I intend to get into the nitty gritty details later. I do not have unlimited time on my hands to write EVERYTHING here. There will be typos. I want to, and I will try to, help anyone who asks, but I am a mother of four. I home school part time, run a small online etsy shop, maintain a home (well I TRY), and am constantly searching out the healthiest lifestyle I can for me and mine.
I found McDougall after reading the China Study. I was inspired by the 5% or less of calories should be from animal science for good health and figured I would go all of the way. I agreed with Mr Campbell that the foods we eat should not be refined. I began making changes. I weighed about 150 (Right now I am 132), since my third pregnancy and wanted to at least loose 5 more pounds. I am 5'7" and my real goal of weighing 128 is a real possibility and is always lurking in my mind. I had my cholesterol levels checked yearly. What I had been doing was already working, but following the McDougall diet was working too, and faster. It was great, or so I thought. It's been about three years now being strict about eating only veggies, fruits and unrefined grains, with the occassional monthly pancake day where we allowed real maple syrup. (Yes that is a refined item folks) We also enjoyed birthday cakes, and my husband took the kids out for ice cream or doughnut rewards. I eventually pushed him into sticking more to the doughnuts because they at least weren't full of milk. He began bringing them to share with me too. I admit that I also had a chocolate stash that I tried to avoid. I cooked everything with out oil, I canned the smartbalance omega3 butter. My home was a clean safe have for healthy food. I even ditched the peanut butter since it tends to be full of aflatoxins and McDougall says he really doesn't like the stuff. I kept hearing him play in my head over and over that we ALL that we need from our plant food. We don't need vitamins expect vitamin B12, and even if we eat the same thing over and over like tribes in Southern America we'll be fine! I believed and trusted him... but I was not fine.
If you are still loosing weight following his plan, keep doing it. If, however, you have hit a road bloc, are finding yourself secretly binging on anything at times, you're moody, are easily disturbed during sleep, have skin tone changes, decreases in stamina, have difficulty thinking straight sometimes, slurred speech, having symptoms of preterm delivery, have difficulty bonding or making eye contact with your new infant, have given birth to a child that just won't sleep or needs to nurse constantly, your children have erroding tooth enamel, are hyper active, or even if you can't seem to loose that last five pounds, do I dare even mention Candida here... listen up. (I am very concerned for young mamas especially)
I have had ALL of these things and MORE, and I attribute it to strict adherence to this diet. Event though I would fill up to near bursting on veggies potatoes and rice after my salads and fruit and daily oatmeal I always had the muchies. Munchies are a sign that your body needs something. Give it that right something and the cravings will go away.. and not just for an hour. I was so desperate to figure out what I was missing I looked into raw foodism for nutriet increases and to see if I could do it. (I'm not against coked foods, I was just problem solving). Raw vegan food has no real grains or beans (ouch) and A LOT of nuts instead (double ouch). Mcdougall had put a heathly fear of nuts into my head.
I dicided to look into it more. McDougall's plan is considered by many to be an 80 10 10 plan. That's 80 carbs 10 Protien and 10 Fat. Another group doing this, but raw has a high failure rate, so I guessed that the difference was the starches that McDougall is so fond of. (I liked them too...) Most raw food communities are not 80 10 10. They eat many nuts and don't seem to gain weight. I looked for and easily came across studies that TRIED to get people to gain seven predicted pounds by ADDING nuts to their diets. No one did, despite the high compliance rates. If I remember right they gained half a pound on average... I bet they felt REALLY full too.
Well, I didn't want to gain half a pound, but I was miserable and had to try SOMETHING. I decided to forgo some of the starches and trade all of them out for a day for as many nuts as I liked. I felt full. I actually turned down treats offered me without any inner longing. I tried it the next day.... this time with Lara Bars. I ate two and I was as satisfied and if I had snuck in five packages of Honey Oat Granola Bar! I looked at the labels in shock. The calories per package were about the same. One is of course based on nuts and dried fruits, the other on the beloved and trusted whole grain oats (yes I know the oats are dry and tha is has honey aka sugar, but they are pretty benign otherwise). My point is nuts are FILLING, and they stopped my CRAVINGS. (I know you see the word 'raving' in craving.... tere is a reason why). There was more though... A LOT more, emotionally...within that very day and since continuing this way I have been able to maintain an inner calm. My children are calmer with with more nuts in their diets too! I needed FAT.... it has been about a week now eating as many nuts as I want while cutting out the grains, potatoes, and beans, supplementing with fish oil and my skin is actually getting better too.
For those of you wondering, I haven't gain an ounce, in fact I seemed to have dropped a little. My belly isn't bloated from over stuffing on grain. (Should I even mention that the thin white film that has been on my toungue and could never be scrapped off for over a year now is GONE) This goes way BEYOND weight maintenance or cholesterol goals.... My body is HEALING! My wrinkled skin, my mental clarity, my hormonal balance... 'the works'. I am so THANKFUL to be shown a way out of the dogmatic McDougall 'Beware of Fat' trap! (You know he doesn't demonize only oil, but highly fatted whole foods too.) I just wish I had known sooner, before I or my children were harmed by this. (Again, if you're overweight, not eating fat is a pretty good idea... go at least whole food fats only... nuts, avacado,...dare I say up to 3 oz of fish every other day on this site for the EFAs. I suppose algae might be more appealing
I could go on, but demands of family are making it hard to complete this. I can drum up links to studies if anyone really needs them, but you can generally use google with the right mix of words to find them. Many are on pubmed. More importantly my body feel younger and more capable and it's only been a week. I can tell there is a longer recovery here. Will I ever go back to starches? Well yes I suppose I will, but I will limit them. Am I gorging on fish? No, I'd rather not. Eating meat is still rather unapealling, but I am mostly interested in health here. I have been taking fish oil and tons onf walnuts in home made Lara Bars. I am SURE my children have been suffering too (I have been very strict at home... I want only the BEST for MY kids). I am defeated here and as long as it not over sugar I simply WON'T refuse them. I can't... I'm crushed at thinking I may have harmed them! I hope to prevent this from happening to ANYONE else. Please feel my love for you when you read this. I may not have met you yet, but truly I care.
So HOW MUCH FAT DO YOU NEED? Joel Fuhrman has a great video on this on You Tube. 10% is as low as you can go without causing major damage, but whay risk it. 15% is as low as anyone should ever really recommend in my opinion now and Joel goes as far as to say the range is 15-40%, depends on the individual.... NO OVERT FATS.... that is the key. AND KIDS NEED AS MUCH AS THEY CRAVE. (Often even up to 50%) This can go bad if combined with sugars, so keep them seperate and doubt you'll have issues. (Better yet get rid of refined teeth loving sugars)
A last note, a little nitty gritty on EFA's. PLEASE GET ENOUGH (1Gram of DHA twice that of EPA. an 1:1 ratio of Omega 6 to 3 is best 4:1 at worst. Start slow, it acts as a natural blood thinner. Beware of horomone inducing sources of EFA's like flax. You might be OK with it, but brush up on the good AND bad of lignans... companies are pushing mostly the good so that part is easy to spot.)
I felt it better to just respond to the EFA article that McDougall wrote:
(*my comments in parenthesis as seen here with an asteriks. McDougall's comments in parenthesis do not start with the *)http://drmcdougall.com/med_hot_vegetable_fat.html
Deficiency of EFA in experimental animals causes lesions mainly attributable to faulty cellular membranes, such as sudden failure of growth, scaliness of the skin, increased water loss by a change of skin permeability, impaired fertility, kidney abnormalities, increased susceptibility to infection, and weaknesses in the cardiovascular system (Since following Mcdougall's slanted advice on EFA's I AND my newborn have suffered through ALL of these symptoms. He goes on)....EFA deficiency does not occur in people following low-fat diets, because these diets are high in vegetable foods, rich in EFA.
McDougall then goes on to quote:
Feeding diets containing as little as 0.1 to 0.5% of the calories as linoleic acid is sufficient to correct all signs of essential fatty acid deficiency. However, for optimal health higher intakes are recommended. Various factors affect the dietary requirement of EFA. Animal experiments and epidemiological studies lead to a recommendation that the intake of w-6 linoleic acid should be decreased to as low as 2-4 % of the calories and that of w-3 fats be increased to levels higher than w-6 linoleic acid for the prevention of chronic diseases prevailing in the industrialized countries (Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 200:174, 1992).
(*My studies have indicated that Enfamil added dha and aa in the amounts of 1.25% with a ratio of 1:2 at the time of their clinlical studies on brain development on infants. This is equal to about 1 gram of DHA per day. Aa can be developed from linoleic acid. They found intellegence tests highes in the dha:ara group. The amounts they decided to put in the formula were based on the amounts of these EFA's in American breastmilk. For those who live by the sea in small communities like the Tismane the amounts of these EFA's occur 4x's that level. Did I mention that children breastfed from mothers who provide this amount of EFA that feed off of fish consistantly have higher intellegence scores? The brain is mostly made of DHA and in VERY important for proper brain development.)
McDougall in the same link quotes:
Most likely, the heart benefits of a Mediterranean diet are due to it being a nearly vegetarian diet. The Mediterranean diet is good in spite of the olive oil (Am J Clin Nutr 61:1321S, 1995).(*I now noticed the emphasis this article seems to put on the word NEARLY. Yes I know he's quoting, but I do not think he is entirely listening)
(same link as above)
Body fat represents that saved "metabolic dollar" for the day when food becomes unavailable (which hasn't happened lately). (*Sure, I agree if one needs to loose A LOT of weight. I have found however I was NOT getting enough fat from just unrefined veggies, fruits and grains. I didn't know this was the problem. About every three weeks I would find myself binging on chocolate or doughnuts. I felt so guilty... any weight I gained didn't last more than a day or two though, but I knew I shouldn't do it. I thought I was just addicted to sugar. What I found out was that I was probably too low in fat! Now I AGREE with McDougall.... don't run out and pile on the oil, but I now DISAGREE that eating too many fatty whole veggie foods like nuts should be avoided.)
McDougall in the same article again:
The safest and healthiest way to get your EFA is in their natural packages of starches, vegetables, and fruits. Here they are found in the correct amounts in protected environments surrounded by vitamins, minerals, fibers, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals to make them balanced nutrition. If you desire higher concentrations than are present in these foods then you will want to include more nuts, seeds, and soybean products in your diet. (*I AGREE) Remember, these are high fat foods and can contribute to obesity. (*Soybean, yes probably, nuts and seeds.... no way! I 've seen studies on these myself and I have to object.) Research suggests that there may be a connection between frequent nut consumption and a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease (Nutr Rev 54:241, 1996).(*He is giving me WHIPLASH. How about you?)
Flaxseed (as a whole seed) is one of the richest sources of alpha linolenic acid and is also a good source of soluble fiber. Consumption of 50g (1 2/3 ounces) of raw, ground flaxseeds has been shown to increase the amount of w-3 EFA in the blood and tissues and to lower the cholesterol by 9% and LDL "bad" cholesterol by 18% (Br J Nutr 69:443, 1993). Blood sugar was also decreased. Even though the benefits of EFA as oils on cancer growth are questionable, the lignans present in flaxseed seem to have an antitumor effect when fed at the early stages of cancer promotion (Nutr Cancer 26:159, 1996). Plant foods are the only source of phytoestrogens, like isoflavones, coumestans, and lignans, that are believed to be beneficial for many problems, including menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease (Annu Rev Nutr 17:353, 1997).
(*One thing NOT being mentioned about the glorious flaxseed is that these wonderful lignans act like ESTROGENS in the body. Estrogen can give you a horomonal imbalance if you don't need it. Too much estrogen accelerates aging... it realy aggravated the arthritis I developed while on this diet and 'enhance' my moodswings. In Canada they have found that pregnant women supplementing with small amounts of flaxseed to have a much larger risk of miscarriage. Chia ight be a better option as it is a lot lower than flax in lignans, but it is still considered very high compared to other foods and in my opinion should be taken very carefully. I DO think this diet led to the one and only miscarriage I had.)