The Plant Paradox Program Q & A

Questions and answers about Dr. Gundry's Plant Paradox Program. The questions are found on the web. The answers are from me, Raederle Phoenix.

Beverage Questions

Can you have kombucha?

If the kombucha is fully fermented (not very sweet) and all the ingredients added are non-lectin. You have to check the ingredients on every bottle. Watch out for brands that add things like "blue corn" (which I've seen in a brand from Ohio). Aim for kombucha that uses seagreens, turmeric, ginger, or other superfoods rather than kombucha that is mango, apple or peach flavored. AquaViTea brand in particular is NOT sweet, and I love their brand's taste. I've actually used that brand to help me get over colds quickly. I would limit GT kombucha except for the mult-green because GT is very sweet and will trick your body into believing it is summer all year round.

Can I have coffee on The Paradox Diet?

You'll need to go without coffee during phase I (a three day cleanse), but you can have it in moderation after that. Having more than one cup a day is not advised.

Is tea on the diet?

Tea is fine. In fact, it is encouraged. Especially during Phase I where drinking certain teas will help your system clear out.
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Sweets & Treats Questions

Are dates okay on The Plant Paradox Program?

In moderation. One or two in a recipe is fine. Or one or two with a cacao bean inside, which is my favorite for long-drives.

Is dark chocolate with coconut sugar okay?

Coconut sugar is still refined sugar just like beet sugar and cane sugar. Personally, I make my own chocolate at home and use raw carob powder to sweeten, or green stevia powder. Both carob and stevia are simply powdered rather than highly refined. You can make raw chocolates in your freeze or cooked chocolates in your oven with silicone molds. It is very easy and much healthier than store-bought. If you can find chocolate locally only sweetened with honey, opt for that. Also be sure to choose organic.
Pure cacao is definitely allowed on The Plant Paradox Program. In fact, Dr. Gundry encourages patients to consume two to four ounces of cacao daily for improved cardiovascular health, among other benefits.

I live in a tropical climate. What fruits should I eat?

Dr. Gundry recommends eating mangoes, plantains and bananas while they're green, because they're low sugar at that time. His general recommendation is to only eat fruits while they're in season so that you only eat sweet foods three to four months out of the year. That is what I recommend doing, even if you have to sort-of invent your time period in a tropical climate, because you'll have different sweet fruits ripen at different times of year. You can also do two two-month periods of sweet fruits and then go fruit-free for four-month periods in between. The point is to ensure your body gets a long enough "winter" so that your body goes in fat-burning mode as it is designed to do.

What about Truvia?

Truvia is made up of erythritol and rebiana which are sugar alcohols. It is true that Dr. Gundry seems to think that sugar alcohols are okay, but that isn't my experience. I found that even taking B12 wrapped in erythritol as a sublingual supplement was enough to give my stomach severe upset.
If you're looking for a safe sweetener, use green stevia which is just powdered stevia leaf. You can even grow stevia yourself and use it fresh. I grew some from seed this year and it has done marvelously. I've dried a bunch of the extra for use during the winter. A little goes a long way.
Any white sweetener is a highly refined product made up of a single molecule repeated over and over again and is found nowhere in nature in that concentrated form.
Another alternative is honey, which is made naturally by bees to feed their offspring.
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Nutty Questions

How can I substitute and stay full if I can't eat nuts?

I can't have most nuts either. (Walnuts causes soreness and swelling, pine nuts upset my stomach, cashews are not allowed on the diet anyway, etc.) I can have almonds that have been soaked and peeled, but I don't rely on those to keep me happy by any means.
If you're an omnivore, you can eat wild fish.
If you're a vegan or vegetarian, opt for more avocado or olives to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Also, A-2 casein diary products (from special cows, and all goats, sheep, and Buffalo) is another way to stay satisfied and full. It is best if you limit your animal product intake, however, as animals have other compounds in them that are shown to have negative impact when consumed in excess, so for that reason you can turn to hearty salads and wraps using nori as the wrap and flax oil and kim chi as toppings.

Are almonds okay? I saw "almond flour" on the "yes list" but not almonds.

In his recipe book Dr. Gundry clarifies. He says that peeled almonds are also good. You can peel almonds easily after soaking them. This improves their flavor and also removes phytates.

What about Silk unsweetended almond milk? Is almond milk acceptable on the Plant Paradox Program?

If you're talking about the conventional stuff sold in a tetra-pack, I'd steer clear just because (1) conventional chemical residue, (2) tetra-pack chemical residue. As a highly sensitive person, I can actually taste what tetra-packs do to food. It is the same flavor in everything that comes out of a tetra-pack and to me it tastes so terrible that more than a mouthful is not possible.
Almonds themselves are lower lectins than many other seeds (such as cashews, qunioa, oats, etc). The lectins are primarily in the skins, so any almond milk made from skinned almonds, or thoroughly strained will be lower in lectins.
Look for any unsweetened, organic almond milk that is strained of skins, or make it at home from peeled almonds. It is actually very easy to peel almonds after soaking them. I do it all the time. Takes about five minutes for me to skin half a cup or more of almonds, which makes a nice batch of almond milk.
The same goes for almond butter. You can easily make it at home from peeled almonds using a masticating juicer or a high-speed blender. If you're using a blender, I recommend adding a little macadamia nut oil after you've broken down the almonds as small as the blender wants to get them.
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Dairy Questions

Can you have Bulgarian yogurt?

If the yogurt is A-2 casein, then yes.

Why would milk be bad, but cream be okay?

Cream is the fat skimmed off the top of the milk. Cream has very, very low casein because most of the milk is removed, but not all. For someone who is very sensitive, they should stick to A-2 casein, even for butter and cream. Or just opt for cream from goats, sheep, camels and water buffalo. Ghee, however, will be pure fat from the cow's dairy, and will not have casein.
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Egg Questions

What about eggs? Are eggs included in the Plant Paradox Program?

You have to ensure the the chickens do not eat lectin-rich foods such as corn, soy and wheat. Chickens raised on insects is what you want.

Can you eat egg beaters on the Plant Paradox Program?

In theory, there is nothing wrong with eggs. Unfortunately, "egg beaters" have a number of problems. Firstly, they say nothing about where their eggs are coming from or their quality, which almost undoubtedly means that the eggs are coming from the cheapest source possible: conventionally raised chickens. Chickens today are dosed with arsenic as an antibiotic, and they are fed soy, wheat and corn, which are all high in lectins. These grains are usually all sprayed with glyphosate as part of their growth and their processing, making them rich in this toxin.
Glyphosate, arsenic and lectins in turn, wind up in the eggs. Many people who have independently realized that they couldn't have beans or most grains also realized that they couldn't have eggs from grain-raised animals. And yet eggs from birds on their natural diets (insects) were perfectly fine. These kinds of discoveries happen because of highly sensitive individuals (like myself) whose reactions are so severe that there can be no doubt that the food just consumed caused the issue. Symptom reactions can be quite different from one person to another, but common reactions to lectins, glyphosate and arsenic include: stomach pain, arthritic pain, joint swelling, muscle spasms and acid reflux.
While what you take out of your diet (lectins, glyphosate, arsenic) is more important than what you put in to your body, it is also important to note that the nutritious part of the egg is actually the yolk. Dr. Weston Price knew this, and Dr. Gundry also knows this, as well as the most long-lived cultures in the world. The yolk has the fat and the fat-soluble nutrition, such as the vitamin D of the egg. To get the most vitamin D out of your eggs, opt for duck eggs and be sure to eat the yolks.
So, no, egg beaters are not suitable on The Plant Paradox Program. However, eggs from animals fed their natural diet on a pasture are a healthy inclusion in The Plant Paradox Program.
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Fats & Oil Questions

What about grapeseed oil?

Grapeseed oil is high in omega 6 and low in omega 3 which is the same reason Dr. Gundry says not to consume sunflower oil. Also, because grapeseed oil is mostly polyunsaturated, it ought to be refrigerated and only used on cold foods, just like flax oil. But people are actually cooking with it and keeping it on the shelf. I'd say this is not a "heart healthy" oil at all.

What if I don't like avocados?

If you really dislike avocados, then skip them. You can also eat olives instead.

I have started the The Paradox Diet but find I burp a lot about one hour after a meal. I have had my gall bladder removed so am wondering about proper digestion and increased fat intake. Do I need a supplement before meals or to modify?

When you have your gall bladder removed you can no longer produce the enzymes required to digest fat properly. Start taking enzymes with every meal and this should help dramatically. Also, try to especially limit omega-6. Because you will struggle to digest fat, you must ensure that the fat you do eat is the fat you need, which is fat from fish oil (DHA & EPA), flax oil (omega-3, the precursor to DHA & EPA) and perilla oil (a vegan substitute for fish oil).

Is Rapeseed oil okay on The Plant Paradox Program?

Rapeseed is another name for canola oil. Canola oil is high in omega-6, which is inflammatory. Dr. Gundry strictly advises against this oil. Also, if you encounter this oil conventionally, it will be genetically modified in sold in plastic besides, meaning you'll be getting exposure to BPA (Bisphenol A) from the plastic, glyphosphate from the genetic engineering, and omega-6 from the plant. Sold organically, in glass, is better, but it is still best avoided.
For frying you can use avocado oil instead, or tallow from a grass-fed farm. For salad oils, look to flax oil, macadamia oil and MCT oil. Always seek oil sold in glass, and when it comes to flax oil it should always be sold and stored in a refrigerator.
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Bread & Gluten Questions

What kind of bread and bagels are okay?

Ideally you want wheat products to be:
  • Refined (white flour) so that the wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) lectin is removed
  • Organic (organic white flour) so there is no glyphosate
  • Fermented (organic sourdough bread made from organic white flour) so that most of the gluten has been fermented away
  • Unsweetened, or at most, sweetened with a small amount of honey
If you can not find bread locally that meets these standards you can either (1) bake your own bread, (2) contact your local organic bakery and ask them to start making bread of this kind, or (3) use romaine lettuce or sheets of nori in place of bread.
During Phase I and Phase II of The Plant Paradox Program you'll need to eliminate gluten and grains completely, so you will not be eating wheat until Phase III (roughly week seven). Until then, you can bake your own bread using cassava flour at home. There are many recipes for cassava flour bread online, which I've been rather enjoying. It is even possible to make this bread in a counter-top infra-red convection oven.

Can I do this diet if I'm gluten-free?

Gluten is a lectin, so Phase I and Phase II of this diet are already gluten-free. You do not need to introduce glutens in Phase III either. So yes, you can absolutely do this diet if you're gluten-free.
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More Questions

Are pickles okay?

You can have pickles if the seeds and skins are removed, but only after you've moved to Phase III, which is after your symptoms are gone and your weight is normal. You can try them with their skin still on if you've had no reaction to them peeled (in Phase III).

Is organic tomato paste okay?

Absolutely not in Phase I and Phase II of the The Plant Paradox Program.
Nightshades have high lectin content. Some people find their symptoms return even after eating a few cherry tomatoes. If you're going to eat tomatoes, you have to peel them and remove the seeds. This is something you only do in Phase III after completing Phase I and II. Some tomato paste may already be made from skinned/deseeded tomatoes, and are thereby suitable for Phase III.

Are organic carrots good?

Yes, except during Phase I when you abstain from roots for three days. Also, the carrots should be raw, as cooking sweetens carrots.

My husband loves popcorn. What can he replace this with?

Find something else your husband loves (maybe seafood?) to replace popcorn with. You can also look into the official recipe book by Dr. Gundry which contains recipes for fluffy cauliflower-based fritters and broccoli-based puffs and carrot-cakes made with cassava flour, etc. These should help. You can also make or buy plantain chips.

Why is quinoa on Dr. Gundry's "do not eat list"? I thought that was a great food.

Quinoa has very difficult to break down lectins. Gluten, for example, is a kind of lectin. Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins that are capable of breaking through your gut barrier and triggering your immune system to attack.
With the right microbiome (flora/bacteria) living inside you to break down quinoa before it becomes a problem, quinoa is an acceptable source of calories. Most people will not have a healthy microbiome that can do this however. Between artificial sweeteners (like splenda) that kill our gut bacteria, broad-spectrum antibiotics (which obviously kill our gut bacteria), and chemicals like triclosan (found in hand-sanitizers), few people have a healthy gut biome.
Quinoa looks fairly good on paper when compared to other grains because it has more minerals. However, you're unlikely to ever unlock any of that nutrition between enzyme inhibitors, phytic acid and lectins. You'll get more nutrition from vegetables, easily.
In my personal experience, quinoa is one of the toughest foods to digest of all. Even while taking digestive enzymes (which allow me to eat a modicum of beans without hours of pain), quinoa causes me digestive pain that lasts six to twelve hours. I realize this is not most people's experience. I'm a highly sensitive person (HSP), or a "canary" ("canary in the coal mine") which makes my role in society to suffer and warn others so that down the line they can suffer less.

I see "no to peas" on the P.P.P. but what about pea protein? (NOW Sports Pea Protein) Maybe it's processed differently?

Lectins are proteins, and lectins are exactly what you're avoiding on The Plant Paradox Program. So I would absolutely steer 100% clear of any protein powders, especially a pea protein.
Long before I discovered Dr. Gundry (which was actually only six weeks ago), I discovered the truth about over-protein consumption. My own body let me know by repeatedly getting sick from too much protein, and then I learned about it. The healthiest cultures in the world eat less than 30 grams of protien per day, and these people are active for 10 to 16 hours a day and have plenty of muscle mass. The average American passes 30 grams of excess protein their stool every day!
You do not need any more protein. Dr. Gundry talks about this subject some in his book and says that few people need much above 20 grams of protien per day because our bodies are so efficient are reusing protien we already have in our bodies.

Out of curiosity, why is miso on Gundry's "Yes list" if it is made from soy?

I believe it is because it is fermented to the point of being low-lectin, and also because it is used in moderation. However, be sure to select organic miso so that organic soy is the source!

What kind of water should I be drinking?

I prefer reverse osmosis because I like my water to be completely clean. I recognize that some people argue that completely clean (mineral-free) water sucks minerals from your body, but consider this: Mineral water and clean water are both clear. A single drop of lemon juice in a tall glass of water makes the water cloudy. That means there is more substance in a drop of lemon juice than there is in a bottle of mineral water. So if you want minerals in your water, add a drop of some lemon juice and a pinch of mineral-rich sea salt. I like to use a blend of many different colored salts (red, pink, ang grey) to get the maximum diversity of nutrients in my salt.
Dr. Gundry does not say anything about what kind of water we should be drinking in his book, The Plant Paradox, but he does repeatedly say that what we take out is more important than what we put in. Given this, I think Steven Gundry would agree with my assessment that it is best to get all the chemicals out of your water and then worry about putting good healthy food into your body after the fact.

Is this temporarily corrective measures? Because these are very, very specific foods. I thought there'd be more on the list that I thought of as good. How is eating meat less of an issue than veggies as far as their response to being consumed?

Phase III of The Plant Paradox program is the lifestyle part of the program that continues indefinitely. There are few vegetables to be omitted, and they're all nightshades. There are many seeds to be omitted, but another option is to pressure-cook them so that the lectins are removed, or ferment them (sourdough bread, for example) until the lectins are dramatically reduced, the same way our ancestors did.
If you read the book you'll discover that this diet is actually much the same way our healthiest ancestors ate – the way people eat in the healthiest parts of the world today. A lot of vegetables, herbs, and berries. Some wild-caught fish, some A2-dairy, especially the dairy-fat. Some omega-3 rich oil. Some pasture-raised eggs. Some fermented grains. Some tubers.
Like me, perhaps, you've had and witnesses negative bodily responses to meat. Considering that most meat is fed a lectin-rich diet as well as many chemicals and antibiotics, it is no wonder we've all got stories of the pain that comes from eating meat. However, to my amazement, with correct preparation and selection, I found that wild caught fish actually agrees with my body far better than any seeds (including nuts, grains, and beans). I wrote about my experience with introducing fish to my diet in my article, My First Three Weeks on the Plant Paradox Program.
At first I felt a little confused about what to eat on The Plant Paradox Program, especially in Phase II which can be quite long. You're supposed to continue Phase II until all your chronic pain is gone, your weight in normalized, you no longer have cravings, and your gut is healed. But even in Phase II there are a lot of options. I'm considering rewriting all my past recipe books to be lectin-free and suitable for Phase II so that they can help more people.
The different phases of the diet confuse a lot of people, including me at first, so I made a spreadsheet to clarify which foods are for which phases.
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