Dr. McDougall & Starch

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There are many doctors now who promote a Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) diet for health and longevity. And they often offer a little "twist" to how they describe their approach. 

Dr. McDougall did it by referring to the diet he recommended as a starch-based diet. He even referred to us as "starchivores"

Join us to hear more.

As we mentioned, starch gets a bad rap sometimes in the weight loss industry. But the real problem isn't the starch but what is so often added to the starch that's being eaten.

Potatoes are a healthy starch and do not put weight on, but the butter, sour cream and other high-calorie toppings do. Bread (although we don't recommend bread because the grain is processed into flour, so not in its whole food form) is considered starchy by many weight watchers. But, again, the starch in bread isn't the main problem, but what we put on it. Butter, peanut butter, jam, etc. The other problem with bread when it comes to losing or keeping our weight down is that it is processed into flour. When the grain is processed into flour, the calories from the starch go into our blood stream more quickly and can be turned into fat as a result.

To understand what a starch is, it's basically a bunch of glucose molecules joined together. And glucose is our main source of energy. But we can get the glucose in a whole food like a potato or as a simple, refined carbohydrate like white sugar. And that makes a big difference in our health and weight.

For one thing, in simple, refined sugar there are no additional nutrients, which is why it's often referred to as "empty" calories. It's just the energy component, the glucose, without any other benefits for our health--like the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we get when we eat a potato.

So, where starch got a bad rap was that it was lumped in with all the different forms of carbohydrates that people ate, most of which are processed and covered with high-calorie toppings.

So, by referring to a starch-based diet, John was staying away from the carbohydrate debate of whether carbs added weight or not and kept everyone's focus on the form of carbohydrate that doesn't add weight, the whole food form.

Here's a simple list of the whole food starches we eat regularly. And we eat all we want without gaining weight.

    Whole grains

    • Brown Rice
    • Oat groats (the whole oat seed) / steel-cut or rolled oats
    • Wild Rice
    • Quinoa
    • Millet


    • Garbanzo beans (Chickpeas)
    • Black Beans
    • Pinto Beans
    • Mung Beans
    • Aduki Beans

    Starchy Veggies

    • Potatoes
    • Sweet Potatoes
    • Winter Squash
      • Butternut
      • Acorn
      • Kabocha
      • Delicata
    • Peas
    • Corn

    And a couple of side benefits of eating these starchy foods in their whole form is that they've been shown to provide the greatest satiety, that is, a sense of satisfying our appetite, than any other food.

    And they contain lots of fibre. That fibre both feeds a healthy microbiome and slows the absorption of glucose into the blood stream so we don't have sugar spikes and insulin rushes. That sounds like a beneficial food to us!

    The recipe this week is a Quick Veggie Rice & Bean dish. It's an absolutely delicious way to get your starch and it's very quick to make.

    To your Amazing Health,
    Connie and Bill

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    Quick Veggie Rice & Beans (Serves 3-4)

    • 1 onion, diced
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 5 tablespoons veggie broth or filtered water
    • 2 Jalapenos, diced
    • 1 cup salsa
    • 2 medium tomatoes, diced or 1½ cups cherry tomatoes cut in half
    • 1 zucchini, cut in small pieces
    • 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained (and rinsed if salted)
    • 2 cups frozen corn
    • 2 cups cooked brown rice (or 3 cups if you prefer more rice)
    • 1 teaspoon No Salt seasoning
    • Ground black pepper to taste

    Add onion, garlic and veggie broth or filtered water to a large pan. Cook on medium heat until soft.


    Add Jalapenos, salsa, tomatoes, zucchini and pinto beans and cook until zucchini is beginning to become soft.


    Add corn, brown rice and seasonings. Stir well and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes.


    Serve and enjoy.