Full of Beans

Did you know that 2016 is IYP?

That’s International Year of Pulses for you.

The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been nominated to facilitate the implementation of the Year in collaboration with Governments, relevant organizations, non-governmental organizations and all other relevant stakeholders. The IYP 2016 aims to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. http://www.fao.org/pulses-2016/en/

What does this mean for you and me? Well, to me it means I will be looking closer at the humble bean family and putting more effort into incorporating a variety on meat-free days.To most of us it also means re-educating ourselves and removing, in our minds, the poverty status beans and pulses have in our society. It’s time to elevate beans to their rightful super food status.

What are pulses?

Beans, peas and lentils, collectively known as pulses, are the dried seeds of the legume family.pulses

Nutrient value of pulses

Science backs up what our grandmothers have told us : BEANS ARE HEALTHY!

They are a rich source of proteins and can be used as a meat substitute. Since they provide incomplete protein, they pack a more powerful punch when consumed combined with nuts, seeds and whole grain cereals. Soya beans, however, are one of only a few plant foods that provide all the essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein like meat.

Pulses provide us with both soluble and insoluble fibre. While soluble fibre helps to decrease blood cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels, insoluble fibre helps with digestion and regular bowel movement.

Most pulses contain about 1% fat, with the highest fat content being from soya beans. These are the good fats which contribute to our daily energy needs and provide us with essential fatty acids.

Pulses are rich in vitamins and minerals while being relatively low in calories. Some of the key minerals in pulses include iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Pulses are also particularly abundant in vitamin K, E, B vitamins including folate, thiamine and niacin.

Health benefits

  1. Promotes healthy hearts: The fiber in the pulses may improve heart health by lowering cholesterol levels. The potassium in pulses can lower blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium.
  2.  Assist in managing diabetes: Pulses are a low-glycaemic index food. People who include more low GI foods in their diet have lower rates of diabetes. Those who already have diabetes can manage their blood sugar better by including pulses in their diet.
  3. Contributes to a healthy digestive system: The fibre in pulses can help prevent constipation and keep you regular.
  4. Can prevent cancer: the phytochemicals, saponins, and tannins found in pulses have antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic qualities.
  5. Can contribute to weight loss: The high amount of fibre and protein in pulses keeps you fuller for longer, reducing the need to snack in between meals

What about the music?

Those who find that pulses lead to gas and bloating may find the following tips useful:

  •  Soak them before cooking and remember to change the soaking water once or twice before cooking
  • Do not use the soaking liquid to cook the pulses
  • Cook pulses thoroughly as undercooked starch is harder to digest
  • Thoroughly rinse canned or pre-soaked pulses before cooking.
  • Start by eating small amounts of pulses, and gradually increase your intake.
  • Drink lots of water

Cooking with pulses

There is more to beans and pulses than the bean stew we grew up with. Explore. Look for mouth-watering recipes in vegetarian books and websites. My latest addiction is the chickpea and lentil burger I created basing it on Jamie Oliver’s Best Vegan burger which uses lentils and corn. For some strange reason I have not taken a picture of my creation (or maybe it was too good I could not wait to take a photo), so today I will share the recipe from Jamie Oliver. I promise to share my adaptation soon. If you have favourite vegan recipe using pulses, please share here.If not, I challenge you to create one and I will feature the recipes throughout the year.

Happy experimenting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for Everyday Wellness

Superfoods for a younger you!

7 day Miracle diet!

15 min Flab Attack routine!

And so it goes. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we seek quick fixes that torture our bodies instead of nourishing our bodies and souls every single day? Why do we find it so difficult to commit to healthy living?

But what is “Healthy living”? It’s not a specialised diet. It is not calorie counting and mixing powders. It’s definitely not how many hours you spend at the gym or in meditation. It is a constant and deliberate daily journey towards total wellbeing.

We are our bodies, minds and souls so it’s a no brainer that we should be treating ourselves more than just as passing thoughts. Of course finding time to balance healthy eating, meaningful exercise and to relax and recharge is quite a challenge in our busy lives, but can we afford not to make the time?

Our current lifestyles are not sustainable.The breakdown in our health,our relationships with others and ourselves tells us this. A change is needed.I find that when it comes to making changes,the trick is to just jump in and get started.Try these tips to get you started on the road to healthy living.If they worked for me,they are sure to work for you too.

Eat Real Food

Clean out your cupboards and remove all processed foods and avoid stopping by our favourite aunt’s (the name starts with W) to buy ready-to-go food. Yes they are quick to prepare and save you time but are the added chemicals, salts and sugars worth the risk?

Stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, organic meats and whole grains. The initial cost of switching might seem high but in the long term, the cost is leveraged by the improved well- being and overall health you will see and feel.

Make a habit of counting your colours not the calories on your plate. The Sunday seven colours are actually very good!

Move

Following my surgery and the health shenanigans of 2015, I’ve been struggling with going back to gym. But then I realised I was tired and bored with my gym routine and I need a new routine. I am now excited about starting my swimming lessons and getting my strength back in Pilates.

Scheduling 3×30 minutes of exercise per week goes a long way towards improving your health. You get maximum benefit from exercise by varying your exercise between endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. The benefits of exercise go beyond weight loss. They include increased bone density, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol. And the feel good hormones that are released during exercise will make you feel on top of the world.

Hydrate

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The real vitamin water.

We all know we should drink 8 glasses of water daily but did you know that that includes tea, milk and juices? Considering that up to 70% of our bodies is made of water, the benefits of keeping hydrated cannot be understated. To get the maximum benefit, get the bulk of your hydration from pure filtered water; with zero calories it is the best choice.

Take Time Out

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Take time out to just ‘be’

 

Do something for you and only you. Read, pray, meditate or take a long bath-as long as you taking at least 20 minutes a day to just be with your thoughts.

For me shower times are sacred. I can not counts the times I have had epiphanies and AHA! moments during shower time. I have cried, not out of sadness but because I am overwhelmed by the sheer pleasure, peace and a connection with myself a simple shower gives me.

Unplug

Simply put, take a break from all your devices; cell phone, tablets even your Fitbit. It will be a mistake to exclude taking time away from our electronics if we want to live a balanced and healthy life.

Did you know that there is a Digital Detox app? Yes, that’s how sad our situation has become. Try search for “digital detox” on Google and see what comes up. We now have digital detox retreats and challenges. In essence we have become slaves of our connectivity. At what price? Excessive preoccupation with our devices has potential to cost us our relationships, sleep, productivity and balance. That is a high price to pay for convenience.

We all know what happens when an addict goes cold turkey to break the habit. Without proper support, this method hardly works. It’s the same with digital addicts (read: me and you), we can start slowly. I have actually set time blocks on my phone to check emails, do my research and log on to social media.

Start by consciously staying away from your devices for 20 min and increase the times gradually (setting reminders for this is the best way) I know it’s a bit Type A, but so far it’s working well. The last face I see before I fall asleep is my husbands, not a stranger on Instagram. That’s progress.

What are other ways you can think of that can bring you closer to healthy living? I’d love to  hear your ideas.