Say “Beans” for “Protein” (and How to Make Them From Dried)

It’s Meatless Monday, and another chance for you to think beyond meat for your protein needs

Are you getting enough beans and legumes in your diet? The vast majority of people don’t, especially Americans. I do know a lot of you love peanut butter, which is heart-healthy and a personal favorite of mine as well, but there’s a whole wide world of beans out there that you can include in your diet.

A foundation of many plant-based diets, beans are an incredible source of protein and fiber alongside many other beneficial phytochemicals and nutrients that vary by species. Beans show up in many of my dishes, from chili to salads to soups. I’ll bet you don’t include nearly enough of these wondrous little fruits in your diet, which not only to provide variety and yumminess but are also a staple of sustainable eating. In other words, the ability to which you can limit your meat consumption, even if you do not omit it completely from your diet, will be a boon to your personal health. You’re helping out the environment, too, given the smaller amount of natural resources needed to grow plant foods, like land and water. And if you start from dried beans, whether from the bulk bins at the local coop or pre-packaged on supermarket shelves, you are also doing the planet a favor by ditching the cans. Reduce, reuse, recyle are the three r’s associated with environmentalism, but people often overlook the first and most important facet – reduce – especially in their food choices.

This is the first part in a series on making homemade hummus, but the the intial step is getting your garbanzos (aka, chick peas) ready. The general process of preparing beans from dried is the same, however, so for more information on beans and how to prepare them from dried, click here for the full article.

And don’t forget to include beans in some of your other dishes this summer, too, to improve your own health and reduce your carbon footprint.

A guest blogger on Share It Fitness, Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator – and serious cook and foodie – who blogs about food, cooking, health, science, and sustainability at The Nutrition Doctor is In the KitchenTo learn more about Cooking and Eating the P.K. Way, you can follow her on Twitterbecome a fan on Facebook, or check out her food porn on Pinterest. 



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