Paleo Diet ... No Beans ... Really?!?

Ok ... I get it.  You want to be a paleo-man or paleo-woman, and these people didn't eat beans. There are many great things about the Paleo-Diet.  One can certainly be very healthy on a Paleo diet. Absolutely you can be more healthy than on the standard American diet or the diet recommended by the FDA and their disease causing food pyramid.  

But, guess what centenarians all over the world have in common regardless of ethnicity or culture? 


In Dan Buettner's research on centenarians he has studied the Okinawans in Japan, Nicoyans in Costa Rica, the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California, the Ikarians in Greece and the Sardinians in Italy.  The Okinawans eat edamame or soy beans and tofu from non-gmo sources on a daily basis.  The Nicoyans eat rice with beans every day.  The Seventh Day Adventists in Southern California eat beans every day.  The Ikarians eat one of the following: lentils, chick peas, hummus, or black eyed peas almost every day.  The Sardinians eat fava beans, chick peas, or lentils almost every day.  Another group of centenarians found near Rome in a small hill town called Campodimele ("field of apples") eat chick peas, fava beans and cannellini beans almost every day.  

We can learn something from Paleo people, but we can also learn from modern day centenarians. According to the Pritikin Longevity Center scientists have found that the single most important dietary predictor of longevity regardless of ethnicity found in food is the benefits of beans.  A cup of beans a day reduces the mortality hazard ratio by 28% to 32%.  

It is difficult to find a food that is more complete.  Beans are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and complex carbohydrates, and they are very low in fat. Beans are excellent at reducing LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol. 

The best bean benefit of all is that they are the fiber champions.  In general 1 cup of beans contains 16 grams of fiber.  WebMD states that women should consume 25g per day and men need 38g per day.  A cup of beans is the fastest way to make a dent in one's daily fiber needs.  It would take 8 slices of whole wheat bread to get that much fiber.  

Some of my favorite ways to include beans in my diet are the following:

  • Add beans to a breakfast omelet with some greens and some other veggies.
  • Purees of beans make great dips.  You can make them with any bean.  One of our favorites is black bean puree with fresh garlic, lemon, lime, olive oil and cilantro.  Steam some veggies to dip, or enjoy with sliced carrots and apples.  
  • Add beans to your salad
  • We add cannellini beans to our tuna salad that consists of albacore tuna, red onion, flat leaf parsley, and white beans.  Season with sea salt and black pepper and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil  
  • Side of beans with dinner with sea salt, black pepper and extra virgin olive oil is very good
  • Lentil soup or side of lentils
  • Lentil Salad
  • Bean Salads
  • Beans go great with rice or pasta 
  • My son's personal favorite is white beans with tomato sauce and olive oil and a dash of sea salt.