Do not worry, i will definitely not be finishing that rhyme. Not only because it makes me sound like I am about 5 years-old, but also because it’s not all true! Keep reading, I’ll explain.
First of all, yes, beans provide a great serving of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water creating a gel like consistency, helping you feel full. Insoluble fiber naturally cleans your intestines by pushing material through your colon. Fiber is known to assist in weight loss, stabilize blood sugar, lower blood cholesterol levels (‘they’re good for your heart!’), regulate and maintain bowel health, and even prevent against cancer and disease. In fact, early this semester I wrote a huge paper on how diet plays a role in developing cancer, as well as preventing it. Here is an article I referenced stating how important a high fiber diet is in preventing colon cancer: http://www.cancerproject.org/survival/cancer_facts/colon.php
So do beans and there high fiber content actually cause gas? Not necessarily. Yes, right now if you are eating only about 5 grams of fiber a day, and then you suddenly start consuming 20 to 30 grams per day, you have a good chance of feeling bloated. However, if you slowly increase your serving, say adding 3-5 grams once a week, your system will be able to slowly adjust to the changes.
Still feeling..bloated? First of all, is it the fiber? Do you consume a lot of artificial sweeteners, sugar, salt, caffeine? Could you be sensitive to dairy, soy, wheat, gluten? If you think one of these items may be the culprit, take it out of your diet for a week and see how you feel. After a week, slowly add in one serving (or even a half of a serving) per week, and again, notice how you feel. This method is an easy and simple way to detect what is causing you to feel bloated. You can even use this technique for head aches, skin problems, or other stomach issues.
If you don’t have a food sensitivity, and you still think you can not take in enough fiber with out feeling gassy, don’t worry, I watch Dr. Oz. Haha, but no, really. I watched a Dr. Oz episode the other day where Dr. Oz said that if fiber is making you gassy, try an emlimination diet, focusing on fiber. For example, one day make your one serving a fiber a 1/2 a cup of beans, how do you feel afterwards and for the rest of the day? The next day, add in brown rice, the next day an apple, and so forth and so on. This will help you detect which fiber products are giving you trouble.
So now that we have corrected this silly rhyme, lets get back to what we were talking about in the first place…beans! If you are skimming through this entire post and haven’t figured it out yet, beans are a great source of fiber. But that is not the only thing that they have going for them. Beans are also a great source of protein, a complex carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and are extremely low in fat. Do beans have a downside? Well, if you buy your beans in the can, they are packed with a ton of sodium. That is why I always dump my canned beans in a colander, and rinse them is cold water until you no longer see bubbles forming on top of the beans (as I have mentioned in other posts).
What is the best way of receiving all the benefits that beans have to offer? Make them yourself! You can even make extra and freeze them for later use. How much easier can it get?
Step One: Purchase dried bean from your super market (in the canned beans section, or the ethnic section. Look for the Goya brand!) or in the ‘bulk’ section of any health food store.
Step two: Take one cup of dried beans, rinse them in a colander, place them in a large container (with a lid) and cover them with water (fill 2 to 3 inches above the beans). Let the beans soak over night, or 8 hours. Honestly if you don’t have time to soak them for 8 hours, just soak them as long as possible. Soaking the beans makes them more digestible. Perfect for those who are ‘fiber sensitive’.
Step three: After they are done soaking, rise them again in cold water, place them in a large pot, and cover them with cold water. How much water? Depends on the bean. Here is a great chart that shows you the correct amount of water for each bean. http://www.vegparadise.com/charts.html
Step four: Place the pot of the stove and turn on high. Slowly, you will see a white foam appear on the top of the beans. Simple use slotted spoon to scoop the foam off of the top. (I keep a bowel of water near by to clean off the spoon)
Step five: Let the beans boil for about ten minutes. Then throw in one to two bay leaves. Again, this is not necessary, but is very helpful for digestion. After 10 minutes has passed. Turn the beans down to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for the appropriate time. (Again, check out this chart http://www.vegparadise.com/charts.html (And make sure you scroll down to find it!).
Step six: How will you know that your beans are done? The way I learned was to take a couple out of the pot, and (once cooled) if you can squeeze them between your fingers, then they are done. You could also taste test them, and let you mouth be the judge!
Step seven: Once fully cooked, drain the beans, and store them in a glass container. Or, let them cool in the colander completely, and store them in a plastic container. After they have cooled, if you want to freeze, do so right away (while they are still fresh).
Need a bean recipe? Check out K and my recipe for rice and beans!
Just one more way to keep your holiday season a little healthier!
Stay Natural ♥ C