LifeStyle Lessons: Why Beans get a Bad Rap

azuki bean and mung bean"Beans, beans they're good for your heart. The more you eat em the more know...!" You know that old saying...and there's some truth to it, right?! Well not unless you know what you're doing...

Poor beans getting such a bad rap! They are packed with so much nutritional value, especially for us non-meat eaters! They are your source of protein, fiber, carbs, vitamins and minerals, they nourish us and support our adrenals. They're a 'building' food, according to Ayurveda, that helps sustain us, fulfill us, satisfy us and keep us healthy and strong. So get your bean on! *(Hint: When cooked at home and eaten once a week, you can curb your sweet tooth cravings)

If they are cooked incorrectly, however, you will experience gas, so pay attention to the proper way of handling these little cutie pies!

~When to salt/ season them: About 10 minutes before the total amount of cooking time is finished. If you season in the beginning, you will get in the way of the proper break down of the bean which will hinder the digestive process.

~Using spicing/bay leafs. In Ayurveda, we use spices to support the digestive process, based on your unique constitution. Turmeric, coriander, fennel, cumin are a few that really help! In Macrobiotics, we use kombu (a sea vegetable) and a bay leaf to help break down the bean properly so that our bodies don't have to work so hard. Just place them in the pot with your beans and water. Bring to a boil and simmer til finished (about 45-90min depending on the bean)

~Proper soaking. Most people don't cook the bean from its dry form, but if you do, and I suggest you do, you should soak for a minimum of 4 hours. You can soak overnight if that's easier, or first thing in the morning to ensure you're prepared. Cover the beans in water, about 2inches above the bean so that as the beans expand, they won't soak up all the water. Drain and then cook as usual.

~Skimming foam. In Macrobiotics, we're taught to bring the beans to a boil and let them boil the gaseous foam to the surface for about 10 minutes, skimming off the foam with a spoon. Simmer and cook as usual, with your spicing and you've eliminated all that gas that would have been inside the beans, and inside you!

mung beans~Beans that are the easiest to digest are: azuki and mung dahl. You can buy canned Azuki beans if you don't have time to cook them dry (usually my stylo) by the brand Eden, which are already cooked in kombu~yay! Mung beans only take about 30minutes to cook and I usually cook them in my kitchari dish once a week, so I either buy them in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods, or in a bag by the brand TruRoots. So good!

Good luck and I hope you can appreciate these little beans soon!