You have probably recently heard about lectins in the news or seen Kelly Clarkson raving about The Plant Paradox book: “I read this book… it worked. My autoimmune disease is gone and I’m 37 pounds lighter in my pleather.” Is lectin free the new gluten free? Are foods like whole grains, beans, and even certain vegetables, previously described as healthy foods, actually causing diseases?
What are Lectins?
Lectins, a type of protein, is present in a number of foods, especially in raw legumes and grains. It is usually found in seeds but can also be in dairy products and certain vegetables. Lectins bind carbohydrates and initiate cell to cell contact causing carbs and sugar to bind together. According to Dr. Steven Gundry, this “means they can interrupt messaging between cells or otherwise cause toxic or inflammatory reactions.” According to Dr. Lundry, lectins help plants defend themselves from insects and other animals by causing inflammation and problems with autoimmune response. His book goes into depth explaining his theories and his research behind them.
What is Leaky Gut?
“Leaky Gut” is a term for the condition that occurs when there is damage to the lining of the small intestine which allow undigested food and waste products to pass through to the bloodstream. This syndrome is thought to cause a very large list of problems including several inflammatory bowel diseases, allergies, respiratory infections, thyroid disorders, chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis, weight gain, and many more.
According to Dr. Gundry, lectins “literally tear open little holes between the cells that line our intestines. This perforation is the cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome.”
The Plant Paradox
So, who is Dr. Steven Gundry? He is a renowned cardiologist who lost 70 pounds himself after researching and changing his diet to a lectin free one.
Dr. Gundry goes into extensive detail about his research and recommendations in his book, The Plant Paradox. Since its release there are many other companion books as this lifestyle catches on. Here are easy links to The Plant Paradox as well as some recipe books.
Is Eating Lectin Free Too Expensive?
If you saw Kelly Clarkson’s interviews about her weight loss, she does say that going lectin free is not cheap. This is mostly because foods that are mass produced and not necessarily good for you are cheaper to buy. If you are a meat eater, buying grass-fed beef or wild-caught fish is more expensive. Recommended dairy products and certain flours may be harder to find.
On the flip side, you will be eating less due to diminishing food cravings and the majority of your meals are homemade, saving on restaurant and fast-food costs. If Dr. Gundry is correct, you will also save a fortune on future medical bills and other costs associated with bad health. That’s worth the investment alone.
There are ways to mitigate the extra costs. Buying in season is healthier and cheaper. Find sources of truly healthy foods and watch for sales. My favorite place for healthy food online is ThriveMarket. It’s like the Costco for natural and organic foods with prices up to 50% off retail.
ThriveMarket is a membership site. You can register for free to browse through their selections. When you are ready to make a purchase, you can sign up for their 30-day free trial. Then, when you fall in love with it like I did, you can join for $59.95 a year (which also allows a low-income family to be sponsored with a free membership).
Click here to receive 25% off your first order (which easily adds up and help pays for your annual membership)!
Lectin Free Testimonial
For a personal view of going lectin free over a period of time and some awesome recipes, please check out the Lectin Free Mama’s site. This classical singer has a compelling story and her blog is very informative.
Join Me on This Journey
For those of you who follow my blogs, you know that my children have Celiac disease. We eat mostly plant-based whole foods and, because Celiac is an autoimmune disease, we try to stay away from known inflammatory foods in the nightshade family (tomatoes, eggplants, etc.)
What I find most interesting about this book is that a large amount of the foods listed on the “do not eat” list are ones that I actually do feel a reaction to, but have been eating anyway since they have always been deemed “healthy”. Corn, soy, legumes, and even quinoa can cause irritation.
Dr. Gundry does state that some people are more lectin-sensitive than others and that seems to be the case in my family. So is this for everyone? Probably not. Is it worth a shot to try it out for a few weeks to see if you feel and look better? Why not? The book is compelling and Dr. Gundry has some very good points and the research to back it up.