The Plant Paradox says that plants are not all as good as they might seem.
The book has received quite some critics, read them and eventually try it out if it works for you.
- Bullet Summary
- Full Summary
- The Plant Paradox Diet
- The Plant Paradox Criticism
- Real Life Applications
- Plants containing leptin are bad for you (wheat and grains, but also tomatoes, cucumbers and pease)
- Leptin makes you fat (avoid wheat)
- Whole grains are also not good
We have been bombarded by the idea that plants are good for us, says The Plant Paradox.
But how actually true is that?
We Didn’t Evolve to Consume Wheat
As we’ve also seen in It Start With Food, The Plant Paradox makes the point that we didn’t evolve to consume the large quantities of wheat that we consume today.
We largely evolved eating lots of animal proteins, and the agricultural revolution is a recent phenomenon to which we haven’t (yet) fully adapted to.
And yes, wheat and grains kept our ancestors alive, but that doesn’t mean it was good for them.
Indeed, it is harmful:
Plants Attacking Us: Leptin
Stephen Gundry makes an interesting paragon. He says that evolution is a constant battle between eating and not being eaten.
We tend to see evolution through the lenses of animal though, but it runs much deeper than that.
Plants are in that struggle for survival as well.
And they’ve done it so far by developing a protein called leptin.
Leptin causes several issues in animals consuming plants, including brain fog and weight gain.
Leptin binds to sugar molecules and never endings in the animal’s brain and it inhibits the cells from communicating properly.
The result is what is often dubbed “brain fog“. When we are struggling to remember something or we have issues focusing, those are signs of brain fog.
The main culprit of weight gain is wheat.
Wheat produces the lectin called wheat germ agglutin (WGA).
WGA enters our fat cells and transforms sugar into fat, which in turns make us fatter and heavier.
As a matter of fact, wheat was extremely popular for all those population living in northern climates, where a wheat belly provided a distinctive survival advantage.
However, do we still need that amount of fat in these days and age?
Body Attacking Itself
Our gut contains trillions of microscopic microbes to help us convert food into energy (ie.: digest). They belong in our digestive trait: they help us survive there.
However, they belong there, not outside.
And when they leave our gut, our body recognizes them as enemy invaders and attacks them.
But what could ever lead the microbes to leave our gut?
Well, our friend lectin strikes again.
When we ingest lectin our intestinal trait becomes more permeable, which lets the microbes through.
And when they get through, they cause inflammation within our bodies.
It’s a Refined Grain Issue
This is mostly a new issue by the way. Specifically since when we started removing bran from grain.
Some example of bad, bran-free foods include:
- Italian ciabatta
- French baguette
- White rice
However, The Plant Paradox also includes whole grain in the list of foods to avoid.
The Plant Paradox Diet
The author proposes a six weeks Plant Paradox Program.
The rule is that what you don’t eat is more important than what you do eat.
Avoid These Foods
It starts first with a full day cleanse in which you will cut out:
- Beans first and foremost
- Root vegetables
What You Can Eat
- Green smoothie (from romaine lettuce, mint, spinach and avocado)
- Pastured chicken
- Fish (wild caught and fresh)
- Vegetables such cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli
Make sure the meat is raised at pasture.
And make sure your veggies are non-GMO, organic and chemical-free. Best of all if you go to farmers’ markets.
Cook them in healthy oils like avocado oil or extra-virgin oil.
You can drink coffe and tea. And drink plenty of water (eight cups a day)
We Are a Condomimium of Living Organisms
We Are Inhabited by Organisms. The author says that our gut or intestinal tract contains trillions of different microscopic microbes.
And 90 percent of our body cells are non-human, meaning that 90 percent of what we consider to be “us” is no more than a collection of bacteria, viruses, fungus and worms!
I found that mind blowing.
And 99% of our genes are non-human genes.
The Plant Paradox Criticism
The Plant Paradox has been heavily criticized in the scientific community.
However not that Campbell, a fervent proponent of abandoning all meat is also on the receiving end of many critics (read The China Study Criticism)
- Dr McDouglas, in a newslestter
McDouglas says says that common dietary staples, such as cereal grains, legumes, and fruits have relatively high concentrations of a variety of different lectins (honestly, I don’t understand why he switched names here as the two are different, but he’s talking about the same topic).
McDouglas says that yes, leptin can have adverse affects, but The Plant Paradox greatly overstates them.
Research shows that by cooking at above 80 C), soaking for 12 hours or fermenting foods that are high will reduce the lectin content to negligible amounts.
And there are also health benefits of lectin!
- Joel Kahn, cardiology professor
The Plant Paradox Criticism – Summary
With the due perfunctory foreword that I am not a nutritionist, this is the idea I have grown:
making a list based on what contains leptin and what doesn’t is bogus to me. Leptin is not that damaging and there’s much worse.
Furthermore, foods should be considered as a whole.
And as a whole beans and fruits are not bad.
Real Life Applications
Eat at Farmer’s Market
Any time you can, shop at farmers’ markets.
Consider What Your Food Eats
It’s not just what you eat, it’s also what your food eats. Pork and beef meat that has been fed with grain is not good.
“Plants” is Misleading
Statistics say vegetarians are slimmer and lighter than non vegetarians
The diet of The Plant Paradox is not easy to implement.
The Ancestors Myth
The Plant Paradox in certain passages seems to glorify the good old times when plants where more nutritious and animals eating those plants were much better than today’s animals.
I feel this is a reductionist view of the world and, overall, we’re much much better today.
I like to call this “the ancestor’s myth”
90 Days New You
No matter your age, every 90 days our cells replicate and it’s a new you. I found that fascinating.
But even more fascinating:
Stopping Bad Food Is Key
A big truth I found in The Plant Paradox is that the bad food you stop eating matters much more than the good one you eat. Indeed this is a fallacy I have been a victim of.
Thinking that because I ate a couple fruits, I could go for a dessert. Not so!
I am personally not convinced about the information in The Plant Paradox, so I personally won’t be changing my diet based on it.