April 19th

theresa albert - my friend in food


Magic Bullet

Beans yin yang

There is something about being human that makes us desire the easy way out.  We want one answer to answer all questions so we can forget about the reasons we are asking in the first place. When it comes to our health we would prefer to have one single system solve it all so we don’t have to beat back the other influences and enticements.  We want a pill. We think we would choose the magic bullet if it were put in front of us.  “Eat your greens” doesn’t seem compelling enough even though doing so would solve so many problems.  It just feels too hard.  Wouldn’t it be great if there were hard evidence that eating just ½ cup of some magic food every day could save your life? Would you do it?

There is.

A group at The Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM) studied the impact of beans and pulses on cholesterol and peripheral artery disease, two early signs of one of North America’s biggest killer-Heart Disease. Beans and pulses eaten at just ½ cup per day reduced these indicators enough to prove that they may be called “Medicinal Food”.  The way this study was conducted, no other change was made…no meat removed, no butter reduced, just the addition of earth’s cheapest, most versatile food.

Here is what makes them super-heros:

  1. Fibre-most of us attempt to get our fibre from a box of highly processed, likely sweetened wheat fibre.  It’s been in the beans all along.
  2. Glycemic Load-Foods that prevent or slow the release of insulin from the pancreas are your best friend.
  3. Phytochemicals-the mystery molecules that have their own way of doing things which are known to be powerful but whose mechanisms remain elusive

It is not yet possible to ascertain WHY simply eating beans had such an impact but it is safe to say that that do. And that it’s your magic bullet.

Most participants in this study were eating less than 1/3 cup per week.  Getting up to ½ cup per day can be as simple as:

  • Replace rice or potatoes with a lentil side dish 2-3 x per week
  • Serve hummus (made from chick peas) as a dip for an afternoon snack-vary the flavours
  • Add drained, rinsed canned beans to any pasta dish
  • Make a crockpot full of lentil or minestrone soup weekly and store in the freezer for lunches
  • Top salads with canned beans
  • Look for bean based veggie burgers
  • Snack on roasted soybeans instead of nuts or popcorn

Any other bean lovers want to share their tip? Got a great bean recipe you’d like to share?

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert

I love food, try to watch my weight, know more than I want to about healthy living (sometimes I wish I knew less so I wouldn’t feel so guilty when I stumble), am a daughter, sister, friend, mom and wife who worries and scurries the meals onto the table. It is for all these reasons that I completed my nutrition, RNCP designation, wrote my book, hosted my Food Network show, consult with food companies to urge them to get it right (or at least better), constantly write about it, research it, all of this so I can cut through the nutrition and food “news” clutter. Happy to share with friends!


2 Responses

    June 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm Reply

    Roasting chickpeas in a little olive oil and chili powder is really tasty. They get crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside. They make a great little snack!

    June 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm Reply

    This has bean so great! I love your ear rings and your outlook on life! Thank you for sharing and improving people’s perspectives! To see change you have to think change :)

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