What Is the Plant Paradox Diet and Does It Work?


Written by SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD on August 4, 2020 — Medically reviewed by Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

“. . .

What are lectins?

Lectins are proteins found in many foods, but primarily in legumes, grains, and nightshade veggies like tomatoes and eggplants (1Trusted Source).

According to Dr. Gundry, lectins are toxins that plants produce to survive and shouldn’t be eaten because of the many complications they cause, including inflammation, intestinal damage, and weight gain.

Although some lectins are dangerous, many foods that contain lectins are nutritious, boasting fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

For example, raw kidney beans — which are packed with nutrients — also contain phytohaemagglutinin, a lectin that can be extremely harmful if eaten in large amounts. However, cooking destroys this lectin, making cooked kidney beans perfectly healthy (2Trusted Source).

Gluten-containing grains also contain lectins, and according to Gundry, should be avoided. Yet, while some people, such as those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or certain autoimmune diseases, benefit from a gluten-free diet, gluten is considered safe for most.

. . .

According to Dr. Gundry’s website, the detox program involves a strict lectin-free diet for 3 days, plus a daily regimen of light exercise and drinking at least 8 cups (1.9 liters) of water, tea, or decaf coffee each day.

Not only does the detox bar all lectins but also all dairy products, eggs, sugar, seeds, grains, nightshade vegetables, soy products, and seed oils. Dr. Gundry claims that it helps prepare your body to follow a lectin-free diet long term.”

Foods to eat and avoid

“Although the Plant Paradox Diet is restrictive, cutting out numerous plant foods, it emphasizes whole and nutritious sources of protein and fat.

Foods to eat

You’re encouraged to eat these foods on the Plant Paradox Diet:

  • Proteins: grass-fed or -finished meats, pasture-raised poultry, free-range eggs, wild-caught fish, and hemp products like “hempeh,” hemp tofu, or hemp protein powder
  • Starches and grain-free products: sweet potatoes, plantains, rutabaga, parsnips, and paleo wraps or breads
  • Nuts and seeds: macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, and hazelnuts
  • Fruits: avocados, berries, and coconut
  • Vegetables: mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, okra, carrots, radishes, beets, kale, nopales (cactus), and cabbage
  • Dairy: goat’s milk and cheese, organic sour cream, organic cream cheese, organic heavy cream, and Brie
  • Fats and oils: grass-fed butter, plus olive, coconut, and avocado oils

You’re meant to only consume berries sparingly and limit nuts to a 1/2-cup (approximately 75-gram) serving per day.

Although most cow’s milk is excluded, A2 milk is allowed. It’s produced from cows that naturally only produce one type of casein protein — A2 beta-casein (3Trusted Source).

The A1 beta-casein in conventional milk may cause digestive problems in some people, which is why it’s banned on the diet (3Trusted Source).

Foods to avoid

The following foods contain lectins or other compounds that Dr. Gundry considers harmful. Thus, you should avoid them on the Plant Paradox Diet.

  • Proteins: soy products, grain- or soy-fed livestock, farmed fish, and all beans and legumes
  • Grains and starches: pasta, potatoes, cookies, crackers, pastries, whole grains, wheat, rice, oats, quinoa, barley, corn, and popcorn
  • Nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, peanuts, and cashews
  • Fruits: all fruits, except berries
  • Vegetables: cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin, and other squashes, as well as nightshades like tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggplant
  • Dairy: all conventional A1 milk products, as well as Greek yogurt, American cheese, and cottage cheese
  • Fats and oils: vegetable, soybean, canola, corn, peanut, and sunflower oils

According to Dr. Gundry, you can eat a select few of the banned veggies — tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers — if they’ve been peeled and deseeded.”

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