My Insane(ly Helpful) Low-Lectin Diet
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Health and Wellness

My Insane(ly Helpful) Low-Lectin Diet

Why do I continue eating the most restrictive diet in the world?

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My Insane(ly Helpful) Low-Lectin Diet

*Disclaimer: I'm not a dietician. Always refer to your doctor about how a restrictive diet might affect you.*

I'm honestly not a picky eater, but no one would ever guess that when I refuse to eat almost every food. I say no to gluten, dairy, meat, tomatoes, corn, potatoes... basically everything in the average American diet. It's not that I don't want to eat these foods, in fact, it pains me to turn them down every time, but, sadly, cutting them out of my diet has been one of the healthiest decisions I've ever made. These foods are all full of lectins, a very large protein and antinutrient that poses a number of health problems to some people. In my case, they cause me to become fatigued, flare up terrible joint pain, cause digestive issues, and contribute to my migraines.

During the spring semester of my freshman year of college, as a vegetarian (aka eating a diet of almost only lectin-heavy foods,) I got very sick. I was exhausted to the point that I ate so much sugar everyday, for energy, that I became pre-diabetic. Even with all the sugar and caffeine I consumed, I was behind on all my work and almost all I did was sleep. When the semester finally ended, I remembered learning about lectins and their effects from my Anthropology of Food course, so I found Dr. Gundry's "The Plant Paradox" book, and taught myself even more about how they were affecting me.

Along with seeing many, many doctors about my terrible fatigue, I realized that I should probably try this diet and see if it helped me too. Unfortunately for my taste buds, it did. So, I spent a year shopping at Whole Foods for things like almond flour pasta, sheep yogurt, A2 milk, grass-fed and finished meat, organic fruits and vegetables, and other replacements for dietary staples. The cost of every trip was astronomical, but I felt so much better that the sacrifice of foods like mac n' cheese and the money in my bank account was worth it.

Unlike other fad diets that promise a million different results, the low-lectin diet actually delivered. Although it has gotten a lot of shade thrown at it for eliminating "healthy" foods entirely, the effects are very real to those of us who are sensitive to lectins. And there are more of us than people think, because plants don't want to be eaten - they developed lectins as a defense against it.

As we altered foods like grains, taking away the hard shells that were once their defense, they became much sneakier with their method of preventing us from eating them. They made these big proteins that cut through our gut linings, enter our blood streams, prevent us from getting nutrients we need, and rev up our immune systems. While humans will eventually catch up to the evolution of these plants, we simply have yet to fully develop the ability to digest them well.

So, although my diet makes me want to die every time I reach for a snack (and realize I can't have potato chips or peanuts,) I don't know where I would be without it (apparently Kelly Clarkson even agrees with me on that.) Therefore, while it's hard to follow, super expensive, and even harder than usual to find the right foods during our current grocery-stores-out-of-stock situation, it keeps me healthy: I no longer need to lie down for 22 hours a day, I've progressed from being too tired to even watch TV to going on long walks and doing physical therapy. And while I still can't do too much, I can do a lot. Because of that, I continue eating the worst diet ever created, because, sadly, it's also the best diet ever created.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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