Sports Equipment, Sports Medicine, The Role of Exercise & Healthy Foods




Many athletes and active people tend to have extreme nutritional eating habits.It is worth reading this article.

Extreme Nutrition: The Diet of Eskimos*

The carnivorous diet of traditional Eskimo inhabitants of the frozen, northern, circumpolar regions of planet Earth (Siberia, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland), serves as a testament to the strengths and adaptability of the human species. The foods consumed by these hardy people are in “polar” opposition to those recommended by me (the McDougall Diet of starches, vegetables, and fruits): a carnivore vs. an herbivore diet. Unfortunately, misinformation surrounding the all-meat diet of the Eskimo has promoted dangerous eating habits to the modern-day general public.

For more than 6,000 years, natives of the frozen North have lived with almost no contact with the rest of the world. Not until the mid-1800s were reliable records made of their daily lives, their diets, and their health. Early reports describe these people as looking beautiful and athletic when they were young, but then they aged quickly, and “men and women who appeared to be 60 or over were rare.”

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Nelson Figura Badminton Promotion

Nelson Figura Badminton Promotion

Did you know that badminton may be the worlds fastest sport. If you were standing in the middle of a race track with a formula 1 ferrari heading right at you, you would have to move very fast or be run over. Elite badminton players both man and women have scientifically been verified to hit the shuttle at speeds between 140-206 miles per hour. In order to intercept the shuttle and make precision return shots or to defend against shots at these speeds you must be in top physical condition. You need to develop agility, flexibility, lightning speed reflexes. You are making game plan decisions in split seconds. The Copeck Academy of Badminton in Mumbai shows how tennis and badminton compare at the elite level.

Tennis match duration: 3 hours 18 minutes
Tennis ball in play: 18 minutes
Game intensity level: 9%
Number of shots: 1004
Shots in a rally: 3.4
Number of miles run per match: 2 miles

Badminton match duration: 1 hour 16 minutes
Shuttle in play: 37 minutes
Intensity level: 48%
Number of shots in a rally: 13.5
Number of miles run per match: 4 miles

The figures here could be less or more dependent on each match. Badminton is easy to learn but it is much harder to climb to the top of the elite level.


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SUCCESS STORIES: Star McDougaller Ryan Schultz

Diet Can Improve Crohns Disease

Ryan Schultz, DVM (veterinarian) Cures Himself of Crohn’s Disease

My story is one of mental and physical transformation. I have always considered myself a healthy person. I have been a weightlifter for 15 years, eating as much protein as I could, as that was what the muscle building magazines and books told me was appropriate. The protein usually came in the form of dairy foods; I was taught since childhood that cow’s milk was the most nutritious and complete food. But I also ate plenty of meat.

6′ tall 35 year old male
Before After
Weight 186 lbs 180 lbs
Body Fat 17.5% 10%

About four years ago I had accomplished many of life’s major goals: I had completed college, veterinary school, an internship, and four additional years of residency. I married an intelligent and beautiful woman, I helped take care of the world’s animals, and thought I was taking good care of my own body. I worked out with weights four to six times a week, with another two to three workouts a week of cycling, running, hiking, kayaking, skiing or rafting.

Out of the blue three years ago I developed a severe gastrointestinal disease. It took two board-certified gastroenterologists and another year and a half to receive the official diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, one of the most serious and debilitating of the inflammatory bowel diseases. In the beginning I couldn’t eat and was in severe pain. I let this turn of events consume me. I fell into a dark place, lost about 15 pounds of muscle, gained fat, and thought I could only eat easily digestible foods, such as simple sugars, due to two large and extensive intestinal strictures caused by the disease.

Family problems also began to develop since I didn’t have the energy to be active with my family. Because of the pain, fatigue, lethargy, and depression I was experiencing, all I wanted to do was sleep, relax, or lie on the couch and watch TV. For the first time in my life I developed work problems since I had to take many sick days; even eating felt like a chore. I just wanted to sleep. Getting through any simple workout, activity, or a workday taxed me to my limits.

Treatments for my disease didn’t help much. For the previous two years, five to seven days a week I had recurring symptoms. I was on and off high doses of the only treatment that helped, prednisone; but no one can stay on this medication permanently due to extensive side effects. I had tried all the high-end, immune-modulating drugs, which were costing me over $2,000 a month, and I was being pushed to have surgery to remove several feet of my intestines (including the strictures).

Even though none of medications helped, all five of my board-certified gastroenterologists and two board-certified surgeons strongly advised against me going off of them. I was told surgery would help with the strictures, but that different regions of inflammation always recur in Crohn’s patients after surgery.

The disease progressed even further and I developed bouts of intractable vomiting and unrelenting pain. I could not keep the oral pain medications down, and the anti-nausea medications didn’t work even though I was using the strongest ones available (typically used for chemotherapy patients). The first time this happened I was writhing around on the floor in cramping pain for several hours. My wife finally persuaded me that I needed to go to the emergency room. I was administered IV pain and anti-nausea medication, but the relief only lasted for a week or two. These painful bouts grew more frequent. I was being taken to the ER during workdays, at night, and on weekends. Even when I was told that my intestines were obstructed, I still refused surgery because I knew it was only a temporary fix.

I routinely thought, “What is all this for?” I had succumbed entirely to the disease and was very depressed. Aside from surgery, I was willing to try anything in order to regain my life and not lose everything I had worked so hard to achieve. I scoured the Internet for naturopathic doctors, books, magazines, nutritionists, cleanses, fad diets, probiotics, and vitamins. I talked to friends of friends who had claimed they knew someone who had similar problems and this or that had worked for them. Most of it did not help at all, including the Paleo diet. I was utterly discouraged. I had always been a very driven person with big goals, motivation and energy; I thought I would be able to overcome my disease, or at least reasonably manage it somehow.

In spite of all my doctors’ recommendations, I went off all of my medications. I felt they had not even listened to my issues or heard me when I told them my medications hadn’t helped at all. But now I realize they simply had nothing else to offer me. They didn’t know anything about the disease other than how to diagnose it. When I asked about diet, all of my doctors told me that Crohn’s disease has nothing to do with diet. They would just shake their heads and repeat, “Diet has been proven to have nothing to do with your disease.” Finally, I found Dr. McDougall after a friend gave me a copy of The China Study.

Since my condition was so severe, I started with the elimination diet as Dr. McDougall suggested. The first few days I only ate brown rice and canned peaches. And within a week I started feeling better and was without the daily cramping and the pain in my stomach that had previously brought me to my knees. I gradually added in different foods each week, and would take a break if I had a reaction to a specific food. The going was slow.

Now, nearly one year later, I am feeling better than I did before my illness showed up. I have had fewer than five bouts since I changed my diet, and none of them came close to landing me in the ER. My diet now mostly consists of white sweet potatoes (I don’t like the yams as well), brown rice, black beans, spinach, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, peanut butter, and a few nuts. I can eat most vegan foods, although I am still working through the elimination diet in a slow process with less common foods. I found I had trouble with refined sugar, too many refried and garbanzo beans, corn, and several fruits. I typically use the microwave during the week to prepare my meals, with my wife cooking for us on the weekends. We also continue to eat out at least two to three times a week.

I feel like a “normal” person almost all the time now. I am an athlete again and can work out hard, whether it be weightlifting, running, cycling, hiking or anything else outdoors without feeling exhausted. My “before” picture was taken by my wife at the beginning of a year-long weightlifting program just a few months before starting the McDougall diet. My career life is great again, as I can handle the stress and long hours. My family life has never been better. I can do any activity with my family, or just spend time with them and listen without being in pain. I can honestly say I am truly happy again.

I have to admit that at one point within the last year I fell into the trap of thinking that I needed to eat a high-protein diet to see success with my weightlifting. I tried to add in only chicken for a week, as it seemed it may be the least likely of the animal foods to cause a problem. After my week of eating chicken, I went through another two weeks of painful torture; this was the longest and most painful bout I had experienced since starting the diet. I slowly recovered after those two weeks; and I proved to myself once and for all that it is my diet that most influences my disease.

I chose not to seek out yet another doctor, as it seemed all of them in my area believe the same thing about the connection between disease and diet. Instead I returned to my regular gastroenterologist, who just shook her head when I told her how I’ve been since starting the diet. She said she hopes I stay this way, but fears the disease just coincidentally went into remission and that it will strike again. With every visit, she reminds me that I should not have gone off the medications as I did; her reasoning: because they will not be as effective when I need to go back on them.

I have had my blood work checked three times. The anemia, elevated white blood cell count, and low blood proteins have all normalized. My doctor, however, still wants me to come in for check-ups and blood work every six months, she says, in order to catch the disease in its earlier stage, should it re-emerge, so we can get a handle on it with medication before it gets worse. I just shake my head.

I still have a difficult time at social gatherings where there is food I used to enjoy and everyone else is eating it and feeling fine; it seems very unfair. I then feel sorry for myself. I really crave the sweets and deserts and have the hardest time when I’m hungry; but I always try to eat a large meal before going to such events. I try to look at the positives of the disease, at least when I can, and I believe in my state of teetering between health and disease I have learned what the optimum human diet consists of. So many others can eat poor diets for years before they realize the side effects of their actions, but if I slip up I suffer right away.

I am honored to share my experiences in the hope of helping others who may also have this disease and who struggle on a daily basis, thinking there may never be an end to the pain. I would like to tell them that medication and surgery are not the only answers since they may not alleviate the symptoms and may only bring temporary relief. I have found the most anti-inflammatory diet there is. To others with this disease, I say: If your gastroenterologist says the disease has nothing to do with diet, don’t believe them. Email Dr. McDougall, pick up his book, and start learning how to make yourself feel good again.

Ryan Schultz, DVM, Diplomate ACVR


A Success Story For One Of Dr. Mcdougalls Patients, Shannon Woods-World Class athlete

I’m Back!

I was a former world-class athlete in two sports, swimming and rowing, and like a lot of retired athletes, I got very fat on the SAD (Standard American Diet). At 5’9 I ballooned up to 180 pounds. Unsuccessfully I tried to tackle the excess weight with exercise, up to 3 hours a day. After a year, I was still fat, on the verge of obesity according to a BMI calculator.

I love the story you (Dr. McDougall) tell about your daughter’s, Heather’s, friends, running and running and running and never making progress with their weight loss, and how she looks great without any serious exercise program. You were talking about me!!—At least about the old me, who exercised diligently for a year without losing a pound.

In 2011 my focus on nutrition was heightened when my two brothers, who are 6 and 8 years older than me, were diagnosed with heart disease within a week of each other. I suspected that I, like most other Americans, including my older brothers, eating the SAD diet, had lined my arteries with fatty plaques. I knew that “the deadly diseases” were headed my way because I was living in a fat, sick body. At this time my weight-related health issues included: debilitating pain in my feet when I awakened in the morning, pain in my knees and hips all day long, excessive phlegm production with constant clearing my throat after meals, gastric reflux, lethargy, and sleep apnea. I was scared, but I didn’t know what to do.

Shortly after learning about my brothers’ heart disease I watched Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN interview Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr, the author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. My eyes were opened by this documentary, The Last Heart Attack. Next my journey took me to the McDougall books. Mary’s cookbooks were my lifesaver and I can credit them with helping me lose 45 pounds three years ago.

When people notice my weight loss and ask how I regained my health, I always tell them that I eat starch. Most think that I am kidding. But my physical accomplishments are obvious and my improved self-esteem shines through. It took me 14 months to lose 45 pounds. At first, I lost rapidly, but then the process slowed to about one pound a week, soon I was seeing only a pound every couple of weeks, and finally one pound a month. Besides the weight loss, my cholesterol dropped from a total of 188 to 136 with great HDL and LDL numbers.

The turning point was when I learned the importance of starches: rice, corn, barley, bread, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans. Finally I understood sustainability, comfort, and satiety from my food choices. With starches there is no longer painful hunger on a weight loss program. No counting calories or portion control. Once I saw it, I said to myself, this eating plan is truly a “no brainer.”

I am not only healthy, but I am happy. Most important for my happiness is that my energy levels are phenomenal and I am a competitive athlete again. I admit I was nervous in the beginning because when I competed as a kid, I was taught that protein was to be at the centerpiece of a high performance diet. I ate no “protein” in the form of meat, chicken, fish, eggs, or cheese. Now I keep a platter of sweet potatoes cooked and ready for post-workout snacks. I eat greens, starches and other veggies as the base of my diet along with a variety of fruits, legumes, beans and whole grains. My sense of well-being and confidence are bolstered by understanding that my new foods are loaded with protein, calcium, and all other nutrients that a winning athlete needs.

I am competing again at the World Indoor Rowing Championships, as a lightweight in the 135-pound class. Even though I was a former world record holder on the Concept II Rowing Ergometer in 1997, it was an uphill climb for me to regain a high level of athletic achievement due to the damage I had caused my body over the previous decade. This year, I was 2nd in the 40 to 49 age group at the World Championships and 11th in the world overall. I am on track to have a chance of winning a world title in the 50 to 59 age group next year. That should put me in the top 10 in the world overall. Furthermore, I hope to break a world record for my age group very soon. Lofty goals for someone who was in constant pain and on the verge of obesity just a few short years ago, don’t you think? Fortunately, I discovered that “It’s the food!” and the human body has the power to heal itself and excel with high performance, even in mid-life, given a chance.

Shannon Woods


18 Year-old Cures Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
with McDougall Diet – Juliea Baker

My name is Juliea Baker and it’s a miracle that today I am a healthy 18-year-old college student. When I was 15 years old, totally out of the blue, I awoke one day with severe jaw pain. The pain hurt so bad I could barely chew any type of food for days. My mom took me to the doctor and they could not find any reason for the pain. The doctor prescribed ibuprofen and suggested that I see a dentist that perhaps it was TMJ or something to that effect.

Shortly thereafter the pain disappeared. Over the next few months I began having soreness in one shoulder then the other shoulder. At first we thought I was sleeping wrong or carrying too many books in my backpack. Once again the pain disappeared. When the pain came back in my knees my mom knew something was wrong and took me back to my pediatrician. This time they ran blood work and found that my Rheumatoid Factor (RF) was elevated to 19 mm/hour, 2 points higher than normal, indicating I had generalized inflammation in my body. They were not alarmed, as there could be many reasons why it was slightly elevated. My doctor referred me to a rheumatologist at a famous hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area.

At the time of my first appointment with my rheumatologist I was having pain more frequently in my hands and my feet. The doctor ordered x-rays of my complete body and a full panel of blood work. Now almost a year into my disease, my RF was elevated even higher but it still was not clear what was wrong with me, and the pain was still traveling to different joints and sometimes disappearing altoget her. The doctor put me on Naprosyn (naproxen) and scheduled me for monthly visits consisting of blood work and x-rays.
Finally at Christmastime when I was 16 1/2 we realized something was very wrong: my knuckles were very swollen and I couldn’t make a fist without intense pain; even shaking hands was painful. My right foot was so swollen I couldn’t wear a shoe comfortably, and I walked with a limp. I actually told my mom that I thought my foot was broken because it hurt so badly whenever I walked. During my next doctor’s appointment I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). My RF was now at 39.7 mm/hour, and my antibody markers were elevated, also confirming the diagnosis and indicating that my body was attacking itself (an autoimmune disease).

Every morning when I awoke I could barely get out of bed, I felt like I was living in a 60-year-old’s body. I became even more depressed when at my next doctor’s appointment they told me they were going to put me on methotrexate (a drug given to cancer patients) in a low dose to suppress my immune system in order to keep the arthritis from permanently damaging my joints.

My mom and I were stunned with this news. I went home and began to research methotrexate. The side effects of this drug were so frightening that I begged my mom not to put me on it. Eventually, I told my mom I refused to take it. My mom began to research the drug and agreed that the side effects sounded too dangerous. My mom called my doctor and asked if we could try something less severe, and she was told that there wasn’t anything less dangerous. In addition, I was told that if I went on the drug, I would have to stay on it for a minimum of two years, and the longer I was on the drug the more toxic it was to my liver. My mom agreed with me that we should look into alternate, more holistic ways to treat my illness.

Just by chance, during this time my mom and I were reading a book my friend gave to me about veganism, The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. In the book there was a reference about several doctors who believed arthritis could be cured through diet. Dr. John McDougall was one of the doctors mentioned. My mom emailed Dr. McDougall with the story of my illness. We were so honored and excited when Dr. McDougall emailed my mom back personally. Although we were unable to have me participate in Dr. McDougall’s program, he said he would be happy to help me by recommending articles and books to read, and he gave us a diet for me to follow.

Dr. McDougall assured us that my disease was completely treatable through diet. He recommended that I begin by eliminating all meat, eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, and corn from my diet as well as my medication, ibuprofen, and that I should use aspirin for pain instead. He told us that it would take about four months for us to see the full benefit of eating a starch-based, animal-product-free and oil-free diet.

At first the strict elimination diet tasted awful to me and was very hard to follow. But through emails to Dr. McDougall, and with his guidance and encouragement, we were able to find a diet I could easily follow. Within a month or two I felt 90 percent better, with my only remaining symptom being the slight swelling of my knuckles.

Then, much to our dismay, soreness in my hands and feet would occasionally return. Once again, Dr. McDougall encouraged us to be patient and to follow the diet carefully so we could determine if I was curable through diet. My mom started looking at everything I was eating and we found out that one of the products that we thought was vegan, was really vegetarian, and had egg whites in it—I was eating egg protein for breakfast every morning without even knowing it. Once I eliminated that one product from my diet I began to get totally well. Through my experiences I found that eggs and dairy are my triggers. I can eat soy, wheat, and corn with no problems. But if I accidentally eat anything with eggs or dairy in it, the very next day my hands are stiff and sore.

I am a testament that serious illness can be cured through this diet. Dr. McDougall has saved my life, literally! I cannot imagine where I would be now had I not picked up that book by Ms. Silverstone with the small story about Dr. McDougall and his belief in curing illness through diet. If my mom had not contacted Dr. McDougall and he had not responded, I would be suffering terrible pain, have disfigured joints, and be taking a horribly toxic drug. Instead, my life is filled with joy and I am a healthy happy 18-year-old with a bright future before me!

Warmest regards!!



Star McDougaller Bethany

Conquering Rheumatoid Arthritis

For many years, my weight has fluctuated between 130 and 160lbs. I was the type that would overeat for a few days and then not eat for a few days to fit into a certain outfit. After having two children and getting a debilitating disease, I found myself over 200lbs! For months I was mostly bedridden and unable to care for my children or myself. My husband had to brush my teeth because my joints were too swollen and I had no strength to grip anything. Walking was like shattered glass in every joint, including my jaw and spine.

My diagnoses were severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (a form of spinal arthritis). I also had symptoms of menopause, including hair loss and night sweats, and suffered from multiple nutrient deficiencies. My RA factor was 714.6 and my rheumatologist said he got chills reviewing my labs.

I took one round of drugs that caused three days of vomiting and diarrhea. This led me to seek alternative forms of treatment. I tried another diet for 3 months until I thankfully found the Dr. McDougall Diet. I will never forget the day I called the Dr. McDougall Medical Center and a nice lady talked to me as I was literally crying over the phone. Prior to that my husband and I had decided to throw in the towel but thankfully my last hope was a success story. I began eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet without oil, soy or wheat and a month later, I was 90% healed of my disease.

Now a year later and 75lbs lighter, my only symptom is minor joint damage in a wrist and ankle. My weight is steady now and I can eat as much as I want on the Dr. McDougall diet. I have never been happier to live life!



Star McDougaller Marc Ramirez

Conquers Diabetes

Marc - Football Scholarship

I grew up at the tip of southern Texas with four brothers and three sisters. When I was eight years old, my father abandoned our family and my mother struggled to raise eight children on her own. In search of better employment, she decided to move us to the Chicago area in 1982. In high school I thrived as a healthy athlete and earned a football scholarship to the University of Michigan. In those days I could eat whatever I wanted and did not have health or weight issues because I was so physically active. At twenty-one years old I was 6’2″ and weighed 305 pounds.

During my years as a young adult I witnessed my mother’s battle with diabetes and its complications. She suffered from kidney failure, vision problems, and heart disease. She underwent a kidney transplant donated by my sister Jill. Jill is my only sibling who has not been diagnosed with diabetes, but she too felt its impact as she bravely donated a kidney to our mother. After over 33 years of fighting diabetes, my mother passed in April 2002 (she was the family rock and I miss her dearly). If that were not bad enough, my oldest brother David passed in June 2002, just two months after my mother, due to pancreatic cancer. My oldest sister, Carol, struggled with diabetes too, but she started eating mostly plant-based and eliminated her medications. My twin brother, Joe, has battled diabetes for over a decade and just recently suffered a heart attack. Sandra, my youngest sister also has type 2 diabetes. Martin, our youngest sibling, suffers greatly from this terrible disease. He has had a pancreas and kidney transplant, is legally blind, had his right leg amputated, goes to dialysis three times a week, and takes 25 medications every day.

As the years progressed, I also found myself having high hemoglobin A1C levels. The hemoglobin A1C test measures the average sugar levels in your blood over a two to three month timeframe. It indicates how much sugar remains in your blood and ultimately determines if doctors will consider you diabetic and begin prescribing medications. The current A1C range for a non-diabetic is between 4 and 5.7. I began taking the diabetes medication Metformin in 2004. My A1C level back in 2002 was 8.8 and ultimately rose to as high as 10.5 in September 2011. This is the point at which my doctor prescribed insulin injections (Lantus) and I had already been taking four oral medications for years — Metformin (for diabetes), Januvia (for diabetes), Simvastatin (for high cholesterol), and Lisinopril (for high blood pressure). Below is a picture of the medications I was taking in 2011.

Marc's MedicationsAs my A1C levels gradually rose over the years, I tried to improve my health by dieting, exercising more, and cutting carbs. Unfortunately, these strategies did not stop the progression of diabetes. Eventually my doctor told me that I had to begin injecting insulin daily. I found myself feeling very frustrated and helpless. For years I had witnessed the suffering from diabetes in my family, and I saw myself as destined to walk down the same path.

It seemed like there was no cure and that diabetes was just something the members of my family had to deal with. I remember asking my doctor if I would ever stop taking the insulin injections and his response was “No.” This really pissed me off. But hey, what should I expect? I am Hispanic and belong to a culture that has a high percentage of diabetics. And my family was filled with diabetics, so I should just accept the fact that I was predisposed to having the disease.

In autumn of 2011 my in-laws gave my wife, Kim, and I a copy of the dvd Forks Over Knives. It sat in our home for a few months before we watched it. One day, feeling somewhat hopeless about my diabetes, Kim and I decided to watch Forks Over Knives. This video was so inspirational that after watching it I felt I had to give it a try. The documentary was well done and it just made sense. Here is where I first learned about Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and others. I also purchased the book Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes and The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook. Between watching Forks Over Knives, reading Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes, and obtaining recipes from The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook we began our whole foods, plant based lifestyle on December 3, 2011. My life and health has not been the same since. I follow three basic guidelines for eating: I eat no animal products, I eat low-fat foods, and I avoid high glycemic foods. I enjoy foods such as oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins, pasta primavera with marinara sauce, bean burritos with jalapeno peppers, veggie subs, veggie burgers, and plenty of fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and sweet potatoes. (Notice that this is not a low carb diet. I enjoy a lot of complex carbs. For me carbs are not the enemy. High fat foods are. Fat gets in cells and prevents insulin and glucose from working properly.)

In less than two months I was off of all my medications and have been medication free for over three and a half years, and I am proud to say that I am no longer diabetic. When I began this journey I weighed 254 pounds and today I weigh what I weighed in 7th grade–210 pounds. Below are my most recent A1C and cholesterol levels taken on September 16, 2014.

Marc's A1C and Lipid Profile
I have learned that it is not because I am Mexican or because my family is predisposed to diabetes that I have this disease. It all comes down to the daily choices I make on how to nourish my body with the food I eat. By cutting out the foods that are nutrient poor and replacing them with foods that are nutrient rich, my body has responded positively.
Marc Today - Diabetes Free

My wife and I are empowered and liberated by our new whole foods, plant based lifestyle. We feel strong, healthy, and in charge of our lives. This lifestyle improves our health, helps prevent cruelty to animals, and is better for the environment. We want to help others learn about our successes and see if this type of lifestyle will work for them.

Marc Ramirez

Star McDougaller Neil Robinson – “As a vegan, where do you get your energy from?” The answer, quite simply is…PLANT POWER!

Vegan Footballer

I was born in England in 1957, the youngest of seven children (six boys and one girl). Growing up as a child in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, Mum was a great influence on our family’s health, advising us to eat lots of fruit and vegetables and introduced us to the new ‘health’ foods of the day such as ‘muesli’ and ‘cider vinegar’. Mum sadly passed away in 2005 from a stroke caused by a congenital heart mitral valve defect, at age 86.

In 1970, at age 13, after my brother John had become a vegetarian, I too became vegetarian after watching a TV documentary about an Amazonian tribe who sacrificed a cow by slitting its throat. I was shocked by this sudden and stark realization that meat was actually the flesh of a once living animal! I thought to myself that this is so wrong for humans to do this to another species and I decided then and there that I no longer wanted to eat any more meat or fish.

Star McDougaller - Neil Robinson
I left the hospital after five days ‘armed’ with medication the doctors had prescribed for me (beta-blockers, etc.) and I was told I would have to take the medication for the rest of my life!

Back home, I vowed never to get into such a negative mental state ever again – or take the medication – so I ‘Googled’ for information about low-fat plant-food diets. I intuitively knew that this was really the way I should go, having ‘dabbled’ with the Nathan Pritikin diet in the 1980’s.

I then ‘discovered’ Dr. John McDougall and his wonderful book, “The McDougall Program for a Healthy Heart” and knew immediately that this was exactly what I was looking for!

Dr. McDougall proclaimed in his book that his diet plan could treat, cure, and even reverse heart disease with plant foods. The claims were an absolute dream come true for me and exactly what I wanted to hear. I read the book and it all made so much sense to me – it actually cleared my stressed-out mind completely by arming me with the knowledge that I was actually reversing heart disease through a plant-exclusive diet. I’ve been a ‘McDougaller’ ever since!

I’ve subsequently bought and read all of Dr. John McDougall’s books and I’m also a big fan of Dr. Neal Pinckney, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Neal Barnard, Jeff Novick, and Dr. Michael Greger, and all medical professionals who prescribe a low-fat plant-exclusive diet.

As a vegan footballer, and as a vegan in general, the big question from omnivores was, and still is, where do you get your energy from if you don’t eat animal foods? So (and as if my 10 years as a vegan professional footballer were not enough evidence to prove that sports people/athlete’s energy requirements are completely, and exclusively, met by eating plant-foods) at age 58 I recently undertook a charity cycling challenge (along with two other vegan former athletes) to ride 975 miles in 9 days from one end of the UK to the other – the iconic ‘Land’s End to John O’Groats’ cycle ride. See our website:

Vegan Athletes for Peace
The ride averaged 108 miles a day and, although the other two guys on the ride (Dean Howell & Tris West) were much fitter than me (I’d only trained for the ride for 12 weeks but really should have trained for 12 months!) and both were 25 years or more younger than me, I still completed the whole ride, on a high-carb, low-fat, plant-exclusive ‘McDougall’ diet, whereas Dean & Tris ate a high-fat (lots of coconut oil), low-carb plant-exclusive diet.

To be honest, I’d actually put my head on the ‘chopping block’ for the cycling challenge – if I’d failed, I was ‘easy meat’ for critics and those against a high-carb, low-fat, animal-free diet but, although the challenge was really tough for me, I came through it all with flying colors and completed the ride in the scheduled 9 days!

What was the question again? “As a vegan, where do you get your energy from?”…
The answer, quite simply is…PLANT POWER!

For me it’s very important to state that veganism is a ‘lifestyle’ and is most certainly not a ‘diet’. Vegans eat ‘plant-exclusive’ foods within a lifestyle ethos based on non-violence, non-exploitation, non-abuse, compassion, empathy, tolerance, kindness, peace, love to all sentient beings on the planet – both human & non-human animals, and sustainability to protect the environment of planet Earth.

My wife Pauline has been vegetarian for all our married life (since 1977) and all three of our children, Neil David, 35, Alison, 33 and Kathryn 31, were brought up as vegetarians. Neil David unfortunately decided that a ‘meat-eating’ lifestyle was for him when he was about 14 years old – I suspect peer pressure was the cause of this change. Alison and Kathryn have been vegan for the last 8 and 10 years respectively. Kathryn has a son, Ollie, who is 3 years old and who she has brought up as a vegan since birth and the latest addition to her family, our beautiful grand-daughter Beatrix, born on the 4th September 2015, will also be raised as a vegan by Kathryn.

Neil Robinson

Athletics in the Spotlight: Low-Carb vs. High-Carb

The right choices at the dinner table make a winning difference in both strength and endurance for top athletes, and the same nutritional rules are true for every other human being. To be our best, we all must eat our best.

In nature there is an ideal diet for each kind of animal: cats devour meat, koala bears eat eucalyptus leaves, and panda bears thrive on bamboo shoots. People also have an ideal diet to look and feel their best and function optimally. However, in our Internet-connected world, correct nutritional information can be hard to recognize with so many conflicting recommendations. Headlines show highly visible athletes choosing polar ends of nutrition: high-carbohydrate (grains, legumes, and potatoes) vs. low-carbohydrate (meat, cheese, and eggs) for winning their events.

Building Your Own High-Performance Athletic Body

Carl Lewis, the world’s fastest man, is my biggest claim to fame for an athlete who follows the McDougall Diet. (Not too shabby, huh.) He set the world record for the 100-meter dash, won two gold medals, and had the best long-jump series of his career (29 feet three times – these are considered the best series of jumps of all times) while following the McDougall diet.1 I met Carl Lewis in 1990 in Minneapolis one morning while we were both appearing on a TV talk show. He told me he was frustrated because all previous eating plans had either caused him to become overweight or left him too weak to compete and win (these were mostly low-calorie, portion-control diets). Shortly afterwards he began eating our recommended low-fat, pure-vegetarian diet and his dilemma was resolved. Yes, he discovered there IS a diet that would allow him to look, feel, function, and perform at his best without ever being hungry – shouldn’t that be the way for all of us?


In the introduction to his new cookbook “Very Vegetarian” (written by Jannequin Bennet – Rutledge Hill Press — released in 2001), he says, “In fact, my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet.” He continued, “Dr. McDougall challenged me to make a commitment to eating a vegetarian diet and then to just do it.” Thousands of other world-class athletes have learned to follow a near-vegetarian diet simply because they have no other choice if they want to join the winners’ circle. By the nature of the foods, a winning athlete must eat mostly plants to obtain high-octane fuel (carbohydrate).

McDougall Success Story
Lex Frazure: “I Thought My Life Was Over.”

Just a little over two years ago, I thought that my life as I had known it was over; I was fat and sick at 52 before going on a whole foods, plant-based diet. I’m 5’7½” and weighed 210 pounds. My body was wracked with diabetes, chronic heartburn, extremely high blood pressure, numbness in my left arm and leg, and heart disease so bad that after an EKG at 50, the doctor asked me when the last time I had a heart attack was. I couldn’t recall having one. I told her I was going to exercise, and she told me that without further tests, that if I exercised I could die. I knew it was possible, my grandfather died at 49 from heart disease. I spit up blood almost every day from gum disease, my breath was putrid, and I had an enlarged prostate (or symptoms related to diabetes, I’m not sure which) that had me up three to five times a night. I can’t explain how frustrating and painful that was. I also suffered from terrifying sleep apnea; I snored so loudly my throat was constantly raw. After getting lens implants in my eyes and lying on my back for six weeks is when diabetes fully hit me. During that time I foolhardily went on an Atkins/Paleo diet that a friend swore by and went from 190 to 210 pounds. That’s when other diabetic ailments started to snowball. I had pain in almost every part of my body, neck, back, shoulders, elbows, knees, arthritic symptoms everywhere, it was unbelievably painful getting out of bed, cars and chairs, and I started encountering minor vision problems from damaged retinas. One of the last diabetic symptoms to hit was the stinging needles of neuropathy in my feet. It was such a painful every day existence that I feared growing old more than death.

I knew something had to be done. But what? I would have never imagined that this could happen to me. I thought I knew about health. From the age of 30 to 35 I had been a personal trainer with classes in Sports Medicine at NMSU, which included human nutrition, sports nutrition, exercise physiology, kinesiology, and advanced weight lifting theory technique and practice. In 1994 and 1995 I won two NPC Mid USA lightweight bodybuilding contests, without the use of anabolic steroids. Whey protein was my only supplement. A lot of my calories came from whole foods (20 to 40%) with no more than 10 to 30% of my calories coming from fat. I ate chicken breasts, tuna, and skim milk mixed with whey as my main protein sources. I looked like that picture for five and a half years, but was hungry most of the time. It was such a struggle, that I knew it would be hard to stay on long term. That’s when my weight started to fluctuate.

From my 30’s to late 40’s, my weight started to become an issue, increasing to 190 pounds as in the picture. I would then increase my exercise duration, frequency, and intensity. In doing so, within 6 to 8 weeks I could drop 10 to 20 pounds and most of my metabolic symptoms would be alleviated. But as I started to get in my later 40’s, losing the weight became increasingly difficult. By the time I reached 50 it got much worse, the more I exercised, the more animal protein I would consume. I would come home from exercising and within 20 to 30 minutes every joint in my body became so inflamed that my whole body would just freeze up. After talking to some doctors and nurses, my future looked bleak. I was being told that heart surgery with stints was a real possibility and that with the diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, I would likely be on at least five medications for life. Out of the four medical professionals, they all said that my diabetes was incurable because of how far it had progressed. I knew that was wrong, as I had clients with similar symptoms of type 2 diabetes that reversed theirs by simply losing weight and cutting most of the fat and processed foods. So I decided to do as much research as possible.

Previously, the only research that I felt was relevant came from medical websites, such as Web MD and others. I took a break from my research, and decided to watch Netflix. I saw a documentary called Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. I said, “Wow!” That describes me perfectly. Then Netflix suggested Forks Over Knives. I was astounded to see all of those people reversing heart disease, diabetes, etc. The last documentary I watched was Food Matters. Now I was totally convinced. In just four hours of watching Netflix, I had more fact-based, believable nutrition knowledge from doctors like Caldwell Esselstyn, T. Colin Campbell, and John McDougall than I did with two semesters of nutrition in Sports Medicine and many hours of Web MD and their ilk.
I attacked this new diet and lifestyle with gusto; the results were very dramatic and immediate. First I emptied the house of all processed foods and animal products. Then I bought a juicer and stocked up on whole foods, mostly fruits and vegetables with minimal starches (I had not been to McDougall’s website yet).

Day 1: the first time in years that I didn’t have heartburn. My acid reflux was so bad that I could eat a whole roll of Tums or Rolaids and most of the time not even put a dent in the problem. I would have to resort to eating baking soda. I’d tip the box up, take in about a tablespoon and swish a little water around in my mouth. To hell with the glass and stirring it up I wanted relief immediately. Just for that, the diet would be worth it. Two and a half years later not one case of heartburn.

By day 4, the neuropathy in my feet was gone! It was like a miracle, I could stand without pain again. Most of my arthritic symptoms and pain were no longer a problem. The bathroom trips were down from three to five times a night to one to three. I no longer had the reek of excess sulfur exuding from my skin and lungs making me stink up the place. By the end of the third week almost everything that was wrong with me was healed! I’ve never again felt numbness in my left arm and leg. When I did aerobic exercise, I could feel how much easier it was to breathe. I reversed my gum disease and my dandruff disappeared. Before this whole foods, plant-based diet, I thought I never really had a problem with constipation. I thought everybody had to grunt to evacuate the bowels. I eat so much fiber now that I have a minimum of three bowel movements a day, no grunting involved.

My first six weeks on a plant-based diet consisted of juicing and raw foods. My body healed so fast on a raw food diet that I thought I had found the elixir of life and chronic disease relief. I had dropped at least 25 pounds, my blood pressure would average 110 over 70, and a stigmatism that I was left with after the lens implants was gone. Now I recover faster from workouts at 55 than at any time of my life. As a teen I never felt so good, because even back then heartburn was an everyday thing. But something was wrong. I was starving to death. No matter how many fruits, vegetables, smoothies, or juice I put in my mouth I was constantly hungry. I just couldn’t see myself sticking to this diet. Then I found Dr. John McDougall.

During my research I tried to avoid Dr. McDougall as much as possible, he was saying crazy things, such as eat potatoes and rice. How was I going to lose weight eating all that sugar? When I first went to Dr. McDougall’s website, I was very skeptical. Then I watched the starch solution. Everything that he said made sense. That without starches hunger would be my constant companion. In the following four days, I read almost every blog and watched every single one of his videos, from the McDougall moments to the lectures. Since then I have never been so satisfied with a diet. I eat anything and everything I want as long as it’s whole foods, centering my meals on starch. My wife has been incredible. We feast every day; I never thought that excluding meats and dairy could be so delicious. She has become so creative, that I can’t wait to see what combination of yummy plants she will come up with next. She adopted the diet because she doesn’t like the suffering of animals and wants to help save the planet. My reason was selfish, I just wanted to feel good again. I had been a hunter most of my life. Now I can’t even walk down the meat department aisle without being repulsed by the death. I respect life so much more now. The last two and a half years have been the starchivore lifestyle for us.

Old injuries that I thought would never heal, healed themselves. It took about year and a half on the diet for a tailbone to heal that had been injured in a motocross race when I was sixteen. For almost 40 years I could never drive over a 100 miles without a big soft pillow under my rear. Never needed a pillow since. I had incurred a bad hip pointer injury from playing high school football when I was 15. Many times doing lunges the last 35 years, a searing pain would shoot down my left quad. I had an injured rotator cuff that made it almost impossible to sleep on my side for 25 years. It took almost two years of going without animal products or processed foods for that to heal.

Other members of my family and friends have also benefited greatly from Dr. McDougall’s advice. My sister used to call my 75 year old father shuffles because he used to have a hard time getting around. But now at 77 he lost 55 pounds in the first six months, got rid of his psoriasis, bleeding gums, and his frequent bouts of gout. He can run up and down a basketball court for an hour without any problems. No more shuffles! Another friend reversed his heart disease and diabetes, lost over 80 pounds in less than a year and is off his meds now. So many successes. Because of you and other doctors like yourself, my friends, family and I will enjoy so many more years of not just life but a high quality of life. Thanks so much, I will make up for all the animals I killed by bringing as many people as I can to your website. Thanks again for saving my life!

Lex Frazure


Beware of Interventional Cardiologists (Heart Surgeons)

On March 16, 2015, during the hours following the McDougall Advanced Study Weekend I developed a viral infection that affected my inner ears. I totally lost my hearing, my balance was disturbed, and I became very weak. At about midnight I walked to the bathroom, lost all control of my muscles, fell down to the floor onto my buttocks, and was unconsciousness for a few minutes. I woke with severe pain. With Mary’s help I managed to return to bed. She wanted to call an ambulance, but I refused. I knew what could happen. I would be taken to the hospital, x-rayed, and found to have fractures of my lower vertebrae, pelvis, and a spiral fracture of my left femur (I knew this by the way I felt). Treatments of my fractures, including surgery may have been planned. But that was a minor concern of mine. I was afraid of what else might happen to me once under medical care.


“My Hands Were Crippled With Arthritis.”

Syd from ScotlandI live in the Highlands of Scotland with my Californian wife Rhonda. For the last ten years plus I suffered with ever increasingly painful arthritis in both wrists, with swellings at the bottom thumb joints, and on the other side of the wrists. It was very painful and increasingly debilitating, culminating about five to six months ago in severe pain day and night. I couldn’t sleep because no restful hand position was comfortable. I was unable to use my computer (used to work from home) for extended periods without so much pain that I had to stop and soak my hands and wrists in hot water as the only relief. It was so painful that every single task, down to using a towel after a shower, had to be thought about and worked out beforehand to cope with the pain. I had a garage full of tools that I couldn’t use anymore and over $150 worth of wrist supports, just to get a little sleep. I honestly thought my life, as far as being able to use my hands at all, was over. And I am not kidding! I was in permanent pain.

A friend in South Africa emailed me with two of your videos and my wife and I were sold. We were already kind of aware of the misinformation told everywhere and were trying to ‘eat healthy’ but your informational videos blew us away and exposed all the myths and lies about food in general – not forgetting the information on a starch based diet. We went immediately onto a plant-based diet with NO animal products whatsoever.

I told you above that I have suffered for ten years and more – well, within TEN DAYS, my wrists started to get better and I stopped wearing braces of any kind. Within a few weeks, the pain in my wrists was 95% gone.

My friend wrote the original email to me on February 10th, 2016. Today is May 2nd, 2016 and in these few months, your information has absolutely transformed our lives. (As have the wonderful recipes on your site. I never ate better!) My wrists are no longer swollen, and I have no pain. We both have more energy and feel many other benefits. When my wife read that she could eat starchy foods and lose weight, she said if this works after all the years of being told exactly the opposite, I’ll be amazed. Well, she has lost 10 lbs and does not exercise. I have also lost 9 lbs (and I do exercise ;-).

I cannot begin to tell you what this has meant to me. My wife feels the same way. The icing on the cake was when my wife wrote last week for advice about her twin sister’s skin condition. We didn’t really expect an answer, but the NEXT DAY, Mary McDougall wrote back to her with help and suggestions.

Dr. John and Mary – you are the real deal. We thank you sincerely. We have not spent one red cent with you, and yet you freely and without any thought of personal gain, have completely changed our lives for good.