It's Cinco de Mayo-Get Your Bean On

Posted by Jessica Meyers Altman on

!Felicidaades para Cinco de Mayo! Cinco de Mayo is often celebrated with foods that aren’t heart healthy. Nachos loaded with sour cream & cheese, high sugar margaritas, deep-fried chimichangas. But a celebration CAN include foods that will lead to wellness. What foods? Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart. The more you eat, well-you know! But-hey-it’s good to get that digestive tract moving! Beans are served in most parts of the world as inexpensive foods that provide a lot of protein. They are rich sources of fiber, protein, and magnesium. As Americans, we’re obsessed with protein. We are constantly told how to get more protein. Sadly, this info often comes from the meat and diary industry. There’s no bean lobby that I know of, because there’s not much money to be made in encouraging people to eat them. As Americans, unless you're incredibly malnourished, you need not worry about getting enough protein. What should you be worrying about? Fiber! 97% of us aren’t coming anywhere closet to the amount that we need. What’s so great about fiber? Fiber increasing digestive time. It slows down the digestive process so blood sugars don’t spike. It increases satiety, making you feel satisfied for longer. It reduces blood pressure & cholesterol (plants contain no cholesterol), boosts digestive health, and lowers your risk of many forms of cancer. What can help you with this boost? Beans! !Claro que (that means of course in Spanish)!

So many people don’t eat beans. Try getting more beans in your daily diet, at least 1/2-1 cup a day. If you’re not used to eating a high fiber diet (which most Americans eating highly processed foods are not used to), then start slowly. You digestive system has to get used to these foods, as to avoid getting digestive discomfort and bloating. Your body will adapt.

Try to make your own beans. You’ll save money, reduce waste, avoid BPA-lined cans, and they taste wayyyyy better! There are SOOOOO many varieties of beans. And when I say beans, I really mean all legumes. Lentils (red, green, brown/french) & split peas are fast and easy to cook, requiring no soaking. Lentils are also great sprouted (check my post on how to sprout). Kidney beans come in a bunch of colors; most commonly light red, dark red, and white (AKA cannellini). Black beans, adzuki beans, mung beans (also great sprouted), pinto are all great varieties to try. If you have access to heirloom varieties, try those for new colors and textures. Edamame, or soybean, are great just blanched and don’t stand up well to extended cooking. They make for a fast and nutrient dense snack, or last minute addition to a stew like this thai vegetable stew.

To cook most beans: soak overnight or 8 hours or more. Cover with water in a traditional pot or in a pressure cooker. My favorite is a Fagor pressure cooker. If using a pressure cooker-bring to pressure, lower heat and cook for 12 minutes. Turn stove off and allow pressure to drop. Pressure cookers reduce cooking time from 1 1/2-2 hours for a traditional pot of beans, to 12 minutes.

Ways to eat more beans:

1) In honor of Cinco De Mayo: make these gluten free, oil free, vegan Enchiladas or quick black bean tacos! 

2) Mash chickpeas with some fresh dill, chives, lemon juice, pinch of salt, and some cashew cream to create a mock “tuna”/“egg” salad

3) Spicy Red Lentil Stew

4) Black Bean and Mushroom Soup

5) Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers and Humus

6) Lentil stuffed peppers
7) Order some Vesstro dishes where beans are the main component like the Breakfast Burrito.

Above all else-work in these beauties! Bean are the magical fruit after all! Happy eating!

-Jess (of www.gardenfreshfoodie.com)


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