- Eat Your Beans but Skip Reading Dr. Steven Gundry’s ”The Longevity Paradox”: Flaws and Fruits
- Is The Gundry Diet Healthy?
- What Is The Gundry Diet?
- What You Eat
- What You Don’t Eat
- Pros and Cons
- The Bottom Line
- The Ultimate Guide to Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox Recipes
- Breakfast on Dr. Gundry’s Lectin-Free Diet
- Recipes for Plant Paradox Main and Side Dishes
- Snack Recipes
- Plant Paradox Dessert Recipes
- Dr. Gundry’s Preferred Protein Sources
- Expect Lots of Olive Oil and Avocado
- Keto on the Plant Paradox Diet
- A Three Day Plant Paradox Cleanse Guide
- Food for body and soul
- How to plan your plant paradox cleanse
- Plant Paradox Phase 1: Salad for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
- Meal 1: The Green Smoothie
- The sustainable health diet
- THE 10-DAY DETOX
- THE NEW FOOD PYRAMID
- Good Fats, Approved Oils, Cruciferous Vegetables
- Skipping a Meal
- Nuts, Flour Alternatives, Lectin-free Grains
- Resistant Starches
- Seafood, Poultry and Eggs
- Grass-Fed, Pasture-Raised Meat
- Red Wine, Champagne And Dark Spirits
- Are lectins really a problem?
- Kicking traditional diets to the curb
- A more realistic, proven option
- The Plant Paradox: Lectins
- Dr. Gundry’s Ulterior Interests?
- Discrediting The Plant Paradox
- The Plant Paradox: What’s FACT, What’s FICTION?
- So What’s Fact and What’s Fiction?
Eat Your Beans but Skip Reading Dr. Steven Gundry’s ”The Longevity Paradox”: Flaws and Fruits
One of those physicians, Steven Gundry, MD, created much controversy in 2017 with the hypothesis that lectins in plant foods were the source of many chronic illnesses as outlined in his book, The Plant Paradox. Dr. Gundry references his “published” research and although a search on Pubmed reveals that his last peer reviewed full paper was on aortic surgery published in 2004. He has prepared an abstract of his results that is uniformly viewed in the scientific community as incomplete data not subject to the scrutiny of peer review. It also contains the unfortunate typo “Pant Paradox” in place of Plant Paradox.
Although The Plant Paradox spent weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list, it was not met without criticism. T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. and Thomas Campbell, MD, authors of The China Study, identified serious flaws in the references used to support Gundry’s claims. Their concluding statement was “We can only hope that this newly invented fad, based on such unethical and self-serving behavior, will pass quickly”.
David Katz, MD, founder of the True Health Initiative, also questioned Gundry’s work. Dr. Katz concluded that “So, do you need to fear lectins now? Dr. Gundry, who reportedly will be happy to sell you supplements to replace the nutrients present in the foods he is telling you not to eat, says: yes. I say: hold your breath, and count to a thousand while contemplating the theoretical toxicities of oxygen. Long before you finish, the truth will likely come to you in a gasp”.
Michael Greger, MD evaluated the book in a video titled “Dr. Gundry’s The Plant Paradox is Wrong”.
Recently, Stephan Guyanet Ph.D. published a detailed review of the book and gave it a grade of scientific accuracy of only 26% on a scale of 1–100, suggesting it is more fiction than fact.
I had the opportunity to both write about the book, identifying groundless claims, and to debate Dr. Gundry on national TV. I wrote that “If this were a joke it would be a bad one. As a best-selling book praised by people who reach millions and millions of loyal followers, it is dangerous and akin to pointing out the risks of oxygen which is known to have the potential to damage tissues.”
The Longevity Paradox: 3 Major Flaws
I approach most new ideas with an open mind but also carry the credo “be open minded but not so open that your brains fall out”.
With that in mind, I was looking forward to some improvements in Dr. Gundry’s new tome. In fact, beans and other legumes seem to have been resurrected on page 229 as long as pressure cooked or from Eden Foods, a Michigan-based company I love. Beyond that, is it more of a Poopadox?
I will leave it to Dr. Guyanet and others to evaluate every reference in the book, but I was sincerely hoping that Dr. Gundry had upgraded his shoddy attempt to support his views with the many erroneous references in his Plant book. The new book is not much better. Without casting stones unnecessarily, most medical doctors attempting to write serious books follow a system of references called the APA style guide and quote actual scientific studies in that format. For reasons that can only be attributed to laziness, Dr. Gundry lists many trade websites from Science Daily, Medical News Today, Bloomberg’s, and Science Magazine that are used for Tweets but not for serious science writing. In Chapter 2, for example, Protect and Defend, Science Daily is listed as a reference 6 times, USA Today once, and Joseph Mercola once. Furthermore, the URL’s are listed in a print book making verification onerous. In a technique also used by Gary Taubes in the past, Dr. Gundry will list an entire book as a reference with no page number, again making it nearly impossible to verify the claim. He does this in Chapter 1, Ancient Genes Control Your Fate, reference 19.
Are the statements in the book accurately referenced or are there more shenanigans like in The Plant Paradox? Turn to Chapter One, reference. Dr. Gundry indicates that “it was those holobiomes and their genes that were making us age so quickly, not our human genes” referring to the trillions of bacteria and genes in the colon, skin, mouth and other sites. Is reference 1 about the microbiome, genes, or other flora that live in or on us? Not at all. It is an analysis from the database of nurses and physicians followed by the Harvard School of Public Health relating habits like eating potato chips, poor sleep, and lack of exercise to long-term weight gain. No measurement of the microbiome was performed. No measurements of genes were performed either and the reference fails to support the statement in the book. Indeed, eating fruit was associate with maintenance of a more ideal body weight, a point to consider below. Bad form Dr. Gundry.
One more reference early in the book might make you wonder about the authenticity of the research in The Longevity Paradox. In Chapter 1, the book indicates that “as a 2016 study on the impact of diet on longevity concluded, “nutrient uptake depends on your microbiome” and indicates it is supported by reference 5. This seems a rather reasonable statement and the word “your” suggests the study was about human physiology. Except the study was not in humans and did not conclude that with that statement. The study was performed in nematodes, or worms, 1 mm in length, that are used for basic science experiments. A rather big leap of faith to “your microbiome”. The conclusion actually stated the following “Our study shows that the longevity difference when feeding B. subtilis to C. elegans instead of E. coli is not a mere consequence of one diet being more nutritious than the other, but rather due to one diet containing factors that are detrimental to the worm. We also showed that signaling pathways that affect longevity can have more or less of an impact depending on the diet worms are fed. Our study illustrates the importance that the microbiome can have on influencing life expectancy.” Not your life expectancy, but that of worms. It is not OK to be in the “ballpark” when writing books advising the public on diet and lifestyle without indicating that the data might need to be confirmed humans. Again, shoddy, if not shitty, research again.
As a final note, I challenged Dr. Gundry to his face about the errors that abounded in The Plant Paradox and he responded that a Harvard student was paid to do it and had made errors. He never released a corrected version of that book and he has learned nothing in the process.
Shame, shame Dr. Gundry.
2) A Theory of Heart Disease Without Any References
On pages 97–101, Dr. Gundry provides a theory of atherosclerosis that he provides to support the central role of avoiding lectins for health, the thesis of his The Plant Paradox. He provides ideas about molecules called Neu5Gc and Neu5Ac and how the differences amongst species. As humans do not make Neu5Gc, or so he asserts, eating lectins, and particularly grain lectins, bind to our tissues which “lays the groundwork for heart and autoimmune diseases in spades”. How many references to scientific studies are provided in these 5 pages to support this novel and bold assertion? Zero! I was intrigued enough to do my own literature search and can confirm zero exist. This is another example of hypothesis or fiction presented as an established fact because Dr. Gundry has a white beard like Santa and a medical degree. Shame, shame.
3) Fruit, the Evil Food Since the Garden of Eden
In chapter 8, The Longevity Paradox Foods, Dr. Gundry provides a section on “Gut-destroying Bad Bug Favorites”. He focuses on sugars, including the sugar in fruit, as the main issue. His claim is that “fruits, sweet treats, and real of fake sugars…are a driving factor of the obesity epidemic”, seemingly equating an apple and a Milky Way bar (page 207). He advised avoiding grapes, mangoes, ripe bananas, lychees, apples, pineapple, and pears, listing the grams of sugar in each as if the sugar added to an energy drink had the same influence on the body as an apple. This is another section devoid of medical references.
However, is there science to support eating fruit of all kinds? The recent Global Burden of Disease Study identified inadequate fruit intake as the third most powerful factor in 11 millions deaths annually worldwide due to dietary factors. The fact that fruit was found to be protective against the development of diabetes mellitus type 2 in a 7 year study of over 500,000 participants was not referenced. The data that increased intake of fruit is associated with less erectile dysfunction in young men was not acknowledged. Once again, claims are made, references are bogus or omitted, and Dr. Gundry fails to deliver the punch. Fruit punch. Shame, shame.
While there are aspects of the book that are admirable, like warnings about saturated fat and meat intake, The Longevity Paradox provides no new insights that are worthy of consideration. It appears as a vehicle to induce the reader to buy supplements and branded olive oil that Dr. Gundry sells conveniently matched to the books premise. He tried no harder in this book than in The Plant Paradox to base his hypotheses in science studies properly referenced.
My recommendation, borrow my copy of The Longevity Paradox and spend your money on grapes and apples.
Is The Gundry Diet Healthy?
Is The Gundry Diet healthy?
We’re going to let you in on a little secret. Most popular healthy diets that are touted for weight loss—from Paleo to Mediterranean and vegetarian—share many of the same basic principles.
All involve eating whole foods (as opposed to packaged and processed) and filling your plate with quality sources of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and vitamin-, mineral-, and fiber-rich vegetables. (Again, we’re talking about the ones that fall somewhere on the healthy spectrum, not unhealthy fad diets like, ahem, the Grapefruit Diet.)
However, each proposes a slightly different path that leads to fulfilling those principles.
RELATED: Is the Ketogenic Diet Healthy?
In this column, Diets Decoded, we’ll be breaking them down for you one by one so you can figure out which (if any!) is right for you. We’ll quickly explain the facts and then provide quick, actionable tips on how to follow the diet as part of a Nutritious Life.
What Is The Gundry Diet?
Steven R. Gundry, MD is an accomplished heart surgeon based in Palm Springs, California who left the traditional world of treating cardiac disease in 2002 to start his own wellness clinic, the Center for Restorative Medicine. The Gundry Diet is his approach to eating, which he says he’s used to successfully treat “tens of thousands of patients suffering from autoimmune disorders, diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases.”
He wrote a book, The Plant Paradox, to bring that approach to the masses, and the diet is focused on one major principle: that proteins called lectins found in a variety of foods increase inflammation and are bad for gut health. Eliminating them from your diet, he says, can lead to weight loss, overall wellness, and the prevention of chronic diseases.
What You Eat
Whole, unprocessed foods are key, starting with low-lectin vegetables like greens, carrots, and cauliflower, in-season berries, and avocado. Fish, grass-fed beef, and pasture-raised poultry are on the table, as are healthy oils like olive and coconut. A very small amount of cheese is allowed, as is butter if it’s “French or Italian.” A2 milk is also a “yes” food.
What You Don’t Eat
Gluten is a lectin, so this diet is gluten-free from the get-go. A lot of vegetables that contain lectins are forbidden, like tomatoes, eggplant, (okay, those are fruits, but you eat them like veggies), cucumbers, and peas. Fruit, in fact, is almost entirely out except for in-season berries, and you can’t eat any legumes either—no chickpeas, lentils, or black beans. Also on the “no list”: nuts and seeds like pumpkin and chia seeds and peanuts and cashews, and grains like quinoa, oats, brown rice, and rye. Regular milk and yogurt are also out.
Pros and Cons
The main benefit of the Gundry Diet is that it eliminates processed foods and has followers focus on whole foods that are produced in healthy ways that result in maximum nutrients—like in-season produce and grass-fed beef.
But there are many downsides. There is little to no research that backs up Dr. Gundry’s thesis that humans shouldn’t eat lectins. All we really know for sure is that if you eat high-lectin foods in excess, it can cause digestive distress. (Like, maybe you’ve been bloated after eating lentil soup for lunch a few days in a row?)
RELATED: The Truth About Lectins
And if you cut lectins out, you’re cutting so many incredibly nutrient-dense foods out of your diet. Tomatoes, cucumbers, Greek yogurt, beans, whole grains, fresh fruit…many of these foods are key elements of a healthy diet, providing important nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, fiber, and protein.
The Bottom Line
The Gundry Diet just doesn’t line up with Nutritious Life’s principles because it eliminates so many nutritious foods that work for so many people.
Obsessing over which fruits and vegetables are the healthiest is not worth your time when there are so many other things about eating empowered that are hard to master, like ditching sugar and avoiding overeating. Come on…you should be able to enjoy a delish ancient grain salad filled with produce!
If you’re still worried about lectins, you can significantly reduce the amount of lectins in beans and grains via soaking, fermenting, sprouting, and cooking. (Yes, simply cooking.) You can also peel tomatoes and eggplants.
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The Ultimate Guide to Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox Recipes
Dr. Steven Gundry, the creator of the Plant Paradox Diet, loves to cook. He is a prolific chef and has created many dozens of impressive dishes for the lectin free diet. How many? He’s written two books on the matter, and together they are a treasure trove of Plant Paradox Recipes. This is great news because for anyone who wants to go on a diet they will be able to eat like a king!
Breakfast on Dr. Gundry’s Lectin-Free Diet
When you’re on a new diet, breakfast is often the hardest meal of the day. That’s because people tend to eat the same breakfast every day, year after year. Additionally, many people tend to prefer a carbohydrate-rich breakfast. It’s rare to find an individual who prefers to eat vegetables for breakfast, but that’s exactly what Dr. Gundry recommends. He prefers that his patients consume as many green vegetables as possible, provided that they are lectin free.
The good news is that he has put gather over a dozen incredible breakfast recipes, including muffins, vegetables and eggs, pancakes, multiple green smoothies, and so much more. Something examples include Carrot Cake Muffins, Coconut Almond Flour Muffin in a Mug, the Plant Paradox Smoothie, Cinnamon Flaxseed Muffin and a Mug, Cassava Flour Waffles with a Collagen Kick and Old Fashioned Blueberry Pancakes.
Recipes for Plant Paradox Main and Side Dishes
There’s absolutely no shortage of recipes for mains and sides in Dr. Gundry’s collection. He tends to prefer meals made with vegetables that are high in prebiotic fiber because they are good for your microbiome. For example, he recommends that you eat lots of tubers, such as yucca root, parsnips, Carrots, and other green vegetables.
His recipes include copious amounts of leafy greens, such as kale, chard, collards, and lettuces. Additionally, he tends to use lots of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. They are great for your gut flora because they feed healthy bacteria.
Something examples of popular Plant Paradox dinner recipes include Tops and Bottoms Celery Soup, Sorghum Salad with Reggie Keio, Moroccan Spiced Chicken with Millet Tabouli, Raw Mushrooms Soup and Spinach Pizza with Cauliflower Crust. One of my personal favorites is Cauliflower Fritters. The ingredients include omega-3 eggs, cauliflower florets, green onions, chopped parsley, chopped meat, coconut flour, and cassava flour.
Another dish of interest is Baked Okra Lectin Blocking Chips. These are extra special because okra has the natural ability to block lectins. What’s more, they’re delicious and make excellent appetizers, especially if you want to impress your guests! There is no shortage of snacks on Dr. Gundry’s diet.
Plant Paradox Dessert Recipes
You might think that went on the Plant Paradox Diet you won’t be able to eat dessert, but I have good news for you: you are wrong! Gundry has been incredibly creative coming up with recipes that are compliant with the diet. A few examples include cinnamon sweet potato Blondies, skinny ginger snap cookies, olive oil rosemary cake, and mint chocolate chip avocado ice cream. My personal favorite is flourless chocolate almond butter cake.
How is he able to come up with so many delicious recipes when the Plant Paradox Diet seems to be so restrictive? He’s done an ingenious job substituting things like tapioca starch and Stevia for traditional ingredients like sugar and wheat flour. He also tends to use almond flour as a replacement for wheat.
Dr. Gundry’s Preferred Protein Sources
Dr. Gundry‘s preferred source of protein is seafood (preferably wild caught) eggs, and occasional consumption of poultry and lean meats. You will find that his recipes include all of them, typically in smaller quantities. His favorite fish is salmon, but he also enjoys cooking trout.
Expect Lots of Olive Oil and Avocado
Dr. Gundry’s two favorite fats are definitely olive oil and avocados, and you will find them in many of his recipes. Not only are they healthy for you, but they are also delicious! They’ve got tons of healthy omega-3 fats, polyphenols, fiber, and even protein. He even uses avocado in his ice cream!
Keto on the Plant Paradox Diet
If you’re on the keto diet you’ll be happy to know that many of his recipes have can be easily adapted for keto. The diet is overall very keto friendly. You will just have to add more fat and possibly beef up the protein (pun intended!).
A Three Day Plant Paradox Cleanse Guide
Whenever I post about wanting to do a three day Plant Paradox cleanse, I have people wanting to join me and some asking me for details. Not everyone who follows me on Instagram is familiar with the Plant Paradox, and among those who are, there are some who have a hard time figuring out what to eat (don’t we all sometimes?). In the initial Plant Paradox Book, there is a Phase One meal plan (what Dr. Gundry calls the three day cleanse) and that has been useful for me when I’ve done the cleanse in the past. But the longer on this lifestyle, the more I want some new things to try. So I figured I’d share some of my ideas of how to do the cleanse and what to eat, so it doesn’t feel like a cleanse at all. That means we will eat delicious and good looking food (because who likes sad food and don’t we all eat first with the eyes?), that will leave us nourished and satisfied. Of course, if you are at the beginning and still on a sugar and carb loaded diet, you might experience some weakness and cravings, but that’s what happens to all of us at the beginning. Just do the best you can and think that anything is better than nothing and that you will always have the chance to do it again, whenever you want. For a better understanding of the Plant Paradox program the most important thing I ever recommend is to read The Plant Paradox book by Dr. Steven Gundry.
Food for body and soul
I also wanted to make the cooking part easy on us. Not everyone loves or have time to cook every day, two or three times a day, so I’m going with a meal prep plan in mind. Since the main protein allowed in the cleanse are wild caught salmon and pastured raised chicken (shellfish too or just not animal protein at all, but I want to keep it simple), I built my cleanse meals around the two items, which will be cooked once and served with each of the six meals. To make it easier to follow, I’ve outlined the cleanse in the below points:
- Number of meals: there will be 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners. Snacks are allowed if you feel hungry (1/4 cup approved nuts / day or romaine lettuce with avocado). Remember, almonds are compliant only blanched.
- Protein: we are allowed maximum 4oz per serving, 8oz max per day (I weight mine cooked) wild caught fish and pastured raised chicken, so to keep it simple we will have three meals with wild caught salmon and three meals with pasture raised chicken. If you don’t find pastured raised chicken in your area, use some other type of fish. TIP: if you are low in budget, or time restricted, or just want to make it even easier, you can always use good quality canned fish: alaskan pink salmon, sustainable caught tuna, sardines. Just make sure they come in containers that are BPA free. Vegans and vegetarians, I sometimes do my cleanse without animal protein, but never use Quorn or Tempeh products. What I like to do is replace the animal protein with one portobello mushrooms, and you can sprinkle some hemp seeds on top of your veggies.
- Breakfast: will be a green smoothie (RECIPE HERE, but please skip the coconut oil for the cleanse or replace it with one tbsp MCT Oil. If you are not vegetarian or vegan, skip the hemp seeds too, you already have enough protein with the salmon and chicken and the point of this cleanse is to keep protein in check). I usually fast for 14-16 hours every day, so I might just skip the smoothie. If you too prefer to fast and skip the smoothie, make sure you have plenty of greens throughout the day.
- Lunch: since a lot of us have work during day and have to go to an office, I think lunch should be the easier meal to prepare and had, usually a composed plate from your pre-cooked protein, and a side of veggies that are good cold or re-heated in the microwave. I personally don’t use a microwave, I don’t mind having my food cold, but to each their own. Do whatever feels better for you.
- Dinner: If you have a little more time to play for dinner, you can cook veggies that you can have warm for dinner and you can use the next day for a workday lunch.
- Must haves: I recommend to have one romaine lettuce head (the big one, or two of the smaller ones, the romaine hearts that come pre-packed) and one avocado every day. If you choose to have the smoothie, you are covering almost half of the above because the smoothie has lettuce, spinach and avocado in it. I always use arugula in my cleanse and some other type of green lettuce (not iceberg though, there is no nutrition in it). Have at least a cruciferous vegetable every day (I have them with every meal).
- OILS: your main cooking oils will be avocado oil and grass fed ghee, and I’ll use extra virgin olive oil for salads, but in the Phase One YES list, Dr. Gundry doesn’t include olive oil, although in the original The Plant Paradox book he has Phase One recipes with olive oil (a small contradiction). So I suggest, if you are new to the program, skip olive oil and coconut oil but if you’ve been doing this for a while you can just use avocado oil and ghee for cooking and olive oil for dressing your salads. Totally your choice.
- SALT: don’t forget is better to use iodized sea salt.
- Spices and seasoning: Although I love spices, I will keep it simple during the cleanse, using iodized sea salt, pepper, and fresh or dry herbs. I will not use cayenne pepper or paprika, or mixed spice that I’m not sure what they are made of, even if they are compliant.
- EAT GREEN: Put everything on a bed of green leaves. Use romaine lettuce, arugula or curly lettuce, kale, baby spinach, whatever you like. I always have some sort of green leaves with any meal, cleanse or not. BUT, add as much color as possible to your meals. Eat the rainbow, they say.
- Snacks: The meals in this plan are big enough in my opinion and include all the nutrition you need, but if you feel like something in between meals, you can have some avocado and lettuce or 1/4 cup of approved nuts (almonds are compliant only blanched).
- Sweeteners: Although theoretically they are allowed during the plant paradox cleanse, I would not eat anything that tastes sweet for these three days. One of the main purposes of a cleanse is to release us from the tyranny of sweet, and our brains will not distinguish the sweet taste source and will just want more. It’s just three days, you can do it (I’m mainly referring here to adding stevia to your smoothie or coffee, because there are no baked goods or desserts included in the cleanse).
- DRINKS: Drink lots of water, I recommend minimum 2 liters of water / day. You can also have black coffee and tea. No creamers, no sweeteners. If it’s something you are used to, I think bulletproof coffee should be ok if it’s made with grass-fed ghee.
- MACROS: Although the Plant Paradox is not really a low carb diet as per the standards of the diet world, it is still low carb compared to a normal diet, and that’s how the cleanse is different than other cleanse programs. It’s very low in carbs, there are no fruits or sugars allowed (of any kind), it’s high in healthy fats and low in protein. So the secret of having a successful plant paradox cleanse is not only to keep it low carb, but also low protein, especially animal protein. That’s why we are only allowed maximum 4oz of animal protein per meal (twice a day), I personally try to keep it even lower, at around 3oz. Vegans and vegetarians who want to do this cleanse, you can just replace the animal protein with extra veggies and greens and maybe have few hemp seeds sprinkled on your salads and meals, or some extra approved nuts.
- Mindfulness: Remember that health is not all about food. Practice mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or whatever makes your soul happy. Be grateful. Connect with nature. Sleep well.
- ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS: We sometimes forget the Plant Paradox lifestyle is not only about food. For a proper detox / cleanse, try to stay away from toxic cosmetic products and house cleaners, perfumes, fragrances, even blue light. Try to reduce as much as possible your exposure to electromagnetic fields (turn you phone on airplane mode, switch off your wi-fi when sleeping, or just keep your smartphone as far as possible from you). If you find any of the below words on the list of the ingredients of the products you use, don’t use it. More details about safe skin/body care products HERE.
- SHOPPING LIST. Considering all my recommendations for meals, these are the main items that I would include in my cleanse: 12oz wild caught salmon, 12oz pastured chicken, one avocado for each day, one romaine lettuce for each day, cabbage (I prefer purple because it adds some color), Swiss chard, Portobello Mushrooms (as sides or to replace the animal protein if plant based), Brussel sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, artichokes, broccolini or broccoli, mixed olives (that are not marinated in non compliant oils), arugula, red onions, garlic. You need iodized sea salt, avocado oil, grass fed ghee (optional, can be replaced by avocado oil), extra virgin olive oil, a good quality vinegar, lemons (organic if you want to use the zest), limes, capers. I’ve used fresh Italian parsley and some of the ideas below include cilantro. Bok Choy is also a great vegetable to have during the cleanse. Compliant nuts that I prefer having during the cleanse are macadamia, walnuts, pecans or pistachios. You need tahini if you decide to make the cauliflower artichoke hummus (I use jarred artichokes that don’t have non compliant ingredients). Artichokes are a great addition to a plant paradox cleanse, so even if you don’t make the hummus, you can add them to your composed bowls or salads. You need fresh ginger, mint and baby spinach if you decide to make the smoothie. Ginger is optional, I like the taste of it in the smoothie though.
PLEASE CHECK MY SHOPPING PAGE FOR PANTRY STAPLES IF YOU NEED HELP
How to plan your plant paradox cleanse
My advice is to start by cooking your protein at once, unless you have time and enjoy cooking twice a day. Cook 12oz of salmon and 12oz of pasture raised chicken.
In my cleanse prep trial this week, I split a 12oz wild caught king salmon fillet in 3 equal portions, cooked it in a cast iron pan (or any oven proof frying pan) in avocado oil, skin down, for about 4 minutes and transferred it in the oven at 375F to finish cooking for another 15-20 minutes. The time depends on the thickness of your salmon. Make sure you don’t overcook it. You can have the first serving warm, and store the other two for the next meals. For extra flavor, make a capers lemon sauce, by warming 4 tbsp of ghee in a sauce pan, and adding 1 tbsp of capers, 1 minced garlic clove, zest from one lemon, 1 or 2 tbsp lemon juice, few tbsp of fresh chopped parsley. Add the sauce to your cooked salmon. Roast Brussel sprouts and mushrooms at 375F, in avocado oil, salt and pepper, for about 30-40 minutes and add to your salmon, on a bed of greens (I like romaine lettuce crispy hearts for this).
For the chicken, my cleanse prep trial included cooking various parts of a pasture raised chicken, but you can do only chicken breast. My suggestion is to rub your chicken with a mix of herbs and spices – I used dry sage, mustard powder, dry rosemary, sea salt and pepper. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, avocado oil and let marinate for one hour or so (even more if you have time). Cook at 375F in the oven, for about 30 minutes, depending on what pieces you use and how big they are. You can check if ready by cutting with a knife next to a bone or on the thicker side of the breast and make sure the flesh is white, not pink. Eat the first portion when warm and use the other two cold, for salads or composed bowls the next days. At the same time you can cook the vegetables in a different pan, I chose roasted garlic and cauliflower in avocado oil, iodized sea salt and pepper. 375F works perfectly for the cauliflower and garlic. It takes about the same time as the chicken. I used one head of cauliflower and about 8 garlic cloves, skin on.
For the next day’s lunch, fill two halves avocado with one of the salmon fillets, add on a bed of greens, like arugula and spinach, drizzle olive or avocado oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Add fresh or marinated red onions, few capers. You might have some leftovers Brussel sprouts and / or mushrooms to add to your bowl. This is a big portion and you may not be able to eat all in one go, keep the leftovers and have later when you get hungry (you probably will). Another side that goes really well with salmon is sautéed broccolini (baby broccoli). Just sauté them in avocado oil, with one smashed garlic clove, covered (they only need few minutes, they cook nicely and fast in their own steam).
Another meal I put together using the pre-cooked chicken, was a bowl of sautéed swiss chard (you find the recipe here), half avocado, few olives, marinated red onions and one of my favorite salads ever, cabbage salad (I used purple but the white one can be as good). For the salad just finely slice the cabbage, massage it on the cutting board with salt, add it to a bowl and add avocado or olive oil, apple cider vinegar, pepper (all to your taste).
You keep hearing me mentioning these marinated red onions, which is in fact a recipe by the famous @NoCrumbsLeft (on Instagram). I don’t really measure anything, I just finely slice two halves of red onion and add them to a jar with extra virgin olive oil, a good quality red wine vinegar (about 1 tbsp) and lots of dry oregano. I keep it on the counter for few days and use both the onions and the marinade to top every single meal.
If you have time for more experimentation and cooking, I recommend okra chips and cauliflower and artichoke hummus. To make the okra chips (which by the way have powerful anti-lectin properties), wash and dry them, cut them length wise in half, season with salt and pepper and if you want some garlic powder, and bake for 20 minutes at 450F, on parchment paper. Cook them first open face down for 15 minutes, flip each piece and cook for another 5 minutes, but keep an eye on they as they will burn easily). I have posted the cauliflower and artichoke hummus previously, so you can find the recipe HERE.
LATER EDIT: While I’m actually doing my cleanse (basically I did it twice, once for testing all these meals and once for real), I have to improvise because I don’t feel like having the same foods I had last week, so these are two of the non-planned meals I included in my real cleanse. I had one of the cooked salmon fillets I hadn’t used, so I made what I would call Turmeric Cauliflower Rice with Mushrooms and Salmon. I sliced the mushrooms and added them to a pan with avocado oil and cooked for few minutes until they started releasing moisture; I grated a thumb size turmeric root and added to the mushrooms pan, and added the cauliflower rice and cooked for few more minutes. I like when the cauliflower keeps some texture, so I only cook it for 3, 4 minutes. Added the shredded pre-cooked salmon at the end, some salt and pepper to taste. Had it next to a romaine salad, with red radishes, half avocado, red marinated onions, all drizzled with olive oil and lemon. For the lunch today (as type this), I did not feel like having any animal protein at all, so I made Sautéed Bok Choi with Maitake Mushrooms (or Hen-Of-The-Woods). I needed two pans for this as the bok choi takes a lot of space. I sautéed the bok choi in avocado oil, covered, for about 8-10 minutes. The mushrooms were sautéed in avocado oil, with one whole (peeled and smashed) garlic clove, until golden brown (it takes about 8 minutes (I also covered them with a lid while cooking). Finished with a drizzle of Modena balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Served with half avocado, marinated red onions and drizzled with lime and olive oil. I also had some olives on the side.
Please follow my Instagram account for daily updates and more ideas about how to handle the cleanse. For a printable version of The list is not split on Phases, so some of the foods on this list are not allowed in Phase One.
To conclude this long piece, my advice is to keep it simple during the Plant Paradox cleanse. You don’t want to get overwhelmed with cooking. Also, don’t forget not everything is about food, avoid endocrine disruptors, sleep 8 hours a night, consider practicing mindfulness during the cleanse, maybe try some easy, slow yoga, meditation, walking in nature, a creative activity, reading, listening to your favorite music, be grateful and do whatever makes your soul happy.
If you are a visual person like I am and don’t care for specific measurements and cooking instructions, you may get some few ideas of how to prepare your food to look good from these visuals. TIP: Use Portobello mushrooms to replace the animal protein if you are going plant based. Mushroom and cabbage steaks can be prepared in the oven, in the same dish / pan: season with salt, pepper and add some fennel seeds to the cabbage, and cook in avocado oil for about 25 minutes at 400F. Finish with a 3 minute broil at 450F. Asparagus can be broiled at 450F, for about 7 minutes, in avocado oil, with salt and pepper. You can serve all with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
And if by any chance you want to go super fancy during the cleanse, you should try this Salmon Avocado Tartare recipe, it’s delicious and believe it or not, makes for a good candidate for a Plant Paradox cleanse.
Some more ideas and Phase One compliant recipes you find on my blog (skip the mayo in the poke bowl below):
Cauliflower Rice and Seaweed Vegetable Poke Bowl
Bok Choy, Broccolini and Mushrooms Stir Fry
Almond Ricotta Stuffed Portobello with Brussel Sprouts
Plant Paradox Phase 1: Salad for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
The first phase of the Plant Paradox (PP) involves a “cleanse” that kickstarts the feeding of the good gut bacteria with three days of awesomeness for your gut and three days of horribleness for your taste buds.
I’ve heard of these infamous cleanses before–people drinking nothing but lemon juice and cayenne pepper, people fasting and drinking nothing but water for two weeks (this is impossible). I have predetermined that cleanses are stupid, and I am not a fan.
Ugh, but I’m gonna do this one. All in, right? It involves eating like 6 different kinds of lettuce for three days, along with a few ounces of protein and half my body weight in avocados and lemon juice.
Meal 1: The Green Smoothie
This is…uh, interesting? Actually, I was expecting to have to plug my nose and chug it down. (Update: I had to do this by the third day) The recipe is:
1 cup of chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup baby spinach
1 mint spring (sic, I think they mean sprig–I don’t know what the heck a mint spring is)
1/2 avocado (surprise, surprise)
4 tablespoons lemon juice (gasp!)
3-6 drops stevia extract (I recommend 4 drops)
1/4 cup ice cubes
1 cup tap water
WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN GROUND UP SALAD.
It wasn’t too bad. The mint and lemon juice really mask the taste of salad water, so if you close your eyes and use your imagination, it’s like you’re drinking really thick lemon-mint iced tea.
I chased this smoothie up with some coffee. I don’t know if coffee is off limits for this thing, but my desperation for a warm, caffeinated beverage after eating nothing but salad for breakfast prevented me from scouring the list of rules.
I didn’t immediately feel a sensation of good health wash over me after drinking this, which was disappointing, but expected. After three days of this thing, I’m considering skipping the digestive tract altogether and trying intravenous injection. As it was, I endured heartburn and stomach pain for the rest of day 1. According to Dr. Gundry, these are symptoms from withdrawal of being a sugar and carb addict–to which I no-longer-blissfully admit.
Also, I’m hungry all. the. time. Eating half a dozen avocados a day is apparently supposed to make me feel full, but I ain’t feelin’ it. It’s a good thing I’m doing this on my days off work.
Want to read how I fared?
Plant Paradox Phase 1: Day 2
Plant Paradox Phase 1: Day 3
The sustainable health diet
Health & Vitality
A new approach to food from Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Steven Gundry Posted by: Team Tony
When it comes to health, one of the biggest, yet most common mistakes people make is only focusing on weight loss. That’s why diet pills exist, why liposuction is even a thing, and why fads like the Atkins Diet skyrocketed in popularity (who cares if you’re putting endless amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats into your body – you look great). But almost without fail, people return to their normal habits – and have nothing left to show for the torture they put their body through except irreparable damage on their health and wellness. Do you go paleo? Ketogenic? Plant-based? How do you find the diet that won’t just help you shed pounds, but improve your overall health? And, more importantly, how do you find the path that will lead to real, lasting change?
This is exactly where functional medicine comes in. Functional medicine looks at the body as one integrated system in which everything is connected. And rather than treating isolated symptoms, functional medicine seeks to identify and address the root causes of health issues. So your weight, for example, is not treated as an isolated issue, but as a symptom of an underlying health or behavioral problem.
To help you better understand how the functional medicine approach to wellness can help you improve both your health, and as a result, your weight, we’re bringing in our resident medical and wellness experts: Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Steven Gundry.
Dr. Hyman is a practicing family physician, a 10-time #1 New York Times best-selling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The Ultra Wellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, a medical editor of The Huffington Post, and was a regular medical contributor on many television shows including CBS This Morning, Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, and The View, Katie and The Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Hyman is also a guest speaker at Tony’s Unleash the Power Within.
Dr. Gundry has been working in medicine for over 40 years. He is best known for his work as a cardiologist and heart surgeon. And currently, he is focusing on teaching people how to avoid surgery with his unique version of human nutrition – improving health, happiness, and longevity by making simple changes to the diet. Dr. Gundry serves as Director and Founder of the International Heart & Lung Institute as well as the Center for Restorative Medicine in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara. And he too is a guest speaker at Unleash the Power Within.
Curious to know more about functional medicine and how to approach your health? We’ve outlined both Dr. Hyman’s 10-Day Detox Diet, and Dr. Gundry’s Food Pyramid – each of which are focused on healing and strengthening your body. It’s time to stop counting calories and to start focusing on your health. Because when you focus on health as a whole, you can create a sustainable path to lifelong wellness and, ultimately achieve the body you deserve.
THE 10-DAY DETOX
Dr. Mark Hyman’s 10-Day Detox Diet is a scientifically proven program that helps you make the shift toward ultimate health and wellness. In just 10 days, not only can you lose up to 10 pounds, you can also help prevent or even alleviate chronic health issues like type 2 diabetes, asthma, joint pain, digestive problems, autoimmune disorders, headaches, brain fog, allergies, acne, eczema and even sexual dysfunction. And while this diet is intended for 10 days, it can be modified after that allotted time to be turned into a more sustainable lifestyle. Because this diet takes a different approach to food; rather than focusing on how much you eat, the program centers around what you eat – the quality of the food and its composition.
So let’s get into it. First, you need to prep for 2 days leading into your 10-day detox. During this phase, you’ll focus on:
- Low-toxicity animal or plant-based proteins
- High-quality fats and oils
- Low-toxicity vegetables
- Low-toxicity fruits
- Eliminating all sweeteners
- High-quality, full-fat dairy
- Whole-kernel grains
- Eliminating pasta and all flour-based products
- Purified waters, unsweetened herbal teas
Now for the detox. This chart stipulates what you can eat and the recommended portion sizes. Because not all calories are created equally – different foods trigger different biochemical responses in the body (hormones, neurotransmitters, immune messengers). The key is to focus on quality, not quantity. Strive to consume high fiber, high quality proteins and fats that are low in starches and sugars. This will help your body shift from fat storage mode to fat burning mode. And it helps prevent most chronic ailments from heart disease to dementia. For a more detailed roadmap of this 10-day detox, download this pdf. And for some delicious ideas of what you can whip up, check out these recipes.
THE NEW FOOD PYRAMID
When was the last time you’ve seen a food pyramid? Do you remember those loaves of bread and mountains of pasta forming the foundation? We were conditioned to believe that cereal, milk and ham were the right path to nutrition. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that eating half a loaf of white bread a day isn’t going to get you the body you want, especially since most bread products are filled with preservatives and additives like food dyes or high-fructose corn syrup.
This is exactly why Dr. Gundry has rewritten the food pyramid. Next, we’ll look into exactly what’s on Dr. Gundry’s food list for optimal health.
Good Fats, Approved Oils, Cruciferous Vegetables
The first pillar of the pyramid consists of good fats and approved oils. Dr. Gundry maintains that these are the most important foods in our diet and they’re the foods we should be eating most often. In fact, these are the foods of which we can allow ourselves to consume an unlimited supply. This includes:
- Extra virgin olive Oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil
- Romaine, red & green leaf lettuce, kohlrabi, mesclun (baby greens), spinach, endive, butter lettuce, parsley, fennel, seaweed/sea vegetables
- Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, asparagus, and radishes
Skipping a Meal
The second tier of the pyramid introduces the idea of intermittent fasting. Our bodies actually need to go without food from time to time. For this reason, we have to give our bodies time to process and digest. This really is one of the keys to great nutrition and that’s the reason it’s the second pillar of the pyramid.
Nuts, Flour Alternatives, Lectin-free Grains
This is where we can satisfy our grain and bread cravings. It’s okay to indulge in this category daily, but make sure to limit consumption of these foods to small portions per meal. And, there are only certain kinds of nuts on the list – legumes, like peanuts and cashews,should be completely avoided due to their high fat content. Instead, stick to the following:
When it comes to flour alternatives, stick to coconut flour or almond flour in place of your standard grain flour. Avoid white flour, whole wheat flour and processed flours at all costs. Processed flour has been completely stripped of all nutritional value. And when it comes to grains, stick to sorghum and millet, which are both lectin-free and carry a number of health benefits like fiber, antioxidants and minerals.
Resistant starches (like green bananas and plantains) make the list because they feed friendly bacteria. Turns out, there are about 100 trillion bacteria living in each of our guts. Good bacteria actually help our bodies digest what we eat, deliver vitamins (like B12 and K2), lose weight and eliminate disease-causing pathogens. So, we want to make sure we feed that good bacteria. Another reason we want to include resistant starches in our diets is because they can break down fat and reduce fat storage. Again, with resistant starches, it’s okay to eat them every day, but limit the quantity with each meal. It’s all about balance.
Seafood, Poultry and Eggs
The next portion of the Dr. Gundry food pyramid discusses different types of healthy protein. If you are going to consume animal-based proteins, then focus on wild caught seafood, pastured poultry and omega-3 eggs.
Wild caught seafood: Fish is full of important nutrients like protein and vitamin D. It’s also a wonderful way to get omega-3 fatty acids, which have numerous benefits like helping with various inflammatory health issues. Just make sure the seafood that ends up on your plate is wild-caught. Among other things, farm-raised fish are often injected with antibiotics or even treated with pesticides, which can lead to dangerous health effects like mercury poisoning.
Pastured poultry: Pastured poultry can be a great source of protein, but pastured is not the same thing as free range or organic. Pastured poultry means that your chicken or turkey was raised outdoors in a pasture. Often, free-range chickens are never shown the light of day. And, they’re fed corn and soy. So, there’s only one type of poultry that’s okay here – pastured.
Omega-3 Eggs: These can provide certain health benefits. For instance, research shows they lower cholesterol. So, it helps if we make sure Omega-3s are the eggs that end up on our tables. Also, these are foods we want to consume in limited portions each day.
Eating fruit in season was a great thing for our ancestors, because it allowed them to fatten up for the winter months. But now, we can get almost any type of fruit any day of the year. So, we have to be sure to consume it in moderation.
There are a few fruits that are great year round, such as banana, mango, and papaya, but they’ve got to be eaten while they’re still green. That is because they have not yet expanded their sugar content. And the good bacteria in our guts love to feast on these green fruits.
If you want to consume dairy, stick to southern European cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and buffalo milk. Consider this an indulgence and only consume in moderate quantities.
The problem with the typical cow milk you get at the store is that it contains casein A-1. Casein A-1 is converted to protein called beta-casomorphin which can prompt an immune attack on the pancreas of people who consume milk from from these cows or cheeses made from it. This can cause some serious health concerns.
Grass-Fed, Pasture-Raised Meat
Dr. Gundry strongly recommends that only 4 ounces of daily protein come from grass-fed or pasture-raised meat. Why grass-fed and pasture-raised? Well, for starters they have more omega-3 and fewer omega-6 oils than animals fed grains and soy. But, we should still be careful not to over-consume as they still contain Neu5Gc, a type of sialic acid found in most mammals that human bodies have a hard time breaking down. So, while the following meats are acceptable, please remember they should only be consumed in limited quantities:
- Wild Game
- Pork (humanely raised)
Red Wine, Champagne And Dark Spirits
In order to really separate the new and improved food pyramid from the dated food pyramid we all grew up with, Dr. Gundry included some spirits. Red wine in moderation – meaning 1 to 2 glasses 1 to 2 times a week – can actually help your health. But it’s also important to understand that the polyphenols in red wine might be connected to reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and heart health issues.
Learn more about Dr. Gundry’s diet principles and check out delicious recipes that adhere to the new food pyramid.
Header Image © / Aneta Gu
Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.
If you have a thyroid disorder or an autoimmune condition and are struggling to lose weight, headlines of singer Kelly Clarkson’s dramatic transformation using the Plant Paradox diet might leave you wondering if it could leave you svelte too.
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Cleveland Clinic dietitian Dana Bander, MPH, RD, LD, CDE, says it’s entirely possible, though she cautions that the eating plan, based on “The Plant Paradox” by Steven Gundry, MD, isn’t a silver bullet ― let alone a proven, best choice.
“We all have very different compositions,” she says. “Different diets work for different people. Some people would thrive on it. But others would not like the foods on the diet and do horribly.”
The Palm Springs cardiac surgeon advocates an eating plan that shuns lectins, a type of protein found in common foods, like wheat, beans, potatoes, nuts and dairy. His controversial theory maintains eliminating (or finding substitutes for) these foods helps you lose weight and recover from chronic health conditions.
The more likely reason Clarkson successfully lost weight and improved her thyroid health on the Plant Paradox, she proposes, may be because the diet eliminated heavily processed foods that plague the Standard American Diet.
“People are eating all of these processed foods and are getting sick,” Bander says. “We’re seeing them in their 30s, 40s and 50s and they have illnesses of old age because they’re eating junk. What the Plant Paradox does is takes folks off of all the processed foods and puts them on whole foods. People are going to feel better, and they’re going to lose weight.”
Are lectins really a problem?
While the Plant Paradox preaches lectins are “edible enemies” and designed to prevent predators (including humans) from devouring plants, Bander says there’s no hard evidence supporting they’re truly toxic.
“Not very many people believe that lectins are a problem,” she says. Lectin-bashing is widely controversial and flies in the face of age-old vegetarian populations in many parts of the world, such as India, that have successfully thrived on a diet rich in lectin-containing beans.
Many dietitians point out that cooking also reduces the lectin levels in foods dramatically, and no one’s noshing on raw chickpeas or red lentils.
Kicking traditional diets to the curb
If you’re watching the numbers on the scale, you might be tempted by fad diets. But Bander says a better approach is to choose an eating plan you can stick with.
“I don’t like diets because people are waiting to go off their diet and go back to eating the way they always did,” she says. “You need something that’s sustainable.”
When evaluating a diet, Bander recommends asking yourself: “Can I imagine myself doing this in three months? In six months?” If you can’t, you’ll gain the weight back. And that ruins your metabolic rate.
“We see people who’ve been yo-yo dieters for all their lives who can’t lose a darn thing on 1,000 calories a day,” she says.
A better approach for people with autoimmune diseases, Bander says, is to get healthy on the inside. “Even if you don’t lose weight, you’ll handle your thyroid or the pain in your joints.”
A more realistic, proven option
If you truly need the notion of a diet to give your eating structure, the one to pick is the Mediterranean Diet, Bander says.
“I believe in getting away from processed foods. The Mediterranean Diet is a good example,” she says. “You have to embrace vegetables and also prepare your own foods.”
Sound daunting? Bander suggests the best way to get started is to simply get started. Make one small change at a time.
“If you do these major overhauls like Kelly Clarkson, you might not be able to maintain it all at once,” she says.
Instead, just make one positive change. Start with whatever you can do: Wander around the farmer’s market or grocery store and pick out one new vegetable that you’ve never tried. Or maybe prepare it a different way. Oven-roast your veggies instead of always thinking “vegetables” means “salad.”
“You want it to be something you’re 99 to 100 percent positive you can do,” Bander emphasizes. “You want to build on positive change. If you can do that one thing successfully, then you can add … and add.”
Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
The Plant Paradox: Lectins
Earlier this year, I started getting emails about this book, The Plant Paradox, purporting to expose “The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain”—foods like beans, and whole grains, and tomatoes. Why? Because of lectins, which is a rehashing of the discredited Blood Type Diet from decades ago. They just keep coming back. Yeah, but this was written by an M.D., which, if you’ve seen my medical school videos, you’ll know is effectively an anti-credential when it comes to writing diet books—basically advertising to the world that you’ve received likely little or no formal training in nutrition. Dr. Atkins was, after all, a cardiologist. But look; you want to give the benefit of the doubt. The problem is that it doesn’t even seem to pass the sniff test.
I mean, if lectins are bad, then beans would be the worst, and so bean counters would presumably find that bean eaters cut their lives short, whereas the exact opposite may be true with legumes (beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils)—found to be perhaps the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people in countries around the world. As Dan Buettner points out in his Blue Zones work, lectin-packed foods “are the cornerstones of” the diets of all the healthiest, longest-lived populations on the planet. Plant-based diets in general, and legumes in particular, are a common thread among longevity Blue Zones around the world—the most lectin-lush food there is. And, if lectins are bad, then whole grain consumers should be riddled with disease—when, in fact, “whole grain intake is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease,” the #1 killer of men and women; strokes, too; and total cancer; and mortality from all causes put together—meaning people who eat whole grains tend to live longer, and, get fewer “respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, diabetes, and all non-cardiovascular, non-cancer causes” to boot. And, not just in population studies. As I’ve shown, you can randomize people into whole-grain interventions, and prove cause-and-effect benefits. The same with tomatoes. You randomize women to a cup and a half of tomato juice or water every day, and all that nightshade tomato lectin reduces systemic inflammation, or has waist-slimming effects, reducing cholesterol as well as inflammatory mediators.
Dr. Gundry’s Ulterior Interests?
So, when people told me about this book, I was like, let me guess: he sells a line of lectin-blocking supplements. And, what do you know? “Assist your body in the fight against lectins” for only $79.95 a month—that’s only like a thousand bucks a year—a bargain for “pleasant bathroom visits.” And then, of course, there’s ten other supplements. So, for only like eight or nine thousand dollars a year, you can lick those lectins. Oh, did I not mention his skin care line? “Firm + Sculpt” for an extra $120—all so much more affordable when you subscribe to his “VIP Club.”
Discrediting The Plant Paradox
But, you still want to give him the benefit of the doubt. People ask me all the time to comment on some new blog or book or YouTube video, and I have to sadly be like, look, there are a hundred thousand peer-reviewed scientific papers on nutrition published in the medical literature every year, and we can barely keep up with those.
But, people kept emailing me about this book; so, I was like, fine, I’ll check out the first citation. Chapter 1, citation 1: “forget everything you thought you knew was true.” Diet books love saying that. For example: “Eating shellfish and egg yolks dramatically reduces total cholesterol.” What?! Egg yolks reduce cholesterol? What is this citation? This is the paper he cites. And, here it is. By now, you know how these studies go. How do you show a food decreases cholesterol? You remove so much meat, cheese, and eggs that overall your saturated fat falls—in this case, about 50%. If you cut saturated fat in half, of course cholesterol levels are going to drop. So, they got a drop in cholesterol removing meat, cheese, and egg yolks. Yet, that’s the paper he uses to support his statement “egg yolks dramatically reduce cholesterol.”
I mean, that’s unbelievable. That’s the opposite of the truth. Add egg yolks to people’s diets, and their cholesterol goes up. I mean, how dare he say this? And, it’s not like some, you know, harmless foolishness like saying the Earth is flat or something. Heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women—this can actually hurt people. So much for my benefit of the doubt.
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The Plant Paradox: What’s FACT, What’s FICTION?
Here’s a random question for you : What does Shark Week, Kelly Clarkson, and Warfare all have in common?
They all describe my Cooking Light assignment this week!
I was asked to review the book The Plant Paradox by Dr. Stephen Gundry. You know, the diet book that Kelly Clarkson credited on the CMT Awards red carpet a few weeks ago as helping to improve her health and to lose 37 pounds. I honestly wasn’t familiar with the book, but evidently other people are because there were no copies left on the shelf in my local area!
Once I found a copy, I was excited to start reading because 1) I’m a nutrition nerd and LOVE when there is new science to challenge existing knowledge and 2) the author Dr. Gundry’s professional background is pretty amazing. However, what I found after reading was a book that read much like the transcript of an episode on the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week or a National Geographic wildlife episode! Not at all what I expected for such a popular diet book!
I don’t want to give too much away, but essentially Dr. Gundry proposes that plants use compounds called lectins as chemical and biological ammunition to attack our bodies to get us to stop eating them. But, we’re too stupid to stop eating them, so the more intelligent plants continue wreaking havoc on our bodies – the end result of which is autoimmune conditions and pretty much all chronic disease related issues like insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and obesity.
So What’s Fact and What’s Fiction?
Find out in my full review for Cooking Light here: Kelly Clarkson Just Lost 37 Pounds on This Diet—But Should You Try It? Let me know what you think!