The Healthiest Spiritual Diet in the World with Dr. John McDougall

In the ever-evolving journey of life, we often find ourselves seeking the most nourishing path to health and well-being. On today’s episode, we welcome the esteemed Dr. John McDougall, a board-certified internist whose dedication to plant-based nutrition has revolutionized the way many approach their diet and health. Dr. McDougall’s journey began in the mid-1970s when he served as a sugar plantation doctor in Hawaii, an experience that profoundly shaped his medical philosophy.

Before delving into the depths of plant-based nutrition, Dr. McDougall had a revelation during his time in Hawaii. He observed the health disparities among generations of plantation workers from different ethnic backgrounds. The first-generation workers, who adhered to their traditional diets rich in rice and vegetables, were remarkably healthy. In stark contrast, their descendants, who adopted Western eating habits, exhibited significant health issues. This epiphany led Dr. McDougall to conclude that diet plays a crucial role in chronic diseases, prompting him to champion a starch-based diet.

In our conversation, Dr. McDougall passionately describes the foundation of his dietary recommendations. He emphasizes that traditional diets, centered around starches like rice, potatoes, and corn, have sustained human populations for millennia. He asserts, “Up until 150 years ago, everyone on this planet lived on a starch-based diet, except for the kings and queens who were overweight and sick because they gave up starches and ate animals instead.” This insight underscores the importance of returning to these time-tested dietary practices for optimal health.


  1. The Power of Traditional Diets: Dr. McDougall advocates for a return to traditional, starch-based diets that have nourished civilizations for centuries. He points out that these diets are naturally low in fat and high in fiber, providing the essential nutrients needed for good health.
  2. Debunking Protein Myths: One of the most persistent misconceptions about plant-based diets is the fear of protein deficiency. Dr. McDougall clarifies, “You have never met anyone who suffered from protein deficiency. It doesn’t exist.” He emphasizes that plant-based foods provide adequate protein for human needs, debunking the myth that animal products are necessary for protein intake.
  3. Environmental Impact: Beyond personal health, Dr. McDougall highlights the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. He notes that animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and that by adopting a plant-based diet, individuals can significantly reduce their carbon footprint.

Dr. McDougall’s insights extend beyond dietary recommendations. He passionately addresses the broader implications of our food choices on global health and the environment. His commitment to educating others about the benefits of plant-based nutrition is evident in his efforts to promote legislative change. Despite facing significant resistance, he successfully advocated for California’s SB 380, a bill mandating nutrition education in hospitals and medical schools.

In this profound conversation, Dr. John McDougall also tackles common misconceptions about plant-based diets. He debunks the fear of lectins, explaining that these plant compounds are part of a plant’s natural defense system and not a cause for concern. He also addresses the importance of avoiding processed foods and oils, emphasizing whole, unprocessed plant foods for optimal health.

Dr. McDougall’s work is not just about diet; it’s a mission to empower individuals with knowledge and tools to make healthier choices. His efforts have culminated in numerous books, including “The Starch Solution,” and a wealth of resources available on his website. Through his ongoing advocacy and telemedicine practice, he continues to inspire and guide countless individuals towards better health.

In conclusion, the journey of Dr. John McDougall offers invaluable lessons on the power of diet in shaping our health and the health of our planet. By embracing traditional starch-based diets, debunking protein myths, and understanding the environmental impact of our food choices, we can take meaningful steps towards a healthier future.

Please enjoy my conversation with Dr. John McDougall.

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Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 054

Alex Ferrari 0:06
I like to welcome show Dr. John McDougall. How you doin' John?

Dr. John McDougall 2:08
Hey, I'm doing really good. Yeah!

Alex Ferrari 2:11
Thank you so much for coming on the show. I've I've been a fan of yours ever since I saw you so many years ago in a very instrumental documentary that kind of changed my life, which was Forks Over Knives, which is one of the first documentaries that came out talking about a plant based diets and the science behind it, and so on. And after I saw that documentary, it started me down the path, but I know you'd been talking about it a few years prior to that movie. So how did you get started on your plant based journey?

Dr. John McDougall 2:43
Well, 1977 I would date, you know, my efforts. And that's when I was finishing up my residency. I'm a board certified medical doctor, board certified internist. And I just gone through an amazing experience. I was a sugar plantation doctor on the Big Island of Hawaii, changed my life. After my, my internship, Mary and I decided we were going to spend some more time in Hawaii. And so we went to the Big Island. And I worked as a sugar plantation doctor, which doesn't mean anything to any of you. I know. But my job was to take care of 5000 people who worked on the sugar plantation. Now I did everything for him. I caught their babies. I pronounced him dead in the middle of the night. I did brain surgery on him when it was necessary. It basically everything taught me a couple things. One, it taught me what a lousy doctor I was. Because my patients didn't get better those with chronic disease, they did not get better, just like every doctors, patients with chronic diseases. Now those with obesity, high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease, diabetes. Now, doctors these days, they just kind of manage the problem. And that's, that's almost 45 years later. But I discovered that when you manage disease, you get lousy results. You have sick people who get a bunch of excuses and handful of pills and what's not good operated on. I didn't feel good about being that kind of doctor. I couldn't see any real change in my patients. I spent three years watching watching people I knew they should get better. You know, I'd watch Ben Casey Dr. Kildare and Marcus Welby. I know what a real doctor is supposed to do, and I wasn't doing it. The other experience I had during this three years as sugar plantation Doctor between all let's see it was between 1973 and 1976 is I was able to take care of people who ate differently. I was taking care of first, second, third and fourth generation Filipinos, Japanese Chinese Koreans. And these people don't come in from the first generation what they were as people that learned a starch based diet a diet of rice in most cases, when they lived in their native land of the Philippines, China Japan and Korea. That's what they learned when they were kids. And then they moved to the Big Island of Hawaii and started to a new life on a sugar plantation. And they kept their diet of rice and vegetables. They were remarkable and their health and their longevity and their kids who were born in Hawaii, second generation. They were influenced by western eating patterns. And we had Texas driving the home of the Malasadas. right up the street from our plantation. First McDonald's came to Hilo, Hawaii back in about 1974. I was one of their first best customers, by the way. Anyway, people were influenced my patients were influenced. And here you have a situation where you're looking at the same genetics, the same kind of work they've been doing for 100 years. And the only thing that changed is their food. In my second generation got more of a weight more sick. By the time I got to the third generation, I was looking at some of the fattest sickest people on the planet, because enthusiastically picked up the Western diet. So after three years of sugar plantation doctor, I went back into training became a board certified internist. And I practice standard medical care for patients for the next few years. You know, I had to put food on the table, I had to make a living. But eventually, I got to a point in about 1985, where I no longer had to do that I could just dedicate my my life as a doctor to help people get better by fixing the problem, which is the food. And so that's the practice. I started in about 95. And I've continued that up until recently, I went back into training, as I mentioned, I became a board certified internist. So I know everything the other intern of snow, and set up a practice and did very well got a big reputation in Hawaii and started writing books. And pretty soon I got an invitation from St. Louis hospital in the Napa Valley to come and had one of their programs on diet and lifestyle. They're a Seventh Day Adventist Hospital. So I was welcomed there. And I spent 16 years taking care of over 3000 people by changing their diet, taking them off pills, you know, getting well. And then I left St. Louis in a hospital under good terms. And I moved to Santa Rosa, California, which is where my home was just a valley over from the Napa Valley. And there I set up a resort based practice, which I ran for 18 years, where people came from all over the world, I had a chance to personally take care of more than 3000 people in this setting. And then as life changed for so many people, then we had the the COVID epidemic, the COVID 19 epidemic come and change our lives back in 2020. And I can no longer run a live in program people couldn't travel, the resort closed. I mean, I was in big, big trouble as far as a business model goes. And what I did is I adapted to the circumstances and I set up the most effective practice that I've ever even imagined. I set up a telemedicine telehealth practice where we were able to take people from China to Korea, South America, all over the world and deliver for them medical care, enough medical care for them to get off their drugs. And to teach them and to watch them give them support. And we run a 12 day 12 Day internet based program. And it's more effective than any of the programs I've ever run before we get better results with people. everybody's happier, the cost was reduced by about two thirds. And so if you wanna learn about the program, you can go to my website, which is Dr. But that's that's how I began with the the onset of climate change, which has been since 2006 When Al Gore told us that we were burning in help by the activities we're doing. And as a 2004, I had my first grandchild and so that came out in 2006 Al Gore's proclamation, but he didn't mention anything about diet. He didn't mention that anger, animal agriculture made the biggest contribution. Correct. But the the FAO of the United Nations, they didn't make a statement in that same year 2006. They wrote livestocks long shadow where they said that 18% of greenhouse gases come from animal agriculture. And they compared it to all transportation, which was fewer than 14%. So it kind of woke people up. And then we had the Worldwatch Institute that took their data. You know, it's a 400 page report, the livestocks launch shadow, and they took their data and they reworked it includes things that should have been included. And they estimated that 51% At least 51% of the greenhouse gases were from animal animal agriculture. Now, since there has been estimates as high as 87% are due to animal agriculture, 87% of the greenhouse, Planet warming gases. And anyway, I've dedicated myself ever since then to trying to get people aware and dedicated instead of my life to, you know, the usual run of mill average, overweight, sick patient, I took on as, as well, more so every day, I took on a new patient, and a new patient is playing on Earth, I hope to make a contribution just like I did in nutrition, no doctor's practice different than they did before my time. I like to think that I made a contribution to the the more modern way of practice and understand that diet is the cause of our most of our diseases. And with a switch to a simple change to a traditional diet, and I talked about us traditional diet these days, so that we get as many people involved as possible. I don't talk about it as a vegan diet, but as I don't talk about as the McDougal diet, but it is, I talk about it as a traditional diet. So that people at home with grandma and grandpa and certainly a heritage can relate to what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the die in the grandma and grandpa's still eat. If they're from Asia, they eat a diet based on rice, probably. If they're from South America, say the Andes, they their ancestors lived and still live today on potatoes.

Alex Ferrari 11:40
Well, so let me ask you a question. Because you have a book called The starch solution. You know, we've been in the West told that starches are bad, and you shouldn't eat so many, because you're gonna get too many carbs and so on and so forth. What is because, I mean, I've, I've, I in many people on the show know, I'm plant based, and I've been for almost a decade over a decade now. And it really has changed my health outlook and things like that. But you know, even within the plant based diet, they're still unhealthy. vegans who are just started terrariums, quote, unquote, start to dairy, and we're just eating pasta and like Oreo cookies are vegan.

Dr. John McDougall 12:23
There's a lot of misinformation. Exactly a chapter in that book, The starch solution called the fat vegan. Yeah, it's a chapter that was designed to call people who are already concerned about diet, animal rights and the planet to call them to action. The problem is, is the way they look their personal appearances getting in the way of their ability to communicate. And so you know, my effort bringing out the fat vegan has been very positive, not no, no negative response. So yeah, you're right. But the idea that starches are fat, and he flies in the face of everything we know. Okay, like, for example, I started talking to you about traditional diets. The Aztecs and Mayans, they were known as the people of a corn excuse me corn as a starch, the Native Americans, at least 12,000 years ago, in the southwest United States, the Native Americans were living on corn. You know, as I mentioned, Incas lived on potatoes. What we're focusing on now, in terms of the planet is a place called Ukraine. We have been focusing on Iran, Iraq and Egypt. I used to be known as the breadbasket of the world, excuse me, you know, up until, say, 50, or at most 150 years ago, everybody who walked this planet lived on a starch based diet, except for kings and queens and aristocrats who were fat, overweight, sick, because they gave up the starches, instead, fed them to animals, and then ate the animals. And as of course, what's happened to the world? In the last 50 years, we've changed from a planet where undernutrition was the problem to a planet where over nutrition is the problem and

Alex Ferrari 14:07
But wouldn't that, wouldn't it? So I understand what you're saying. But all those examples are of people who moved a lot. I mean, their every day, they were constantly moving, constantly exercising. So in a sedentary lifestyle that we unfortunately, many of us live, what you know, has to be a balance as well. Correct?

Dr. John McDougall 14:28
Let's think about the priests. The teachers, sure. I mean, not everybody moved a lot, okay. A lot of people move just like we do. And there were no overweight people none period zero until they change to a rich diet. So your observation, I would say, is one that leads people to, to overlook the importance of diet. They say, Well, it's, you know, it's probably something that was probably genetics and oh, no, maybe it's maybe it maybe it's, they didn't get enough exercise. Or excuse me, I The number of overweight people out there trying to solve the problem by by walking or running is on the wall. And they're not solving it. All you have to do is fix the food. And I don't care how much you exercise, you'll get to turn body weight.

Alex Ferrari 15:12
So let me ask you a question. What are some misconceptions of plant based diets? Because, of course, the question I get asked all the time, the protein, where are you going to get oh, Mike, where are you going to get the protein? I tell people, I just go out on my front yard and I graze. That's generally how I eat and they start laughing. I goes because at a certain point, it gets so ridiculous about protein, there's protein and pretty much everything. I'm not protein, lack of protein over the last 10 years,

Dr. John McDougall 15:40
You have never nor has any of your listening audience ever met a person who suffered from protein deficiency, it doesn't exist, right? In the entire world history. It doesn't exist. It doesn't exist today. So you can start there by misinformation. You could also go on to something I'm sure you would have told me about in just a minute. The fact that the biggest animals in the world live on plant based diets, elephants, hippopotamuses, you know, if you if you can grow an elephant, on grasses, and whatever they eat, you can grow a puny little human being I always think, anyway, of all all the nutrients that I could pick up. Now there's the misinformation, boss starches, we just got into, of all the misinformation, all the harm done to people and the planet. It's a myth that protein is the most important nutrient. You know, my parents believed that they believed that all they had to do is make sure that their children got enough calcium and protein. And so we had a lot of meat, a lot of dairy, etc. To keep us from being protein or humans from being nutrient deficient. Even though there's no such thing as calcium deficient. There's no such thing as protein deficiency. Because of the education from industry, they were misguided. And they taught me. They taught me a diet that again, changed my life, it was in a different way. I was a very sickly young man and child. I had terrible stomach pains, terrible constipation. I was at the last of the pack when it came to running. And when I was 18 years old, I had a massive stroke. And still today, I walk around with a limp 55 years later. So that opened my eyes as far as the correct diet goes, and then I had the fortune of that pan plantation experience. So you know, I've earned the right to talk to people what a bad diet when focused on protein and calcium due to them I've suffered. But here I am. I'm in my mid 70s now. And alive and well. But I was almost dead at 18 and 30. If I had corrected my, my mystery form days.

Alex Ferrari 17:47
Well, right now I've heard there's been so much talk. Now that's something that's coming into the zeitgeist is the importance of the microbiome, and the gut health that really most of our health comes from a healthy gut. If you have a sick gut, immune system goes down everything. The plant based diet is a perfect diet for a healthy microbe. That's the bottom line. Bottom line with eating of vegetables and eating of, of greens and things. It just creates a perfect really great microbiome correct?

Dr. John McDougall 18:17
Absolutely! Bad bacteria that promote cancer and heart disease and all kinds of different human problems. bad bacteria love to eat meat. And they love to eat dairy products. And so what you feed them depends on which ones grow healthy bacteria, which are coliforms. They love to eat Starks, they love sugar, just like human beings love sugar. So they just change your diet, and then you always fix the problem of the microbiome, the bacteria in your bottle, it always happens because you stop feeding you so stop feeding the bad bacteria feed the good ones, and they hang around. Now, there's an interesting subpopulation that that this whole microbiome issues focusing on and that's the rural Africans. And the rural Africans are known as a population and I've talked about them extensively. As people had no heart disease, no, no diabetes, no, no breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, no hemorrhoids, up until they learned the Western diet up until about 1980 when everything changed, and there are still some rural Africans around and what they've been doing is studying the the poop of Africans and I can just see someday soon they're going to be selling you African poop as the solution to the problem and little pills. Well, that's that may be fine for you know, a few days but they're gonna stop growing. Unless you feed them right. You got to feed them the Africa diet so they stick around and the Africans lived on a starch based diet. You know, root vegetables and millet you know, these days corn was a big part of their diet. So it all comes down to when it comes down to it very simple. There are a couple a couple of things that I try and teach my patients as I still teach patients. One is there to food poisons. And I don't want to make it complicated for them that's to food poisons that they have to give up to save themselves. And those food poisons our animals. No animal tales, animal ears, animal lips, animal butts, whatever. And the secretion of animals, milk, cheese, etc. So here you have one category of poisoning that you can easily identify. And the other category of poisoning is oil free oil, something that doesn't occur in nature. It occurs naturally in the food and then it's safe. But if you put it in a bottle and you call it safflower oil, corn oil, flaxseed oil, it's toxic. You know, it really is one of the most poisonous things we've come in contact with. So you got two food poisons and unfortunately, most of your audience now they go there's nothing left to eat. That's all I eat animals and oils. Well there is I have to open your world to starch so that you have an understanding about what to eat. You go wow, starch. Well, I was told starches are bad for me. I love starch. And I see I see a plate of spaghetti with marinara sauce over it. Oh, I go comfort food are the appealing foods with color, texture, flavor aroma. They're your starches, vegetables and fruits. You can't get you people eat animals unless you cook them to throw a lot of salt on them or sugar on them or cover them up with steak sauce. Otherwise, if they're unpalatable, for a simple reason that is that they're not the food for people. But naturally you you're attracted to sweet potatoes, potatoes, bread, pasta, corn, because that's your food industry is lying to that's plain and simple. Why are they lying to you because they want to make money just like every other human being does. They want to make money. So what they do is they they do something called unique positioning. They tell you something that's unique about their products or you're buying into it whether it's turn up, like for example, when I say protein, you say meat or maybe eggs and I say calcium now they educated you your your reflux your responses to dairy products. I say omega three fats. Think fish, you say fish. I mean, I've already told you there's no such thing as protein or calcium deficiency ever report in the world literature. And no fish has ever made an Omega three fat just can't do it. Only plants can desaturated the carbon three position. So you know, we live we live with so many bits of information that are just plain lies. But you know, innocent lies in the sense of all they're trying to do sell you more cheese and meat and fish and so on.

Alex Ferrari 23:06
And they don't really care too much about your health.

Dr. John McDougall 23:11
You know, it's not a conspiracy. No, of course, because it was a conspiracy they would they whisper in their wife's ear or their child's ear. Don't listen to what I'm saying. Right? They save their own families and their own families are just as fat just as sick as the rest of us. They're dying at rapid rates, government officials, dieticians, doctors, people in farmyards they don't explain simple don't know. And so it's not a conspiracy. It's just making money. That's it. That's what people do they make money.

Alex Ferrari 23:40
Now there's a there's a of you, I'm assuming you've heard of things called lectins in the creation of leaky bucket, a leaky gut, leaky leaky gut. What are the foods that create those lectins is that something we should worry about?

Dr. John McDougall 23:55
There's nothing you should worry about lectins are a part of the plant process so that they defend themselves against various various enemies, microbes, funguses etc. So it's part of the defense mechanism of plants. And the idea that you have to be afraid of lectins is an idea that is created which is you know, maybe based on a couple of crackpot theories that people have cherry picked to death and sold a few books about but it doesn't get away from the basic facts is people are star cheaters always have and always will be starches are lectins are in like beans and grains and so on. Don't you know you'll find a new theory every week is intended to sell books sell food products, and people like to hear these new theories. So Aha, finally I figured out why I'm sick and overweight. This this new miracle idea. Well, you know, excuse me, if you stretch it, you can open your eyes just a minute. Like I had a chance to do as a sugar plantation doctor you see that? You will populations of people around the world are throughout history who lived on starch based diets. Always trim.

Alex Ferrari 25:08
That's the thing. I was wondering because I mean, I know that the Chinese I mean, the white rice. Yeah, in every meal, it's then apparently white rice is the bad is bad for you because it's not hold gold green rise, and we're gonna roll around because

Dr. John McDougall 25:21
Again, it's a distraction. Sure, brown rice is better, let's let's face it, it's better. But the Asian eats white rice, because that's what clean people do dirty people eat brown rice, or social thing. Before 1980. In China, there was virtually no overweight problems and no type two diabetes. Today in China reported in two thirds 2013 and many other recent articles. 12% of the population of China is frankly, diabetic and half are pre diabetic. That's what's happened since 1980. In the last 40 plus years, because of the Western diet. Well, yeah, you know, we have we have Cable News Network and everybody wants to be like an American, we have transportation systems that allow us to sell our poisons all over the world. And but believe me, you know, people around the world they've listened carefully. And you can see it in the way that people look at your traditionally you think about, about Hispanic people, the interim and hardworking and healthy and boy, boy, some of the worst cases of diabetes are among this population of people. There was a time that blacks were, you know, the hardworking people toiled in the fields, always try. But they learned the Western diet, and you know, they have some of the highest rates of prostate cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, breast cancer,

Alex Ferrari 26:44
Latinos is what led to me Latino and Latinos as well. I was raised with black beans, white rice,

Dr. John McDougall 26:49
Right! grandpa was

Alex Ferrari 26:54
Grandpa was not a big man. But Grandpa was a strong, very, very strong man. And at the end towards the last 15 20 years, he barely ate any meat because his stomach couldn't handle it anymore. Couldn't process it. After all the abuse that he might have had with me early on in his life. Are you familiar with it? I'm assuming you're familiar with the China Study?

Dr. John McDougall 27:14
Oh, yeah. T Colin Campbell is a good friend of mine.

Alex Ferrari 27:17
Can you? Can you talk about that a little bit?

Dr. John McDougall 27:20
Sure. I can. T Colin Campbell. He wrote a book called The China Study, which was declared by the New York Times to be the best epidemiologic to ever done still stands that way today. What T Colin Campbell did with his research group, and the cooperation of the Chinese government, is he looked around at various populations of people in China, and found that they ate quite a bit differently. Some ate a diet of 40% fat at the other extreme day to diet with no added fat and about 7% fat. But what he found was there was a straight line correlation between the foods people eat, specifically the fat they eat, and their chance of getting diabetes, or breast cancer or heart disease. And so Dr. Campbell has, has made he there are many other things that man has done to cause him fame that he deserves, but the China Study is only one of them. And he's been out there on the road, trying to tell people the truth. And the truth is, is the Chinese used to be really healthy. They had the other problems, you had sanitation problems. Sure, you know, the had accidents and no hospitals and but we don't have we don't have to give up all the advantages that we've discovered through technology. You know, like hospital systems, sanitation and antibiotics. We don't have to give those up. But all we have to do if we want the all the health we deserve, so we have to add old knowledge back to what we're doing. And that is old knowledge, I can take you back 1000s of years. Old knowledge says when you eat the diet of aristocrats because back sauces, years, the aristocrats were obese, they had gotten their feet, they had diabetes. They had birth defects related to eating all that meat. You know, it's all knowledge. But it's easily forgotten when you have billions of dollars of advertisements on your television and radio that tell you that we finally figured it out. You just need to eat a lot of protein. But sir, I've never seen a case of protein deficiency. Why No, but you still need to eat a lot of protein. Why? Because that's what we sell.

Alex Ferrari 29:23
So can you talk a little bit about processed foods versus non processed foods?

Dr. John McDougall 29:27
Well, yes, I think, you know, this, this opens a big category. When you switch from brown rice to white rice. It's not it's not a deal breaker. It's not ideal. So that must process this seems to work. Okay. I mean, as I say, there are 2 billion Asians who up until 1980 were really strong and healthy on white rice. So that's a level of process and then you get a level of processing where, you know, they just change everything. Throw a bunch of oil in the food, a bunch of animals in the food and so on. Nobody wants to share Again, I'm not trying to eat sugars health food, it's not but it's not one of the major poisons. So better to have unprocessed food. Well, okay, well should you eat raw raw food? That's, that's the ultimate and unprocessed. No, you shouldn't the human being is a cook starch eater. So if we go from that we go from cook starches to, to adulterating these cook starches and you run into more and more problems. But again, I didn't list lack of fiber, or the addition of sugar or salt to the to food poisons, that you have to recognize and get out of your life. Those two food boys are animal foods and free oils. And what you need to add back is starch by prefer you add back unprocessed starch, you're gonna have to do better. But you know a little bit of damage to the food goes a long way the human being is tough. It's not about how tired resent the human being is. I think about a lot, particularly my younger years. I've tested it, you know, the human being will put up with two packs of cigarettes a day, a third of a bottle of whiskey a day. And hot dogs wrapped in bacon every day. I tested it. I'm alive. So you know, small indiscretions are not a big deal. You need to get the major things fixed. You know, not that you should go on to bad habits. I hope nobody misunderstands.

Alex Ferrari 31:27
There's also there's also genetics there, too. I saw this on documentary this guy was 110 or 105. And he was smoking and drinking. He's like, don't do what I do. And he was,

Dr. John McDougall 31:37
You know, people love to hear those stories. Of course, your good news about their bad habits. Of course, of course, but that's not the case. Well, likely, I'll tell you what I found is these people who do smoke cigarettes, they don't smoke. Many are inhale them. They're like my great grandma lived to be 106. She'd have wine, but just on Christmas. Yeah. When she'd eat the rich Western diet, I remember a time we spent together she sent me out for a burger. And I came home with this burger, you know where it came from? It was wrapped in a yellow paper. And she cut it in quarters. Now she was always worried about me growing up because she thought I ate too much meat. On this particular incidence when we were together, she was 103. And she took she took that hamper or one quarter of and shook it in my face. She said you know Johnny, if you eat more meat, you'd be healthier. And then she proceeded to eat two halves and put the rest away. For later Good grief at that same restaurant already to two double cheeseburgers a couple shakes, order fries. So moderation plays in a lot when you're talking about people who seem to escape. The obvious, is they certainly don't eat like I did.

Alex Ferrari 32:54
Well, now I have to ask, why don't doctors recommend plant based diets more than they do? Because most of them are? I mean, if you know better than I do, most doctors are taught to prescribe medicines and cut you open. They don't talk about nutrition or anything like that. But in your opinion, why don't they do more of that?

Dr. John McDougall 33:15
Money. You know, this is how you make money as you you get a you get a flock of patients, school patients, a herd of patients, I get 500,000 patients gathered together and you get them hooked on drugs, blood pressure pills, diabetic pills, and so on haven't come back every one to three months for another ding in their pocketbook. It's an ideal situation, we're making lots of money. You know, hospitals stay open because they do things to people. pharmacies, likewise, they sell drugs. So there's nobody interested in you being healthy. It doesn't fit in with the economic model that they live by. You know, if you were seriously get healthy, I used to believe this was possibility. When I first discovered this, if you know the world became healthy, what would happen to the drug companies? Your doctor be driving a taxi cab? You know, it's the economics. It's just money. It's not a conspiracy. Nobody hates you. They just

Alex Ferrari 34:15
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And when you when anytime I've ever addressed certain doctors about diet or about plant based, they're always concerned, well, you should take you know, make sure you take your vitamin B12. And make sure you take you know omegas and things like that. I'm like, Yeah, but you I can do that.

Dr. John McDougall 34:32
Yeah, their knowledge. They have a little bit of knowledge, which is dangerous

Alex Ferrari 34:35
Just enough to be dangerous.

Dr. John McDougall 34:37
I tried to correct that. I got frustrated as I've gotten many times in my career. Sure. And so in the year 2011, I was very instrumental in writing a bill. It's called SB 380. And you can look it up SB 380, California. And this bill would require the 500 hospitals in California to have new time codes conferences on diet. It will require the 11 medical schools to teach their students about food, what is a human being eat? It was passed unanimously by both houses in the spring of 2011. And Jerry Brown, who was our governor at that time, he signed it into law September of 2011. So there's a real problem up there. But there's so much so much pushback that it really never became an effective bill,

Alex Ferrari 35:27
Even though it's even though it's law?

Dr. John McDougall 35:30
Yeah, even though it's law, I tell you, it's probably not worth going into the details. The California Medical Board, they were given the task of implementing the law. And so what they decided to do was by by including a small paragraph, every year and their newsletter, newsletter comes out about once a month, a small paragraph on nutrition that they answered the law and that's what they did. I got tired of fighting.

Alex Ferrari 36:00
Because again, it's not in the economics. It's not, it's not in the economics. Now what should people focus on organic more than not then a traditional?

Dr. John McDougall 36:11
Well, we encourage people to eat organic, we don't put a lot of emphasis on it because it just provides one more stumbling block. But Mary and I, we eat all organic food every chance we get, you know, at the very least we're helping the farm workers. And these these compounds. These pesticides are Dale phosphates and other chemicals, they cause cancer, and they promote cancer and they cause neurologic disease. They cause Parkinson's disease. If you look it up, you'll look up Parkinson's and and pesticides are organophosphates is what they are, you'll find, you know, maybe hundreds of articles about this. But they don't hit the viewers radar, because there's no reason to, I mean, what advertisement is going to put in the fact that when you eat up high on the food chain, you've taken a whole load of pesticides that will give you Parkinson's disease. Now as a marketing tool, buried information, it's just just again, money.

Alex Ferrari 37:09
Now, are there any plant based foods that we should avoid?

Dr. John McDougall 37:13
Let's see. Well, there are poisonous, like poison ivy, it thinks that you should die. Yeah, you pretty much can figure out what what are poisons were designed as far as being able to select on our environment. our taste buds are designed so that we avoid poisons. We have taste buds on the tip of the tongue for sugar, salt, and starch. But tastebuds for starch. And we have on the back of the tongue taste buds for bitter and sour. And that's the flavors of poisonous material hardened best medicines. So you have a way of guarding yourself against poisons that was built into your system millions of years ago.

Alex Ferrari 37:55
Fair enough. Now, I'm going to ask you a couple questions. I asked all of my guests What is your mission in this life?

Dr. John McDougall 38:04
Well, you know, I, my mission used to be to give patients a fair shake. You know, if you want to go and you take these powerful anti arthritis drugs that you choose to do yada, First, know that you could fix the problem by changing your diet, autoimmune diseases, you fix their cause by a healthy diet. You know, if you decide you want to have bypass surgery, you ought to at least first know that your problem is reversible. And you didn't know some of the hazards of bypass surgery and you didn't know that doesn't save lives. For example, that'd be a nice piece of information to have. So after being fully informed about standard medical care, the patient or the otter know that they can fix the problem by what they eat. This is proven over and over again through scientific research, which I've spent all my life trying to synthesize synthesize for you and put it together and various books and my website and newsletters I've sent out and opportunities like I have right now with you to talk to people. Now working with is not controversial. This is not a matter of it being a whole bunch of science that you can't figure out what's going on because it's so controversial. It's not controversial. It's just controversial because because the people like for example, the doctors, the scientists who are reading a paper that says this says eating this food will cause heart disease and cancer. And the doctor the scientist says, as he or she shovels, bacon and eggs in their mouth, they say I'm confused. They can't see beyond their own dinner plate. That's the problem.

Alex Ferrari 39:42
Well, where can people find out more about your work and your books and what everything you're doing?

Dr. John McDougall 39:48
Well, we have a couple of websites. One is, where we offer this information for free. Really no gimmicks for free. We've been offered it for 30 years for free. And you can go there you get a, you know, the recipes, you get a free programs and so on. There's no gimmicks. I've written 13 national best selling books, most of them are still for sale, because they've been big sellers. On the website, you can find a whole bunch of information on there, based on newsletters I've written. So that's one source is Now, those of you interested in my passion about the climate, first, let me tell you that, you know, well over half of the greenhouse gases are, are caused by the agriculture industry, the animal agriculture businesses, and that you can reduce your contribution of greenhouse gases overnight by 80%. So because of this powerful tool, particularly a powerful tool that people say, What am I going to do? They read the IPCC report that says that we're doomed. And the person says, Hey, I recycle. You know, I drive a hybrid car, well, what can I do? Well, one person can change the world. That's what my new website is about, it's about one person could do to change the world. And it teaches, of course, the basic diet that cause I call it a traditional diet, not the McDougal diet or vegan diet, I told you why. So the new website is But, and you'll see our efforts. This is ongoing project, but it's good enough for you to take a look at it. And it talks to you about the impact you can have, just think about it, just think maybe this radio show we're doing together, podcast or do it again, just think about it's the or they call it the 100th Monkey, you know, finally we get the message across. And people started saying, because customers, I'm not going to buy any marine poultry, fish are almost gone, I'm not gonna buy any more fish, you know, cheeses, liquid meat, I'm not going to do that anymore. The economic impact would put these people out of business. And that's one thing that could be done. And it's a real possibility, since nothing else is saving us. And the other thing is, is each time an individual changes to a starch based diet, they reduce their contribution of greenhouse gases by as much as 80%. So that's where I'm focusing my attention these days. But I still, I still work with the basic program, I still see patients. We take care of every month, we run a program, and it's the best money, money and time will ever spent promises. Tired of being sick. And overweight, we can fix that, man, we're so good at it convincing people that I have a little doubt that you won't benefit tremendously.Ive taken care 12,000 patients in my career.

Alex Ferrari 43:11

Dr. John McDougall 43:13
So anyway.

Alex Ferrari 43:14
Well, I appreciate you appreciate you coming on the show. I appreciate you doing the work that you do and trying to help not only people but the planet as well. So thank you so much for all the years of hard work, my friend and hopefully we will hopefully we can help get the word out a little bit.

Dr. John McDougall 43:27
Well, we need to join forces. We need to create an army. When I was a young man, we used to burn our draft cards. We marched in the street. Young people, where are you? Why aren't you in the street? Because you don't know. You think it's hopeless? It's not hopeless. You come to my website, McDougal And you'll see optimism. You all hear about gloom and doom anymore, you will see that you can do something that's you got to act.

Alex Ferrari 44:01
Amen I appreciate you my friend. Thank you so much.

Dr. John McDougall 44:03
All right. Well, good luck to you.

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