Things that make you go hummm….yeah, I know I am totally dating myself with that reference but if you saw the elimination of your beloved peanut butter and were shocked, I suggest that you go back to my original post here where I talk about how peanuts are actually not nuts but legumes (like beans & peas). Legumes have been in the paleo spotlight lately when Chris Kresser went on the Dr. Oz show to promote his new book Your Personal Paleo Code. In his segment he recommended a few servings of legumes a week as part of your personal paleo code. This created quite a stir in the paleosphere because it’s a “known fact” that legumes “are not paleo.” I’ve written about legumes in the past where I talk all about the anti-nutrients, the lectins and phytates/phytic acid contained in them. If you go to the resource section of the blog you will see all my original posts organized by topic. If you want to read a more in-depth explanation as to why legumes should be avoided in a paleo diet, check out Paleo Magazine’s post here .
In Chris Kresser’s recent legume post , he talks about how the science may not necessarily back up the notion that legumes are toxic. Chris states that lectins are found in a variety of foods that we eat everyday like: 53 types of fruit (including grapes, cherries, raspberries, melon, & blackberries) vegetables, spices, carrots, zucchini, & garlic to list a few. So his argument asks the question; why would we chose to exclude an entire food group like legumes because of the high lectin content when lectin is found in so many foods that we chose to eat?
As far as phytic acid is concerned, it’s pretty similar to the lectin reason. There are many foods that we currently eat, such as: trail mix, chocolate, spinach, & Swiss chard that have a higher phytic acid concentration than most legumes. Also the phytic acid that is found in legumes can be minimized by proper preparation method such as soaking prior to cooking. As long as legumes are not displacing more nutrient-dense foods in your diet, eating a few servings a week is fine as long as you tolerate them.
As long as you tolerate them-that is the important concept in this entire post. How do you know if you tolerate them? Just because you’ve been eating something your whole life doesn’t mean that you don’t have an underlying food intolerance to it. Just because you don’t break out into hives, experience shortness of breath, or vomit immediately after eating it, doesn’t mean that your body actually does well eating it.
You need to remove these food from your diet for a period of time, allow your body to heal itself, and then reintroduce each food one at a time. I hope this sounds familiar because it’s the foundation of the Ease Your Way into Paleo (EYWIP) plan; you will be able to figure out what your personal whole foods diet is so it can become your lifestyle and not just another “diet.”
Legumes were one of those foods that I seldom ate pre-paleo anyway because I never felt well after eating them. I used to serve refried beans from the can on taco night. I started noticing that my daughter would end up in the bathroom shortly after dinner and I would end up bloated. My son and husband can eat them no problem. Since they both like hummus I have no problem making them some for their lunch. Do I make it every week? No, but I feel comfortable knowing that their bodies can handle it and that I am using organic garbanzo beans and making it from scratch. It’s all about sustainability, and this is what works for my family.
We’ll talk more about beans next week, but for now I just want you to focus on peanut butter. I find that I can tolerate a little bit of peanut butter, like in my peanut butter cup recipe . But anything more than that, like peanut butter on an apple, and I don’t feel well.
4 ingredient banana omlete
Peanuts are more than just legumes, they also can contain large amount of aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are a type of mold that grows in nuts, seeds, and legumes; aflatoxins are known to cause cancer in animals. Low levels are allowed in nuts, seeds, and legumes by the FDA because they are considered to be “unavoidable contaminants”and that occasionally eating a small amount pose s little risk. ( source )
Do I have peanut butter in my fridge? Yes I do, because my kids like it. They don’t have it often; I try to get them to eat almond butter or sun butter. But if we are having my 4 ingredient banana omletes then I let them have some. I make sure to buy organic from a reputable store like Whole foods or Trader Joe’s.
Good luck this week and as always let me know if you have any questions.