All about the beans

"Farek and I eat our ful" by dlisbona

OK, so first up, I am not on a diet.

People who’ve known me for a while have seen me do all kinds of crazy diets to either put on muscle or lose fat. I’m not dissing the craziness — most of those diets worked and the speed with which they did was pretty motivating.

But the stuff dieticians tell you has been true for me, when I make an extreme change to my regular way of eating, it might work, but a few months later I’m back more or less where I started.

So now I’m focussing on gradual, bearable, sustainable changes to how I choose, prepare and consume food. I want to change my personal “food culture” to improve my body composition and (directly and indirectly) my health.

One thing I’m messing with is a kind of “slow carb” eating (which is to say you aim for low GI foods) which incorporates beans. I found it on Tim Ferriss’s blog and something about the idea appealed to me. The key idea is that each meal contains some kind of straight-up protein: meat, eggs, tofu (I guess); some kind of legume or bean and some kind of vegetables. Close to the Paleolithic Diet in some ways, similar to a Low Carb diet in others — but beans as well as being low GI also bring along a whole lot of health benefits.

Subjectively, when I eat just meat and vegies, I get all the odd jittery effects I’ve come to expect on a low carb diet (at least in the first week) when I add beans I get this nice, steady thrum of energy that lasts from meal to meal. I crave sugar and fat less, my energy levels are more stable. It’s nice.

When I started, I was pretty bean clueless so I used canned baked beans and canned chickpeas… which is fine, but a little dull. In the last few weeks, I’ve been keeping my eyes out for good bean recipes. My favourite so far is a dish called Ful Medames. “Ful” is the Egyptian word for Fava (or broad) beans and this dish has been filling the bellies of the hard-working Egyptian people since the place was called Kemet (or so Meave O’Meara assured us on the episode of Food Safari I found the dish on).

It’s a slow-cooked mix of red lentils and fava beans with cumin, salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil added. You eat it with flat bread and a boiled egg or salad. It’s like the ultimate breakfast of champions.

I have another mediterranean-style thing I do with chicken, but I’ll save that for another time. One day perhaps I’ll be able to brag about making feijoada… but not yet.

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4 responses to “All about the beans

  1. You might want to try Zeytinyagli Fasulyte (Green Beans in Olive Oil) as well. Can be cooked in large quantities and eaten hot or cold over a week: http://almostturkish.blogspot.com/2006/08/turkish-green-beans-zeytinyal-taze.html

  2. You might want to try Zeytinyagli Fasulyte (Green Beans in Olive Oil) as well. Can be cooked in large quantities and eaten hot or cold over a week: http://almostturkish.blogspot.com/2006/08/turkish-green-beans-zeytinyal-taze.html

  3. Pingback: Bad news and good news | He’s Just Had Coffee

  4. As I sit and read while eating my roo, chickpea and black bean stew . . . my mum bought me a slow cooker [crockpot] and i'm delighted to find that dried beans will cook to perfection without any pesk soaking overnight and then boiling . . .

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