We were all in elementary school once, so I’m sure we’ve all heard that ubiquitous rhyme about these mighty legumes. The thing is, beans are a pretty amazing food, whether you’re vegan or not! They’re full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
So is it possible to incorporate more beans into your diet without falling victim to that old schoolyard limerick? Of course! Here are a couple of tips to get you started, and some recipes to help you eat more of this magical “fruit” without being so musical.
Beans are rich in fiber, and for the uninitiated, that can cause some…er….uncomfortable side effects. For folks used to the Standard American Diet – dairy, meat, processed flour – suddenly adding a high fiber food is quite a shock to the system! Even if you eat a more healthy diet than the S.A.D., it might be a little rough on your insides.
The key here is moderation, at least at first. Don’t try a heaping bowl of black bean soup for dinner or a gigantic helping of three bean chili. Start slowly, and work your way towards a full-on beany meal. Put 1/4c of beans on top of your salad or add a small amount to a soup or stew. As you get used to the extra fiber, you’ll want to up your intake gradually so your body can get acclimated.
Another trick, which I learned from a college friend, is to thoroughly rinse your canned beans before using them. This is really a good idea regardless, since it helps eliminate a lot of the salt. I’m not sure what it is about this, but it definitely made a difference for me. I couldn’t find any data linking dietary salt intake to gas, but salt does cause water retention and bloating, along with a slough of other health problems.
So are you ready to give beans another shot? We’ve got a bunch of beany recipes for ya!
- Black Bean Tacos – these are perfect for starting gradually. You can put as few or as many beans as you want!
- Build a Better Burger with Black Beans – maybe start out eating half a patty with soup or salad to fill out the meal.
- Three Bean Salad – A great side dish!
- Vegetarians, Gluten Free Sloppy Joes – these go pretty easy on the beans, but you might want to start small like with the veggie burger.
- Veggie Soup – you might start with half a can of beans the first time you make this, then up the content gradually.
What about you guys? Do you have any favorite bean recipes you’d like to share?