Last summer the doctor put my husband on a diet to reduce lectins in his body. The news hit me harder when I realized which foods were high in lectins, tomatoes, peppers, beans, wheat and grains, all of which pretty much ruled out the Italian, Chinese, and Mexican cuisine ~ our favorite comfort food recipes! Unfortunately we had already planted our tomato and herb garden which had just begun to make fruit. Our neighbors appreciated the freshly picked organic tomatoes when we delivered them though.
The first few weeks were very difficult because we were in the process of working on our house and I did not have time to find suitable recipes online so I conjured up something; many processed foods contain additives and lectins that are unhealthy. We managed to follow the requirements of the diet but the food was very bland. By fall, I finally went to the doctor with my husband and started asking the doctor a lot of questions about the diet and learned there were some exceptions to the rule. When I learned he could eat some of these things, I almost jumped out of the chair because I decided to go on the same diet to avoid having to make separate meals.
This instructable will share how we have reduced the lectins in these foods, so we can eat our favorite tomato soup recipe and bread, beans and peppers ( occasionally) and what we have learned from this journey.
Step 1: Reducing Lectins in Beans
We were on the diet for several months and my husband's blood test had significantly improved and he was feeling better and had more energy. I noticed I had lost weight because my clothes fit looser;I estimate I lost about 20 pounds.
Unfortunately we caught a cold over the holidays and went off the diet because neither one of us felt like cooking. I have arthritis and began to notice my pain level was elevated during this time. We both agreed the diet had been well worth the sacrifice of eating our favorite foods and the recipes I had been making were just as tasty and much healthier.
I learned a lot from Dr. Gundry who is a cardiologist, heart surgeon, and medical researcher who wrote a book about the lectin diet. He mentions if we pre-soak beans in baking soda and water and rinse the beans under running water and repeat the process several times over a period of twelve hours and cook them in a pressure cooker with baking soda, it would remove most of the lectins. He mentioned several types of foods that could be cooked this way to reduce lectins. I watched a lot of his videos which helped me understand how they have a negative impact on the human body, causing a lot of health issues, including weight gain.
If you purchase canned beans, he recommends Eden's Foods brand because the beans are pressure cooked in the can which are BPA-free. Fermentation is another method for reducing lectins in lentils.
I prefer soaking a large batch of beans and place the drained beans on a cookie sheet like you would berries and freeze them. After they are frozen, then bag and place them in the freezer.This is handy when I forget to pre-soak them.
Step 2: Reducing Lectins in Tomatoes and Peppers
The best way to reduce lectins from foods is by using a pressure cooker following the instructions for your pressure cooker.There are other options for those who do not have one.
The lectins in tomatoes and peppers are in the seeds and skins and de-seeding and removing the skins will reduce the lectins in them. To remove the skins from peppers and tomatoes you can roast, boil, or peel them with a serrated peeler. I will show how to remove tomato skins by boiling them in the next step.
Step 3: How to Remove Tomato Skins and Seeds
Boiling method to reduce tomato lectins :
Fill a pan with water and place on the burner to boil. Meanwhile:
Fill a bowl with ice water
Wash and dry tomatoes
Make an X on the tomato as shown in the picture
When the water is boiling place the cut tomatoes in the pan for about two minutes or until you see the skins pull away from the tomato as shown
Remove the tomatoes from the pan and place them into the bowl of ice cold water
When the tomatoes are cooled remove them from the bowl of water and gently pat them with a clean towel
Place them on a cutting board and gently remove the skins
Slice them in quarters and gently remove all of the seeds
Step 4: Ingredients and Utensils List
ORGANIC INGREDIENTS if you can find them:
Heirloom Tomatoes ( Roma tomatoes have more meat and fewer seeds. I used Pomi Italian tomatoes for the soup because fresh tomatoes are not in season.
Fresh or dried herbs:Thyme,Rosemary,Oregano,or Basil ( I used all of them).
Step 5: Gather, Wash and Measure Ingredients
Disclaimer: Not everyone with diet restrictions can safely eat these ingredients so please discuss this with your doctor before assuming you can eat them. Dr. Gundry cautioned people with auto immune diseases and other chronic illnesses to consult their doctor.
Please note: I used both fresh and boxed tomatoes to share how to remove tomato seeds and skins use either one. Organic ingredients if you can find them:
1 32 oz Chicken broth ( I had 1/4 of the box left over) My husband likes a thicker soup.
1 Cup Chopped celery
1 Cup Chopped white mushrooms
2 boxes 26.46 oz Pomi Italian strained tomatoes or Fresh Heirloom Roma tomatoes ( peeled and de-seeded) . I used a couple of different varieties because tomatoes are not in season.
Olive oil for sauteing celery, mushrooms, and garlic
Fresh Diced garlic cloves Optional I used 3 cloves
Fresh or dried herbs Rosemary,Basil,Oregano,Thyme " season according to taste" I used all of them
Sea Salt and Black pepper to taste
Step 6: Saute Celery Mushrooms and Garlic
Coat a skillet with olive oil
Saute the celery, mushrooms, and garlic in the pan and add salt, pepper, and seasonings to taste
Don't over cook the vegetables because they will be cooked again in the tomatoes
Set the pan aside.
Step 7: Blend Tomatoes
Blend the tomatoes with a cup of the chicken broth
Add the cooked Celery mixture and blend again
Add more broth and blend again
Transfer the mixture to a pan and cook over medium heat
When the mixture is hot season to taste using the fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
Slowly add the remaining chicken broth ( a little at a time) until the mixture has thickened according to your preference. Taste and season until the mixture is thoroughly cooked.
Remove from heat and serve hot.
This recipes makes about 4 cups.
Step 8: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts
In my younger years when the kids were small I made this recipe using canned tomato and mushroom soup and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and dried Italian herbs, mainly because I did not know how to cook healthy meals from scratch. As I learned how to cook, I began using fresh home grown and home canned tomatoes ,fresh herbs, garlic, and chicken broth.
I have always removed the skins and seeds because I did not like the gritty texture but I did not know what lectins were until the past few months.
Dr Gundry mentions in his book if we must have bread, white sourdough bread is the best option to choose from.
Swapping out cheddar cheese for Manchego cheese for the grilled cheese sandwiches was hard but it is keeping us true to our dietitian's recommendations.
Second Prize in the
Comfort Food Challenge