Eating Raw Legumes

by Jim
(Marietta,Ga. USA)

Jim's questions:

After some reading on your page, I think I know the answer to my question, but I still have to ask.

I have been grinding dried lentils and split peas in a coffee grinder, powderizing them along with raw nuts, whole grain and other things, soaking them overnight in a rice milk and water mixture, then adding it to a fruit smoothie. I have been doing this for the last two or three months and my body seems to be okay with it.

So my question is:

Are the uncooked peas and lentils digestible and a good thing,or should they be cooked,and if so, how long will they keep in refrigerator, and/or do you have a better suggestion?

This seems more like a homework assignment then just a simple question I know, but I am just looking for some guidlines to what I think and what my body tells me.

Here is a list of what my daily smoothie ingredients:

1/4 cup of one part each finely ground: raw walnuts, blanched almonds, 5 whole grain mix, roasted sun flower seeds, lentils, split peas, flax seeds, about 1 cup of frozen blueberries and 1 cup of mixed fruit, Greek yogurt, raw baby carrots, 5 lg. asparagus spears, 2-3 oz.of baby spinach leaves and 1/2 cup of rice milk.

My next question is:

Is this a good blend or would you change anything? Also with a multi-vitamin, omega-3 gel and a shot of cod liver oil, is this enough nutrition for a day to support a 50 year old, somewhat hard working man's body until a good dinner every day?

How do I find out the amounts of protein, calories, carbs, etc. for a daily diet, make a profile if you will?(without joining a diet club)

How do I calculate calories burned and protein necessary for my exercise, which is usually riding a bike two or three times a week for 30-40 miles,depending on the wind blowing? Is this something you can help me with,or at least send me in the right direction?

I want to lose 15-20 pounds of mostly beer gut, but without eliminating my beer that I enjoy so much a few times a month.

Thank You Very Much!

Suzy's Answers:

Hi, Jim,

As you probably guessed, I am not in favor of eating uncooked legumes (lentils and split peas) and grains. Cooking these foods makes them digestible, and I'm not sure if pulverizing and soaking them accomplishes the same thing. On the other hand, seeds such as flax and nuts should be eaten raw, whenever possible.

I would suggest that you eliminate the raw lentils, raw split peas and raw grains from your smoothie and increase the amount of flax and nuts. You might also try adding some chia seed, which provides a complete protein and is great source of Omega-3 fats.

Although it's a great way to start the day, I can't really say whether this smoothie breakfast is enough for you to eat until dinner, since I don't know enough about you or your lifestyle or the exact amounts of the ingredients in your smoothie.

Having said that, it's probably not a great idea to skip lunch, since your body needs a more constant supply of fuel and nutrients than even a healthy breakfast can provide, especially if you are an active person. Plus, if you skip lunch, you are more likely to overeat at supper.

You are correct that you need to be aware of your protein requirements, so that you don't lose muscle when you lose weight. One way to define protein needs, is to say that every day we need about 7 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight.

This means that if you weigh 200 pounds, you would
need about 70 grams of protein each day.

200 ÷ 20 = 10 grams x 7 = 70 grams

Many healthy eating experts put it a different way by saying that we should get about 30% of our calories each day from healthy eating protein sources.

Protein has about 4 calories per gram, so if you consume 2400 calories a day, about 720 of them should be from protein.

2400 calories x 30% = 720 calories

Sites that may help you

If you don't want to do the math or you need help, there are several sites that can help you figure out food values. If you just want nutrition info, you can type in your foods on this site:

If you want to keep track of calories, fats, etc. and exercise, you can go to this free diet site:

You have to sign up and create a screen name, but it is free and you can do as little or as much as you choose after you are signed up.

Another site where you can get nutrition info on specific foods is this site:

Again you will have to sign up, but it is free with no other requirements.

With these last two sites, you can also ask questions on the Forums or Message Boards and a dietitian or other members will help answer them. This is another free resource that may help you reach your goal.

Good luck with your healthy weight loss plans and thanks for visiting our healthy eating site!

Eat and be healthy with my warmest regards,

Suzy Staywell

Nutrition page

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