Photo courtesy of Rachel Hanon Photography.
Photo courtesy of Rachel Hanon Photography.

3 Tips For Healthy Eating, According to Dr. Steven Gundry’s Plant Paradox

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3 min read

Have you ever thought of plants as intelligent and thoughtful entities, prepared to protect themselves at all costs? We totally should, according to Dr. Steven Gundry, author of The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in Healthy Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain. “Plants can’t run, hide or fight, but they are chemists of incredible ability,” he explained at WELL Summit in Brooklyn in October 2018. “They use biological warfare to make you ill.”

And how do our beloved tomatoes, potatoes and the list of other seemingly healthy plants that we eat regularly do this according to Dr. Gundry’s research? By producing and protecting themselves with sticky proteins called lectins that hide in their skins and seeds—and that act as poisons that manipulate our gut walls, joints, nerves, brains and immune systems.

Sounds extreme, right? But after designing a diet protocol based on this idea that lectins are destroying us from the inside out, one that drastically changed his health and that of his patients, Dr. Gundry left his successful career as a world-renowned heart surgeon to research and share his discoveries about lectins and how he believes you too can heal from disease and improve your life. Here are his three Plant Paradox rules to consider when it comes to the food you’re eating. 

Photo courtesy of Rachel Hanon Photography.

Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox Rules

1. It’s what I tell you not to eat that’s far more important than what I ask you to eat.

Let’s start at the beginning: Are you attributing your digestion issues to a dairy intolerance? Dr. Gundry suggests you may have a casein A1 intolerance instead. Years ago, cows went through a genetic mutation that caused their milk to begin to contain casein A1, a lectin-like protein. The way this protein digests in our body can create all kinds of ongoing problems you might want to avoid, according to Dr. Gundry.

Beyond dairy, lectins are found in legumes, grains and nightshades as well. “The problem with lectins,” Dr. Gundry says, “is they bind to cells on your gut wall, damaging the gut and preventing you from properly absorbing nutrients.” Avoiding them all together, or at the very least skinning and seeding specific plants, could be beneficial for digestion and overall health. Once you understand what not to eat, Dr. Gundry affirms there’s a wealth of healthy plants waiting to fill you up.

2. You are what you ate, but you’re also what what you’re eating ate.

Dr. Gundry reminds us how valuable it is to know and understand what the animals we eat are being fed. When it comes to poultry, are you making sure to eat pasture-rased birds? In contrast, the label “free-range”only requires that birds have access to the outdoors. By this label, birds can still live in caged environments with small holes for air and be fed lectin-rich grains instead of a natural diet of grass and protein that comes from roaming free.

When it comes to beef, is your meat both pasture-raised and grass-finished? Pasture-raised alone can mean the animals were finished for weeks to months with a grain-based diet high in lectins. Gundry advises looking for both the labels “pasture-raised” and “100 percent grass-fed” when buying beef to ensure the animal has been grass-finished as well as humanely raised.

3. Fruit might as well be candy.

Dr. Gundry says that fruit’s availability all year-around is part of our health crisis. In the past, most fruits were only available in summer and fall when they were ripe and in season. While fruits were once thought to be healthy for storing up fat for winter, they can be high in sugars and lectins. Dr. Gundry believes we need moderation when it comes to eating fruit and encourages us to enjoy seasonal treats like pears in November or watermelon in July, but not all year around. When craving something sweet, he suggests fruits like avocados or green bananas with substantially less sugar content. 


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About The Author

Heather Bursch

Heather Bursch

After teaching first graders for seven years, Heather Bursch went from creating reading lessons to designing dinner parties as a personal chef. She credits her three kids with teaching her how to eat well as they've lived and learned together about how good food makes them feel. Heather believes food is for health and pleasure and works to celebrate both the daily greens and seasonal desserts. She writes at shemadeitshemight.com, WELLinsiders.com and you can find her posting @heatherbursch on Instagram about food, life, cooking classes and all things in between.

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