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Before starting ANY weight loss program, check with your personal doctor, especially if you are taking ANY medications or have any illness

This page is in dire need of updating. Also see
Susan V's MWLP Page for more recipes.

McDougall's Maximum Weight Loss Plan

The Plan

For people who want to lose weight as well as be healthy, Dr. McDougall devised a plan based on his regular very low fat vegan food plan but is even more exclusive. By avoiding even more food types that are heavy in less-nutritious calories and concentrating more on other foods, weight loss will come swifter than with following the regular McDougall Plan.

According to Dr. John McDougall in his book: The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss, the following foods can be eaten to hunger; that is, eat all of these that you want with no portion or size restrictions, except as noted for fruit. The idea behind this is, all of these are healthy foods needed by the body, and as the body adjusts to the new way of eating it will naturally lose the excess weight put on it by eating the SAD - Standard American Diet. As for the fruit, too much of even this natural sweet food will raise triglyceride levels.

Foods that ARE Allowed

Whole grains and whole-grain cereals
brown rice
basmati rice
wheat berries
packaged grain cereals, puffed grains, and other healthful cereals

banana (yellow) squash

Root vegetables
sweet potatoes

peas (green, yellow, split peas & black-eyed peas)
string beans
other beans (chick peas, black, lentils, navy, etc.)
NOTE: In later books he says to restrict these to no more than one cup a day because of the high protein counts.

Green and yellow vegetables
tomato (technically a fruit but counted here as a vegetable)
collard greens
lettuce - all types

all types allowed, but only 2 servings a day

Salt, simple sugars, and spices used sparingly at the table, not in cooking

Barbecue sauce
Low sodium soy sauce
Rice milk - fat free
Fat free salad dressings
Vinegars - plain, cider, balsamic, red wine
Mustard - all types
Ketchup - low sodium variety
Vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (usually found in health food stores and some supermarkets)
Seltzer water - salt free
Herbal teas - NOT the weight-loss or licorice types
Popcorn - microwave types should be low salt, natural, NO butter variety
Air-popped popcorn
Rice cakes - watch for hidden fat, avoid the cheese and highly flavored varieties (read labels)
Canned or jarred tomatoes and tomato products - low salt/salt free
Tabasco and other hot sauces
Steak sauce
Braggs Liquid Aminos (great on popcorn)
All salt-free seasoning & seasoning mixes
Coffee substitutes, such as Potsum, Pero, Cafix

To get the entire list of allowable packaged foods, visit Dr. McDougall's Official McDougall Plan web site

But remember, not everything on this list is allowed on the Maximum Weight Loss Plan, just the regular McDougall Plan. None of the breads, pastas, or other products made with flour are allowed.

Foods That ARE NOT Allowed

All red meat


all types of fish and shellfish

Fats and Oils
olive oil
safflower oil
peanut oil
vegetable oils
peanut butter
vegetable shortenings for baking

all eggs, including liquid egg whites

soybean products - including tofu, soy milk, and soy cheeses

Fruit Products
all dried fruits and fruit juices

Flour & Flour Products
couscous (Dr. McDougall has said including it in the allowable
foods list in the early editions of his book was a mistake)
pita pockets

But Wait! That's Not All!

Other Points about the MWLP

Eat as much as you want of the foods listed above. The point is to not be hungry, because when hungry you'll seek out foods not on the list and binge on unhealthy or calorie-laden foods. By eating all you want of the allowable foods, the weight should still fall off at a rate of 10 to 15 pounds a month until the body reaches its normal weight. At that point weight will stabalize and you can switch from the Maximum Weight Loss Program to the regular McDougall Program foods.

Try to eat something allowable every hour or two. This will keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable and result in more efficient utilizations of the foods you eat and reduction in weight.

On this program, try to keep the proportion of starchy vegetable to green/yellow vegetables at about 3:1 for your meals. The green/yellow vegetables have less calories and are better for filling your stomach and making you feel full. If you find the weight isn't coming off as quickly as you want, then increase the portions of the green/yellow vegetables up to half the meal, but don't try to lose more than 15 pounds in a month.

Unlike other diet programs that insist the more you drink the faster the weight will come off, the McDougall Plan doesn't feel that it is necessary to drink more than eight, 8 ounce glasses of water a day. Most other food plans are higher in protein, higher than the body needs, and by drinking excessive amounts of water it helps the kidneys flush that excess protein out. Since all McDougall programs are lower in protein, that's not necessary.
Also, excessive amounts of water may interfere with the body's natural hunger signals. Since you're allowed to eat all you want of allowable foods, there's no need to fool your body into thinking it's already eaten by drinking excessive amounts of water. All that water drunk during and after a meal also has the disadvantage of washing out of the stomach the foods you just ate, speeding digestion and increasing the natural absorption of nutrients from your food. With the stomach being emptied of the filling, high fiber foods that are found in this food plan, you'll be hungry again in a shorter amount of time.

Yes, you still need it, but like water, not in excessive amounts. Dr. McDougall says moderate amounts of exercise are necessary for all people, not just those on a weight loss program. Walking , swimming, and most athletics offer good amounts of aerobic activity, as long as it is done for about a half hour 3 to 5 times a week.
NOTE: In the free booklet sent to new subscribers of his newsletter he says that we should walk 4-6 times a week, minimum of 30 minutes each session. Also to add two 15-minute sessions of weight training each week.
Exercising before meals may help decrease appetites, studies have shown. At most, eat a light snack before strenuous activities, and keep hydrated.
Weight training, even with light weights, will help increase bone density and increase strength and flexibility for all age groups.
Increase your general activity level - park the car further away, use the stairs instead of the elevator, go dancing or other activities instead of watching tv or surfing the Internet.
Keep a journal of your exercise program and weight loss achievements. As you read it over you can see your strengths and weaknesses and have a nice record of your progress to reflect back on.

Bad Habits
Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and diet drugs or illegal drugs of all kinds all have no place in a weight loss program nor ar part of a healthy life style. Everyone knows the usual arguments against them, and the dangers of diet drugs, even the herbal kinds, have recently been brought to light. Please get yourself out of these addictions by any means effective you you, personally. Ask your doctor for assistance.

OK, this is my addition, not Dr. McDougall's, but it's important for any major life changes or weight loss plan. Join up with other like-minded individuals who have the same goals. National programs like Weight Watchers can help, as long as you bend their food plan to MWLP standards. Service groups like Overeaters Anonymous helps others. In the technology age we now live in, the Internet is the source of many, varied support groups. On Yahoo alone there are a few McDougall based mailing lists like McDougall 12 Day, Maximum Weight Loss Program, and on the official McDougall site there's a message board for the exchange of support and recipes.

MWLP Recipes


Stocking Your Pantry for Healthy Eating (not exactly MWLP but is vegetarian)
Oatmeal Milk
Apple Butter
Creamy Garlic Sauce
Barbecued Garbanzo Dip
Garbanzo Puree
Make Your Own Fat Free Dressings
Garlicky Caesar Dressing
Curry Dressing
"Cheese" Sauce
Groundhog's Nacho Cheeze Dip
Cooking Steel Cut Oats
Chickpea Gravy
Sweet and Sour Sauce
Garlic Spread
Rice Milk
Rice Milk 1
Rice Milk 2
Herbal Seasoning Combinations for Vegetables


Mexi Soup
Creamy Vege Soup
Sweet Squash Soup
Bean, Squash, and Cabbage Soup
Vegetable Soup
White Bean Soup
Erin's Cauliflower Soup
Hearty Pumpkin Soup
Succotash Soup
Zucchini-Potato-Garlic Soup
Creamy Garlic Soup
Split-Pea Chowder
Bean and Corn Soup
Spicy Pea Soup
Sweet Potato Chowder
Creamy Carrot Soup
Lots of Freebies Soup
Lentil Soup - Wasserman
Barley Bean Soup
Armenian Tomato Soup
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Cajun Gumbo
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Vegetable Sweet Potato Chowder
Sweet Potato Soup
Hot Yammy Soup
Mexican Tomato-Potato Soup
Creamy Veggie Soup
Green Velvet Soup
Corn Chowder
Creamy Lentil Soup
Chili Potato Soup
Creamy Garbanzo and Cabbage Soup
Tomato Rice Soup


Hot German Potato Salad
Rice summer salad
Italian Potato Salad
Apple Potato Salad
Spinach Salad
Bean Sprout Salad
Tropical Fruit Salad
Spicy Salad Dressing
Aloha Rice Salad
Eazy Roasted Potatoes
Basmati Rice Salad
Beans and Greens
Barbecue Beans Salad
Wild Rice and White Bean Salad

Bean Dishes

Alta Mae's Many Bean Stew
Fast Refried Beans
Beans Florentine
South American Bean Stew
Boston Baked Beans
Squashy Bean Stew
BBQ Beans
Curried Beans
Curried Vegetable Stew
Chili Taters
Confetti Beans
Barbecued Beans and Rice
Barley-corn Beans
Chele's Awesome Bean Recipe
Picante Black Beans
Slow-Cooked Bean Toppings
CrockPot Sweet Potato Chili
Curried Vegetable Stew
Chili Taters
Baked Falafel
Chickpea Sauce
Refried Beans - vegan
Vegetarian Cholent
Beanburgers - Dr. Neal Barnard
Beany Burgers


Savory Lentils
Marilyn's Crispy Potatoes
Disorderly Lentils
Grainy Vegetable Stew
Out of This World Lentil Stew
Quick Cantonese Rice and Snow Peas
Mexican Rice McD
Spicy Arroz Verde
Spanish-Rice Enchiladas
Breakfast rice
Gingered Green Grains
Quick Curry Rice
Southwest Brown Rice
Israeli Wheat Berry Stew
Paprika Potato Salad
Barley Pilaf
5 Grain Rice and Vegetables
Fried Rice
Disorderly Lentils
Broccoli Barley Toss
Extra Spicy Lentil Chili
Hearty Bean and Vegetable Stew (Ornish recipe)
Shannon-Marie's Sweet Potato Rice
Crockpot Grains

Main Dishes (mixed)

Spagetti Squash Surprise
Vegetable Casserole*
Texan Vegetable Casserole
Vegetable Chili
Hearty Brown Stew
Layered Dinner
Potato Rice Medley
Potato Casserole
Stuffed Peppers
Tex Mex Potatoes
Stop the Clock Curry
Vegetable Rice Casserole with "Cheese" Sauce
Potato and Cauliflower Curry
Quick Curry Rice
Rice and Beans in a Bowl
Savory Risotto (higher in calories and salt)
Potato Medley
Spicy Rice and Beans
Cauliflower Potato Curry
Garbanzo Curry
Vegetable Chili
Dijon Mushroom Potatoes
Potato Ratatouille
Sweet and Sour Vegetables
Curried Vegetable Stew
Carrot Cutlets
Armenian Spinach and Bulgur Dish
American Vegetable Stew
Shepherd's Vegetable Pie
Pea and Potato Curry
Potato Peppers
Red Curry Sauce
Spicy Mexican Chili
Spicy Yam Stew
Rainbow Skillet Medley
Sweet Potatoes L'Orange
Colorful Roasted Vegetables
Hearty Potato Vegetable Curry
Mexican Corn Pie
Creamed Mushrooms and Squash
Mushrooms in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Eggplant Stew Over Baked Potatoes
Thick Lentil Split Pea Barley Stew
Potato Lentil and Barley Pie

Desserts & Snacks

Accidental Mousse
Fresh Strawberry Sherbet
Sweet Potatoes and Apples

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When you're serious about losing weight