Most Paleo eaters avoid eating legumes and many people new to the diet wonder why legumes – which seem to have such great nutritional content – aren’t desirable.
Let’s start with what Legumes are – Legumes include peanuts, dried beans, clover, alfalfa, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, peas, peanuts, cashews, soybeans, and seeds such as navy, broad, butter, northern, pinto, red, and black beans.
The introduction of agriculture brought us potatoes, legumes (i.e. peanuts, beans, and soy), grains (i.e. corn, wheat, rice, barley, and oats), and processed foods (i.e. sugar, bread, pastries, alcohol, etc.).
This transition made for a chaotic period for our bodies to adjust to these foreign foods – resulting in a massive decrease in average height and health and a rapid increase in disease and obesity.
Foods that were introduced in the post-agricultural era are, by definition, foreign to our bodies. Many people think of beans as being the healthy protein alternative to meat. But, they can cause gastrointestinal distress and increase our vulnerability to certain auto-immune diseases!
We should remember that most legumes are poisonous if eaten raw. They are high in lectins, protease inhibitors, and phytates. Lectins are proteins that bind carbohydrates. Many studies have identified lectins as being inflammatory and toxic. Lectins have a causal link with auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Type I diabetes, and lupus.
Moreover, phytates or phytic acids, have been discovered to inhibit the absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc in the digestive tract. The presence of protease inhibitors interferes with the breakdown of proteins into amino acids.
These are the reasons why legumes are not an ideal food for Paleo eaters (or perhaps for anyone concerned about their health)!
Paleolithic Diet: How our bodies want to be treated. Retrieved on November 22, 2010, from http://pecanbread.com/healingcrow/dietsmain/paleo/paleo.html.