5.12.2009

An Ode to Peas - Protein for Vegans


Eat your peas! Grandma was right! Many times I am asked "How do you get any protein???" as if I am going to fall over from lack of protein at any moment. First of all, there is a debate as to how much protein we actually need. Where did this obsession with protein come from, it is not as if we are all hunters and gladiators? Second, vegans have plenty of resources for protein in plant based foods- this brings me to peas. When I read about the health benefits of peas I was shocked, especially with the high protein content.

Peas are of the same family that beans are - Legumes. Legumes are high in folate, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, calcium, and selenium, and B6. Peas pack a super punch with 8 vitamins, 7 minerals, dietary fiber and protein (lots of it). I had no idea that peas contained fiber OR protein! In one cup of peas you can pick up 35% of your daily fiber and 6.4 grams of protein - that is more protein that 2 tbsp of peanut butter! Many foods high in fiber and protein are also high in calories, peas are a great source of protein and fiber without adding pounds.

There are now studies being done on protein in the diet and in particular too much protein. In the December 2006 Issue, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, findings indicate that those consuming less protein have lower levels of certain hormones that have been linked to cancer. If you are concerned about protein do some research and most important - relax and eat your peas!

TIPS
- Canned peas are not only gross but they also contain a ton of sodium and most of the nutrients are missing after all the processing - best to eat them raw.
- Dried peas retain their fiber and protein content and are still very nutritious.
- Yellow peas are a must try
- Asian markets are a great source of snap peas all year round

MEDICAL RESEARCH
Medical Study on Peas and High Blood Pressure
Too Much Protein Increase Cancer Risk?

7 comments:

  1. I semi grew up on a semi-farm. What that means in layman's terms is that we visited my grandmother on her land which was about an acre.

    My grandmother had chickens, goats, cows, horses, cats and dogs. Oh, and thee occasional corn snake that crawled in from the sugar cane field. Yep, my nanny had a sugar cane field in her own back yard. And let me tell you there was nothing better than ripping one up out of the ground, peeling back the husk and chomping on raw cane.

    She also had a plethora of grapefruit tress as well as other citrus. there is a point to this comment.

    We would also go to U-pick places and we all loved beans/peas and the such. So many of us would sit in her large wooden swing with to containers in front of us. One with the raw beans/peas and one for the peas/beans we would hull. And there was nothing better in my eyes than to snap off the end and run my thumb all the way down as those beautiful little gems would fall into my bowl. and if one happen to make its way to my mouth...oh well.

    I love peas, always have...always will. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

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  2. I can't even tell you how much I love peas. So much so that my screen named used to be Keeper of the Peas on most social networking sites. As a kid, my grandfather had a very prolific garden. One of the things he liked to grow were peas. Nothing brought me more joy than to sneak out and steal the pods off of the vine and eat the peas right out of th pods. They were so crisp, flavorful and delicious. I can almost taste them now as a type this.

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  3. i wish i liked peas!!
    they really are SOO good for you..
    maybe i should give them another shot..
    and not the canned ones, of course. :)

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  4. I love peas!!! YUMMY!!!!

    And, I use pea protein powder in my protein shakes sometimes.

    Cheers,
    Kristen

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  5. Peas are great, go with many dishes. Awesome on salads as well.

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  6. I love peas! They are so pretty and brighten up lots of rice dishes for me.

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  7. There's nothing quite like fresh peas... So delicious just blanched and dressed with olive oil, salt, and pepper!

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