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?