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Join Dr. McDougall along with fellow McDougallers in lively discussions and share your opinions.
People Are Obligate Starch-Eaters
For the past 35 years I have been teaching a â€śstarch-based dietâ€ť as the fundamental means to health and healing. This is different from a â€śvegan diet,â€ť which could be at its worst, colas and potato chips; and different from a â€śplant-food-based diet,â€ť which could focus on low-calorie broccoli and apples, or high-calorie nuts and avocados. Most peopleâ€”lay and professionalâ€”fail to grasp this simple lifesaving premise: people are starch-eaters. And they suffer horribly from this unawareness.
The most important support for my conclusion that we are starch-eaters is based on an observation that you can easily validate for yourself: All large populations of trim, healthy people, throughout written human history, have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch. Examples of thriving people include, Japanese and Chinese in Asia eating sweet potatoes, buckwheat, and/or rice, Incas in South America eating potatoes, Mayans and Aztecs in Central America eating corn, and Egyptians in the Middle East eating wheat.
vgpedlr wrote:...Dr. Graham centers a lot of his argument around the unnaturalness of cooking, and how that detrimentally alters food. I am not convinced by his science, but the logic fascinates me: all animals eat a raw diet straight from nature, only humans set fire to their food, and that is weird. Primates are frugivores, homo sapiens are primates, therefore aren't we frugivores as well? Is it the abundance of amylase alone in our saliva that changes the game?...
Other primates eat mainly ripe fruits containing very little starch. A new ability to supplement the diet with calorie-rich starches could have fed our large brains and opened up new food supplies that fueled our unrivaled colonization of the planet...
The new discovery is a separate line of evidence pointing to the importance of starch in human beginnings, Dominy said. When early humans mastered fire, cooking starchy vegetables would have made them even easier to eat, he added. At the same time it would have made extra amylase gene copies an even more valuable trait.
"We roast tubers, and we eat French fries and baked potatoes," Dominy said. "When you cook, you can afford to eat less overall, because the food is easier to digest. Some marginal food resource that you might only eat in times of famine, now you can cook it and eat it. Now you can have population growth and expand into new territories."
MilesA wrote:Symphonyofdreams --
I have seen a lot of posts from you over the past couple months, and, from what I can tell, you have been eating the SAD for awhile, though you were eating veg*n before. Now, you seem to be trying to find the optimal diet because you want to get off the SAD.
Some of the recent veg*n diets are based on a lot of speculation about what hunter-gathers ate, or what paleolithic people ate, or hominids ate in the distant past. The assumption being that is the healthiest diet for us today. We don't really know for sure what they ate. The short answer is they probably ate whatever they could find. Most of them probably lived a very short life, as well.
One of the reasons humans have been so successful in evolutionary terms is that we are flexible and can survive on a wide range of foods. We evolved on the tropical savanna, but we can live successfully near the Arctic Circle, because we know how to adapt.
One of the good things about diets like the McDougall plan is that it is based on observations of large populations of real people in recent history. We don't have to speculate. We know what has worked well for these people. Is it the absolute best possible diet? Who knows, but it's at least one of the best diets and has been shown to be successful.
Nowadays, humans don't live on the savanna in small bands of hunter-gatherers. We don't live the life of primitive agriculturists. We don't live the life of Adam and Eve. We live a modern life and we have to ask ourselves what has proven to be a healthful diet for the way we live today.
So, why not give a diet like the McDougall Plan a fair trial? It's got to be better than the SAD! You can be well-nourished. It's very economical. You can get everything you need at the supermarket. You hardly have to cook unless you really want to. It's even pretty flexible and no great hardship to stay within the allowed food groups.
Above all, it's a healthy way to live that can help you avoid many of the degenerative diseases of modern life.
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