The Eat More Starch Challenge
-> February 15th 2012 <-
People are much impressed with my weight loss. It is often the first subject of conversation with people who haven't seen me in a while. They almost always ask me what I'm doing differently, and a conversation of diet quickly follows. When asked to sum up my diet I say something like this:
I eat a plant-based diet with the bulk of my calories coming from whole-food starches and the rest coming from fruits and vegetable.
This usually sparks a conversation that goes something like this:
Them: "Yeah, but what do you eat?"
Me: "I eat a lot of oats, barley, wheat, rice, quinoa, potatoes, bread, pasta, corn, beans, etc. Fruits such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries, goji berries, etc. And vegetable such as spinach, kale, cabbage, peas, carrots, squash, etc."
Them: "No meat?"
Me: "No meat."
Them: "No eggs?"
Me. "No eggs."
Them: "No Butter?"
Me: "No butter. No milk. No dairy of any kind."
Them: "I couldn't do that. I couldn't live without my [insert favorite meat/dairy product here]"
And that usually sums up my interaction with many people. They leave feeling happy for me but convinced they could never do the same thing. What they don't realize is that I did not start out this way. I did not intend to give up meat or dairy. In fact, quite the opposite. I didn't think I could ever live without my meat and my butter. I looked at the "whole package" and said "I can't do this or that or this other thing, but I CAN do this over here." For me the "this over here" was to add more whole grains into my diet. That is how it started for me. I bought a grain mill, started grinding my own wheat, baking my own bread, and eating oats & barley for breakfast. And I started losing weight. A pound or two a week, without cutting back on the volume of food I ate, only by adding in those few things. Then one day I was going through my refrigerator to see what I needed for my big monthly grocery shopping trip, and realized that I had more meat left in my freezer than I usually did. It was only then that it dawned on me... without thinking about it or trying, I had been eating less meat than usual. And not only that, I was happy and content to do so.
This blew my mind, that I, a life-long over-fed fanatical carnivore could eat less meat and be content and happy about it.
This brings me to a recent newsletter by Dr. McDougall called The "Eat More Starch" Challenge which you can read in it's entirety here:
Dr. McDougall's "Eat More Starch" Challenge
In it he cites a study done in 1979 which describes weight loss in college aged men who simply added more bread into their diet, and Dr. McDougall suggested to those who couldn't or wouldn't follow his whole program to simply eat more starch.
Recently I have been printing up copies of that newsletter and handing them out to people I know. I gave a copy to my friend Pam. She read it and I'm sure she had her doubts. After all, the whole "Eat More Starch" thing is contrary to the conventional wisdom of Western Medicine, and she's an intelligent and well trained nurse. Yet she's literally watched 125 pounds melt away from me before her very eyes. So she thought she'd give it a try. She reports back to me that she's lost 7 pounds, has more energy, and hasn't felt the need to eat as much meat!! The only thing she's focused on is eating more bread. It works!!
I have found that I'm happier, healthier, have better digestion, more energy, and lose weight quicker and easier if I don't eat meat or dairy. So if you have no hang-ups, or are willing to set your hang-ups aside for a period of time to try eating this way, I encourage you to do so! But if you are like I used to be, an entrenched carnivore, and simply can't or won't give up your meat or dairy, then don't! That's right, don't!! Do as I did, and as Dr. McDougall suggests in the newsletter above, simply add more starch into your diet. If nothing else, eat more bread! That one simple step can open up a whole new world for you. If it has a positive effect you might consider going another step. Perhaps eating more oats, barley, rice, or potatoes. There is room for improved health that you can make without having to give up things you love. And you never know... you might find, as I did, that you don't need as much of those things you thought you couldn't live without.
EAT MORE STARCH!!!
My friend Pam, mentioned in this article, has now lost 100 pounds!