Plant Paradox

I had the pleasure of first being introduced to a lectin this year, and it has truly changed my life.

In a world where we are constantly being inundated with the word “diet” and short-term, quick win programs to appease our need for instant gratification, it’s challenging to sort through the chaos. Throw in a health diagnosis – disease, cancer, anxiety, depression, etc – and the plot thickens. Lectins, or rather avoiding lectins, seems to put the pieces together. And better yet in a practical, simple way, and ultimately has been personally reinforced to me by multiple medical practitioners, spiritualists, and nutritionists. Hmm…..are we on to something here? I think so.

First – I’m in no means an expert on lectins. I’ll leave that to world-class doctors like Dr. Steven Gundry , author of The Plant Paradox. Also there are numerous other well versed, seasoned experts on lectin-free diets and I’m a huge fan (and encourage you to follow!) like Lectin Free Mama . Check out my recipes page too for more info on Lectin-Free Living and some of my favorite foods, with full credit going to their originators. It’s a great community to be a part of – no lack of information to be shared! Okay so back to our topic…

What is a Lectin?

Specifically to plants (this is the focal point here), lectins have a dual purpose – germination and defense – and are found in many common foods that we eat - like wheat, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, seeds, and more. Dr. Gundry does a great job of summarizing below:

“Plants don't like us. They were here first. They had it great before animals arrived because nobody wanted to eat them or their babies: their seeds. When animals arrived, plants had a problem: They couldn't run, they couldn't hide, and they couldn't fight. But they were chemists of incredible ability. So they turned to chemical warfare to convince their new predators, animals, not to eat them.

"They do this by using, among other things, proteins called lectins that literally act like guided-missile attacks on the gut lining, nerves, and joints of animals by binding to sugar molecules. Essentially they hack their predators to make them feel ill, pain, or generally not thrive. The smart animals get the message and move on. Then humans arrived. We're pretty stupid. When we eat these things and don't feel well, we take Aleve or Advil or Nexium or antidepressants and keep eating."

Lectins Have Been Linked to Disease and Weight Gain

"Lectins prompt an inflammatory immune response that calls our troops into action to battle them. When you go to war, you have to ration food to the noncombatants (our muscles) and store food and supplies for our troops in the form of fat.

"The war is being fought at our gut wall; is it any wonder then that we store fat right where the war is being fought? Moreover, lectins bind to insulin receptors on fat cells to pump sugar into fat cells continuously while simultaneously blocking the intake of sugar into muscle cells resulting in so-called insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.

"My research and others suggest that lectins cause most heart disease, arthritis, dementia, diabetes, and all autoimmune diseases.”

Add More Leaves and Good Fats to Your Diet

"You were designed to eat leaves, flowers (broccoli and cauliflower are flowers), shoots (asparagus) and tubers (root vegetables). You also will thrive by getting more olive oil and avocados into your life. Certain centenarians (people who live past 100) consume a liter of olive oil per week. That’s 12 tablespoons a day. Eat wild seafood and shellfish, if you eat animals.

"You can have great potato chips from taro root, jicama, beets, in fact, any root vegetable. Make some baked okra chips from my book. Use Miracle Noodles or Capello's pasta. Buy Siete Tortillas. My book gives tons of options. It's not about deprivation; it's about maximizing your health and enjoyment.

"Sadly, animal protein is a major factor in aging. My wife and I tend to eat a vegan vegetarian diet during the week, then eat shellfish or wild fish on the weekend. It's best if you can limit animal protein to about four ounces a day. That's about a deck of cards every 24 hours. That's not much."

Most people are profoundly depleted in vitamin D3. Most people should take a minimum of 5,000 IUs a day. There is another such thing as vitamin D toxicity. Most people are also profoundly deficient in fish oil. People should aim to get 1000 milligrams of DHA (a component of fish oil) a day from supplements. My research shows that polyphenols (those dark pigments from berries, tea, cocoa, red wine) are critical to protecting your brain and blood vessels. Lastly, get both probiotics (friendly bugs) and prebiotics (fertilizer for the friendly bugs) into your system.

Let Lectin Free Living begin now for you – it will change your life! 

I highly recommend you buy Dr. Gundry’s Book, The Plant Paradox and consider listening to his podcast. Both are great starting blocks!

Then – start shopping – time for a Pantry Clean Up and to focus on what you should be putting in your mouth, aka food as medicine. There are lots of lists floating around but here is one of the best I’ve found:

Yes / No Lectin-Free Food List (2019)

Dr. Gundry's Yes / No Food List (2017)

Hop on Facebook and Pinterest and there are recipes galore. I plan to highlight some of my fan favorites on here as well.

Happy Lectin-Free Living!