Someone very close to me was complaining recently about a speculated harm that resulted from eating beans. As I listened around, I found a few other people saying similar things. Of course, everything they were using as “reasoning” was 100 percent false! The attempt was to discredit the healthy legumes, and use their natural need for proteins as an excuse to continue eating poison animal flesh! It doesn’t matter what kind of animal it is. Every animal has means of excreting the poisons which gather in its body, but its body is never completely free of them. So, though you may take the guts out of a fish or fowl, there is more of what the gut is full of throughout the animal’s body, having not yet made it to the proper organ to be disposed of. So, if you eat any part of the animal, you are eating what he has not yet had a chance to get rid of!

In my file, I found an article which I had saved from the April 18, 1999 issue of THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE. It was entitled “HOW THE BEAN SAVED CIVILIZATION.” The author’s name was Umberto Eco, and the subhead read, “Forget electricity, the microchip and the car. Without legumes, we wouldn’t have made it out of the Dark Ages.”

“As the population became smaller and less strong physically,” he wrote, “people were mowed down by endemic diseases (tuberculosis, leprosy, ulcers, eczema, tumors) and by dread epidemics like the plague. It was always risky to venture demographic calculations for past millennia, but according to some scholars, Europe in the seventh century had shrunk to roughly 14 million inhabitants; others posit 17 million for the eighth century. Underpopulation combined with undercultivated land left nearly everyone undernourished.


“But what I really want to talk about,” the writer continued, “is beans, and not just beans, but also peas and lentils. All these fruits of the earth are rich in vegetable proteins, as anyone who goes on a low-meat diet knows, for the nutritionist will be sure to insist that a nice dish of lentils or split peas has the nutritional value of a thick, juicy steak.

“We believe that the inventions and the discoveries that have changed our lives depend on complex machines. But the fact is, we are still here—because of beans.

He closed with: “Secondly, we have all known for a long time that if the West ate unmilled—brown rice, husks and all (delicious, by the way), we would consume less food and better food.”