Any general rules for reducing levels of plant toxins in the diet?


I’m wondering if anyone knows if certain parts of plants are more likely to have toxins. For example, are stems more likely to have toxins than leaves? Are seeds more likely to have toxins than roots or bulbs? Does sprouting increase or decrease toxins? Does a younger plant have lower levels?

This might be an impossible question because there are so many types of toxins (oxalates, lectins, FODMAPS, etc), and they are probably all synthesized differently, but it would be helpful to have general rules.

Note to carnivores: I already know I could simply not eat them, but I really like plants with my meat! :slight_smile:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #2

Look at it from the plant’s perspective.

Plants need animals and insects to assist their reproduction. So they’re very happy to let us eat their seeds and fruiting bodies. Then poop them out far and wide. They’re less enthusiastic about our eating their structural and vital organs. So they make the former attractive to us and the latter not so much.


That’s an interesting way to look at it!


Makes sense but at many nuts/seeds have lectins and at least some have oxalates galore…
I don’t know how big problem it is, I never could figure it out in the times when I ate 150g oily seeds every day for years, I didn’t find enough info but it seems it’s not so simple.

I usually just minimize plants and hope for the best. I suppose fruits are fine from this viewpoint, too bad they are often quite sugary…

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #5

Plants evolved long before humans, so I have to presume that whatever stuffs are in their nuts and seeds don’t cause much issues for the animals that eat them. Maybe they’ll continue evolving to reduce or eliminate the stuff that causes humans problems, don’t know. I may be wrong, but I don’t care enough about it to search for evidence one way or the other. I eat macadamia nuts once in a while, but that’s it.

(Laurie) #6

Good question! About a year ago I started having reactions to various plant foods. I wasn’t able to tell which ones affected me most, so I just cut them out entirely (with the exception of a few spices, coffee, etc.). It would be interesting to know which are the worst culprits.

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #7

This entirely depends on the plant in question. Avocados have toxins in the skin and in the flesh around the pit. Note that these toxins are not serious enough for most human beings to worry about, but they are a concern for people who own “pocket” pets. Apple seeds and the pits of other fruits of the genus Prunus contain Prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide). Eating a couple of apple seeds won’t be a problem for most people, but a lot of seeds, or perhaps a peach pit? Maybe. (Fortunately, most people don’t enjoy eating peach pits.) Improperly prepared cassava kills a certain number of people every year. There is a fungus that grows on improperly-stored wheat that releases a toxin that causes hallucinations and occasionally death.

In my opinion, the simplest way to reduce plant toxins in the diet is to reduce the quantity of plants in the diet.

(Marion) #8

The Plant Paradox is a pretty easy read.
I stopped all vegetables awhile ago cause of pain which was attributed to lectin sensitivity by my keto dietician.
Now I eat occasional salads and broccoli soup and have no problems.
I think whatever was underlying the GI problem has healed but I am not tempting fate…quite healthy without vegetables every day.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #9

Yes, bottom line is you don’t need to eat any to have a healthy life, live long and prosper.



@KetoRocks1 What sort of pain and how long before you felt the benefits? Are you saying you eliminated the pain and now you can eat certain plants? My own 30 day carnivore trial wasn’t convincing. My problem is that my musculoskeletal pain level changes day to day anyway, so it’s hard to know when or if some dietary change is helpful.

(Edith) #11

@Wendy198, it took many months for me to notice if carnivore was helping my back, because my problem wasn’t just inflammation.

I do believe it did help, but the change was definitely gradual. I believe my joints improved because carnivore helped me clear out oxalates which can settle in joints.

So far, adding fruits back into my diet seems to be okay. No for avocados. Avocados seemed to irritate my joints .

(Marion) #13

I had colon pain severe enough it was throwing me in and out of emergency (taken by ambulance) increasingly frequently.
My colon pain relief was almost immediate, based on my recollection, it was gone the day after stopping veg?

More than 2 years later now, perhaps it is 3 (?) without plants except when I want some broccoli soup, (haven’t had any for last 3 weeks or so), I eat vegetables very rarely. Sorry, I don’t know specific time frames without referring back to documents and I can’t do that just now, have had a dislocated shoulder and can’t look through papers. I don’t know that my situation would relate to yours though, mine was GI pain, always in my colon.
I suggest consulting a very good keto and allergy informed dietician if you can…I was spotted as lectin sensitive by a great keto dietician in Oz, thank God! And had been through allergy testing and elimination diet etc the 90s so always ate at the low natural chemical end of the food spectrum.

I am 71 now and I was vegetarian throughout my 20s and 30s, I am philosophically inclined to like and eat a plant based diet but my body won’t let me.

Same with wheat products. I used to eat them and be fine, but that changed in my 50s. I ate some lasagna a few weeks ago and had no problems afterwards but that is a 1 off for me. I tend to think I have sensitivities that increase with exposure and like a bucket, eventually overflow. I have no problems now when I eat my broccoli soup (with gorgonzola) occasionally but I have no reason to revert to eating daily vegetables now. I no longer believe I need them to be healthy.

I consulted the dietician not because of the pain but because I wanted oversight of my keto diet. I thought I had to live with the pain. Mentioned it and the lectin sensitivity came up as a possibility.

I still do have osteo arthritis and serum negative arthritis, with eating no/occasional veg. that hasn’t changed for me.


That’s ok :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Great answers on the board to your question. There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ kinda answer cause like Paul said the skin to fruit or veg can carry the toxins or the stems more of another, or crushing leaves in another plant so it kinda is all about ‘what are you eating’ and go research it. Like I researched the veggies I ‘kinda liked’ cause I hated most and the few I did eat I went off and learned about their species, their toxin levels and more and in the end I just said, NAH and dumped them all LOL

One of the great things is you dumped all veg for like 90 days at least, if you opt to add any back do it very slow and methodical and then you kinda know if one type of species or certain seeds/fruits etc. have any real effect on you.

Like if you love broccoli then add back brocc to a few of your meals for a week. See how you do…drop the brocc and the next week add some green beans into your meals…see how you feel.

You can kinda gauge how you do thru just your body ya know.

I found I can add back mushrooms very easily. They don’t effect me at all. Even tho I can have them I dumped them since I went zc anyway.
Old days I added back a ‘small salad’ with lettuce, few cut up carrots, some shredded red cabbage in there too and a few cukes and OMG MY guts went insane! So I knocked those out of my life instantly.

but as I changed around I found I just didn’t need or want veg anymore cause of the issues they give me are not worth it to me so I went carnivore…but adding back, very slowly is your personal best way to see how you do. But you can’t add back a ton of things at once cause if you get reactions you don’t know what did it to you mostly so go slow in add back and see how your body likes things.


The plant evolution biology story is strong.

Don’t chew on the seeds, though. Fruit, yeah, ok.

I noticed my Sicilian mother-in-law deseeds the tomatoes before adding them to salad or cooking. It was what her grandmother showed her back in Italy. Italian and tomatoes, co-evolved. I noticed the old Greeks at the kebab shop deseed the cucumber and tomatoes and olives before making the salad. It is the way it is done. Seeds are protected by some serious anti-nutrients (and possibly medicinal biochemicals in a correct dose)… they need detoxifying… and then we go and roast and crush coffee.


I love the seed part of tomatoes and cucumbers… :smiley: If someone deseeds them, I rather forget about the whole thing.
(Well my body is fine with those seeds, at least it doesn’t complain and it’s good at complaining… and I try to stay very close to carnivore so I really don’t care about my tiny amount.)

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #17

Tomato is so prevalent in Italian cooking these days that I occasionally wonder what the cuisine was like before Columbus brought tomatoes back from the New World.


Been thinking a lot about traditional cooking practices like seeding (and also peeling) tomatoes. It’s so much extra energy that there must be reasons these practices were considered important enough to be handed down across generations. Refining of grains is another one, although I guess shelf life is another explanation for that.


It seems people can spend lots of energy on their food making. I am not that type except when I enjoy the process (and I still don’t do overly complicated things). Peeling tomatoes has its role when big pieces of peels aren’t pleasant to eat in an otherwise smooth dish. I still wouldn’t do it but that’s me, I understand that. Getting out the seeds was something I learned just today here that is a thing somewhere.

But I realize again and again that life would be so very different if everyone would be lazy, low energy and mostly peaceful like me…

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #20

General Rule Number One: Don’t eat plants.

General Rule Number Two: If you’re gonna eat plants anyway, eat only the fat.

General Rule Exception: Coffee is OK.


(Bob M) #21

I’ve seen various theories for that. Shelf life seems reasonable, though others say the most-dangerous part of the plant is in the fiber casing.

But I’ve seen others say stone grinding + long fermenting (multiple days) lessens the anti-nutrients to a stunning degree.

Hard to know, especially since I avoid grains except on holidays.