Hi curezone folks,
I read The Plant Paradox in August 2018 and began the program immediately. After over a decade of studying nutrition, this is the best book on health and nutrition I've ever read. I was very impressed with the program, so I followed phase-1 to the letter, and later repeated phase-1 on a couple occasions (months apart) to try to kick-start my body again. (Phase-1 is a three-day cleanse where you essentially just eat lettuce, avocado, flax oil, fermented cod liver oil, and perhaps a few other greens like dried nori, and absolutely abstain from sweet fruits, animal products, lectins, most seeds and nuts, etc.)
I'm definitely a canary, also known as a HSP (highly sensitive person). And for anyone who cares, I'm an INFJ (Myers Briggs personality type). I'm highly sensitive to a wide variety of foods (especially lectins, refined sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, and conventional fruits), as well as fumes (like fried onion fumes give me migraines), as well as textures and sounds. I've worked on unearthing the causes of these sensitivities from scientific standpoints as well as emotional and spiritual ones for fourteen years.
I developed stomach ulcers at the age of sixteen which were misdiagnosed as anxiety, and I didn't discover that I'd had ulcers until I had nearly healed from them entirely myself at the age of twenty. I began avidly research health while I was sick and crawled myself out of the hole my life had fell into. I spent full years of my life as a raw vegan but switched to raw vegetarian when my joints were hurting in 2012. (Raw vegetarian = Raw vegan + raw dairy and occasionally a raw egg.) I was the chief editor of The Vegetarian Health Institute for five years (age 20 to 25) and had the privilege of learning directly from many renown doctors during my time there, but lectins were still completely under the radar back then, so I had no idea why cashews made me sick. (I was frustrated, because my raw vegan cheesecakes tasted so good, and I was amazing at making them. Now I make them with macadamia nuts; costs more, but lectin-free and pain-free.)
In response to reading The Plant Paradox I have experimented more with cooked foods, now knowing that many of the reactions I was having in response to cooked foods were due to lectins. I write a lot about these discoveries in a detailed article I wrote called "My First Three Weeks on The Plant Paradox Program" here: http://www.raederle.com/2018/09/lectin-gundry-teeth-cavity-vegan-fish.html
Unfortunately, the vast majority of cooked foods (even after six months lectin-free) still give me unfortunate reactions. Cauliflower (steamed or raw) gives me really bad gas. Broccoli (steamed or raw) gives me terrible stomach aches. Kale (steamed) gives me stomach aches (but raw kale does not). Asparagus (baked) doesn't upset my stomach, but often it gives me bad gas and it always gives me rank-smelling pee which lasts for days after I've eaten it. (My husband's pee doesn't smell nearly so strongly from eating asparagus as mine does.) Cabbage (raw or cooked) gives me awful stomach pain. Same with garlic. Same with onions. Sweet potatoes (raw or cooked) gives me some of the worst stomach pain, but this I've at least discovered is probably due to the mannitol content; I've reacted very badly to a B12 supplement that used mannitol and it felt very similar to the pain I get from sweet potatoes.
Perhaps even worse, adding oil to vegetables such as cooked cabbage or steamed cauliflower makes my reaction way, way worse. I would love to eat cooked vegetables drenched in oil for lunch and dinner, but unfortunately it upsets my stomach very badly. Dr. Gundry recommends making cooked vegetables drenched in healthy fats (MCT oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil and flax oil) a staple in your diet in Chapter 10, where he talks about what to do if you're in critical condition with dementia, cancer, or other severe conditions.
Because of The Plant Paradox I decided to give avocado oil a try, which has done very well for me. I can eat fried and baked plantains with avocado oil and have no negative reactions. In fact, plaintains seem particularly good for me and help keep me regular. MCT oil has also worked for me. I used to have terrible reactions to coconut oil when I was a raw vegan, but going lectin-free completely (booting goji berries, tomatoes, zucchini, cashews, lentils, peas, etc) seems to have cured me of my sensitivity to coconut oil, and I'm now enjoying it every day. However, I bought some lovely macadamia oil which I love the taste of, but unfortunately it also gives me terrible gas pains. It's a shame, because it tastes amazing on avocados. Fortunately, MCT oil also tastes amazing on avocados with caraway seed, salt and pepper.
So, in short, eating lectin-free has healed my gut and/or other organs enough that I can now eat a few things I could not eat at all before, or could not eat much of, or didn't know I could eat, as follows:
Avocados, (I can eat two a day, as long as I don't eat them back-to-back without negative results);
Wild-caught fish, (I'd previously tried farmed fish and was terribly sick as a result);
Organic cassava flour, (I tried conventional cassava flour and it made me notably depressed and tired every time I ate it);
Hemp seeds, (I used to react to these back when I was eating raw vegan, but now can sprinkle them on everything it seems);
Macadmia nuts, (I used to eat these only raw, but I started eating them roasted and have no problems); and
Unfortunately, lots of other things that I had a problem with before have not been cured and I still have no good explanation as to why (except sweet potatoes, which I know is due to the mannitol), including:
Walnuts and pecans (which give me painful lumps in my breasts that take weeks to dissipate);
Broccoli, garlic, onion, cabbage, sauerkraut, kim chi, and sweet potatoes (which all give me terrible, incapacitating gas pains);
Cauliflower and asparagus (which give me smelly gas and/or pee and sometimes some abdominal pain);
A2A2, grass-fed, Amish-raised, raw dairy products (which cause my skin to break out quite a lot unless we're talking heavy cream or butter, i.e. no milk);
Sesame seeds and tahini (which constipate me and give me gas pains if I have more than a tiny amount – especially whole sesame seeds);
Egg whites (which give me smelly gas, gas pains, stomach upset, and stinky burps to boot); and
Honey (which causes me to break-out and gives me terrible cravings).
Obviously there is a pattern with me being sensitive to cruciferous vegetables, but this is confusing when so many studies and reputable sources show that cruciferous vegetables are supposed to heal the very same conditions which I suffer from. They are supposed to heal stomach ulcers, cut back inflammation, settle the digestive tract, and help balance flora. So why do they give me so much terrible pain?
These things I've listed above I mostly avoid due to the reactions, except for a period where I was eating cauliflower and asparagus almost every day just because it was something to eat to follow phase-two of The Plant Paradox strictly. Eventually I gave up on being fruit-free as it was just not working for me (like, I was getting really constipated, for example) and added in citrus fruits (mostly grapefruits), bananas (mostly to eat with raw, organic cacao), blueberries, mangoes, and occasionally pineapples.
In the article I linked above, I talked about how Dr. Gundry's militant assertion that fruit is "just as bad as candy" doesn't vibe with me or match my experience whatsoever. I elaborate more on The Plant Paradox program and why/how it keeps you off of omega-6 as well in my follow-up article: Six Weeks on the The Plant Paradox Program: http://www.raederle.com/2018/10/oil-plant-paradox-avocado-omega-leaky.html
I tried some peeled, pressure-cooked potatoes a couple times during these seven months lectin-free, and I actually reacted less to those than I did to broccoli, garlic, and kim chi. The potatoes made me sleepy, but they didn't give me terrible gas pains, bloating and constipation. Potatoes are a nightshade, and all nightshades (according to Dr. Gundry) should be eliminated from the diet, and only included if seeds and peels are removed, and generally it is still safer if they are pressure-cooked. He says little about potatoes, and I believe his stance is that all night-shade potatoes should be omitted. (Sweet potatoes, in his book, are fine.)
Butter, also, like potatoes, makes me very sleepy (my butter is A2, grass-fed, pasture-raised, cultured, salted, summer-butter). However, the reaction from butter is way more dramatic than with potatoes (which I don't put butter on, as the combination would probably prostrate me). Butter actually seems to take my heart-rate down dramatically, and the only way I've found to combat that is to drink ginger juice and also do high-intensity cardio exercise before and after to prevent my heart-rate from dropping crazy low. In the absence of those measures, butter brings my heart-rate down so low that a gentle touch can cut off circulation to an entire limb and have it go painfully pins-and-needles, not to mention how hard it is to simply climb the stairs after having a few cassava pancakes with butter!
Also, Dr. Gundry claims my cravings would stop and I wouldn't feel crazy-hungry on this diet. Unfortunately, that never happened. It is still purely an act of willpower to force myself to do intermittent fasting, and when I do start eating it is terribly hard to stop sometimes. I do believe this is mostly a long-standing emotional issue, as few dietary changes have ever impacted my appetite, and I feel hungry almost independent of my mood. (Like, being depressed makes me want to eat the same amount or more.)
Obviously it sounds like I have a severe flora imbalance. That's the obvious conclusion! However, yogurt constipates me terribly. Kim chi and sauerkraut give me horrible, excruciating gas pains that double me over in pain. I've tried doing Inner Eco on a daily basis (coconut water kefir) and had some mildly positive results from it, but I can easily go through $80 a month on that product alone and it doesn't solve any of the above. I've tried a slew of probiotics over the past twelve years, many of which I took every day for years, but I have found most of them to be a waste of money, providing little benefit to speak of. I have sometimes had a positive reaction from a goat kefir I buy from the store, but I think the feed varies and that it sometimes has lectins and sometimes does not, as sometimes it seems to do very well for me and other times seems to make me sick. I tried making yogurt at home: that still constipated me. I enjoy kombucha and seek out the flavors that aren't sweet at all (Elderberry by AquaViTea for example) and have no negative reactions to these, but they don't do anything for my flora health that I can tell. A probiotic called Natren's Trinity has helped me overcome various illnesses in the past decade, but it costs $30 for 25 tablets, and it takes two to four of them a day to get the results I want, so it just isn't sustainable.
I do have a secret weapon I call The Flora Flush Cleanse which I write about in one of my books. It is a cleanse where I have myself and/or my clients eat only fermented and pickled foods with zero exceptions for three days. Vegan kefir, diary kefir, vegan yogurt, dairy yogurt, kombucha, olives, pickles, kim chi, sauerkraut, kvass, etc, are all on the table, and nothing else. Now, by some miracle, despite how several bites of kim chi make me sick when I eat them as part of my lunch or as a regular snack, in the context of the Flora Flush, I don't have any negative reactions to any of these foods. I'm assuming this is possible because none of the foods digest each other. Like, I'm imagining that when I eat kim chi on my regular diet it interacts with some grapefruit, cauliflower or avocado in my intestines somewhere and "blows up." Yet on the Flora Flush, what's the kim chi going to react with? The kefir?
The Flora Flush has helped me a lot (and others who've done it), and hence, I put it in my book. Unfortunately, it isn't very sustainable. The scope of foods is broader than you'd think, but it is still very limited. Also, while it isn't inherently expensive, it ends up being very expensive for me due to my preferences and quality standards.
I am taking Green Pasture's Blue Ice Royal Blend of fermented cod liver oil and fermented butter oil and this product has done wonders for me – it removed the plaque from my teeth, eliminated the sensitivity in my teeth, healed my gum infection, improved my concentration (I think), and even improved my digestion somewhat. (I've noticed worse reactions to foods when I stopped taking it for periods of time.) So I feel that the $50 a month I spend on this product has been justified because the results are really outstanding; it even helps abate my cravings a little.
I am also taking Wiley's Finest Bold Vision which contains: "Concentrated Fish (Pollock) Oil containing Omega-7 Fatty Acid Ethyl Ester, capsule shell (tilapia gelatin, humectant: palm glycerin; purified water), Identity Preserved Non-GMO Vitamin E (Sunflower), FloraGLO® Lutein in Safflower Oil, Zeaxanthin in Safflower Oil, Zinc Picolinate, antioxidants: tocopherol-rich extract, Astaxanthin, Bilberry Extract, emulsifier: Sunflower Lecithin, natural colourant: beeswax." This supplement has done a miracle on my eyes. I've been prone to extremely severe eye-strain my entire life. I even cried when I was outside, in the shade, as a baby due to the nearby bright sunlight. I've had bouts of eye-strain so bad that I had to go blindfolded for days to recover. This incredible product (in combination with low-blue-light, zero-flicker monitor, and usage of salt lamps at night rather than typical lighting) has eliminated my eye-strain! It has made it possible for me to use my computer at night if I need to, and to drive at night and not have any eye-watering or pain due to headlights. This is another $35 a month.
I also take vitamin D and K2. The supplement I've been taking is a dry powder in a capsule and I'm unsure if it is really doing anything. It is inexpensive and has no yucky fillers, so it seemed like a good bet. One supplement is 5,000 IU of D3, so that seemed good, but I've noticed zero changes from being on it or off it. So I'm going to try a liquid form next at the same dosage, and then, if still no results, I'm going to try really high doses. (Dr. Gundry, among many other experts I respect, claim that high levels of vitamin D are very safe and that they've never seen an overdose despite much information I've encountered that claims the contrary. I can report back on my own experience when I try it, since I seem to be sensitive to anything that anybody else in the world is sensitive to. Except strawberries: I have an allergic friend, but I have no problems with strawberries.) My current supplement is costing me only like $10 a month, maybe less.
I take spirulina daily for cankersores. Before I discovered spirulina I simply couldn't eat pineapple or kiwi at all without getting a cankersore immediately. I also tend to get them from eating a lot of citrus compounded by a little raspberry. So now I just take it daily in tablet form. (I tried spirulina powder but I just couldn't find a way to eat enough of it to help.) This costs me around $17 a month.
So my main questions are as follows:
1. Why can't I eat the list of foods I wrote above?
2. Why would healthy foods like broccoli, garlic, onions, cabbage, and kim chi be forbidden to me?
3. Is there any hope of changing that?
I thought, when I first read The Plant Paradox, that going lectin-free, omega-6-free (which I pretty much already was), and sweet-free was going to magically make those foods acceptable to my body again. Yet seven months down the road, that isn't the case. (Although I didn't stay sweet-free, I have stayed free of omega-6 rich oils and free of lectins. Of course with the exception of the small dose of safflower oil I get in my Bold Vision supplement.)
I bought The Plant Paradox cookbook, but due to these limitations, I can't really use the vast majority of the recipes in it. I tried the broccoli bites and oh did those make me sick. I tried the recipe again, only with cauliflower, and it came out tasting and looking funny (because the cauliflower was too wet, I think), but it didn't hurt my tummy as much. In both cases my husband just ate most of it in my stead.
Usually I have my clients do a food diary for at least three days before I diagnose them to the best of my ability, so here a rough food diary sketch for typical days of mine in the past six months. Everything is certified organic unless specified otherwise.
Day Example 1 (when not doing intermittent fasting and whilst avoiding dairy)
1 grapefruit, 5 tablets of compressed spirulina-chlorella powder (breakfast, around 10am)
1 avocado with 2 Tablespoons MCT oil, caraway, Sea Salt
, black pepper (brunch, around 11am)
1 grapefruit, 1 handful roasted macadamia nuts (lunch, around 12pm)
2 baked plantains with avocado oil, Sea Salt
, parsley, cilantro, black pepper and sage (early dinner, around 2pm)
1 grapefruit (snack, 5pm)
home-made chocolate consisting of coconut oil, raw cacao, vanilla extract, vanilla powder, raw carob, and home-dried/home-grown stevia (snack, 5pm)
1 tablespoon Royal Blend fermented cod-liver-oil and fermented butter oil (snack 5pm)
Elderberry AquaViTea kombucha (snack, 6pm)
1 tea bag Breathe Ease by Traditional Medicinals (snack, 8pm)
of water over the course of the day
Day Example 2 (when doing intermittent fasting, when I'm on my period and need cramps-support)
thawed raspberries, 5 tablets of compressed spirulina-chlorella powder (breakfast, 2pm)
1 avocado with dill seed, Sea Salt
, black pepper (brunch, 2:30pm)
3 oranges (lunch, 3pm)
2 fillets wild-caught flounder cooked in avocado oil (dinner, 4pm)
6 ounces thawed raspberries, 5 tablets of compressed spirulina-chlorella powder (cramps medicine, 5pm)
1 teaspoon Royal Blend fermented cod-liver-oil and fermented butter oil (supplement, 5pm)
1 tea bag Healthy Cycle by Traditional Medicinals (cramps medicine, 7pm)
1 to 2 quarts
of water over the course of the day
Day Example 3 (when doing intermittent fasting)
2 grapefruits, 10 tablets of compressed spirulina-chlorella powder (breakfast, 2pm)
1 tablespoon Royal Blend fermented cod-liver-oil and fermented butter oil (supplement, 2pm)
1 avocado with mild curry powder, sea salt, black pepper (brunch, 2:30pm)
2 bananas with 2 Tablespoons raw cacao (snack, 3pm)
8 ounces wild-caught scallops cooked in avocado oil (lunch, 3:30pm)
6 ounces blueberries, 6 tablets of compressed spirulina-chlorella powder (snack, 4pm)
1 loaf cassava bread made from ½ cup cassava flour, 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour, 3 duck eggs, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 handful dried apple slices, 1 peeled tart-apple, 1 teaspoon dessert spices including ceylon cinnamon and cardamom, and 1 pinch sea salt topped with 6 Tablepsoons of A2A2 grass-fed butter (dinner, 5pm)
4 ounces Brew Dr.'s Clear Mind kombucha (snack, 5:30pm)
1 tea bag Egyptian Licorice by Yogi Tea (snack, 8pm)
of water over the course of the day
Day Example 4 (when avoiding fruit and sweet flavors)
2 nori wraps filled with ice berg lettuce, dried olives, black pepper, flax oil, and sea salt (breakfast, 11am)
1 tablespoon Royal Blend fermented cod-liver-oil and fermented butter oil (supplement, 11am)
1 avocado with MCT oil, flax seed, sea salt, black pepper (brunch, 12pm)
1 handful macadamia nuts, 1 handful pine nuts (snack, 1pm)
2 fillets wild-caught flounder cooked in avocado oil, 1 goose-egg yolk without the white (lunch, 3pm)
2 thick slices grass-fed sheep cheese (snack, 4pm)
1 teaspoon Royal Blend fermented cod-liver-oil and fermented butter oil (more supplement to help with cravings, 4pm)
5 ounces coconut yogurt or sheep yogurt, 2 more slices of cheese, 1 head steamed cauliflower with salt and pepper (dinner, 5pm)
1 avocado with algae oil, black pepper and sea salt (snack, 6pm)
1 coconut wrap filled with tahini, lettuce, olives, black pepper, sea salt, and flax oil (snack, 6pm)
1 tea bag Throat Coat by Traditional Medicinals (snack, 7pm)
1 to 2 quarts
of water over the course of the day
You'll see these examples have me stopping food by 6pm. That's actually optimistic and doesn't always happen. However, when I do eat late, I end up with acid reflux in the middle of the night, especially if I eat a large meal, like two fish fillets at 9pm will always do that.
The above gives you a pretty good range of my various styles of eating at various times. I'm open to further questions and open to all kinds of advice, ideas or reflections. Even just empathy is nice.
I'm especially interested in advice or ideas from people who read the articles I linked from here as well, and understand fully what I'm saying about my sensitivities to lectins, FODMAPs, mannitol, refined sweeteners, etc, and still yet have further information to give me which I do not have. But I'm open to experiential advice and non-expert advice as well.