Beans are a Nutritious Vegetarian Choice for Meals

Beans are a nutritious vegetarian choice and a complete protein when paired with rice or corn at the same meal, making the protein is complete.
By Cathy Springmann
April/May 2000
Add to My MSN

If beans are eaten with rice or corn at the same meal, the protein is complete.

Content Tools

Related Content

Eat Smart—for You and the Planet

Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains the environmental effect of consuming to...

A Healthy Vegetarian Diet

Thinking about cutting back on meat? A healthy vegetarian diet is simple with a little know how and ...

Laurel's Kitchen: Vegetarian Meal Recipes

The book "Laurel's Kitchen" has vegetarian meal recipes for good health, includes suggestions on veg...

Garbanzo Spread Recipe

This Garbanzo Spread Recipe from "Laurel's Kitchen" makes a delicious sandwich spread filled with nu...

Beans are a nutritious vegetarian choice for healthy meal plans. 

There have been several mentions of the fact that beans alone — though high in protein — are not a complete protein and lack certain amino acids. However, if beans are eaten with rice or corn at the same meal, the protein is complete. Many Mexican foods are based on beans and rice, and citizens of that country seem to be healthy enough. Besides beans are a nutritious vegetarian choice, who can refuse a steaming bowl of bean soup and fresh corn bread with home-churned butter?

Cathy Springmann
Oklahoma City, OK
(Country Lore, September 1975)

Post a comment below.


Agnes Magillicuddy
1/3/2011 5:31:18 PM
Wow - seriously misinformed. You stated that "citizens of that country seem to be healthy enough." What are you basing this on? Obesitiy rates in Mexico are only slightly below that of the US: #1 United States: 30.6% #2 Mexico: 24.2% (source: OECD Health data, 2005) Life expectancy in Mexico is lower than in the US. The infant mortality rate is twice as high. The under 5 mortality rate is twice as high. (United Nations, 2010) I can attest to the fact that the typical Mexican diet contains god-awful amounts of fat and salt - way beyond what most Americans eat. Sugar as well, and cane sugar is no better than high fructose corn syrup in the long run. Still rots your teeth and is still empty calories. The Mexican diet of beans and grains is cheap, not healthy, and the cornmeal used is NOT whole grain, including the germ. AND has been ground and processed at high temperatures. The wheat used in tortillas is NOT whole grain, and is more likely to be bleached than american made tortillas. Heart disease is far more prevalent in Mexico (thank the fat and salt for that.) Diabetes is as much of a risk to mexican populations than Americans, and more likely to remain undiagnosed and untreated until quite late. I find the statements in this 'article' to be ignorant and bigoted. Shame on you. This is not journalism; this is not informative. This is not an article.

12/30/2009 6:26:04 PM
Actually, as many healthy vegetarians can attest (a few of them very well known athletes who have pretty good muscles if I do say so myself) combining whole grains with legumes works really does work pretty darn well for protein. Most people consume WAY more protein than they actually need anyway, and this has its own health dangers. The amount one can get from plant proteins has kept myself and many other folks I know pretty healthy for years, so it must be getting absorbed in there one way or the other. :)

10/18/2009 11:54:21 PM
Wrong. The vast majority of bean protein is indigestible by humans. The most you get are the biproducts of digestion by the bacteria in your gi tract. It is also why beans give you massive amounts of gas. This "article" is also misleading to the point of being wrong because even though the beans and corn combination nets you amino acids that are useful, the ratios are wrong. The point of getting protein is to stimulate muscle. The ratio of intake you should get is of parts isoluceine, leucine and valine, in a ratio of 1:1.8:1.2. The amount found in the food combination you recommend is .5:4.2:1.9, and is largely useless.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.