Some of the greatest foods that we have to eat are beans and legumes. Many people have asked “What is a legume?”… I’ve asked that myself. Everyone seems to be familiar with beans but “legume” is a foreign word. And that’s really true… it’s a French word that means vegetable. Vegetable? Really? It turns out that legumes are a huge group of plants made up of beans, lentils, peas and peanuts… plants that produce a pod that splits into two halves with seeds attached to one edge. That’s easy.
Beans are edible seeds that are usually kidney-shaped and grow in long pods (and they are part of the legume family). It is interesting that peas, beans and lentils are also called “pulse” and, as we know, that’s a word that also means “beat, throb or vibrate”. Hmmm… could that refer to the life that is in these seeds to produce a new plant? Do you remember that in the story about Daniel and his three friends they requested pulse to eat? I always wondered what that was and – now we know – they ate legumes!
So beans are legumes but not all legumes are beans. Typical beans include green beans, lima beans, soybeans, chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, or black-eyed peas. Okay… why are these so good for us? For starters they are low in fat and have no cholesterol; they are high in fiber and contain lots of nutrients. Sounds like a great combination to me. So… how do we include these foods in our meals? It’s pretty easy:
Add beans to your salad – I prefer chickpeas (garbanzo beans), kidney beans and peas.
Add them to soups and stews –lots of soup and stew recipes call for beans
They are easy to prepare as well (these foods seem to have no end to positive attributes). They are very inexpensive; I like that. You can also buy them in a can already prepared but be sure to get the ones that have the lowest sodium content… “no salt added” would be best. You can store dried beans in the pantry because they rarely draw any kind of bugs. Nevertheless, I like to keep mine in glass canning jars with tight lids… you never know.
Wow! Who ever thought we could find such a perfect food… full of all the things we need, nothing we don’t want, inexpensive, long shelf life, easy to prepare or buy canned. This is great! We need to plan a legume meal soon. Check www.askthedfoodcoach.com for information on cooking legumes (look under Main Course: Beans/Legumes) and then try the FC Pinto Bean Recipe (look under Soups). That would be a yummy addition to your next meal!