Beans-your new best friend?

Jun 22, 2022

If you knew of a food that tasted good and…

  • Supports strength gains, 

  • Helps prevent, and even reverse, our widespread “lifestyle” diseases, 

  • Promotes microbiome health, 

  • Stabilizes blood sugar 

  • Supports body fat reduction

  • Reduces all cause mortality 

And…even goes super easy on the bank account…Would you jump on it?  And make it a staple in your pantry and on your plate?  

Yeah, me too! 

Let’s bring in this rock star:  Legumes, more commonly known as beans.

This is not marketing hype, either!  Real science supports these statements, with many controlled, randomized studies, both in the lab and in large populations. 

Want to get more healthy, sleek, and strong?  We need to make it happen ourselves!

Let’s talk about beans.  

  • How they possess slow drip carbohydrates, stabilizing your energy and blood sugar levels.

  • How their protein builds and repairs muscles and tissues, and curbs your hunger.

  • How your microbiome thrives on their fiber

  • How vitamins and minerals are packed into every mouthful.

  • How their antioxidants work to curb inflammation.

Partly because they are so robust nutritionally, beans fall in the start low, go slow category. 

Remember how healthy whole foods, with complex fibers, exercise our guts?  Our microbiomes benefit from the work out, but may struggle in the beginning, as the populations of favorable microorganisms in our guts increase.  

Yep, you already know what this struggle looks like: temporary gas and bloating.

Our guts will get good at digesting beans, and it’s well worth the effort for our health, but we need to pace ourselves!  

Let’s play the long game here and watch the benefits roll in.  

Starting with traditional soy foods like tempeh, miso, and tofu often help.  Tempeh and miso are easy to digest due to fermentation during processing.  Tofu has some of its fiber removed, making digestion simpler.

Want to venture further?  We have so many fun beans to choose from!

  • Soy (edamame, often found frozen)

  • Lentils (green and red) 

  • Peas (often split, green and yellow, and black eyed)

  • Black beans, pintos, kidney beans 

  • Chickpeas (aka garbanzo-yes, hummus counts!)

  • Cranberry, pink, white, lima

I recommend picking one or two and experimenting.  Let your body get familiar with small quantities, and work up to more.  

Having some canned beans on hand makes food prep so easy! 

When ready to use, discard the liquid and even rinse the beans to remove some of the oligosaccharides (gas producing carbohydrates).  

If you make beans from scratch, soak them overnight, discard the soaking water, and rinse before adding fresh water and cooking.

Play around with adding some beans to foods you already eat: 

  • Salads

  • Pastas

  • Wraps

  • Soups/Stews

Choose your own adventure, and make bean dishes with spices and flavors that you love! 

Some of my favorites are:

Indian flavored (lentils or chickpeas): Ginger, turmeric, coriander, black pepper, garlic and onion 

Mexican flavored (usually black, pinto, or kidney): Cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, cayenne, cilantro, garlic and onion.

 Get creative and whip up a delicious spread, like hummus, using chickpeas, sesame, garlic, and parsley.  

Let’s get good at beans, for our long term health!

Recommended Resources:

Randomized Controlled Trials of Beans - Check out Dr Michael Gregor’s blog which discusses and links a number of his videos presenting the science on beans.

Fiber Fueled, by Dr Will Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI, A compelling, entertaining read/listen about increasing the health of the microbiome, which includes a ton of recipes!