Whole Health Source on Beans, Lentils and the Paleo Diet

Stephan Guyenet has up an excellent post on the idea that beans, lentils—hell, legumes in general—ought not be part of our diet.

He’s right. The notion we shouldn’t consume these foods, traditionally prepared, based on some notion that they were not part of ancient diets is, well, dumb (that’s me saying that). Two reasons:

  1. They are widely consumed by lots of primitive, H-G type folks.
  2. Who fucking cares anyway? The substantial nutrition and fermentable probiotic fiber make them an excellent staple foodstuff that people have been subsisting on healthfully for millennia, minimum.
  3. Who fucking cares anyway?

OK, three reasons. Quoting Stephan:

The canonical Paleolithic diet approach excludes legumes because they were supposedly not part of our ancestral dietary pattern. I’m going to argue here that there is good evidence of widespread legume consumption by hunter-gatherers and archaic humans, and that beans and lentils are therefore an “ancestral” food that falls within the paleo diet rubric. Many species of edible legumes are common around the globe, including in Africa, and the high calorie and protein content of legume seeds would have made them prime targets for exploitation by ancestral humans after the development of cooking. Below, I’ve compiled a few examples of legume consumption by hunter-gatherers and extinct archaic humans. I didn’t have to look very hard to find these, and there are probably many other examples available. If you know of any, please share them in the comments.

Go check out his post, and while you’re at it, see the one on buckwheat crepes too. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I soaked up a bag of pintos a couple of days ago, cooked them yesterday, and put them in the fridge in order to increase retrograde resistant starch formation and content. Going to go have some now, along with a couple of over-easy eggs.

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14 Comments

  1. tatertot on November 24, 2013 at 16:05

    In the PHD, Paul puts legumes in the NEVER EAT category. In Ch 20, ‘Almost-Grains: Legumes” he gives scant reason not to eat beans. His reasons

    1. Kidney beans give rats leaky guts and retards body growth
    2. Heart disease and tendon damage in people with phytosterolemia
    3. An enzyme called Canavanine is not removed by soaking is very dangerous
    4. Many people are allergic to peanuts and soybeans

    The kidney bean studies used raw kidney beans, phytosterolemia is very rare, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitosterolemia

    Canavanine is found mainly in small seeded legumes like alfalfa seeds and sprouts

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  3. yien on November 24, 2013 at 14:12

    haha would the Real Paleo Diet please stand up? Hadza use legumes as a staple food in their diet, have been for hundreds of thousands of years.

    Time to reclaim the Real Paleo Diet from the hypochondriac paleotards.

  4. yien on November 24, 2013 at 14:46

    worth pointing out that Sardinian blue zone villages eat a huge amount of fava beans?

    I guess not. high fat, low carb, zero resistant starch and fibre is obviously best and ’natural’.

  5. Richard Nikoley on November 24, 2013 at 14:53

    “worth pointing out that Sardinian blue zone villages eat a huge amount of fava beans?”

    Only if they eat them with liver, chased with Chianti. ;)

  6. Mark on November 24, 2013 at 19:43

    Tot, in that case I’m definitely going to stop feeding my retards kidney beans!

  7. Spanish Caravan on November 24, 2013 at 20:54

    Some of you guys are keep trying to redefine Paleo, making a stab at Paleo Revisionism. But you don’t have to. I always thought that Paleo was, well, er, too romantic a notion, a pie in the sky. A conjuration. It’s wistful to think that that you can become healthy by hunting, fishing and gathering. Look, they were all so much taller than us! The advent of agriculture diminished our stature, turning us into pygmies and wimps.

    Oh really? One of the hunter-gatherer tribes still extant happens to be exactly that, the pygmies of Africa It’s about time we accept that the healthiest diet is a Pre-Industrial, Neolithic Diet.

  8. yien on November 24, 2013 at 21:27

    “It’s about time we accept that the healthiest diet is a Pre-Industrial, Neolithic Diet.”

    I like my “flexible Hadza/Blue Zone, with bonus cheat days” diet. So long as I get some; dirt, honey, RS, goat tongue and red wine – then I consider I’ve had a “strict” day.

  9. tatertot on November 24, 2013 at 21:34

    @Mark – ‘retards body growth’ lol

  10. Mark on November 24, 2013 at 21:38

    @Tot – ;)

  11. Richard Nikoley on November 24, 2013 at 21:57

    “the healthiest diet”

    You almost made a completely decent argument SC, then did the exact same thing you’re criticizing.

  12. newbie on November 25, 2013 at 08:00

    Hey Richard, new to your site, only found it a few days ago from MDA/Kresser link (can’t remember which),
    wonder if you can comment on whether canned beans (chick peas, kidney beans) are considered “soaked” and therefore healthful to eat without additional prep?

  13. Richard Nikoley on November 25, 2013 at 11:49

    Nope, according to my understanding, canned are not soaked. I do use canned chickpeas now & then, but that’s it.

  14. samuel on November 26, 2013 at 14:20

    There’s at least one brand of organic canned beans that are pre-soaked before being canned (Eden Organic). I used to get them before I figured out how to cook black beans right myself, and they definitely seemed easier on the stomach than regular canned beans.

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