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The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain Hardcover – April 25, 2017
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“The Plant Paradox offers a true paradigm shift in the way we think about food. Whether you’re paleo, gluten-free, low-carb or plant-based, Dr. Gundry’s profound insights and practical advice will help reverse both autoimmune and neurodegenerative disease.” (Terry Wahls, MD, author of The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles)
“Once in a generation a doctor and a book comes along that completely changes the way we think about food and our health. Dr. Gundry is that physician and The Plant Paradox is that book. Following his advice, like I do personally, is life changing.” (Tony Robbins, author of the New York Times bestseller Unshakable)
“It is rare that a book on health and nutrition introduces truly novel concepts, and rarer still that it backs them up with solid scientific data and clinical proof of validity—but The Plant Paradox does just that. We all owe Dr. Gundry a debt of gratitude for his insight and dedication to a new level of superb health.” (Dale Bredesen, MD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine; Founding President, Buck Institute; and author of The End of Alzheimer's)
“A fresh, learned perspective on eating healthy, The Plant Paradox is profound, clear, and convincing. Much more than just another dietary fad, Dr. Gundry’s scientifically proven approach to restoring a healthy microbiome will reorient your approach to food.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“If you have ‘tried everything’ or you or a family member are still troubled by stubborn pounds, autoimmune disease, or even heart disease, you owe to yourself to read this book. The Plant Paradox is going to dramatically improve lives, it’s that simple.” (Jonathan Carp, MD)
“Fellow panelist Dr. Steven Gundry, author of The Plant Paradox–which argues that certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans are harmful to the body–promised the crowd they would feel better if they wean themselves off their medicine cabinets. Swallowing just one Aleve, he declared, is like “swallowing a hand-grenade.”” (Rina Raphael, Fast Company)
“He famously helped Gwyneth Paltrow rethink her eating habits, so it was no surprise to see heart surgeon Steven Gundry, MD, onstage at the Goop conferenceover the weekend. And along with admitting that he usually skips breakfast—which is crazy when you think there are coffee-avocado smoothies to be had—the renowned doctor also talked gut health. (We’re listening…)” (Nisha Gopalan, Well + Good)
From the Back Cover
Most of us have heard of gluten—a protein found in wheat that can cause widespread inflammation in the body. Americans spend billions of dollars on gluten-free diets in an effort to protect their health. But what if we’ve been missing the root of the problem?
In The Plant Paradox, renowned cardiologist and heart surgeon Dr. Steven Gundry reveals that gluten is just one variety of a common, and highly toxic, plant-based protein called lectin. Lectins are found not only in grains like wheat but also in the “gluten-free” foods most of us commonly regard as healthy, including many fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and conventional dairy products. These proteins, which are found in the seeds, grains, skins, rinds, and leaves of plants, are designed by nature to protect plants from predators (including humans). Once ingested, they incite a kind of chemical warfare in our bodies, causing inflammatory reactions that can lead to weight gain and serious health conditions.
At his waitlist-only clinics in California, Dr. Gundry has successfully treated tens of thousands of patients suffering from autoimmune disorders, diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases with a protocol that detoxes the cells, repairs the gut, and nourishes the body. Now, in The Plant Paradox, he shares this clinically proven program with readers around the world.
The simple (and daunting) fact is, lectins are everywhere. Thankfully, Dr. Gundry offers simple hacks we can easily employ to avoid them, including
- Peel your veggies. Lectins are concentrated in the leaves, peels, and seeds of plants; simply peeling and deseeding vegetables (like tomatoes and peppers) reduces their lectin content.
- Shop for fruit in season. Fruit contain fewer lectins when ripe, so eating apples, berries, and other lectin-containing fruits at the peak of ripeness helps minimize your lectin consumption.
- Swap your brown rice for white. Whole grains and seeds with hard outer coatings are designed by nature to cause digestive distress—and are full of lectins.
With a full list of lectin-containing foods and simple substitutes for each, a step-by-step detox and eating plan, and delicious lectin-free recipes, The Plant Paradox illuminates the hidden dangers lurking in your salad bowl—and shows you how to eat whole foods in a whole new way.
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Over the past 30 years I have suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome – with all its gory effects, and recently it seemed to be getting worse. Mind you, we eat very carefully in our house – small portions, little pasta, no junk food, no pizza, no fried chicken or fried food or any kind, no canned goods, no ice cream or big desserts, no beer, no sodas or diet sodas. Red wine every night. Still I was overweight and couldn’t make my “beer gut” go away. Whatever I tried just didn’t work. Argghhh!!
On top of that I was obsessed with food, and particularly with a nice dinner. At lunch, I’d be thinking about what was for dinner. Growing up, in my family, dinner was always the big meal, and a social occasion. I liked the conviviality and opportunity to exchange news and views during a meal.
Over a year ago, I had given up a Classic Coke at lunch every day. This produced a noticeable improvement in my blood sugar, insulin, and A1c over the year as my cardiologist (and I!) were recently pleased to note.
Finally, in desperation, I gave up a conventional lunch of a sandwich and switched to just a cup of soup for lunch. Result over two months: a weight loss of about two pounds. What could I do, if anything, next?
It was about a month ago that I heard a lecture about the importance of our microbiome and how connected its health was to our fundamental health. In performing more research, I discovered and read Dr. Raphael Kellman’s book “The Microbiome Diet, and also listened to a video of Dr. Terry Wahls’. Finally, I hit the jackpot by discovering on YouTube Dr. Steven R. Gundry’s videos. I believe I watched all 29 of them – some repeatedly. Then, on the day it came out I received Dr. Gundry’s new book “The Plant Paradox”. I quickly read and yellow highlighted it. Then I read it again, finding things I had missed in my first reading. Then I even outlined the first half of the book to get a better top-down view of Dr. Gundry’s overall approach to his subject.
What I found from reading Dr. Gundry’s book was that for years, despite the care with which I thought I selected my food I was eating all the wrong foods! Fifteen years ago, I gave up muffins and granola (mostly carbohydrates) for breakfast. I was so proud of myself for switching to one small piece of 7-grain toast with natural nutty peanut butter, a banana, and a glass of milk (in addition to coffee) for breakfast. I have enjoyed this breakfast for all those years only to discover from Dr. Gundry that the first four food items were foods that I shouldn’t be eating! Ditto for the BBQ-baked beans I had come to have with every dinner, not to mention the small helping each night of mustard potato salad that I had with my corn and grain-fed meat loaded with antibiotics! Ditto for all the Ibuprofen I had consumed over the years to quell back and foot pain.
I am now a believer in Dr. Gundry’s diet and more important, the power of his scientifically documented medical knowledge and health recommendations. In his book, he tells you what foods to eat and what foods not to eat. But more important, he tells you the medical and scientific basis behind why to eat or not eat those foods.
By Monday, May 7th, two days after my 75th birthday, I started Phase 1 of Dr. Gundry’s diet. On May 7th and 8th I sort of eased into his diet – starting with taking Dr. Gundry’s Vital Reds supplements. Let me tell you some results of following Dr. Gundry’s diet for just a short while. My starting weight May 7th AM was 189.4 pounds. On May 9th, I started in earnest his Phase 1 with his recommended purge and by following his advice rigorously. This morning, May 13th, I weighed 180.2 pounds – a loss of 9.2 pounds in six days! Finally, I had some positive and dramatic results. My goal over the next few months is to get to about 172 pounds, a weight that I was comfortable with for about 20 years a long time ago.
In addition, even in this short amount of time, my IBS symptoms have lessened dramatically, my skin isn’t as dry, and I seem to be feeling pretty good! Let me tell you, the first few days aren’t easy. It is hard to change the way you think about food and eating. It’s hard to eat strange foods, no matter how good they are for you. Since most of Dr. Gundry’s food recommendations aren’t available at your local restaurants, you must prepare them at home. That’s a pain, probably until it becomes habit forming. It looks like my days of eating lunch out are dramatically curtailed. Yes, you pay more for organically grown foods, but you eat less of them, and you are not paying restaurants to serve it to you.
Even after this short time on Dr. Gundry’s diet, I am learning to enjoy his recommended diet, especially his “Green Smoothies”. I have had more avocados in the past week than I have had in my entire life. I find I like them a lot better mixed with additional foods like red onions, vinegar, and the like.
Now, on Phase 2, I can eat meats again – if grass fed and grass finished. I can eat some of my favorite vegetables again. It’s only going to get easier from now on.
I know so many people who are overweight and suffer from various autoimmune diseases. I’ve got to find a way to have them read “The Plant Paradox” and watch Dr. Gundry’s videos. Changing your complete diet is really a missionary sell and Dr. Gundry does a magnificent job of it.
I will update this review every couple of months to keep you all appraised of my progress and the benefits to me of my new Dr. Gundry diet. In the meantime, do yourself and your family a huge favor and buy and read “The Plant Paradox”. Then it’s time to follow Dr. Gundry’s advice and get on with your new healthier and happier life!
July 7, 2017
I thought I’d give interested readers an update on my 60 days on Dr. Gundry’s diet. First, I have lost 15.5 pounds to date from my average April weight (12.9 from my official diet start at 189.4 on May 7th), just by eating (less of) the right foods and by not eating the wrong foods. The biggest change for me was starting to cook again (I had worked as a dishwasher, busboy and cook in restaurants and fine dining places 50+ years ago). Now I prepare all my own meals – no more meals out. Every day, at a minimum, I have a green smoothie, a hard-boiled egg, and Dr. Gundry’s turkey chorizo sausage and spinach muffin, plus various meats and fish protein, along with his recommended vegetables. I also have found Annabella water buffalo milk-based yogurt – delicious in five different flavors (two - the honey and passion fruit flavors - have too much sugar). I have broken my craving for food and have no problem skipping dinner if I am working. I must say, though, it’s a bit tougher to stay on Gundry’s limit of 6 ounces of red wine per evening!
One of the hardest things for me has been to figure out food labels and what’s the right product to buy, even in a place such as Whole Foods. What’s “vegetarian fed” – vegetarian grain? I am having trouble finding grass-fed and finished meats. I used to eat fish maybe twice a month. One recent week I had four different kinds of fish four nights in a row! Scallops and shrimp are especially easy to cook – just fry them in avocado oil with a bit of garlic. I have learned to cook enough for two to four meals all at once. That makes it fast and easy to pull four leftover jumbo shrimps or a chicken thigh out of the fridge the next day for lunch, along with a smoothie and a cup of yogurt.
I have a one ounce shot of olive oil every day. I wash it down with red wine – just like drinking salad dressing! One thing I didn’t anticipate when starting Gundry’s diet was that I quickly became constipated. (I know – more raw carrots and celery!) You may not be getting enough roughage/fiber on his diet as you used to. This is easily solved with prune juice or ground flaxseed. My doctor recommended MiraLAX, or you could take Metamucil, but raw vegetables and/or flaxseed and/or prune juice are better for you. Interestingly, about six weeks into Dr. Gundry’s diet, in an undisciplined fit of gluttony, I had a cinnamon/raisin bagel. My stomach felt awful for several hours after that bad behavior.
I just finished and briefly reviewed on Amazon Dr. Terry Wahls’ new book “The Wahls Protocol”. It’s a superb book that overlaps Dr. Gundry’s book on a Venn diagram about 90%, even though Dr. Wahls comes at things from a slightly different angle as she started with a serious case of MS. Her book has more specifics on blood marker numbers, nutritional content of foods, and some great recipes. She approaches diet from more of a Paleo angle, while Dr. Gundry wants us to avoid lectins. As such, some foods are a yes for one writer and a no for the other - - we are left to figure it out. I still can’t understand why Gundry says no cooked carrots and beets – two of my favorites.
After reading Dr. Wahls’ book, I am changing my B12 pills to sublingual ones, and adding CoQ (Qunol’s Ubiquinol) and Emerald Sea’s seaweed powder to my daily intake. The seaweed powder can go right into my smoothie, along with the flaxseed. I am also on Dr. Gundry’s Vital Reds. One thing I notice is that I sleep much better now than before. I also am not so tired during the day.
I think followers of Dr. Gundry’s diet should start local chapters in towns and cities where people could meet and discuss their successes and problems/questions concerning Gundry’s diet. Experienced local people could answer simple questions for newcomers and guide them to local stores for the right food products. Medically-oriented questions could be passed on to Dr. Gundry or his staff. Local “success stories” or videos (from anywhere) of personal successes could be shown at these meetings. I have proposed this to Dr. Gundry, but so far he has not replied.
I was particularly interested to read about Dr. Wahls’ progress from a “conventionally trained” MD to a practitioner of the much more holistic functional medicine. As far as I know, Dr. Gundry’s, Dr. Wahls’, and perhaps Dr. Raphael Kellman’s current books represent the state-of-the-art in functional medicine regarding self-healing through diet.
I’ll update again in another 60 days. For those of you on the fence, jump in and really improve your life and health and self-esteem. Don’t forget that an exercise program, involving aerobic exercise and resistance training is another part of getting healthy.
Good luck on your Gundry/Wahls diet program!
Remember: More people die from hardening of the mind than hardening of the arteries!
Some people could benefit from Dr. Gundry's diet without having to consult with him or a physician who uses his approach. I'm an example. I began transitioning into his diet three months ago. I now have more energy and more restful sleep. The pain in my knees almost disappeared and the pain in my left hip is greatly improved. I look forward to more improvements in my 86-year-old body. I love the PPP!
After about 30 days, I suffered from bouts of burping and farting for about ten days—symptoms caused by withdrawing from my unhealthy diet and starting a healthy one. I'm OK now.
I was surprised by some facts from the book. Vegetables that are bad for human health: peas, sugar snap peas, green beans, chickpeas, all lentils, all beans (including sprouts). Grains that are also bad: wheat, white rice, brown rice, wild rice, barley, corn, spelt, oats, rye, kamut, etc. There are grain-fed cows and grass-fed cows, and the grain-fed ones yield beef that is much worse for peoples' health. There is a list of healthy foods and one for unhealthy foods. The book is saturated with potentially life-changing nutritional and health facts.
One way to view this book is as Dr. Gundry's prescription for people interested in being as healthy as possible. However, his remedy has "side effects," which I believe are important for potential followers of PPP to know. Here's one I encountered. I prefer to buy frozen meals and freshly-prepared delicatessen items than to prepare them. Unfortunately, almost all of these items contain one or more bad ingredients. For example, I checked all of the salad dressings in two health food stores and couldn't find an acceptable one. I then experimented with ordering a bottle of salad dressing from an online store. It was delicious but cost twice as much as best-selling dressings. Adding to the high price of the dressing was a shipping fee of $8.95.
Other side effects: Food grown without pesticides costs more than food grown with them. Pastured chickens cost more than conventionally-raised ones. Cows that are grass-fed and grass-finished yield beef that costs more than standard beef. Some of his recommended foods are only available from specialty grocers, which would be too far away for some people. Others would be uncomfortable about buying groceries online. Unfortunately, some interested people are unlikely to start or continue the PPP because of the cost and inconvenience.
Good news: Patricia suggests ways to economize (from her Comment on her 04/27/2017 review). Examples: "No need to buy salad dressings, since you can just use olive oil or avocado oil and balsamic vinegar, and add, say, garlic powder, paprika, dried basil and chives." "Buying a pressure cooker to make them [legumes] safe to eat would pay for itself; beans are so inexpensive, and can replace more of the expensive pastured, grass-fed, and wild-caught animal proteins." "Make omega-3 eggs a large percentage of the animal protein you get - fortunately these are more and more available at supermarkets for about $5 a dozen, sometimes even less." A cola beverage "can be simulated pretty well by putting just enough liquid stevia drops into a good sparking mineral water or seltzer water."
More bad news: Avoid sugar, agave, Splenda, NutraSweet, Sweet 'n Low, cows' milk, diet drinks, maltodextrin. Don't eat cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, squashes, melons, eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers, chili peppers, goji berries. Avoid pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, peanuts, cashews. Don't use these oils: soy, grape seed, sunflower, safflower, canola, etc.
More good news: His list of healthy foods is longer than his list of unhealthy ones. Some excerpts: grass-fed and grass-finished beef and lamb; humanely raised pork; wild game; pastured chicken, turkey, duck; pastured or omega-3 eggs; wild-caught Alaskan salmon, Alaskan halibut, freshwater bass, shrimp, crab; red wine (6 oz./day); goat cheese; coconut yogurt; broccoli; brussels sprouts; cauliflower; kale; napa cabbage; spinach; red and green leaf lettuce; romaine; limited amounts of blueberries, raspberries, apples, cherries, peaches, crispy pears, etc.; generous amounts of avocado; walnuts; pecans; pistachios; olive oil; coconut oil; stevia, etc.
Even more good news: Fruit in season is healthier than fruit out of season. Peeling and deseeding a tomato turns it into a healthy food. Cooking beans in a pressure cooker turns them into a healthy food. By scrutinizing the good- and bad-foods lists, one can try a partial-PPP. Examples: Eat more broccoli and less zucchini. More yams and less potatoes. More celery and less cucumber. More raw carrots and beets and less cooked ones. More stevia than Splenda or Sweet 'n Low. More water and less Diet Pepsi.
The value of this book is enhanced by its meal plans for the PPP's three phases, an abundance of recipes, a comprehensive index, and a flowing writing style. Dr. Gundry has made a once-in-a-generation, groundbreaking contribution to our knowledge of diet's role in reversing and preventing both minor and major diseases.
UPDATE August 11, 2017: About a month ago, the pain in my knees improved from "almost disappeared' to completely disappeared. Also, the pain in my left hip changed from "greatly improved" to completely disappeared.
Lawrence J. Bookbinder, PhD; retired psychologist; author