By Daria Zeoli, Guest Contributor
My brother and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things. Veganism is just one of them.
We recently had lunch together, and, while he asked me about plants having feelings and desert island hypotheticals and even mentioned lions, something else he brought up perked my ears: edamame. You see, this wasn’t the first time he’d mentioned that word to me. Perhaps you’ve already guessed that the real topic was protein. (By the way, have you checked out the Vegan Protein Guide? It’s a great resource for all things plant-based protein.)
For some reason, my brother (who is enthusiastic about lifting and skeptical about vegan bodybuilding) has focused on edamame as it relates to vegan athletes. I’m not sure if he thinks that they are all eating soybeans by the bowlful after a lifting session, but he was quite adamant about its protein profile being the highest outside the animal kingdom.
Listen, I don’t consider myself an expert on athletics or on edamame. But it got me thinking – what is it about this little bean that puts it on the radar of a meat-eating guy like my brother?
First, the basics. Edamame is young or immature soybeans, usually still in the pod, though you can get them shelled, that are picked prior to hardening. The word first appeared in 1275, when the Buddhist saint Nichiren Shônin wrote a thank you note for edamame left at a temple.
It’s not hard to find edamame: while it’s perhaps most popular as an appetizer at Japanese restaurants, you’ll likely find it in the freezer section of your local supermarket. And find it you should: check out the nutritional breakdown, courtesy of the USDA: One cup of edamame contains 89 calories, 6 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein. It also contains calcium, iron, Vitamins C, E, K and B-6, folate, potassium… should I continue?
There is the ongoing debate about soy, but, as with other foods, it’s perfectly fine in moderation. And, with that nutritional profile, edamame is a much more reasonable choice than a bag of potato chips.
So, whether you have aspirations of six-pack abs or not, whether you have a meat-eating brother to play defensive omnivore bingo with or not, add edamame to your repertoire. It does a body good.
Photo credit: viviannguyen