It’s a jungle out there. Learning what to eat and what to avoid in it, and how and when and why is what The Plant Paradox, by Dr Steven Gundry, is all about. In Part 1 of this 4-part blog series, I explain why I trust Dr Gundry as an authority on this topic and summarize his message. In Part 2, I summarized the 7 disturbing changes in the past 50 years which have exacerbated the need to take action in changing our diets. In Part 3, I shared the list of Yes Please foods.
Dr Gundry’s 6-week eating plan boils down to two fairly straightforward lists – the Yes Please foods and the Just Say No foods. He enphasizes that adhering to the “No” foods, where we cut out disease-promoting lectins, is far more important than adding the “Yes” foods into our diet.
In this final post of a 4-part series, I present the Just Say No list. I also note where there may be exceptions. Although these lists are intended as a lifetime eating plan, after an initial strict 6 weeks on it (Phase 2 of his program), Dr Gundry allows for experimentation, one-at-a-time and in 2-week increments, with some of the foods on the Just Say No list. These foods need to be de-fanged of their lectins by preparing them in special ways. And, he instructs us to really tune into our bodies to see if the foods create problems for us. If not, we can add them back in during Phase 3 (the lifetime phase), if prepared properly.
THE JUST SAY NOT FOOD LIST
Refined, Starchy Foods: Pasta, Rice, Potatoes, Potato chips, Milk, Bread, Tortillas, Pastry, Flour, Crackers, Cookies, Cereal, Sugar, Agave, Sweet One or Sunett (Acesulfame K), Splenda (Sucralose), NutraSweet (Aspartame), Sweet’n Low, (Saccharin), Diet drinks, Maltodextrin.
Vegetables: Sugar snap peas, Legumes*, Green beans, Chickpeas (including as hummus), Soy, Tofu, Edamame, Soy protein, Textured vegetable protein (TVP), Pea protein, All beans, including sprouts, All lentils*. *Vegans and Vegetarians can have these legumes in Phase 2 but only if properly prepared in a pressure cooker.
Nuts and Seeds: Pumpkin, Sunflower, Chia, Peanuts, Cashews.
Fruits (some called vegetables): Cucumbers, Zucchini, Pumpkins, Squashes (any kind), Melons (any kind), Eggplant, Tomatoes, Chili peppers, Goji berries.
Non-Southern European Cow’s Milk Products (these contain casein A-1): Yogurt (including Greek), Ice cream , Frozen yogurt, Cheese, Ricotta, cottage cheese.
KefirGrains, Sprouted Grains, Pseudo Grains and Grasses: Wheat (pressure cooking does not remove lectins from any form of wheat), Einkorn wheat, Kamut, Oats (cannot pressure cook), Quinoa, Rye (cannot pressure cook), Bulgur, White rice, Brown Rice, Wild rice, Barley (cannot pressure cook), Buckwheat, Kashi, Spelt, Corn, Corn products, Cornstarch, Corn syrup, Popcorn, Wheatgrass, Barley grass.
Oils: Soy, Grape seed, Corn, Peanut, Cottonseed, Safflower, Sunflower, “Partially hydrogenated,” Vegetable, Canola.
IMMEDIATE CHANGES I HAVE MADE TO MY DIET BASED ON THIS LIST
Right off the bat I have given up the following things which I used to think were healthy:
- My work-break wheat grass shots. I’m also looking for a green superfood powder which does not include wheat grass and/or barley grass. Dr Gundry has created one of his own, which I only recently learned about because he really does not push his own products all that much. I may need to try to get my hands on that.
- I’ve put a hold on eating legumes until I can get my hands on a pressure cooker.
- I’m peeling and deseeding tomatoes and cucumbers, and have pretty much stopped eating eggplant and peppers.
- No more cashews (and I stopped buying peanuts for the household) – I will still make cashew chicken, but will sub in different nuts.
Fruit presents a huge dilemma since I spent years encouraging my family to eat more of it and now they are accustomed to having a big bowl of it every day. I’m down-shifting to smaller portions and will see how that goes.
For now I find myself “dabbling” with the principles of the Plant Paradox program, incorporating the easy features of it wherever possible and not worrying so much about the rest. I feel really good. I even spent a (food and drink-wise) decadent 2 weeks in Europe on a recent business trip, and I credit this”dabbling” with the fact that I did not return to Bangkok with any additional pounds in tow, for the first time in I think ever.
The next step for me is to follow the program as my annual detox in 2018. I will plan to strictly adhere to the Phases 1 and 2 and will share the results here.
If the results are truly impressive, who knows, I may come out on the other side a Plant Paradox evangelist. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to continuing to dabble and enjoy the upcoming holidays.
OK, that wraps up this 4-part series on the Plant Paradox approach to nutritional eating. Thanks for hanging in there, and see you next week.