The Plant Paradox diet works for me

I've been to the gym twice this week and both of my classes have been ridiculously crowded, which reminded me that January is the time of year that people tend to hit the gym hard and perhaps go on a diet too. That's totally understandable—I've been eating and drinking everything in sight for the last two weeks, and I have put on a few extra pounds that I'd like to shed ASAP too. I know several people who are doing the Whole 30 right how, and while I've never personally tried that diet, it seems a bit too restrictive and also maybe not very scientific. So let me be that person who tells you all about my diet instead.

Last summer, I started to feel incredibly run down. I had been sick multiple times (including an incredibly bad flu that kept me home from work for the better part of the week), I had zero energy, and to put it as subtly as possible, my digestion was completely bloated and, uh, irregular. I have always been a relatively healthy eater, but I tried cutting carbs, alcohol, dairy, and so on, and nothing was helping. Then I read this article, "Could diet cure arthritis?" in Goop*—full disclosure, I have rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder—and I figured well, why not give it a try? I ordered The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry, devoured it (pun intended), and my life hasn't been the same since…in the best way possible.

The basis of the Plant Paradox is that foods high in lectins are hard for humans to digest from an evolutionary perspective, mostly because our digestive systems haven't caught up to biologically modified grains (like corn and wheat), certain dairy products (most American cows are genetically mutated), and plants with superior evolutionary tactics (vegetables that are actually fruits, like zucchini and tomatoes, and anything with a thick hull). When we can't digest these high-lectin foods, it creates inflammation, which in turn creates a host of symptoms from indigestion to more serious illnesses, like auto-immune disorders. Avoid these problem foods, and the problems go away. Easy, right?

The question you're probably asking is, what can you eat, and the answer is, surprisingly, a lot of things that are good: wild-caught fish, grass-fed meat and chicken, cruciferous vegetables, greens, goat cheese, nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts), in-season fruit, avocados to the max, dark chocolate, and you can even have a glass of wine a day, and coffee (I put coconut cream and stevia in mine). Now that I'm further along in the diet, on more of a maintenance phase, I allow myself occasional cheat meals, where usually have pizza or pasta (my two biggest weaknesses). My favorite thing, however, is the breakfast smoothie, which has changed my life so much, I'm going to share the recipe with you:

1/2 avocado
1 handful of baby spinach
3 mint leaves
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup crushed ice
1 cup cold water
Liquid stevia to taste (I use 5 drops)

Combine in a blender (I have the Oster Versa and love it); you can also make several days' worth at a time.

As a result of eating this way, I have way more energy, my digestive tract runs like a well-oiled machine, and many of the symptoms of my disease—swelling, pain, restricted motion—have disappeared. And, yes, in case you were wondering, I lost a bit of weight. But most importantly, I finally came to the realization that my body needs (and loves) lots of dark leafy vegetables, lean protein, and good fat. I feel better than I have in years. But lest I become the person who won't shut up about their diet, I'll only talk about it if you ask. ;)

*Yes, I read Goop. Religiously. Don't judge.

1 comment

Straight A Style said...

This is so interesting! So glad it has made such a difference for you! I think it makes a lot of sense that our more processed foods are bad.

Amy Ann
Straight A Style