As I write this post, I am on day 7 of an extended fast. Some of the symptoms I’ve been feeling as I move through this process raised several questions for me. I believe I’ve been pulling oxalates out of my system now as I have experienced burning sensations in my feet for many days, usually at night. As I was looking up the oxalates I decided to pull information related to plant toxins into a post.
This information is relevant to me when I decide to break my fast. I will be limiting plants extensively going forward. I have found over time I really seem to do better when I practice the carnivore, or near carnivore, eating plan. This plan keeps my carbs, especially simple and processed, to a minimum. It’s surprising to me in many ways because we’ve all been taught that plants and fruits are supposed to be healthy for us. My answer is, not always and we should limit and vary any intake of fruits and plants.
Let’s get into it.
Plant toxins are naturally occurring compounds found in various parts of the plant, including the leaves, stems, roots, seeds, and fruits. Some common plant toxins include solanine, chaconine, lectins, ricin, cyanogenic glycosides, and oxalates.
Solanine and chaconine are glycoalkaloid toxins found in the nightshade family of plants, including potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. These toxins are mainly found in the leaves and stems of the plant and can cause gastrointestinal distress, headaches, neurological symptoms, skin irritations, respiratory issues, cardiac symptoms, and even death in high doses.
Lectins are proteins found in many plant foods, including beans, grains, and nuts. These toxins are found in the seeds and skins of the plant and can cause gastrointestinal distress, joint pain and inflammation, skin irritation, autoimmune reactions, and nutrient deficiencies.
Ricin is a toxic protein found in the seeds of the castor oil plant. This toxin can cause severe gastrointestinal distress, respiratory failure, and even death in high doses.
Phytic acid is found in the seeds of many plants, including legumes and grains. While not toxic in small amounts, high levels of phytic acid can bind to minerals such as iron, zinc, and calcium, making them unavailable for absorption by the body.
Cyanogenic glycosides are toxins found in plants such as cassava, flaxseed, and almonds. These toxins are found in the seeds and leaves of the plant and can release toxic hydrogen cyanide gas when ingested, causing respiratory failure and even death in high doses.
Oxalates are natural compounds found in many plant foods, including spinach, rhubarb, and beet greens. These toxins can cause kidney stones, joint pain, digestive issues, skin irritations, fatigue and mineral deficiencies when consumed in high quantities.
While the human body has natural detoxification processes, it is important to be mindful of potential exposure to plant toxins and take steps to reduce risk and support detoxification. Here are some strategies that can help:
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush toxins out of the body through urine and sweat.
- Eat a keto or carnivore diet: Eating a keto or carnivore diet may limit the intake of fruits and vegetables. This can be achieved by incorporating various meats, including organ meat, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, and low-carb vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower. Additionally, consuming fermented foods, such as sauerkraut or kimchi, can provide beneficial bacteria that support gut health and aid in detoxification processes.
- Limit exposure: Avoid overconsumption of certain plant-based foods and wear protective clothing when working with plants that contain toxins.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise can help support the body’s natural detoxification processes and promote the elimination of toxins through sweat and urine.
- Fasting: Consider doing occasional intermittent fasting for detoxing, some weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, improved brain function and longevity.
In addition to these strategies, some people find that following a carnivore diet or fasting can also support the removal of plant toxins. A carnivore diet involves consuming only animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, and eggs, while fasting involves abstaining from food for a period of time.
The carnivore diet and fasting are thought to support detoxification by giving the body a break from plant-based foods that may contain toxins. By removing these foods from the diet, the body can focus on eliminating existing toxins and restoring balance.
In conclusion, while plant toxins are a natural part of the environment, it is important to be mindful of potential exposure and take steps to reduce risk and support the body’s natural detoxification processes. By following a keto or carnivore diet, staying hydrated, limiting exposure, exercising regularly, and seeking natural health advice when necessary, we can help promote our overall health and well-being. For some individuals, the carnivore diet and fasting may also be helpful strategies to support detoxification.