This past weekend was not only Mother’s Day, but it was also The Whole Earth Festival. It’s a time when people from all over the Pacific Northwest come to Davis to frolic to the Bohemian music and sell and buy expensive, organic, homemade, recycled, earthy products. Not only is this a festival for the hippies and the un-showered folks from out of town, it’s the happiest place on earth for vegetarians and vegans. The quad is FILLED with ONLY vegan and vegetarian food options; not one item has meat!!!! There was even a RAW food stand. But raw food diets are not always good for you!
Lectin is a glycoprotein, in other words, sugar + protein. This natural toxin is found in plants, animals, viruses, and bacteria. The plant sources include red kidney beans, castor beans, peas, lentils, sweat peas, and soybeans. In addition, the lectin toxin is found mostly in the seed of the plant.
More specifically, lectin binds to specific sugars on the surface of cells. And is considered to be a direct predecessor of the immune system. Lectin intoxication is usually associated with acute toxicity; including symptoms like gastrointestinal distress; however, coupled with a fast recovery (3-4 hours). Not all lectins are toxic but typically this toxin causes clumping of red blood cells, or hemagglutins.
Thankfully, lectin can be destroyed by heat (cooking). Which is why human poisoning occurs when you eat UNDER-COOKED beans!!
Raw kidney beans contain 20,000 to 70,000 hemagglutinating units (hau) while fully cooked kidney beans only contain 200 to 400 hau.
This is also why some raw food diets are NOT so good for you!
Sometimes cooking food can denature the toxic proteins.
- Organic Food and the Raw Food Diet (organaholic.com)
- 3 Common Raw Food Myths Busted! (karenknowler.typepad.com)
- 100% Raw Food Diets May Not Be The Best For You. (yearofthedetox.com)