After being forced to abandon his San Francisco medical practice due to severe arthritis, Collin Dong claims he recovered completely by adopting a diet that mimics that followed by Chinese peasants. He detailed his diet plan in his 1980 book "The Arthritic's Cookbook," though the program is commonly referred to as the Collin Dong Diet or the Dong Diet. Although arthritics may experience alleviated symptoms on the diet, there is no scientific research proving it is an effective arthritis cure. Talk to your doctor before starting the plan.
The Dong Diet instructs followers to base their meals primarily on unprocessed rice, fish and vegetables. Egg whites, soy products, sunflower seeds, raw or oil-roasted nuts are also allowed and margarine, salt, sugar, garlic, parsley, onions and vegetable oils like olive or corn oil can be used in cooking or to flavor food. You can drink coffee, tea and plain soda water but no alcohol or sweetened soft drinks. All types of fruit, beef, pork, poultry, dairy products, vinegar, dry-roasted nuts, chocolate and any commercial products containing additives or preservatives are forbidden.
Sample Daily Menu
Breakfast on the Dong Diet might feature coffee, a piece of eggless, additive-free toast spread with margarine and an omelet made from egg whites and your choice of sauteed vegetables. Any vegetable is allowed, but Dong cautions that individuals with gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, should limit their intake of high-purine vegetables such as asparagus or mushrooms. Grilled salmon, brown rice and steamed carrots, broccoli and green beans could serve as lunch, while dinner might be a stir-fry of tofu, egg-free noodles and more vegetables. Snacks during the day could consist of a handful of nuts or raw vegetable sticks paired with a homemade bean dip.
The less red and processed meats you eat, the lower your risk of dying from cancer, heart disease or any other chronic medical condition will be, reported a study published in 2012 in the "Archives of Internal Medicine." Following the Dong Diet will help you accomplish this while significantly increasing your intake of seafood and vegetables, foods linked to a decreased risk of health problems. For some arthritics, one or more of the foods eliminated by the diet may be inflammatory triggers that worsen their symptoms. Their condition may improve on the plan, but this is not necessarily true for everyone.
Past studies of the Dong Diet, including one published in "Arthritis and Rheumatism" at the height of the plan's popularity, concluded that the diet was not a consistently effective treatment method for arthritis. There is no subsequent research to support Dong's premise that diet alone can cure the condition. The plan's restrictions on all meat, poultry, dairy products and fruit may be difficult for many individuals to follow long-term and may result in nutritional deficiencies without careful planning. The large amount of fish consumption advised on the diet may lead to a high intake of mercury and is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women and women who plan to become pregnant.
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- The Seattle Times: Diet & Arthritis - What You Eat - And Don't Eat - May Help Ease the Aches and Pains
- The Great Physician's Rx for Arthritis; Jordan Rubin
- The Arthritis Cure: The Medical Miracle That Can Halt, Reverse and May Even Cure Osteoarthritis; Jason Theodosakis and Sheila Buff
- Archives of Internal Medicine: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality - Results From 2 Prospective Cohort Studies
- Arthritis and Rheumatism: Diet Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.