While I’m not a vegetarian, and that’s of course fine if you are, I definitely believe in the power of the legume – all the beans, chickpeas & lentils are powerhouses of protein, texture and substance in stews, soups, curries, quick snacks, salads and dips. BUT – While it’s super handy to have a tin or two on standby for emergencies, it’s not the best option as a staple. Tinned food is depleted, heat treated, pasteurised food, that doesn’t give us as much nourishment as the original ingredient, properly prepared.
A NOTE ON TIN LINING: Is there a whitish plastic type lining inside the can? BPA alert pronto and ditch that puppy, never to buy that brand again! Eden Organic, Global Organics and Bio Natura are all BPA free.
AND NOW TO THE FARTS: The problem with legumes, is that while they are super nutritious and packed with B vitamins, Omega 3’s and 6’s and lots of minerals, it’s rather tricky for us to get to these nutrients by simply opening a packet and cooking them, or flipping the lid of a can! Some seriously complex sugars found in most legumes, are not possible for our tummies to break down. They ferment inside us and make us fart like crazy. Also surrounding most legumes are phytates and other enzyme inhibitors, that can mean if legumes aren’t prepared properly, you are actually creating deficiencies instead of feeding yourself. By soaking your dried beans like kidney, adzuki or cannelini overnight or up to 24 hours in a bowl of water with a tablespoon of whey or yoghurt in the bowl, you get: Fart free beans and a fantastic array of easily absorbed nutrients! Fuller for longer and lots of goodness going through your body instead of embarrassing noises!
Now, I know what you’re thinking “i don’t have time”. To that I say, it’s about finding those little pockets of time like when a kettle is boiling or veggies are steaming, so it’s not technically extra time you’re taking. It’s just more efficient time – that’s when you could quickly chuck some beans or chickpeas in a bowl with filtered water and a splash of yoghurt or lemon juice. Once that layer has broken down the next morning – or evening if you want to go the full 24hrs – they are ready to chuck in a pan with plenty of water on medium heat for an hour or so – stir once or twice and remove any scum on the surface if you see it. Once they’re ready, strain, refrigerate and /or freeze if you’re not serving them for that meal time.
Never just make enough for one sitting if it’s something that will keep. Efficiency and batch cooking are key to eating Real Food, easily and economically! Soak and cook enough for a couple of add ins to school lunches, stews, soups and salads over the course of the week. My near 3yr old will snack on a few cold beans and cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil and celtic sea salt if he’s hungry between meals & I’d safely say that that is a little more nourishing than a packet of chips or seasoned rice cakes! Easy to take to the park too!
I thought a legume low down was in order because a lot of people don’t know this stuff – I certainly didn’t until a short while ago and now a good bowl of beans, rocket and feta in vinaigrette keeps me energetic all afternoon, where once I would have been looking to snack by 2pm after a lunch like that, but with tinned beans! An amazing difference
If you’re after more inspiration on how to crank your nutrient density levels up with soaked legumes and other things… pop over to see how you can get your salad to fill you up here.
Real Food, prepared properly, that our bodies understand? Genius.