As my caloric needs have gone up with more intense workouts, I’ve been experimenting with different food sources that can offer greater nutritional density per serving size. I’ve also been experimenting with eliminating protein powder from my daily regimen, in favor of a purely whole food approach.
I noticed that pea protein seemed to be pretty popular as a supplement, so I set out to investigate the humble pea. I wanted to see what all the commotion was about, and also compare it to some other similar vegetables, to see if there was room for improvement.
My focus was on a few key areas:
- Can I get a greater caloric value in the same volume of food? On a whole food plant based diet with a daily intake of 3,000+ calories, this becomes very important because plant food is very bulky, and sometimes the sheer volume of food that I have to eat can become uncomfortable if I am not making the right choices.
- Can I increase my fiber intake? I am a big fan of fiber. The more, the better. Various types of fibers and starches feed our microbiome. The more we eat, the healthier our gut flora is. Jeff Leach, Founder of the Human Food Project talks in depth about the eating habits of the Hadza, one of the few hunter-gather tribes left on the planet; their daily fiber intake is 75-100g, which is 7 times what the average American eats. I aim for 100g a day.
- Can I improve the omega fatty acid ratio? A healthy dietary omega fatty acid ratio is very important not only for overall good health, but for dropping fat and building muscle because a healthy ratio increases insulin sensitivity, reduces inflammation, and supports a healthy metabolism by protecting the liver.
- Can I improve my intake of nutrients that are harder to come by on a plant-based diet, such as iron and selenium?
After a little searching, I found a viable candidate: the mighty lima bean! I put them side-by-side in this cute little infographic to illustrate the factors in my decision to eat more lima beans!
Naturally, after I came upon this, I had to put some lima bean recipes together. Since it is summer time, I decided on a light succotash recipe with fresh herbs from my garden and bell peppers, which are in peak season right now.
Please enjoy. 🙂
- 3 cups lima beans, thawed from frozen
- 2 cups organic corn, thawed from frozen (best option to find organic non-gmo)
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, small dice
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped (I used purple since that's what I'm growing)
- 2 TB spearmint, finely chopped
- 3 TB fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- couple pinches sea salt to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and allow to marinade in the refrigerator overnight for the best flavor.