When it comes to optimal health, you best believe it starts in the middle. If your gut is out of wack, you will defiantly feel it all over. That is exactly why I wanted to get down to the bottom of gut health and what we can do to achieve a healthy microbiome. I started reading The Plant Paradox after doing research and personally taking one of Dr. Gundrey’s products to help me with leaky gut. It was life-changing information for me and I knew I needed to share.

In this article we will:

  • Explain why gut health is so important
  • Understand what leaky gut is
  • Learn about lectins and how they could be causing your health problems
  • Get an overview of The Plant Paradox
  • Get product recommendations for leaky gut

Disclaimer: Before we proceed, you have to be able to undo some things you were taught to be true regarding food.


How do I know if my gut health is jacked up?

Great question!

Do you experience any of the following:

If so, this article is for you. These are all of the symptoms of leaky gut and what could be keeping you from feeling your best.

PERSONAL STORY ALERT! I have been a vegetarian for 7 years but over the past year have I have adapted to a more plant-based lifestyle. I find my protein and nutrients in the foods I eat without eating meat or dairy. This consists of like vegetables, fruit, lentils, etc.

With that being said, I didn’t realize I was possibly doing harm by not understanding exactly what I was eating. I assumed all fruits and vegetables were good for you! I’m sure you can imagine how that made me feel as a vegetarian… Its equivalent to a kid finding out there is no such thing as Santa! Once I got past the disappointment, I was able to really dive in and get down to the bottom of this misconception and understand how what I was eating was actually causing harm.

What is leaky gut?

Some of you might be asking, “What is leaky gut?” Another great question!

Leaky gut is when the intestinal lining of your stomach actually gets holes in it and bacteria or even waste leaks out into the rest of your body causing inflammation in the gut and throughout the body and cause the symptoms mentioned above.

“Science continues to find new ways that the gut can influence everything from heart health to keeping our brains young,”

“There is much we know about leaky gut in terms of how it affects people’s health, but there is still so much that is unknown.”

Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

How do these holes appear? There are a couple of ways this happens but the main reason is diet. Foods like tomatoes, peanuts, potatoes, wheat, fruits, raw beans, and legumes. These foods contain lectins…

What are lectins?

That brings us to the next question… What are lectins?

Lectins are a protein abundantly found in plants. It is used as a form of defense to keep predators away. The lectin that we consume most is in the seeds. Rather than being digested and broken down, lectins survive human and animal digestive systems by allowing seeds to pass through the gut and still have the ability to germinate.

For us, this could lead to digestion problems since we can not digest them. Our bodies automatically see them as a foreign object and trigger harmful reactions. Lectins also block essential nutrients like zinc, calcium, iron, and phosphorus from being absorbed into your body.

At this point, you might be saying to yourself “Do they actually want me to believe plants can think and have the ability to do something like this?”

YES! In a way, they can! That’s what lectins are.

This gets really cool!

When we eat fruit that isn’t quite ripe, what happens? You get stomach cramps and experience other digestion issues right!? That’s because the seeds in the fruit are not ready to be eaten and contains a super high amount of lectin. When it is consumed before it is ready, the lectins react in the preditors digestive system in order to protect the seed so it can germinate.

Eating raw, undercooked or out of season foods that contain lectin can be toxic and harmful for your body so you want to make sure you know what contains lectin and what doesn’t.

Here are just a few lectins to avoid:

Plant Paradox Diet
  • Red kidney beans
  • Navy beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Soybeans
  • Black beans
  • Lima beans
  • Lentils
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat and other grains
  • White potatoes
  • Nuts
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Corn
  • Dairy

We need to eliminate these foods because they disturb our gut and hormonal health. Listen, I totally get it. How in the world could this list be true? These are supposed to be good for us! Have plants been outsmarting us this whole time and we never even knew? That is what research is starting to prove more and more. That is why I started looking into this whole concept and found an amazing book.

What is The Plant Paradox Diet?

 Dr. Steven Gundry wrote an amazing book that does a great job explaining lectins and gut health in detail. He made a lectin-free diet popular with his book called “The Plant Paradox”. The gist of his book addresses the idea that if we eat foods that contain lectins and they are making us sick, let’s not eat them! He really makes you understand in a way that makes you want to change the way you eat.

Not only is The Plant Paradox diet about eliminating harmful lectins that are making us sick but it is also eliminating fruit that’s no longer in season as well as certain seed and oils that we were taught to be good for us.

Most people who participate in this diet do so in order to combat certain chronic diseases. They actually end up making it a lifestyle because of the rewards that follow. The Plant Paradox lifestyle involves a total restructuring and re-thinking of the standard way of eating and living.

The diet consists of three phases. The Plant Paradox diet is eating foods that eliminate harmful lectins, limit sugar, and curbs.

Phase 1: Kick-start 3 Day Cleanse. In this phase, we are evicting the unwanted guest that causes us to crave the wrong foods and creates holes in our intestinal lining which causes health problems for us. Dr. Gundry calls this the “weeding phase”. This cleanse will give them the boot while we nurture the good bacteria that are already there and invite more in by eating foods like leafy greens, approved vegetables, clean protein, and good fats. Think about it like this, if your gut is out of wack, it cant absorb nutrients you get. That’s what this phase is doing.

Phase 2: Repair and Restore. This phase lasts at least 2 weeks. But that’s okay! You get to enjoy some pretty amazing meals in this phase. These next couple of weeks focuses on repairing the holes caused by lectins (you do this by eliminating the foods that contain lectin) and nurturing the good bacteria.

What can I do?

Get your gut in check!

Buy the book! Start making small changes that will help you optimize your health and allow you to live your best life possible. We cant do that if we have underlining health concerns.

As I mentioned before, Dr. Gundrey wrote quite the book here. He has three parts in this book.

Part 1: The Dietary Dilemma – This section is what will make you rethink everything you ever knew to be true about plants. It goes over what lectins are, how plants use lectins as a defense tactic, how lectins are harmful for your gut and things we have become dependent on that claims to “make us better” but are actually doing the opposite. I will give you a hint, there are 7 of them…

Part 2: Introducing the Plant Paradox Program – This section gets you excited! Dr. Gundrey goes over each of the three phases in detail. You will get a full list of food that is approved on the program. He also offers modifications for vegans and vegetarians. It is full of success stories for you to read.

Part 3: Meal Plans and Recipes – This section is PURE GOLD! He GIVES YOU sample meal plans and recipes. Again, he also gives vegans and vegetarians great modification suggestions.

This book basically lays it out and makes it easy to not only understand but succeed on this program.

30-Day Challange

If you want to join this program and take the 30-day challenge, all you have to do is purchase the book. THAT’S IT!

The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain Hardcover

The Plant Paradox Book


If you need another option to get your gut back in order with this all-natural supplement that will help.

Gundry MD ™ Total Restore potent formula is designed to help your body naturally combat “leaky gut” by promoting a strong, healthy gut lining. Because leaky gut can lead to fatigue, digestive discomfort, and weight issues, supporting your gut is key to keeping you healthy, comfortable and energized every day. Gundry MD™ Total Restore combines 16 all-natural ingredients in one powerful formula designed to protect your body from endotoxins and promote full-body wellness.

Total Restore
Total Restore


I always like to add that Optimized Life only recommends products that we personally use or feel would help you on your journey to optimal health.

We are an affiliate for these products but all that means to you is we get a small commission anytime you purchase the suggested item.


In general, vitamins are safe for people to use, though you should always check with your doctor before beginning a new supplement. Some vitamins can be dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, which can occur due to long-term use of corticosteroids, an HIV/AIDS infection or organ transplants.

You may also need to avoid some supplements if you have an artificial heart valve; in rare cases, these bacteria can infect your heart muscle, and patients with artificial valves have an increased risk of this complication.

To review disclosures such as affiliate, legal, supplement or FDA compliance click here



  1. The whole concept of this book is so interesting! I totally can see how this can. Be such a game changer for some, I am just not ready to give up my night shades yet.

  2. Wow, I ate 3 lectins just in the last little bit and I have to say my gut has felt a bit wonky. It may be time for me to check out that book!

  3. The Paleo diet fixed my leaky gut right up! This is so important and isn’t talked about a lot. Thank you for this post!

  4. This is very interesting. I had never learned too much about lectins before. I want to do more research about the topic. Luckily for me my digestive tract is pretty well functioning because those foods you listed make up a large part of my diet!

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