In the ten years since my autoimmune thyroid disease diagnosis I've tried countless diets and protocols to calm my immune system. It’s no surprise that none of them stuck. That's why I'm here trying a new diet protocol--The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry.
When I look at Instagram I see images of people who have perfected a low inflammation diet. I realize maybe this is just Instagram and no one really has it all together, but it sure seems that way. Diet is where I struggle the most. I'm not a seasoned cook; it takes me twice as long and twice the amount of dishes to make a supposedly simple recipe.
When I heard about The Plant Paradox diet on The School of Greatness podcast it seemed like something I could do. Dr. Gundry said we can still eat the things we love like beans and potatoes, but only if we cook them in the pressure cooker. A diet designed to reverse autoimmune disease that allows beans and potatoes? That's unheard of. So, I got the book and started reading.
The basis behind The Plant Paradox is to remove all lectins from your diet. Removing lectins, like those in seeded fruits and vegetables, is not a new concept. Protocols such as the Paleo diet or the Autoimmune Protocol diet recommend moving most lectin containing foods. However, foods like cucumbers and squashes that are allowed on most diets are not allowed on The Plant Paradox (they are allowed in moderation if they are peeled and de-seeded).
I was drawn to The Plant Paradox diet for two reasons. One, you can do it as mostly a vegetarian diet. Dr. Gundry says you can even do it if you are a vegan, but I think you would have to be extremely talented in the kitchen. I'm not quite there yet. Two, I love beans and potatoes, and on this diet I am able to have them occasionally as long as I cook them in the pressure cooker. Dr. Gundry makes some substantial claims that The Plant Paradox reverses autoimmune disease, so I'm looking forward to seeing if that is true for me.
I am making a couple of tweaks to the diet right off the bat. Dr. Gundry recommends not eating any fruit out of season. I plan to eat fruit year round. I don't eat very much, but I put organic berries in my smoothie every morning and may have some fruit for dessert.
I'm also skipping the three day cleanse or "phase one" and jumping right into "phase two." Restrictive diets are already difficult enough without an even more limited food list. Plus, I want to start integrating this diet into my lifestyle right away and learning two sets of rules for a three day cleanse will just muddy the water.
Dr. Gundry allows basmati rice as something to work back into the diet after six weeks, but I plan to eat it once or twice a week right away. I don't seem to have a problem with rice.
Also, in order to make friends and have a social life in Seattle I will have to eat at a restaurant once in a while. My plan is to get a salad and bring my own dressing, have an omelet, or some fresh fish. At the end of the day I still want to enjoy dining out and traveling, so I'll just have to do the best I can.
I'll keep you updated on my progress. So far, I've done it for a week and I survived, so that's a good start.
Has anyone else tried The Plant Paradox diet? If so, what were your results?
"Though no one can go back and make a make a brand new start, anyone can start now and make a brand new ending." - Carl Bard
Nourish, Heal, Thrive: A Comprehensive & Holistic Approach to Living with Lyme Disease is a complete nutrition guide to your Lyme journey.
I knew I was going to relate to the text when I saw the opening quote:
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice." - Unknown
The author of the book, Rika Keck, is a certified in Applied Clinical Nutrition, Metabolic Typing Advisor, and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. She founded a company called NY Integrated Health LLC located in New York City. According to her website: "It is her belief that eating well, taking responsibility for healthier lifestyle choices, feeling well, looking great and operating from inner balance can result in motivation, empowerment and achievement of long-term goals."
The Introduction to Nourish, Heal, Thrive discusses how patients with chronic Lyme disease struggle to get a diagnosis and the challenge of getting proper treatment.
"One patient suffering from chronic Lyme expressed that she felt she was becoming a shadow of herself and that she was slowly dying."
Most people who have been through this experience can relate to the sentiment, but the goal of the book is to help you find hope through diet and lifestyle changes.
Rika's philosophy is to remain neutral about medical treatments, such as, antibiotics vs. herbs, because the choice belongs to the patient. She says, "My intention is not to tell you how to treat or cure your chronic Lyme and the coinfections. Instead, this book is geared toward building resilience so you can tolerate your medical and alternative therapeutic protocols for your sickness."
Early in the book Rika writes, "There is no such thing as a perfect diet. We are all different." The rest of the book details how to find the right diet and detox program for the reader.
Each chapter has a different topic related to mind, body, spirit healing, such as "Eat for Energy" and "Action Steps to Optimize Digestion and Absorption."
I found the chapter on the landscape of persistent Lyme to be very interesting. One of my favorite quotes was, "Being in balance, with acute stress followed by rest, is called healthy stress adaptation." It's a good reminder that following emotional or physical stress we must rest in order to integrate challenges into our body in a healthy way. In this chapter Rika provides a detailed "Toxic Exposures Checklist," which was helpful; however, there were some "toxic exposures" that I was not familiar with and would've liked a more detailed explanation, such as "surgical scars on the body" and "drink iced drinks or cold water with meals."
There was also a valuable chapter about blood sugar issues and hypoglycemia, which I think could be discussed more in the Lyme medical community.
The most interesting information I found in the book was in the last chapter where she compared foods as "friend or foe." She highlights foods like dairy, oxalates, nightshade vegetables, and fruit. Some diets recommend a food, while others claim it will bring you harm. In this part of the book, Rika does a good job of showing both sides, so the patient can be an informed consumer.
Rika's writing style is pleasant and friendly, making this an easy read. The knowledge in the book is a lot to digest and spans the basics through advanced nutrition.
This book is probably not for people who have their PHD in Lyme treatment. I would recommend it for those with a more recent diagnosis and needing some comprehensive knowledge on how to nourish, heal, and thrive.
"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." - John D. Rockefeller
Fed Up in a very important documentary. After watching it, I am shocked by the lack of action our government takes to protect us from dangerous foods. You will be sadden by the stories of families with obese children, desperately trying to improve their health, but unable to due to misinformation "fed" to the public about food.
Two years ago I was unaware of how poisonous the standard American diet really is. I was still counting calories and believed if I stayed under a certain number and exercised more I would lose weight and be healthy.
The most shocking fact I learned in Fed Up is that they do not put the daily percentage of sugar on food labels. How did sugar escape this common requirement? Lobbyists, pure and simple. Pick up any package with a food label and look. Everything else has a percentage, except sugar. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 25 grams of sugar per day. Well, 1 can of coke contains 33 grams. If they put the percentage of daily value of sugar on the label that one can would be over 100% and no one would drink it.
I don't want major food producers to go out of business, but I want them to play by the rules. Food is supposed to nourish, not poison. How amazing would it be if ADM went organic and started mass producing healthy soy products?
Infrastructure would have to change, attitudes would have to change, profitability & greed would have to change, but the scary truth is unless we change, our life expectancy is going to drop dramatically and our health care costs will be more unfathomable than they already are.
I remember former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to limit the size of sugary drinks. I, like most people, thought it was a ridiculous waste of time and in some way imposed on civil liberties. I shared the "people are responsible for what they put in their bodies" way of thinking. That was before I knew how detrimental sugar is to health. Now I feel corporations don't have the right to make a product that is poisonous, market it as "just fine," and sell it in portions way above what any person should have. Mayor Bloomberg knew something that we didn't know yet. The more you know, I guess.
Many people who have chronic illnesses already know many of these scary truths, but is is definitely still worth a watch.
How to Watch:
You can buy it on DVD
Rent on Amazon
Rent on iTunes
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf
I'm Kerry and I am a writer and licensed therapist. This is a positive space focused on how to thrive in any situation and the transformative power of illness.