Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Beanify Your Life

People aren't eating their legumes.  Why is this?  I have heard tale, that beans cause intestinal discomfort...this may be true, but I personally think that the benefits outweigh the problem of a little excess wind.  Maybe you don't like the flavor....come on, if you don't want to, you don't even have to taste the beans.  They are very mild and a few spices and seasonings will fix that. 

Beans are cheap!  Especially if you buy them dry and rehydrate them yourself.  Of course, that takes some prior preparation which I'm not always able to do, so in that case I try and stock a good supply of canned beans in my pantry.  In these times when people need to stretch their dollar a little bit, I am telling you to take the simple step of adding some beans to your meat.  This will stretch your pound of meat into two pounds.  Which means you only have to cook once and get two meals and get the added health benefits that beans provide!

 Tonight we are having tacos.  I have 1.5 lbs of ground turkey, browned with an onion and a few cloves of garlic.  Add your favorite packet of taco seasoning or season to your own personal liking.  Add two cans of beans.  I am using black beans and kidney beans today.  I am including the liquid, though you could drain it off if you want and add water or salsa.  Let simmer 20 minutes.  Serve as you would taco meat.

Beans are an incomplete protein.  This is only a problem if you don't have any of the following in your diet: Dairy, meat, eggs, rice, corn, nuts, seeds and wheat in addition to the beans.  The dairy, meat and eggs are complete proteins on their own, but the rice, corn, nuts, seeds and wheat when combined with beans provide all the essential amino acids and become a complete protein.

Some of the health benefits provided by beans are:
     a. Antioxidants.  Kidney beans rank higher in antioxidants than blueberries.  How many of us are trying to  incorporate more blueberries in our diets to get these antioxidants that we've heard are so good for us?
     b. High levels of isoflavones.  These help prevent cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease and improve bone  and prostate health.  On this matter, I'm just going to remind everyone that heart disease is the number one killer of women in America.
     c. Fiber.  Because beans don't digest fully, they help clear out your innards, help prevent constipation and keep your colon in top form.

So, let's say yay for beans and try and include them in our diets more.  Some easy add-ins  are: taco meat, salads, soups, yummy dips and quesadillas...and that's just what I can think of right off the top of my head.

As a side note the rains may be over.  Let's all say a thank you to the weather man for listening to our desperate pleas and giving us a break from extended winter and bringing on spring.  These are just waiting to be planted in my little garden plot.  5 varieties (so far) of tomatoes, egg plant, pepper, cilantro, basil (2 of these babies) and parsley.  My poor husband who just got off work was informed that he gets to go plow the dirt and get it ready for me to plant tomorrow!  And of course it must be done now (it's going to be nice and sunny the rest of the week, I want to get them in as quickly as possible to start growing and thriving).  Luckily he humors me and my impatience.

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