John A. McDougall, M.D. is a physician on a mission: He believes he can heal a logjam of illnesses by diet alone and that means no meat, dairy, eggs or oil. At first blush, this may seem like a radical idea for those accustomed to the trials of traditional medicine, but McDougall’s work is not speech or a rant. His work is backed up by disinterested scientific studies and his presentation of these facts is stunning. As a Vegan, I found Dr. McDougall’s program appropriate, accessible and helpful.

Review Lights
In this article, I will rate each product included in Doctor McDougall’s Medicine for the 21st Century and that package includes a videotape, a book, a pamphlet and an audio tape. Each piece of the package will be rated on the standard system of one to five Go Inside Magazine Review Lights. Five green GO lights are best while all red STOP lights are the worst. I’ll place a text tag under the Review Lights so you’ll know the colors of the lights in case you choose to print out this review on a black and white printer.

Online Ordering
I placed an order for Doctor McDougall’s Medicine for the 21st Century $40 starter pack (a $60 dollar value) on the McDougall website on December 5, 1998. According to the information on the site, I was supposed to get delivery in 3-5 days via UPS. On December 11, 1998 there was no shipment receipt and calls to McDougall’s 800 number went unanswered. No credit card charges appeared. On December 14, 1998 I called to cancel the order and was told that had been done. On December 15, 1998, however, I got a call from the McDougall folks informing me that the order had shipped on December 10, 1998 and that it was impossible to cancel the order. I asked why there was no record of the shipment or any charge on my credit card during my previous contact with the company. The woman told me their online database went down and it took them a few days to sort through all the old orders.

(all RED)

The McDougall package finally arrived on the December 17, 1998 sans videotape. I called the McDougall people again and their voice mail disconnected me five times in five calls. I couldn’t leave a message calling from New York to their California headquarters!

(all RED)

Customer Service
I finally got Tracie in mail order customer service live on the phone on my sixth attempt. I identified myself and asked Tracie to send the missing videotape and credit back the shipping charge. She apologized and said she’d send the videotape immediately. She also agreed to credit back the $9.95 shipping charge. The videotape arrived via the Postal Service on December 23, 1998. $10 was credited on December 21, 1998.

(all GREEN)

Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods Videotape
The hour videotape is mostly awful and does a disservice to McDougall and his cronies because they all come off so amateurish and loud. The production qualities feel like 1971 not 1999. The lout who seems to have invented the McDougall foods is barely watchable since he comes off as a searsucking used car dealer working as a shill for himself and not as a solution for us. Every time he spoke, I tuned out. The “eating out right” with Dr. McDougall as our guide at fast food restaurants like Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Burger King saves the videotape from utter failure. The recipes are confused without any on screen information you can write down for later preparation and McDougall’s wife looks like she’s cooking for an Army, not a family, so her proportions are out of whack with the lonesome McDougall program participant. I watched the videotape last since it wasn’t shipped with the rest of my order and good thing I did, or I would’ve tossed out the entire mess as a box full of amateurs.

(two GREEN, three RED)

Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods
The core of the McDougall eating program is a series of instant soups, pasta, rice and breakfast and dessert cups. The loud guy in the videotape appears to take sole credit for the creation of these products and so he’ll get the full brunt of the blame. The meals are without imagination and spiritless and they taste simply awful. Each “meal” is at least 100% too salty, a fact that McDougall himself confesses to appear to know when he asks the loud guy if there will be a lower sodium version available soon. McDougall is shouted down by the lout in a resounding negative answer that goes something like, “People won’t eat the meals if they don’t have taste and that means tons of salt.” That that, I reply: UGH!

(all RED)

The McDougall Program – 12 Days to Dynamic Health
This book (ISBN: 0-452-26639-4) is the centerpiece of the McDougall mindset and it details how to implement the program in deep detail. All the research and real-life success stories are told herein. The book is a quick read and the recipes are simple and fun. The conclusion of the book concerns many modern illnesses, the cause, the current remedy, and McDougall’s solution. The overuse of a married couple going through the 12 Day program is endless and uninteresting. McDougall is at his best when he speaks in specifics over the universal tincture of his program. His best hallmarks are The Five Myths of Modern Eating:

Starches are Fattening

Meat is Necessary for Protein

Milk is Necessary for Calcium

Chicken & Fish are Low Cholesterol

Vegetable Oil is Health Food

I won’t describe how McDougall debunks these myths since they’re the core of his plan and you should really read his explanations yourself to get the full benefit of his method.

(four GREEN, one RED)

Discover Dr. McDougall’s Medicine for the 21st Century
This 40 minute audio tape sets the table for The McDougall philosophy. McDougall’s voice and delivery sounds like famed Charles Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi. McDougall talks very fast, but every breezy breath and rat-a-tat-tat syllable is packed with information that rings true in the heart. McDougall is convinced of his method and so, in turn, are we. I listed to the audio tape after I read the book. The tape is an excellent round-up of all the information and it impressively slings home the arrows of the McDougall program.

(all GREEN)

Quick & Easy 12-Day Menu Plan
This 20 page toss-in is merely a repeat of the 12 day McDougall diet. I supposed this was included to make it easier to use in the kitchen since it’s so tiny and thin, but it feels and reads like an afterthought.

(two GREEN, three RED)

Dr. McDougall’s philosophy of eating to attain better health instead of having to take a pill to improve your being is right-spirited, but wrong-headed in its implementation in this special starter package. Buy the book and the audio tape and leave the rest in the dust along with your oil, meat, dairy and eggs! Remember that McDougall’s plan to get you eating right lasts 12 days — but in reality — he’s insists we all must eat in this positive manner for the rest of our lives in order to live up to our ultimate, physiological and psychological potential. After listening and reading to his argument, one must concur in the absolute. You can visit Dr. McDougall online for more information here.