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Last Post 03/23/2010 12:13 PM by  Serena
Health: Vegetarian: Bean Digestibility Ideas
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02/24/2010 8:44 AM
    Hi Everyone (this is my first post). Okay, I'm not promising to frequent this everyday but I did want to say something on the topic of this morning's discussion. There are a few ways to make beans more digestible.

    In Asia they add Kombu when cooking (I do this, not sure if it helps or not but it does mineralise it).

    In India they add tumeric (a common ingredient in all curries) - haven't tried it regularly but just something to know.

    I believe in South America they add a herb called epazote (I don't use it but I did see it in granola one day).

    But the main thing you can do is soak them before cooking. Everyone has their own way but I get the best results from 24 hours of soaking in a bowl of water. So when you finish dinner pop some beans into soak for the next day if its on your menu. Rinse well before cooking. (I also pressure cook my beans because it gets them completely soft

    PS. As David mentioned, lentil sprouts are great and I'm personally trying to get more living food into what I eat. My favorite sprouting combo which I make at home is green lentils, green peas, mung beans and maybe french green lentils (tiny lentils). When you sprout seeds or beans you eliminate and transform the substances that make it indigestible. In my way of thinking, you start to turn it into a vegetable or a living plant.
    Donna Korth

    03/18/2010 3:45 AM
    I loved Serena's information on beans and sprouts! I would add that I like to add a little cayenne to my beans because it helps digestion also.

    I would appreciate any comments/suggestions for a family that likes meat when the chief cook and bottle washer is trying to be a good vegetarian. Ideas? Recipes? I am able to use soy products (which I have to use in moderation)and desire some more creativity.

    03/19/2010 12:18 PM
    Hi Donna
    Is this the Donna Korth who wrote I and the Mother Light are One? I love it! I was singing it all yesterday. Utterly beautiful.

    I haven't heard of using cayenne for that purpose but it sounds interesting. I wonder why it works. Thanks for sharing!

    I am not in your position since I grew up vegetarian and have a very willing husband, but perhaps I can offer some thoughts in the hope to be helpful.

    A few thoughts come to mind.

    Firstly, when you talk about beans, there is not only one type. Different types vary in size, colour, flavor, nutrition and even digestibility. I don't have every type, but to give you an example of what I've used in the past year with an idea of how to use it:
    Garbanzo Beans (hummus)
    Red Lentils (indian curry)
    Yellow Split Peas (grandmas soup)
    Green Split Peas (herb soup)
    Kidney Beans (italian herb soup)
    Adzuki Beans (miso soup)
    Pinto Beans (mexican)
    Navy Beans (bean dip)
    Black beans (bean vegie stew)
    Green lentils (soups)
    Butter Beans (dip)

    Black eyed peas
    Great Northern Beans

    So, offer variety is one thing that will help keep your recipes from being rote.

    Secondly, make meals look appealing. Garnish meals with something (pumpkin seeds, parsley, salad sprinkle, raisins, fresh chives etc). Make meals colorful by including as many colors as possible. Don't make a habit of overcooking the vegies so the colour goes vapid.

    Thirdly, use spices (I know macrobiotics don't like spices too much but there is a place for everything). Some people are okay with very plain, simple fare but for someone who eats meat to get a blah tasting soup that could be a turnoff. So, use whatever spices they like - be it the italian herbs, poultry seasoning, garlic, ginger, cayenne, hickory salt, curry powder, seaweeds, stock powder etc to give it more flavor. Don't forget to keep using the seasonings you would normally use for meat. I have a poultry seasoning mix that I like to use in soups and I've never tasted poultry in my life. You can also get seasonings for meat. If they pass your ingredient inspection continue to use them to inspire a familiar-flavored meal (my past meat eating husband comments that it is often the thing you enjoy about meat is the spices...after cooking, the meat carries less flavor than the actual spices.)

    Fourthly, do it gradually. Try offering vegetarian one or more nights a week. On other weeks try having a vegetarian option that you can eat. Keep the meat separate and have a beans/pulse/lentil/meat subs. dish for you if you can't get them giving it up just yet.

    Fifthly, if you are trying to wean them off meat maybe just try to lower the consciousness in the meat they are eating. For example, if you eat red meat all the time, try having more turkey or chicken. If you eat turkey and chicken all the time, try eating more fish. If you eat fish all the time, try eating more vegetarian dishes. In other words, don't go cold turkey. In fact, though I have no desire for meat I always try to encourage my former meat eating husband to eat meat whenever he wants it. Strange thing is, when you give someone absolute freedom and love them just the same, they will often begin to eat what's healthier anyhow.

    Sixthly, lovingly educate your family on why you desire to eat less meat. Maybe it's a spiritual reason which is a little harder to convey. In any case there are many good reasons, from inhumane conditions for animal life, to the absence of a real nutritious need for humans to eat meat, to better health for us, to the disgusting things found in many meat today (nitrates, antibiotics, diseases, viruses, sprays, contaminants etc). There are some good videos out there on just how gross is the meat is and just how unnatural the meat industry is - sometimes that is all that is needed for someone to turn off meat (just like SuperSize me turned many off fast food). It's also good to lovingly educate yourself and your family on how meat is unnecessary and protein is overrated.

    Seventhly, you can use substitutes for meat in stirfrys, stews etc. As you mentioned you can use soy (tofu/TVP/tempeh). I used to use a ton of it but have now limited it due to the hormonal mimicking effect of soy. As a vegetarian it also affects B12 absorption. As well as that it is probably GMO if not certified organic. Besides soy, gluten is another product you can use. It's one I have used and will continue to - though I myself am moving more towards more raw/unprocessed foods in my diet. You can buy gluten based products from the store such as sausages, burgers etc. Do read the ingredients as they are not guaranteed to be healthy just because they are vegetarian. You can also make your own. I have two things I occasionally make - chunks of seitan (which I cook with soy sauce broth, ginger and seaweed) and seitan pepperoni (Basically flavored seitan rolled up and baked so you can slice it). I can't say these are live foods or full of vitamins but they are a nice meat substitute for some people.

    Eighth, you have to consider that meat is more dense than vegetarian foods. It is different. I think we like dense food because it stops us from thinking/feeling as clearly, thus it is comfort food. However, it's not conducive to us receiving the higher vibrations. What this means is that is is different but also that you want to make sure a vegetarian meal is satisfying. That means, have plenty available for all to eat, being prepared to have a little snack later if the hunger kicks in and using some heavier vegetarian meals when transitioning over... To make a vegetarian meal more filling use beans, nuts/seeds and/or oil. For example, I mix mix almond butter in with my miso for the miso soup to make a more satisfying broth. Use lots of beans in soups and salads since beans are filling. Use a good quality oil such as olive oil to your soups - it will make them more filling. You could sautee the onions at the start or just add a drizzle at the end.

    So, we've covered the need for a nice appearance, using more than one type of bean, colorful presentation, tasty food, education on why we're having different food and that vegetarian meals can absolutely fulfill nutrition needs, having a vegetarian option for you while your family eats meat, using a meat substitute such as seitan, downscale the type of meat you eat instead of going cold turkey, the need for filling food. One thing I didn't cover which is the direction I'm moving and that is having more protein from leafy greens in green smoothies. But that is really to get more raw in my life and less cooked. That is something that won't replace meat for your family but maybe in the future you might be interested in it yourself. Also be aware that quinoa and amaranth have a high protein content. Also, a little interesting fact, avocados have more protein than any other fruit. I also use sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds since I consider them nutritious (filling too).

    This is very long so I'll leave it here - you probably didn't expect a response this long! I hope I stayed mostly on topic and provided at least one useful idea. If there is any way I can elaborate further I will be happy to. I don't like telling people what to eat but I'm happy to share my path.

    03/23/2010 9:27 AM
    Hi All,

    Thanks for all the wonderful information.
    One reason I had been reluctant to go completely vegetarian is in my past I was totally macrobiotic and I had digestive issues with eating beans.

    But a few years ago I discovered digestive enzymes and these have helped a lot. It still depends on how the beans are cooked but the enzymes do help my digestion. We also lose our ability to produce digestive enzymes as we age.
    Now that we are guided to be completely vegetarian I find eating beans less of a digestive issue because of using enzymes.
    There are many different types of enzymes so read labels and reviews from other users to see if the brand you pick gives good results. I have found one that works well for me and is a good value on Vitacost.com

    Also one word about using tofu and soybean products is to be sure to use only organic. Otherwise you could be eating genetically modified soybeans. Genetically modified soybeans account for over 70% of all soybeans grown in the USA.

    Love and Victory

    03/23/2010 12:13 PM
    Hi Theresa!
    Glad you found enzymes work for you. Some people do have more of an issue with digesting beans so that's good to know. Yes, I totally agree, only organic soy, and actually, I'm leaning away from eating it now (still have some miso/soy sauce) after I recently learned about how bad it was.
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