McDiet? McDonalds? McDougall!

I know, ya'll are thinking of the most well known "Mc"...McDonalds.  None of that here! We follow The McDougall Program.

You can get an amazing, free, overview of his program right on his website via this link
but here is the basic rundown for those who would like the info on the plan we follow!

In short, the McDougall Program consists of the following:

  • A diet of plant foods, including whole grains and whole grain products (such as pasta, tortillas, and whole-grain bread), a wide assortment of vegetables, and fruit
  • Plenty of spices and usually small amounts of sugar and salt to enhance the flavor of food
  • Exercise as simple as a daily walk
  • The exclusion of animal foods, including red meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, and fish – all of which provide toxic levels of fat, cholesterol, protein and, very often, infectious agents and harmful chemicals
  • The exclusion of ALL oils, including olive oil, safflower oil and corn oil. Oils, which are nothing more than liquid fat, increase body fat stores (obesity), depress immune function, and contribute to most common chronic diseases

You don't need milk to get calcium!

Many people ask me, "Where will I get my calcium if I don't drink milk?" Actually, all plant foods contain generous amounts of calcium. A cup of cooked collard greens contains about 360 mg of calcium, while a cup of milk contains about 300 mg. A cup of cooked kale contains 210 mg. There is no disorder known as dietary calcium deficiency – in other words, there is plenty of calcium in all diets made of plant foods to meet the needs of children and adults. Osteoporosis is not a disease that results from too little calcium, but rather primarily from too much animal protein animal food derived acids that rob the body of calcium and structural materials, and thus weaken bones. A diet based on starches with a plentiful supply of fruits and vegetables (alkaline foods), and some exercise, will preserve skeletal strength and regrow lost bone.

The body uses fat primarily for energy storage when no food is available and secondary source of immediate fuel. Cholesterol is needed for numerous cellular functions and to produce hormones, like vitamin D and estrogen. The problem with fat and cholesterol is that we need so little of both. The body produces all the cholesterol it needs. As for fat, all plant foods contain adequate amounts of fats and only plants make the essential fatty acids that promote good health. A deficiency of essential fat would never occur when plant foods make up a substantial part of the meals, therefore, it is never recommended for you to add extra essential fats to your diet (like omega-3, fish, of flaxseed oils).

Animal foods provide an overabundance of fat, especially the most harmful kind, saturated fat, which raises blood cholesterol levels and damages the arteries, causing heart disease and stroke.

Vegetable oils are not health foods

Poly- and monounsaturated fats - those contained in large amounts in vegetable oils as well as in fish - have been shown to depress the immune system, increase bleeding, and promote cancers, especially those of the colon, prostate, and breast. All fats are easily stored making people overweight, which lays the foundations for many other illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, and adult-onset diabetes. Fat deprives cells of oxygen, is a major producer of free radicals, which damage the body's tissues.

All animal foods are rich sources of fat. Beef derives between 60 and 80 percent of its calories from fat; pork, between 80 and 95 percent; chicken, between 30 and 50 percent; and fish, between five and 60 percent.

All meats are also rich in cholesterol. A 3 1/2 ounce serving of beef contains 85 mg of cholesterol; pork contains 90 mg; mackerel fish contains 95 mg; turkey 83 mg; tuna 63 mg; and chicken (skinned-white) 85 mg. Cholesterol, as I have been saying, leads to heart disease and many other illnesses. Therefore, many of the foods that are commonly believed to be health foods today, such as chicken and turkey, are in fact promoters of disease. Plant foods never contain cholesterol.

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

Whole Grains

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

Unrefined flours

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

Egg-Free Pastas

Pastas come in many shapes including spaghetti, macaroni, lasagna noodles, flat noodles, spirals, wheels, alphabet noodles. Most of these are made from highly refined flours and therefore should play a small role in your diet.
  • artichoke pasta
  • tomato pasta
  • corn pasta (no wheat)
  • whole wheat pasta
  • spinach pasta
  • rice pasta (no wheat)

Oriental Noodles

Most of these are made from highly refined flours and therefore should play a small role in your diet.
  • bean threads
  • somen
  • buckwheat soba
  • udon
  • rice noodles


  • burdock
  • sweet potatoes
  • celeriac (celery root)
  • tapioca
  • Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke)
  • taro root
  • jicama
  • water chestnuts
  • parsnips
  • white potatoes
  • rutabaga
  • yams
(Carrots, beets, turnips, daikon, and salsify are low in carbohydrates and calories and so are not considered starch staples.)

Winter Squashes

  • butternut
  • acorn
  • Hubbard
  • banana
  • pumpkin
  • buttercup
  • turban squash
(Summer squashes usually cannot serve as the center of a meal because of their low calorie content. They are also lower in carbohydrates than winter squashes.)


  • aduki (azuki)
  • red kidney
  • black
  • mung
  • fava (broad)
  • navy
  • garbanzo (chick-peas)
  • pink
  • great northern
  • pinto
  • limas
  • white kidney (cannellini)
(Soybeans cannot be considered a starch staple because they are too high in fat to be allowed on the diet regularily.)

  • brown
  • red
  • green

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

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


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


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

So, this is the diet we follow.  I build meals (and seek out recipes) around grains and potatoes, add plenty of veggies, some fruit, and play around with lots of fun spices.  Meals are simple and cooking is enjoyable again without having to touch meat!
There is another aspect to his plan, called Maximum Weight Loss in which you really avoid pastas/breads, and higher fat whole foods (like nuts, avocado, olives), and a few other things if you want to drop weight even faster.  Avocados are something I generally offer our son a lot of, but he is also drinking hemp milk which is fairly high in fat and calories.