28 Oct Real Men DO Eat Legumes
Since the launch of my latest book, ‘superlegumes… eat your way to great health’, I have become painfully aware that legumes and their consumption are still shrouded by many false beliefs…that they simply do not deserve.
So in defence of the humble legume, I thought I would dedicate a few blog posts to dispelling some of these stigma’s and untruths (absolutely no bias here!).
Firstly and possibly most importantly… legumes are NOT just for vegetarians (or hippies), and real men do eat legumes!! Yes without doubt their impressive protein content make them a nutritious and valuable addition to vegan and vegetarian diets, BUT, they are also an invaluable source of protein, low GI carbs, soluble and insoluble fibre, vitamin and minerals for everyone, including the most die-hard carnivore.
Lets talk a bit about their protein content, as I think this is where a lot of people may not realise just how much legumes shine. High protein is the buzz word in nutrition these days…. with high protein diets being well and truly in the limelight and with good cause. There is no doubt that protein is and essential and integral part of the diet, playing an important role throughout the human body, essential for growth and repair. However we do sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that protein only comes from meat/animal sources, which is simply not true. There are a host of alternative plant-based protein sources such as legumes, tofu, tempeh, nuts and seeds. Likewise getting all our protein intake from meat/animal sources is not ideal from a physical OR environmental perspective.
One of the not so desirable side effects of eating a high animal based protein diet can be constipation, which is where plant sources of protein can really be of benefit. Legumes are packed with dietary fibre (up to 8g per 1/2 cup serve ), as well as containing up to 9g protein. So not only do you get a great dose of protein, you get the insoluble fibre content to help move it through your body….. now that’s a double win!
And, I can’t stress enough how balance and variety is always the key. This is why I recommend that throughout the day, for optimal nutrition, you mix your protein sources up, so you can really gain the unique benefits that each protein source has to provide.
For example you may eat an egg omelet with spinach and tomato in the morning, the eggs rich in protein, zinc and B vitamins for energy. Mid morning a handful of almonds rich in protein & heathy fatty acids, for lunch a quinoa and chickpea salad, the chickpeas rich in protein, dietary fibre and minerals and then a tub of natural yoghurt with fruit for an afternoon snack, the yoghurt an excellent source of calcium. Finish the day with a lean beef and vegetable stir fry with a small serve steamed brown rice for dinner, the beef packed with protein, iron and zinc plus a host of disease fighting phytonutrients from all the vegetables.
Unlike many protein sources, legumes are naturally low fat too, so no need to alter the natural state of these nutritious and delicious whole foods, you can just eat as is!
So next time you hit the gym for a hard work out , why not try having a protein packed low-GI legume-based snack as part of your recovery. Roasted chickpeas are a personal favourite and can be easily transported in your bag…. perfect!