Next, Dr. Saladino said that domesticated fruits and vegetables don’t exist in Nature, that in most places, the woods or the brush have no edble plants, and he showed a picture. So, the fact that supermarkets are teeming with fruits and vegetables is a bad thing, in his view. He also claimed that modern fruits and vegetables are less toxic than their wild counterparts. But, the fact is that plant foods do occur in the wild. Where I live in Central Texas, there are wild mustang grapes, and they are prolific. They are not very sweet, and people rarely eat them out of hand. Typically, they make jam out of them- or wine. There are the wild native pecans, and they too are prolific. There are wild blackberries; there is a wild Texas persimmon, and they grow wild in my neighborhood. I have two trees of them, myself, although mine are both males, so they don’t bear fruit. They were here when I brought the property. But, I have gotten to taste the wild Texas persimmon. There are wild onions and garlic, hence the names Onion Creek and Garlic Creek that are close to me. I think it was Mark Twain who said that a squirrel, starting in Maine, could jump from chestnut tree to chestnut tree, never touching another tree, and make it to the Mississippi River without ever touching the ground. I suspect that was an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Every single food that we have started with some wild derivative. Right? So, let’s move on

Then, he said that the greatest mistake in human history was agriculture. He speculated reasons why Man resorted to growing plants, but think about it: Why would you grow something that you weren’t used to eating? You wouldn’t. Among the earliest human crops were lentils and chickpeas- still in use today, and both favorites of mine. Humans must have been eating them, to some extent, before agriculture. They grew them because they liked them. And that’s true of everything.

He claimed that coinciding with the shift to agriculture came a decline in height and osseous signs of malnutrition. Hmmm. But remember that the domestication of animals for food took place at the same time as plant horticulture. Many of the earliest crops were grown for domesticated animals. Dr. Saladino and others make it seem like it went from a canivore diet (except in a pinch)  to near veganism, due to agriculture. It is a gross exaggeration, to say the least. 



Next, he did a big section on plant toxins in which he said that because plants can’t run away, they fought back against being eaten by evolving toxins to poison their predactors.

But wait: there is a large element of symbiosis that he is overlooking. When you harvest and eat fruit, you are helping to spread the seeds. Even the very eating of it and pooping it out can populate the plants. I was told once that sewage processing plants can have luxuriant tomato plants growing resulting from seeds in the feces germinating. But, even without that, plant consumption can be good for the plants and just what they want us to do. Where I live here in Central Texas, there are two edible plants spread by squirrels. One is pecan and the other hackberry. All over my property, pecan trees and hackberry trees pop up all the time, and it’s from squirrels. And it’s a nuisance too because, endlessly,  I have to pull them out, since I can’t have them growing everywhere. I do have a big hackberry tree that’s wild, and I’m sure it started just that way. And I have a pecan tree too, although I planted it.  So, the fruit tree wants you to eat its bounty and disseminate its seeds, and the same goes for the nut tree.

But, let’s talk about the plant toxins that worry Dr. Saladino so much. He starts with phytoalexins, oxalates, and lectins. 

Phytoalexins are anti-microbial toxins that a plant produces when it’s under attack by fungus, bacteria or other microbes. They are not detetable in uninfected plant tissues. But, it’s been suggested that in humans, phytoalexins can have an anti-cancer effect. There are compounds called stilbenoids that are phytoalexins, and there is one stilbenoid that I’m sure you’ve heard of: resveratrol. People pay good money to take resveratrol. And it’s a phytoalexin.

And I’ve got news for Dr. Saladino about oxalates: as a carnivore, he’s in greater danger of getting kidney stones than I am. A lot of oxalic acid is generated in the body, for instance, from the breakdown of Vitamin C, but also from the breakdown of amino acids. And he is breaking down a lot more amino acids than I am because he consumes a lot more amino acids than I do. But, there’s another factor at work: calcium. To form a calcium oxalate kidney stone, you need two things: oxalic acid and calcium. If there is a lot of oxalic acid, but little or no calcium, you’re not going to have a problem. So, it’s when you have hypercalciuria- high amounts of calcium in the urine that you’re in danger of forming stones. And we know that high protein diets cause hypercalciuria. That’s because those diets are acid-forming, while the body needs to maintain its alkalinity. The ph of the blood is 7.4, which is alkaline. Calcium is a base that can be used to neutralize acids. High meat diets lead to a heavy loss of calcium in the urine.

You can tell if you’re losing a lot of calcium in your urine by mixing a sample of it with Sulkowitch reagent and seeing if it turns cloudy. If clear urine turns cloudy to where you can’t read newsprint through it, you know there is a lot of calcium there. They’ve been doing that test for decades. I learned to do it in Chiropractic college in 1973.

Almost all fruits and vegetables have some oxalic acid; it’s ubiquidous. A few of them have a lot; most notably spinach and swiss chard. And I grow swiss chard here in Central Texas every winter. I’m growing it right now. It’s easy to grow, and it's beautiful. I’ve been doing this for decades, growing and eating swiss chard in the winter, and it’s never bothered me, nor anyone I’ve known. I feed it to my retreat guests. 

I’m not urging people to cast aside all caution. I heard of a case of a woman who went on a spinach juice fast which she supplemented with megadoses of Vitamin C. So, there was a lot of oxalic acid coming in from the spinach juice and forming from the Vitamin C, and she did develop kidney stones that put her in critical condition. So, definitely be reasonable about this. For instance, don’t make a whole salad out of spinach. Make it mostly out of lettuce and other low-oxalate veggies, and just add a few leaves of spinach- if you wish. And don’t juice spinach at all.

So, don’t go hog-wild on high-oxalate vegetables, but eaten in moderation, they’re fine.

Lectins are proteins in plants that can bind with sugars, but like the phytoalexins, some lectins have been found to fight cancer. Lectins are destroyed by cooking. The most dangerous raw bean is the red kidney bean. It could actually kill you. Even undercooked, it could make you very sick. But frankly, I don’t cook them from scratch. I do buy some organic canned soups that contain kidney beans, and I like them. And when they are commercially canned, they are cooked thoroughly to where there is no danger at all. I’ve eaten kidney beans my whole life. Growing up, we loved to make 3 bean salad, with green beans, garbonzos, kidney beans, red peppers and onions.  Season it with some extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. It’s delicious. I’m not giving that up.

Like the phytoalexins, the lectins can have good effects, for instance in cell adhesion, such as when the sperm cells and egg cells bond. That depends on  glycoproteins which are sugar-protein combinations.

Lectins are involved in immune regulation, and they may have direct anti-microbial effects.  And like phytoalexins, lectins have been shown to have an anti-cancer effect.

I mentioned that for oxalic acid, I do avoid eating spinach like lettuce- since I don’t have to. But, for lectins, the only thing I do is make sure I don’t eat raw or undercooked legumes, and I don’t eat raw grains either. Otherwise, I enjoy my tomatoes and potatoes and other plant foods, and I don’t worry about it.

Consider the leading diseases that kill people. On top of the list is heart disease, and if you include cerebrovascular disease (and you might as well since it’s the same disease in a different location) it is overwhelmingly the top killer. Whole natural plant foods have been proven to fight heart disease in all its forms. Following heart disease comes cancer, and again, whole natural plant foods have been shown to have a preventative effect. Then comes COPD, which is due mostly to smoking and air pollution. After that comes diabetes, and you might think that the carnivore diet is best for that, but it isn’t. What do you think happens to the blood sugar of people like Dr. Saladino? It doesn’t drop to zero, and they would be dead if it did. It stays within the normal range, and that means that their diet is turning them into gluconeogenetic machines.  So, what happens if they faifufully do carnivore, but then they come off it for a weekend? That can’t hurt, right? Oh yes it can because their carnivore diet made them more sensitive to sugar. Internally, they are sugar hoarders, whether they like it or not. So, in their avoidance of carbohydrate, they’ve become overly sensitive to sugar. It’s better to let your body adapt to whole natural carbohydrates rather than become a gluconeogensis machine.

There are plenty of things that are terribly wrong that are worth worrying about, but being harmed by a tomato, an apple, a pepper, etc. isn’t one of them.   

So, don’t buy into what these paranoia peddlers are selling because the woes they’re selling, you don’t need to worry about. Fruits and vegetables and other natural plant foods are good for you. Some small observances, like soaking beans and discarding the soak water, also not going gangbusters on high oxalate foods, makes sense. So use common sense, but don’t throw out the most disease-preventing foods on the planet, which are whole, natural plant foods.