This Buzzy Diet Clears Brain Fog and Helps You Lose Weight (Without Exercise)
Ever since we asked our readers what they knew about lectins last year, we've seen more people tune into Steve Gundry's, MD, theory that "plants don't like us." So for a quick recap, lectins are proteins found in hundreds of common foods like wheat, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, seeds, and more, and Gundry says if you want to heal autoimmune disease, IBS, arthritis, migraines, and brain fog, then you need to "stay away" from them completely.
Kelly Clarkson recently attributed his Plant Paradox diet to help her cope with an autoimmune disease and thyroid condition that emerged in 2006—she subsequently lost 37 pounds. "I feel like people are now tuning into the idea of lectins when it was such a foreign concept at the time," Gundry says of the recent spike in interest. "The idea that lectins may be the missing link in so many health problems is not a surprise to me, as for 17 years via blood tests in thousands of patients, it was clear that they were the problem. Having said that, it is gratifying that what my patients have taught me has now helped more than 400,000 people around the world fix their health. I'm so thankful."
My husband and I have been slowly acclimating to the diet too, and it has significantly helped with his brain fog. He has been gluten-free for a while now but was still feeling symptoms. Gundry says this is because many gluten-free products on the market also contain other lectins. "What amazes me is that even people who have been gluten-free (gluten is a lectin) feel so much better when they take their gluten-free (but lecti-full) foods out of their diet," he explains. "This confirms other researchers studies that I cite in the book that most people who go gluten-free for a Celiac disease are still positive for Celiac two years later unless they remove other lectins."
Even if you don't have an autoimmune disease, there can still be effects from eating lectins long-term. "I just presented a paper at the American Heart Association showing that even 'normal' people attack their arteries in an autoimmune response by eating lectins, and that this attack diminishes if they stop eating them," says Gundry. "Not a day goes by that somebody writes to tell me how shocked they were that this was the missing link in turning their health around. I couldn't be more proud to help so many people."
Of course, removing some of the most common ingredients from our diets isn't an overnight change we can make. To help, Gundry launched his second book The Plant Paradox Cookbook and below he kindly shares four recipes for you to make at home.
BROCCOLI CHEDDAR QUICHE
"This quiche is simple to whip up and makes a great plan-ahead breakfast when you have overnight visitors. I often prep my ingredients (and even bake the crust) the night before, so all I have to do is pop the quiche in the oven when my guests are waking up and voilà, a hot, satisfying breakfast appears effortless!"
Ingredients for the crust
1⁄2 cup toasted macadamia nuts, finely chopped
1 cup coconut oil
1 omega-3 or pastured egg or VeganEgg
Ingredients for the filling
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
5 omega-3 or pastured eggs or VeganEggs
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tsp. iodised sea salt
1 cup shredded goat’s milk cheddar cheese or 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray an 8-inch pie tin with olive oil.
First, make the crust: pulse the coconut flour, macadamia nuts, coconut oil, and egg in a food processor until the mixture begins to come together. If too dry, add water 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture becomes cohesive. The mixture will be a little crumbly, similar to a graham cracker crust.
Remove the dough from the food processor; press together in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Press the dough into the pie tin using your fingertips, then bake for 10 minutes. Set aside and cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Steam the broccoli for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain and set aside.
Combine the eggs, coconut cream, nutmeg, and salt, and mix well.
Place the crust on a sheet tray in case it overflows during baking. Sprinkle cheddar cheese or nutritional yeast along with the bottom of the crust, then add the broccoli. Pour egg mixture over the top, and bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes. Allow cooling for a few minutes before serving.
PIZZA WITH CAULIFLOWER CRUST
"Pizza on the Plant Paradox plan? It's true, you’re not seeing things. This crave-inducing recipe comes from our friend Tara Lazar, a local chef here in Palm Springs. I think her cauliflower crust is the best I've ever had. If you’re in phase 3, try making a tomato sauce with peeled, seeded tomatoes to enjoy the full pizza experience!"
Ingredients for pizza crust (makes two 8-inch crusts)
2 3/4 cups cauliflower flour
1/4 cup almond flour
2 tbsp. tapioca flour
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 omega-3 or pastured eggs or VeganEggs
Classic basil pesto, prosciutto, and buffalo mozzarella
Classic basil pesto and caramelised onions
Sheep’s milk ricotta, lemon zest, sliced figs
Caramelized Onion Bourbon Jam, figs, and balsamic glaze
Phase 3 tomato sauce (recipe to follow), buffalo mozzarella, basil
Directions for the pizza crust
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Grease a sheet of parchment paper with butter or coconut oil.
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Divide the crust in half, forming two balls. Place each ball onto the sheet of buttered (or coconut-oiled parchment paper), and flatten with greased hands into an eight-inch round, making sure the crusts are even with no holes.
Bake for 15 minutes, turning the dough halfway through to be sure they are cooked evenly. Remove dough, and increase oven heat to 150°C. Top with desired toppings, then bake until edges begin to crisp.
Ingredients for tomato sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 large ripe tomatoes, peeled with a serrated peeler, seeds removed, or use boxed tomatoes, like Pomi
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar salt and pepper to taste
Directions for the tomato sauce
Heat the oil in over medium-high heat a large sauce pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring regularly, until translucent. Add the garlic, and cook an additional minute or two. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, and a bit of salt and pepper, and reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until tomatoes begin to break down. Transfer the sauce to a blender (or use an immersion blender) to blend, then continue to cook, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Cook until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Ingredients for the cauliflower flour
3 medium-sized cauliflower stalks, leaves removed
3/4 cups grated Parmigiano- Reggiano
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder salt and pepper, to taste
Directions for the cauliflower flour
JUICER METHOD: Cut the cauliflower into medium-sized chunks and pass through a juicer so that most of the liquid is removed from the pulp. Discard juice and save pulp. Move on to step one of the pizza crust.
FOOD PROCESSOR METHOD: Cut the cauliflower, place in a food processor, and pulse until broken into tiny pieces (smaller than grains of rice).
Transfer the cauliflower to a clean kitchen towel, and squeeze pulp, trying to extract as much water as possible. Transfer the pulp into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15- to 20-second increments (your goal here is to start to dry out the cauliflower). Strain, and squeeze through cloth again to extract more water before moving on to step of the pizza crust.
LEEK AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP
"Leek and potato soup is one of those unusual dishes that are good hot, at room temperature, or even chilled. This simple variation on the classic is just as versatile. It never ceases to amaze me how well cauliflower works in place of potatoes in most dishes."
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound leeks, cleaned and chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets
1/2 tsp. fresh nutmeg
1 tsp. fine iodized sea salt, or more, to taste
2 tsp. coarse black pepper
2 quarts salt-free chicken stock or vegetable stock
1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan (optional, but delicious)
1 bay leaf
Finely chopped chives or thyme, to garnish
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot. Add the leeks, celery, garlic, and cauliflower, along with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and sauté over medium, stirring regularly until leeks begin to wilt.
Add stock, Parmesan (if using), and bay leaf, and cook, covered, for 35 to 45 minutes, until cauliflower is very tender.
Remove bay leaf and blend using an immersion stick blender, or transfer into a regular blender and blend until smooth (work in batches so as to not overfill the blender).
Once pureed, return the soup to the heat and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Serve garnished with chopped herbs and more Parmesan, if desired.
CHOCOLATE MINT COOKIES
"There's a reason chocolate and mint are a classic pairing—I can't think of two flavours that go better together. These easy-to-make-cookies come together quickly and make a great, simple weeknight dessert."
1 cup creamy almond butter
2∕3 cup confectioner’s Swerve (erythritol)
2 tbsp. non-Dutched cocoa powder
2 tbsp. blanched almond meal
1 tbsp. coconut flour 2 tablespoons water
2 large omega-3 or pastured eggs or VeganEggs
2 tbsp. melted, salted butter or coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp. pure peppermint extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1⁄4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat (a Silpat) or parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond butter, erythritol, cocoa powder, almond meal, coconut our, water, eggs, butter or oil, peppermint extract, and baking soda.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a whisk and some serious arm strength, mix until all ingredients are well combined.
Fold in chopped chocolate. Form the cookie dough into 5-centimetre balls to produce 12 cookies, or a bit smaller to make 18 cookies.
Place the cookie-dough-balls on the prepared baking sheet, leaving room for them to spread.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool before eating. Store any extra in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.