Wednesday, May 20, 2015

McDougalling: A Resurgent Trend

(Reclaimed from Bubblews, where it appeared on February 11, 2014. Image credit: DMedina at

The weight loss fad these days seems to be "Eat all the saturated fat you want, just don't eat carbs." For those of us who feel queasy at the thought of consuming animal fat five times a day, there is a refreshing alternative. The McDougall system for sensible eating features complex carbs only with lots of vegetable protein. Meat, sweets, and dairy products are allowed as "feasts" for those not trying to lose weight or avoiding foods they can't tolerate, but only one "feast" per week is allowed if you want to say you're "on" the McDougall meal plan.

However, unless you're testing the McDougall program as a way to control a disease, you don't have to be "on the program" to enjoy McDougall Meals. These are home-cooked meals designed to offer enough satisfying flavors to seduce carnivores away from asking "Where's the beef?"--and my experience has been that they work. 

Glancing at, I note that the McDougalls (Dr. John and dietitian Mary) have recently managed to convert Al Gore: 

"Rather than improvement in his own health, Mr. Gore’s motivation to give up animal foods was more likely to become consistent with his message on climate change. He can now call himself an environmentalist."

After a few years of McDougalling most people do go back to eating some lower-fat and/or lower-cruelty animal products, like organic eggs, as their weekly or biweekly "feast"...but this is the diet plan Grandma Bonnie Peters credits with keeping her more active, healthy, and perky at 79 than she was at 39. 

I personally fell off the McDougall Diet wagon while married to a man who insisted that the Sinatra plan was low-fat enough for us (it was), climbed back on after widowhood, then fell off again after discovering that meat locally prepared for human use is cheaper per pound than meat packed further away for the cats, but I will say two things about McDougall meals:

(1) Every carnivorous human to whom I've served a McDougall entree has agreed that it was satisfying. Over and over again. There's enough variety of recipes in the books that they don't become boring. 
(2) Although McDougall recipe books weren't written for gluten-intolerant people, almost all McDougall recipes can be adapted to fit into my gluten-free diet.