Thankful For Beans
Beans are truly one of Nature’s most perfect healing health supporting foods. In fact, in some countries around the world, beans are used as a main source of protein. Beans and legumes are usually grouped together and are considered to be in the same family. Some common beans are navy, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, soy, great northern and fava beans. Some common legumes include peas, lentils and peanuts. There are many reasons that we can be thankful for beans and should try and include them in our diet. To make this article easier to read we will refer to legumes as beans.
George Eisman, RD shares this information about beans: “Beans are high in complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber. Beans are low in fat (other than soy and peanuts), low in sodium (unless added to the can), and they are cholesterol free. Studies show that including beans in our diets can help us reduce our chances of getting heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and certain cancers; and help people manage their weight as well as their blood sugar levels. Flours made from beans are also nutritious ways to add more protein to baked goods. Milks and cheeses can be made from soy or other beans and is a great way to avoid cholesterol and other harmful food components, such as growth hormones (some added, some naturally there), which are present in all animal derived milks and cheeses.” *
Dry beans and canned beans do not require refrigeration so are a convenient and inexpensive source of protein. There are numerous ways to use beans in recipes. Baked beans, split pea soup and rice and bean dishes are a few of the traditional bean dishes that Americans have enjoyed for centuries. Some popular ethnic bean foods include black beans and rice, dal, falafel and hummus.
Who can we thank for the thousands of different types of beans in the world? A good start would be to thank God or a Higher Power who gave us the sun, the earth, the rain, fresh air that we breathe, and our very own lives. We owe our genuine thanks to all the farmers’ in the world who work the fields and green houses to grow this nutritious type of protein. Our thanks go out to the businesses, Co-ops and the grocery stores that promote and offer beans for sale. We can be thankful to all the innovative chefs, who have over the years offered us delicious bean recipes in their cookbooks. We can feel appreciation for family members and our friends who experiment with beans and then discover favorite family bean recipes. Children learn that bean dishes taste good, are good for them, and can help them to grow up to be strong and healthy. It is a warm comforting thought to imagine a family sitting down at the table having dinner together; candles are glowing, heads are bowed in thankfulness. Their simple meal may be a garden salad, a bean and grain dish, beverage and perhaps a little something for dessert. This family is thankful for their wholesome meal.
Let us be so thankful for bean protein when it comes to our environment. Now more than ever, it seems people are becoming concerned about our environment. Growing beans for food does not have to wreak havoc with Earth’s delicate eco system. This cannot be said about the many popular animal– derived foods people otherwise use to get protein. It is difficult to determine just how much devastation has been and is being done to the earth, the waters, the air and the world’s ecosystems in the effort to provide people with protein foods. Growing more protein rich beans for food seems to have somehow gotten lost in the equation of saving our environment. We can come to the conclusion that growing beans is an environmentally safe and sensible protein food for people.
It is too bad that over the years beans have gotten a bad reputation because they can cause flatulence, otherwise known as gas. Many other types of foods can cause gas too. Over the years many experienced cooks have discovered various ways to help people enjoy the health benefits of consuming beans and at the same time avoid gassiness. Some people say to rinse the beans after they have been cooked to help prevent gas. Canned beans may also be rinsed.
George Eisman, RD offers this helpful advice: “Sprouting beans and then cooking them can reduce gassiness. Adding a teaspoon or so of vinegar to a pot of beans after cooking can help make beans less gassy. Smaller beans have less gas producing compounds.”*
Can we stretch our minds and our hearts just long enough to ask ourselves this question; has it been thoughtless to humankind and Nature that we have not taken more advantage of this type of protein? There is so much more that we as a society can learn about bean protein. Truly, we as Americans have under estimated the power of bean protein. Millions of people around the world do understand the superior protein that beans offer. There are numerous delicious healthy bean recipes we have not yet discovered. We have the freedom to learn and the responsibility to educate ourselves on how inexpensive beans, one type of Nature’s most healing foods can help to restore our health and at the same time protect Nature. We really need to be more Thankful For Beans.
Compassionate Actions Project
*Always consult your physician when changing your diet.