Articles with 'beans'

Are Beans Healthy? They Can Be If You Follow These Steps…


woman eating beansHuman beings around world have consumed, and enjoyed, beans for centuries. But, beans were not commonly eaten on their own. They usually had partners on the plate with them, like grains and fat.

Beans and grains naturally compliment each other and have traditionally been served together. For example rice and beans are a staple in many Latin cultures, hummus (chickpeas) and pita bread in Middle Eastern cuisine, Dahl (lentils) and Nan bread in India, black beans and corn tortillas in the Americas, and Pasta e Fagioli (bean and pasta soup) from Italy.

Many cultures often paired beans with some type of fat as well. This pairing would enhance flavor, nutrition, and digestibility. Beans contain protein and large amounts of carbohydrates. If you measure the carbohydrate content in beans, it by far surpasses the protein. Combining beans with fat helps slow absorption of the carbohydrates, keeping blood sugar balanced.

Some traditional bean and fat combinations include hummus that contains the fat of sesame seeds (tahini), traditional cassoulet from France prepared with duck and/or goose fat, and in Mexico, Latin countries and the Mediterranean, beans were combined with pork lard, olive oil, or other fat.

I remember growing up eating canned baked beans in America. It always came with a cube of pork fat. The kids would always fight over who got that creamy little mouthwatering lump. Not only did the fat make beans succulent and delicious, it was rich in vitamins A and D that benefits the endocrine system and bones.

Beans often get a bad rap because folks can have difficulty digesting them.

First and foremost, the digestive system in modern humans has been compromised from eating too many refined grains and sugars, plus over-using antibiotics that destroys intestinal flora. With our intestinal bacteria compromised, digestion of beans, as well as many other foods, becomes difficult.

Secondly, beans need to be properly prepared. This includes soaking them eight to twenty-four hours to release acids, anti-nutrients, gas-causing enzymes, and trisaccharides (sugars).

I highly recommend soaking beans with a small piece of kelp sea vegetable. Kelp contains glutamic acid that helps soften tough fibers, making beans more digestible and producing less gas. That’ll make your friends and family happy, for sure!

You could also add a tablespoon of vinegar to the soaking water to help neutralize the bean’s anti-nutrients.

Beans take time to prepare, but they are worth it. I personally LOVE beans; chili, burritos, rice and beans, bean soup, hummus with pita or vegetable crudités – yum!

Small beans like lentils, adukis and navy beans, can be cooked in one hour or less, but larger beans like kidney, garbanzo, and cannelini can take up to two hours or longer.

The beauty of cooking beans is you don’t have to baby sit them. Put them on the stove with the appropriate amount of water and bring to a boil. Skim the foam that rises to the top and discard. Adjust the temperature to simmer and cover. No need to stir or sauté… they practically cook themselves.

I understand we’re all busy, so if you do not have time to prepare beans from scratch, use pre-cooked canned beans. Keep in mind that many canned foods contain the endocrine disruptor, Bisphenol A (BPA); the hard plastic coating on the inside of the can. BPA disrupts functioning of the thyroid gland and endocrine system.[1]

Another thing to keep in mind when eating beans is quantity changes quality.

I had a client that was suffering from hypothyroid. We altered her diet and she started feeling better rather quickly. Within one month she stopped losing her hair, felt less swollen in her neck, and had a surge in energy levels.

BUT, she noticed whenever she ate hummus she broke out in a rash on her stomach and became bloated and uncomfortable. To get to the bottom of this gaseous dilemma, I asked her to keep a food journal.

She realized she had been eating hummus two and three times per day as a “healthy snack”. Plus, because it was a snack and not a meal, she always rushed through eating the hummus and had forgotten to chew.

Even though hummus is garbanzo beans that are pureed into a slurry, it still needs to be mixed with saliva otherwise it can contribute to digestive distress and bloating. Hummus can easily slide down the throat without chewing. Thank goodness for the pita bread or vegetable crudités that usually accompanies it. When hummus and pita are paired together, as it was traditionally eaten, it ensures some chewing.

As you can see, beans can be a delicious addition to a healthy diet, but you need to become aware about how they are prepared and eaten.

Here are some of my fave Bean Recipes. Enjoy!


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Bean & Buffalo Chili



  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 oz ground buffalo meat
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 & 1/2 cups kidney beans, cooked (if using canned beans, rinse the beans)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, 15 oz.
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ cup of parsley, minced

In a deep pan or medium sized soup pot, sauté onion 1-2 minutes. Add ground buffalo meat. With a large spoon, chop the buffalo meat into bite sized pieces as it cooks. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and spices and cook 5-7 minutes. Add cooked beans and tomatoes, cover and cook 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed. Garnish with fresh parsley.

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Six Carbs that Won’t Make You FAT!


By Lisa Consiglio Ryan – Guest Blogger

Certified Health and Nutrition Coach

Carbs. What a dirty, dirty word…especially for me a few years ago. I used to be an Atkins girl. In fact, I went without eating fruit for years due to the fact that they were carbs. I even did the South Beach diet and never really got to Phase II because I was so afraid that the carbs would make my butt get big.

Luckily, I am done with all those diets and have learned to enjoy carb-friendly foods. Let me be honest, though, not all carbs are created equal. Sugar and flour are typical no-nos. These refined foods cause a spike in blood sugar which results in chronic illness such as Type II diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Those are the carbs to watch out for.

On the other hand, unprocessed carbs generate gentle rises in blood glucose and insulin, giving you a small but long-lasting supply of energy your muscles can use for hours. Even in my experience (after all the dieting drama), eating grains can even curb sugar cravings and help you avoid those after dinner “I need chocolate!” feeling that leaves you guilty.

So what are these carbs, these magical carbs, you ask?

Here is the list I recommend:

1. Fruit: A lot of popular diets recommend limiting fruit because it slows down weight loss. You can still continue to maintain your weight or even lose weight while eating fruit so long as you don’t pig out on it. Fructose (sugar in fruit) is bad for you because it is converted to fat in the liver not because of raising blood sugar. However, the small amounts of fructose present in whole fruit is really nothing to worry about.

2. Beans: Beans are rich in carbs, but most of it is fiber and the overall glycemic load is low. Beans are a great source of iron, protein, and folate. Don’t be afraid of these! If you tend to experience gas, rinsing and soaking your beans will help.

3. Lentils: Like beans, they are full of fiber and digest slowly. If anything, adding lentils to your diet will likely help you lose weight. Yes. Really.

4. Quinoa: This is a psuedograin. Quinoa is high in protein and fiber and has a very low glycemic index. Have you tried it yet? It is easy to cook and great for breakfast, too.

5. Brown Rice: You can add this to any meal. A small serving of brown rice can make your salads, stir fries, and other veggie dishes more filling while not forcing that big blood sugar spike you get from the bread basket.

6. WINE: Surprise! Wine and alcohol have been known to have a lot of calories. BUT your body digests alcohol calories different than sugar calories. Now there are many reasons to keep your wine portions in check, but having a few glasses of wine at dinner won’t hurt.

Enjoy these carbs, but this is not a green light to gorge yourself on grains or any food for that matter. If you eat enough of something or eat it fast, you will still end up with more sugar in your blood than your body knows what to do with. But in moderate quantities you can eat from the list above without risking your life or growing out of your favorite jeans.

What do you think about this post? Do you eat these carbs? Will you try something new (and don’t be cute, I know that the wine is probably your first choice:) Can’t wait to hear your thoughts so leave a message below.




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Store Your Stuff!


Taking on a whole foods diet can have its benefits. But, have you ever come home and discovered bugs in your kitchen? It’s traumatizing! Watch this video and learn how to store your stuff, and keep it safe from hungry little (or big) creatures.

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Beans 101


Beans can be a delicious part of a well-balanced diet. But, they need to be properly prepared otherwise they can be quite a gas! Learn how to prepare beans and improve digestibility.

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