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Ep.93: The Power of Plants and Starches with Dr. John McDougall

Robyn Openshaw - Aug 08, 2018 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Today I’m bringing you my earliest influence, Dr. John McDougall. He’s a medical doctor and a board certified internist. He’s the author of 13 national bestselling books with Mary, his wife as the co-author. And he’s the co-founder of the “10 Day Live in McDougall Program” in Santa Rosa, California. His retreat has changed the lives of thousands of people as he teaches them just exactly how to eat a plant-based diet for longevity and disease prevention. He has had a really illustrious 50 year career so he has a lot of wisdom to share with us. One highlight of this episode is our discussion on the importance of starches in our diet. Starches have been villainized by many, but Dr. McDougall fights back and defends starches as a key solution to our health problems.


Learn more from Dr. McDougall: Website

Explore his world-renowned clinic and 10-Day Live-in Program: Click Here

Read his book The Healthiest Diet on the Planet

Read his book The Starch Solution


Robyn:                         Hey everyone, it’s Robyn Openshaw. And I’m so glad to be back with you here on The VIBE Show. And today I am bringing with you one of my very earliest influences. There’s just a few of them that I’m still tracking down. I still don’t have Colin Campbell on my show. And I mean to. I actually know him. I’ve talked to him multiple times and we’re working on him and Neal Barnard.

Today I’m bringing you possibly my earliest influence and it’s Dr. John McDougall. He’s a medical doctor, a board certified internist. He’s the author of 13 national bestselling books with Mary, his wife as the coauthor. And the McDougall newsletter is very well known out there. And he’s a co-founder of the “10 day Live in McDougall Program” in Santa Rosa, California. His retreat has changed the lives of thousands and thousands of people as he teaches them just exactly how to eat a plant based diet for longevity and disease prevention. So he’s a clinical instructor for four schools. He’s training young physicians and he’s licensed in five states to practice. He has had a really illustrious 40 or 50 year career. So welcome to The VIBE Show Dr John McDougall.

Dr. McDougall:             Thank you very much.

Robyn:                         I am really excited to interview you because you know when I started on the plant based Diet journey 25 years ago, I was really eating a very processed diet. I had married into a family that ate a lot of meat even though I was raised right. I was raised eating lots of legumes, whole grains, vegetables. A big huge salad on the table was the main dish every night. My grandmother had beat cancer with the Gerson protocol and a plant based diet, almost entirely raw. She had beat a metastatic melanoma. And so my mom watched that and really fed us very, very plant based diet. We might have animal products twice a month.

But then I married into a family that ate meat three times a day and I was trying to fit in. I didn’t want to rock the boat. And I went along with it. And all of a sudden I found myself with 21 different diseases and significantly overweight and not really liking the way my life was going. And so you were one of the early pioneers out there. You were writing about all of this long before the rest of us were. And so I’d love for you to share a little bit about your story getting started as a doctor, and what happened with your family and with your medical practice? How’d you end up on this path?

Dr. McDougall:             Oh boy. It’s a story I like to tell. I started out like you being raised by a sick family. A family that believed in the western diet, and so we had plenty of protein, and plenty of calcium. I had no risk of developing protein or calcium deficiency. The result was, that as a little child, I was very constipated, lots of stomach pains. Lost my tonsils at age 7. Developed acne during the teenage years. My endurance was terrible. And then at age 18 I suffered a major stroke. That was 55 years ago. I had suffered a major stroke and that changed my life to say the least. The residual from it is I limp today. But it’s been a good active life.

And it got me interested in the hospital business when I was hospitalized for two weeks after my stroke. And what I got to see is what the hospital business does and doesn’t do. And I didn’t find them doing anything positive for me after the stroke. Basically after two weeks I signed myself out against advice and left. I went back to school, went back to college. And because of my exposure to medicine, I overcame a misconception. And that misconception in our family was, doctors are next to God. And I was not that kind of material. I was not next to God, I was just a regular old person. But after spending two weeks at Grace Hospital in Detroit, I saw what these “next to gods” were. How they performed and what they could and couldn’t do. And I thought to myself, after two weeks of doing the things that they were doing, I said, “You know, I can do that”.

So I went back to school, I went to medical school, met my best friend, 46 years ago, who I married. And after medical school, I did an internship on Oahu in Hawaii. We loved Hawaii. I fell in love with Hawaii and didn’t want to leave. And so what we did instead is we went to the Big Island. And on the Big Island they had mostly sugar plantations as their business. And they grow sugar and they had sugar plantation workers and for these workers, they had an infirmary, a doctor’s office type thing. And I got a job there. And that changed my life.

First of all, I found out that I really wasn’t doing much as a doctor. I did basically as much good as the doctors did for me. Nothing. I was handing out pills and giving excuses and people weren’t getting better. So I realized I really wasn’t a good doctor, even after having graduated from medical school. I realized that. And that allowed me to think more widely. And what I was doing is I was taking care of a plantation workers. And these plantation workers came mostly from other countries. At least the first generation did. They came from the Philippines, Japan, China. And they moved to Hawaii to work on the plantation and started new families and so on.

And so I got to meet and take care of the first generation who had lived in Japan or the Philippines and raised on a diet that was 90 percent rice. It was white rice, but it was 90 percent rice. And then I got to take care of their children, the second generation. And they got a little fatter, a little sicker. And the third generation, was just as fat and sick as everybody else. And the only thing that had changed was the food. Instead of rice being the center of the diet, it was hamburgers at “Texas Drive In”, or “Mcdonald’s” came to Hilo, Hawaii in 1974. The new generations embrace the American Diet and they’ve become sick and fat just like the rest of Americans. I saw this between 1973 and 1976. You all are seeing it today.

I learned that people got sick when they switched from a diet of starch. And I want you all to listen carefully to what I’m saying. I’m saying “starch”. You know, the foods you were taught are evil. These are the foods these people lived on. Like rice and corn and potatoes.

The Asians, a typical diet is 90 percent rice on their plate. It was white rice. And people in Central America, it was corn. The Mayas and the Aztecs, they are known as the people of the corn. People in South America, the Incas and that area of the Andes, uh, those were potato eaters. Wherever you look all over the world, with the only exception being the Aristocrats, the Kings and Queens of old, who could afford the rich food, they were the only exception. These people became fat and sick, just like, you know, I hate to repeat it, but just like Americans and Europeans and many Asians are today.

So it became obvious to me that the change in diet, since the change in work activity and genetics and nothing else had changed. It was the change in diet that had made the difference. What I discovered with my plantation workers was an old discovery. People have known this for thousands of years. And that is, you know it, you know, from the kings and Queens of the 1500’s and 1600’s. From the Kings and Queens of 4,000 years ago, the Pharaohs, the Priests, and Priestesses. They were rich people and they skipped eating the starch. They fed the starch to the chickens and the pigs and the cows, and so on. And then they ate the chickens, cows and pigs.

And they had artery disease. You can see in the Egyptian mummies from 4,000 years ago, you can see calcifications representing artery disease, severe artery disease in about 40 percent of the people who they could find arteries on. These were all people that came from the pyramids, you know, these were the Kings and Queens, the Mummies.

Anyway, it was quite clear to me, why people are ill. Now what I had to do is get them to change their diet. I started that as a general practitioner after I became an internist. I started taking care of people in my office. I eventually took care of about 5,000 people as outpatients. And at about the same time, in about 1986, I started a residential program, which still runs today, very strong.

And what we do is we teach them to eat right. We teach them to like, well they like the foods, we just have to introduce them to them. We take them off their blood pressure pills, their diabetic pills, most of their medications. We have seven publications on this, in the scientific literature, our paper, our research shows that we were able to reduce or stop nearly 90 percent of the medication that people were taking.

Robyn:                         So one of the things that you talk about in one of your books, I want to focus today on your latest book, which is called “The Healthiest Diet on the Planet”. And I’m going to, in a minute, I’m going to read the subtitle of that which completely turns on its head, the nutrition advice that everybody’s getting out there in 2018 today.

A diet that’s really trending right now is the “Carnivore diet”. And every single day I’m hearing about that. And I thought that the ketogenic diet might be the worst diet I’ve seen in the last decade with its heavy emphasis on eating animal products three times a day. And there’s some vegetables in there, but most people are getting most of their calories when they do this diet, you know, 80 and 90 percent of their calories are coming from animal protein and animal fats.

But I want to back up before we go there, I want to tell you, this is kind of funny. When I put the Green Smoothie Girl website up 11 years ago, one thing I did is I put your weight chart and I explained why your ideal weight chart is what I was using rather than what physicians use in their offices, which are based on averages. And so I had read your content on that and I shared this weight chart and I have never gotten more hate mail. People look at these weight charts which you based on, and I’d like you to talk about that and what kind of, and how that was received when you put that out there.

But I just want to point out that in, in Dr McDougall’s book, “The Healthiest Diet on the Planet”, and I think you’re somewhere, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, or ignore me if we don’t want to talk about your age, but I think you’re somewhere around 70 now, along with your colleagues, Dr Esselstyn, Dr Campbell who have been out there talking about what the literature really says about what we’re supposed to eat. And those colleagues of yours are very much on the very similar wavelength. But I put that weight chart out there and people said “I would have to starve to death to weigh this much”. And you have said in the introduction of this book that you weighed less than 150 pounds and you’re six feet tall. So talk a little bit about that.

Dr. McDougall:             Well, I’ve published these charts many times. The first time I could think of, I sent it out to the public in 2003. And they come from Walter Kempner. He was a very famous doctor from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. And he used to prescribe for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes. He would prescribe for them, the rice diet. This is a diet that was about 90 percent rice, fruit, vegetables, fruit juices, mostly fruit juices, and actually sugar. White sugar was part of the diet. And people would lose a lot of weight. I mean, you know, just like on our programs, some people lose 150 to 200 pounds.

Well, his chart is the chart I used and put in my writings to comfort people. You know this is what Walter Kempner thinks you ought to weigh ideally, when you’re in good health. And I, of course, when I first saw those numbers, I thought they were ridiculous too. But you know, that’s what happens to people who follow a starch based diet, free of oil, nuts, seeds, avocados and animal products. They drop to a very trim weight.

So I put it in my newsletter in May of 2003. I put it in my newsletter in November of 2015, I believe. And I’ve gotten lots of hate mail too. People say, you know, that’s ridiculous. But it’s put there to reassure you you’re not losing too much weight. That’s why I put it there. I didn’t put it there as a goal. I put it there, as a don’t be worried if you end up like I was at 150 pounds at six foot tall. I’ve lost a little bit since then. But, uh, I was that weight and have been for many years. I started out though at 230 pounds.

So the chart is mainly there so people don’t get scared when they see themselves going past weights they haven’t seen in decades. You know, they kind of get worried at times. And Walter Kempner, you know, he studied tens of thousands of patients. The Kempner Diet is the most famous diet in the world as far as I know, still is. And it was the main support for Duke University for two decades.

The Kempner Rice Diet had been in existence for seven decades, 70 years. Walter Kempner came from Germany and he became the head of the Department of Internal Medicine at Duke. And uh, you know, that’s the way they used to treat disease before they had all the pills. So that’s why the chart is there, don’t let it scare you. Just let it reassure you you’re not losing too much weight.

Robyn:                         Yeah. Because we do get regular folks who do our detox, which is exactly the Diet that you describe. There’s starches in it, there are very few oils and limited nuts and seeds and no animal products whatsoever. And we do have people, not very many, but a significant minority who say, “Oh, I’m afraid to lose any weight”. And they’ll tell us their weight. And I think that people do get nervous about these weight charts they’re shown. Americans love weight charts and ranges and they want to be where everybody else is.

The point I want to make about this chart is that it was based on, if I understand it, indigenous peoples, these are people who have never been on the western diet, they don’t have access to processed foods and cakes and cookies and soda and these kinds of things. And so if you take a look at what people in Africa and Asia and places where they’re eating all whole foods, their average weights are far, far lower than the ones we are shown in doctor’s offices. Is that the gist of it?

Dr. McDougall:             Yeah, of course. Yeah. And they are smaller people too, which disturbs folks because people say traditionally from Asia, not, not these days, these days they are six foot, six foot two and so on. But in the past there have been some pretty tough times, food wise and as a result of starvation, especially during adolescence, people don’t grow very tall.

Robyn:                         The subtitle of your book, “The Healthiest Diet on the Planet” is: “Why the foods you love, pizza, pancakes, potatoes, pasta and more are the solution to preventing disease and looking and feeling your best.” And I want to talk about your red light, yellow light and green light foods. But when I looked through your recipes, I noticed that even though you say pizza, pancakes, potatoes, pasta, and more, these are foods that I don’t think that you’re advocating for Pizza Hut pizza. And I don’t think you’re advocating for eating a ton of fried potatoes and high fructose corn syrup ketchup.

Because your recipes are packed full of vegetables and there’s lots of legumes and there’s whole grains. And I want to definitely go into which I have with many of the of the very renowned experts we’ve had on this show, I want to talk about the whole carbohydrate thing and why everybody’s afraid of carbohydrates and whether they should be. But am I right? You’re not talking about the kind of pizza, pancakes, fried potatoes and pasta that most people think of? You have your own variations of them that are entirely wholefoods oriented, and the crux of your diet really is vegetables. Am I right?

Dr. McDougall:             Almost. The crux of the diet is Starch. And that’s why I called the book The Starch Solution. But my editors and many other people I work with said, “You’re just cutting off your nose to spite your face, calling it The Starch Solution”. I said, “But I want them to know what they’re supposed to eat”. When people are told they’re supposed to eat a whole plant food based diet, that could be, you know, that could be onions. A whole diet of onions. It could be a diet of a peanuts. It could be a diet of Broccoli or Kale or all those things. And you wouldn’t survive on this kind of eating. You wouldn’t get enough calories.

You have to pick vegetable foods that have a high storage of energy, which is carbohydrate, which by the way does not turn into fat except under really stressful situations. Carbohydrate, I mean, think about it, this is a statement I want you to think about right now, and don’t let it out of your head: All large, successful populations of people throughout all verifiable human history have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch. Remember, Aztecs and Mayans, the people of the corn. Potatoes for the Incas. Rice for the Asians. I mean, good grief. If these weren’t good, healthy foods, productive foods, we wouldn’t have fought World War II or the Vietnam conflict. We almost lost World War II to rice eaters. And we lost the Vietnam conflict to rice eaters. People have it so mixed up.

If I give you one, or in this case, two categories, you have to avoid, you can say, “I can do that”. It’s easy to recognize. So the two categories of food poison are: Animal foods, that means frogs eyes, pigs toes, cows tails, you name it. Any animal food is in the category of food poison. And so is vegetable oil. Any vegetable oil, corn oil, olive oil. I don’t care what health food oil you call it. It is a poison. And it is not a food. Oil is not a food. It doesn’t occur naturally. The way you get it, is you take a food and you throw everything away except for the oil, so you throw all the vitamins away, all the minerals away, and you end up with just oil, an isolated concentrated ingredient which has pharmacologic effects.

Robyn:                         Then how did we get in this place where the vast majority of people out there talking about diet and nutrition in 2018 are selling the virtues of fats. And saying, fat doesn’t make you fat, and so you should eat a diet of 70 percent fat, is the reigning Super Popular Diet right now, it was the number one google search term in Google last year in 2017. The Ketogenic diet.

Dr. McDougall:             If you eat a diet that excludes essentially all carbohydrate, which your body needs for fuel, then you’ll lose weight. You’ll lose weight, because you get sick. What happens with the ketogenic diet is the body has to resort to burning fat. So it burns fat that you eat. And it burns your body fat and it produces the byproduct Ketones. And ketones create a state called ketosis which suppresses your appetite. So initially you lose weight on these ketogenic diets, because they’re also a diuretic. They cause you to lose six, eight, ten pounds of water because of the nature of the diet. But then what happens is you get so sick from being in Ketosis, you don’t eat, so you lose weight. So anybody who is telling you that eating oil is what makes you thin. It’s only because it makes you sick, that it makes you thin.

Robyn:                         Okay. Another big trend out there is talking about how we all have to stay away from all grains, all wheat, all legumes. You say in your book that grains and wheat do not cause inflammation. Rather animal products cause inflammation. And I would love for you to talk about that and the evidence of what actually causes inflammation. And are there problems with the way grains and wheat are grown? Because there’s certainly a lot of people out there saying that grains are problematic for them, especially probably processed wheat.

Dr. McDougall:             As far as grains. Grains are terrible, right? And that’s why there have probably been 10 billion Asians, over the last hundred years who’ve lived on grains. Grains are terrible. That’s why the Conquerors, the Athletes, the Workers, of Central America with the Mayans and the Aztecs lived on a grain: Corn. If it’s so terrible, how would they have ever survived? Well, their civilization survived 1300 years. And I could go from country to country to country and we’ll find thousands of countries where billions of people have lived on grains. How can you say they’re bad?

Well, they focused on three grains, particularly that they say are bad and it’s because of a rare condition called CELIAC disease. People are sensitive to a component of wheat, barley and rye. Those are the grains, not rice, not corn. Wheat, barley and rye has a lot of this glyco protein called gluten in it. And about, I don’t know, it’s fewer than one in 100, probably fewer than 1 in 250 people in Western societies have this problem. And I think this is probably a relatively new problem with the modernization of food. Because it doesn’t make sense that populations of billions of people like who lived in the Middle East, living on barley and wheat, wouldn’t have survived. It makes no sense at all.

Anyway, wheat, barley and rye are great foods, except for people who have celiac disease. And then they must stay away from them. But you can’t generalize from these few people to an entire population. People say, well, “I can’t eat grains. So, what does that leave me? Meat? I won’t eat potatoes, they’re fattening. Cheese? Maybe, I’ll just drink my meal, I’ll just drink vegetable oil”. You know, people don’t stand a chance.

But if they just stopped for a minute and think, today there are billions of people on this planet and still in Asia, there are about 2 billion people, and about half of them still live on a starch based diet. In 1980, all of them lived on starch based diet. Ninety percent of the food on their plate was white rice. So you can’t find me a country where you don’t see this. It’s every place.

And pretty much everybody knows what’s happened. And that is that people are eating too much fat and oil, sugar has a small contribution to it. And as a result they get fat. Diabetes develops in some resistance to help protect itself. And then you get type two diabetes, which is 100 percent curable with a healthy diet and associated weight loss.

Robyn:                         Yeah, let’s go there. Let’s talk a little bit about the false connection as you call it, between diabetes and carbohydrates. What do we know from the research about why this is false? Because you make fun of some of the books out there like “Grain Brain” and some of these books that are out there, right now, “The Plant Paradox” where Steven Gundry tells us that lectins and legumes are going to kill us, has been on the New York Times list for many, many weeks. So talk about what we really know about diabetes and carbohydrates?

Dr. McDougall:             Well, first of all, I think that the more unrealistic the dietary program, the faster it becomes popular. People are looking for weird. They’re looking for something that they might’ve missed. The magic secret that’s going to give them the health they deserve. And so, you know, you could find a diet made up of almost anything out there.

The ketogenic diets, they’re easy, a real low learning curve. You just go to the fast food restaurant, you order your meal, you throw away the bun, scrape off the ketchup and pickles, and then you’re on a ketogenic diet. Eating a starch based diet may take a little bit more effort, even though I recommend you eat simple, like in other words, 90 percent potatoes and some beans and your favorite sauces and so on. So anyway, don’t be surprised with what you see in the next diet that comes out. It’s not true. Lectin free diets make no sense to me at all. Lectins is an essential component of food.

Robyn:                         You know, in your introduction, you talk about how our attorney general 30 years ago, C. Everett Koop came out with the McGovern report. And in this government issued surgeon general’s report, he says that “We need a major increase in whole grains, vegetables and fruits in our diet and that the economy should reduce the consumption of meat and dairy products”. And for a short time the consumption of those products fell.

But then you also say in the introduction that, “we now consume almost twice as much sugar, meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, and seafood than we did in 1977 when that report was first issued”. I think 1977 to 1988 is when this was being promoted by our government. So now we’re eating twice as much meat and dairy and we have twice as much type two diabetes, nope, it’s more than tripled.

Dr. McDougall:             First, I want to make something absolutely clear. This is not a conspiracy. The food industry is not doing this to make your babies sick and fat or to give your wife breast cancer or your husband a heart attack. This is not a conspiracy. These people are just out to make money like any business does. Well, they saw what happened, the food industry saw what happened in 1964 when Luther Terry came out with the Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health. And he saw cigarette smoking in 1964 go down from 50 percent of the adult population to less than 20 percent. And the food industry saw that, and they decided that they’re not going to let that happen to them.

So, once the government got down to the truth with all the pressure, as financial pressure from the food industry is thousands of times greater than from the tobacco industry. They decided this wasn’t going to happen to us. And so they hired the lobbyists. They spent the money. They ran the advertisements. And they just basically buried the truth. Buried it!

And uh, you know, the result is, people believe that meat is health food, that there are reports out about how it reverses cancer and heart disease, and all kinds of things. You could say anything. This is a free country. We have free speech.

Robyn:                         Yep. It’s all driven by money so much of the time. I’m looking at your book and it’s very glossy with lots of colorful photos. Beautiful. I’m looking at your recipes here. So I thought maybe our last question could be for you to talk about your red light, green light and yellow light. So the “Don’t eat” categories of foods. “The eat” and the “Be careful”.

Dr. McDougall:             Yeah. “The eat” are starches, primarily fruits and vegetables. Those are the green lights. You can’t eat very many vegetables. They’re just too bulky, they’re not going to fill you up. They have too few calories. So don’t try and live on cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, you know, that’s not going to make it. Kale, lettuce, you’re not gonna make it. But have some of these vegetables with your starch.

Remember, starch is about 90 percent. Say 5 or 10 percent is vegetables, will add color, flavor, texture, some vitamins and minerals that are being duplicated mostly. Same thing with fruit. You know, 5 or 10 percent of your diet is fruit. But you’re not going to live on an all fruit diet. I’ve been in this business, 50 years, half a century. I’ve never seen a successful fruitarian. Starches, fruits and vegetables.

Your red light foods are ones you shouldn’t be eating. Now, they’re okay for your cat. In other words, your kitty cat, you’re welcome to give them a slab of beef or a wing of chicken because that’s his diet. But it’s not your diet. You don’t want to feed your cat baked potatoes either because he or she will not do well because it’s not his diet.

So category Red Foods are foods that are not the diet of human beings. They do not promote good health. You could get away with it. A human being is tough. It smokes two packs of cigarettes, drinks half a bottle of whiskey and lives on bacon and beef, and it lives! But if you’re asking the question, what makes you look best, feel best, function best, smell best, than that’s a diet based on starch, preferably whole starch. But as I mentioned several times in this interview, billions of Asians have lived successfully on white rice. So I don’t make white rice a deal breaker. It’s just not preferred. We serve brown rice at our clinic.

And the yellow light foods, they’re not unhealthy, but you can get into a little trouble with them, like nuts and seeds and avocados. They’re 90 percent fat, if that’s a dominant part of your diet, you’re going to get fat, you’re going to get greasy skin. Soy products, whole soybeans are okay. But when you start modifying them to make Tofu and Miso, and Tempeh and Soy milk and things like that, they become a little bit richer, not unhealthy, but a little richer. So we’ll give them a yellow light. And, um, let’s see. Oh, juices likewise, get a yellow light.

Vitamins and minerals get a red light because they are toxic. They will make you sick. They’ll increase your risk of cancer. And heart disease. Vitamin and mineral supplements will do that because they’re isolated, concentrated nutrients, they cause imbalances.

So that’s kind of how the red, green and yellow goes. But people should do as they’re getting well to stick as strictly as they can to the green foods. And then as they get trim or maybe too trim, add some nuts and seeds which are on the yellow food category. And save the red foods for Thanksgiving when you have turkey. And Christmas, you’ll have ham. And on your birthday, you’ll have a birthday cake. These are celebratory foods at best.

Robyn:                         Okay. I’m looking here. It says: “The green foods, eat starches. All large populations throughout history, ate primarily starch, corn, rice, potatoes, wheat, etc. So eat lots of cereal, wheat, rice, corn, millet, etc. Oatmeal, millet, kamut, cracked wheat, pancakes made with whole wheat, buckwheat, potato, etc. Hashbrown potatoes made oil free, bean soups, potato and carrot soups, vegetable soups, baked potatoes”. (And there’s a really pretty picture of a baked potato stuffed with beans, which is interesting). “Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, breads, pastas made from wheat, buckwheat, brown rice. Think of this as comfort food.” So I assume you mean not eating it super often?

Dr. McDougall:             No comfort food, is if you show someone a plate of pasta, you know, with red sauce, and often they will say, “Well that’s comfort food”, or whatever food came from their childhood diet. They’ll often identify it as comfort food, like potatoes. It’s the food that they had in their home, predominantly. That’s all they could afford. All that was available with the limited production we had. And uh, so that’s, that’s what they were raised on. They were raised on potatoes or rice or corn or maybe a combination of these. And they get to know them as their family foods or comfort foods. And so people naturally react positively.

Robyn:                         Okay. I know what you mean by comfort food now. So, just going through some of these other pages, he shows, pizza made with whole grain crust, vegetables and tomato sauce, brown rice, rice and vegetable dishes, vegetable sushi, beans, rice and corn, grain based salads, whole grain and bean patty burgers, whole grain bread and vegetable bean spread sandwiches, fruits and non-starchy vegetables. The ones that here at Greensmoothiegirl, we blend up. He says, “eat a few daily”. It’s not gonna keep you from being hungry if that’s what you rely on, which I agree with. And then there’s the be careful foods that are all laid out for us. There are the don’t eat foods which are, and you take a harder line than even most of your peers do, some of whom like fish, but “no eggs, no dairy products, no beef, no poultry, no fish”.

So thank you so much for your thoughts on a subject that has an awful lot of people confused. Even 30 years after the Surgeon General released his report, we’re not doing it. The evidence has remained the same, over 10,000 published studies now on what eating more plants do for us. You’re a big fan of starches. I really appreciate you sharing your perspective today. Tell us where people can learn more about you and what you do.

Dr. McDougall:             What I do today is I run a 10 day Live In a program in Santa Rosa, California. I have a website that you really need to go to if you want great value for nothing. And it’s: And there you’ll find basically everything. You’ll find recipes, meal plans, stories, directions on what to do when you’re on medication. Basically everything, videos, newsletters I’ve written, and all kinds of instructions to get you to do it. So you can do in the program for nothing. In fact, it’ll drop your food bill 60 to 80 percent. And it’ll drop your medical bills to maybe 100 percent less. Maybe you’ll stop having medical bills. That’s the hope.

So those are my activities these days. We have 13 national bestselling books. Six of them are still on the market. You can buy them in the bookstores. We have the McDougall app, which is a thousand recipes, which I think is $5, which you put on your phone. Yeah, those are the things I do and the results are phenomenal. I sometimes call myself the luckiest doctor in the world because my patients get well.

Robyn:                         Okay. Well thank you so much Dr. McDougall, I appreciate you. Have a wonderful day.

Dr. McDougall: All right. Thank you and goodbye.

3 thoughts on “Ep.93: The Power of Plants and Starches with Dr. John McDougall”

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  1. Lynne Huntley says:

    I’ve heard many good things about Dr. Mc Dougall’s programs. Is there a vegan diet that will help people fight Crohn’s disease?

    1. Geoff Miller says:

      Yes, McDougall’s diet deals with that. I’ve seen three or four cases on his website, plus he talks about it. Personally, I’ve been following his type of diet for nearly 10 years, Crohn’s free. There are times when I deviate a little, but the suffering comes in quickly, as those of us that have it know too well. I take no meds and haven’t for many years. The most important things for me to avoid: all dairy, wheat (gluten), sugar and too much fat/oil. And, there are quick results, but it takes several months before the intestine really heals. Hope that helps!

    2. Rose Butler GSG says:

      Hi Lynne, yes, Robyn offers 2 programs that are worth diving into. Detoxing first is a great way to begin to break down a lot of barriers, recognize food sensitivities and then move towards Robyn’s 12-Step to Whole Foods Program. You can watch her FREE Detox and 12 Steps Mini Video Masterclasses to gain a better look into how to heal the gut and remove toxins and ideally move towards improving your Crohn’s symptoms. https://greensmoothiegirl.local/detoxsecrets/ https://greensmoothiegirl.local/12-steps/accessnow/

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