What are lectins, anyway???

According to Dr. Gundry, lectins are large proteins found in animals and plants. For plants, it is their way of protecting themselves from being eaten by animals. (And gluten is actually a form of lectin.) Lectins are found in the seeds, grains, skin, rinds, and leaves of most plants. When an animal or insect eats a plant containing lectins, it either dies, or gets sick, which is intended to discourage the insect or animal from eating it again. (This is how the plant and it’s offspring protect themselves in order to survive.)
When humans eat foods that contain lectins, oftentimes they too will feel unwell–some people more than others. (That’s when we tend to reach for stomach relief medications.) Unfortunately, the animals most of us eat are fed the same plants that affect us, and indirectly, their problems become our problems when we eat those animals. So as Dr. Gundry says, “You really are what you eat.”
In addition to the affect of our diet, there are 7 major disruptors which are responsible for changing your gut microbes. According to Dr. Gundry, they are:
1. Broad-spectrum antibiotics.
2. NSAIDs.
3. Stomach-Acid blockers.
4. Artificial sweeteners.
5. Endocrine Disruptors–which are low-dose estrogen-like products people put on their skin, such as cosmetics, preservatives, sunscreen and the use of plastics.
6. GMO foods and Roundup.
7. Exposure to Blue spectrum light.
All of this exposure to lectins and other disruptors, Dr. Gundry believes are what has led to the various problems with our immune systems, including:
Aching joints, heartburn, age spots, skin tags, arthritis, cancer, dementia, fibromyalgia, IBS, skin rashes, and a whole host of other health problems.
Reading this long list is what made me think this eating program was just the thing we needed to try to repair the damage we’ve both experienced over the years.

PS:  The photo above is a Green Smoothie, which has NO LECTINS.  It is made with spring mix, spinach, kale, avocado, mint, and lemon juice with water.  Yummy!!


Why WeGutHealthy

The previous posts explained the progression from where we were to where we are now.  Somewhere along the way, I stumbled upon a YouTube video by Dr. Steven Gundry.  His focus is on gut health.  There has been a lot of buzz regarding gut health, and discoveries are being made everyday.  In my mind, Dr. Gundry seemed to be on to something.  Since the things we had done up to now were helping, Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox program seemed worth trying.  (Hence, the moniker, weguthealthy!)

In Phase 1 of the program, you start with a 3-day cleanse.  It seems people everywhere have started drinking “green smoothies!”  In Dr. Gundry’s program, fruit is actually off limits, especially for the first 3 days, except for the fresh squeezed lemon juice in his recipe.  You can also add a few drops of Stevia extract if you like.  Initially, I avoided even a few drops, since I didn’t want to duplicate any “sweet” taste that might make me crave more sweets!  Basically you can add various types of lettuces, greens, avocados, with a bit of fresh mint to a mixture of water and ice.  For a bit of plant protein, I added hemp powder.

Many people use other plant proteins, (such as pea) as well as whey proteins.   Dr. Gundry suggests that if you use them, read your labels carefully, because many whey proteins contain sugars and/or artificial sweeteners.  But in reality, he actually discourages using whey protein because it elevates insulin-like growth factor (IFG) which he says stimulates cancer and aging.  (Neither of which I want to encourage!)

The program recommends you drink a “Green Smoothie” for breakfast for each day of the 3-day cleanse.  Lunch and dinner for the first 3 days consist of a lot of cruciferous vegetables with no more than 4 oz of grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish or pastured chicken.  (There should only be a total of 8 oz. of animal protein a day.)  Vegetables should be organic and locally sourced if possible.  There are vegan and vegetarian substitutions as well.

In the days that follow, I will post photos of some of the meals I’ve made, and explain any modifications I made to the recipes.  If you’ve already heard of the program and have had experiences (or recipes) you’d like to share, I’d be happy to hear about them!   If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.  Although I’m not a licensed nutritionist,  I want to share my experiences with others in the hope I can offer whatever advice and encouragement I can.


Before Whole 30

Two or three years before starting the Whole 30 program, my daughter introduced me to the Paleo way of eating.  Since Ed had been eating gluten free, the Paleo program seemed easy enough to follow.  Giving up sweets was the hard part.  We still indulged various gluten-free crackers, cookies, and the like.  I can’t say we really felt better physically, but we felt better about at least trying to be on a healthier path.

And then came Whole 30.  Wow, I thought it was “Paleo on steroids!”  It took a full year after buying the book before I could wrap my head around giving up dairy, alcohol, and sugar.  Then I decided it was time to do something radical.  We targeting October 1st 2016, but my kitchen wasn’t ready.  We had too many offending products on the shelves to start the program properly.  Being somewhat OCD, it seemed I couldn’t start unless it was the 1st of the month.  So November 1st it was.  I took the next several weeks to box up the offending products and hauled them off to a friend’s house.  (Not that I didn’t care about her health, but I knew she’d welcome the free groceries!)  I allowed myself to cheat a little bit before D-day, but when November 1st rolled around, we were ready, willing, and determined! (Well, actually Ed was scared.)

Black coffee. hmmmm.  My father used to drink his coffee black, and I never understood how he could do it.  Since using coconut or almond milk was allowed, I tried that for a while.  Really did not like almond milk in a cappuccino.  (It didn’t froth well, either.)  I settled for coconut milk in regular coffee.  In my mind, it was better than black.  Then one day, I went to a networking meeting where someone had brought in coffee for the group.  (The only creamer, was that stuff in the little containers which are full of chemicals.)  So I decided to bite the bullet, and drink it black.  Wow, was I surprised.  It wasn’t bad!  (For the record, it was actually the Dunkin Donuts brand.)  Believe it or not, from that day forward, I (almost) only drink it black.  I say it that way because, every now and then, I’ll have a Frappuccino from Starbucks.  (A girl has to cheat some time, right???)

The great thing about the internet is that you can find thousands of recipes for whatever diet program you’re following. So between the Whole 30 book, Whole 30 cookbook, books from the  library, and the internet,–I was preparing a lot of wonderful dishes.  We kept a strict diary of what we ate, and how we felt.  I was surprised that, even though I didn’t have any real health issues, I started to feel better in ways I hadn’t expected.  Ed was definitely noticing less heartburn, and he was thrilled.  (He went from experiencing heartburn almost every day, to hardly ever having heartburn after being on the Whole 30 program a short time.)  After the first 30 days on Whole 30, he refused to reintroduce the offending foods into his diet.  For him there was no going back.  (I would experiment with various foods, just to see how different I’d feel.)

Despite Ed’s feeling better, we decided to continue on our quest for the best health possible.  Ed was on a roll.  Based on recommendations from Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s book (the Autoimmune Fix),  he decided to give up nightshade vegetables.  The results of giving up nightshade vegetable seemed inconclusive.

And then came the Plant Paradox (by Dr. Steven Gundry).


We Gut Healthy

Welcome to my first blog!  This blog will cover various trials and tribulations regarding food, nutrition, health and wellness–based on the experiences I’ve had with my husband, Ed.  I welcome all comments and suggestions from those who have similar stories and may have advice for me and/or others!

Where to begin!!!  After suffering with stomach issues and migraine headaches in the years before I knew him, Ed was finally diagnosed as being Gluten Sensitive.  His headaches and stomach problems improved, but didn’t completely go away.  Since he felt better, he accepted it as an improvement and figured that was the best he could expect.

Fast forward a few years, and I came into the picture.  We’ve gone through a lot of changes in the nearly 8 years we’ve known each other.  It seemed very ironic that I met him just a few months after graduating from Johnson & Wales in Baking & Pastry Arts.  All those wonderful breads, cakes and pastries would be forbidden in our lives together.  Oh, well.  Life goes on.  I experimented with making things Gluten Free.  Some were good, some were disasters!

Then my daughter told me about the Whole 30 program.  Hmmmm, an elimination diet.  For his sake, it sounded like an interesting experiment.  For me, it sounded like the kiss of death! No sugar, no diary, no gluten, no alcohol.  Are you kidding????