A lectin-free diet is amazing for so many reasons, but one of the best things about it is the diversity of food you can enjoy. Whether you’re looking to load up your plate with cruciferous vegetables, pasture-raised animal proteins, or lectin-free whole grains like sorghum and millet, there are a lot of different ways to eat on a low-lectin diet. But what about when it comes to fast food?
The thing is, you’re human – of course, you’re going to want convenient and indulgent not-so-healthy options from time to time. And there’s no reason why you shouldn’t still be able to enjoy your favorite foods. That’s why Dr. Gundry has put together his own personal take on fast food that allows you to feel like you’re really indulging, but without damaging your health.
The Problem With Fast Food: Lectins
Many nutritionists give fast food a bad rap, and they should. Most fast food contains trans fat, high-fructose corn syrup, or a host of bad-for-you preservatives and toxins. These herbicides, fertilizers, and additives in your food can really mess with your gut microbiome. But on top of that, the lectin content in fast food is bountiful.
But life has become fast-paced, and it’s no wonder people often go for fast food, processed food, or microwave meals to save time and energy. But if weight loss or optimal health is the goal, the corn, soy, and wheat — all bursting with dietary lectins — found in your fast food will pose a problem.
Corn, for one, is in many of the foods we eat today – whether we know it or not. Fast food restaurants especially, use tons of lectin-heavy corn oil, cornstarch, cornmeal, corn syrup. When researchers examined over 400 burgers from a selection of different fast food chains, they found that 93 percent of the burgers contained C-4 carbons which pointed to the burgers being made from compromised animal protein.
In this context, that means the diets of the cows, chickens, etc. were corn-heavy (and therefore lectin-heavy).1,2 Unfortunately, there’s just no escaping lectins in fast food chain restaurants.
Why Is It Important To Avoid Lectins?
Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that are found in many foods — plant foods and animal proteins. And when those dangerous lectins agglutinate (or bind together) they can be a real problem for your gut health.3
Plant lectins might also compromise certain autoimmune responses. Plus, lectins are linked to troubling health issues like weight gain, swelling, and heart health concerns.4 Because of this, it might be tougher to achieve weight loss and overall health goals while regularly ingesting lectins.
Part of the reason is that your intestinal lining contains epithelial cells that create a barrier that produces digestive enzymes to help you digest food. But when that barrier gets compromised by lectins or other toxins, they can enter your bloodstream and lead to serious digestive issues.5,6
Of course, you want to do your best to keep your gut healthy — but when lectins like the ones in all those fast food products invade, they can damage the good bacteria in your gut. Eliminating lectins from your diet can support the health of your good gut bacteria, and support your gut health, in general.
The Other Problem With Fast Food: High Amounts Of Animal Protein
There is comprehensive research that shows growing evidence that the acid intake from high-animal protein diets may contribute towards weight gain.7 But you can still consume animal protein if you eat the right kind and the right amount — just 4 oz of grass fed and finished meat a day.8
But the truth of the matter is, your ideal diet should be mostly plant based.
Instead, rely mostly on greens and lectin-free veggies. Eliminating lectins doesn’t have to mean eliminating some of your favorite fast food options. You can whip up some pretty awesome fast food substitutes and still support your health.
Sweet Potato Fries Recipe (The Best Substitute For Fast Food French Fries)
Let’s start with the sweet potato as a french fry substitute. Starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes, can mimic the texture of the plain potato – but they offer potential benefits in the way regular old potatoes cannot.
The Gundry Diet not only allows sweet potatoes, but recommends their consumption because resistant starches are good for your gut bugs. Be aware, while sweet potatoes are resistant starches, regular potatoes are not. Just what is a resistant starch?
Well, resistant starches resist digestion. They’re carbohydrates that pass through your gastrointestinal tract and this means they act as insoluble fiber in your system. Once they enter your large intestine, they ferment where they take on prebiotic properties and feed the good bacteria in your gut.9
In fact, one recent study showed that consuming sweet potatoes as a carbohydrate source in your diet can help support energy levels and prevent malnutrition in those working on their weight loss.10
Plus, sweet potatoes taste delicious. Your fries will caramelize giving them a sweeter, earthy crunch. So, are you ready to try your first Gundry-approved fast food substitute — sweet potato fries? Let’s do it.
What You’ll Need:
- 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
What To Do:
- Preheat your oven to 400 °F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a mandoline slicer on the crinkle-cut setting to cut your sweet potatoes into a “ruffle fries” shape.
- Place your crinkle-cut fries in a big bowl. Pour your olive oil on top. Toss sweet potato chips to ensure every surface is coated in olive oil.
- Lay the crinkle-cut fries out on the baking sheet. Make sure they form a single layer.
- Bake french fry substitutes for 22 – 25 minutes.
- Once the fry substitutes are golden brown, sprinkle them with a little salt to taste. Enjoy.
Dr. Gundry’s Juicy Shroom Burger (A Substitute For Your Favorite Fast Food Burger)
What You’ll Need:
- 2 cups walnut pieces
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped red beet
- 1⁄4 tsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp dried minced onions
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tbsp tapioca flour
- 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 romaine leaves
- 1 Hass avocado
What To Do:
- Put your walnuts, mushrooms, beet, garlic, 2 tbsps dried onion, paprika, dried parsley, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper in a food processor fitted with an S-blade. Blend until well-mixed but chunky.
- Transfer your mixture to a mixing bowl. Stir in your basil and the tapioca flour. Grease your hands with olive oil and knead the mixture to combine ingredients.
- On a sheet of wax paper, form your mixture into four patties. Note: Each one should be about 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick. For ease, use a coffee mug to shape the patties.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in 3 tbsps of olive oil. Add the patties, cooking 4 to 5 minutes per side, until well-browned.
- To serve, place each patty on a lettuce leaf. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with slices of avocado and cover with another lettuce leaf.
Finally, what fast food meal is complete without a milkshake? If you’re going to indulge, why not go all the way? Try Gundry’s awesome substitute for a fast-food milkshake here:
Dr. Gundry’s Coconut Milk Milkshake Recipe
What You’ll Need:
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 6 Ice cubes
- Add an espresso shot (optional)
- 1 scoop Pro Plant Protein powder (for a chocolate shake)
- Stevia or monk fruit to taste (optional)
What To Do:
- Combine all ingredients and blend in the blender for 30 seconds or until the consistency is creamy and smooth. Enjoy!
Fast Food Fun Without The Lectins
You can always create a lectin-friendly version of your favorite foods. So, why risk your health for a drive-thru burger? There’s just no need. Instead, if you put in a little time, you can create a healthy, satisfying fast-food experience right at home.
It can be hard to give up your favorite foods when you learn just how bad they might be for you. But with a little ingenuity, you can still have your burger and eat it too. Bon appetit!