I am currently on my third day of the McDougall program. It’s a 12-day program focusing on starches, with fruits and vegetables playing important supporting roles. There are no meat or dairy products on the McDougall plan, so it’s very similar to veganism. However, the McDougall plan challenges us to make one major change in our lives: eliminating all oil.

Why do we hate on oil? Well for starters oil is fat. Pure fat. Your body loves to store fat. Personally, my body prefers my abdominal region, but maybe your body favors the derrier or thighs. Maybe you just have a fat face. We are all different in this regard. According to Dr. McDougall, fat deprives cells of oxygen and produces free radicals. Basically fat is causing damage to your body.

You may not buy into this, so let me spell it out very rationally. There are 120 calories in a tablespoon of oil. For 120 calories you could instead be eating:  17 cups of spinach, a small baked potato, over a cup of cornflakes, or 21 extra large strawberries. Out of these things, what is going to keep you full longer? What is going to be nutritionally dense enough to get your body the nutrition it needs? What is going to keep you from over-eating?

I’m 3 days into the plan, and I have been amazed at how full I have felt. I feel like I’ve been gorging myself on whole wheat pasta, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and fruit. The amazing thing is that I am losing weight again, and I have been on a pretty solid plateau for over a month. I’m still 9 pounds away from my ultimate goal, and I’m planning on McDougalling my way there.

The McDougall website has a lot of recipes on it, which I appreciate. My only gripe is that most of the recipes in the meal plan are pretty awful. It’s not that you can’t have delicious oil-free food, because you can. The cooking techniques, spices, and ingredient measures have been pretty off. Luckily, I’ve been able to catch most of them before or during cooking. Others I have had to suffer through. Check back often to see some of the things I’ve managed to come up with.

Oil-Free Risotto

  • 4 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 c. (dry) Arborio rice
  • ½ an onion, finely diced
  • 2 c. broccoli and cauliflower florets
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • ½ a cup mushrooms
  • 2/3 c. frozen corn
  • 1 c. frozen spinach
  • 1 TBSP. Tamari
  • Ground Pepper
  • Garlic Salt
  1. Pour rice into a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and toast the rice. Usually you would use oil here, so it’s not 100% the same, but it’s close.
  2. Add 1 cup of vegetable broth and stir until all of it is absorbed. Continue to add the broth about a cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting it absorb each time.
  3. In a large skillet, cook onion and ¼ c. vegetable broth over high heat until the onions turn translucent. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, and frozen spinach. Stir and cook a few more minutes. Add the frozen corn and broccoli/cauliflower mix and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4.  When the rice is done absorbing, stir in the tamari and add the vegetables. Season with ground pepper and garlic salt to your liking.
  5. This makes a delicious risotto that is even good heated up the next day.