Home Forums General Discussion McDougal DietHealing RA Diet

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    I am still following the no sugar (or very little) and no glutten diet. But this morning when I was searching on the internet I found many people on youtube who had cured their RA with the McDougall diet of high starch with veggies and small bits of fruit. No meat or oils. I need to do more research on it, but am going to give it a try. He says in 1 month 70% of RA patients are totally cured! Also, I was reading one post on an unrelated website that said she stopped thinking of food as pleasure and now thinks of it as medicine. I like this approach as it makes sense. The food we eat just turns into chemicals which in turn affect our bodies just like medicine.

    If you are interested you may want to go to you tube as Dr. John McDougall has many RA patients who testify about the positive healing effects of his diet on RA. His website is http://www.drmcdougall.com. He also has a good description of the diet at tedx.com. Just search there.

    Has anyone tried his dietary approach or any other for that matter which has worked? Thanks for any info you may have.


    Here is a link to a great article about diet and RA on the McDougall website:



    Hi Bsnyder,

    There was a past discussion on RBF about McDougal diet. Some people were expressing enthusiastic views after reading about it but nobody claimed to have followed it and reverse their RA. One or two tried it for a couple of weeks and claimed their sx have improved. I have not found any more mentions of any further success.
    Many people on RBF have noticed great improvement in their sx after going gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free. I am one of them. I eat gluten-free grains but I am better sx-wise if I do not overdo them. And whenever in a flare, veggies and juicing only or chicken + veggies and detox always pull me out pretty fast.

    I have no experience with McDougal diet and I am not willing to give it a try because it is too scary for me.
    Leaky gut greatly contributes to inflammation and pain and one cannot heal it with carbohydrates only. If mycoplasmas are behind one’s RA, carbohydrate rich diet that is totally devoid of meat can only exacerbate sx.
    Stephen Harrod Buhner devotes over 250 pages to mycoplasma(s) and ways to treat it in “Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections. Complementary and Holistic Treatments for Bartonella and Mycoplasma”. Replacing nutrients that are scavanged by mycoplasmas is a crucial part to getting better. Meat proteins are essential. So is fat (olive oil).

    p.117 “One of the difficulties with mycoplasma treatment is that the bacteria utilize so many nutrients from the body that a full list of the supplements needed to replace them is, frankly, daunting. …(p.116) So, addressing the nutrient depletion is essential and, again, it can be done more easily by a combination of diet, herbs, and supplements.”
    If you don’t replace the nutrients,(p.119) “this will only result in a worsening of the illness–the mycoplasmas need these substances and they are going to get them from your body one way or another; they are very good at doing so. If you don’t replace what they take, as the host cells are depleted of these nutrients, a plethora of symptoms will occur, most of them annoying.”

    “In terms of diet, if you want to replace the nutrients scavenged by the mycoplasmas, here is what you should eat at least every other day (altering it with other things on the lists on the off days) until you are well: eggs, calf or beef liver, oysters, one Brazil nut, sesame seed (or Tahini), avocados, chlorella/spirulina/seeweed …
    With the use of RNA/DNA complex (or 1/4 cup of chlorella in juice) and the use of olive oil (as described later in the antibacterial section; see page 179) this will replace everything you are losing.”

    A lengthy explanation follows and justification based on science is given on almost every page.
    Concerning fat:
    p.119 “those on cholesterol-lowering drugs should be cautious if they also have a mycoplasma infection because of the heavy dependence of the bacteria on cholesterol. The combination of mycoplasmas and cholesterol-lowering drugs can cause a significant decrease in cholesterol in the body, especially if the diet is also low in cholesterol. Cholesterol is an essential nutrient, crucial for cellular health, and also necessary as a substrate for steroid production in the body. Reduction below a certain point can cause significant problems.”

    Many people with chronic diseases have low stomach acid and additionally do not produce enough digestive enzymes and may need to supplement with Betaine&Pepsin and enzymes when they eat meat. But once they do, and additionally follow proper food combining, digestion and assimilation of food improves and nutrient absorption gets vastly better.

    We all search for ways to feel better and any claim that we can regain health by diet, especially by not having to go off gluten, sugar, etc., always catches our attention. If McDougal diet works for you, that’s great!!! If you are very drawn to it, give it a try. You will have a first hand experience whether it is helpful to you or not.
    My post is not supportive of it because I strongly feel it is detrimental to those with any chronic illness. But maybe your nutritious type does well on carbohydrate rich diet?

    As you are still seeking the best diet for you, maybe you’ll find it worthwhile investigating SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and GAPS diet. They are quite opposite to McDougal diet, but the list of chronic conditions they have helped reverse is quite amazing.
    May you reach health with the diet of your choice!


    Thanks so much for your very thoughtful reply! I am going to reread it tonight to really try to absorb all the good info. Since I am already a vegetarian, the McDougall diet is really only sbutracting the dairy so it is pretty close to what I eat already. I know what you mean about too many grains, though. I am gluten free and sugar free, but I always do better the closer I got to low or no carbs. Thanks so much!


    As your diet is already restrictive, please reconsider removing fat from it.
    You’ll find a lot great info on the web. Lots.
    I’ve been just reading Merocla’s article “Top 10 Destructive Nutrition Lies Ever Told” and when the fat was mentioned, I remembered your interest in McDougal’s diet and decided to check if you’ve responded. You have! So, I hope you won’t mind my defense of fats.

    “Most people benefit from a diet where 50-85% of daily calories are derived from healthful fats. However, you need very few, if any, carbohydrates for optimal health. Although that amount of fat may seem like a lot, fat is very calorie-dense, and will therefore still constitute the smallest amount, in terms of volume, on your plate.

    The truth is, saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources provide the building blocks for your cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances, without which your body cannot function optimally.

    Fats also act as carriers for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and are required for converting carotene into vitamin A, absorbing minerals, and a host of other important biological processes. Saturated fat is also the preferred fuel for your heart!
    There are lots of healthy fats: avocado, egg yokes, butter (if still reaction to small amount of casein, then making ghee will solve the problem), coconut oil, fish oil (some vegetarians eat fish), hemp oil, nut oils.

    Of course, there’s never been a one-size-fits-all, especially regarding the diet. To complicate matters, the same individual may respond differently, at different times, to the same food. I remember I was doing very well on getting out of a flare with juicing and just veggies for a few days (+ detox) and then when I tried this proven for me method, I developed tremors and soon even scary tremors of the organs (kidneys, pancreas/spleen, liver). Then I remembered having read about low body temperature, which I had (most chronic patients do) and about raw vegetable juices being “cold”, i.e. lowering body temp. I reintroduced grains, especially “warming” grains like millet and oatmeal, and even though it was a flare time, I felt much better.
    Sorry for rambling…

    As you are a gluten-free, and now also a dairy-free, vegetarian, maybe incorporating sprouted seeds will be an enzyme-rich boost to recovering health?
    Here’s a link from an avowed vegetarian, funny and informative, on reversal of arthritis with enzymes through juicing and sprouting. I love the recipe for enzyme-, vitamin-, mineral-rich breakfast of lentil sprouts + black molasses to reverse arthritis:
    And here’s his article on sprouting: http://www.doctoryourself.com/sprouting.html

    Warm wishes,



    Thanks so much for the great info on fats! I have to admit that I am SO confused by this diet thing. I remember one time when I did a one week juice fast and my joint pains were totally gone. I got the fasting idea out of an arthritis book and it was the idea to keep adding back in foods to test and see if they caused a flare. I was so hungry after the seven day fast that I went back into my normal eating and all my pain came back.

    Thanks again for the info! How is your RA doing??


    Here is a link to 10 arthritis success stories of people who tried the McDougall diet:



    Are you still following the McDougall diet? How are you doing?

    I have been doing it and I do feel like it makes a difference.


    Are we allowed to eat oats once on a gluten free diet? I think oats have gluten in it. Please advise how to make a ghee.
    Thank you,
    Linda L.


    I do something similar that is called the Hallelujah diet. Except I did not go entirely vegan. I eat organic turkey, lamb and fish sparingly. I take barley life everyday, which I think has helped me alot. The key to this diet is 85% raw and 15% cooked. I thought about giving the McDougall Diet a try. Ever see the adds by Paddison and how he cured his RA with diet?

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