Beans, Beans…

People have been eating dry legumes since ancient times. We continue this tradition because they are a delicious & healthy way to add protein to meals at a lower cost than meat. Some nutrition experts recommend 3 cups/week, while others suggest as much as 8 cups per week for optimal health benefits.

Dried peas, lentils and beans are high in fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of several cardiovascular diseases. They also contain potassium which helps reduce the development of blood vessel plaques and reduce blood pressure. OK, so they really are “good for your heart.” But, what else?

The fiber helps control blood sugar levels and helps prevent digestive disorders and colon cancer. Dry legumes are an excellent source of molybdenum, which helps to detoxify sulfites. Besides these nutrients, dry legumes are very good sources of protein, vitamin B1 (thiamin), folate, tryptophan, phosphorus and manganese. Dry peas contain isoflavones that reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancers. Lentils contain iron for energy and copper. Black beans contain magnesium and iron. Kidney beans contain copper and vitamin K. Garbanzo beans (chick peas) contain a wide variety of antioxidants.

The bad side of beans:

  • Dry legumes contain purines. Check with your doctor if you have issues with your kidneys or with gout
  • “the more you eat, the more you…” ahem, yes. Soaking peas and beans (not required for split peas or lentils) reduces the “musical” effect. 😉

For more info on the nutrition of beans, check out World’s Healthiest Foods or you can do an internet search.

While they store well for up to a year in dried state and are cheaper, there is little difference in the nutritional value of canned beans vs dried, though cooking your own lets you control the added salt and you don’t have to worry about bpa leaching from the can. Cooked dried beans can be made ahead and frozen. Or you can cook a big pot of beans and eat from it all week. We love Canellini, white kidney, beans to add to soups, salads and pastas, but you can also puree peas or beans to make a hummus-like spread for a snack, put them in chili, or make baked beans. Below are a couple of recipes you might like. How do you enjoy dry legumes?
Gheymeh — a Middle Eastern stew, originally made with lamb (I use beef) and yellow split peas

Red lentils with pasta — for some reason, they didn’t put salt in this recipe. It needs it. 🙂

Hummus

Pasta e fagioli

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I Gave Up Grocery Shopping

I don’t really like grocery shopping. It always seems to take longer than it should, cost more than it should and they don’t always have what I want. Not to mention all the things I forget to put on the list or have on the list but forget anyhow. Ugh! There are real, whole food choices, but many stores are limited in their selection.

I don’t like to grocery shop, but I do like to save money when I can. Buying lower quality does not save money, so how can I? I’ve looked into a variety of ways. Previously, I posted about a local bulk buying club I planned to check out. That didn’t turn out quite like I expected. The person running the club was a very busy person and by the time she added me to her email list (this literally took months), I had found alternatives I liked better. Besides, before I could even place an order, her son called and left a message. He wanted my help on a nutrition project he was working on. I thought, not sure why he called me, but ok, I’m all for helping in educational pursuits. Turns out his project was to sell me nutritional supplements. He’s not getting a passing grade on that project. I have no plans to pursue that club any further. The prices on some items were slightly better than what I have since found, but not that much.

I have looked at warehouse club stores. LOTS of food, some choices that are “real food”, hit-or-miss if they have it when you want it.

Delivered to your door fresh, local, organic produce – Part 1. I tried this a couple of years ago for a few months. Produce was delivered in a recycled cardboard box during the night and there when we woke up. It started off ok, but after a while I started getting a few bad items. The company had issues and went out of business and they referred us to another similar company. We were a bit gun-shy after the previous experience and never signed up again.

Delivered to your door fresh, local, organic produce – Part 2. We didn’t sign up that is, until a month ago. I have a trusted friend who has been a customer of the company to which I was referred for a year now. She has never had any trouble. The farm we volunteer at helps supply the company and I KNOW the farm’s food is awesome. Then I got a coupon, so I went for it.

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery offers different sizes of produce bins you can have delivered to your door every week or every other week. They come during the day in insulated plastic bins with freezer packs to keep everything fresh. Besides the produce, they offer a huge variety of other foods, such as milk, cheese, grains & flour, nuts, dried fruit, eggs and meat. Most of it is local and organic or sustainably grown/raised. Almost everything on my list. You have a few days each week to add or adjust what will be delivered to you. It’s no wonder their customer base has grown x10 in recent years! Plus, if you need to skip a week because you will be out of town, no problem. If you decide it isn’t working out for your family (not likely though), no problem. The prices are great and they have weekly sales. It is a doable option on a frugal budget. Locals: If you want to try it out, I have coupons I’m willing to share. 🙂

Amazon Subscribe & Save. We buy very few packaged products: a few canned items such as tuna, pumpkin and tomatoes and a few boxed items, such as crackers. At the suggestion of another wonderful friend, I have found many of these items are cheaper on Amazon with their Subscribe and Save program. You purchase multiple packs – I hesitate to say bulk, because it’s not quite as much as that term connotes – and sign up to receive this quantity every so often, every 2 months for example. You can cancel or adjust the subscription at any time. I received a 15% discount on an already competitive price, making this delivered option cheaper than the store.

Farmer’s markets and CSAs. I have blogged about these several times before. Wonderful options and opportunities to know your farmer! This year, we will be growing some of our own food.

I still go to the grocery store for a few specific items that I have found cheaper there, especially when they are on sale. But I’m thankful I no longer have to scour ads, walk the aisles, frustrate myself with forgotten items…. I’m also very thankful for friends who share what they know!

For those who have asked, a couple of resources:

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