The McDougall diet is a diet plan and lifestyle program based on the principles of a vegan diet using fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. A tip for following the McDougall diet is to emphasize the variety of raw or cooked vegetables and fruits, and let these foods form the bulk of the diet. It is recommended that a dieter control his food portion sizes by listening to his body and eating intuitively. Removing all animal fat and animal protein from the diet is also an important facet of this lifestyle program, as this is said to help decrease the likelihood of developing any degenerative disease or illness.
Eating on the McDougall program requires an individual to receive the bulk of his food intake from fresh fruits and vegetables, mostly in their uncooked form. To make vegetables more palatable, they can be steamed with herbs and spices, instead of salt, to bring out more flavor. More often than not, salt is not used in recipes, as it is recommended that salt be reduced as much as possible. Garlic and onion powder are recommended to add flavor to foods, as well as salt-free spice blends.
All animal products should be avoided on the McDougall diet, so replacing cow or goat milk with almond, rice or soy milk is suggested. Since meat contributes a large portion of calories to a meal, it is suggested that this be replaced with a starchy vegetable or legume to provide the same amount of energy. These starches include potatoes and corn, as well as beans and peas of all kinds and whole-wheat breads and pastas. Vegan butters are also recommended for cooking these items, though hydrogenated vegetable oil spreads should be avoided because of their trans-fat content.
While the McDougall diet is considered a cornerstone of good health in some nutrition circles, it alone may not be enough to reverse a disease or prevent future illnesses. This is why the McDougall diet suggests that dieters get plenty of exercise everyday. Relaxation and stress management help to round out the McDougall health program, as stress plays a key role in many immune-related disorders and diseases. When making an adjustment to any lifestyle, it is important to consult a qualified nutritionist and doctor for proper guidance based on individual health.