I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, but I have been exposed to some amazing cuisine of those diets through many friends and restaurants in LA. I get the arguments from advocates of these diets from a conservational and healthy standpoint. The part that I don’t think is stressed quite often enough though is that it’s CHEAP! In all honesty, that’s why I have become at least a “part-time vegan.” As long as you’re willing to be a little adventurous and get to know your spices and seasonings, there’s a lot you can do. As a man who likes to pick up and put down heavy things a lot, though, the main concern is: What about the protein, bro? There are a good bit of options, but my best overall pick is lentil beans.
A cup of lentil beans provides 18 grams of protein. It’s the highest choice of protein amongst the other beans. There are health benefits a-plenty, too. That song we all learned about beans as kids really is true: they are really good for your heart…and the more you eat them, the more…well, no comment. Seriously though, the amount of soluble fiber in lentils will help keep your cholesterol low and your arteries clean, which lowers your chance of stroke and heart disease. The amount of folate and magnesium in them will help that heart out a bunch, too. It also helps keep your blood sugar low because it’s a slow burning energy source, which also makes it great for endurance athletes or anyone having a loooong day. It also helps in preventing constipation….not exactly surprised by that either.
The criticism amongst advocates of other diets, in particular the paleo people, is that beans in general contain enzyme inhibitors (aka toxins) that may interfere with digestion. However, soaking the lentils for a day prior to cooking will remove nearly all of that problem. Cooking is simple: boil them on low heat for about 30 minutes or so. As I said before, get creative with the seasoning. I treat them a lot like ground beef and season them similarly as if they were being used in tacos and stews. My go-to pre-workout favorite with this one, though, is topping a whole bunch of them over a cooked sweet potato with some garlic chili sauce and a dollop of hummus. GAINZ, SON!
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