Green beans, snow peas, green peas, and other green legumes encapsulated in pods are often questioned in the Paleo world. Are they Paleo? The short answer is yes, but here’s why.
When we say don’t eat legumes, it’s because legumes have certain anti-nutrients in them, like phytic acid and lectins. Phytic acid binds to the minerals magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron in your gut and removes them, unabsorbed, from your body. And lectins are sticky little suckers that can glom onto your gut lining and wreak havoc on its integrity. Not good.
However, nuts and seeds also contain these things, and you’re still “allowed” to eat those on the Paleo diet. And that’s because we’re assuming you’re not going to fill half your plate with nuts and seeds like you might with lentils or black beans. It’s a quantity thing, and so it is with green beans and snow peas. Yes, those things contain those anti-nutrients, but if you’re not eating them by the shovel-ful, you’ll be just fine.
Also, the greener the plant, the less phytic acid and lectins it contains. Here’s an awesome article from the Weston A Price Foundation on phytic acid – where it’s found and how to get rid of it (partially) in foods like beans and grains. Green beans actually only contain trace amounts of phytic acid. And the lectins and the phytic acid are mostly found in the seed itself – not the pod.
So eat your green beans, snow peas, and even your green peas on occasion. Just don’t make them a staple or a large proportion of your plate and you’ll be just fine.
Anyone have any other thoughts on these delicious little pods?