Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Beans! Beans! Beans!

Yesterday's blog looked at the Greens component of Dr Joel Fuhrman's G-BOMBS (as discussed in his books The End of Dieting and Super Immunity).  And today's blog looks at the B which is beans, specifically legumes!  Legumes are a fibre rich healthy protein source.  There are many different types of legumes, including chickpeas, pinto beans, kidney beans, navy beans, lentils etc. 
Legumes offer blood sugar balancing support and can help to reduce the risk of developing a number of different cancers.  They are also a low cost, nutrient rich, and low calorie protein source and it is a great idea to aim to integrate them more regularly into our diet.  
Many people are unsure of what to do with legumes, but they are quite easy to work with and mix well with all sorts of dishes, including as a base for dips, sprinkled over salads, mixed into soups or stir fries.   There are loads of recipes on the Internet or cookbooks in the library or the bookstores to gather ideas from too (great authors to look for include:  Sarah Kramer, Dreena Burton, Kristy Turner, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Jae Steele).   
I prefer to use dried legumes (if you do use canned legumes, aim to get ones in BPA free cans) - they require at least 4 - 6 hours of soaking before being cooked though, so there is some planning required.  I find it easiest to remember to soak legumes when I combine the soaking with something that is already part of my morning routine.  I always soak legumes after I have made my AM smoothie - when I am putting away the smoothie dishes (which includes the measuring cup), I can generally remember to do so if I want to soak legumes for supper.  After being soaked for 4 - 6 hours, most legumes generally take 60 minutes to cook.  
For some people, legumes are hard to digest.  In general, lentils, mung beans, aduki beans tend to be the easiest on the digestive system.  And slowly increasing our intake over time tends to make it easier on the digestive system as well.
For people with more in depth digestive concerns, legumes can still be an option, generally in smaller serving sizes and less frequently.  If following a low FODMAP diet, the easiest legumes include chickpeas, lentils, mung beans, and butter beans (preferable no more than 1/4 cup per serving and preferably no more than 2 - 3 times per week).  Interestingly, from a FODMAP perspective, the legumes are easiest on the system when they are canned - this allows the GOS/fructans (which are the concerning components of the legumes, FODMAP wise) to leach into the canning water and reduces the amount in the legumes we eat. 
If following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, the easiest legumes on the digestive system (once symptom free) include lentils, black beans, kidney beans and navy beans.      

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