What, exactly, is a legume?
A legume is defined as a plant in the fabeaceae family. These include beans, lentils, peas, and peanuts.
Why cut them out of your diet?
In terms of micronutrient density, legumes come up short compared to fruits and vegetables. Also, the protein content in legumes is vastly inferior to that of meat and fish.
Legumes are much more carbohydrate than they are protein, so if you are using legumes as your primary source of protein, then you will be taking on board all the extra carbs as well - with the associated rise in insulin production.
Many legumes contain toxic compounds called lectins, which are only removed by soaking and boiling prior to eating. This is why they didn’t figure too highly in the diets of our ancestors. Regular exposure to lectins can promote inflammation of the digestive tract.
Many legumes, like grains, also contain phytic acid, which may bind up minerals inthe gut and inhibit your ability to absorb them. traditional methods of preparing soyabeans in eastern countries, for example, involve fermentation or very slow cooking and skimming of rising scum. In this way the anti-nutrients can be minimised. Modern mass food production doesn’t allow for these techniques and the anti-nutrients are inadequately removed.
Tofu, soya milk, soya “cheeses” and “meats” are not natural, and are not even heallth foods - they are highly processed and exhibit poor digesibility.
If we have some, which ones would be the most OK?
Most people seem to be OK with green beans - including runner beans, green peas, french beans, dwarf beans, and broad beans. Things that you could grow on your allotment in other words, as they do not necessarily require cooking (well, except broad beans) and they are low in or contain no lectins.