From Vegan Milk to Hair Serum, Lupini Beans Are The Next Big Superfood
Though its origins are actually quite old, lupini milk is being hailed as the newest, freshest trend in the world of alternative milks. Originally enjoyed by ancient Egyptians and Roman warriors, lupini beans are a powerhouse in the plant world: the beans have one of the highest protein per calorie counts of any plant, and contain 4.6 grams of fiber per cup (about 15% of your daily recommended intake). Lupini provides essential vitamins and minerals, including manganese, which helps prevent cellular damage. Lupini milk eschews the weaknesses of milks like coconut, hemp, and rice, which typically have problems with taste and texture– it also avoids the pitfalls of more popular milk alternatives like almond and soy, while boasting a nutritional profile more akin to cow’s milk. Unlike almonds–which are a notoriously destructive crop in California– lupines (a relative of the lupini bean) fertilize the earth for other plants. And while soy and lupini beans share the desirable quality of a high protein content, lupini beans have the advantage, as they are not estrogenic or heavily sprayed with pesticides (as most of the soy currently produced in the United States is).
Throughout Europe and around the Mediterranean, lupini beans are already beginning to gain traction as a nutritious and versatile ingredient. In the United States, small businesses are incorporating lupini beans into their products as more and more research surfaces to praise the ancient bean.
Though lupini beans are gaining momentum in milk form, lupini beans are still enjoyable in their original state, eaten just as they were in ancient times. Brooklyn-based BRAMI steeps their lupini beans in organic vinegar, tangy citrus, and natural spices and sells them in four different flavors (Sea Salt, Garlic & Herb, Chili Lime, and Hot Pepper). An alternative to edamame, BRAMI beans avoid the previously-mentioned pitfalls of soy and, unlike edamame, can be eaten straight out of the bag (and trust us, they go fast!). For Lil’ Sprouts, toss BRAMI beans into their lunch box, or keep them in the car as a convenient snack for after school or on long car rides. Adults will love them too– they pair especially well with a cold beer on a warm afternoon.
Beyond their nutritional value, lupine beans’ phytonutrient profile makes them suitable for us in beauty products. High in essential amino acids, minerals, and vitamins, lupine beans are frequently incorporated into products that combat the effects of aging. For GC guys, Barberry Coast integrates lupine protein and lupine seed oils into their Bay Rum Pre-Shave Face Scrub to stimulate collagen production and restore the skin’s elasticity and firmness. Scented with their signature bay rum essential oils, the serum incorporates crushed walnut shells to gently exfoliate, ensuring the lupine oils are absorbed into the skin for not only a clean shave, but smooth skin for days to come.
At the Garden Collage office, we are longtime fans of CAKE, REVERIE’s anti-aging growth serum, which utilizes lupine oil to soothe and protect the scalp. When applied to the hair, the hydrolyzed protein from the sweet white lupine plant has a regenerative effect. Along the roots, CAKE also helps add volume to keep hair from lying flat, especially if you otherwise avoid conditioning your roots. Long term, the oil’s use can help remedy the destructive effects of color treatment by minimizing breakage.
Lupines– made famous in the classic children’s book Miss Rumphius— are also helpful in the garden, as they attract bees and butterflies with their bright colors. The plants normally grow one- to five-feet, but some can grow as tall as 20 feet. Lupines do best in the Spring in full sun, and near squash, cucumbers, or broccoli. While the flowers themselves are not edible (Lupini plants are a relative of the more common flower but not the same strain), they add beautiful color to any formal or informal garden– the superfood beans are just a bonus.
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