank you for sharing your journey.
Interesting to hear your story. Thank you for sharing it here, and so nice to meet you!
Hello from France,
I have been on a potato, vegetables and fruit diet for 10 days now. No animal food nor oils. I really enjoy this simple way of eating . But something is going wrong : I don’t know why I feel so tired and weak all day long. Could it be that I eat too much carb ? But then why did I loose 2kg …Is there someone who had the same experience as me ?
Thank you Lani for your blog !
Thank you, Lani. I have just started McDougall style eating for the 3rd time in a few years. Your story about all the different diets is so familiar. I am also using intuitive eating because it makes sense to me and I gained a bunch of weight in May when I began eating like that. But, it was worth it for the freedom that listening to my body had brought to me. So I am three days in and want to make this my way of life for so many reasons. So thanks for writing this. Denise
Thank you for your posting. I am glad to see you are finding your way in a more conscious way, essential to true freedom and happiness! Those of us who have been around the block on this one (am I right?) know that it is much bigger than just “the food” or “weight loss”. It is about living with more ease, happiness, and getting our minds to move from such narrow focus to the bigger picture. I also hear you about the weight gain and intuitive eating. I have a lot to say about all of this, as you can imagine. Intuitive eating needs to have mindfulness practice for it to really work – otherwise we can be too easily guided by “spontaneous” which isn’t always in our best interests. And if we are coming from years (decades even!) of restrictive eating and trying to lose weight, when we start to give the controls over to our body, it can take some time and there can be anxiety to face, too. This is where mindfulness has been absolutely linchpin for me. I hope you have preordered The Mindful Vegan as it will be a pivotal tool for you, I am certain!
Just figured I’d share. I appreciate everyone’s concern for optimizing their health, reasonably.
If I want to get sick,.. I eat starch. It’s very reliable. I find Dr. McDougall’s recommendation, based on this historical searches, apparently, don’t result in my best health, by far.
I find my best health is primarily with fresh fruit and milk and milk products, whether raw or pasteurized, but, preferably not homogenized, since like starches with me, homogenization results in more ‘gunking’ of the lymph, which leads to the typical range of sickness and disease, and other ‘off’ characteristics, whether the common cold, congestion issues, accretions at joints(arthritic and such), erectile dysfunction,… and eventually potentially artery, blood vein, and lymph issues. And then also some eggs and meat/flesh, as my body prudently indicates.
I only eat to perform in life. And I enjoy what I eat. I’m not a hedonist, I don’t abuse.
Also have some non-filtered beer (such Widmer hefeweizen) and salt and herbs.
I live in San Diego.
Of course seasonal and climate will be major factors as to what is appropriate and optimum food for me at a given time.
The biggest ‘aha’ thing for me was eliminating starches(with rare exceptions, depending on circumstances, and on occasion starches can really hit the spot in a positive overall way), a few years ago, though I was already of issues with starches even back to the early 1990’s (I was born in 1968).
I’ve been keen on understanding the diet – disease correlation since 1984, when I was 15 years old. I’ve been paying attention, including primarily with my body’s experience, and the general cutting edge understandings, since that time.
Also, a reliable way to make me have ‘erectile dysfunction’, is to eat starches.
Even popcorn. I found popcorn would cause blockage in one of my lymph veins in my penis. Although I diet high in suitable raw greens can counter the negative accumulator effects of starches. I got rid of the blockage by eliminating popcorn, after noticing it again more pronounced after having popcorn the day before. And so I upped the greens, stopped any further eating of popcorn, and the blockage went away, and hasn’t occurred since, though I had it for a few years. And, the popcorn I had was just simply popped plain popcorn, with a little salt and herbs,.. maybe a little melted butter on occasion. Butter doesn’t cause me any problem in small amounts,… such cooking with eggs.
Of course I never want to get sick,… so, I avoid starches. The correlation of illness and ‘off-ness’ with starch consumption is very clear to me. The more true that will be the older one gets, since the body’s ‘metabolism’ slows down as one ages. And so, if one wants to keep in top body integrity then one needs to adjust their dietary as their body indicates for keeping in top form, top quality, top beauty, top skin-integrity, top dental integrity,…
Needs an edit button option on here.
Specifically where web can a certified psyciatrist submit content or sites for them to become fashionable? aakceccedcfd
I just started down the healthy eating route about 4 years ago after turning 50. Was on a fast food diet for way too many years, and had a BP of 204 / 124 – so that triggered my change. Meds got the BP down, but I went off them after 6 months – it wasn’t the way I wanted to handle things long term. So I started experimenting with all the various eating styles, including the McDougall method, which was one of the first I tried. I like the whole food, plant-based option best for many reasons. So I’ve come full circle, and back to trying the McDougall way again I believe. I know oil is out, so I’m curious how you include fat into your eating? That’s something I need to do better with this time around. Peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread? Avocado added to salads and/or burritos/tacos? Coconut milk added to veggie smoothies? And then small amounts of nuts and/or seeds at times? How do you go about adding some fats into things without oils? Salad dressings that you like that aren’t based on oils? Maybe avocado puree thinned down with lemon/orange juice and/or ???
My personal practice is to do many of the things you describe as a way to incorporate higher fat plant foods in my diet. Always nut or seed butter with my morning meal, along with usually flaxseed in my whole grains. Nuts and seeds or avocado, or tahini dresssing, on salads. Olives here and there. Peanuts and golden raisens on the trail (which means anywhere in life during the day!) You can get plenty of plant fats in whole foods without adding oil if you so desire.
Thanks for coming by to share and have a conversation!
“The fanciest I got with portions was to fill half my dinner plate with rice or potatoes and the other half with steamed vegetables using the eyeball method.”
This cracked me up :)))
Thank you for sharing your story, it is very inspiring and encouraging.
Wow great to find this blog. I have been doing McDougall for years and while I’m not remotely fat, I’d like to be trimmer and I thought I was eating to satiety but I think I’m doing what you were doing. Thanks!!
Lani, I have been plant based for 3.5 yrs. I started with a 30 day juice fast and lost 42lb. Then about 6 months later I suddenly started gaining. I have now gained back all but 15 lbs. I have tried everything. I am no oil, almost no salt, no refined sugar. I usually make a stir fry that is mostly broccoli, some carrots, cabbage, onion with a little rice. Oats in the morning just leaves me feeling hungry again in an hr. I have tried everything. I didnt even eat avocado. I tried no nuts. I tried an elimination diet because i noticed some sensitivity to nightshades and possibly beans, and like everything else. I lose a few lbs the first few days then stall, then gain it back. I am 57, I have metabolic syndrome, fibromyalgia so my activity level is not much. I have tried no grains, I eat almost no breads (only when I eat out).I drink only water or hot sugar free herbal tea. Only a couple servings of fruit per day. I have tried engine 2 seven day rescue as well. Still didnt work. I weigh 210. I figure if i can get the weight off the metabolic syndrome will resolve.
Thank you for sharing your experience. You didn’t ask me a question, so not sure if you want any response from me. So without advising you, I can share a little bit from my experience, and from my experience with coaching many others to a better way of living and eating.
Whenever I have undergone any kind of a fast – water, juice, fruit – it results in, of course, weight loss. Yet each and every time, on the other side is an even steeper weight gain. Over time, between these experiences and one ‘healthier’ diet after another, my weight kept rebounding higher, and/or it became harder to maintain a naturally healthy weight. And worse of all, at the end of the day all I built was frustration and an increasingly damaged relationship with food, eating, and my body. I can’t advice in particular on your health concerns, but I found that over time, eating mindfully – which means listening to your body’s needs including hunger signals and honoring them – that making sure I ate enough, on time, from more variety that I had been doing in restrictive times (which mean more nuts and seeds, avocados, olives) I was much better off. Restrictive dieting can backfire, though people report magnificent weight loss usually within weeks, months, or days, things fall apart. I ate bread every day of my 40 lbs weight loss and still eat pb on toast daily for breakfast. Again, I am not advising you to eat, or that you should eat like me, but I do invite you to look at your post and perhaps see some patterns that emerge?
May your way be filled with greater ease and happiness,
Hi Lani – I keep returning to this article and sharing it with others as well because it is THE best overview, in my opinion, of what diet should look like. And with the transparent testimony from your own life’s journey. The article is surprisingly concise for the amount of information and helpful insights that are covered. Thank you so much for taking the time to craft this.
I also a have a question about seasoning, specifically salt and Stevia. Do you use salt or Stevia (or other sweetener) with your own eating, and if so do you moderate your use at all? I know that we all need to moderate salt for sure, but what I mean is, do you have any special approaches to using salt or Stevia/sweeteners that are important for maintaining your eating approach.
I have found it difficult to enjoy my food without salt or Stevia and sometimes I over-consume as a result. I am all ears if you could share anything about what ‘moderation’ looks like for you with salt and/or sweeteners.
Thank you for you kindness and I am glad you enjoy the article.
I use salt to taste, which doesn’t take much as I don’t eat a lot of processed or pre-prepared food that tends to be overseasoned. But I don’t have a guideline other than that. Stevia always left a weird aftertaste whenever I tried it, so I have used or tasted it in a long time. For sweetener, I’ll sprinkle coconut sugar on occasion, or maple syrup, but to be honest I don’t use much sweetener other than fruit, though I am not opposed to the occasional sweet dessert or treat. A little salt or sweet to create fullness to the flavor of your food is in my opinion perfectly fine.
…and ONE MORE question if you don’t mind Lani…. I’m beginning to lift weights, and I need a lot of protein to match the muscle growth along my goals. How can a person get protein without meat and dairy for weight lifting goals? For anything you can share on this…thanks!!
Adam, with increased exercise and muscle demand comes increased caloric need, which in turn means increased intake of amino acids in those foods. You can concentrate more on including higher protein plant foods, such as legumes and beans, nuts and seeds. I suggest you do a search on vegan athletes which you may already have done and you will find an astonishing list of people who have excelled at muscle and strength gains on plants. Robert Cheeke comes to mind, along with a lot of others!
Remember, muscle is built on muscle challenge, along with sufficient energy and nutrients, including aminos, for recovery and growth. A lot of excess protein is not as important as shortening recovery time so you can keep training, which the research shows us a plant diet does – shorten recover time, that is. Read some Brendan Brazier for more.
I’m on day 4, felt amazing the first few days. Now I’m back to being very fatigued. Is there a detox process? I’m praying this helps me with some health issues.
Also, is it true that with “leaky gut” I should not have rice? I cook grains and beans in the instapot for the supposed pectin issue.
Thank you for your article!!!!
Great article! Thank you for sharing your experiences. I lost a lot of weight – over 100 lbs – which I thought was lost through eating a lot more vegetables. I tried to perfect that by cutting out most starches, oils and meats. I will say I was doing great on being able to go out in the sun without getting a sunburn and breathing better, but, I was not losing weight. And, I tried various variations of eating more vegetables, with intermittent fasting and longer stretches of intermittent fasting, dry fasting, etc. But, I was still not losing weight. I was maintaining my weight loss, though, until I tried Keto. As long as I was doing Keto with mostly a lot of veggies and not cutting out all starches and fasting for 18 -48 hours, I was losing weight. But, when I went back to eating once a day, it all fell apart, even if I was not eating much meat or oil, but, especially if I was trying to “get fat adapted”.
So, a lot of praying and research over the last year or so, I ended up reading about the McDougall plan. I’d heard of it before. I was highly skeptical. I’ve always had terrible problems with grains and legumes. But, I also ended up reading about Kapha imbalances on Ayurvedic sites and what they described as the ongoing progress of this imbalance sounded so much like my life that I began to implement some of their suggestions into my daily routine, as an experiment – and, with allergy medicine at the ready. I was eating 4 times a day (usually two of them were fruit) with the biggest meal fairly close to noon and some of the meals were kitchari. Still having things like meat and veggie sandwiches, baked chicken with salad, though. Still, I lost 3.7 lbs in one week and I wasn’t expecting to lose any. I felt so much stronger and clearer headed, too.
And, that’s when it occurred to me that the McDougall advice and the Ayurvedic advice is much the same. So, I did some more research into what he has to say. I am only really pushing against my familial resistance and implementing it as a lifestyle choice, instead of just an experiment, now.
It’s hard. I have a lot of temptations and concessions to what other people want thrown in my way. But, I intend to keep on going. And, I found out I should have been told to do low fat after I had gall bladd surgery, decades ago, so I can use that information as a weapon, because, not going low fat can be severely life-threatening under those circumstances.
Right now, I am at the point of having made a big pot of kitchari and eating some every day, and, for the last couple of days I had oatmeal made with apple juice (once just and once half water) with a little coconut sugar. And, it’s really good.
I don’t think I lost any weight, yet. But, I feel better!
HI my name is ashley. Im doing the starch solution and no oils and hardly any fats at all really but im gaining weight!! I dont understand it at all. Im very frustrated actually. do you have any advice for me?? your story was very inspiring
I have read many books on health in general My latest venture was The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry-renowned Cardiologist–I have struggled with Diabetes & Kidneys. I have read all the comments from variable people from 2012–to present day–This was very helpful. For the last few years I was always leaning towards eating more natural food. I have never liked taking Drugs for my health issues. In the later part of 2020 I started to do Fasting (intermittent fasting–20/4)–20 hours of fasting with eating window of 4 hours
I slowly gave up all animal products.
Presently I have gone totally plant base diet–I have read the Starch Solution. I had a real difficult time giving up my OLIVE OIL!!–If you have read any of Dr. Gundry’s Books he actually
worships/praises olive oil.
I am most likely the oldest person to respond I am 8o years of age and live in Mississauga
Ontario Canada. I am very active and health Conscious.
For a while I was getting frustrated with all the different opinions of so many doctors!!
However I think The Starch Solution–finally opened the door.
At my age (80) I still have an agency business as per my E-Mail.
My total protocol for Health and Fitness is:
1.) Vegan/Vegetarian/(Starch–Base Veggies+) Fruits
2.) Exercise–1–2 Hours daily
3.) Juicing daily ( no-coffee) Drink Green/other Herbal Teas–WATER-1-2 Litres daily
4.) Intermittent Fasting (this has done wonders for me)
5.) Deep Breathing
6.) Daily Cold Showers–5-8 Minutes
7.) 8 Hours sleep daily
8.) Daily Supplements–Vitamin B-12 Vitamin D Vitamin C
I am not your typical 80 year old– Look more like 50–few wrinkles
Lani– I would like your opinion on what else I could do to stay Younger
I am a F in my late 30s. I had a restrictive eating disorder for 10+ years, gave it up when I was diagnosed w osteopenia in 2018. However, recovery “feast eating” resulted in rapid weight gain from a BMI of 18 to 25 (the highest I have ever been). My body never lost the overshoot or redistributed, although I did reverse the hypothalamic amenorrhea. I went vegan in 2019 and at the start of 2021, I found HCLF WFPB veganism as well as intermittent fasting (16/8) in early 2021. Consequently, my BMI is currently somewhere in the 23.5 range (weight loss has been very gradual), which is great, but once again, my period has disappeared. I do not restrict during my eating window, generally eating 3 meals +/- snacks (starch, fruit, veggies, beans/legumes, minimal nuts/seeds, no oil) and totaling 1700-2100 calories. I also take B12, vit D, selenium (1 Brazil nut/day), zinc, omega 3, and magnesium supplements. My exercise is moderate, generally 20m of resistance training most days +/- 1-2 hours of walking or biking some days. The problem is, that I cannot afford to lose more bone density! How can I make this diet work, reap the benefits of IF, and live in a “fit body,” without completely destroying my cycles? Sadly, I wonder if my own weight loss journey may have to wait until menopause, when I can actualize the body I desire without having to worry about hypothalamic amenorrhea. I truly feel betrayed by my body, lost, and looking for answers.