The contemporary American diet can greatly benefit from the innumerable centuries of experience that many cultures have in food science. Stretching back through generations of home cooking and healing, many of these dietary choices can claim tenure as part of a health positive diet. The successful proliferation of these ancient cultural groups stands as a testament to the long-term stability and resilience the diet can provide.
Taking a cue from our ancestors
Common staple foods are established based on the same demands as they were in ancient times; abundance, cost, and reliable availability. While modern consumers have refrigeration and preservatives to increase the shelf-life of their foods, older cultures relied on reserves of dried grains and legumes to guard against future hunger.
In many ancient cultures, such as those of India and South America, the vegetarian diet was the norm. Over the centuries, people have eaten meat-free diets for a variety of reasons including religious restrictions or poverty. While these reasons are still applicable, more and more people are citing health as their reason for swearing off animal products.
With only natural food choices available, maintaining a poor diet is difficult
According to India’s national newspaper, just under half of all families, in a sprawling population of 1.2 billion people, are vegetarian. With a vibrant culinary history, India is an archive of vegetarian recipes that reconcile cost, convenience, and nutrition.
Recent research has provided the world with scientific support for the dietary choices of ancient human groups. Andean lupine, or “chocho” as it’s called in Ecuadorian and Peruvian dialects, has garnered recent attention when study results caused researchers from Ecuador to dub the innocent-looking legume as the newest super food.
A pearl named Chocho
Like other members of the legume family, Andean lupine has a higher percentage of fat and protein than most plant sources. For this reason, peas, beans and lentils have long represented a cornerstone in meat-free diets. While it’s true that legumes don’t provide a complete amino acid like meat does, the protein is easily completed with the input of rice.
Researchers are calling the legume a better source of protein than quinoa, a very popular staple in vegan diets. Roughly 50 percent of the chocho bean is protein. It also has a greater portion of heart protective oleic oils, which are more commonly derived from sources such as nuts, olive oil, and avocado. The plant is particularly important in South American countries, because it provides a chance for people without access to meat to still meet their nutritional needs.
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