Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rethinking Legumes

For no other reason than to revisit my current way of eating and add some variety I have decided to reintroduce additional legumes back into my diet. I have always eaten green peas(yes they are a legume) and in season fresh yellow/green beans. I have not adhered to strict Paleo for some time as I now use it more as a guideline for eating a simple traditional diet. I find the foods that work for me and eliminate/ limit those that do not. Its time to revisit the bean and see if other legumes have a place in my diet.

Over the last couple months I have essentially stopped consuming potatoes. I can tolerate the tuber occasionally but do much better without them. As a result I have been eating a little more rice as compensation but I do tire of that grain.

It then occurred to me to re-evaluate legumes. Not only do they compliment rice (the classic rice and beans combo) but they offer fiber, some proteins and nutrients. Add to that fact they are relatively cheap to procure and possess long shelf lives. Little did I know that even within the nutritional world that some advocates of ancestral diets were softening their anti- legume stances. It does remain a bone of contention. Do the nutritional qualities of legumes trump the problematic anti-nutrient issues?

What is a legume?

"The legume family consists of plants that produce a pod with seeds inside...."

The paleo view of legumes and the inherent issues.

 Chris Kresser has published a pretty decent rebuttal article here...

"To be clear, I would eat beans and lentils even if they weren't part of ancestral hunter-gatherer diets, because they're inexpensive, nutritious, I like the taste, and they were safely consumed by many traditional agricultural populations probably including my own ancestors."

For the record I enjoy beans, especially the traditional East coast Canadian baked bean variety. My issue with them was they often caused me some digestive issues; bloating and gas. Probably the result of poorly absorbed carbohydrates known as Fodmaps. The severity of the symptoms often depended upon the type of legume and how it was prepared.

Sidebar - I consume unpasteurized sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar on a  daily basis to help support good gut health. Optimal gut flora levels are gained through the beneficial qualities of traditionally fermented foods

  Begs a question - will a healthy belly help mitigate/ limit the usual Fodmap digestion issues associated with the consumption of legumes? I am going to test that assumption.

Canned beans are generally precooked so they are an easy option. It`s still a good idea to rinse in a strainer before preparation to help limit the amount of residual anti-nutrients. Canned baked beans will obviously contain added sugars(molasses/maple sugar) and tomato sauces so are less healthy. Dried legumes will need to be properly soaked and cooked prior to ingestion.

The intent is not to make legumes a dietary staple but rather a supplement to my current diet that allows some variety but still limits wheat(gluten) and potatoes.

No comments: