Lentils for Valentine’s Day?

Topics: ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine, Diabetes, Food Benefits, Wellness and Health
ChefMD Dr. La Puma's Valentine Lentils

What with the blowing of nutritional winds, you could be forgiven for thinking that legumes (lentils included: legumes are anything that grows in a pod: every bean and pea, for example) are verboten. They are primarily carbs, they are high in protein for a plant, and modest in fat, and of course have no alcohol.

The current dogma is that more fat is better, and lentils, while inexpensive and potentially delicious (see, for example, my Curried Lentil Soup or my Grilled Sea Bass with Asian Red Lentils and Kale (before kale was hip), have little fat though avocado and olive oil are easy to add to either of these two dishes.

Yet lentils are culinary medical powerhouses, and like so many other salt-of-the-earth foods, have stood the test of time. That, IMO, can be a governing principle: if your ancestors grew it, gathered it, hunted it, foraged for it, chances are, it should be part of your diet, replacing something in a microwaveable tray or disposable cup.

Red lentils have been shown to have more protein, iron, zinc and folate than even black beans or brown or green lentils; they’re filling; and they’re low glycemic: which means their carb don’t elevate insulin levels or blood sugar. When you cook your lentils, the phytic acid goes away: no need to soak before cooking.

But can lentils help you get the girl? Or guy?

I think this may depend on your ability to adopt an adroit accent persuasively. Eric Ripert, suave and accomplished French chef that he is, uses lentils in his Valentine’s dinner (although he also uses pork tenderloin, and his dinner is in a 4 minute segment at 8 a.m. on the Today Show: mine was in a 3 minute segment on Lifetime, shot at 11 a.m.. At least the red wine was real, early in the morning. I’ll take it.