Is Dr Chaffee Right? Are Plants Trying to Kill You?

Dr Anthony Chafee is a surgeon, nutritional researcher, and former pro-rugby player. He is a strict carnivore; he only eats meat and animal products. He believes plants are trying to kill us because they contain natural toxins that can cause cancer, inflammation, and other health problems.

Dr Chaffee has spoken on many podcasts about why he thinks that plants are trying to kill us. He cites the following evidence to support his claim:

  • Plants and animals are in an evolutionary arms race, with plants evolving to produce toxins to deter animals from eating them and animals evolving to develop resistance to these toxins.
  • Many plants contain known carcinogens, including acrylamide, lectins, and oxalates.
  • Plant toxins can cause inflammation, a significant risk factor for chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
  • Plant toxins can disrupt the gut microbiome, which can lead to a variety of health problems.

To people eating a standard Western diet, the idea that plants are trying to kill us may seem like a far-fetched conspiracy theory. Still, there is some scientific evidence to support it. For example, plants produce various toxins that are toxic to animals. These toxins can be found in all parts of the plant, including the leaves, stems, roots, and fruits.

Some of the most common plant toxins include:

  • Acrylamide: Acrylamide is a chemical formed when plants are cooked at high temperatures. It is a known carcinogen, and it has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
  • Lectins: Lectins are proteins that can bind to cells in the gut and cause inflammation. Inflammation is a significant risk factor for chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
  • Oxalates: Oxalates are naturally occurring substances that can bind to calcium in the body. This can lead to kidney stones and other health problems.

In addition to producing toxins, plants have several physical defences that make them difficult for animals to eat. For example, some plants have thorns or spines that can protect them from being eaten by herbivores. Other plants have thick, tough leaves that are difficult to chew.

So, are plants really trying to kill us? It is clear that plants have evolved many mechanisms to defend themselves from being eaten by animals. These mechanisms can include the production of toxins, the development of physical defences, and chemical signals to deter predators.

Humans are not herbivores

Dr Chaffee argues that the human body is not designed to eat plants and that a diet high in plants will likely harm our health. He recommends a diet that is high in animal foods and low in plants, as this is the diet that our ancestors ate for millions of years.

By looking at our biology, you can tell that humans are not well adapted to eating plants. Our digestive system is not designed to break down the cellulose in plant cell walls, and we do not have the enzymes necessary to digest many plant toxins.

Dr Chaffee argues that the health problems that plague modern society, such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, are primarily due to our overconsumption of plants. He believes that the best way to reverse the damage done to our system and improve our health is to adopt a diet that consists primarily of animal foods.

Here are some of the specific toxins and carcinogens that Dr Chaffee believes we should avoid that are found in plants:


Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds in plants that can bind to calcium and form kidney stones. Oxalates are found in many foods, including plants, nuts, and seeds. When you eat foods that contain oxalates, the oxalates are absorbed into your bloodstream and then filtered by your kidneys. If you have too much oxalate in your urine, it can bind to calcium and form kidney stones.

A diet high in oxalates can increase your risk of developing kidney stones. Some of the foods that are high in oxalates include:

  • Spinach
  • Rhubarb
  • Beets
  • Swiss chard
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Chocolate
  • Tea


Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It can cause an autoimmune reaction in people with celiac disease, which can lead to damage to the small intestine. Gluten can damage the small intestine’s lining in people with celiac disease.

This can lead to various symptoms, including diarrhoea, bloating, weight loss, and fatigue. Celiac disease can sometimes lead to more severe health problems like anaemia, osteoporosis, and infertility.

Even for people who do not have celiac disease, gluten can still be harmful. Gluten can trigger inflammation in the gut, leading to various symptoms, such as bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. Gluten can also make it difficult for some people to absorb nutrients from food.


Lectins are a protein found in plants that can damage the gut lining and cause inflammation. Lectins are proteins that are found in the cell walls of many plants. They are often called “sticky proteins” because they can bind to other proteins. Lectins can be harmful to your health in several ways.

First, lectins can bind to cells in the gut and cause inflammation. This can lead to various digestive problems, such as diarrhoea, bloating, and gas.

Second, lectins can bind to nutrients in the gut and prevent them from being absorbed. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

Third, lectins can cross the gut barrier and enter the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, lectins can bind to cells throughout the body and cause inflammation. This can lead to various health problems, such as autoimmune diseases, cancer, and heart disease.

Medications can contain salicylates.


Salicylates are a group of chemicals that are found in many plants. They are also used in some medications, such as aspirin. Salicylates in medicines are used for reducing inflammation and pain. However, they can also harm some people, especially those who are allergic to them.

Salicylate allergies can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction)

If you have any of these symptoms after taking a medication containing salicylates or after eating foods high in salicylates, stop taking the medication or eating the food and seek medical attention immediately.

In addition to allergies, salicylates can also be harmful to people with certain medical conditions, such as:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Gout
  • Asthma
  • Bleeding disorders

If you have any of these conditions, talk to your doctor before taking any medications that contain salicylates. It can help avoid foods high in salicylates, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, tea, and spices.

Here are some plant foods that are high in salicylates:

  • Fruits: apples, apricots, berries, cherries, grapes, lemons, melons, oranges, peaches, plums, rhubarb, strawberries
  • Vegetables: asparagus, avocados, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, green peppers, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
  • Herbs and spices: basil, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, peppermint, rosemary, sage, turmeric
  • Beverages: beer, coffee, tea
  • Medications: aspirin, Pepto-Bismol, some cold and allergy medications


Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are plants modified in a laboratory to contain genes from other organisms. Some people believe GMOs harm human health, but there is no scientific consensus on this issue.

Some people believe GMOs can be harmful because they may contain new proteins that our bodies are not used to. These new proteins could trigger allergies or other health problems.


Pesticides are chemicals used to kill pests, such as insects, rodents, and weeds. They are used in agriculture to protect crops from damage. However, pesticides can also be harmful to human health.

Pesticides can enter the body through the skin, lungs, or digestive system. Once in the body, pesticides can disrupt the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. They can also cause cancer, congenital disabilities, and other health problems.

The risk of pesticide exposure is highest for people who work with pesticides, such as farmers and pesticide applicators. However, anyone who eats food treated with pesticides is also at risk of exposure.


Herbicides are chemicals that are used to kill weeds. They are sprayed on crops to prevent weeds from competing with the crops for water, sunlight, and nutrients. Herbicides can be harmful to human health in several ways.

  • They can be toxic. Some herbicides are highly poisonous and can cause serious health problems like cancer, birth defects, and neurological damage.
  • They can be carcinogenic. Some herbicides have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
  • They can be endocrine disruptors. Some herbicides can disrupt the endocrine system, leading to various health problems, such as infertility, obesity, and developmental problems in children.
  • They can be toxic to the environment. Herbicides can pollute the soil and water, and they can harm wildlife.

The risk of exposure to herbicides is highest for people who work with herbicides, such as farmers and pesticide applicators. However, anyone who eats food treated with herbicides is also at risk of exposure.

Dr Chaffee believes that the best way to protect our health is to avoid eating plants altogether. He argues that a carnivore diet is evolutionary and the healthiest diet for humans, as it provides us with all the nutrients we need without exposing us to the toxins and carcinogens found in plants.

About Dr Chaffee:

Dr Anthony Chaffee is an American medical doctor and Neurosurgical resident who, for over 20+ years, has researched the optimal nutrition for human performance and health. He asserts that most of the so-called chronic diseases we treat as doctors are caused by the food we eat or don’t eat and can be reversed with dietary changes to a species-specific diet.

He began University at 16, studying Molecular & Cellular Biology with a Minor in Chemistry at the U of Washington in Seattle, which culminated in an MD from the Royal College of Surgeons.

He is an All-American rugby player, a former professional player in England and America, and has trained in MMA fighting.

More recently, he volunteered as a doctor in the refugee camps in Bangladesh, helping the survivors of the 2017 genocide in Burma of the Rohingyan people.

Currently, in Australia, he works as a Neurosurgical registrar and in a functional medicine clinic as well. He is still full Carnivore. You can visit his YouTube Channel to watch his videos and latest podcasts for more information about following a carnivore diet.

Proper Human Diet (PHD): Meat and animal products

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Also available to buy: Everything You Need to Get Started on a Carnivore Diet: Tips on the kitchen, cooking, storage, tools and equipment you need to make following this healthy way of eating easy! (Kindle eBook). Also available on Smashwords.

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