The Plant Paradox Book Summary, by Steven R. Gundry

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1-Page Summary of The Plant Paradox


You wouldn’t want to eat your yoga mat for dinner, would you? So why are you eating at McDonald’s or any other fast food restaurant? The food at these restaurants contains a substance that is also found in your exercise mat: Azodicarbonamide. It makes the gluten in bread more immediately available to your digestive system and irritates it. Therefore, remember to keep on walking when you come across another McDonald’s.

Chia seeds, quinoa, açai berries, goji berries and kale are all super foods that have become popular in recent years. People eat them because they’re healthy. However, some of these foods can cause weight gain and damage our health. Lectins are proteins found in plant-based foods such as legumes and grains that can do us more harm than good. Taking the key points back to the past shows how fruits and vegetables used to be healthier before lectins were introduced into their diet by humans thousands of years ago through farming practices. The Plant Paradox Program explains which plant-based foods should be avoided while introducing you to two diets: one for eating healthy food; the other for eating unhealthy food with lectins but not causing any weight gain or health problems (if followed properly).

You’ll also learn the similarities between a human digestive system and a nuclear power plant, as well as why you should avoid legumes. You’ll also learn about green smoothies, which are healthy and help cleanse your body.

Big Idea #1: Plant proteins cause confusion and weight gain.

If you’ve ever seen a wildlife documentary, you’ll know that animals don’t just sit around and wait for other animals to eat them. Instead, they develop defenses like long legs so they can run away from predators. But what about plants? If you have always assumed that plants are any more willing to become your next meal, think again.

Plants also have weapons against predators. They’re called lectins, and they exist in leaves, seeds, skins and grains.

When lectins are consumed, they bind to sugar molecules in the animal’s brain and nerve endings. This results in a lack of communication between your nerves and cells, which leads to brain fog.

Plants produce lectins in order to teach predators that they should avoid eating them. Lectins cause confusion and also cause you to gain weight.

One type of lectin that causes weight gain is wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). Found in wheat, this plant protein enters our body’s fat cells and transforms sugar into fat.

In fact, the reason why wheat was originally favored by northern people is because of its fat-producing properties. It helped them gain weight and survive when food was scarce.

In the past, humans needed to consume lots of plants in order to survive. Nowadays, however, with so many food options and central heating systems available for warmth, people aren’t as concerned about consuming large amounts of plants.

Big Idea #2: Lectins have been shown to be harmful, but they’ve also helped humans in the past.

In the previous section, we learned that lectins are bad for us. However, it’s important to understand why they’re in our diets in the first place. It turns out that our ancestors had little choice but to eat them because there were few other options available at the time.

The human diet was primarily protein-based for most of our evolutionary history. This changed around ten thousand years ago when a lot of the animals died due to climate change. As a result, humans had to find another food source.

People started eating foods from plants, such as grains and beans. This saved them from starvation. However, because of new food sources, people became sick with illnesses they never had before.

For example, in Ancient Egypt 5,000 years ago, the people were able to build a great civilization because they had enough food. There was so much food that it lasted them and their slaves throughout the year. However, mummified remains of ancient Egyptians show that those who ate lots of grain (wheat) died from tooth decay and obesity.

So, grains were critical to our ancestors’ survival but they also contained lectins that harmed their health.

Big Idea #3: Certain substances in whole-grain foods are toxic to your body.

Similar to a nuclear power plant, the human gut contains energy-producing elements that must be contained.

Our gut contains trillions of tiny microbes. We have more non-human cells in our body than human cells, which means that 90 percent of what we consider to be “us” is made up of non-human cells.

Microbes are the organisms that help us digest food. Without them, we would starve to death because we wouldn’t be able to break down our food. Our body keeps microbes in place by keeping them in the intestinal tract; if they escape, our immune system recognizes them as foreign invaders and begins attacking itself.

When we eat whole grains, our body attacks itself. This happens because of lectins in the whole grain that increase intestinal permeability and allow microbes to pass through.

The bran that is found in grains and cereals is an essential part of the grain. However, over time, societies have removed this important part of grains because they thought it was unhealthy. As a result, many people are unaware of the health risks associated with consuming only the starchy part of whole-grains (i.e., white rice).

Whole grains are now considered a health food. People want to incorporate them into their diets, which will increase the amount of lectins in their bodies. This can cause digestive issues and diseases like Crohn’s disease, which is an inflammatory bowel condition.

So, we know that lectins are harmful. Now let’s figure out how to prevent them from causing us harm.

Big Idea #4: The Plant Paradox Program is about removing unhealthy substances like lectins from your diet.

We’ve learned about the harmful effects of lectins. The author’s next step is to show us how we can regain our health by following a six-week Plant Paradox Program. Anyone who wants to start the Plant Paradox Program should know and remember its first rule: what you don’t eat is more important than what you do eat. That is, eliminating harmful foods will help your body more than adding good ones ever could. A patient found that his vitiligo (a skin condition) was cured after he followed the program for just two weeks because he no longer ate food with lectins and added bad things to his gut.

To keep your health, you need to follow the rules of this program and completely avoid unhealthy foods.

You should eliminate legumes from your diet because they contain more lectins than any other food group. Lectins are proteins that can cause food poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control claims that 20 percent of all food-related illnesses in the United States come from undercooked legumes.

Big Idea #5: To get the best results from this program, start with a three-day cleanse.

Similar to how a farmer prepares the soil before he plants any crops, you must also get your gut ready before beginning the Plant Paradox Program. The best way to prepare the environment within your gut is by eating foods that are in line with what’s termed as ‘The New Nordic Diet’.

If you want to improve your gut health, then it’s important to first cleanse your body. If your body is already unhealthy, then eating healthy foods won’t make a difference. Therefore, you must focus on repairing any damage to the gut with a three-day cleanse before focusing on improving gut health through diet and exercise.

The first step of this process involves removing all possible traces of lectins – we’re talking fruit, legumes, grains, dairy, sugar and seeds. Keeping away from these products will stop inflammation in your body and enable your gut to begin healing itself.

Although you have to avoid several products during a cleanse, there are plenty of other foods that will help your body feel great. For example, you could start the morning with an invigorating green smoothie made from romaine lettuce, mint and spinach. Or you can eat pastured chicken or wild-caught fish along with vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli.

Regardless of which vegetables you choose, make sure they’re raw or cooked in healthy oils. Drink eight cups of water and finish off your meal with tea or coffee.

Big Idea #6: Today’s foods are not as nutritious as they used to be, but supplements can help.

In 1936, scientists discovered that fruits and vegetables in the United States were lacking certain vitamins and minerals. In 2016, we still have this problem. Fortunately, there are supplements to make up for our nutritional deficiencies.

Fruits and vegetables nowadays are not as nutritious as they were in the past. This is because we use more chemicals on our crops than before, which has led to a decline in their nutritional value.

Fruits and vegetables don’t have many nutrients. However, you can supplement with vitamins during the Plant Paradox Program to make up for it.

Back then, our ancestors were hunters and gatherers who ate only plants that grew from soil rich in minerals. They also ate animals which fed on the same plants. This meant their diets had a high mineral content too.

Nowadays, you can substitute these minerals with vitamins. Vitamin D helps your body regenerate cells in the intestinal walls. Vitamin B12 protects the inner linings of blood vessels by preventing cell damage.

Our ancestors ate healthy foods and we can try to follow their example by eating a diet rich in nutrients.

Full Summary of The Plant Paradox


The Plant Paradox is a book that reveals the dangers of eating plant-based foods. It explains how to prepare and eat these foods in order to achieve optimal health.

Human health has declined because of plant proteins called lectins. Lectins are toxins that plants produce to protect themselves from predators. Although people need to eat plants, they often eat them the wrong way and get sick as a result. This is known as the plant paradox.

Lectins are sticky proteins that bind to sugar molecules, interrupt cells’ communication and cause inflammation in the body. Gluten is a kind of lectin, but eliminating it won’t solve the problem because people will replace gluten with foods even higher in lectins like gluten-free flours.

To prevent toxins from causing harm, the body produces stomach acid and mucus in addition to hosting trillions of “good” microbes. This mixture is called the holobiome. It helps humans digest food and protect against toxins. Lectins can still breach the intestinal wall and enter into the bloodstream when a breach occurs, which causes inflammation, weight gain, and autoimmune diseases.

Humans used to be taller and have bigger brains, but then they began eating grains and beans. These foods contain lectins, which the human body wasn’t prepared for. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) further changed the gut microbiome of humans, making them more susceptible to lectins.

People are more sensitive to lectins than they ever have been before. People in the West eat processed foods and grains, which contain a wide range of synthetic chemicals that disrupt the body’s natural ability to process those lectins. These disruptors include broad-spectrum antibiotics, painkillers, and artificial sweeteners.

We live in a symbiotic relationship with our gut microbes. When the bad ones prevail, we get sick. Fortunately, it’s possible to heal a leaky gut through the Plant Paradox Program (PPP). This program doesn’t allow for a return to carbohydrates and instead helps people make permanent changes to their diets that can prevent and reverse disease.

The Plant Paradox Program emphasizes several points. First, what people don’t eat is more important than what they do eat. Second, it’s important to feed healthy microbes in the body and thirdly, “you are what you eat” should be extended to food sources of food sources that could include grain-fed animals.

The Plant Paradox is a three-day cleanse followed by six weeks of eating leafy greens and fish. Dieters should avoid grains, legumes, corn, soybeans, GMO foods, saturated fats, whole grain products and artificial sweeteners. Instead they can eat cabbage family vegetables and omega-3 fats from fish oil or avocados. The diet limits animal protein to eight ounces per day with wild caught fish being preferred over other sources. After at least six weeks of the repair phase dieters may reintroduce some nightshade vegetables after removing seeds and skin as well as pressure cooked legumes during the optional third phase of the program which will help neutralize any harmful effects caused by this paradoxical plant based diet that includes meat.

Book Structure

Steven R. Gundry provides a simple-to-follow guide on how to follow his Plant Paradox program. He uses helpful metaphors and language that is easy to understand so that the reader can learn about human digestion, immunity, and disease. The book is divided into three parts: part one explains the science behind lectins in plants causing inflammation in people; part two lays out the Plant Paradox Program; and part three includes recipes for following this diet plan as well as success stories of patients who have used it successfully.

About the Author

Dr. Steven R. Gundry graduated from Yale University and Medical College of Georgia, where he participated in the cardiothoracic surgery program at the University of Michigan before becoming a professor of surgery and pediatrics at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. Later on, Gundry left conventional medicine in favor of restorative medicine and changed his health care philosophy by focusing on preventing heart disease through dietary changes rather than treating it with surgeries. In 2008, Dr. Gundry published his book called “Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution: Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You and Your Waistline”. Since then, he has done extensive research and practice in cardiology as well as immunology to become an expert in preventive functional medicine and the human holobiome (the community within our bodies). He is both the creator and practitioner of Plant Paradox Program, which aims to help people prevent chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes mellitus type 2, hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease etc.

Intended Audience

The Plant Paradox will be of interest to people who want to make long-term dietary changes in order to improve their health. The book contains detailed information about cellular processes and the human digestive system, but readers need not have any medical or scientific knowledge before reading it. People with chronic illnesses may find this book particularly useful because it includes a chapter on Gundry’s “Intensive Care Program” for people with serious conditions such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.

The Plant Paradox Book Summary, by Steven R. Gundry

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