I am very excited to share with you my first vegan book review, and more importantly, a book that is near and dear to my heart as it has greatly shaped my own plant-based journey. The information presented in The Starch Solution has literally changed and saved my life. These are not words I use lightly.
A great place to start when thinking about this book is to share how it has impacted me personally. You can read about this in more detail on my About page, however I wanted to make a few simple points. I have lost over 50 pounds since switching to a plant-based lifestyle, and this journey began in my mind through the words I read in this book. Of course, changing my lifestyle was not all about weight, it is just one of the easier physical aspects of my lifestyle change that is easy to notice (just look at a before and after photo and you can see how real the results are!). Other health issues such as high blood pressure, joint pain, and angina are just a few others I personally experienced.
It is hard to get over the power of a good book. The power of the written word is significant. But like the food we eat, the things we read can also impact our overall health. As I realized my former diet, heavy in meat and fat, was not impacting my life in a positive way, I found a plant-based lifestyle rooted in good starches to be a fundamental building block for my success. My success story is one that I hope can be shared and replicated by others out there, because my own change, while not always easy, has positively impacted my life.
John A. McDougall takes a relatively different approach to “dieting.” While so many modern fab diets place heavy emphasis on counting calories, The Starch Solution presents a different solution: eat more healthy carbs and don’t count calories. As a result, you will feel full quicker, but also feel satisfied because the food you are eating actually tastes good too! One of the core staples of this diet is the potato, which you probably are familiar with even if you’re used to eating it as a side to a large steak dinner.
The Starch Solution provides dietary guidelines, as well as historical and cultural explanations for why things have been the way they have been, and why we need to start thinking about changing the way we think about our health. A key component of this is learning how animal based diets are fundamentally a slow form of poison both for our bodies and our environment.
In a sense, this book by Dr. McDougall serves as a high overview of the vegan diet and how it can impact your life. Chapter 7, for example, discusses protein and how those of us consuming this plant-based diet get our protein. The simplest answer is this: where does the cow get its protein? From grass and other forms of vegetation.
It’s a poignant way to make us think about the reality of the world we live in. Living in modern societies, we have become accustomed to eating meat because it is so readily available. No longer do human beings have to go into the woods and hunt, only killing what is minimally necessary. These days, meat production is a staple of modern manufacturing. This convenience has bred irresponsibility and, frankly, ignorance about the food we eat. And I can be the first to admit, I was victim to this social norm for the longest time…
As you can see, when discussing The Starch Solution, it is hard not to discuss myself and how it has impacted me. As a result, this probably comes across as a very biased review, and rightfully so. I am biased simply because I was able to bring the words on the page to life for myself. Your mileage may vary, but I do believe that if you are compliant with the rules set forth in the book, and don’t waver, you will see similar results!
Unlike some reviews you will likely see of other diet books and trends, I will say that it is not always easy. I was so used to my old diet and lifestyle that it felt like going through addiction withdrawal in the early stages. But since opting to replace meat with fruits, vegetables, and healthy starches and replacing hunting with gardening, I have found myself changing both inside and out.
One other thing I’d like to point out, as a contractor for many years, is that I often like to discuss the importance of “on the job training.” When it comes to changing your diet and lifestyle, especially in such a significant way, you will likely not always be sure if what you are doing is right. As a result, it is great to have some resources to turn to for inspiration and education. We hope you can find that resource in The Starch Solution as we did (and still do), and hopefully you find our success to translate into your own life, and an additional point of reference through Plant-Smart Living, which would not exist if I didn’t change my own life.
The Starch Solution is a powerful book well worth investing some time and energy to read and live out loud. It is available through Amazon and many other, vegan-friendly, retailers!