When I look at other people’s diets, it’s no wonder we’ve got so many people struggling with their weight and understanding of good nutrition.
The foundation of so many dietary recommendations is bread, pasta, cereal, and more bread.
That means the foundation of these outdated dietary plans is one of the food groups likely containing more additives than any other food group.
For instance, bread products often contain added preservatives and ingredients like food dyes, high-fructose corn syrup, or even the dangerous chemical azodicarbonamide – aka the yoga-mat chemical. That’s the material put in sandals and yoga mats to give them cushion – it was put in bread for years as a bleaching agent or to give the bread bounce or fluffiness.1
Do I want chemicals like that in my food? No thank you. Also, it makes it look like eating 11 slices of bread per day is okay. And I think we can agree it most certainly is not okay.
Why Don’t the Old Dietary “Rules” Work?
There are several reasons the old dietary “rules” just don’t work anymore. And all we really have to do is listen to the struggles of so many. Take the folks that have come into my office, for instance.
Now, I’ve been working with concerned, hopeful patients for a long time – decades. And I’ve heard them tell me about the struggles of being overweight or even underweight. I’ve talked to folks with constant digestive issues. Or they’ve mentioned brain fog, fatigue, stiff joints, and unhealthy skin. For me, so many of these concerns start with one common denominator – our diet.
You see, if we’ve all been schooled improperly, how are we supposed to help food help us? If what we think is right is wrong, how can we bring ourselves back to optimal health?
Well, I’ve been working on this for a long time and I’m so thrilled to finally share –
A Brand New Food Plan – My Gundry Strategy
Now, I’m just going to toss out everything you have ever been taught about diets. It’s gone. A distant memory. Forgotten.
I’d like to introduce you to my own “Gundry strategy,” which, in my opinion, provides a much better nutritional balance.
Of course, there are a couple of similarities between my Gundry plan and the old dietary recommendations.
But pay close attention, because though they may seem similar, they’re actually quite different.
First, you’ll notice the absence of most breads and grains. In fact, the most important difference in my new paradigm is…
The first – and in my humble opinion – most important level of my new strategy is the base level… the foundation. Here, we start with good fats, oils, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables.
1. Good Fats, approved oils, and cruciferous vegetables
The first pillar of the Gundry Strategy consists of good fats and approved oils.
These are the most important foods in our diet and they’re the foods we should be eating most. In fact, these are the foods of which we can allow ourselves to consume an unlimited supply. What’s on this list?
- Extra virgin olive Oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil
- Romaine, red & green leaf lettuce, kohlrabi, mesclun (baby greens), spinach, endive, butter lettuce, parsley, fennel, seaweed/sea vegetables
- Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, asparagus, and radish
2. Skip a meal
The second tier of the Gundry Strategy introduces the idea of intermittent fasting.
Turns out, our ancestors would only be able to eat what they could hunt or find. Food wasn’t always available. So, our bodies adapted to be able to process and store energy based on intermittent periods of having and having not. Our bodies actually need to go without food from time to time. For this reason, we have to give our bodies time to process and digest.2
This really is, in my opinion, one of the keys to great nutrition and that’s the reason it’s the second pillar of the Gundry Strategy.
3. Nuts, flour alternatives, lectin-free grains
Now, this is where we can satisfy our grain and bread cravings. And, it’s okay to indulge in this category daily, but make sure to limit consumption of these foods to small portions per meal. And, there are only certain kinds of nuts on the list – legumes, like peanuts and cashews should be completely avoided. Instead, stick to the following.
When it comes to flour alternatives, stick to coconut flour or almond flour. Avoid white flour and processed flours at all costs. Turns out, processed flour has been completely stripped of all nutritional value. In fact, I like to say that processed flour is nutritionally dead—even whole wheat flour.
Finally, there are two approved grains featured in tier 3 of the Gundry Strategy –
- Sorghum – Sorghum is an awesome lectin-free, gluten-free flour alternative. And, it’s chock full of fiber. In fact, it’s known to fight lots of health issues and help your heart.3
- Millet – Millet happens to be full of major minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. Not only that, it’s lectin-free and the polyphenols in millet offer more antioxidants than most grains.4
The reasons these grains are approved is because they’re lectin free.
Sidebar: Lectins 101
Simply put, lectins are plant proteins. They’re found in all sorts of members of the vegetable kingdom, and they happen to be one of nature’s greatest defenses against any hungry animal (or human being).
Now, the trouble with lectins is that many are toxic. So, when you’ve got a lectin-intolerance, you don’t want to ingest them because the consequences can be uncomfortable
You see, plants suppose if you eat something that makes you sick, you’ll steer clear of it the next time you’re hungry. So, by forcing you to ingest harmful lectins, Nature’s protected itself.
Let’s take gluten, for example. That’s a lectin and kind of a buzzword in the nutrition world lately. And, let’s say you decide to do your gut a favor and cut out gluten. It may help, but there are many other kinds of non-gluten grains containing other types of lectins. And those lectins can cause painful or uncomfortable physical responses, including:
- Digestive issues
- Leaky Gut
- Occasional Diarrhea
That’s why this strategy suggests sticking to only sorghum and millet. And remember, do so in limited quantities.
4. Resistant Starches
Now, resistant starches make the list because they feed friendly bacteria. Some of the best resistant starches are –
- Green bananas
Turns out, there are about 100 trillion bacteria living in each of our guts.5 And that’s surprising because it’s more than ten times the human cells found in our guts.
When the majority of those bacteria are good, we can feel it. That’s because good bacteria actually helps our bodies:
- Digest what we eat
- Deliver vitamins (like B12 and K2)
- Lose weight
- Eliminate disease-causing pathogens6
So, we want to make sure we feed that good bacteria. Another reason we want to include resistant starches in our diets is because they can break down fat and reduce fat storage.7
Again, with resistant starches, it’s okay to eat them every day, but limit the quantity with each meal.
Animals of Choice
5. Wild-Caught Seafood
Now, Fish is one of the healthiest and tastiest foods out there. Turns out, it’s full of really important nutrients like protein and vitamin D. But, it’s also a wonderful way to get omega-3 fatty acids, which have numerous benefits like helping with various inflammatory health issues.8
The thing is, we want to make sure the seafood that ends up on our plates is wild-caught. Among other things, farm-raised fish are often injected with antibiotics or even treated with pesticides. Whereas wild-caught seafood is caught by a fisherman in its natural environment.
6. Pastured Poultry & Omega-3 eggs
Now, let me be clear… pastured poultry can be a great source of protein. But, pastured is not the same thing as free range or organic. Often, free-range chickens are never shown the light of day. And, they’re fed corn and soy. So, there’s only one type of poultry that’s okay here – pastured.
And Omega-3 eggs provide certain health benefits. For instance, research shows they lower cholesterol.9 So, it helps if we make sure Omega-3s are the eggs that end up on our tables. Also, these are foods we want to consume in limited portions each day.
Candy, But Not Really
7. In-season fruits
The next pillar of the Gundry Strategy is fruit. Now it’s okay to enjoy a modest portion of fruit with each meal, but the fruit must be – I repeat, must be – in season. Not only that, but in season fruits should be treated as candy.
Turns out, eating fruit in-season was a great thing for our ancestors, because it allowed them to fatten up for the winter months. But now, we can get fruit any day of the year. So, we have to be sure to consume it in moderation.
Now, there are a few fruits that are great year round, but they’ve got to be eaten while they’re still green.
Primarily, these fruits are okay because when unripe, they’ve not yet expanded their sugar content. And the good bacteria in our guts love to feast on these green fruits.
Now, Avocado is okay when ripe because it’s essentially sugar-free! Not to mention, it’s full of good fat and soluble fiber – key when trying to lose weight and absorb antioxidants.
Foods to Consume in Moderation
8. Southern European Cow’s Milk, Goat’s Milk, Sheep’s Milk and Buffalo Milk
Now, we want to stick to the listed types of milk because they’re the only milk that contain casein A-2 protein. We want to stay away from casein-A1.
Turns out, casein A-1 is converted to protein called beta-casomorphin which can prompt an immune attack on the pancreas of people who consume milk from these cows or cheeses made from it.10 This can cause some serious health concerns.
So, stick to Southern European cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and buffalo milk. Health foods stores are pretty good about carrying these. Also, consider these milks an indulgence and consume them only in moderate quantities.
9. Grass-Fed, Pasture-Raised Meat
Now, I strongly suggest only 4 ounces of daily protein should come from grass-fed or pasture-raised meat.
Why grass-fed and pasture-raised? Well, for starters they have more omega-3 and fewer omega-6 oils than animals fed grains and soy. But, we should still be careful not to over-consume as they still contain Neu5Gc – a type of sialic acid found in most mammals that human bodies cannot process.11
So, while the following meats are acceptable, please remember they should only be consumed in limited quantities.
- Wild game
- Pork (humanely raised)
The Tipsy Top of the Gundry Strategy
10. Red wine, Champagne, Dark Spirits
Now, in creating my Gundry strategy, I knew I had to include some spirits. Here’s the thing… red wine in moderation can actually help our health. Now, what does moderation mean here?
Well, we should limit consumption to 1 or 2 times per week. But, research and certain studies have shown that the polyphenols in red wine might be connected to the reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and heart health issues.12
Foods to Avoid Completely
Finally, there are a few foods that simply aren’t a part of the Gundry Strategy. These foods can contribute the most to health issues like obesity, fatigue, stiff joints, and unhealthy skin. It’s best to simply forget these foods even exist –
Sugars and sweeteners
- Maple syrup
Forbidden fruits and vegetables
- Soy sauce
- Non-Southern European cow milk products
- Greek yogurt
- Ice cream
- Cottage cheese
Seeds and Legumes
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Grapeseed oil
- Corn oil
- Peanut oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Sunflower oil
- Canola oil
- Whole grains
So, What Happened to Food to Cause all this Lectin Exposure?
Plants from the New World
Well, if you travel back about 500 years, you’ll bump into a pretty big change in lectin exposure…
It turns out when Europeans reached the Americas, they came across a bunch of new vegetables and fruit. These new world foods included things like:
- The nightshade family (eggplant, tomato)
- The bean family (legumes, peanuts, cashews)
- New grains (pseudograins like amaranth and quinoa)
- The squash family (pumpkins, acorn squash, zucchini)
- Chia and other new seeds
You see, before Europeans reached the Americas, no European had ever consumed any of these foods. Furthermore, until Europeans began to trade these foods with populations in Asia or Africa, nobody in those cultures had either.
Now, 500 years may seem like a long time, but considering your gut bugs have been evolving for 80 million years or so – 500 years is like the blink of an eye. Your body either needs more time to adjust to these foods, or you’ve got to ignore them in order for your body to function properly.
In the last 50 years, people have been bombarded with all kinds of processed foods. And these foods have created a whole new range of lectins. In fact, in recent years the food industry started adding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) like soybeans, corn, tomatoes, and canola to the market.
The lectins from these foods are brand new to you, and now with the introduction of antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals – well, the gut bacteria responsible for helping your body process lectins are getting destroyed. Your immune system is getting mixed signals, and the upset in communication could wreak havoc on your body.
In The End…
So, in my humble opinion, my Gundry Strategy should be the new paradigm for healthy living. I hope you find my new and improved diet plan helpful; however, I know that this is not the plan for everyone. And, especially if you are on a restricted or special diet, please check with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet.
For a pdf of the strategy, go HERE. Print it out, post it on the fridge or take it when grocery shopping.
For more information on Dr. Steven Gundry’s book, The Plant Paradox, visit www.drgundry.com
1. “Group Warns Almost 500 Products Contain Chemical Found in Yoga Mats.” WHNT.com, WHNT.com, 28 Feb. 2014, whnt.com/2014/02/28/group-warns-almost-500-products-contain-chemical-found-in-yoga-mats/.
2. Patterson RE, Laughlin GA, Sears DD, et al. INTERMITTENT FASTING AND HUMAN METABOLIC HEALTH. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;115(8):1203-1212. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.02.018.
3.de Morais Cardoso, L., Pinheiro, S., Martino, H., & Pinheiro-Sant’Ana, H. (2015). Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.): Nutrients, bioactive compounds, and potential impact on human health. Critical Reviews In Food Science And Nutrition, 57(2), 372-390. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2014.887057
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5. Zhang, Yu-Jie et al. “Impacts Of Gut Bacteria On Human Health And Diseases”. N.p., 2017. Print.
6. Probiotics: In Depth. (2017). NCCIH. Retrieved 24 April 2017, from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm#hed2
7. Birt, D., Boylston, T., Hendrich, S., Jane, J., Hollis, J., & Li, L. et al. (2017). Resistant Starch: Promise for Improving Human Health.
8. Wall R, e. (2017). Fatty acids from fish: the anti-inflammatory potential of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
9. Oh SY, e. (2017). Eggs enriched in omega-3 fatty acids and alterations in lipid concentrations in plasma and lipoproteins and in blood pressure. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
10. Pal et al. 2015. Milk intolerance, beta-casein and lactose. Nutrients 7(9): 7285–7297.
11. Day, Christopher J., et al. Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5431456/.
12. Mohamed Saleem, T., & Darbar Basha, S. (2017). Red wine: A drink to your heart.