For those of you who have heard me speak, you may have heard me share what I plan to say when I'm on the Oprah show(someday). I have it all planned: I'll lean over, look at the audience then at Oprah and say, "Oprah, beans are the new meat".
Actually, make that "legumes". And they really ARE the new meat. In fact, they were the old meat before agricultural subsidies made meat so affordable.
Legumes: beans, lentils, peas, nuts and seeds are the new meat because they are high in protein and make us full, like meat, but plant protein is infinately more healthy than animal protein. Also, unlike animal protein, legumes are so high in fiber and myriad other nutrients, including beneficial fats like Omega-3 and monounsaturated fats.
Meat is SO 1999.
A scientific journal last month published an article("The low-methionine content of vegan diets may make methionine restriction feasible as a life extension strategy," Medical Hypotheses February 2009) confirming that rats and mice consuming lower amounts of methionine - an amino acid very high in animal protein, and significantly lower in plant protein - live longer. The article called the effect of methionine restriction an "aging retardant" at the cellular level.
Interesting also that excess methionine also converts to homocysteine, a well-known compound involved in all sorts of cancer and chronic disease, as well as premature aging. Homocysteine levels are routinely checked for people with heart disease, although most people are simply told to take a folic acid supplement to lower homocysteine (folic acid is a natural antagonist to homocysteine).
I recently had a woman tell me she had a stroke and when doctors checked her biomarkers (blood pressure, cholesterol, lipids, etc.) everything was normal... except she had high levels of homocysteine.
If we all cut back on (or cut out) animal protein and replaced it with legumes, we would have very low levels of methionine and homocysteine - as well as naturally high levels of folic acid, since legumes are the best source of this nutrient.
So get with the times, and tell your friends: "beans (and other legumes) are the NEW meat."