Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
4 Jun

The Lowdown On Lectins

Little known to the public at large. Little understood by the health community. Omnipresent in our conventional food culture. Proven to be at least mildly detrimental for everyone and downright destructive for the more sensitive (and often unsuspecting) among us. We’re talking lectins today: common natural agents on the one hand, cloaked thugs of the anti-nutrient underworld on the other. Our popular health media, if they’ve heard of lectins, certainly never make mention of them. Famous health gurus never deign to speak of them. In short, lectins thrive in the American diet basically unfettered, unscrutinized. Make no mistake, however. They’re a menacing power to be reckoned with. I’ve addressed them on Mark’s Daily Apple in the past (Why Grains Are Unhealthy) and in my book (The Primal Blueprint), but I still get a fair number of emails and forum questions asking for more info. As I always say, let’s break it down….

What Are They?

Before Monsanto, Mother Nature had her own pesticide strategy. (Humans being among the “pests” to be warded off.) In order to avoid being completely decimated by insects, foraging animals and Groks, plant species evolved assorted anti-nutrients that would make said pests regret their gorges with a variety of mostly digestive related ailments. Low grade toxins, in a sense. A workable balance developed between plants that were able to safeguard their species’ survival and the “pest” patrons that were able to benefit from the plants’ nutrition but learned to partake more sensibly from their supply. Given that our primal forefolk foraged widely and ate a surprisingly diverse diet, the system worked.

Lectins are essentially carb-binding proteins universally present in plants (and animals). Just as they protect plant species from Grok-sized predators, lectins also support other immunological functions within plants and animals (against pathogense, parasites, etc.) They also assist in other functions like protein synthesis and delivery in animals. They’re relatively sticky molecules, which makes them effective in binding with their sought after sugars but undesirable for our digestion, in which their binding powers can lead them to attach to the intestinal lining and wreak havoc. (More on this in a minute…)

Given their omnipresence in nature, a certain amount of lectin consumption has always been inevitable. To the benefit of the plants, lectins are also hard to break down. Regular old digestive enzymes only do about half the job. Human ingenuity evolved across traditional cultures to “predigest” lectins through food preparation practices (fermenting, soaking, etc.). In our contemporary dietary culture, however, we too commonly skip these practices yet rely on the highest lectin-containing foods for our primary food sources.

What Foods Contain Them?

The short answer here is basically all plants and animal products (PDF) to varying degrees. Nonetheless, lectins are concentrated more in some sources than others. Foods with the highest lectin activity include: grains of all kinds (especially wheat), legumes (especially soy), nuts, dairy, and nightshade plants (e.g. eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc.). Add to this list the oils and other derivative products from these food sources. And yet another, lesser known category: GMO food, since lectins are often spliced into modified varieties in order to enhance “natural” pest and fungal resistance.

What Do They Do To The Body?

Let’s go back to the intestine again. (Some field trip, eh?) Lectins’ stickiness allows them to bind with the lining, particularly the villi, of the small intestine. The result? Intestinal damage (with impaired cellular repair potential), cellular death as well as compromised intestinal villi, which means reduced absorption of other nutrients, including minerals and protein. Add to this altered gut flora, which can allow certain harmful bacterial strains like E. coli to run rampant. Furthermore, because the body is now responding full-time to the needs of the injured gut lining, proteins and other resources are redirected from other basic growth and repair processes. Furthermore, lectins have been associated with leptin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition linked to obesity.

Perhaps the most insidious impacts lectins can leave in their wake is this: leaky gut. Leaky gut is a term for the breach in the intestinal lining created by lectins hand in hand with other antinutrients. Once the intestinal breach exists, lectins and other particles (like partially digested food, toxins, etc) can “leak” into the bloodstream.

Once lectins open the door, so to speak, out of the small intestine, they and other fugitive particles are now free to move about the body and bind to any tissue they come across (anything from the thyroid to the pancreas to the kidneys). Of course, the body reacts to these invaders by directing an attack on these particles and the otherwise perfectly healthy tissue they’re attached to. Enter autoimmune mayhem. That’s why lectins are linked with autoimmune disorders like IBS, Crohn’s, colitis, thyroiditis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and arthritis. Specific lectins have been associated with particular ailments (like wheat with rheumatoid arthritis), but more research is needed to trace and confirm these connections. What is clear, however, is the potent autoimmune destruction that can result when the intestinal lining experiences this level of damage.

Primal Advice For Limiting Lectins

As mentioned, lectins are literally everywhere. Although it’s impossible to eliminate them altogether, you can significantly reduce your intake.

  • Purge the worst offenders. That means grains and soy more than anything, but I’d add other legumes to the list as well. Eliminating the foods that contain the highest lectin activity will slash your overall lectin intake – and impact.
  • Cut back on other higher lectin sources. Not everyone wants to nix every dairy or nightshade option. Look at how you can reduce your overall intake of these items while keeping enough to enjoy their flavor and nutrient advantages.
  • Gauge your sensitivity. For those of us who are most sensitive to lectins, more dramatic measures might be needed. If you know or believe that you’ve already suffered some serious intestinal damage, you might do well to steer clear of as many high and moderate lectin level foods as possible. That means perhaps forgoing nightshades, dairy, legumes and even nuts and eggs in addition to all grains and processed foods. Reintroduce desired foods back into your diet by “family” (e.g. dairy, etc.) and be mindful of any physiological effects (however minor) that accompany them.
  • Take up old traditions like soaking, sprouting and using bacterial fermentation techniques for any moderate/high lectin foods like beans you choose to keep in your diet. Fermentation methods are especially effective, virtually eliminating lectins in one study of lentils. All those kitchen rituals you remember from Grandma? They’re adaptive, essentially pre-digestive techniques practiced by traditional cultures around the globe. Going old school on your favorite nut varieties, for example, cuts those lectin levels dramatically.
  • Don’t go wholly raw. Yes, there are legitimate reasons to enjoy raw plants in your diet, but I don’t support the practice as a movement or exclusionary principle for eating. Humans have been cooking for well over a hundred thousand years. Some nutrients are enhanced by heat. Some anti-nutrients (like lectins) are at least partially “disarmed” by it. Cooking methods with a mind toward maximizing overall nutrient value and bioavailability make good Primal sense and can lower your exposure to lectins.
  • Diversify! Restrictive diets make us even more susceptible to the downsides of our foods. (Soy formula fed babies being a dramatic example of this principle.) Make Grok proud and forage more widely for your dinner. Research shows that simply rotating primary foods was enough to limit lectin-related damage in rats that were given rounds of soy feed. A healthy, mostly low lectin diet will offer enough balance and protective nutrition to blunt the impact of the occasional moderate level lectin sources.
  • Avoid GMOs. Hidden lectin is just one more reason to leave GMO products on the shelf.
  • Maintain good overall gut health. Our modern existence sometimes seems like one giant assault against our digestive tracts. Minimize cumulative negative effects and increase positive, protective factors. Eat a healthy diet with Primal doses of probiotics, prebiotics and good fats. Limit stress and the use of medications like aspirin, NSAIDs and antibiotics (as well as secondary exposure through antibiotic-administered livestock). A healthy gut will be better equipped to weather the effects of inevitable but reasonable lectin intake.

Now it’s your turn – for your comments, questions and anecdotes about lectin impact. Let me know your thoughts, and thanks for reading!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I have had a problem with irregularity my whole life. I cannot find a natural way to help me and it is getting more and more uncomfortable thru the years. Is there any chance the Paleo Diet would help me? If I were to try this, how would I get the rec calcium I need?

    Kathy wrote on September 4th, 2010
    • Hi there,

      You get plenty of calcium through the greens you eat, especially kale, red chard, and spinach. Calcium from dairy is a joke. It’s better to get calcium from your greens. Contact me if you want to know more…

      Steve

      SteveBeisheim.com wrote on September 4th, 2010
      • Steve,

        Would raw milk make any difference?

        andre wrote on May 29th, 2011
  2. I have suffered from Ulcerative Colitis in the past and my doctor was ready to put me on a strong immunosuppressant, and I was told diet has little to do with my condition. I had difficulty accepting this and began searching for a dietary cause for my colitis.
    I have been in remission for the last two years by avoiding lectins. Information about lectins is often sketchy, and the food and medical industries would rather you not worry about lectins. Removing lectins from my diet has been key to my recovery.
    I am thankful that I found this website and I look forward to learning more about Primal Living!

    Jim wrote on September 28th, 2010
    • Great comment – and helpful for my situation.

      LK wrote on February 28th, 2014
  3. not all bean lectins(kidney, lentil. garbanzo) are deactivated by soaking and cooking and some lectins have blood type antigen specificity (agglutinate antigen cells). Read Eat Right For your Type for the skinny on lectins and blood types. William Boyd’s work in the late 1950’s on lectins and blood types is another essential read. You people who pan diets without taking the time to study them is annoying judging by some of the comments I’ve read.

    Mike wrote on October 8th, 2010
    • Mike – I’ve read Eat Right for Your Type, I even have a copy (I keep it for the comedy value), I also have read a number of scientific papers on lectins etc

      The issue of Lectins is VERY REAL

      The Blood Type diet is NOT based in any sense of reality, other than just by CHANCE (or clever deception) The blood type diet is essentially a primal/paleo diet recommendation for Type O, which also happens to be the largest group of the population.

      In science, when you give population based results, it is possible for a positive result in the majority to hide the complete lack of a result, or worse a negative result in the minority groups.

      I have NO DOUBT that the Blood Type diet works for Type O’s that follow it – BECAUSE it is primal/paleo.

      But that does NOT mean that the Blood Type Diet is right.

      The BIGGEST issue is what is claimed in that book is scientifically, historically and patently WRONG.

      The claim is that O is the OLDEST blood type is WRONG/FALSE

      Some SCIENTIFIC FACTS:

      Type A is the most ancient blood type, estimated to appear between 5-6 MILLION years ago NOT the 15-20 THOUSAND years claimed by “Dr” D’Adamo

      Next was Type B, splitting from Type A, around 3.5 MILLION years ago NOT the 10-15 THOUSAND years claimed by “Dr” D’Adamo

      Then Type O cropped up, another split from Type A, around 2.5 MILLION years ago THEREFORE NOT the “original” blood type suggested by “Dr” D’Adamo.

      And finally, by PURE luck no doubt, cause there is only one option left AB did come last. HOWEVER NOT the 1500 years ago claimed by “Dr” D’Adamo, RATHER it was a 260,000 years ago!!!

      You CANNOT make such fundamental errors, and BASE your entire “science” on such claims, and then have them so patently wrong and expect to be credible!?

      I can’t even be BOTHERED reading my old post, but I am sure I stated that this whole blood type diet is a SCAM, based on sure co-incidence, rather than FACTS, and that co-incidence is that the majority of the human population is type O, and so they are recommended what is essentially a Primal/Paleo diet.

      However, it is reprehensible to suggest to the smaller Blood Type groups to do pretty much the OPPOSITE of a Primal/Paleo diet on a FALSE assumptions.

      If you read the comments by absolute devotees of the Blood Type Diet, they are ALMOST ALWAYS Type O.

      There are HEAPS of Type A’s (particularly) and Type AB’s that quite rightly say – the diet is CRAP, because it recommends they eat diets at odds with our evolutionary, social and natural history.

      Now I am not saying that there is ABSOLUTE proof for a Primal/Paleo diet, but the Primal/Paleo proposition is at least not morally flawed, in that it puts forward that ALL people should adopt this approach, and presents data (which is actually in peer reviewed and published in scientific journals).

      I am HAPPY that Type O’s get the benefits of PURE luck from following “Dr” D’Adamo’s advice.

      I OBJECT that he uses pseudo science (so EASILY disproven) to convince people that are “swayed” by his “Dr” title and use of scientific terms and even pseudo scientific words he has made up to convince them to follow a diet that could be harmful to them.

      WORSE – this guy is now pushing ANOTHER diet system (no doubt massive repeat sales into his group of already duped believers) called the GenoType diet.

      This again is fundamentally flawed – FIRST point, what “Dr” D’Adamo calls a genotype is in fact a phenotype.

      Notice how he capitalises the “T” in genotype to make it “GenoType”. No doubt his publishers lawyers gave that advice, so he couldn’t be challenged for making a false claim (“There is no such thing as a “GenoType”, so how could I get it wrong?”)

      AGAIN – out of SIX types, THREE can be Type O!!! Better STILL these THREE GeneTypes are “most common” according to “Dr” D’Adamo making up at LEAST 50% of the human population according to “Dr” D’Adamo – HOW BLOODY CONVENIENT for him – ONCE AGAIN the majority get what is essentially a Primal/paleo lifestyle recommendation!!!

      I think this is a BLATANT attempt to jump onto the primal/paleo band wagon, whilst avoiding admitting you are publishing a load of RUBBISH.

      However as has been pointed out by MANY, what is great about this new diet is it exposes how there is NO science to this, just a random set of made up suggestions. This is EVIDENCED by the fact that the diet recommendations are contradictory between the diets.

      Now THIS MAKE SENSE if it is ALL A LOAD OF HOGWASH.

      BUT IF it is BASED ON SCIENCE, then the “rules” can’t change between books, because the “scientific evidence” that formed the rules can’t change!

      GRANTED new evidence may come to light, but that MEANS the OLD information is now WRONG.

      I have seen this highlighted best in a review on Amazon for the GenoType Diet (just click on the 1-start reviews to see reviews from people that have READ ALL of “Dr” D’Amado’s books)

      For example:

      (Thanks to Amazon reviewer “MacGregor from Boulder, Colorado” for the information here)

      In the Geneotype diet book, “Dr” D’Adamo claims that Type O’s can be “Hunters”, “Gatherers” or “Explorers” (THREE of the SIX remember!)

      “Highly Beneficial” medicinal for blood type “O” in “Blood Type “O” Food Beverage and Supplement LISTS” AND “Eat Right 4 Your Type Complete Blood Type Encyclopedia” books:

      A. Cherries (all)
      B. Plum (all types)
      C. Prunes
      and
      D. Banana
      E. Blueberry
      F. Fig

      “Toxins to Limit or Avoid” for {“Hunter”,”Gatherer”,”Explorer”} (blood type “O”) in “The GenoType Diet” book:
      A. Cherry
      B. Plum
      C. Prune

      Additionally we see that the following are listed as “Toxins to Limit or Avoid” for 2/3 of the blood type “O” GenoTypes:

      “Toxins to Limit or Avoid” for “Hunter” & “Gatherer” types (i.e. 2 of the 3 “GeneoTypes” that are Blood Type O in the GenoType Diet book:

      D. Banana… Listed as toxic for {“Gatherer”,”Explorer”} – THAT is 2 of the 3 Type O types!
      E. Blueberry… Listed as toxic for {“Gatherer”,”Explorer”} – THAT is 2 of the 3 Type O types!
      F. Fig… Listed as toxic for {“Hunter”,”Explorer”}, listed as neutral for {“Gatherer”}

      Consider as well that Raisins, go from being listed “Neutral” normal food for blood type “O” in the Blood Type books, to being listed as “Toxins to Limit or Avoid” for {“Hunter”,”Gatherer”,”Explorer”} (blood type “O”) in the GenoType books.

      And the BEST example:

      On page 188 of the GenoType Diet book “Dr” D’Adamo praises a food (Cherry) in a chapter meant for all GenoTypes, describing them as “The best fruits for each are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. In particular, berries and cherries are super antioxidant foods.”

      BUT LOOK ABOVE – IN THE SAME BOOK THE SAME PERSON then goes on to claim that the food (Cherry) itself is toxic to 84% of your GenoTypes {“Hunter”,”Gatherer”,”Explorer”,”Teacher”,”Warrior”},

      The reviewer posts some questions to this, but I will post my own:

      1) IF this is SCIENCE, then Cherries, Plums, Prunes, Bananas, Blueberries and Figs CANNOT be “medicinal” for Type O Blood Types AND “toxic” for “Hunters”, “Gatherers” and “Explorers” IF those groups are blood Type O

      For it STILL to be SCIENCE, then what “Dr” D’Adamo MUST publicly acknowledge is that since making a fortune selling books stating that these foods were “medicinal” for Type O’s, his “research” has found that this is actually WRONG, and that in fact Blood Type O will find these foods TOXIC.

      IF this is what he is saying, HOW CAN HE MORALLY keep selling the Blood Type Books?! AT LEAST He should retract them, and ONLY sell the GenoType Diet book (BIG assumption here is that this is science remember). AT BEST he should give EVERY owner of the Blood Type books an apology and a FREE copy of the GenoType book so that they can know to stop eating “toxic” foods that there are likely consuming in VAST quantities as he has previously claimed they are “medicinal”!!!!

      ALTERNATIVELY (and the best answer using the principle of Ockham’s razor) is that THIS IS NOT SCIENCE, hence there are NO RULES to follow and it IS ALL MADE UP, and the man responsible lost TRACK of his previous rules, when making the new ones up!?

      So right back at “You people that pan people that HAVE taken the time to study the diets and so called “science” behind them and find the diets not only ANNOYING, but down right fraudulent!”

      😉

      By the way – on that point, notice that “Dr” D’Adamo has never sued anyone that has called him a quack or a con-man!? Perhaps it is because he KNOWS he is making too much money from this ruse to risk it all with the FACTS being examined in a court and the TRUTH that it is quackery being exposed – any damage to his ego is being paid off by his enormous bank balance.

      Luke in Oz wrote on October 8th, 2010
  4. I find it very hard to believe that peppers and tomatoes are bad for us. After all, as non-sweet fruits, they evolved to be eaten by mammals and other seed-dispersing animals. From an evolutionary point of view, they need to be nutritious for their seed dispersers.

    Darwin's Doctor wrote on October 13th, 2010
    • @ Darwin’s Doctor:

      1) Tomatoes and peppers may rely on seed dispersal, however this does not equate to them being good for human consumption… In the past they may have relied predominately on birds for seed dispersal. Birds have a very different digestive system to humans and mammals in general, meaning that these compounds that are toxic to us, are not toxic to them

      2) The peppers and tomatoes we eat today do not resemble the plants they have been selectively bred from. It is a bit rich to invoke “Darwin” and evolution as a reason we must be adapted to eat tomatoes and peppers, when the plant we eat is so different from evolutionary history for both species!

      A little background on Nightshades:

      Tomatoes, white potatoes, red and green bell peppers, the “hot” peppers such as chili and paprika, as well as eggplant belong to the Nightshade Family, a botanical genus called Solanaceae species. This species also includes tobacco, poisonous belladonna, and the toxic plants herbane, mandrake, and jimson weeds.

      These are VERY toxic plants. It is highly likely that in terms of evolution, being from the same species – “Solanaceae” – ALL nightshades were once toxic, but humans have distorted the evolution of some of the nightshades we chose to eat.

      ANYONE that eats a raw potato will tell you how toxic they are.

      Additionally (from wikipedia):

      The leaves, stems, and green unripe fruit of the tomato plant contain small amounts of the poisonous alkaloid tomatine. Tomato leaves in the form of a tea have been linked to at least one death, but the levels of tomatine are generally too small to be dangerous, so foods such as fried green tomatoes are safe to eat. Ripe tomatoes do not contain any detectable tomatine.
      Tomato plants can be toxic to dogs, if they eat large amounts of the tomato itself, or chew on the plant that grows it.

      I do not have the evidence for this, however it is HIGHLY likely that humans have bred for lower levels of the toxic components. So again, invoking evolutionary history, tomatoes could have once been a VERY deadly “fruit”.

      Additionally, you will note the reference to dogs, a species that is very much a seed disperser in nature. Clearly not ALL mammals are great with tomatoes as you have suggested.

      If you do in fact know a lot about Darwin, you will know enough to be aware that the toxicity of a plant can be selectively bred out, however, even then, it is possible that the toxicity is not bred out completely, rather to a point where it is at a systemic low level, which for many people causes minor toxicity, and for a few sensitive people still causes significant toxicity.

      The point of this article is to make EVERYONE aware of these FACTS, and then those that are highly sensitive may find significant benefit if they STOP eating foods they have been told are SAFE and non-toxic.

      Additionally others that are only mildly affected may also choose to trial not eating these foods and find some slight benefit they appreciate.

      It is unfair of you to invoke “Darwin”, one of the greatest scientists in history, and also the title of “doctor” to counter this.

      A casual reader may infer that you know a great deal about the evolution of humans and tomatoes/peppers, as well as medicine and human health and hence ignore this article.

      The fact is – we as a species have disconnected from the instinctual nature of most living things when it comes to our food. We have lost our “knowledge” that was passed down from eons of evolution and trial and error, which resulted in either good health, sickness or even death if you chose the wrong thing to eat.

      We have ignored instinct, and supplemented it with marketing messages as “knowledge”.

      The fact is this species is a highly toxic plant, that HAS been selectively bred to make it less toxic, but for SOME people may still be significantly toxic, and they should know this HISTORICAL facts about this food, so they can make informed choices. Choices they would have been aware of, if the tradition of handing down food knowledge from generation to generation wasn’t broken by the advent of agriculture, and hence the economic motive of the producer to “promote/market” the benefits of the crop they produced (made even worse now by the multinational food companies that then strip the product of the little nutrients left, add salt, water and sugar and then MARKET it as a health food (low fat etc etc).

      Sorry for length of this post.

      Cheers,

      Luke

      Luke in Oz wrote on November 8th, 2010
      • take away: if you find you’re having problems, research and determine if a food is a problem for you. I think this is a real primal point. we’re supposed to figure our what works for us. that is I’m supposed to figure out what works for me. that’s how we figure out what’s edible. SOMEbody had to eat a tomato or (fill in the blank) to know it was ok to eat.

        Mary Anne wrote on November 8th, 2010
  5. Very thorough and clear article! I am particularly interested because I am having trouble finding anything to eat. I realized in the last few weeks that I am sensitive to salicylates, amines and glutamates as well as all dairy and possibly gluten, when I went on an elimination diet and finally got rid of my two main symptoms–painful joints and headache (after at least 5 years!). I was feeling great until last night when I tried to introduce two new foods, mung bean sprouts and rutabaga. Within an hour my symptoms had returned. So now I am suspecting lectins and oxalates. Really worried about my nutrition and general enjoyment of food in the future. Any ideas? Any doctor recommendations? At this point I’d be willing to travel almost anywhere if I can find the right professional(s)!

    Kelly wrote on October 21st, 2010
  6. GREAT post. Thank you. In the throes of figuring so much out. This helped.

    Lexie wrote on October 26th, 2010
  7. While I found your article interesting, I found it just as vague as anything any doctor has told me about my issues. Basically, watch what you eat. Thanks for the hot tip. I would like a clear guide as to what I can eat. I can’t eat soy, that I know, no melons, no cabbage family, no legumes, no dairy, no wheat. What the hell is left????
    And I would like a pill that would help me eat and not be embarassed “sorry I can’t eat that”. My intestinal issues go back to when I was a kid and have never got better and I have been to umpteen numbers of doctors shoving things in every orifice, with the verdict, yup you have diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome.

    I have only recently heard about lectins. I found a site that has pills that are made from plants that help cleanse lectins from your system. It says, okra for one is something you can eat and is contained in the pills.

    I haven’t been able to find okra in my grocery store. That is why i was hoping there was a way of taking some kind of pill that can replace the actual foods the article talked about.

    I am soooo frustrated and feel no one can help me and I have to accept that I will always be in pain and eat whatever I want because it doesn’t make a damned difference.

    Please help me if you can.

    Pam wrote on October 28th, 2010
    • I can see you’re frustrated…

      I am assuming you’re Blood Type O as well… First.. with colon issues eliminate most fiber…

      Stick with Meats and Veggies… That’s what is left to eat. It will heal you…

      Steve Beisheim wrote on October 28th, 2010
    • Wow, I am very sorry you are having such life-long trouble, Pam. Okra is a very warm weather item; I’ve seen it frozen food sections here in the pacific nw.

      Not that you want to hear another ‘can’t’, but those who have problems with melons often have problems with winter squashes as well. my brother-in-law is one, and his family, e.g., no pumpkin pie in that family at all. I don’t see that you have corn on your ‘no’ list. It might be a good idea to not have corn for a while and see if it makes a difference. So much corn now is GMO that i sure wonder about it (and don’t eat it except maybe once or twice a year). I knew a fellow who was deathly allergic to grass and couldn’t figure out why, in August-Sept, he was a real mess. We were living in upstate NY at the time and the corn fields were in tassel. Sure enough, corn is simply a very tall grass…

      You don’t say if your doctor(s) have been western medically trained. I’d go for naturopathic, homeopathy, eastern. Oddly enough, many allergy sensitive people I’ve known have found relief and even freedom in acupuncture. It’s sure worth a try.

      Anyway, it’s been my experience that SOME western trained docs can be a bit arrogant and patronizing (and vague). I’d try a different school of thought.

      Mary Anne wrote on October 28th, 2010
      • Thanks for the advice. I had not thought about corn and grass. Corn did not show up on an allergy test I had some years back. But about 7 different types of grass did. The worst was Beech trees. That is very interesting. When you say cut out corn, do you mean cornstarch as well? It is in so many things these days.

        As for accupuncture, I had never thought of it. That is something to think on.

        I am in Ontario, Canada. We have abundance for corn, potatoes, tomatoes, squashes. I always try to buy local. I guess I can’t do the 100 mile diet. :(

        I’m still not sure what vegetables are good to eat. So for breakfast today? A stick of celery?

        Pam wrote on October 29th, 2010
        • celery for breakfast. not a bad idea. can you eat eggs? I would do something fun like make scrambled eggs and put them in celery ribs. I have also put egg salad in cucumber boats (peel cucumber, slice in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, fill with egg salad). a fritatta with thinnly sliced zucchini or chopped spinach or chard on top is really good too. Add some sausage; I make my own so I know there are no fillers, msg, soy protein, blah blah; just the meat, organic herbs, kosher salt. I have one of those workhorse KitchenAid mixers with a grinder attachment and can make 4 pounds of chicken sausage at a time.

          Out here we get BC Hothouse (as in British Columbia) hydroponic vegetables. B.C. is about 300 miles from me but…. do you have room or inclination to build a cold frame? leafy vegetables do really well in them even in more severe climates. There may even be a farmer or two in your area who do that. Here we have Extension Offices linked with universities; they help people and communities with stuff like that (how to compost; how to build a cold frame; how to grow x, y, z). Maybe there’s something like that? To make things more interesting, you could start a kitchen (or other room?) window herb garden. There really is nothing like snipped fresh chives sprinkled over a tomato omlet.

          best wishes for you.

          Mary Anne wrote on October 29th, 2010
    • I have only recently heard about lectins. I found a site that has pills that are made from plants that help cleanse lectins from your system. It says, okra for one is something you can eat and is contained in the pills.

      would you disclose the site address ?

      star wrote on May 26th, 2014
  8. about diverticulosis. see the NIH information at http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diverticulosis/. Taken together, this white paper seems to have a good discussion on the pros and cons of fiber-no fiber, medicine-no medicine, etc. I’d take this info to a naturopath and have a really in-depth conversation. best wishes.

    Mary Anne wrote on October 29th, 2010
  9. Thanks for all your help everybody. I’m not sure what a cold room is, but I have a feeling that is not feasible where I live. I do have a garden though, I love my herbs and fresh food grown by myself. I guess my initial frustration when I read the info. on lectins that it further depleted the list of foods I can eat. No melons, no cabbages or cabbage related veggies,no potatoes, no corn, no apples, cherries, plums, etc. Then this article talks about nightshades like peppers. So you see with such a lengthy list of what I can’t/ or rather shouldn’t without painful consequences it is frustrating. I have found there seems to be no rhyme or reason to my bloating and pain. I had concluded on my own that anything sugary and starchy is bad for me.

    I guess I will just keep plugging away and researching. Hopefully there will be an answer someday.

    Thanks again.

    Pam wrote on November 7th, 2010
  10. Scientific Paper on glycoalkoloids and lectins, shows amounts presents in different vegetables, provides info on negative effects and believe it or not benefits of lectins and glycoalkaloids that are so downplayed by paleoliths
    http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/595/1/IND43859310.pdf

    Dima wrote on November 8th, 2010
  11. There is soy lectin in my tea, is this bad if im trying to stay paleo/primal?

    Nichole wrote on February 27th, 2011
    • soy lectin in tea? really? that seems odd to me. I wonder what purpose it serves? shelf life?

      I avoid soy at all costs.

      Mary Anne wrote on February 27th, 2011
  12. Have been eating Paleo for a month and boy HOWDY do I feel good. I was a complete bean whore before. LOVED.BEANS. Especially peanuts and soy products. I plan to never go back except for maybe the occasional burrito with some pinto beans. But, never again will I indulge in soy products. I think that was what was giving me most of my gut trouble. Great ARTICLE. Explains so much.

    Gina wrote on April 3rd, 2011
  13. Mark, my apologies for the post that follows. I will say first I am a fan and I credit you with improving my health enormously.

    I’m a black man (I refuse to use the politically correct term “African American” or “African Canadian.” I was born and raised in Cuba, which I was lucky to leave when I was 21, and moved to Canada 17 years ago.

    Whatever the reason is, the fact remains Canadian jails are brimming with black people, and Canadian universities are not.

    I, for example, was one of a handful of black students at my campus at U of T. Most of us came from abroad, mostly from Africa. I only remember two (two!) black students who were born and raised in Canada.

    I found this deeply shaming. I assumed Canada was full of racist institutions. This was in line what I was brought up listening to, for in Cuba, the propaganda machine has us believe blacks are always oppressed in capitalist countries.

    Then I realized, if I, a black penniless immigrant, could borrow money from the government, get a shitty job to help pay the bills, and put myself through school, why couldn’t more black people do it? If I was able to get a good job after graduation, why couldn’t they?

    My point is this, justified by my own experience as a black man: more often than not, the excuse of racism and skin colour is precisely that: an excuse.

    Of course, my people suffered enormously during centuries, and that until only a few decades ago, racism was a real obstacle that prevented us from moving up in life, at least in North America. It drives me insane to know that had my father been raised in, say, Alabama, he would’ve been forced to drink from separate fountain or sit on different seats in the bus.

    But this is all in the past. And the historical excuse does not work in the case of the Chinese, for example, who were used as cheap labour for railroads.

    Or how about the Jews? I don’t think there’s ever been a people that’s been more discriminated against.

    Yet both the Chinese and the Jews work hard, go to school, and make money. They have solid families. Few of their children are raised out of wedlock. Most know their fathers.

    Mind you, these are not blind generalizations, but census facts and social/economical studies anyone can look up on the Internet.

    It’s time for people, both black and white, to admit the problem, stop justifying it, and work to resolve it—not by exercising “positive discrimination”, not by being politically correct or by calling SteveB rude, but by facing the truth.

    And that truth is, black people today are largely responsible for their situation.

    Bill Cosby is my hero.

    Pedro Arnauld wrote on April 22nd, 2011
  14. Hey Pedro,

    Thanks for standing up for me… If you’re interested in a complete Wellness Workup.. that is what I do for a living… So definitely email me and we can set up an appointment.. I’m glad you’re health has been improving..

    Steve wrote on April 22nd, 2011

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