One of the areas that I knew I needed to focus on was increasing my fibre intake. Other than grains, fruits and vegetables, I didn’t really have a sound source of high-fibre. Considering the fact that I was reducing my intake of breads due to the high carb content, I knew I needed to take a look at introducing more fibre-rich foods into my diet, and more specifically, to take a look at the benefits of beans and find ways to enjoy them.
I always said that I could never be a vegetarian because one of the sources of nutrition was beans and I was definitely not a fan of beans. (To say that I avoided them is a fairly accurate statement.) I especially do not like chickpeas, large red kidney beans, fava or lima beans. I think it has to do with the texture. I know what some of you are probably thinking … picky, picky, picky.
The crux of one of my fundamental Craving Life philosophies is: It needs to taste great (#1 priority) first, and be healthier too (#2 priority). If a food or recipe cannot meet both points, it is not on my list. So this goal was an entertaining challenge. Oddly enough, on the bean front I do enjoy Mexican refried beans and Indian Dal recipes such as Dal Makhani so I was not a total lost cause. (No, I do not enjoy Chana Masala because of the chickpeas.)
What is the difference was between soluble and insoluble fibre? To give you the Coles Notes version, “…soluble fibre is the soft fibre that helps control blood glucose, reduces cholesterol, and helps in managing diarrhea. Insoluble fibre is the bulky fibre that helps to prevent constipation and some types of cancers.”(*) Not only cancer, but cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well. Reality is, we need both types of fibre. Eating fibre also helps you to feel full longer, so it is an important part of weight management, and that is one of your goals.
I knew that I do like black beans (also known as black turtle beans) so I started researching its benefits first. 100 grams of Black Beans contain 8.86 grams protein, 132 calories and 8.7 grams of dietary fibre.Sounds like a winner right off out of the gate; both protein and fibre. Awesome!
In the end, I believe that it did not matter what bean I started with, as long as I began to learn how to incorporate beans into my diet more frequently. By starting with beans that I like, I got more accustomed to the texture. Hey! I even now make a pretty tasty mixed beans salad where in the past I would avoid all bean salads like the plague. So now you are looking at a reformed bean-hater. 😉 So if you are somewhat bean-challenged like I was, start with the one(s) you enjoy the most and go from there. Be open to possibilities and you may surprise yourself.
Already published on the Craving Life website is the Black Bean Mango Salsa recipe. I don’t see any reason that you cannot substitute small red kidney beans. Fresh peas would add a gorgeous green punch of color. As the old saying goes “You are only limited by your imagination.”
In the coming weeks I will be publishing a vegetarian chili where one of the star attractions is, you guessed it, black beans!
In addition, what would the world be without a dessert using beans? Stay tuned for this recipe and more.
(*) – Quoted from: Canadian Diabetes Association website