Tag Archives: daily dozen

Where Do You Get Your Fibre? Baked Bean Recipe

April 5, 2018

Pretty much the first question you get asked when someone finds out you don’t eat animal products is, “Where do you get your protein?” However, protein is easy to get. All plants contain protein. Our body requires about 6% to 10% of our calories to come from protein. Even fruit averages 5.5% to 10% protein by calories, and beans are about 25% protein. Leafy greens are 35% to 51% protein. So if you are eating a whole food plant based diet (ie large amounts of calories not coming from refined oil and sugar), protein is not an issue. In fact, protein deficiency is seldom seen without a calorie deficiency.  The real question we should all be asking is “Where do you get your fibre?

The diet of almost all North Americans is deficient in fibre. Why is fibre so important? Until relatively recently, it was thought fibre was for regulating bowel functions. Consuming lots of fibre rich foods made you feel full without added calories and made sure waste was efficiently expelled out our body. But recent research shows that fibre is important for so many more reasons, including boosting our immune system,  feeding the cells that line our intestinal walls, and feeding our good gut bacteria. As well, recent research shows that beans have a modulating effect on blood sugar. Watch this short 3 minute video on Beans and the Second-Meal Effect.

Much is made these days of probiotics – which supply a host of good bacteria to our gut. But what happens if we fail to feed those good bacteria? They starve and die. Of course, you could continue to ingest more probiotics, but a far better solution would be to feed your good bacteria and let them multiply on their own. What do those good bacteria eat – fibre.

Where do we get fibre? Animal products – flesh, milk, cheese, eggs, etc. – contain no fibre. However plants – whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes are great sources of fibre. Stay away from the refined/processed foods plant fragments like white flour and white rice – which have been processed to remove the fibre component.

Beans Beans – Navy, chickpeas, kidney, black eyed peas, chili, pinto and black

One exceptionally good source of fibre is beans.  Beans are undervalued in the modern North American diet. Often considered “peasant food”, beans are infrequently consumed. However, beans are superfoods, loaded with protein, iron, zinc, folate, potassium and fibre.

Being a long time plant based eater, I thought I consumed a lot of legumes – beans, chickpeas, lentils, dried yellow or green peas.  However, I was only consuming an average of five servings a week.  Since making use of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen recommendations, I have been striving to eat three servings per day. At first, this seemed like an impossible task. However, one serving of beans is only a half a cup. With a bit of planning, this is not as difficult as it seems. Most days I am able to get my three servings in. The secret is staying mindful of what you are eating. I keep a good stock of frozen cooked beans and lentils; and in addition to great main dish legume meals they can be added to pretty much anything you are cooking.  Add chickpeas or lentils to your rice stir fry, add beans to your soup, serve seasoned beans as a side to any plate or add hummus to a wrap. Think outside the box, many cultures eat legumes for breakfast and baked beans (recipe below) is becoming a breakfast favorite for me. I made a great Yellow Split Pea Dahl that I plan to use for a spicy start to my day. I will share that recipe with you soon.

One of the biggest reasons people give me for not eating more beans is gas. However, I am finding that the little ditty “Beans, Beans, the musical fruit. The more you eat the more you toot.” should actually be changed to “..the more you eat the less you toot!” The gas is caused by bacteria in our gut consuming undigested bean sugars, producing gas. The sugar is undigested because most of us lack the enzyme to digest it. But, our bodies are truly miraculous creations and incredibly efficient. If we don’t eat a particular food, it does not bother making the enzymes to digest it. However, when we start consuming the food regularly, the body will adapt and produce enzymes required to digest it. So if bean induced flatulence is an issue for you, have faith and stay the course. Eat small portions often (several times a day) and if necessary, use digestive enzymes (alpha-galactosidase).  Have confidence – this too shall pass. LOL Besides, intestinal gas is normal and healthy, even if it is occasionally embarrassing.

Below are some of my favorite bean recipes.  I will post a few more new ones in the upcoming weeks.

Baked Beans

Baked beans at the ready in Jars

This is an adaptation of a traditional homemade port and bean recipe from Diane Bachewich in the Sandy Lake Cookbook. I have included two versions – one quite similar to the original but veganized; and the other – a whole food plant based version using dates and tomato paste instead of sugar and ketchup. Either way this recipe is one of my favorites. Its great served with baked or scalloped potatoes and a large salad; as a bean side to any meal, or for breakfast along with whole grain toast or roasted potatoes.

This recipe makes about 12 cups  of baked beans, enough to feed a crowd. I like to pack it into 2 cup containers and freeze them. Then I can keep a container in the fridge all the time for a quick bean add on to any meal.

Version 1:

  • 3 cups dried small white beans
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

Version 2:

  • 3 cups dried small white beans
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup tahini

Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight.  (for version 2, soak the dates in water as well.)

In the morning, drain the beans, add fresh water and boil for about 1 hour or until tender.  Drain the beans. (Version 2 – Do not drain the dates. Place soaked dates and soaking water in a blender and blend until pureed. Add remaining ingredients and blend until well combined)

Place the drained beans in a large oven safe pot or roaster. Add remaining ingredients and enough fresh water to cover the beans. Mix well and bake at 350F for about 1 hour. If the beans are still very runny, continue to bake until the right consistency is reached.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

More Recipes

13 Bean Soup Mix

Soups  are a great way to add beans, lentils or chickpeas to your diet. Check out this post on Soups for my favorite recipes.

 

 

 

 

 

Astrid licking the spatula with hummus

Hummus is another delicious way to add legumes to your diet. 1/4 cup of hummus is one serving of beans. Add hummus to a wrap or sandwich or try it as a topping on potatoes instead of butter and sour cream. The recipe for my all time favorite hummus is a sweet and spicy Sweet Potato Hummus can be found at this link. My grandkids love hummus and like to dip pretzels or veggies into it.

 

 

 

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

Main Bean Dishes – these are some of my favorite fast and easy one dish beany meals:

White Beans:

Small white beans, also called navy beans (so called because they were used aboard ships) are one of my favorite beans. They are versalite and great for bean dishes like baked beans but also for creamy sauces.  I often make cashew sauces using half cashews and half cooked white beans. Or substitute some of the cashews in a creamy oil free salad dressing with cooked white beans. Or try adding mashed white beans to mashed potatoes for a boost of nutrition including fibre. You won’t even know they are in their! Or try my Creamy White Bean Soup.

 

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How Not To Die

February 8, 2018

I find “How Not to Die” an odd name for a book. After all, we are all going to die, someday.  However, this book by Dr. Michael Greger, outlines how not to die from preventable causes. I must confess, that although I have known about the book for a while (Dr. Greger was a guest lecturer for the Plant Based Nutrition Certificate course I took), I refused to read it just because I did not like the title – until recently. Apparently, I was meant to read the book, as the universe sent Dr. Greger to me.

Katherine, Dr. Michael Greger and myself

I was thrilled when I learned that Dr. Greger would be speaking in Manitoba, and even more thrilled that the event was sponsored by The Wellness Institute.  The Wellness Institute is affiliated with, and attached to,  the Seven Oaks General Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba. For a hospital associated organization to sponsor a talk on using whole food plant based nutrition to heal is big news in my books.  Perhaps the science on plant based nutrition is beginning to be recognized by the medical community.

Apparently, tickets to How Not To Die where the hottest tickets in town last week. Only 140 tickets were available to the event, and they sold out quickly. Luckily, my friend Fran is a member at the Wellness Institute and gave me the heads up as soon as they were released. I attended the talk with friends Fran, Theresa and Katherine.  Dr. Greger is a great speaker. Very humorous, personable and extremely knowledgeable. The talk, follow up question session, book signing and taste testing were fantastic. During book signing, Dr. Greger took the time to speak to each person in line, and even pose for pictures. He was very happy to hear of the Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Classes we are holding here in Winnipeg and happily agreed to let me post his picture on this blog.

The first thing I did after purchasing tickets to the talk, was to order the book How Not To Die. I am a bit of a geek, so of course I had to read up on the subject before attending the talk. Dr. Greger has an interesting story and a unique historical connection to the plant based movement through his grandmother.

The book is divided into two parts. The first section focuses on individual diseases and the research showing the effect of nutrition on the disease. How Not to Die from Heart Disease, How Not to Die from High Blood Pressure, How Not to Die from Lung Disease, How Not to Die from Diabetes and How Not to Die from Parkinsons are just some of the chapters.  A very lengthy foot note section at the back of the book provides the links to the scientific research behind the information provided (for a science geek like me that is important). These chapters are in depth and full of information, so much so that I would recommend reading only one chapter a day as it is heavy reading. By the last chapters I found myself skimming the research. However, it is a great resource book for your library when you are looking for info on a specific disease. I found it interesting to look at diseases that tend to run in my family – heart disease, Parkinsons, high blood pressure – and see what can be done to reduce the chance of these genes expressing.

The second section, is all about the food, with a chapter on each of Dr. Greger’s ‘Daily Dozen’ food groups. The Daily Dozen is the foods that Dr. Greger himself tries to consume each day. This was the my favorite part of the book – real down to earth practical advise on how to eat well. The Daily Dozen focuses on what you should strive to eat daily.  I love the checklist and have been incorporating it into my everyday routine. Beans, Berries, Other Fruit, Cruciferous Veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc), Green Leafy Veggies, Other Vegetables, Flax, Nuts, Spices, Whole Grains, Beverages and Exercise. On a daily basis you can check your list and see how you faired.

Dr. Greger is the founder of the website NutritionFacts.org which reviews new scientific research on nutrition and provided the ‘Coles Notes’ version for you. It free and provides over 2,000 videos on health and nutrition topics. Its a great site to bookmark for where to go for scientific based information rather than relying on the sometimes questionable opinion based information available on the internet.

I have been a vegetarian for almost 40 years, solely plant based for seven years, and whole food plant based for three years. My diet was already heavy in beans, whole grains, greens, veggies, fruit and nuts. What more can I do to improve my diet? I found out there is still room for improvement. Since reading the book I am:

  • Reducing the salt in my diet.
  • Eating more legumes – beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc , making sure I get two or three servings of them every day not just every week.
  • Making sure I get at least one serving of cruciferous veggies each day – usually cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, or kale. (read the book to get fascinating info on how to prepare crucifers to preserve the cancer fighting properties)
  • Getting at least two serving of leafy greens every day, in a smoothie, salad or steamed greens
  • Making sure I get at least one serving of berries each day. Since they are out of season now in wintery Manitoba, I am using frozen berries in my smoothies, chia puddings and cobblers. Before I would have berries in my smoothie once or twice a week.
  • Having 1 tablespoon of ground flax daily. I like to dissolve mine in lemon water and let it hydrate before drinking. Or add it to a smoothie.
  • Ramping up the spices, especially turmeric. Adding 1/4 tsp of turmeric to my daily smoothie is a fast and easy way to get more turmeric without eating Indian food every day. Herbs and spices in general are great sources of antioxidants and nutrients.

With plant based diets becoming more mainstream, it is good to focus on the quality of the diet rather than the label. After all, a diet of potato chips and coke is vegan but it is not healthy. And so many would like to improve their diets but don’t know where to start. Cutting out meat often leads to eating more carbs – bread, pasta and rice which are often refined, white and lacking fibre.  By reducing meat and dairy consumption and increasing beans, whole grains, veggies and fruit, you will be adding so much more fibre to your diet. And it turns out that fibre is not just good for regularity. It also serves as food for the good bacteria that inhabit your gut. These good bacteria are a vital part of your immune system. So eat more beans!

I would recommend reading the book How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger, despite the title. The first part on individual diseases is great reference information and the second part provides vital information on how to eat every day. I can’t speak for the companion cookbook, as I have yet to try any of the recipes. However, if the appetizers served at the talk are any indication, the recipes should be great. Check out the website NutritionFacts.org and also The Wellness Institute. In their introduction to Dr. Greger, the Wellness Institute stated that this talk was only the first of a series of talks on how to improve health and prevent disease. Hopefully Winnipeg will see more high profile nutrition experts in the near future.