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Legumes vs Conventional Red Meat

by 3512 · April 11, 2012 at 2:47 AM

If you only had the choice to eat conventionally raised meat, would you eat it or would you opt for a cheaper protein source such as beans.

Legumes have sustained many cultures for thousands of years, the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico live off a diet rich in beans and yet don't suffer from modern diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Legumes are a great source of fiber, minerals (not as bioavailable as meat), and protein, but they also have lectins, saponins, and a considerable amount of phytic acid.

Lectins

Lectins seem problematic, but the following two studies showed that cooking destroys most of it.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/030881468990023X

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1985.tb13281.x/abstract

Phytic Acid

Personally I feel phytic acid is not much of a problem unless the diet has a low nutrient density, but a lot of it can be destroyed through soaking and fermentation.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20715598

Saponins

Not to sure how to get rid of these. Maybe by carefully washing them? Or skimming the foam that forms on top when you boil them?

Other potential problems

Storage?? read Melissa's article: http://huntgatherlove.com/content/storagepossible-neolithic-agent-disease

Any others that I might be missing???

Conventional Red Meat:

Is well...junk. Animals are mistreated, badly fed, injected with a ton of hormones and antibiotics, and most of the conventional meat you find in supermarkets is old and heavily painted to keep it looking new and fresh. There is ton of studies on the potentially harmful effects of conventionally raised meat, and it's potential effects on human health.

I am super poor right now, and my high intake of conventionally raised meat has been making me feel terrible. Right now I want what's best for my health. If you were to only have a choice between conventional meat and legumes what would you opt for?

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24012 · April 11, 2012 at 2:15 AM

If my choice is between CAFO meat and legumes I will pick legumes without giving it a second thought. I would prepare according to WAPF which helps a lot.

I would also eat a lot of yogurt(which you can make yourself very easily), cottage cheese, sardines, and canned salmon. Pastured eggs can be economical depending on where you live. I'd try to through in a pound of grass fed ground beef once a week or so if I could swing it.

I also think many of us can do just fine on lower protein. I've lowered mine into the 50-70g range most days and feel just fine. 4 oz of meat, a few eggs and a half cup of greek yogurt at night and I'm good.

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4310 · April 11, 2012 at 2:15 AM

I am probably in the minority, but I prefer to stay away from conventional meat for ethical reasons. Given the choice between the two, I'd personally pick traditionally prepared legumes. Not paleo, I know, but it would make me feel better about what I'd be eating.

Disclaimer: I occasionally eat properly prepared legumes anyway, though not frequently (maybe once a month). I believe a lot of the issues with beans can be ameliorated through soaking/sprouting/fermenting, though they're probably not an optimal source of protein overall.

Do you eat eggs? Pastured eggs are a really good way to get nutrients from animal products without spending as much as you would for pastured meats. If you do end up choosing legumes over conventional meat, eating eggs will get you a lot more nutrients than beans alone. (Actually, if you tolerate them anyway they're a good option for nutrients.)

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4247 · April 11, 2012 at 2:20 AM

I have this problem too - I have so many moral issues with eating factory farmed meat but just can't afford enough of the good stuff. Since I tolerate lentils and beans well, I do sometimes eat them instead - I soak them first. I refer to it as "broke-ass Paleo." I also eat a lot of eggs (if you can find cage-free eggs on sale, they're pretty affordable compared to grass-fed meat), and go for wild-caught fish, which I can get at a fairly reasonable price from a local farmers market. I also eat dairy for protein, especially Greek yogurt and kefir - if you can handle dairy well, this might be a good option. When I do go for grass-fed meat, I stick to cheaper meats like poultry or organs, and/or wait for a sale and freeze a bunch of it.

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1855 · April 11, 2012 at 2:47 AM

I eat beans because hunting season is once a year :)

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5476 · April 11, 2012 at 2:01 AM

Have you thought about incorporating local eggs into your diet?

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