Week of March 11, 2015 - Beans, Beans!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 4:18 PM | Anonymous

Green greetings to you all!

Have you eaten your beans today?

We have been talking about the lifestyles of the people who live in blue zones, the five places on the planet where people live the healthiest, longest, and most joyful lives. That’s what I want too, so I’m interested in how they do it. How about you?

One of the things they all do, the blue zone folk, is to eat beans. Lots and lots of beans. Beans every day. Often beans three times a day. Have you eaten your beans today?

The idea of eating beans every day makes many people roll their eyes and imagine smelly gas, bloating (suddenly your pants feel too tight), and belly pain. Oh dear.  May I expand your mind? Beans are not only a healthy food, they are as fun as a roll in the clover and as tasty as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Seriously. Peanuts are a bean. And so is clover. Lentils are beans, and astragalus is too. Beans, of course, include lima beans, soy beans, pinto beans, fava beans, black beans, aduki beans, Anasazi beans, chickpeas, and hundreds of other varieties of dried, or shell, beans. Beans are also green beans, and peas as well are beans. Fava beans, chickpeas, and soy beans are made (respectively) into falafel, humus, and miso/tamari, so eating those counts as eating beans. Have you eaten your beans today?

Beans are a very large group of plants that have pods containing (mostly) edible seeds. We usually consume these seeds green, or mature and dried. We can consume the pods the beans are in if they are young and tender: green beans and pea pods. Some bean flowers, like red clover, are food and medicine Roots of the bean-family plant astragalus are used medicinally. (Bean family roots are fascinating for their ability to harbor bacteria that fix nitrogen from the air into the soil – a perfect fertilizer.) For a special treat this year, try eating something new: bean tendrils – a tender and delicious addition to salads.

The American diet is singularly lacking in beans and bean dishes with the exception of baked beans, chili, and the ubiquitous three-bean salad. To help you eat your beans, I have created a two-week list of fourteen different ways to eat beans.  When I ask you next month: “Have you eaten your beans today?” you can smile and say “Sure!”

Green blessings are everywhere.

ps. And here’s the next installment of Trauma Care in the Wilderness, too.

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