I have been on an all-meat diet for over a year, and I'm very happy with it. I saw drastic health improvements even over a very low carb diet. My doctor is mostly happy with it, but he often urges me to eat some non-starchy green vegetables, as he has the idea that that would be optimal. I always say "maybe one day".
Well, I've been at this long enough that I'm ready to try some experiments about what my body will tolerate, just to see what happens. I've thought about adding some so-called "safe starches", but I think what I'd like to try first is a green vegetable, partly out of respect for my doctor, whom I really like working with.
So what is the least likely to hurt me? Ideally it should be low in common problem compounds like oxalates, salicylates, lectins, whatever it is in brassicas that is a problem for thyroid, etc, but I'm not sure what that leaves or what other compounds to avoid. Any ideas or resources appreciated!
ETA: And what about seaweeds? Any toxin issues with those?
Biochemist Mat Lalonde makes the argument that pretty much every vegetable contains some kind of toxin as a protective mechanism (since plants cannot defend themselves by running away or fighting). He recommends rotating a wide variety of veggies so as to not overwhelm any detox pathway in the digestive system.
I don't think you need to eat vegetables to enjoy fantastic health. I, too, have been eating an all-meat diet and feel amazing. I tried adding in a few veggies about six months ago and it threw me off balance. My insatiable hunger popped back up and it took six weeks to get back on track with "zero" carb. Seriously. All I added were lettuce (iceberg) and cucumbers. That was enough to toss me to the wolves, and I ended up eating all kinds of things - all "paleo" mind you - that gave me unstable blood sugars etc. What a learning experience it was!
I think that some people do their absolute best on an all-meat diet, and I don't believe that there is anything wrong with that at all. Fatty meat contains all of the nutrients we need.
In case this is of use:
The Failsafe Diet, which is used by allergists at the Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Australia, is designed to help one discover what it is in foods that one is most sensitive to. It is an elimination diet.
One might be sensitive to salicylates, another to goitrogens, another to oxalates, another to two or three of those, etc.
Here is a link to an excellent blog about the Failsafe Diet.
Also, Dr. Blake Donaldson, who helped thousands of patients who had allergies, states in his book, Strong Medicine, that many people have allergic reactions to green vegetables and that yellow vegetables are the safest if one tends to have allergic reactions in general. There is no online version of his book, that I know of, and it is very much worth reading. I do not know of those who may have carried on this line of work after he died. Perhaps someone else knows.
ETA: Dr. Donaldson's book is now online and can be read here:
For anecdotal report: I do well with the following yellow vegetables: celery, turnips, and an occasional parsnip, but that does not mean they are the best vegetables for everyone. (I am not overly fond of carrots, but have not noticed any problematic reactions.)
I have read both pro and con regarding seaweeds. I still eat them, albeit in very small amounts.
I'm sorry I can't be of more help at this point. The subject of phytotoxins is rather large.
Just because some vegetables contain goiterogenic compounds doesn't necessarily mean they are actively goiterogenic to the body. Cruciforms and other veggies have enough nutrients and fiber to make them far more beneficial for most people and I think outweighs the potential problems.
As for toxins to deter predators - which predators? For example, just because something is toxic to a dog (like onions or grapes) doesn't mean it's toxic to humans. most of the 'toxins' in plants are meant to deter insects, and probably are harmless to humans, or in such low amounts they're negligible.
From what I've read about oxalates, unless as one person mentioned, you are prone to kidney stones, they probably have little or no effect on body function.
Pesticide residue is probably another story.
Isn't the percentage of the population that is sensitive to those compounds pretty small? I hope so, because I eat 2 cups of spinach and 1 of broccoli and blueberries a day. The nutrient density is just far too great for me to discontinue this practice.
I suggest.. go for wild herbs and greens. Nettles chickweed,... leafs flowers....get a good foraging book on wild edibles. there are good experts out there
I have a couple suggestions:
1) Do an experiment by introducing related groups of veggies one at a time, then either eliminate or refine as needed. For example, start with the Brassicas and eat Cabbage, Brocolli, Brussels Sprouts as a group. If you have a strong reaction you might assume that it's all of them that cause problems and eliminate the entire class. If a minor reaction (and you care) refine to one species at a time. After you've determined the impact of a group then move to another Group (say, Allium - Garlic, Onion etc) and test that.
Doing this in groups of similar veggies reduces the total number of tests you'd have to do, and get you to your answers faster.
I definitely think the algae and seaweed would be good to try too.
Since it doesn't sound like you're in a hurry you can spend a bit of time on this :-)
2) Foraging. oak0y mentioned this earlier, and I think it's a good idea with multiple benefits: it's seasonal, which means you're not eating just one species for more than a few months max at a time, there is a huge variety which minimizes the impact of any one species. Plus - you're already doing the 'Hunting' piece - foraging lets you do the 'Gathering' part AND you spend more time in nature; what could be more "Paleo" than that?
I know Furhman is a quack, but I really like his ANDI metric for comparing carbs (ANDI = Aggregate Nutrient Density Index). link text
He ranks Kale and Collards as highest (both 1000), followed by Bok Chjoy (824) and Spinach (739).
Swiss chard, spinach and kale are probably to worst offenders in terms of toxins.
I've found that the vegetables with the least toxins are also often those with the least nutrition (lettuce, cucumbers, zucchinis, ...)
How come my sautéed greens taste like snot? 10 Answers
If one eats one veg/day, which one? 9 Answers
Why do veggies make me feel good? 6 Answers