Anyone else following the starch solution diet? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-27-2015, 06:46 AM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: England
Posts: 35
Anyone else following the starch solution diet?

Hey all you lovely people,

Does anyone else follow(or take inspiration from) the starch solution diet by John McDougall?

I read his book a few days ago and I'm thinking of trying to follow his advice and up my starch intake and lower my added fat intake. I'm not going all the way though and I still keep some fats in my diet such as hemp and flax seeds as those are really yummy and nutritious. I've only been doing this for the past three days and I have so much energy it's unreal!! And I thought I had lots of energy before! All I want to do is get out on my bike and exercise!

What do you guys eat?
I'm stuck with beans and rice, and beans and potatoes as ideas... Today for lunch I ate 3 (smallish) baked sweet potatoes and a biwl of peas which was yum but I think this would get repetitive!! How can I make my diet more interesting?
And I don't want to be eating too many white potatoes as they supposedly spike the blood sugar... Is this true or should I eat them anyway?!

What about oil free condiments? How do I add flavour to my food without frying all the spices in oil first?!

Have any of you had success with a more starch based vegan diet? I'd love to hear it!!
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#2 Old 05-27-2015, 10:03 AM
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Admittedly I havent read The Starch Solution yet. I finally stumbled on to a copy but its in my 'read me' pile still, lol.
I was born and raised an omni crapatarian, neither my mother or grandmother had ever even learned to cook so I grew up on candy and junk food. While watching several people cheeseburger themselves to death I read through The China Study and innumerable scientific papers (I have access to most major journals) and I read the entire McDougall newsletter archives and in the doing I fundamentally rebuilt my diet. So I imagine my diet corresponds fairly well to his book.

Most human cultures each rely on a quite short list of staple foods. Beans n rice, or beans squash and corn, or wheat and potatoes, etc. The variation comes in the different combinations of the lesser foods, herbs, and spices. So try thinking of the staples as a canvass to paint the meal on.
For instance if you look at the staples used I have only 3 basic meals (plus gumbo when I have okra). But I can build variety on top of that.
Hoppin' John sounds boring to most people, its peas and rice. I can vary that a lot with the different vegetables included as well as which spices, if any, I add and the nature of the relish I make to go with it. My relishes are basically mini-salads of onions and herbs. A mint and rosemary relish makes for a different meal than thyme and mint and much different than sage and rosemary, for instance.
My curry is based on beans n rice but I build over a dozen variations based on which beans I use, which combination of what vegetables, which extra spices, and which herbs in the relish I make to go with it.
Same deal with beans n rice, which I roughly call chilli when I include cumin.

The staples make the calories. The vegetables, herbs, and spices make the meal.

As for oil I simply dont use it in cooking. I suppose I had an 'advantage' in that when growing up and my mom taught me to 'cook' it consisted of showing me how to microwave a frozen burrito... in the plastic wrapper! >.<
So over the last 5 years I've just invented cooking as I went and I've never yet fried spices in oil, lol
There are lots of other options tho, be creative

In the winter my total fat intake ranges from 10 to 12% of my caloric intake [depending partly on if my walnut tree produced a crop] and in the summer that drops easily into the 8-10% range. I quite enjoy my diet and my dishes are just incomprehensibly easy to wash now!
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#3 Old 05-27-2015, 10:47 AM
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Hi Rebecca,

I've been a vegan for 24 years. About 2 years ago, I began to tailor my diet towards the recommendations of Dr. McDougall. I reduced my nut consumption to a palmful (not a handful) per day, and I've almost completely eliminated fried foods and other fatty foods. Other fatty foods to use sparingly include avocados, hummus, flour/wheat tortillas (corn tortillas are fine), and seeds.

I eat plenty of brown rice, whole wheat pasta, beans, lentils, and white potatoes.

My results have been good. My weight had begun to climb past 170 pounds (180 pounds is considered overweight for a person of my height and build). Now it's around 165 pounds.

For flavor, I use very low-fat sauces like mustard and Mexican salsa. Low-fat Italian marinara sauce is also good. For salads, I use balsamic vinegar, and no oil.

Sprinkling salt on your food is fine (unless you have high blood pressure). I put a little salt on potatoes. I also use soy sauce (salty) on rice.
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Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization

Last edited by David3; 05-27-2015 at 10:55 AM.
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#4 Old 05-27-2015, 01:30 PM
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I follow a mcdougall style diet, not super strictly anymore because I am skinny now, and have no interest in losing more lbs.

We love pasta salads (with ff Italian dressing), fully loaded vegetable sandwiches and wraps, whole grain cereals with fruit and plant milk, lots of rice/tofu and veg with soy sauce, bean salads, bean burritos, vegetable stews and soups, pasta with marinara....etc

When out I usually get a starch and a fruit/veg. Usually a baked potato with ketchup, and a big salad with the dressing on the side.

My favorite mcdougall desserts- applesauce cups, fresh/frozen fruit, juice Popsicles,whole fruit sorbet

My favorite mcdougall munchies- pretzels, air popped popcorn, or a bowl of cereal to nosh on.
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#5 Old 05-27-2015, 01:34 PM
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Added- I eat most of my calories from starch. Starch is the star, veggies and fruit for vitamins and minerals, spices for flavor.

I find repetition to be helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. Nice and easy, not a lot of crazy new stuff. I think food novelty is part of the problem, honestly.
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#6 Old 05-27-2015, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: England
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Wow!! You guys are great with ideas and have been super helpful!! Auxin, if I could double-like your post, I would

Can some of you give me a "what you ate today" kind of list? I think that would be the most helpful. I'm finding things tricky, as the only vegan in the household with a carb and vegan hating mother (I love her in all other ways though ) and being a teenager too, so cooking inspiration doesn't always come naturally.

David- 24 years!! You are inspirational and are living proof that long term veganism is not only practical, but healthy too!! We need more long term vegans like you in the world!
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#7 Old 05-28-2015, 03:46 AM
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Hi Rebecca,

I eat McDougall-style too! Yesterday, I had old fashioned oats with strawberries, blueberries, and banana. For lunch, I ate left over veggie and bean stir fry with corn on the cob. For dinner, it was a Portobello mushroom burger with oven fried French fries.

I have a food and nutrition blog with over 100 McDougall compliant recipes. You should check it out.

And there's a McDougall site (with a very active forum) where you'll find the answers to many of your questions.

Welcome to the boards here!

And David, you are da' bomb! Just awesome!
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#8 Old 05-28-2015, 06:57 AM
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Okay- here is a "what Im eating" today- (im coming off a tummy bug, so my menu is pretty plain right now, but usually I have some 1/2 cup of beans with my lunch/dinner, or a bit of tofu)

puffed brown rice cereal, with rice milk. black coffee (not mcdougall approved! he prefers tea)

2 servings (1 cup dry) of quick cooking brown rice, with raisins,cinnamon and a teeny bit of maple syrup on top

100 calorie package of almonds, a fat banana

2 servings of quick cooking brown rice, a garden salad dressed with dried herbs/a splash of vinegar

apple sauce cup
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#9 Old 05-28-2015, 07:01 AM
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added- I drink lots of water throughout the day, and indulge in unsweetened ice tea/sparkling water too. I used to drink more diet pop, but I find it makes me bloated, so I dont drink that anymore.

Hints for "fast food"-
Keep quick cook rice, whole grain cereal (like cheerios!), canned soup (I like campbells tomato, a lot!), and canned beans in your cupboard for quickie meals.

A big bowl of cheerios with plant milk, and a sliced banana is a fine meal, in my opinion.

When out on the town, its easy to order a baked potato and salad with dressing on the side. Request no cheese or meat, and you shouldnt have a big problem.

The subway veggie delight (ordered with just veggies and bread) is a great low fat option when out, and tastes great too.

On mcdougall's website he has a whole list of hints for eating out, and I find them to be common sense and useful. I ask nicely, tip generously, and so far have no problems.
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Last edited by melimomTARDIS; 05-28-2015 at 07:07 AM.
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#10 Old 05-28-2015, 09:44 AM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: England
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Thanks for the link to the blog Terri! I'll check it out soon

I'll add my own "what I ate today" incase it is of use to anyone:

Breakfast: porridge made with unsweetened soy milk, blueberries and a ripe much pear

Lunch: two roasted sweet potatoes and a lots of sweet corn, then I had a banana

Dinner: vegetable curry (chickpeas, veg and potatoes) with brown rice

For snacks I ate raisins, peanut butter (I just can't help eating it!! And straight off the spoon as well... Oops) and a cocoa delight nakd bar.

I also drank about 3 litres in total!
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#11 Old 05-28-2015, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: England
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Spotted a typo- "much pear" was supposed to be a "yummy pear" !!

What do you guys take for lunch at school/work? Apart from fruit, of course! Whole wheat bagels/ sandwiches are one option, but what do I put in it apart from PB? I don't want to take rice as I've heard that cold or reheated rice can give you nasty food poisoning! A cold quinoa salad is one option, but what do I put with it??

Oh dear, I really can't think of any food suggestions today .
Current mood: Brain Not Functioning.
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#12 Old 05-28-2015, 10:21 AM
Join Date: May 2015
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Originally Posted by Rebecca623 View Post
...I still keep some fats in my diet such as hemp and flax seeds as those are really yummy and nutritious.
OMG! Am I am SO with you on that....when I found out that the Esselstyns and many other trusted plant-based experts do not advocate adding any oils, I told my wife...forget that!!...I'll follow them 99% then, and keep my coconut, flax and olive oil.

However, after reading their findings and research....I too will do what they say. If you are not trying to lose weight, don't have diabetes or heart disease, then you're fortunate and can go sparingly on those darling oils.

The Esselstyns (and others) are fine with potatoes all by themselves (no crap added) as they are part of the complex carb group.

They mention that due to so much press on HIGH protein, LOW carb diets, we've become CARBOPHOBIC about ANY AND ALL carbs, when it's the simple sugars we need to avoid.

I'm having a blast with the frozen hash browns as recommended by Rip Esselstyn in THE ENGINE 2 DIET and MY BEEF WITH MEAT. ***NOTE*** that's the 100% shredded potatoes with no added ANYTHING. I just warm them up in the microwave and add them to whatever. Using a cheese grater or processor on a raw potato does the same thing...and is even CHEAPER over all.

You might grab one of Rip's books at the library or used on Amazon (or new). I ordered them from Amazon and got them in the library to read in the meantime....ended up finishing both books over the Memorial Day weekend...those I ordered haven't arrived yet...LOL...great, great stuff.
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Last edited by Robmeister; 05-28-2015 at 10:27 AM.
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#13 Old 05-28-2015, 10:55 AM
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i think they are right, oils are not health foods. any oil will damage your endothelium. our bodies are not equipped to deal with purified fats. eliminating oils is a very large part of what makes their plans work. when people say that olive oil is a health food what they really mean is that it is not as bad as animal fat. it's still bad, though.

i also think that if you aren't really sick, you might get away with very modest quantities of whole plant foods like nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut, and olive, but only very sparingly.

jeff novick has a cute video on how people abuse this by using PAM cooking spray. the label says 0 g fat but that's only for 1/20 of a second of spray, which nobody actually does.

admittedly i still use oil, but by the tsp not tbsp. i feel like i should just cut it out completely. i tried to use olives instead, the olives that taste most like olive oil (castelvetrano) but they are so expensive that i gave up on that.

on these plans it is very important to use a very high quality balsamic vinegar, or equivalent, something to add interest to salads.

i cringe when i see what some folks are eating. i just saw a recipe on another board for vegan mac & cheese that had a cup of coconut oil and 3/4 cup cashews. they are happier not knowing the consequences.
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#14 Old 05-28-2015, 11:57 AM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: England
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Yeah I'm with you cuberail, on the fat thing. I know i should should completely cut out oils, as I know the only thing they provide me with is non nutritious fat and calories,but I'm finding it hard to know what to replace it with! I'm using a lowcal oils spray at the moment. 1 calorie and 0.1 gram of fat per spray and I use 8 or so to cover the frying pan. Not bad really, but it's a 'processed' food and I'd rather sty away from it really.

As I said previously, I do keep flax and hemp seeds in my daily diet as 10g of each of those foods doesn't really contribute much fat at all, and it's in a healthy, whole plant food. They also are concentrated sources of many nutrients and minerals, including essential fatty acids. Neither McDougall nor Esselstyn promote a nonfat diet, they promote a low fat diet, as some fats are necessary for health and are found in cell membranes and do other important things, especially as some vitamins are fat soluble. Vitamin A comes to mind there??

I'm trying to lose a bit of weight, not too much, but once I've lost that I'll start adding in some nuts to my daily diet, not too many, but again their fat comes in whole plant food form, and as I'm a teenager and still growing, I don't want to be overly restrictive with my diet!
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#15 Old 05-28-2015, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: England
Posts: 35
I've just had a quick look at Rip Esselstyn's website, and he has a free PDF guide on there. It's mainly aimed at people who want to transition to a vegan diet, but about halfway through there is a page of easy meal suggestions that fit in really nicely with the starch solution diet!

Such as:
Brown rice with chickpeas, courgette, peas, curry powder and turmeric

Grilled courgette and mushrooms on wholegrain bread (with hummus)

Sweet potato, white beans, brown rice, kale

Whole grain pasta with spinach, mushrooms and tomato pasta sauce

Clearly these are simple meals, but they serve as great inspiration!
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