Since protein is a hot topic for vegans, I wanted to share a little bit about beans. These amazing little nuggets of nutrition should be a staple in your plant-based life. If you aren’t plant-based, beans should still be a staple in your nutritional life. They do so many wonderful things for your body and they are so diverse that you can make a million tasty things out of them. Check out some of my favorite reasons to eat beans.
- Protein Powerhouses- No really, they are so full of protein that you should be consuming these a lot. Probably a couple of times a day, if you can stand it. Combine with grains like, tortillas, pasta or rice to make a complete protein.
- Nutrient Powerhouses– Dry beans are chock full of vitamins and minerals, such as: copper, manganese, and magnesium. They are also a good source of iron depending on the bean (white beans tend to have more iron than black beans.)
- They Make You Poop Good– Having your daily BM is really important. Since these suckers are full of water and fiber, they help move things along and they help cut calories without leaving you feeling deprived.
- They are Cancer Fighters – They contain phytochemical compounds which means they are high in antioxidants. The beans with the most antioxidants are: black, kidney, pinto, navy, and black-eyed peas.
- They Can Help Keep Your Heart Healthy– They provide soluble fiber which is awesome for lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar.
- They are cheap! Meaning they make awesome meals when you are on a budget (burritos, chili, red beans and rice), and really, who isn’t on a tight budget nowadays?
Are you convinced yet?
I can already hear it, “I don’t want to be tooty!!” (followed by a pouty face…)
Well guess what, farting is a natural part of being human and everyone who is healthy does it. So get over it. Part of the reason beans have their musical quality is because the outer coating contains oligosaccharides which are hard to digest. It’s been suggested that the indigestible sugars in beans may act as a prebiotic and are actually good food for your gut flora. I know, I know, ripping a ripe juicy one can be embarrassing, especially if you are around someone new. If you cut the cheese, just smile and point out that you have happy gut flora (I just can’t resist that term!)
You’re still fighting me on the gas thing. Ok, well, you can have your beans and eat them too and minimize the gas. Here’s a few simple tips on what to do:
- If you are new to eating beans, slowly introduce them to your diet and so that you can nurture your gut flora to grow. Try just eating 1/2 cup at a time and see what happens.
- As my dad says, “You gotta soak the fart out of them.” If you are preparing dried beans, make sure to soak them for at least 12 hours before you cook. Soaking helps break down some of those starches that are so hard to digest. Discard the soaking water and rinse throughly to minimize the gassy effects.
- Still having issues? There is nothing wrong with taking a digestive enzyme to give your gut a helping hand.
As with anything else, making them from scratch is better than canned. Making them does take some planning since you need to soak them and they do take about an hour to cook (unless you are fancy and cool and have a pressure cooker then you can have beany deliciousness in a matter of minutes.) Canned are ok , as long as you get low-sodium and organic.
Have any amazing bean recipes? I’d love to hear them!