I kissed a lectin and I liked it


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True or false:

  • A food isn't paleo if it contains food toxins like saponins
  • A food isn't paleo unless it can be eaten raw

Unfortunately, a lot of people out there would answer "true" to these questions. This makes me sad. Every plant food and many animal foods contain potentially toxic substances, but as Paracelsus said "the dose makes the poison." Besides that, there is ample evidence that paleolithic people ate potentially toxic foods like cycads, seeds, and roots. The advent of cooking is debated pretty heavily in anthropology, but everyone agrees it was invented in the paleolithic, though exactly when is heavily disputed. As my professors always said "it's hard to determine much with a sample size in the single digits." Unfortunately, in physical anthropology that's often the amount of samples available. 

Beyond that, I strongly recommend listening to the Paleo Solution episode with Matt Lalonde on why this whole "what did paleolithic people eat exactly" discussion is stupid. And Dr. Kurt Harris' post on Orthorexia. 

One of my favorite jokes with Chris Masterjohn is "I can't kiss you because you contain lectins" ;) Of course, after saying that, I do kiss him and I could not care less about the lectins he contains, which I also contain.

Avoiding specific lectins might be worth it for those of us battling illness, but only profound ignorance would condemn a food (or a man) because lectins are present. How about trying to figure what's wrong and eliminating foods as needed instead of looking for problems where there are none?