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!



What brings me back to balance

I finally have a stocked kitchen again! YAY!! Who knew just how much I would crave grocery shopping, unloading my bags, and making a mess in the kitchen until I didn't have one to do it in! As you know, I have been in a transition of moving, and so I hadn't really placed myself anywhere until just about a week ago. See post: While it was fun eating out every day, it sure didn't lend a grounding effect for me, as much as I do love all my healthy, vegan restaurants in LA!

Having already lived here, I had my favorite spots to frequent, but in a pinch, I type in 'vegan' in the yelp app search and see what's surrounding me. It's also helpful that you can find a Whole Foods or natural food store pretty much anywhere these days and get something on the run. This all sounds pretty great, huh? Easy to get sucked into this routine, but it doesn't have the grounding effects I need!

All this eating out could quickly become an 'easy' habit, and even if the restaurant choices are the best case scenarios, it will still never compare to my own cooking! Not to say my cooking is nearly as good, but it's my own energy being poured into the food and therefore has healing, and loving benefits that you just can't get from a mass producing kitchen, let's face it!

I was craving the ritual and relationship I have with my cutting board, my knife, my little routine of having some leftovers in the fridge, and planning my day ahead, that I couldn't wait to make a Trader Joe's and Whole Foods grocery run! It's amazing how important this ritual has become for me, now that I've learned how to cook for myself--It grounds me and brings me into harmony! Ideally, I like to cook dinners for myself 4/5 nights a week so that they can turn into lunch leftovers, which then frees me up to enjoy going out the rest of the week--win/win:)!

Just unpacking my grocery bags made me smile! Now, when I open the refrigerator door or the pantry door, I can have freedom to make whatever I feel like! it's so inspiring and exciting to have my vegetable/fruit bowl filled up, my array of leafy greens in the fridge, and tupperware filled containers of leftovers just waiting to be eaten!:)

I'm always brought back to balance when I make my 'go-to' Macrobiotic and Ayurvedic healing dishes: Nishime, Kinpira (see below photo), and Kitchari to name a few.

Just look at how grounding this meal looks!:


Cooking for myself brings me back to balance, into a state of harmony and peace. This is what happiness means to me!

The other 2 most important elements of balance for me are a daily yoga/meditation practice, and daily walks! I'm starting to realize just how important being grounded really is, and how ungrounded I can become! Now that I've adopted this yogic/healthy lifestyle, I'm sensitive to the effects of becoming overly stimulated/scattered.

Computers, iphones, sugar, alcohol, eating out, not moving your body, or cultivating quiet, can really weaken your adrenal glands, your nervous system and your kidneys, which ultimately creates stress and anxiety in the body. Needless to say, unplugging for little periods of the day are so so important for me!

Taking the time to go for a 30 min walk, to include a daily yoga/meditation practice, and to cook a meal for myself are the best ways to bring me back to balance--back to my center. Check out this post on other ways of 'zen-ifying' and how our gadgets are draining our inherent energy source:

Being near the ocean, surrounded by palm trees, feeling the breeze and the warm sunshine on my face, I am instantly uplifted and peaceful. Wouldn't you be if you were here:):

Palisades Park Walk

Being able to sneak a walk in is easy, but getting back into a groove of a yoga schedule wasn't quite as seamless. Finally, after two weeks of no yoga, I am back in business! There are so many yoga studios and teachers to choose from in this Santa Monica yoga mecca, that it is easy to pop in for a class, just as easy as it is to pop into a coffee shop--the hard part is just getting it on your schedule!

That's why I have to look at my schedule in the beginning of the week and plug in the times like I would with any appointment--it's a date with myself!:) And O.M.G. it's soooo worth it! Just breathing new life into all the cells of my body, becoming present to my mat, and opening up all the meridians in my body makes me feel oh so good!

So there it is folks, the ways in which I can bring myself back to my happy place, in it's most basic forms: cooking, walking and moving (yoga). If I make it part of my schedule, and stick to it, I've cultivated healthy boundaries and therefore created a grounding effect, anchored in my core values--health and happiness! I hope this inspires you to do the same for you!

Lots of love

In health and happiness,