Lots of Diets Out There

Since I’m taking dramatic steps to kick the sugar habit and eat healthy, this post from John McDougall, M.D., particularly caught my eye.

There are so many contradicting recommendations for a healthy diet.  Dr. McDougall challenges the authors of Wheat Belly and Grain Brain and their belief that wheat, grains, and starchy foods are bad for your health.

GrainBrain 570x299 The Smoke and Mirrors Behind <em>Wheat Belly</em> and <em>Grain Brain</em>

Backed by scientific research, McDougall states that:

  • low-carb diets increase the risk of sickness and death.
  • animal (not plant) foods cause inflammation, and grains (including wheat) do not increase inflammation.
  • whole grains are consistently found to be healthy.
  • the Western diet, loaded with meat, fat, and empty calories, makes people overweight and diabetic.

In order to get back to healthier eating, I’ve developed a diet that makes sense to me:  eliminate as much sugar as possible, eat organic based on the Dirty Dozen & Clean 15, eat real and not processed foods, keep portions to a reasonable amount, and eat all the food groups in balance.

Dr. McDougall says the goal is to live longer and stay healthy.  My bottom line is to stay healthy by eating healthy.  If that means I live longer, so much the better.

Please share your thoughts on this topic with me.

Yours in aging with class,

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8 Responses to Lots of Diets Out There

  1. Kathy says:

    I have always believed that everything in moderation is the way to go. Sometimes I over indulge on certain foods, but if I could rein in that weakness, I’d be much healthier. Stay healthy, happy, and wise, Janie:-) Kathy

  2. Debbie says:

    You may be sorry that you asked for me to share my thoughts on this. 🙂

    When I read Dr. McDougall’s article several days ago it hit a nerve with me.. As much as I respect Dr. McDougall and Fork Over Knife, both the website and film, I was disappointed in the “scientific evidence” in the article. I have only read “Wheat Belly”, but in paragraph three when I read “If you believe these authors, then what is left to eat in order to meet your energy requirements? Meat, dairy, fish, and eggs (the original Atkins Diet).” At that point Dr. McDougall lost all credibility with me. Hmmm…how about legumes, vegetables, fruit, seeds, and nuts? I probably eat more carbohydrates than most people and eat little in the way of wheat or grains. I’ll bet that the studies he used as “evidence” were using feedlot meat, the type you will find in your typical grocery store. Comparing that to pasture raised, grass fed meat is like comparing apples to oranges. As you do, I believe in eating a natural, whole foods diet, eschewing processed foods. If you are buying meat at a grocery store I believe that you are eating an unnaturally raised, highly processed food and it would be much healthier to undertake a vegetarian diet. Yes, buying humanely and naturally raised meat is more expensive, but it is worth it in terms of both health and doing our part to see that all animals are treated well, not just our pets. The fact that it is so much more expensive means that more vegetarian meals are eaten. In the end, we have to listen to our bodies. How do we feel? If we feel great, have plenty of energy, sleep well, and are free of aches and pains, we are eating the appropriate diet for our bodies. If not, we still need to fine tune what we are eating. We are all different; the diet that makes me feel great may not be the right one for you.

    In the first journalism course I ever took back in the 70’s at Ohio University we were taught how to take the same facts and slant them in different ways to make our point. Obviously, Dr. McDougall took the same class.

  3. On the contrary, Debbie, your comment is exactly what I hope to read…especially from someone who is so much more well read on this topic than I. You raise interesting points. I particularly like when you said, “how about legumes, vegetables, fruit, seeds, and nuts?” And the section comparing apples to oranges. And the bottom line, “In the end, we have to listen to our bodies. How do we feel?” And the fact that the diet that makes you feel great may not be the right one for someone else. Ditto the last paragraph.

    It would make an interesting blog to compare and review all the diets out there and all types of healthy eating, along with recipes. Hmm…food for thought? (Excuse the pun.)

    I just started the book, “Intuitive Eating.” I would imagine you’ve read it? The subtitle is “Make Peace with Food. Free Yourself from Chronic Dieting Forever. Rediscover the Pleasures of Eating.” Am enjoying it thus far.

    I’m grateful for all you have taught me this past year, including enjoying to cook more, and the importance that food has to taste delicious.


  4. Les Moderate says:

    Now in my mid-fifties, I had to make significant dietary changes a few years ago when menopausal brain fog threatened my ability to perform my job duties as a buyer at a natural food store. I would literally start at one end of the store with an invoice in my hand to check some item. An interruption or two later would find me at my destination, without the invoice and no recollection of where I had set it down. Just one example of my pervasive brain fog – frustrating and unacceptable!

    I was starting from a place of having a reasonably healthy, moderate diet. I ate lots of fruits and vegetables, raw cultured dairy, pastured eggs and meats, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains. I enjoy sweets but don’t over indulge. How could I improve on that, I wondered?

    Fortunately I had met a real Ayurvedic doctor from India at a party and struck up an acquaintance with her. I saw her for a consultation and began implementing the subtle shifts she suggested in my diet. For the first time, I began to understand how the same foods and dietary practices can have such different effects on different people.

    It would take too much to go into all the details. (There are great books about Ayurveda and more practitioners all the time if this interests you.) The bottom line was I was making my life transition very hard by eating “healthy” meals like salads and “nutritious” snacks like a crisp, delicious apple! At that point in my life, due to my constitution, I needed more cooked foods of specific types. With my doctor’s guidance, I learned how to select the correct healthy foods and prepare them in ways that enhance my physical and mental well-being. Quite a revelation – ongoing….

    • Oh, Leslie, Thanks so much for taking the time to write. Your words of wisdom are invaluable, and I appreciate your sharing them with us. I will explore this more down the road, I am sure, on my never-ending journey. What are your favorite books on Ayurvedic medicine? Lots of love, Jane

  5. Les Moderate says:

    My favorite book so far has been “Prakruti – Your Ayurvedic Constitution” by Robert Svoboda. It is not an easy read, but is densely packed with information and perspective. You can also find information at http://www.internationalintegrative.com/articles and http://www.banyanbotanicals.com/ayurveda.html
    Enjoy the never-ending exploration! Blessings….

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