I want to post this comment made yesterday by someone on the McDougall Forum, James Brown. He’s been eating the starch-based McDougall diet for several years. He made the transition when he was confronted with heart bypass surgery. I like his comments. I find them encouraging and articulate, and most of all, realistic.
Most people evaluating this way of eating will NOT adopt it. It will only be a small number of people that will embrace this way of eating in a world where it has become so foreign given our culture. Yes, people ate this way and in some places still do. But usually because they didn’t have a choice. Given a choice most will choose the diet of Kings and Queens. [Recall my post about what this King of England ate.]
But hopefully you will pull out enough bits of nutritional help to make your health respond. It’s why we are all here no matter our level of adherence.
This won’t be news to you….You have been around this too long….Some only adopt this way of eating because their health deteriorates to their point of desperation. I only made changes when facing my own mortality over heart disease. If not for that I would probably not be eating this way today. In fact, my best guess is I would not be alive. Some simply get fed up with their weight or appearance and are willing to do ANYTHING to correct this. All of us knew going in this is a diet that appears extreme to those on the “outside” But to those on the “inside” we have a real secret we keep hidden most of the time. This way of eating is really simple, terribly satisfying, and highly addictive once you jump in with both feet. I get the honor of meeting up with many that have been following this program adherently for many years and we love to share with each other just how easy it is to eat this way on a daily basis. We bask in the simplicity and economy of a starch based diet. We marvel that more people haven’t caught on to this. Yet, we do see more and more people joining the club. The movement to eating like a peasant is catching on out there.
Seeing this program as extremely rigid and limiting is but a mind game with yourself. It can also be seen as a door to the freedom good health brings. Not much is more limiting than the results of chronic disease. This way of eating can free us from those shackles.
But to assume this diet will be attractive to everyone is naive. It won’t be. Some will only see what they can’t have and not see what they can have. It can be a monumental head game with yourself if you let it. Where the real struggle is when you know it’s the healthiest way to eat but you fight with yourself over adopting it. Sometimes the inner struggle can be too much for some. If it is maybe it isn’t worth the benefits. We all have that choice. Life can be pretty special to allow us that choice.
The science? Yes the science is what brought me to this way of eating. Looking for that alternative to a bypass made me look at the literature about heart disease and the more I dug into it the more it became apparent that the real source of good health was a diet like this. For over 7 years the medical science and data has only reinforced this position. Not just the anecdotal evidence but the peer reviewed data in the most respected journals. The data that drove Nathan Pritikin, Dr. McDougall, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Ornish, Dr. Campbell, and many many more use this diet therapeutically.
I bolded a few things he said that I really agree with. I also like how he describes the diet, unapologetically, as “eating like a peasant.” I can learn from that.
Here’s a testimonial video Brown did for McDougall. The upload date is 2008 when he was 51 years old, so he’s been eating this low-fat, starch-based diet for at least 6 years. He describes having very high blood pressure which started in his 20s, and the emergence of chest pain which sent him to his doctor and led to a recommendation for bypass surgery. He never had it, against his cardiologist’s wishes. Instead, he adopted the McDougall diet. His cholesterol fell from 339 to 119 in 11 weeks. He eventually went off all 3 of his blood pressure medications and his weight dropped from 206 to 157 lbs (he’s 5’7″).
It’s the food.