Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gettin' Starchy With It

Eat more starch. Go vegan. Limit nuts and avocado. Avoid oil. That's the basic outline for Dr. McDougall's Starch Solution diet and the premise for his new book, The Starch Solution.

I have to say, as a starchy carb lover, the title of the book drew me in. I love grains, potatoes, corn, winter squash, all of that. It makes me feel more full, and it's satisfying. Plus, I'm always a fan of vegan books disguised as diet books. There's no mention of vegan on the book jacket, just the words "Eat the foods you love, regain your health, and lose the weight for good!" I like books that draw more people into our little vegan cult via health claims. I don't care why you go vegan (ethical or health), just so long as you do.

McDougall argues that starch is beneficial despite anti-carb diets that preach the contrary. Starches are made up of chains of glucose molecules, and the body breaks it down into simple sugars that provide sustained energy to keep our bodies full and satisfied. And that's an idea I can get down with. More starch? No problem.

I do, however, take issue with McDougall's no oil/limit fats ideas. He makes some arguments against the common belief that good fats prevent heart disease in a chapter called "The Fat Vegan." But I know there are conflicting studies out there, and I'm of the belief that the body needs good fat to help it absorb other nutrients. An oil-free diet may be okay in the short-term for someone trying to lose weight, but not all of us are trying to lose weight.

Anyway, the oil thing aside, I'm in total agreement with McDougall's arguments for more starch. Thankfully, he also includes some starchy recipes and a meal plan to get started. I chose to make his Spicy Lima Beans and Cabbage:


I used fresh limas from the Memphis Farmers Market for this recipe, plus shredded cabbage, corn, and brown rice. Super starchy, especially when served with the recommended corn tortillas. But perhaps the best part of this recipe? The fact that it called for sriracha! It was delicious, and indeed, it did keep me full for hours.

That's probably because I also made McDougall's Southwest Red Potatoes:


These "fried" potatoes were pretty tasty and filling, but I must admit that I broke one really big rule. The recipe called for frying these in a non-stick skillet with oil-free dressing. But I used the oily kind. Sue me. These were delicious, and since the other dish was oil-free, I figure it all balances out, right?

12 comments:

Mary said...

Love potatoes but I won't be cutting out my healthy fats anytime soon either!

Karen Agreda said...

Happiness is eating a potato in any way, shape or form.

JL said...

I've been reading raves about the book and now I know why - most of the raves come from people in the no-oil camp. I appreciate your balanced approach in which you find much of value and question some of the assertions as well. One of the many reasons I love reading you, Bianca!

BTW, I had a bill bowl of mashed potatoes last night (oral surgery yesterday...boo!) and feel very good about it! ;)

glutenfreehappytummy.com said...

Great title to this post! :) This was so fascinating! I must admit, your photos had me drooling and longing for starchy goodness. haha Bodies are so crazy how some can love carbs and some can feel crummy after eating them! Great post!

East Village Vegan said...

I think it's fine to venture from recipes every now and then. You made it your own. Looks great!

Rachel from The Vegan Mishmash said...

I am definitely not afraid of starches. They keep me full and satisfied longer. I think of balance of everything is best, including fats.

xvavaveganx said...

This is definitely an interesting idea! I'm a huge fan of potatoes and have no problem eating them in moderation. I love my starches and eat my fair share of grains. I am not a fan of the idea of limiting avocado. I personally am a believer in just eating things in moderation which is pretty much what I do. :) Those potatoes look great!

urban vegan said...

My boyfriend is on the low-carb thing. (Thin but always trying to stay thin!) The research he's read states that some people, depending on genetics, can process carbs while most people can't. I like you, love carbs, & happily, seem to have a good metabolism. But whole foods are always best Like you, I also think unprocessed fat is healthy. But McDougall's audience I believe are people with heart disease, etc. I might think differently about fats if I were predisposed...

Hmmm...I may look into this book now. Congrats on yours hitting the press, girl xo

Tender b. said...

So refreshing to see someone talk some sense about starches. They get such a bad rap and can be good for you when eaten the right way. I love McDougall's past books so I'll be checking this one out shortly.

It's Carmen said...

Hmm...from what I learned about nutrition, it's really important to keep it balanced. It may be okay to cut something out or eat a lot of one thing, but not for an extended period of time.

❀ It's Carmen

Lesley Eats said...

Hrm, I'm dubious despite being a starch lover.

Richa said...

love the review. I had the same problem with the book. with already limited oil, i am not planning on cutting any right now