Friday, July 27, 2012

what is it about plant foods?

This is Day Two of dealing with one of those annoying little upticks of the scale....

On Wednesday, i had to go out into the world, and i thought it was about time for the mini-binge which customarily does good things for me.  I lunched at a certain restaurant which offers a very good taco salad, and included some guacamole and sour cream instead of a commercial dressing.  I didn't get anything so wicked as a sweet-sour-laden margarita -- oh, no!  I had ONE glass of a pleasant, civilized red wine.  Next morning, i wasn't surprised that the scale had stagnated, and just hit the half-caf hard, thinking that would run the water out of my body.  I finished the take-home box of salad-and-guac; no 'rita, no chips.  Supper was a tin of sardines and a glass of wine.

The scale should have been down this morning.  It was up.  Two days in a row, i had a significant quantity of lettuce, a small amount of other salad vegetables, moderate animal protein and maybe an ounce of cheese (just on Wednesday).  I didn't exceed 1350 calories (estimated, since i didn't compile the recipes) the second day, or 1600 the first.

I swear, if i had lettuce in the fridge, i'd do a day of nothing else, and i bet the scale would be up again tomorrow.  What is it about plant foods that makes my body misbehave so?

In "Strong Medicine," Donaldson says, "Green vegetables can contain unknown irritants, aside from additive sprays, that bother some of us a great deal. Annoying intestinal gases or joint pains or sudden elevations of blood pressure may all stop when such patients are deprived of green vegetables. I have one family who love asparagus and have a big patch of it to feast on during the season. The whole family run elevated blood pressures at that time."  Now, the intestinal gases we can explain very easily, but the other symptoms he mentions are a little more mysterious in their etiology.*

He goes on to say, "No one knows why the yellow vegetables seem better tolerated by children who have a background of eczema. Onions and beets and celery can sometimes be used with no apparent ill effect, but yellow vegetables always seem to be safer, perhaps because they aren't sprayed."  Unfortunately, he doesn't list the items he characterizes as "yellow" but by inference he seems to include carrots, corn, winter squash and turnips.  He praises real sweet potatoes and the better varieties of white ones.  You'll notice that most of these foodstuffs either grow underground, or have some kind of protective "casing".

Dare i take a leap of intuition and suggest that above-ground plants (green ones) produce more self-protective toxins than edible portions which, being underground, don't need to conduct chemical warfare as much?

Amongst zero-carb enthusiasts, it's postulated that there are enough plant toxins in vegetables to make them poor choices for those of us who are sensitive.  In fact, the antioxidant chemicals, ironically labeled "protective," seem to be the ones that irritate us most.  Proponents of hormesis say these substances do us good BECAUSE they irritate us; although some people may benefit from it, i'm not sure we all do.

When doing my research on what foods are goitrogenic, a staggering array of "healthy" foods become distinctly deleterious.  As a hypothyroid, i should avoid most of the "green leafy" things that every health-fiend from vegan to paleo can agree to ... agree to.  ;-)  Broccoli, kale, apples -- kiss 'em goodbye!  Oh, they're okay if i boil the hell out of them, though....

I believe that plant toxins are a big reason why Atkins and Paleo/Primal only give outstanding results when people come to them from the SAD.  Getting the virulent poisons out of your diet only gets you part of the way.  The chronic trace poisoning that people love so much is what stands between some of us and real health.
*  i have my suspicions....  more on that later.


  1. or could it be the wine? sorry. sorry. bad me.

  2. no, that's absolutely fair comment. but i drink wine often without noticeable repercussions ... unless it's a WHOLE bottle of champagne. :-)