Let’s take the Lectin-Free Diet as an example. This is the nutritional approach that encourages you to stop eating grains (gluten and non-gluten), beans, legumes, nightshades (eggplant, bell peppers, potato and tomato), squashes and pumpkins, corn, nuts, seeds, dairy and only moderate seasonal fruits. The belief is that the lectins – the proteins that function as part of the plant’s defense mechanism that protects the plant from its environment and predators, is harmful for human’s to digest. These “anti-nutrients” are believed to block nutrient absorption as well as contribute to digestive issues and leaky gut. When you soak, ferment, cook and/or sprout these foods, however most of the lectins are destroyed, making the food easier to break down and digest.
There may be some validity to the lectin-free diet and certainly removing some or all of these foods may play a significant role in someone’s healing journey. Doing a trial elimination and experiment will tell you right away if you notice a difference in your digestion and how you feel. Certainly I have created close to 2000 customized therapeutic diets over the years that require elimination of certain foods to help improve someone’s health. In most cases it works but my challenge is when these diets create a fear-based relationship with food.
I had someone ask me while I was at my workout, “What do you think about lectins?” Do I really need to stop eating nuts and fruits? I love these foods.” What I said to her, and what I say to all of you is, how does it make YOU feel? The truth is every food acts and responds differently in each and every one of us. We can’t simply label a food “good” or “bad,” especially when those foods also have incredible health benefits and a purpose for eating them.
When we hear a “good” food is “bad” for us, it can create fear, doubt, confusion and uncertainty around food. So we might as well eat food with a good heart and open mind! When we eat with fear, stress, chatter, worry and uncertainty, we shut down the ability to optimally digest, assimilate nutrients and burn calories. So what’s worse? The anti-nutrient of the food we are eating or our fear based nutritional beliefs – those are anti-nutrients too!
YOU get to be the creator of your ideal relationship with food. You get to choose how you want that to look and feel like. You get to decide if the food you choose is best for you or less than ideal for you. So next time you go to eat an almond or any other food listed on the “bad” list, instead of worrying about the lectins and all the reasons you shouldn’t eat it, why not listen to the cues your body is giving you, the symptoms, and then make a decision from that place. If it feels great and nourishes you, then keep enjoying it. If you notice it doesn’t make you feel good, then avoid it next time. The point is to not let all the latest nutritional dogma create fear around how you do food.
If you feel lost in the nutritional world and confused and have left the joy and pleasure out of the eating experience, I invite you to register my Weekend of Nourishment course or an Eating Psychology Coaching session where food and how you relate to it will forever be changed.
May you find peace, ease, flow and joy with every bite of food you choose to eat today.
Yours in health & vitality,