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Natural Toxins in Veggies: Is mother nature trying to kill me? Counter-Intuitive lessons learned since going paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 16, 2012 at 4:45 PM

The more I'm getting into healthy eating, nutrition and paleo, the more frustrated I get.

As an example:

Since going Paleo 3 months ago, each day, I was eating 5oz of spinach (cooked), then blended into a green smoothie (coconut milk, strawberry, banana). I was proud of myself for incorporating healthy food choices into my diet.

Then, I read that:

Spinach and kale are goitragenic foods that block absorption of iodine and thus depress thyroid function:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=47

I became further frustrated when I considered that I stopped using Morton's iodized salt last year, in favor of un-iodized sea salt because I thought it was the healthier choice.

So, a sea salt eating, spinach-enthusiast might end up with problems making what most people would consider super-healthy choices.

Questions:

  1. Are there any dietary decisions you made since going paleo that you thought were healthy, that you later learned were un-healthy?

  2. Do you really need a P.H.D. in nutrition to eat a healthy diet?

Thanks, Mike

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on May 17, 2012
at 02:08 PM

+1 for making me laugh. Although I really love veggies!

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on May 17, 2012
at 02:07 PM

Yes, I agree. But we evolved with most of these plants and have some pretty good ways to fight back ourselves. If you have a healthy, well-functioning digestive system, then many of these toxins aren't a problem -- your body efficiently deals with them. And eating lots of nutrients and preparing foods "the right way" helps counteract the anti-nutrient effect. Unfortunately, many westerners have poor intestinal function and can't keep the toxins in veggies out. I'm one of those people. I can't eat spinach because of the oxalate -- it causes me all kinds of grief!

Da20058e445fa4c5ce328132379521b3

(373)

on May 17, 2012
at 05:48 AM

Yeah... I eat them. But I wish I wouldn't.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on May 17, 2012
at 04:38 AM

What ?

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on May 17, 2012
at 02:45 AM

...*too* careful.

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on May 17, 2012
at 02:44 AM

Yes. If there are anti-butrients in everything, then obviously we have evolved to be able to deal with them. I think being to careful will make us more fragile.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on May 17, 2012
at 02:20 AM

Makes sense, but it almost sounds like eat a bit of rat poison, drink a bit of drain cleaner, breath a bit of radon, rub some arsenic on your skin. Makes me almost want to take a multi vitamin and just it white rice. Damn you mother nature!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 16, 2012
at 05:29 PM

Check out this guest post I wrote on RW's site. I think it'll calm some of your fears/frustrations. I've been there, though. I read an article from WAPF that had the potential to make me feel like there was literally NOTHING safe to eat. The fact that many foods have at least some kind of antinutrient/toxin in them is the best argument for a varied diet -- don't get stuck in the habit of eating massive amounts of the very same foods day in and day out for months and years at a time. http://robbwolf.com/2011/11/02/fear-and-loathing-at-the-dinner-table/

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5 Answers

best answer

2
B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on May 17, 2012
at 01:19 AM

No, mother nature is not trying to kill you. But every plant on this planet either wants you to eat it's fruit/seeds because its helpful to the plant or wants you to stay far away from its leaves/roots/seeds because it is not helpful. Those that want you and every other animal to stay away, have weapons -- some pretty powerful. Eat a wide variety of greens -- not just one or two -- and you'll get a wide variety of nutrients, toxins and anti-nutrients, but hopefully not enough of any one anti-nutrient or toxin to cause a problem.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on May 17, 2012
at 02:20 AM

Makes sense, but it almost sounds like eat a bit of rat poison, drink a bit of drain cleaner, breath a bit of radon, rub some arsenic on your skin. Makes me almost want to take a multi vitamin and just it white rice. Damn you mother nature!

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on May 17, 2012
at 02:07 PM

Yes, I agree. But we evolved with most of these plants and have some pretty good ways to fight back ourselves. If you have a healthy, well-functioning digestive system, then many of these toxins aren't a problem -- your body efficiently deals with them. And eating lots of nutrients and preparing foods "the right way" helps counteract the anti-nutrient effect. Unfortunately, many westerners have poor intestinal function and can't keep the toxins in veggies out. I'm one of those people. I can't eat spinach because of the oxalate -- it causes me all kinds of grief!

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on May 17, 2012
at 02:27 AM

Folks need to get over the whole anti-nutrient and toxin thing. We evolved eating all sorts of foods that cross-react with our own biochemistry. We humans are not as fragile as some like to make us out to be!

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on May 17, 2012
at 02:45 AM

...*too* careful.

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on May 17, 2012
at 02:44 AM

Yes. If there are anti-butrients in everything, then obviously we have evolved to be able to deal with them. I think being to careful will make us more fragile.

0
5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on May 17, 2012
at 04:39 AM

Vegetables suck.

Da20058e445fa4c5ce328132379521b3

(373)

on May 17, 2012
at 05:48 AM

Yeah... I eat them. But I wish I wouldn't.

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on May 17, 2012
at 02:08 PM

+1 for making me laugh. Although I really love veggies!

0
6ba6dc54fccbb9e01a07595137cecfa2

on May 16, 2012
at 08:04 PM

Seed time and harvest is a blessing so great it is truly difficult to comprehend.Some people are so narrow minded ie tunnel vision.That the only thing they see is anti-nutrients and so called toxins.

These anti nutrients and toxins are responsible for life on this planet which does have a few anti-qualities to it.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on May 17, 2012
at 04:38 AM

What ?

0
Df6dabaf4b1ef3d5db980ad64c501a5b

on May 16, 2012
at 05:11 PM

In short, no - mother nature is not trying to kill you.

Recommended reading on this topic: William Munny eats his vegetables

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