A Guide to Choosing Healthy Legumes

Legumes are difficult for some people to digest and are not appropriate for everyone all the time. If legumes are included in your diet, choose using these criteria.

  • Choosing organic legumes is best, and always go with locally grown when possible.
  • Buy dried legumes. Canned beans may be packaged in cans lined with BPA (an endocrine disrupting plastic). There are BPA-free cans, like Eden brand, but preparing from scratch is preferable.
  • To neutralize the antinutrients in legumes, like phytic acid, soak, sprout or ferment prior to cooking.
  • Nutrients are better absorbed when legumes are cooked with meat, hence the tradition of adding ham hocks or bacon to the bean cooking pot.

A note about soy: We do not recommend eating soy foods, except for very small amounts of naturally fermented soy, as a condiment, very occasionally.

  • Choose only organically grown soy to avoid genetically modified (GMO) soy and large amounts of chemicals used on conventional soy.
  • Soy is extremely high in phytates and other anti-nutrients, so eat only fermented versions of soy like tempeh, miso or naturally fermented soy sauce. Tamari is wheat-free soy sauce. Most tofu available in the grocery store is not fermented and should therefore be avoided.
  • You should also avoid soy-based foodstuffs like soy milk, soy cheese, TVP (textured vegetable protein), soy-based faux meats and meat substitutes.
  • Large quantities of soy have been linked to autoimmune diseases like thyroid disease, endocrine disruption, and infertility. Stick with very small portions, eaten only occasionally.