Green vegetables are definitely among the most surprising inclusions in The Hompes Method’s bad foods list, but we’ve had great success in coaching clients to minimize these vegetables.
There’s no doubt that vegetables are full of vitamin and minerals – I’m not debating that issue at all.
For example, in the excellent DVD production – The Cure Is – Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD, asserts that broccoli contains more than 1,000 beneficial nutrients.
We can’t argue that vegetables are nutritional powerhouses, but my education and experiences have made me question whether the consumption of these vegetables is always beneficial.
Many of our clients present with chronic digestive problems, accompanied by fatigue from underactive thyroid and adrenals.
Foods such as the cruciferous and leafy vegetables contain compounds that can have a negative impact on both digestion and thyroid function.
Recently, for example, one of my clients reported almost overnight improvments in her diarrhea symptoms just from removing the collard greens, cabbage and kale she’d religiously been eating.
In his excellent article entitled “Vegetables etc. – Who Defines Food?” Dr. Ray Peat examines the notion that the nutrient benefits of certain vegetables are offset by the presence of toxic compounds that are also contained in the plant:
“The fact that cows, sheep, goats and deer can thrive on a diet of foliage shows that leaves contain essential nutrients. Their minerals, vitamins, and amino acids are suitable for sustaining most animal life, if a sufficient quantity is eaten.
But when people try to live primarily on foliage, as in famines, they soon suffer from a great variety of diseases. Various leaves contain anti-metabolic substances that prevent the assimilation of the nutrients, and only very specifically adapted digestive systems (or technologies) can overcome those toxic effects
…Plant defensive chemicals can have beneficial uses as drugs. Plants are important sources for chemicals used in chemotherapy of cancer, with the purpose of stopping cell division. Other plant drugs can stimulate cell division.
The use of any drug that isn’t a natural part of animal physiology will have many biological effects, so that a beneficial drug action will usually be accompanied by unwanted side effects. An antioxidant may turn out to disrupt the endocrine system, an anti-inflammatory drug may be mutagenic or carcinogenic
…A particular plant will have a variety of defensive chemicals, with specific functions. Underground, the plant’s roots and tubers are susceptible to attack by fungi and worms (nematodes). The leaves, stems, and seeds are susceptible to attack by insects, birds, and grazing animals.
Since the plant’s seeds are of unique importance to the plant, and contain a high concentration of nutrients, they must have special protection. Sometimes this consists of a hard shell, and sometimes of chemicals that inhibit the animal’s digestive enzymes.
Many plants have evolved fruits that provide concentrated food for animals, and that serve to distribute the seeds widely, as when a bird eats a berry, and excretes the undigested seed at a great distance. If the fruit were poisonous, it wouldn’t serve the plant’s purpose so well. In general, the plant’s most intense toxins are in its seeds.
The fruits, when mature, generally contain practically no toxins. Roots contain chemicals that inhibit microorganisms, but because they aren’t easily accessible by grazing animals and insects, they don’t contain the digestive inhibitors that are more concentrated in the above ground organs of the plant
…The toxins of plants include phenols, tannins, lectins/agglutinins, and trypsin-inhibitors, besides innumerable more specific metabolic inhibitors, including “anti-vitamins.”
Unsaturated fats themselves are important defences, since they inhibit trypsin and other proteolytic enzymes, preventing the assimilation of the proteins that are present in seeds and leaves, and disrupting all biological processes that depend on protein breakdown, such as the formation of thyroid hormone and the removal of blood clots.
Very recently a friend of mine visited Uganda on business. He asked a lady working in a restaurant why there were no salads on the menu. She replied that folk in Uganda and other parts of Africa simply don’t eat leaves. She said they didn’t need to because of the fruit and tubers/roots available to them as vegetable nutrition.
This explanation fits precisely with the argument presented by Dr. Peat, who contests that folk around the world tend not to not eat stems and leaves unless they are forced to by environmental conditions.
We’ve found that the consumption of root vegetables and ripe fruit – which don’t contain as many digestive and thyroid irritants – in addition to high quality meats, foods such as poultry, wild caught white fish, seafood and raw dairy products (if tolerated) provide adequate nutrition without the need to consume large quantities of aboveground vegetables.
Our clinical experience has taught that folk who eat foods such as raw cabbage (in coleslaw, for example), raw or under-cooked cruciferous vegetables and excessive leafy greens often complain of stomachache and bloating.
However when they cook these foods, the symptoms go away. It’s our belief that small quantities of these vegetables won’t be harmful in an otherwise healthy person and are likely to provide benefit.
However when folk have damaged their digestive systems consuming processed foods, gluten, processed cow’s milk, soy and alcohol, or when they have bad bugs infesting their digestive system, many of the compounds in above ground vegetables exacerbate the problems.
Perfection In Nutrition?