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I have had a few random thoughts running through my head lately, so I thought I would share them with you today.
The first has to do with gluten and lectin. What are they? How are they related? Should I care about them?
Related to gluten and lectin are whole grains. Are they really good for you or not?
And then, if time and space permit, we’ll get into the whole idea of full body workouts versus split routines.
Let’s get started!
I decided to give it a try after noticing some changes to my body. I was achy, started getting acne again (I know I act like a teenager sometimes, but I am 56!), and seemed to not be able to get rid of that last few percentages of body fat. I thought gluten free might be the answer.
So we got some gluten free bread and gluten free pasta. A good place to start, I thought. Also, I started to do more reading on the subject of gluten free, and started learning what gluten was all about. Gluten is a name given to proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley.
Gluten helps food maintain their shape, acting as the glue that holds the food together. Gluten provides the human body with no essential nutrients. We do not need gluten and gluten doesn’t really stay in our bodies. It gets expelled, just like everything else we eat.
The only time there is an issue with gluten, is if you have an immune reaction triggered by gluten known as celiac disease. If you have this, you should avoid gluten. Other than that, gluten is generally harmless to the body.’
So, when I found this out, and realized it probably wasn’t the gluten causing my issues, I read and researched more, and discovered lectins.
Lectins area family of proteins found in almost all foods, but especially in grains and legumes.
There is some research that shows that lectins can cause an increase in git-permeability, and cause auto-immune issues.
As I was researching, I cam across this book by Dr. Steven Gundry: The Plant Paradox.
In this book, Dr. Steven Gundry, a cardiologist by trade, but more recently a healthy living researcher and physician, tells the woeful tale of lectins, and how they are not good for your gut bacteria. He goes into great detail on how they create a permeability in the gut wall, allowing things that shouldn’t pass through the gut wall into your body.
Throughout the book are many examples, from the thousands of people he has helped feel better, of how changing the things you eat will make a world of difference in how you feel.
The issue I had, while discussing this with my wife, is the exclusion of most fruits, and a lot of vegetables. It would seem that fruits and vegetables are good for you; at least better than most things we eat. I understand that all foods, plants included, contain lectins, and that scientifically speaking, lectins can be bad for you in larger quantities than your body can handle.
That being said, we also know that the human body is a pretty amazing entity that has adapted to a lot of our dietary changes over the years. It hasn’t adapted to all the changes, and there are a lot of foods we should avoid if we want to become and stay healthy.
Now this is a Keto lifestyle website. I am a proponent of the keto lifestyle. That said, we need to do everything in moderation, and while I believe wholeheartedly that the Keto Lifestyle is the best way to lose weight and start you on the road to healthy living, I also believe that the carbs in fruits and vegetables are a good source of muscle building energy.
Like I said, all things in moderation.
So I read this book with an open mind and learned a lot about lectins. They are the substances that plants produce so they will not be eaten. They are the plants natural defense to enemies. Lectins are bitter and will cause the eater of the lectins to not feel well, therefore avoiding eating this plant in the future.
It makes sense that if we eat a lot of lectins, we will start to not feel well. Luckily, most lectins are eliminated form foods when they are cooked, and the amount of lectin in ripe vegetables and fruits is not greater than the amount our bodies can deal with. This information, I only discovered after taking everything Dr. Gundry said in his book with a grain of salt and doubt, and did some more research. I read more studies, studies that could actually be replicated and were peer reviewed.
One such article was “Re-examining Steve Gundry’s “The Plant Paradox“” by Miles Spencer Kimball. In this article, Miles discusses a myriad of blogs on the internet that discuss this book. He reads them all with an open mind, and his conclusion is that a lot of the hypotheses that Dr. Gundry makes in the book should be taken seriously, and there needs to be more proper research done to see if they are actually true and can be proven in science.
He also concludes that if you have an auto-immune or inflammation issue, then give the Plant Paradox Program a try. If it works, great. There is a specific list of yes and no foods to try. What have you got to lose?
The other big take away from this article that reviews so many other articles, is that it is all relative. Fruits and vegetables may have a lot of lectin, and fructose for that matter, but if you switch from eating processed foods to eating natural foods, it is going to be better.
We need to ask ourselves this question when we are talking about the relative healthiness of the foods we are eating:
Eaten instead of what?
If we switch from candy bars to fruit, even though we are still consuming sugar in the form of fructose, it must be better for us.
And if we cook our foods properly, then the incredible human body will be able to deal with the lectins that we give it.
Which leads to the conclusion; the oversimplification.
It is a given that whole grains, legumes, fruits, nightshade vegetables, and the cucumber family vegetables have an overabundance of lectins. These are the foods that Dr. Gundry recommends we avoid, or just consume in limited quantities when they would naturally be in season in our geographic area.
But these foods also lead to some really good outcomes in our health, including weight loss.
So there is a very simple point that needs to be made. Here is the oversimplification.
If we could rank all foods from most healthy to least healthy, we would be able to answer the question I posed earlier
We all know that a lot of people would find they are eating foods from the unhealthy portion of the list. If these people changed some of their eating habits from unhealthy foods to medium healthy foods, they would see an improvement in their health.
We don’t, unfortunately have a list that ranks all foods on the healthy to unhealthy scale. But we do know that all foods elicit an insulin response in our bodies, so we can use that scale. I won’t get into details here (I may in another post) but suffice it to say that lentils are better than potatoes and green leafy vegetables are better than fruit, and anything is better than candy and soda and any other processed foods. Here are dome foods to avoid, as they will cause as pike in blood sugar and insulin:
- sugary drinks, such as soda, juices, and sports drinks
- processed foods and baked goods, which often contain trans fats
- white rice, bread, and pasta
- breakfast cereals with added sugar
- yogurts with added sugar
- honey and maple syrup
- flavored, sugary coffee drinks
- french fries
- dried fruit, which often has added sugar
Choose more natural foods and your health will improve. Your body will adapt. Less sugar will be stored as fat. You will begin to lose weight. If you add in a regular exercise program, you will see exponentially better results. And so the healthy lifestyle begins.
The Keto Lifestyle is a great place to start. You still get to eat tasty foods, and you will lose weight. Check out this article for the basics of how to get started.
Well, it seems I have run out of time and space to delve into this topic, but I will tackle it in another post.
So there you have it.
Just some random thoughts of the day.
Remember, you are what you eat and you are what you eat eats (Michael Pollan). If the food you are eating is being fed a diet of foods full of lectins, then you are consuming what your food ate.
As always, my opinions are just that: mine. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
Also, if you are a father (or mother) (or anyone for that matter) who would like an easy to follow program that includes a menu and work out information, check out this article from a few months ago.
See you in the next post.
Have a great day!