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!

Sunday Training

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.


Anonymous said...

thanks for all the info, Fawn! I have heard that beans need something else to be a "complete" protein. So, what do you add besides carrots, onions, etc.? Does it need to be served with rice or do you combine different types of beans?

Taikei Matsushita said...

Fawn, you'll have no problem mastering Japanese cuisine.
I thought Kombu was an exclusive thing for us. There's a store specialized in Kombu alone here. Beans are dependent largely on import.

Tracy said...

Wow your photo is awesome...and of course the info too. I wll gladly guide my blog readers to this, but can I steal it?

And where do I get Kombu, does it come in packages? I live in Japantown, I could probably find it at one of the markets here.

And snatching the 16kg for 25 min? Damn, I guess I know what my next workout is! (Oh by the way, the smaller handle on the competition bell is easier on the hand, but I go back and forth about using the old bell for grip strength)

Tracy said...

PS With the exception of the red lentils you have pictured, I have all of these things in my pantry, since staying, and learning, from you in Oct, and being introduced to the pressure cooker...which you know I use constantly...sometimes, many times, twice in one day!

fawn said...


Thanks for reminding me... Yes, GRAINS make beans a complete protein! I will have to add that to my post. Excellent observation!

When are you going to make your blog public? Come on girlfriend, I want to see what you are up to!

fawn said...


I LOVE Japanese cuisine! Pickled vegetables, miso soup, sushi... yum!!! Isn't Mochi Cakes beans and rice made into dessert? You have to love a culture like that!

When I lived in Hawaii both kitchens I cooked at I worked for Japanese women. However, I never learned how to cook Japanese food...

fawn said...


Help yourself... I am flattered that you want to know! Please, take! I am more than happy to share what I know with your readers! I am going to post recipes with the pictures you took, hopefully today.

You can find Kombu at Wholefoods as well as any Asian food store. I believe it is also known as kelp... I could be wrong about that one.

Yep, 16kgs for 25 minutes. I have a blister on each palm this morning to prove it! LOL! If I can do this... You can do it. Your endurance is much better than mine. I have to say 5/5 on the minute is pretty easy... 8/8 was challenging.

Anonymous said...

Fawn, I'm not public because there's nothing there! LOL I'm not a blogger, my life is too boring! And I want recipes, too. I need something concrete to follow right now. Tracy is going to help me next week and I hope I can go from there.

Taikei Matsushita said...

Fawn, anything you ask other than land animal meat and raw plants, I can bring it to you when I get there for RKC II.
Including Kombu and pickles. Name it or I can pick up a few.

I'd me more than happy to.

The Veggie Queen said...

I also love my pressure cooker, so much that I produced a pressure cooking DVD to help others learn to use one. It's called Pressure Cooking: A Fresh Look, Delicious Dishes in Minutes . I demonstrate how to make presoaked black beans in about 5-6 minutes. It's amazing.
Your bean ideas are great, and I consider myself a bean expert.

Howie Brewer said...

The Mrs made a big pot of lentil soup last week. I've eaten a TON of it, with no side effects. =)

Can we have a follow up post on quinoa?

fawn said...

Taikei, If you are willing to bring some food from Japan I would be thrilled! Pickled vegetables for sure...

Howie, I will write something about quinoa... I love it and use it all the time!

Taikei Matsushita said...

Fawn, done!!