Beans (aka legumes) are considered a nutrient-dense food, meaning they pack a nutritional punch in their low-calorie package. High in fiber, beans bring both carbs and protein to your meal. Beans contain the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor necessary to make seratonin – the “feel good” hormone. Beans are an excellent source of iron, folic acid, phosphorous, potassium, and magnesium. Dried beans have been a diet staple long before biblical times in India, China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. Millions of ancestors can’t be wrong!
How to make a decent pot o’ beans that are digestible and ingestible! First you need to prep the beans and then you need to choose herbs and spices (dried and ground) depending on the bean type selected. Here are some ideas for spicing up your beans:
Pinto – lemon rind, parsley or oregano, cumin, & mild chili powder
Black – ginger & fennel seeds or sage & thyme
Lentils/Garbanzos – lemon rind & garlic with dill, basil, or mint
Soak dried beans for at least 12 hrs* and change the water once or twice.
Add a strip of kombu to bottom of crock pot. Helps with digestibility, adds nutrients, and shortens cook times. Add beans and fill with water so they are just covered.
Turn crockpot on high, bring beans to a boil, then scoop off and discard the foam, and continue to boil (without lid) for 20 minutes.
Add your spices. Consider whole garlic cloves – they turn to a garlickly mush that mixes into the bean juice – yum! Adding fennel seeds or cumin seeds helps with digestion. Any other spice or herb add flavor and helps with ingestion.
Cover crockpot, reduce heat to low and let those beans cook all day long (~8 hrs or less depending on soak time)
Wait until the end to season with salt. Adding sea salt, miso, or tamari too early hinders full cooking.
ENJOY for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
If you have problems digesting beans, eat lentils, adzuki, peas, and mung beans more often. Eat pinto, kidney, garbanzo, and black beans less often. Soybeans are the most difficult to digest while soy products such as tofu and tempeh are easier. If your digestion is weak, eat beans only with greens. If heartier, combine with grains (i.e. rice, quinoa).
*Food Safety Alert!: Soak in a cool place away from direct light. If soaking longer than 12hrs or its a hot, humid day, please soak in refrigerator.
YB goodHealth Contributor Tahirih Linz lives and practices yoga in La Jolla. As a nutritionist, she utilizes food science along with the body’s intuitive knowledge to maximize health, wellness, and joyful living. As a yoga and meditation teacher, she understands the value of daily mindfulness practices in guiding our food and lifestyle choices. When all else fails, she and her kids swim in the ocean and eat straight out of the garden. She is the founder of Salmonberry Consulting where she helps people balance the interplay between food, movement, and spirit. Connect with Tahirih on Facebook as well as Salmonberry’s website.