It seems to me that we’re being told what to eat and more importantly what NOT to eat at every opportunity. I suspect that most of the current diet advice is more about selling books or supplements than sensible, factual or traditional food wisdom.
What I would like to do is
1. Allay any fears surrounding this food group
2. Back it with traditional wisdom and practices
3. Give you tools to ensure that your food does heal and not harm you
Lets look at lentils and beans for e.g. We’re told that they contain toxic substances which can cause inflammation, leaky gut and chronic diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. The culprit LECTIN- an anti-nutrient which plants use to protect themselves against predators.
You might also have heart about FODMAPS- fermentable carbohydrates which are plentiful in beans and lentils. If eating legumes causes you lots of bloat and distention as well as gas then your experiencing first hand the effects of fermentation in the gut.
Can the humble bean be so abominable considering how long its been around in human history? Do we rely upon science or do we look to traditional peoples to guide our current food choices? In this instance BOTH!
Science is backing what ancestral folk knew.
Regardless of what side of the globe they lived our forefather knew to soak, wash and soak legumes some more before cooking them. Many traditional groups also fermented their legumes before serving them. Traditional practices also included adding a piece of kombu or kelp to the cooking pot to reduce gassiness and to support healthy thyroid function which might otherwise be blocked by anti-nutrients in plant foods. When we obey the rules of nature by including gelatinous broths and fermented foods we support a robust digestive function and can include these fibre-rich foods which then support our microbiome. Its a win win.
If FODMAPS are an issue for you- testing for SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is advisable. Treatment will help to restore your digestive function which together with careful preparation of your legumes will mean that you can enjoy these foods once again.
There is one caveat in relation to legumes which I must mention here and that's thiol intolerance. To read more about thiols and why they may be making your feel tired, foggy and just plain lousy- see my blog article from March 2019.
For more information on traditional food wisdom go to the Weston A Price foundation web site.
Please enjoy my favourite lentil flat bread recipe- it makes a great pizza base as well or toast it and use as crackers for your favourite dip.
Jillaine Williams is a Natural Medicine practitioner based in Tasmania. Consultations are available in person or via Zoom or Skype
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