Creamy Authentic Hummus and Managing Ketosis with Plant Based Protein

by Amylee Amos MS, RDN

Plant based protein gets a bad wrap when people are trying to achieve mild ketosis. The media makes it seem like you need to pack in the fatty cuts of animal meat if you want to stay in ketosis, and while that may make achieving ketosis easier, it certainly does not promote long term health. Luckily, mild ketosis can be achieved in a health promoting, plant based way and in the case of cognitive decline, it should be pursued in this manner, which supports all other body systems, rather than sacrificing them.

Some of the oldest, healthiest populations in the world get much of their protein from legumes (1). Centenarian studies done in these populations suggest that diets rich in legumes promote healthspan. Legumes like lentils, black beans, and garbanzo beans have tremendous health benefits and are rich in vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, thiamine, and zinc. Even if you need a ketogenic diet to support your cognition, you should still be able to get the benefits of protein rich plants such as legumes. How much/ how many servings of plant based proteins can be consumed while maintaining mild ketosis varies between individuals. Monitor your ketone levels while experimenting with adding plant proteins to see what works for you.

The creamy, authentic hummus featured here makes a decadent, satiating snack or meal component, using whole food ingredients that promote brain health. The garbanzo beans provide the plant based protein along with B vitamins and minerals. They also have great fiber content, which is necessary for regulating gut health. Soaking the dried beans overnight (especially if you do this with a small piece of kombu) and then boiling them helps make them more digestible and less gas-producing. Tahini provides brain boosting healthy fats. The garlic functions as a natural antioxidant, promoting a symbiotic microbial environment. Finally the spices have potent antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties (2). All together, this is a dish you don’t want to miss- even if you need to achieve mild ketosis.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups dried garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup cold water
  • ⅛ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup tahini

Directions:

  1. Cover dried beans in water, leaving at least one inch water above the beans. Soak overnight.
  2. Boil until tender, approximately 30-45 minutes. Drain the beans and set aside a few garbanzo beans aside for garnish.
  3. In a food processor, blend the garbanzo beans, water, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, sumac, Aleppo pepper, and salt, several minutes until smooth.
  4. Add tahini and blend 1 more minute.
  5. Add additional cold water (or ice cubes) to thin out and reach desired consistency.
  6. Garnish with extra spices and garbanzo beans.

References:

  1. Orlich et al., 2013. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6473
  2. Sowbhagya, 2011. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2010.500223