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Regarding your mcdougall questions:  The 12 day plan is his challenge to try 
eating the McDougall way for 12 days, then see how your health is improved.  The
MWL plan is the one you should try if you need to see weight loss ASAP.  The 
major difference is that the MWL plan discourages the use of flour products 
(including ww, white, corn, etc.) in favor of eating the whole grain, because 
the body absorbs more calories from flour products (Am I getting this right?).  
To me, this is the major difference between losing weight and not.  I lose very 
slowly, even on MWL I've lost only 10 pounds this summer.  On the other hand, I 
can now say I weigh less than I have for a decade, feel great, love this diet as
I have no other (and I've tried most of them that are out there), and never plan
on going back.  But once I've lost the weight, I may add back in pasta and 
bread, but never in the quantities I used to eat.  I think the great thing about
the McDougall plan is that it really encourages you to eat new grains--amaranth,
quinoa, cracked wheat, oats, buckwheat, etc., on a daily basis on not just rely 
on pasta and bread.  Regarding coffee and alcohol, I haven't given them up, but 
find I just can't take as much of either any more since my body seems to digest 
everything alot faster, which means both hit my stomach when it is emptier.  He 
argues against them for various health reasons, which I can't cite.
You'll be glad to know if you are on a really tight budget (so have I been for 
what seems like way too long), that eating this way can be alot less expensive.