John McDougall


John McDougall owes his current medical career to a life threatening stroke he experienced at 18 which left the entire left side of his body paralyzed for two weeks. Having a stroke so young made him a medical mystery, so doctors from all over Detroit Michigan would visit him. When he asked the doctors what caused his stroke, they would shake their heads and walk away. He left the hospital determined to be a doctor. He took up studies at the University of Michigan and later enrolled in an internship at Queens Medical Center in Honolulu on the Hawaiian Islands where he was a medical doctor on a sugar plantation (McDougall, 2009, para.1-4).

His patients’ health never improved when providing them prescription medication and he felt he was not a particularly skilled doctor so he enrolled in the University of Hawaii’s medical residency program, where he then became a board certified internist. What he had slowly begun to realize, as sugar plantation doctor, was that those immigrants to Hawaii like the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and those from the Philippines, continued the same dietary habits of grains, fruits, and vegetables and were healthy into their 90’s, while the second and third generations had begun to consume meat and dairy and he noticed they became overweight and ill with diseases like diabetes; heart disease; arthritis; and breast, prostate, and colon cancer. This led him to question his medical teaching, which had taught him that all individuals became overweight and sick as they aged and that a well-balanced diet was best. This was his first understanding of food’s role in disease progression. After reviewing many scientific journals he realized researchers also made the connection between foods and health. When individuals removed foods that caused sickness they regained their health. Dr. McDougall now practices lifestyle medicine by teaching patients to remove harmful foods from their diets to regain their health. (McDougall, 2009, para. 5-10).

While working at St. Helena hospital in 2002, Dr. McDougall had the opportunity to work with Dr. Roy Swank, who treated Multiple Sclerosis with a low fat diet similar to McDougall’s own practice. When the opportunity to help patients with Multiple Sclerosis was presented to him, Dr. McDougall brought the idea of treating multiple sclerosis through diet to the hospital administration which rejected the idea. Shortly after this rejection he cut ties with the hospital. His passion for helping the truly sick did not meet the standards of care in the hospital setting and he decided to start his own live-in program in Santa Rosa, California where he provides 5 and 10 day medical live-in programs, advanced study weekends, celebrity chef weekends, and adventure trips. (McDougall, 2009, para. 14-20).

Dr. McDougall teaches a diet made of primarily starchy vegetables to include: Whole grains, rice, pasta, beans, peas, corn, and potatoes… with the addition of non-starchy green and yellow vegetables as well as a few servings of fruits per day. He encourages little to no fat consumption from nuts, seeds, and avocado or oils. His diet does not allow nor does it encourage the consumption of animal flesh or animal by-products.

A great starter video for learning about how to follow a whole foods plant-based diet. John McDougall call this a starch based diet.

The Starch Solution – John McDougall

For more information on John McDougall and his medical practice, follow the link below. All of the information contained on this website is FREE for individuals who want to improve their health and wellbeing.

He has many books and DVD’s for sale all which can be found on his website.

John McDougall also has a section of his website called Star McDougallers, in which he showcases individuals who exemplify health and turn their life around by changing their diet. While all results with diet modification may not be similar (based upon the severity of the disease at the time of starting the program) the fact remains dietary change is a viable, no cost, option to regain your health and wellbeing. Star McDougaller stories, both in video and print, can be found here.

The website also contains free online webinars regarding many health and nutrition related topics which are free for viewing.

More videos of John McDougalls can be found on YouTube for free as well.

John McDougall also provides individuals with a free color picture book in which a stop light system is used to warn individuals about the dangers of foods consumed. Red light foods are not to be consumed, yellow light foods are to be limited, and green light foods can be eaten ad libitum (as much as you want). It is available in over 30 different languages.

He also provides videos from top medical experts in the field who understand nutrition’s role in disease progression and development as well as possible reversal. Medical Experts include:

Dr. Kim Williams MD– Head of the American College of Cardiology; the cause of heart disease.

T. Colin Campbell PhD– biochemist at Cornell University; the link between dairy and cancer.

Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. MD – Cleveland Clinic Heart Surgeon; How to reverse heart disease.

Neal Barnard MD – Founder of The physicians committee for Responsible Medicine; Diet & healthy living You can watch these and many other videos by clicking the link below:

John McDougall Quotes:

“Scientific discovery is not valuable unless it has commercial value.”

“People love to hear good news about their bad habits.”

“It’s the food.”

“The fat you eat is the fat you wear.”

“The more rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans we eat, the trimmer, more energetic, and healthier we become.”

“Open heart-surgery is radical. Eating oatmeal and potatoes is not radical.”

“Proven environmental diseases, such as colon cancer, coronary artery disease, and adult-onset diabetes, all run in families—not necessarily because of genes, but because family members share the same dietary patterns.”

Books by John McDougall:



McDougall J. A., (2009, April) Dr. John McDougall’s Story. Retrieved from

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