Care of Judy Newman, group leader of Toronto Starch Solution

Are you vegetarian or vegan with some health concerns? Have you been diagnosed with arthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or some other chronic condition and prescribed a lifetime of medications? Are you concerned about a family history of disease, or just wondering how to get that extra weight off in a healthy, sustainable way?

As vegetarians or vegans we find ourselves challenged by others about our way of eating. A google search on “Is a vegan diet healthy?” brings up 4,470,000 results, many of which purport to be based on scientific research or at least published by some scientific sounding organizations. They offer confusing and often conflicting opinions, and the sheer volume of information is overwhelming.

Others carry the weight of celebrity. Angelina Jolie is quoted as saying that a vegan diet nearly killed her. That’s pretty scary and it’s tough to argue with Angelina Jolie on matters of nutrition. We’ve all seen that milk moustache and that bikini.

Jamie Oliver, while generally supportive, warns that a vegan diet is actually more susceptible to being nutritionally poor and that education is needed to make it healthy. Who has time for education? Everyone just wants fast, tasty food. It’s no wonder that so many people cling to what they already know and question our sanity for changing. All of this can make it difficult to fend off those challenges about our diet, particularly if we are experiencing any health or weight issues of our own.

For decades, Dr. John McDougall has been a proponent of a plant-based diet as the healthiest way to live and his book, The Starch Solution, provides all the information we need to lose weight, prevent a variety of chronic illnesses, and even cure some common diseases that we have been told are incurable. No one we know has had their type-2 diabetes “cured” through the use of metformin or insulin, or the recommended diabetes diet.  Has anyone you know gone off blood pressure meds following a three week course of pills which “cured” their condition?

Of course not. That‘s just silly. The purpose of those medications is not to make us well. Our only hope is that they will control our symptoms. What we don’t know is that many of these all too common medical conditions are actually lifestyle diseases. Through adherence to a WFPB (whole foods, plant-based) diet with no added oils, they can, in fact, be not only controlled and improved, but even reversed. Following the guidelines in The Starch Solution and all the other information available for free on Dr McDougall’s website, the Toronto Starch Solution group meets once a month to provide support, share experiences and recipes, and to socialize while enjoying wonderful, healthy foods. Many of us have experienced health crises, chronic, debilitating illness or obesity, and are happy to share our ongoing success, as well as our setbacks, on the path to regaining our health and appearance. Others are interested in maintaining existing good health or are looking for information to share with family and friends.

The Toronto Starch Solution group currently meets the third Sunday of each month in the Don Mills and Eglinton area for a potluck lunch, often with a film screening, guest speaker or other fun activity. Find us on the TVA events calendar and join us for an enjoyable, informative afternoon. For further information, contact us at torontostarchsolution@veg.com.