new to plant based diet; Fuhrman vs Mcdougall?


New member
Through my limited research I understand Fuhrman and Mcdougall seem to be the big schools of thought plant based eating. When I try to research more I find it gets a little fanatical... people start acting like it is 'their team vs everyone else' sort of mentality (this could just be due to poor research on my behalf).

If you are a plant based eater, what school of thought do you subscribe too? Personally I find myself taking queues from both, however I don't know how optimal that approach is.


Staff member
Firstly, very cool that you are thinking about this. It's good to get some info before diving into it. If you dive in head first like I did you have a good chance of failing and giving up, as I did many times.

Most importantly: find a way to feel full!

If you're new to a plant based diet, you have to defeat the number one vegan stereotype that you will feel weak and always be hungry on a plant based diet. You have to find food that actually makes you feel full or else you'll be back to animal products.

One big issue that occurs stems from these bullshit overpriced commercial juice cleanses that cost $15/meal and leave you hungry. For many people, the crap juice cleanse is their first encounter with any type of vegan diet/food. They spend $15 on a drink, still hungry. They spend another $15 at trendy juice cleanse place, they're ok. An hour later, they're hungry again, they give up, and say fuck this shit.

This, combined with restaurants whose vegan options amount to removing meat and calling it a vegan meal contribute to people not feeling full on this dietary lifestyle. If you charge $9 for a chicken burrito, take out the chicken, still charge $9, and call this a "vegan meal", you're giving the person less food, less nutrients, and that fucking sucks. But the reality is most restaurants see veganism as a food allergy rather than a type of cuisine. Because of this, you wind up getting served a plate of lettuce and tomato, you aren't full, you say fuck this shit diet and go back to what you were eating before.

The key is in replacing meat with something sensible - something that makes you feel full, so that you are eating a real meal. If you do not feel full or feel weak after finishing a meal, you've eaten the wrong shit. Or, you're eating a regular meateater's diet sans the meat - this just doesn't work.

For me, the fix was tempeh, rice, and beans. I love a burrito with guacamole, rice, beans, lots of tempeh, some pico de gallo and this salt. I feel full, nourished, great. Tempeh feels a lot like chicken, tastes much better, and is overall better for your health.

I eat a lot of sweet potatoes, avocados, mashed potatoes, broccoli, almonds, and pasta throughout the day as well. I like having some almonds or brazil nuts nearby so if I am stuck at work on a project but don't want to stop to get food I have something nearby. You will have to find the stuff that works for you. The hardest part of this diet will be finding food that makes you full that you enjoy eating. You've spent 10, 20, 30 years figuring out what makes you full as a meateater while tasting good, and here we're going back and starting from scratch.. that's a pain in the ass.

Keep it healthy!

In spite of having much lower cholesterol, less artery clogging, and less chronic disease, mortality rates between vegans and meat eaters is shockingly similar. While meat eaters drop dead left and right from heart attacks, cancer, and chronic disease, vegans and vegetarians drop dead all too often of brain related issues. It's a different set of diseases/sicknesses, but it's one to worry about.

One reason proposed is that vegans & vegetarians on average have much higher homocysteine levels than meateaters. Without getting into the confusing nonsense, a big part of the problem is the low level of B12 in the average vegan diet, and the low level of omega 3s. There's an ongoing argument as to whether you need B12 supplements as a vegan - I'll just go ahead and say go for it. It won't cost you more than $50/year, you piss out the extra so it doesn't hurt you, and if you can get homocysteine levels lower by keeping enough B12 in your diet you'll be fine.

There are certain foods with B12, but they are inactive forms that show up on a test, but are not useful to the human body. I'd rather just not experiment with it at this point and take the vitamin.

Omega 3s are quite good for the brain, and also something that is often absent in the average vegan diet. For omega 3s, there is the idea that fish are the best source of omega 3s. You can actually get an amazing amount of omega 3s without the worry about lead/mercury/everything else that comes from eating a fishy(plus saving the poor fishy) from flax seeds. You can get organic flax seed dirt cheap - and best of all it stays fine for months and months. I pick up a few dollars worth every few days, and mix it in with my shake. My "dessert shake" to treat myself in the morning and at night is some blueberries, bottled water, and a few teaspoons of flax seed with a B-12 vitamin.

I wasn't taking the B12 vitamins for seven months and I had a perfect bloodtest with no deficiencies. I take it now just so my doctor doesn't yell at me.

Fuck counting calories.

I am not a professional touring bodybuilder, and neither are you. I eat until I am full. Since I want to gain weight, I eat until far after I am full. Then I do a full body exercise routine four times a week along with a lot of running. I use a lot of energy, and I also eat a lot, but I am not tallying any of this and neither should you. Eat better, exercise more is far better than looking at an avocado and trying to measure/mathematically figure out how many you're "allowed" to eat...

Even if your goal is weight loss, don't bother counting calories. If you eat healthier food, lift weights more, and do longer runs/walks, you'll do better. No need for counting. Counting calories adds another layer of misery/responsibility to everything you are trying to do and ruins the whole experience.

The benefits.

Once you get to the benefits part you'll never go back. One example is heightened testosterone - my levels have gone up since switching over. Not a ton, but a small amount. I didn't think it mattered, but I look at the fact that my max benchpress for a single rep for seven years has wobbled between 225-250 lbs and two days ago I lifted 255 three times without killing myself and I am quite happy. I was 103 pounds as a senior in high school and bounced between 151-158 pounds for the past seven years, and am very happy to finally be at a consistent 160-161. I could do my runs up until I hurt my leg by being an idiot, that's coming along healing well. I don't hate waking up, I have more energy throughout the day, and am very happy with it.

And the ethics thing, in the beginning I never cared about it because I saw it as either eating tomatoes & lettuce and being miserable or eating animals. Once I realized I could be in better health, have more energy, lift more, and be happier without having to kill shit... it just becomes impossible to go back. I don't do the fanatical thing because I just don't believe it'll change anyone. I try to live an example that you can live a healthy life without being a miserable fuck, a stereotypical 75 pound string bean vegan, or a 600 pound beer-bellied technician... if people want to try it because it worked for me, I hope that creates more long lasting change than from being a condescending douchebag crusader.

Don't get me wrong, if someone told me I would be happier, healthier, and benchpress 315 tomorrow if I ate chicken I'd understand the argument for it, but since it isn't, it just seems really lose-lose to me for all sides. Seeing as the stuff that made me less healthy is the stuff that requires killing crap, I understand why some are so fanatical about it. It's like finding a drone that auto-diagnoses and repairs missing PM_SLP_S4_L, you want to let everyone know it exists! but again, jumping straight to fanaticism often isn't the way to do anything.

Try to ignore the drama, the politics, and the fanaticism and just find good plant based foods to eat that make you feel good.

I wish you the best of luck! Attached a picture of my three rep PR, I hope you do much better. ;)


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New member
holy smoke that is so cool. Congrats on your PR! Thank you very much for taking the time to write an informative response.

A little about myself:

I play football (soccer) on the weekend and train BJJ 2-3 times a week for the past 18 months. A plant based diet is something that kept popping up on my radar for the last year or so (your videos contributed :)), but it wasn't until I had to make weight for my first BJJ comp that I decided to pull the trigger. Weight has been falling off at about 1kg a week, perfect for my short term goals.

After I make weight for the competition I plan on upping my caloric intake, and try to add lean mass.

My favourite unexpected benefit so far has been my cooking and cleaning time in the kitchen has been dramatically reduced. Clean the blender, 1 chopping board, a knife, 1 pan and 1 bowl and that is it. Meal time is no longer a thing that I need to dedicate 1hour plus too.

Although I don't know any one else in my life that eats a plant based diet, I am blessed with a partner that is supportive of my dietary choice, and no issues from any of my mates.

I have to travel for a football tournament next week, sticking to a plant based diet will be a big test for me.


New member
Wow I have been a vegan for years... Never knew there was so much to be said about it other than life should not be a fucking production line! :)
Ever seen an animal next in line after watching another one get killed? They know what's coming. Eating a animal now, to me would be the same as eating a human.
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