I wanted to get one more blog entry in before I launched RealisticChef, because this morning I got my first blog question. I received a call from a family member. “When are you going to start that food blog? I need a recipe for beans and vegetables.” Ultimately, he was aiming at weight loss. And I was thrilled to have generated interest before I had even begun. I mean, his question and all like it are exactly why I am doing this blog. See “Why are YOU Here?” to view the introduction and purpose of this blog.
In answer to his question, I am going to focus in on one aspect of the GIANT answer I could give. Beans.
Just yesterday, I was passing an exhibit at the Southern Women’s Show. It featured a flannel board where participants were encouraged to rank a half-dozen foods for their fiber. Both times by, someone had ranked beans nearly last. Oi. What we all don’t know could fill a… well, you get it. Beans are, in fact, full of both fiber and protein, two things that we need every day. They are low in fat, and naturally low in sodium, as well. They also contain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. They are just about the perfect food (and might be, if such a thing existed). Love ’em. You should eat ’em.
Canned beans are often not optimal, because they are packed with lots of sodium and/or in cans lined with cancer-causing plastics. Yikes. You can, however, find beans canned without both of the former (like at WholeFoods). That’s what I buy (and as a bonus get softer, better-tasting beans). You can also make your own. That would be ideal. (Find recipes for stove top, oven, or slow cooker beans here.) Or you can just know what you are getting yourself into and move forward: I would prefer that you eat beans, either way.
Also, many people have problems digesting beans. That’s the polite way to put it. I have three things to say about this. First, it appears that people get used to digesting legumes. Even if you think beans cause you problems, they are likely to decrease–if not disappear–with regular bean (and lentil) consumption. Second, there is always Bean-o (or another gas enzyme product). It wouldn’t be a bad idea to carry this around and partake before eating bean dishes (or other things, like garlic, that can cause uncomfortable gas and indigestion). And third, the better your diet, the less, ahem, off-putting your gas will be. Certain foods cause especially odorous results, such as sulphurous foods (onions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower), meat (especially red), and fish. While this is helpful to know, it is even more helpful to realize that just better diets means less stink. When we were completely vegetarian and ate very little junk food, no one around here EVER had to run from someone else’s, well, you know.
And just remember, everyone toots.
MY FAVORITE BEANS AND RICE
- In a large enough soup pan, heat a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
- Add 1/2 minced, red onion and 2 cloves pressed garlic and saute until onion is translucent.
- If you are omnivorous, add 1 pound ground turkey, bison, chicken, or beef and break up with your spoon. Cook until browned.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and optional 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke. Work in 1 tablespoon tomato paste.
- Add 2 cans drained, rinsed beans (pintos for chicken or turkey, red kidney with beef or bison), 1 chopped red bell pepper, 1/2 minced jalapeno, 1 can diced tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.
- Meanwhile, steam or otherwise cook 1-2 cups short-grain brown rice (for a total of 3-4 cups cooked).
- Simmer beans 15 minutes, then stir in the rice, 1/3 cup chopped, Spanish olives and optional 2 tablespoons capers. Serve.