Whether you are vegetarian or worship at the temple of bacon, we could all use a little more veggie protein in our lives. While meat can be a healthy part of a good diet, we tend to eat way too much of it and forget that plants have protein too. So the challenge this week is to work a little of my favourite veggie protein into your diet: beans.
Yes, yes, it's the musical fruit...but it is also pretty close to a perfect food. Super high in fibre, beans are also a great source of vegetarian protein and slow burning carbohydrates. But it doesn't end there: full of magnesium, iron, B vitamins, potassium...and if you choose a richly coloured bean like kidney or black beans, chock a block with antioxidant pigments too.
Don't like beans because they make you gassy? News flash: a little gas is good for you. One of the benefits of beans is that their "resistant" carbohydrates become food for healthy bacteria which helps keep your gut happy. Your system will get used to beans the more you eat them. If you are bothered by gas, the kind that doesn't seem to want to pass on its own, you have options. The standard treatment is Beano, which actually works. A more holistic approach is Asafoetida, which is an Ayurvedic herb that complements beans nicely from a digestive perspective. You can find it at Indian food shops and remember...just a tiny pinch is all you need.
So this week, welcome beans into your world at least twice. Not so bad, right? I will even help you out with some ideas!
1. Eat hummus with chopped veggies as a snack. Buy a good quality hummus with no unpronounceable ingredients or make your own tomorrow to pack in your lunch all week. It's easy...try this recipe.
2. If you regularly eat soups for lunch, just toss in a half cup of your favourite beans, rinsed and drained to boost the nutrition and help you feel more full all afternoon.
3. Make your favourite chili with two different types of beans.
4. Making a marinara? Substitute half of your usual amount of ground beef with canned lentils, rinsed and drained.
5. Taco night? Saute up some black beans instead of your regular ground meat (or add beans to your ground...you carnivore, you!).
So long, gassy jack.