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Aspirational Wellness Plan

Medical Discussion: Nutrition & Diet

Legumes: Plant Power Packed with Protein

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Dr. Asher from Aspirational Health introduces Molly McAndrew, a registered dietitian who has recently joined their team for consultations. Molly specializes in Medical Nutrition Management, focusing on Medical Nutrition and Metabolic Health Optimization.

Molly discusses the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes incorporating natural, plant-based options like legumes. She explains that legumes are nutrient-dense, providing a lot of fiber, protein, and low saturated fat, which is beneficial for heart health. They are also rich in various vitamins and minerals, making them an excellent substitute for meat for those looking to reduce their meat consumption. There are about 16,000 different types of legumes, offering plenty of variety to explore.

Common legumes found in grocery stores include chickpeas (garbanzo beans), pinto beans (used for refried beans), black-eyed peas, and frozen peas. Interestingly, peanuts are technically legumes, not nuts, and are a heart-healthy snack option.

Legumes can be found in various sections of the grocery store. Canned beans are usually near the canned vegetables and fruits, black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans are often in the Mexican food section, dried beans are near the canned beans or in the pasta section, and frozen legumes, like peas, are in the freezer section with other vegetables.

For preparation, frozen peas can be heated in the microwave or on the stovetop and added to meals. Canned beans are ready to eat but should be rinsed to remove excess sodium and processing chemicals. Dried beans require soaking, preferably overnight, and then boiling for about an hour. Adding spices and vegetables can make a delicious stew.

Legumes are also available in other forms like dough or flour. Chickpea flour and legume-based pastas, such as chickpea pasta, are healthy alternatives to traditional products. Molly experimented with chickpea cookie dough, blending rinsed chickpeas with peanut butter, a little brown sugar, and dark chocolate chips for a healthier dessert option.

Different legumes generally offer similar nutritional benefits: 7-10 grams of fiber and protein per serving, and relatively low carbohydrate content. They are low in saturated fat, making them a winning choice for a healthy diet.

Legumes are available fresh in season, like snow peas and green beans, which are easy to grow or find at local groceries. The most important takeaway is to incorporate legumes into the diet, whether canned, frozen, or fresh. They are cost-effective, versatile, and nutritious. They can be mashed for a Mexican casserole, added to soups and stews, or enjoyed in many other ways.

Including legumes in the diet not only satisfies hunger but also offers great taste. Molly, for example, used chickpea pasta in macaroni and cheese, and her young daughter didn’t notice the difference.

Dr. Asher thanks Molly for sharing her insights and delicious preparations. They plan to post links to resources and shopping options for legumes and invite viewers to reach out with any questions or comments. Thank you for joining them today!