Nutrition, Inspiration and Avoiding Troublesome Gaseous Issues
Nutrition While beans are packed with nutrients and protein, I try not to focus unduly on nutrition facts, like how Food G has XYZ nutrients while Food S has ABC nutrients. This approach turns healthy eating into an arithmetic problem, and most of us never liked arithmetic to begin with.
Instead, I like to focus on fun things like textures, colors and complimentary tastes. And guess what? Great nutritional content automatically follows. That’s why I push beans. They add incredible color and texture to a dish that might otherwise be pretty bland (think a cheese quesadilla.) Add colorful beans and you’ve not only painted a more beautiful plate, but your nutritional density has just soared. Now, just add some green peppers. . . and a few sauteed red radishes. . . .you get the picture!
Planning for More Beans Attend any of my classes or work with me one-on-one and you know I can’t say enough about meal planning. It saves time, saves money, ensures healthier and more interesting meals–and is the best known method for working new foods into your diet. “Plan it and it will happen.”
So if you’re ready to start enjoying more beans in your diet, get out a sheet of paper and write in a couple ideas from this series of posts. Here are a few more ideas to get you going:
- Vegetable Soup with Beans (you can even just add canned beans to canned vegetable soup. Easy.)
- Bean Soups: Black Bean, Tortilla, White Bean and Kale
- Bean Burgers (with black beans, garbanzo beans, red beans)
- Mexican Food (of course)
- Squash and Beans (in a quick mix or a casserole)
- Pasta and Beans (aka Pasta y Fagioli)
- Chili (with or without meat; combine different bean varieties for fun)
- Chard of Kale and White Beans
- Beans and Rice with Salsa
- Spreads (hummus, white bean, etc.)
- Brownies (indeed, black bean brownies are awesome!)
You’ll note that I’m only giving you general ideas, since recipes are all over the internet–and in the three dozen cookbooks languishing in your kitchen! If you can just narrow your options so the task is manageable, then finding a recipe is easy. So pick one, just one, idea from this post series then find a recipe to match. Once you get going, ideas will snowball.
Play Go on a treasure hunt at the grocery store. It only takes a couple minutes to find a bit of inspiration, but it will lighten your daily meal making routine immeasurably. On my last shopping trip, for instance, I ran across a can of Butter Beans that will serve as a springboard for inspiration in the coming week.
Troublesome Issues of the Gaseous Variety The downside of beans, of course, is the intestinal havoc they can cause. Surely you’ve seen the many possible solutions in various articles. Here’s my best advice: Avoid eating sugar when eating a meal featuring beans. I have no scientific study to back me up, but the sugar seems to ferment the beans with all the explosive consequences of fermentation in a tight spot. Give it a try and see if this helps.
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