“The Starch Solution” by Dr. John McDougall—My review

Another beacon of information that will help to change the world

Click on book above to read other reviews and to purchase on Amazon.

Since I first began learning about plant-based nutrition in 2002, Dr. McDougall has been one of my heroes. I have learned a great deal from his many books and I attended one of his weekend programs in California a few years ago. His latest book, filled with powerful information, success stories and lots of great recipes—will help to open the eyes of millions of people.

Like the other four pioneering medical doctors featured in our book, he has demonstrated to the world that we should be eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. By eating mostly whole plants, we promote our own vibrant health and prevent or reverse most chronic diseases and do some wonderful things for the planet all at the same time.

Why does he call it starch-based? When you think about the typical western diet, you would call it meat-based. The main course is almost always some kind of meat or fish, and most Americans don’t even consider it a meal if that piece of meat is missing. But Dr. McDougall has known for a long time that the vast majority of the billions of humans that have lived on this plant have eaten very little meat. They have gotten the majority of their calories from the starchy food that was available in their region—whether it was potatoes, beans, grains, squash or some combination.

In this great book, he de-bunks the protein myth and the other myth about our need to limit our intake of starchy foods. He explains how we can get all the calories, protein, fiber and other nutrients from as few as one single plant—the potato (in Chapter 7). While he also recommends a broad array of fruits and green leafy vegetables, his main premise is that we should be eating essentially a starch-based diet.

J. Morris Hicks

It works for me. Some of the pioneering M.D.s may lean toward recommending more fruits and vegetables and less starches. But in my own case, I have ended up with a diet that is closest to what Dr. McDougall is recommending. I did quite a bit of experimenting in the early years from 2002 to 2004 when I was getting started—beginning with more vegetables and fruits and less starches.

In those early days of experimentation, I found that I would often get hungry between meals and began to gradually add more grains, legumes, and potatoes to my diet. Nowadays, almost every meal contains some kind of starch—just like Dr. McDougall is recommending in this book.

Different strokes for different folks. While I have gradually drifted to a starch-based diet myself, I really think it’s all a matter of individual preference. I know some very healthy fruitarians and raw food-ists out there who are very satisfied with their dietary preference. I also know that millions of people who have followed the dietary advice of Esselstyn, Barnard, Fuhrman and Ornish—have reversed their chronic diseases and enjoy vibrant health every day of their lives.

As for individual preference, we intentionally built as much flexibility into our 4Leaf Program as possible. We know that all five of these fine doctors agree with this simple statement by Dr. Campbell, “The closer we get to a whole foods, plant-based diet, the better off we will be.” So in our 4Leaf Program, we encourage people to shoot for 80% or more of their daily calories from whole plants.

After writing my review, I enjoyed a “McDougall Style” starch-based lunch: beans, rice, carrots, broccoli, tomato, celery, olive, edamame and avocado.

The “big picture.” In Chapter 6, Dr. McDougall covers some widespread global issues that are driven by our ever-growing consumption of the western diet, beginning with our own health and the unsustainable cost of health care. He also covers such environmental issues as global warming, land damage, energy conservation and our ability to feed an ever-growing population. On page 71, he writes:

We are burning the candle at both ends, pushing the extremes of heat and cold, fire and ice. Without intervention, many scientists predict our planet Earth will become inhospitable to human life, and then to any form of life at all.

Answers to Questions. Part II does a great job of dispelling the “protein myth” and the “calcium myth” that most people have had drilled into their heads for their entire lives. He also covers the problems with seafood and points out why many vegans are fat and unhealthy. Like me, he is not a big fan of fake meats or cheeses.

Finally, Part III is chock full of information about how to make this diet-style successful in your home. It contains meal plans, recipes and a great chart on page 204 comparing the cost of fast foods to the bargain-basement cost of various starches. Example: $17.06 for 2500 calories of Taco Bell Chicken Salad compared to $1.52 for the same number of calories of brown rice.

I should point out that I think I found one omission on page 189. In his list of foods to avoid, he didn’t mention fish, although he had made his views very clear earlier—Don’t eat it!! He’ll probably add fish to that list in the second printing.

The Bottom Line. Excellent book that will resonate with millions of people who don’t want to give up the food they love. With this book, they’ll learn how to take charge of their health, enjoy their meals more than ever—while doing magnificent things for the environment—all at the same time.

Click here to purchase The Starch Solution on Amazon

Meet Dr. McDougall in person on YouTube

The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.

Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth

  1. Healthy Eating, Healthy WorldThe “big picture” about food (our book)
  2. A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD 
  3. An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
  4. What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
  5. A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
  6. Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unawareby Richard Oppenlander.

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf page and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:

Nutrition Certificate

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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3 Responses to “The Starch Solution” by Dr. John McDougall—My review

  1. LMG says:

    Typical western diet isn’t meat based, it is corn based. EVERYTHING (even our meat) has corn in it.

  2. Jim -Thanks for your quick reply — pointing out that the link is “glitched” to 5 down in your right-hand column list.

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