Sunday, February 24, 2008
Something about Beans
When Tracy asked me to do a cooking demonstration for her friends in California, I knew I would have to use some sort of legume. I love cooking with beans, lentils and peas. They are high in protein, vitamin B and minerals. I typically use beans more in the winter because they are a warming and buildup food. Beans offer the benefits of the protein needed for tissue building and repair without loading our systems with cholesterol, fat and toxic nitrogen by-products of meat. Plus, beans are very beneficial to your prostate...
So, why do beans get such a bad rap in regards to digestion? Well, they ARE difficult to digest, but the good news is there are ways of preparing beans that will avoid the funny smells and sounds that they are associated with.
1. Quick Soak your beans before you cook them. A quick soak is starting your beans in a pot of cold water. Use at least 5 parts water to 1 part beans. Add nothing to your water. Bring your beans to a boil, then let them boil full tilt boogie for 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let your beans stand for one hour. This kills the germination process that can cause intestinal gas.
2. Drain and Rinse your beans. You will be discarding some minerals and vitamins... but what good are minerals and vitamins if they make you feel like a hot air balloon?
3. Cook your beans until they are soft. You should be able to crush a bean on the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Crunchy is not a word that should cross your mind when you eat a bean. I like to cook my beans in a pressure cooker. It shortens the cooking time. I also add onion, carrot, celery and kombu to cooking water.
4. Cook your beans with Kombu. Kombu is a variety of seaweed that helps to break down the proteins that cause gas.
5. Chew your food well. Not chewing well can cause gas, especially with beans.
6. Small beans digest easier. Lentils and split peas digest easier that whole Garbanzo Beans. You can also puree your beans for better digestibility. Hummus is much easier to digest than whole Garbanzo Beans.
7. Go easy at first. It may take a few months before your body is used to beans. Start with a small hand full in your soup or salad and build up from there. Deciding tomorrow you are going to include beans with every meal may cause some discomfort for yourself and those around you.
*Addition - One more way cool thing about beans... when they are combined with a grain they are a perfect protein! That means together beans and grains will provide you will all eight amino acids that your body does not manufacture on it's own. Grains and beans are basic food in almost every culture... beans and rice, lentils and barley, couscous and chickpeas, cornbread and black eyed peas, aduki beans and rice or millet, white beans and pasta... you get the idea! Plus, the proteins in both the grain and legume are more usable by your body than simply eaten alone. How cool is that? Macrobiotic diets suggest 1 part legume to 5 parts grain. More traditional preparation of legumes and grains are 1 part beans to 2 parts grain.
I am by no means advocating for a flesh-free diet. I am suggesting an additional source of protein that has qualities meat lacks. Good news for strength-driven individuals. If news headlines like the Hallmark/Westland fiasco leave a bad taste in your mouth... consider fortifying your diet with beans!
Vinyasa Yoga with Lisa at Neti-Neti - 1.5 Hours
Snatches on the minute with Aaron
8L/8R - 10 minutes
5L/5R - 15 minutes
~I had to stop 5 minutes short of my goal, I was developing blisters on my palms.