Lectins are plant proteins that are found in all sorts of vegetables and are one of nature’s greatest defense systems against hungry animals including human beings.
Not all lectins are toxic, but the ones that are, employ a long-term strategy to negatively effect your health so you will steer clear of that plant next time you are hungry.
This formula is designed to neutralize the harmful effects of lectins and helps reduce feelings of gas and bloating.
The discovery of fire
With the discovery of fire and subsequent development of cooking, about one hundred thousand years ago, humans got a break over the animal kingdom in that cooking breaks down many lectins. Also, cooking made it possible to eat tubers like yams and sweet potatoes.
The starches from these tubers feed our friendly gut bacteria, known as microbiome. The inhabitants of our microbiome break down the food we eat and extract nutrients from it plus they communicate with our immune system, both alerting it to invaders and doing battle or de-weaponizing harmful substances like lectins.
As our species evolved, so did our good gut bacteria to handle lectins in the plants and leaves we consumed. When our diet mostly consisted of forages plants and tubers the average height for males was nearly 5 feet eleven inches and five foot two for females.
Last Ice Age ended - loss of animals and plants as main source of calories
Then, about ten thousand years ago, the last Ice Age ended and many of the animals and plants that humans fed on, as a main source of calories, died off. During the journey to find new foods to eat, the tradition of cultivating crops evolved, starting with beans and grains. This proved to be revolutionary as once harvested, could be stored for later use. This significant milestone in human evolution also introduced a whole array of lectins into our diet that we were not equipped to digest and neither were our bacterial populations.
Human evolution timetable requires millennia to adapt to modification to environmental conditions
Mother nature’s human evolution timetable requires millennia to adapt to modification to environmental conditions. We can create new technologies and agricultural innovations at rapid speed, but our bodies were simply not prepared to consume them and still aren’t. It is interesting to note that after eating this new crop-based diet over a period of two thousand years, the average human height was reduced to five feet four inches for men and four feet nine inches for females.
Our ancestors learned to prepare and preserve foods that made them easier to digest
Our ancestors learned to prepare and preserve foods in ways, however coincidentally, that made them easier to digest. Using fermentation to preserve vegetables and dairy products. Some examples are:- kefir in the Middle East, sauerkraut in Eastern Europe, yogurt in India, kimchi in Korea or miso in Japan.
Many old-world cooking methods that are still applied today, include removing parts from plants which tend to have the highest concentration of lectins. E.G. Peels, hulls and seeds.
For more than five hundred years we continued to use these traditional preparation methods to make our foods more digestible but in the last one hundred years or so changes to our culture, food supply and technology have made us more susceptible to damage from lectins.
Year-round access to fruit and produce that would otherwise only be available during a short season. Meaning we are eating more of these foods that were originally eaten once a year to bulk up for winter.
A disconnection from traditional means of preparing foods (which reduce lectin content) and an over reliance on processed foods that are made primarily from grains and processed oils that are high in lectins.
An increase in the amount of wheat, corn and soy we consume – in the form of bread and animal food (since we essentially end up digesting whatever the animals we consume eat), processed food and vegetable oil.
(4) Decades and Millions of Dollars of Marketing
Exposure to decades and millions of dollars worth of marketing regarding the healthfulness of whole grains and vegetable oils, (which are essentially lectin bombs) leaving us woefully confused about which foods promote good health.
Generations of Americans have loaded up on whole wheat bread and pasta and multigrain bagels thinking they were making healthy choices – while rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease skyrocketed.
When it comes to lectins and their ability to cause harm, some people can simply digest them no problem at all.
Others, however, can’t seem to process even a small amount of lectins without serious negative consequences. Most of us fall somewhere in between.
You might feel somewhat uneasy if you eat a large bowl of lectins, like wheat cereal or beans, while others will feel constant discomfort and seek medical advice.
A simple way to decipher whether you are lectin-sensitive is to observe your symptoms after you eat food like kidney beans, tomatoes, wheat germ (or any from the lectins to avoid list below)
Am I experiencing gas, bloating or diarrhea?
Do I feel nauseous or suffer from heartburn?
Am I often fatigued?
Do I seem to have allergic reactions?
Do I experience a consistent response after I eat (nauseous, headache or breaking out in a rash)?
Do I feel pain in my joints?
Each of these questions can lead you to discover other causes for your symptoms, but they are often tied to your bodies inability to digest and shield lectins. See more details
Wheat and grains are the most commonly known lectin-rich foods, but here is a list you should either ditch all together or at least consume in moderation if you are sensitive to lectins.
Peanuts and Cashews
Rice (Particularly Brown Rice)
Red Kidney Beans
Potatoes (Sweet Potatoes are Fine)
Wheat 6 and Wheat Grass
Soaking and rinsing beans and even grains before boiling or cooking.
When you must cook with tomatoes, potatoes or beans, your best method for destroying lectins is with a pressure cooker. This will not work for wheat, oats, rye, barley or spelt.
The most harmful part of any plant is its’ lectin-filled peel or rind, so when cooking the likes of cucumbers, eggplant and squash you must peel and de-seed them.
Fermenting fruit or a vegetable allows good bacteria to break down and converts lots of a plants food’s defensive and damaging substances. Once fermented vegetables become a wonderful probiotic-rich food.
White grains over whole grains. White rice over brown rice which has the lectin-filled hulls. Cauliflower rice is a healthy and delicious alternative.
His recipes are in his Plant Paradox Cookbooks plus YouTube channel. Also, there is a Facebook support group that share many lectin free recipes.
We have modified our existing recipes to exclude lectins plus have picked up tips from his podcasts. Like how to cook a rice or potato dish, refrigerate then eat the following day. Makes for a great resistant starch, meaning that the fibers resist digestion in the small intestine then ferments in the large intestine. The fermentation acts as a pre-biotic that feeds good bacteria in the gut.
So we don't miss out on our favorite rice or potato dishes and get to feed our good bacteria with pre-biotic. (White rice of course!)
Research shows our bodies have not yet evolved new good gut bacteria to deal with new lectins, plus we are also not preparing and cooking high-lectin foods in the ways our ancestors did. As we live in a world where lectin-rich food is prevalent we must acknowledge the science and adopt eating habits to enhance our quality of life.
If you are ready to cut out lectins and improve your health and lifestyle, then take a week and survey your symptoms. If it looks like you might be lectin-intolerant then try Dr Gundry’s 3 phase Plant Paradox program which starts with a three-day Kick-Start Cleanse, followed by Repair and Restore for three weeks then Reap the rewards. YES and NO food lists plus lectin-free recipes are provided.
If you feel you aren’t in the extreme level but would like to perhaps lose weight, boost your immunity and energy, then still follow the Plant Paradox Diet but start at the Repair and Restore stage.
Whether you have a high, medium or low level of lectin-intolerance, have an immaculate health-promoting diet, your body will reward you for taking the right supplements. Research also shows that you simply can’t get all the nutrients and micro-nutrients you need from food, because the food you eat isn’t able to deliver those nutrients from the soil. Sad but true.
Dr Steven Gundry MD profound insights into to the role of lectins, teaches us to either avoid, remove and/or take a Lectin Shield as a supplement to minimize the effects.
You have to marvel at Mother Nature. The defense systems on Cactus and Stinging Nettle are obvious but having an invisible substance that can be toxic, is just as smart. Science has exposed the threat, we can choose to adapt our diet and food preparation, or ignore at our peril.
Check if you are lectin-intolerent.
Avoid or consume in moderation depending on your tolerance level.
Apply the Plant Paradox Diet as it fits your current state of health.
Keep a supply of Lectin Shield on hand as it isn't always possible to practice avoidance.
"The selection of nutrient-rich over lectin-bombs is a paradigm shift made easy with The Plant Paradox."