TMHS 249: Foods That Are Fighting Against Us And The Plant Paradox – With Dr. Steven Gundry

This is a whole new definition of food fighting.

Whether we realize it or not, plants don’t necessarily want to end up on your plate. And, as you’ll discover today, they’ve developed highly sophisticated means of making sure their species lives on. Now, for many of the foods we eat today, humans have been breeding some of these plants defenses out of them. While several other plants have chemical weapons that are stronger than ever.

On today’s show we have New York Times bestselling author Dr. Steven Gundry. He went from being one of the most successful and sought after heart surgeons in the world, to completely shifting his focus to treating his patients with food. Why? Because it worked!

Buckle your seatbelt, and prepare to have your paradigm changed. This one is definitely a game-changer in more ways than one. Most importantly, this can be the moment you find real solutions for some nagging health issues. Enjoy!

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • Why nutrition programs at universities teach health principles that simply don’t work.
  • The incredible story of how Dr. Gundry went from a world famous heart surgeon to treating his patients with nutrition instead.
  • Where to find the source of most autoimmune diseases.
  • Why some plants are innately driven to protect themselves from being eaten.
  • What lectins actually are.
  • How lectins can harm your nervous system.
  • The surprising way that living plants respond to being eaten.
  • How plants ensure that their “babies” live on.
  • The remarkable way that plants communicate to animals that see in color.
  • How food marketers manipulate our primal senses to get you to buy fake food.
  • Which compounds found in wheat (in addition to lectins) are proven to cause health problems for humans.
  • Whether or not brown rice and other “whole grain” foods are healthier than their white alternative versions (this is fascinating!).
  • Why standard quinoa dishes are not as healthy as they’re cracked up to be.
  • How a pressure cooker can be a superhero against villainous lectins.
  • How lectins are influenced by the fermentation process.
  • Why going gluten-free can make you more sensitive to gluten.
  • What our 4 natural lines of defense against lectins are.
  • The surprising reason why peppers are spicy to humans.
  • What actually enables all species of animals to digest plants.
  • Which common over-the-counter drugs can poke holes in your digestive lining.
  • Simple (but critical) strategies to knock out lectins from your favorite foods.

Items mentioned in this episode include:

Download The Transcript


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  • Devin Koontz
    26 Oct 2017, 2:27 am

    I’ve been listening to your podcast pretty regularly over the last 2 years, after first hearing you on Rich Roll discussing sleep. Your podcast with Dr. Gundry lost me as a subscriber. I won’t say more, we believe what we believe. I definitely trust Dr. Gregor’s ability to sift through research. Here’s what he had to say. Best wishes. I suspect I’m not the only one appalled to hear him on your podcast.

  • Danny Palmer
    26 Oct 2017, 8:22 am

    Incredible guest and awesome episode, just need to find a way to get my parents to listen and absorb this incredible information you continue to share! They remain set in their ways and reluctant to listen to me 😕

  • John Wolf
    26 Oct 2017, 12:10 pm

    Thanks for the great show. Very interesting. Read his book and also other plant based books like Dr Gregers. All this is so confusing – who’s right ? The more I dig the more confused I get. What do you think of this :

  • Muttaqeen
    1 Nov 2017, 9:47 am

    Hi, Shawn, this is perhaps the most outrageous book you’ve ever recommended! I’m so disappointed.

    I guess, you really need to study the author and the book, before you start to recommend all those outrageous claims:

    • Shawn
      10 Nov 2017, 4:41 pm

      Wow, you think I didn’t study the author and the book? You must not know anything about me. First of all, the author of that link you sent is T. Colin Campbell, who is notorious for cherry picking studies to back up his beliefs. The claims in his seminal work, The China Study, were debunked to the moon and back (see here: and here: – I can post links too… but will you actually take the time and study the author like you questioned me on doing?) You just referenced one of the most discredited and scrutinized people in nutrition as your source. Now, would I say he’s 100% wrong in what he teaches? No, but that’s the difference between you and I right now. Hopefully, one day you’ll come to see the world as not so black and white and extreme, and that there is value and benefit on both sides of the isle if we all care to listen.

      Second, with someone cherry picking studies, they clearly are not going to point out the valid points and benefits from their “opponent”. Campbell believes everyone needs to essentially be a vegan (eating plants only), and when you hear someone say that plants are trying to protect themselves (and their one perceived source of food doesn’t actually want to be eaten), well, that’s going to conjure up some huge discomfort in you. Do you think that someone, who’s based their entire professional career on the fact that plants were made for humans to eat (with no substantial downsides), is even going to hear the points that someone like Steven Gundry is trying to make? I can tell you unequivocally, no. He has metaphorical earmuffs on.

      Guess what? I’ve got studies on studies, on studies that you can go through that validate Dr. Gundry’s assessments. Here’s a study looking at how lectins are able to maneuver from the gut INTACT, travel throughout your body, and affect dopaminergic neurons: – The researchers are looking at this to uncover if it’s the reason that vegetarians appear to have higher rates of Parkinson’s disease. Think you know me yet?

      Here’s another study that already asserts that lectins are linked to digestive disorders, but also suggests that lectins have some potential BENEFITS as well (which Dr. Gundry talks about in his book too – which you’d know if you actually read it). Take the subhead on page 49 of Gundry’s book ‘Hormesis and the Lectin Paradox’, he states how plant lectins actually help “educate” your immune system, helping you fight off pathogens and viruses. He’s looking a little more on both sides of the story that you probably aren’t, and, as a result, helping a lot more people.

      Lastly, because I want to give you a chance to do your homework before you make snap judgments about me next time, lectins are so well known to cause gut permeability in the medical community, that drug companies are working to use lectins to help medications break through the digestive tract, nasal mucosa, and the blood-brain barrier. We have a blood-brain barrier for a reason. Things are not supposed to easily cross it. But lectins can: — Researchers have been publishing studies on this stuff since the 80’s. Now, you can listen to the religious nutrition doctrine of T. Colin Campbell, or you can create a more well-rounded understanding of things to better help yourself and others. Peace.

  • Ali Alwash
    12 Nov 2017, 7:18 am

    Hi Shawn
    I am a big fan. love your work and the effort you put in to bring quality experts to your show. This is a fantastic episode much like the rest of your work. keep doing it brother. Ali

  • Danielle
    15 Nov 2017, 7:55 am

    So first of all, thank you for having Dr. Gundry on your show! I just recently found your podcast and this episode stood out to me because I have been battling some digestive and autoimmune-related issues for quite some time. I was tested for celiac a while back and wheat fell off my radar after the test for gluten allergy was negative.

    I’ve been digging into the peer reviwed scientific literature, and although I am not thoroughly convinced by Dr. Gundry’s claims, am I intrigued enough to try cutting just wheat from my diet for 3 weeks.

    I read the opinion piece cited above (written by Dr. Campbell) and found it to be… well, an opinion piece. I tried a vegan diet for months and found that it exasperated my digestive issues, so it seems Dr. Campbell’s cure-all approach isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either. I just wanted to say that I really respect the time and energy that you put into making your reply – actually, let me broaden that a bit – I really respect the time and energy that you put into making your show.

  • Vicki
    19 Nov 2017, 5:36 pm

    Is there a certain amount of time you need to pressure cook quinoa to remove the lectin? I see recipes and the cooking time said 1 minute but not sure if that is long enough?

  • Joey Bouknight
    27 Mar 2018, 12:26 pm

    This is some phenomenal content!! I just started listening to your podcasts last week (I first heard you on Rich Roll a while back). I’ve managed to hear quite a few of your episodes here. My eating style is about 95% no meat, no dairy, so this topic challenges me in a profound way. I have already started digging deeper on this topic in order to see what I need to tweak for the sake of my health. LOVE the show! You are no doubt saving lives.