Updated Yes & No List
The Plant Paradox diet is not just about eliminating lectins. Although, that is probably the most popular (or unpopular) aspect of it. There are several other exciting and controversial components. More noteworthy, eliminating “healthy” fruit that’s not in season. Also, cutting out seed and vegetable oils that industry told everyone was healthy.
For successful followers, the diet is only the beginning. The Plant Paradox lifestyle involves a total re-structuring of the standard American way of eating and living. To reap the long-term rewards, we eliminate foods, substances, and actions that disturb gut and hormonal health. People start the Plant Paradox diet to put chronic disease in remission. They adopt it as a lifestyle to keep it in remission.
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The Plant Paradox Diet
This is a summary and individual interpretation of the protocol outlined in Dr. Steven Gundry’s book The Plant Paradox. Please read the book for more in depth info on the Plant Paradox diet. Nothing in this article replaces medical advice from a licensed professional. Consult your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.
The Plant Paradox diet is an eating protocol that eliminates certain dietary lectins, limits sugar in any form, and curbs high intake of polyunsaturated omega-6 fats. The diet kick-starts with a 3-day cleanse, wherein one repopulates the gut bacteria with leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, clean protein, and good fats. Beyond those three days, there is a second phase where one eats only from the list of approved foods for at least six weeks.
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The No List
From my observations, the foods on the Plant Paradox “No List” are there for one or more of the following reasons. They:
- Contain harmful lectins.
- Are sugar or convert quickly to sugar.
- Are too high in omega-6 fatty acids.
Some items overlap categories–think packaged, refined foods, like potato chips, crackers, and pastas. Other foods like tomatoes, squash, and peppers can be made safer by pressure cooking or peeling/deseeding, but still convert quickly to sugar in the body.
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Lectins are a type of protein found in almost every living thing. They serve multiple functions, the most relevant theory being that they protect a plant from predators (humans). Lectins have demonstrated that they are capable of something called molecular mimicry. This is a term for when the sequence of peptides on a dietary lectin mimic those of human molecules, thereby causing the immune system to cross-react, triggering autoimmune disease.
Sugar & Simple Starch
The Plant Paradox diet is not the first diet to curb sugar and starch intake. It is, however, a first to lay claim that fruit–especially year-round–is not healthy. The days of “fruits & vegetables” occupying the same category on a food pyramid are over. In contrast, artificial sweeteners that are zero calories have made the No list because of their ability to incite an insulin response and alter gut bacteria.
High Omega-6 Fats
Fat is only bad if you’re eating the wrong kind of fat (with a lot of sugar). Also, different fatty acids perform unique & necessary functions within the body’s cells. Studies show that a near 1:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is associated with a decreased risk of almost any chronic disease. For this reason, The Plant Paradox diet prohibits the western diet seed and vegetable oils to make way for crucial inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids.
The Yes List
The Yes list is best shown visually in Dr. Gundry’s food pyramid. The biggest portion of our diet should be fats high in omega-9 and omega-3 fatty acids, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables. Wild caught and pastured animal proteins, in-season fruit, nuts, and slow-digesting carbohydrates make up a moderate portion of the diet. And then we can occasionally enjoy A2 and high fat dairy products, red wine and champagne, and grass-fed red meat.
Plant Paradox Diet Printable Lists (Updated)
A big thanks to Darlene Lindholm of the Plant Paradox Recipe Sharing Group on Facebook for creating this updated Plant Paradox Yes & No list. She’s compiled the information, across all the Plant Paradox books–as well as Dr. Gundry’s podcasts, videos, and blogs–to provide the most up-to-date information on compliant foods and store-bought products. Print this list and keep it handy–you’ll need to reference it frequently if you’re just starting out!
Download and print your copy HERE.