Earlier this year, however, I broke down and bought his best-selling book, The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods that Cause Disease and Weight Gain, to better understand why his theories had generated so much controversy.
Ultimately, I wound up reading the book nonstop, and today, I even think of it as my go-to nutritional bible. I’ve lived with multiple sclerosis (an autoimmune disease) for 34 years, and Gundry’s protocol has enjoyed great success with arthritis, diabetes, migraines and a variety of autoimmune disorders
Since I’ve started eating his way, a variety of issues have cleared up, and I feel better than I have in years — even though there are plenty of people out there who strongly disagree with his research.
Originally, he achieved recognition as a heart surgeon (he’s operated on more than 10,000 patients), but working as a professor and chairman of heart surgery at Loma Linda University allowed him to conduct exhaustive research on the role of lectins in relation to our overall health.
The only lectin most of us have heard of is gluten, which, as of late, is the star of a massive food-labeling drive that is often misleading.
As Gundry explains, “Like smart bombs, lectins target and attach themselves to sugar molecules, primarily on the surface of the cells of other organisms … They also bind to sialic acid, a sugar molecule found in the gut, the brain, between nerve endings, in joints, and in all bodily fluids, including the blood vessel lining of all creatures. Lectins are sometimes referred to as ‘sticky proteins’ because of this binding process, which means they can interrupt messaging between cells or otherwise cause toxic or inflammatory reactions …”
Because of lectins’ ability to — literally — gum up the works within our bodies, Gundry urges us to avoid lectins like the plague. His book includes a lengthy list of foods that are safe to eat, as well as those that include toxic amounts of harmful lectins.
The CliffsNotes version is that plants with seeds (melons, pumpkins, tomatoes), beans and many grains can trigger an inflammatory response, and so can corn, soy and wheat.
Gundry’s eating plan becomes a bit more complicated when you consider that most of our sources of animal protein (beef, pork and chickens) have eaten high-lectin diets for most of their lives. And it’s no secret that our milk and eggs come from caged animals that have questionable diets.
Gundry’s followers include lots of celebrities (e.g. Tom Brady, Kelly Clarkson and Usher), as well as thousands of patients who feel his eating plan has alleviated many (if not all) of their symptoms.
If you struggle with the aforementioned arthritis, diabetes, migraines or an autoimmune disease, I definitely think it would be worth your while to give The Plant Paradox a trial run for at least a month.
Since Gundry used to suffer from migraines and was 70 pounds overweight himself before discovering the lectin link to good health, it could be said that he is a shining example of what changing your diet can accomplish.
— Marilyn Murray Willison is a columnist, motivational speaker and journalist, and author of The Self-Empowered Woman blog and the award-winning memoir One Woman, Four Decades, Eight Wishes. Click here to contact her, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.