eat more beans please
Beans are one of those unsexy foods that generally gets a bad rep. They make you fart, they are hard to cook, and what do you even eat them with?
Today is the day I’m going to convince you to start eating beans.
When I finally made them a regular part of my diet I found myself having fewer food cravings, feeling full for longer, and less mindless snacking. A little insider tip, ease into beans, and you won’t feel the need to let gas pass.
health benefits of beans
high in fiber
One of the reasons beans helped my food cravings and kept me full for longer is that beans are full of fiber. One cup of black beans alone accounts for 60% of your recommended dietary fiber intake for the day.
Don’t stop eating them, because fiber slows the digestion of food, which slows the release of energy into our blood and keeps our digestive system strong and healthy.
carbohydrates as energy
The most present macronutrient in beans are carbohydrates and are approximately 70% made up of carbs. This makes beans a great source of energy for the body. Beans are complex carbohydrates due to their fiber content. Because of the high ratio of dietary fiber beans have a low score on the glycemic load scale. As they are digested slowly the increase of blood glucose happens gradually avoiding spikes in blood glucose. If you are concerned about the high ratio of carbohydrates in beans make sure to add a source of healthy fats in your meal. Avocados, nuts, and seeds paired with beans will help to reduce a surge of glucose into the bloodstream.
clean lean protein
Beans contain very little fat and are a good source of protein. One cup of lentils contains 36% of the recommended daily requirements for protein. Harvard’s School of Public health recommends swapping beans or legumes for meat two to three times a week. Unlike red meat, there is little to no saturated fat in beans and legumes. Beans are a great source of protein without raising cholesterol.
The nutritional profile of beans and legumes vary by variety, however, there are a few key similarities. Along with complex carbs, fiber, and protein beans are very nutrient dense. They are a good source of copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
The shelf life of dried legumes or canned beans made them an economical option. Dried beans especially give you a bang for your buck. One little bag can give you a base for several meals. If you’re trying to eat healthy on a budget then beans are a must-have.
WHY BEANS MAKE YOU FART:
Their natural sweetness comes from a group of sugars called oligosaccharides (some of the more common ones in beans are raffinose and stachyose, which sound like rejected Musketeers). These sugars are hulking, awkward molecules. They’re far too big to slip through the intestinal wall on their own, and our guts’ enzymatic toolkit doesn’t have the right stuff to break the big things apart into more manageable pieces. So the sugars get a free ride through the small intestine. No one messes with them, and they move on into the large intestine intact.
TIPS ON REDUCING GAS:
When you first start consuming beans only have a small amount. If you aren’t used to eating meat and you have a steak it will also upset your stomach. Have a half a cup, wait a couple days, have some more. Gradually add beans into your diet increases the amount slowly over time. Soon enough they will be a part of your diet without you know a difference.
If using canned beans make sure to rinse and drain all the water in the can. This likely holds the little sugars we cant digest
When cooking your own beans make sure to soak beans with an acid.
Adding Kombu to your cooking liquid will help to break down those hard to digest sugars.
how to cook dried beans
There are four main methods of cooking beans: pressure cooking, steamed beans, oven baked, and in a pot on the stove top.
I don’t pressure cook mine because I was part of an unfortunate accident of an exploding pressure cooker resulting in second-degree burns on my face. Oven baked beans are delicious but I often find myself forgetting about them and burning them to high heaven. When I try to steam beans I find they take longer and are unevenly cooked.
My preferred method is straightforward. Stovetop.
Whatever you prefer, pick your method and get moving. It’s time to batch cook these babies.
1 . SOAK BEANS
Like grains, I soak and sprout my beans before cooking them. Soaking your beans for 12-24 hours will also greatly reduce your cooking time. I also like to add a little bit of acid (lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda) to my soaking water to help break down some of the enzyme inhibitors.
2 . DRAIN AND RINSE
Dried bulk products can get quite dirty in transport. It’s essential to discard the water your beans spent the night soaking in. Not only is it full of dirt and dust, you might even find other foreign particles floating around. Anything floating at the top the following morning is also not worth cooking. Dump the water then give your beans a good rinse before putting them in the pot.
3 . SEASON AND COOK
General Rules of cooking beans:
-Always make sure all beans are covered in water
-Don’t add acid until the end (yet another reason to discard the soaking water). Acids such as diced tomatoes or lemon juice will prohibit the beans from cooking quickly.
-Seasonings are fine but keep salt
buying canned beans
In a perfect world, our fridge would always be stocked with batch cooked beans. In the real world, however, there are some nights where being less than perfect is tolerable. Enter: canned beans.
We are past the days of only having options like baked beans cooked in animal fat. The world of nutritional fad food has brought forth some pretty great canned products. I advocate cooking your own but I believe in having a backup.
It’s easy to grab a couple of cans and compare the amount of sodium in each. Don’t readily believe the claims on the front of cans which aren’t always regulated by the FDA. Turn it around and look at the percentage of sodium per serving. A can that claims “Low Sodium” on one product could still have a higher sodium content than the competing brand.
Always buy these in the vegetarian option. It’s likely that the nonvegetarian version of baked beans was cooked in pork fat or other animal ingredients. The same story for refried beans – check the ingredient list.
There are several brands that have now done away with their BPA linings. Trust me, if a brand has gone through the work to remove the BPA, it will be in their packaging.
Once you open a can of beans pour them into a colander and rinse thoroughly under water. A lot of the cans sodium content is in this liquid.
how to actually eat more beans
A bunch of ways to eat beans, why you should batch cook
Three categories of my favorite recipes