Tips and tricks for Cooking on a Low-Lectin Diet

3 months ago
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Did you know shrinking your ingredient list to avoid lectins can shrink what you spend on dinner, too?

Just check out these tips and tricks for cooking on a low-lectin diet! Your spending might not be the only thing that shrinks – hopefully, your waistline will too.

But first …

What does lectin-free eating really mean?

Well, put simply – plants are really good at natural chemistry. In fact, it’s really the only way they can defend themselves against predators — like humans — who basically just want to end them, and eat them.

Turns out, a plant’s main defense is a group of toxic proteins known as lectins. And believe it or not, lectins are the root cause of lots of digestive issues, like diarrhea, throwing up, and feeling nauseous.1

So, what are the best tips and tricks when it comes to avoiding lectins?

First, you simply want to cut out any corn, corn-fed ‘free-range’ animal products, regular milk, and fruits that aren’t really in-season.

Also, it’s best to limit the foods on the list below –  

  • Squash 
  • Nightshades 
  • Beans and legumes 
  • In-Season Fruit 
  • Grains 

Lectin-less Cooking

Here’s the fun part. When cooking, you want to pay attention to great taste, instead of more shopping.

The best lectin-free dinners are super low-budget – and usually really easy and fast to make. That’s because the best recipes use no more than five ingredients – total.

For instance, try this amazing Miracle Noodles with Pesto dish for dinner tonight. You can make it with no more than four amazingly healthy ingredients. It’s simple, but scrumptious.

All you need is –  

  • Olive oil 
  • Broccoli florets 
  • Miracle Noodles  
  • Basil pesto  

Plus – you’ll only dirty one pan. Easy cooking, easy cleanup. Another favorite lectin-free dinner is Stir-fry Shrimp with Bok Choy. If you like Chinese food, this one’s got your name all over it. The flavors are classically stir-fry, but you don’t have to use any of the unhealthy, lectin-heavy ingredients. Just get your hands on some –  

  • Ginger 
  • Garlic 
  • Wild shrimp 
  • Sesame oil 
  • Bok choy 

With fewer ingredients, you’ve got more time to cook – and more money in the bank. 

Another bonus of using fewer ingredients and spending less is – you can start today. Lots of folks decide it’s time to change their unhealthy habits, but put off starting until tomorrow. But, tomorrows add up quickly.

Since you know lectins might be at the root of nutrient deficiencies, interrupted digestive processes, and severe gut damage, there’s really no reason to delay.2

Instead, get ready today by prepping your body …

Turns out, if you’ve been ingesting lectins and processed sugars for most of your life, the bad bacteria in your intestines may have gained control of your entire system. It’s likely they’ve been throwing a dangerous party in your tummy, and you’ve got to kick them out. Doing so could help you –  

  • Manage inflammation. 
  • Restore good bacteria to your system  
  • Lose some weight 

So, what’s the best way to prep your body?

The Plant Paradox 3-day Cleanse

It’s an easy 3-day cleanse that can change which bacteria live in your gut. Out with the bad, in with the good! A cleanse can help get your body ready for success.

Now, here are the foods to say NO to – 

  • Dairy 
  • Soy 
  • Nightshade plants 
  • Roots 
  • Tubers 
  • Corn 
  • Grains or pseudo-grains 
  • Fruit 
  • Sugar 
  • Seeds 
  • Eggs 
  • Canola 
  • Inflammatory oils 
  • Farm animal protein
     

Veggies

The veggies below are your new best friends. Eat as much as you like of the following –  
 

  • Broccoli 
  • Brussels sprouts 
  • Cauliflower 
  • Bok choy 
  • Cabbage 
  • Swiss chard 
  • Arugula 
  • Watercress 
  • Collards 
  • Kale 
  • Radicchio 
  • Raw sauerkraut  
  • Kimchi 
  • Nopales cactus 
  • Celery 
  • Onions 
  • Chives 
  • Scallions 
  • Chicory 
  • Carrots 
  • Artichokes 
  • Beets  
  • Radishes 
  • Artichokes 
  • Hearts of palm 
  • Cilantro 
  • Okra 
  • Asparagus 
  • Garlic 
  • Romaine 
  • Kohlrabi 
  • Mesclun 
  • Endive 
  • Dandelion greens 
  • Butter lettuce 
  • Fennel 
  • Escarole 
  • Mustard greens 
  • Parsley 
  • Basil 
  • Mint 
  • Purslane 
  • Perilla 
  • Algae 
  • Seaweed 
  • Sea vegetables 
  • Mushrooms 
  • Spinach

All the veggies above rock, but the dark leafy ones are the best. In fact, the USDA says leafy greens give you a good amount of folate to help your heart and vitamin K to help your bones. Also, dark leafy greens can help reduce inflammation.3 

Protein

As far as protein goes on the cleanse,  don’t eat more than 8 ounces of wild-caught fish or pastured chicken a day. That’s about 2 portions – each the size of a deck of cards – a day.

Dressing, Oils, Sauces, and Spices

You can also douse the veggies above in any of the following oils. Feel free to cook with them, too –

  • Extra-virgin olive oil 
  • Sesame seed oil 
  • Walnut oil 
  • Macadamia nut oil 
  • Hemp seed oil 
  • Avocado oil 
  • Coconut oil 
  • Flaxseed oil 

Also, try upping the flavor factor of your lectin-free foods with these –  

  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Sea salt 
  • Fresh herbs 
  • Vinegar 
  • Mustard 
  • Fresh spices

Final Tips 

Pressure cook – When making anything with beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and quinoa, use a pressure cooker to cut down the amount of plant lectins in those foods. You won’t wipe your food completely clean of lectins – but it’s a start. 

Peel and Deseed fruits and veggies – The most lectin-heavy parts of any fruit or vegetable are the hull, peel, or rind. So, get rid of those parts of the plant when cooking, and you’ll get rid of a bunch of lectins too. 

White grains are better than brown – White rice is your friend, but brown rice is not. White bread is your friend, but wheat bread is not. Not that you should be eating breads at all, but if you must – go white. Cultures that have always eaten rice have stripped the hull off brown rice to ditch the nasty lectins.

In the end …

While the cleanse isn’t necessarily easy, it will get easier as you get used to it. Take it at your own speed. But remember, if you start your prep cleanse and return to your nasty food habits, the bad bacteria will move back into your system.

So, keep eating lectin-free once you finish the cleanse and you’ll be well on your way to better health.

Sources 

  1. Peumans, Willy J. “Lectins As Plant Defense Proteins”. N.p., 1995. Print. 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25599185 
  3. https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/gfnd/gfhnrc/docs/news-2013/dark-green-leafy-vegetables/ 
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