Lectin Intolerance – The Next Major Food Allergy?

What is Lectin intolerance? Where did it come from? What is a lectin anyway?
Lots of questions and very scientific answers. But from my point of view, and as unscientifically as I can explain it, lectins are found in all plants and they perform a defensive barrier to other creatures who want to consume them.

Lectin is a form of toxin, but in certain food groups, there are higher toxins that can cause the following symptoms in humans. These food groups are:

  • Nightshades, including tomato, potatoes, peppers and eggplant.
  • Legumes, (all dried beans, including soy and peanuts)
  • Glutens found in wheat, rye, barley, malt and oats.
  • Dairy, including all milk products (scientific research is out there for you to look up and make your own decisions on, but from my point of view, “what goes into the animal, comes out of the animal.” Chef Andy)

These high lectin foods may lead to diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and vomiting. My client, who is a triathlete, has had the above symptoms for most of her adult life. She was living a lifestyle of no dairy and was a vegetarian for many years, but she slowly introduced animal proteins back into her diet, as her sport and work outs intensified.

I was creating a meal plan for her, and as always, I start at the beginning and I work my way up in her dietary needs, based on my client’s lifestyle and work out routines. We were doing well, but she wanted me to go into the direction of a Paleo Diet. However, in her email to me, she mentioned two specific food items that she wanted eliminated in her meal plan- Apples & Melons. This struct me as odd, as to why did she specifically mention these two food items? My research revealed the common denominator in these two items as Lectin!

I immediately called her and with a set of questions. I proceeded to dig a little deeper into her life growing up, the foods she ate, why she turned to vegetarianism and why no dairy. All the answers pointed to the above food groups. I could hear her energy over the phone, that the answer to what has been challenging her body for over 40 years- a lectin food intolerance.

We are now, truly back to square one. We are not guessing anymore, at what works or what doesn’t. I have her sticking with certain foods one week at a time, to identify which foods are the true culprit and which ones we can work with to create future meal plans. Brands are often overlooked in meal planning, so I am emphasizing with her to make sure she is making notes of what brands she is using and which ones seem to be doing well with her. We are on the road to recover and we are on the road to success. She is doing great and maxing out on all her workouts!