What about beans & legumes?
This site is a Real Food site. It’s not designed as a nit-pick site, so here’s the deal:
If you really, really, REALLY want to eat your beans and legumes (meaning beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, or chickpeas), you can feel free to do so.
However, we don’t have any recipes based around them on this site. Here’s why:
- They aren’t all that nutrient-dense. In fact, meat-based protein contains protein, nutrients, fat-soluble vitamins, AND vitamin B12 – which can’t be found in any plant source.
- They simply don’t provide anything that can’t be gotten from quality meats and veggies.
- They DO have protein, but it’s wrapped up in carbs…and again, not all that many nutrients.
- Most people eat beans and legumes to REPLACE protein from meat, and if you’re following our recipes, you’re eating enough good quality meat.
- As with nuts and seeds, there’s a tendency to crowd out other sources of nourishment by focusing too much on beans and legumes.
- Many folks with digestive or autoimmune issues see better results when they eliminate beans and legumes, likely because they do contain some lectins (which are anti-nutritional) and digestive irritants (some more dangerous than others).
Many healthy cultures across the world have eaten beans and legumes in great health for many generations. That information isn’t lost on us! However, it’s important to note that beans and legumes were likely used because they were readily available, and not because they provided the best nutrition possible.
If you choose to eat ‘em, the key is ensuring that they’re properly prepared, and that they don’t crowd out superior sources of nourishment.
And, as always, DON’T FORGET TO READ LABELS! A can of beans often isn’t just a can of beans. It might be stacked with industrial oils, additives and other yucky stuff. Pre-made hummus, which are made from chickpeas, usually contain other additives and soybean oil. Yuck!
When we talk about cheats, treats, and eating at restaurants, we make some concessions for beans and legumes, among other things – check those guides out to learn more.